Palakh Khanna, 19 years old, is an emerging social entrepreneur and CEO/ Founder of Break the Ice, a youth organization working toward normalizing and discussing taboo topics. She is a firm feminist believer, world record holder, poet, and environmentalist.
Palakh Khanna is a delegate at Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR), a student organization at Harvard College. She has also done internships in sales and marketing at IFORTIS Worldwide and as content creation head at Youth Action Hub. Palakh Khanna has also experienced being a teacher and a mentor.
Q) You are the Founder & CEO of ‘Break The Ice.’ Tell us something more about it?
Palakh Khanna– ‘Break The Ice’ is an international youth organization working towards literally breaking the ice about stigmatized and taboo topics that society often shunted. We try to create an enlightened global youth community. Whether related to mental health, anxiety disorders, bullying, or the LGBTQ community, we talk about it at Break The Ice.
Q) How did ‘Break The Ice’ start and what are your plans for the same?
Palakh Khanna– I formed it because of an incident at my place during the pandemic. My mother and our domestic help were having a conversation, domestic help had her period, but she was too shy to ask for a pad. When my mom told me this, it hit me that it is the 21st century, and menstruation is natural.
What is there to be shy about it. I got the idea to create a platform where we can talk about all these taboo topics freely. We are currently working and are active in more than 10 countries. We have events and sessions where we openly talk about it. We also have on groundwork, and we went for a pad drive.
Q) How do you maintain work-life balance as an entrepreneur and a student?
Palakh Khanna – It’s tough, I am in college from 8 to 5, and then I have to work on many things. But I am a firm believer in the to-do list. So I create a to-do list daily and try to complete all my day’s challenges, which works for me.
Q) You are a world record holder. Tell us something about that?
Palakh Khanna– I, along with 110 women, was awarded the World Book of Records UK on 8th March as international women’s day. We set a record for achieving great heights and doing great work in the different regions that we came from.
Q) What are the three most important habits to be a successful entrepreneur?
Palakh Khanna– Communication, time management, and networking are the three habits or skills needed to grow in life. Networking with like-minded people is very important for an ent-
Q) As a youth changemaker, what changes are you looking up to?
Palakh Khanna – It would sound very dramatic, but I have always wanted to create change. Change is honestly something I have been talking about since I am 10 years old. Initially, it was related to the environment when I went for protests at school. I gradually became a global lead ambassador for climate change at Global Conscience World’s international organization.
Gradually that definition of CHANGE expanded to stigmas, taboos, youth empowerment, and creating a community where everyone has resources. Once we have resources, we all can grow at the pace we want to. People don’t get opportunities with unequal distribution of resources, so I am also working on that.
Under those resources part, I felt like education is very important, so I am also working as a mentor under the Desh Ka Mentor working program by the government of Delhi and a teacher where I teach English and provide education to the underprivileged children so they can grow in life.
Q) How does it feel to achieve so much at a young age?
Palakh Khanna– To be honest, I feel happy, but I am very ambitious, so I don’t believe that I have achieved that much in life. This is not modesty, but all this is just one step toward the journey, and I want to achieve a lot in the next 3 to 5 years and maintain that momentum.
Q) According to you, what makes a woman empowered?
Palakh Khanna– It consists of two things, namely ambition and passion. Passion to do something and also doing it. You have to be ambitious and pursue your passion for becoming empowered. It’s not the society that empowers women, and you can only be empowered if you have that inner feeling of empowerment.
Q) What is a typical day for you?
Palakh Khanna– My day starts at college from 8 to 5, and then I rest. Then I work for Break The Ice. After that, I fulfilled my other commitments, like a few meetings. A typical day sounds like this only, but I take out that one hour for my mental health, which is very important. I usually write poems in this one hour.
Q) Which achievement of yours would you define as the biggest?
Palakh Khanna– I think I would be getting invited as the youngest mentor and panelist in the Business Clusters program. This program was an initiative by the Government of Delhi, and I was invited as a mentor and panelist for two different program rounds. And I judged the people of my age for their business ideas. That was something that I felt was a surreal experience.
Q) Who is your biggest inspiration in this journey?
Palakh Khanna– My mother has been my greatest supporter and even more fabulous inspiration in my life.
Q) A message for our readers.
Palakh Khanna– Always believe in your passion and always try to pursue it without feeling self-doubt, which I also had, but I overcame it. Always stay motivated and remind yourself of the WHY. Always try to network with influential people, which will help you grow.
Palakh Khanna is a student and a young social entrepreneur working hard to create a community where everyone can come out of their shell and openly discuss the stigmas and topics they are shy about through her youth-led international organization BREAK THE ICE. You can also join her in her journey through their website and social media handles.