April 26, 2024

MSPW Guest Speaker: Kavitta Ghai, Co-Founder and CEO at Nectir

By Yashita Thota

In Spring 2024, the MS in Professional Writing (MSPW) was excited to host guest speaker Kavitta Ghai, Co-Founder and CEO at Nectir, a generative AI company that has raised over $6m in VC funding since 2018. An inspirational leader, Kavitta shared with our students the “moment of rage” that motivated her professional trajectory from marketing writer to co-founder of an AI company. 

Asked about the role of writers in the future of work, Kavitta explained the critical role human writers play in guiding communication technologies and reminded our students about their power as storytellers. It’s clear to her that communication skills are in high demand across industries, especially in leadership roles. The key for professional writers will be knowing when/how to use AI tools and when/how to write in an authentic voice, effectively, without those tools. Kavitta closed her talk with students by sharing:

“Only human beings can do whatever your mind can dream of–- not AI. So that's the first part of [removing] the fear of AI taking over roles. … [AI technology] is awesome in terms of being able to do things that we could not think of 5 years ago. But it is not at the capacity where it's going to replace human beings like the way we see in the movies or in the media. And, if you’re concerned about it, to remove the fear, the best thing to do is practice utilizing these tools so that you'll be the person in any room who can say ‘AI can do all of these steps, let say steps 1 through 7. But, steps 7 through 10 must be done by a human being— and I have the in demand communications skills to do those steps and guide the full process.’”

You can watch Kavitta’s full guest speaker talk here.  

And learn more about Kavitta’s path from writer to co-founder of an AI company in the interview below: 

Q: Tell us about your path from writing to AI and education tech.

A: Growing up I knew my strongest skills were my writing and more specifically, my ability to tell a story effectively. Ever since I was little, everyone knew me as the kid who could tell a tall tale that even the adults got a kick out of hearing. When I became a communication major, I wanted to find an area that I truly cared about to use these skills but I thought my only options were marketing or advertising. As a neurodivergent student at UCSB, I was having difficulty with traditional coursework, but simultaneously, I was thriving in extracurriculars where I was able to focus on engaging and collaborating with others. Using a student-to-student conversation tool (like Slack) in one of my classes was incredibly helpful. After this class, I spoke with school administrators to advocate for this novel learning method to be incorporated into more classrooms. I worked with them to learn what the barriers were to making this technology more available and used that information to build Nectir. Today, Nectir is a leading campus communication network that merges cutting-edge AI with an intuitive communication platform. 

Q: What core elements of writing & communications are essential to your work now?

A: Writing and communication are the most important parts of my job on a day-to-day basis. I believe that everyone has a “zone of genius” which is the area in which you are confident you are the best person for the job. With my zone of genius being in communications, I have constructed my role in the company to center around that strength. I write and communicate about this company and this product every day. I do this through panels, podcasts, emails, blog posts, slide presentations, video calls, and more. I use my writing to conceptualize our vision and then effectively communicate it to all stakeholders, from investors to clients to the general public. 

Q: What piece of advice can you give about starting a company?

A: First, it’s important to understand that there is not one specific type of person who starts a company. It is more important to find a problem that affects you or the people you love deeply that you intrinsically believe should have a better solution than what is available today. Find that one thing in the world that truly enrages you and let that frustration fuel you to work towards solving it. For writers in particular, the best way to utilize your skills at the beginning of your journey is to clearly communicate the problem and your proposed solution in a way that allows someone who is hundreds of miles away from the problem to understand it at the same level that you do. Your ability to build and communicate a story around the problem/solution is what will set you apart from the competition and give you the edge needed to rally others to join your cause. 

Many thanks to Kavitta Ghai for sharing her thoughts with MSPW students!

To learn more about the MS in Professional Writing program at NYU School of Professional Studies, visit sps.nyu.edu/mspw


Related Articles