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Gold Star Alum Series: Professor Heather Aranyi

Pioneering Leadership, Social Impact Entrepreneurship, and Healing Trauma

Welcome to the Gold Star Alum Series, a platform dedicated to celebrating the shining achievements of Erikson alumni. Through inspiring stories, we’ll celebrate milestones, share recent accomplishments, explore diverse career paths post-Erikson, and strengthen the bonds that tie us together as a thriving community. Join us monthly in recognizing the stellar Erikson alumni who continue to make a lasting impact in the field.

Professor Heather Aranyi

Pioneering Leadership, Social Impact Entrepreneurship, and Healing Trauma

With a rich background and advanced degrees in music and education, Heather Aranyi, MSCD’99, has forged innovative pathways in healing trauma through her groundbreaking work. Heather’s impact extends far and wide. She served as the founding researcher and co-director for the Music, Trauma, and the Breath Working Group, funded by the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs at Northwestern University. Heather’s newest role at Northwestern is as Director of their ICON Incubator Program, a NIL (Name-Image-Likeness) program supporting the personal brands of Northwestern’s top student-athletes. Notably, she shares her expertise in entrepreneurship and innovation, not only at Northwestern University but across the globe. She is also the Founder and CEO of Alignment Coaching and Consulting and a U.S. State Department Speaker in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

While reflecting on her diverse work in music, education and entrepreneurship, Heather emphasized how her Erikson education allowed her to embrace her full skillset and forge an innovative path for her career. The incorporation of music into child development became a catalyst for spearheading a global project on music’s role in healing children from developmental disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acknowledging Erikson’s profound impact, Heather credits her self-reflective approach to life and career, navigating trauma, resilience and varied environments. “Erikson’s emphasis on not conforming to predefined career boxes opened doors for me to access prestigious opportunities, like being an ambassador for the Buffett Institute for Global Studies.”

When asked what advice she has for recent graduates, Heather encourages them not to limit themselves and emphasizes leveraging their unique lenses for impactful change.

Erikson Institute Gold Star Alum | Heather Aranyi | MS in Child Development, 1999 | Founder and CEO, Alignment Coaching and Consulting

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