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Kal Penn finally came out, sharing how he and his partner fell in love in his new book

Kal Penn fiance, Kal Penn book

Kal Penn on Instagram

When people picture Kal Penn, they most likely think of a certain stoner with a munchie-induced craving for hamburgers. Others might remember Penn's two-year stint as an associate director in the Office of Public Engagement during the Obama presidency. But whether you associate him with White Castle or the White House, Penn recently revealed what most of the world did not know about him: that he is also the loving fiancé to his partner, Josh, of 11 years. His first public coming out came alongside the promotion for Penn's new memoir, "You Can't Be Serious."


The actor known for his roles in the "Harold and Kumar" movie series tweeted that the book delves into his story of growing up as the son of immigrants, moving out to Hollywood to pursue a dream of "making people laugh" (which apparently involved some racist auditions for shows like "Sabrina The Teenage Witch") and taking a break from acting to work at the White House. The book also covers Penn's relationship with his partner Josh, including their first date watching NASCAR.

According to People, "You Can't Be Serious" details their meet-cute, with Josh arriving at Penn's apartment with an 18 pack of Coors Light, ready to watch a car race. Penn wasn't quite ready to think of this date as romantic. But don't worry, this love story has a happy ending.

"I thought, 'This obviously is not going to work out,'" Penn told People. "I have one day off from The White House and this dude is unironically watching cars go around and making left turns? Next thing you know, it's been a couple months and we're watching NASCAR every Sunday. I'm like, 'What is happening?'"

I mean … if that's not love, I don't know what is.

For Penn, this aspect of his identity came later in life. He shared with People that "I discovered my own sexuality relatively late in life compared to many other people. There's no timeline on this stuff. People figure their s--- out at different times in their lives, so I'm glad I did when I did."

Penn also shared that coming out to his parents was relatively easy, telling People that "I know this sounds jokey, but it's true: When you've already told your Indian parents and the South Asian community that you intend to be an actor for a living, really any conversations that come after that are super easy. They're just like, 'Yeah, okay.'" He noted that everyone has different coming out experiences and that he was "very fortunate" to receive his family's support.

Though Penn has been very eager to share his relationship, he had the challenge of respecting Josh and his family, who "don't love attention and shy away from the limelight." This includes a "big disagreement" on whether or not to do a huge wedding or a tiny wedding. Penn told People, "I want the big ass Indian wedding. Josh, hates attention, [has said], 'Or we could just do quick 20-minute thing with our families and that's it.' So we have to meet halfway in the middle." I think all couples are really just different versions of tiny wedding Josh's and big ass wedding Kal's.

Of course, we're striving to create a world where instead of headlines reading "Kal Penn Comes Out and Is Engaged," we can see something as simple as "Kal Penn Is Engaged" without needing a public announcement of sexual orientation. But the truth is that for many cultures this subject is still under a challenging stigma. And for someone like Penn to normalize it helps others like him make it normal too.

Take a look at some of the responses he's received online.


One person wrote: "this was originally gonna be a generic Halloween tweet about a costume but given that he came out today & announced he is engaged to his boyfriend of 10 years I just wanna say thank you @kalpenn for inspiring a whole generation of Indian kids to break stereotypes. I owe u so much"

This comment pretty much sums it up: "because of you I felt safe pursuing entertainment, and now thanks to you millions of LGBTQ+ indian people will get to see themselves represented in the mainstream media."

Sometimes these seemingly small moments of expressing individual truth helps others live their lives in a more authentic way.

Others responded that they were disappointed in Penn's announcement, including journalist Louis Peitzman, who wrote "Kal Penn coming out by announcing he's marrying someone who isn't me … that's a choice."

Considering that Penn has been listed as "Most Eligible Bachelor" by People magazine, I'd say he's probably left many feeling unrequited love. It's well worth the broken hearts, Kal! Congrats to you and Josh.

Penn told People that he wanted his book to feel like "sharing a beer" together while he brought people into his stories. You'll be able to check out those stories for yourself on Nov 2.

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.

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