Sonal Shah is Professor of Practice and the founding Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University. The Center is designed to be cross disciplinary focusing on providing experiential and skills-based learning for undergraduate and graduate students; developing executive programs for practitioners on social impact and innovation; developing actionable and practical thought-leadership on relevant issues in social impact and innovation; and designing a “lab” space for students, professors and practitioners to co-create social enterprises.
Sonal is an economist and entrepreneur who has spent her career focused on actionable innovation in in government, business and the non-profit sectors. She is the former Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the first White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation that focused on investing in and scaling innovative models in the social sector. She also served on President Obama’s Transition Board overseeing the Technology, Innovation, Government Reform working group. Before joining the White House, Shah led Google’s global development initiatives for its philanthropy, Google.org. Prior to Google, Shah was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs, Inc. where she developed and managed the firm’s environmental strategy.
She spent seven years at the U.S. Department of Treasury where she was an international economist working on timely development issues, including post-conflict development in Bosnia, Asian financial crisis, and poverty reduction in Africa.
Sonal also has significant non-profit experience. She co-founded a non-profit, Indicorps, which offers fellowships for Indian-Americans to work on development projects in India. She helped set up the Center for Global Development where she managed the daily operations and developed the policy and advocacy programs for the Center. She also worked at the Center for American Progress focusing on trade, outsourcing and post conflict issues.
Shah received her MA in Economics from Duke University and BA in Economics from the University of Chicago. She is a Senior Fellow at the Case Foundation working on Impact Investing; Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress on social innovation; an Institute of Politics fellow at Harvard University; an Aspen Crown Fellow; and a Next Generation Fellow. She leads the G7 International Development Working Group for Impact Investing. She serves on the Boards of Social Finance, Inc. and the Washington Area of Women’s Foundation.