Sonal Shah

  • Fall 2012

Sonal Shah is an entrepreneur and innovator. She has worked in government, business and the non-profit sectors. Until recently Shah was the Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the first White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation focused on investing in and scaling innovative models, leveraging technology, opening information in the social sector to solve some of the nation’s toughest challenges. The office pushed for and developed new models of innovation throughout government and was the champion for leveraging partnerships as a way to solve problems given the difficult budget environment. Shah also served on President Obama's Transition Board overseeing and leading the Technology, Innovation, Government Reform group in setting up the government. Before joining the White House, Shah led Google’s global development initiatives for its philanthropy,, focusing on leveraging technology and information to help the world’s poor. Prior to Google, Shah was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs, Inc. where she worked with the Chairman and CEO in developing and managing the firm’s environmental strategy.

Shah also has started and managed non-profits. She is the co-founder of an international non-profit, Indicorps, which offers fellowships for the Indian diaspora around the world to work on development projects in India. The fellowship invests in and builds the leadership of the diaspora to be able to solve problems even in the toughest of circumstances. Shah also helped set up the Center for Global Development, the leading development think tank in Washington DC, where she managed the daily operations and developed the policy and advocacy programs for the Center. She worked at the Center for American Progress focusing on trade, outsourcing and post conflict issues. From 1995-2002, Shah was an economist at the Department of Treasury, where she directed the office for African Nations, worked on the Asian Financial Crisis and post conflict development in Bosnia and Kosovo. Shah received her MA in Economics from Duke University and BA in Economics from the University of Chicago. She is an Aspen Crown Fellow and a Next Generation Fellow.

Recently Shah was a fellow with the Tides Foundation focusing on bringing capital markets to the social sector and leveraging technology and innovation to solve social problems.