Sonal Shah is the founding President of The Asian American Foundation. One of the foremost global leaders on social impact and innovation, Shah has started and led social impact efforts in academia, government, and the private and philanthropic sectors for over twenty-five years. Prior to her appointment at TAAF, Shah founded and led Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, a cross-disciplinary center that provided students a first-hand opportunity to work on social impact projects in the public, private and social sectors.
Shah has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. She served as Deputy Assistant to President Obama and Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, where she was tasked with creating innovative approaches to using technology for social programs across the federal government and with building public-private partnerships at scale. Previously, she worked as an international economist at the Department of Treasury, setting up the central bank in Bosnia, working for post-conflict reconstruction in Kosovo, and implementing poverty reduction strategies in Africa. In the private sector, Shah led technology initiatives for civic voice and impact investing as the head of Global Development Initiatives at Google.org.
Prior to her time at Google.org, she developed the environmental strategy and ran the initiatives for investing in clean technologies at Goldman Sachs. Shah serves on the boards of Oxfam America, the UBS Optimus Foundation, and The Century Foundation. She also serves as an adviser to the Democracy Fund and is coordinating the Initiative on Tech & Society at Georgetown University. In 2020, she served as the National Policy Director for Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign.