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Centre for Strategic Philanthropy team

Shonali Banerjee

Senior Research Associate, Centre for Strategic Philanthropy

Dr Shonali Banerjee is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy. She joined the Centre as Research Associate in February 2021. She leads the Centre’s research agenda on philanthropy in global growth markets, specifically Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Shonali is an expert in global philanthropy for development, and her previous work focused on the implications of new financial instruments in philanthropy and giving. Prior to academia, Shonali began her career as a development practitioner by spending five years working for international organisations in the United States, Morocco, Thailand, and Cambodia. During this time, she specialized in impact measurement, fundraising, and strategic communications. Most recently, Shonali served as Research Development Officer at Queen Mary University of London, where she worked with faculty across all disciplines to develop proposals for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

Shonali’s work has been published in top academic journals including Third World Quarterly and Development in Practice, and her forthcoming book with Bristol University Press is entitled Horizontal Development: Shifting Power and Privilege in Aid. She currently sits on the Advisory Committee for the L’Oréal Fund for Women. Shonali holds a PhD in International Development from the University of Sussex, a MSc in Development Studies from SOAS University of London, and a BA in International Affairs and Political Science from The George Washington University.

Xiaoyu Dai

Research Assistant, Centre for Strategic Philanthropy

Xiaoyu Dai is currently a Research Assistant in the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy and is conducting case studies on philanthropy in the Global South. She is also an MPhil student in the Department of Sociology and has an academic background in media studies, communication, and sociology of media and culture, where she actively engaged in both qualitative and quantitative research on the exploration of digital media, digital transformation, social issues, and the social impacts.

For now, she is specifically dedicated to conducting needs-based research on the status quo of philanthropy and strategies employed by the philanthropic organisations in the Global South to offer comprehensive insights and practical knowledge for philanthropic practitioners.

Lionel Paolella

Associate Professor in Strategy & Organisation, Cambridge Judge Business School

Lionel Paolella is an Associate Professor
at Cambridge Judge Business School, and an Affiliated Faculty at Harvard Law School (Center on Legal Profession). He graduated from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan (ENS) in France, after which he took a MA in Sociology at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), a MS in Management and Organization Science (University Paris X), and a PhD in Strategy (HEC Paris).

Before joining the University of Cambridge, he was a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago (Booth Graduate School of Business) in 2011, and a Chazen visiting scholar at Columbia University (Graduate School of Business) between September 2012 and December 2013.

His research lies at the intersection of economic sociology, organisation theory and social psychology. He is studying market categorisations and how they affect social evaluation and performance of organisations, specifically in international legal services. His work has appeared in Academy of Management Journal, and Journal of Management Studies. He received the Cambridge Judge Teaching Award in 2017, the MBA Faculty of the Year Award in 2018, and he has been listed among the Best 40 under 40 Professors by Poets and Quants in 2019.

In his free time, Lionel’s interests center around photography and the art of watch making.

Thomas Roulet

Associate Professor in Organisation Theory

Dr Thomas Roulet is an Associate Professor in Organisation Theory at Cambridge Judge Business School and the Fellow in Sociology at Girton College, both at the University of Cambridge.

Before Cambridge, he worked in a range of universities including Oxford, Columbia and SciencesPo Paris. His work focuses on social evaluations and institutional theory and is published in a range of research and practitioner outlets, and has been covered among other by The Economist, the Financial Times, and the Washington Post.

Thomas has also published important research contributions in the field of corporate philanthropy, in particular looking at its impact on the theatre industry. The originality of his work is to focus on the recipient’s rather than the donor’s side. In a co-authored piece published in the Academy of Management Journal in 2017, he shows how theatres can suffer from lower peer evaluation when they receive corporate money, because of the taint attached to it. He also explains how theatres mitigate this impact on the way they are perceived. Further ideas around this conundrum are discussed in a piece in Harvard Business Review.

In more recent work and with the same co-author, Thomas explores what makes potential recipients more or less attractive to donors.

Finally, together with Meghna Godya of King’s College London, he explores the impact of corporate donations on theatres’ efficiency and the innovativeness of their programme.

Shonali Banerjee

Senior Research Associate, Centre for Strategic Philanthropy

Dr Shonali Banerjee is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy. She joined the Centre as Research Associate in February 2021. She leads the Centre’s research agenda on philanthropy in global growth markets, specifically Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Shonali is an expert in global philanthropy for development, and her previous work focused on the implications of new financial instruments in philanthropy and giving. Prior to academia, Shonali began her career as a development practitioner by spending five years working for international organisations in the United States, Morocco, Thailand, and Cambodia. During this time, she specialized in impact measurement, fundraising, and strategic communications. Most recently, Shonali served as Research Development Officer at Queen Mary University of London, where she worked with faculty across all disciplines to develop proposals for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

Shonali’s work has been published in top academic journals including Third World Quarterly and Development in Practice, and her forthcoming book with Bristol University Press is entitled Horizontal Development: Shifting Power and Privilege in Aid. She currently sits on the Advisory Committee for the L’Oréal Fund for Women. Shonali holds a PhD in International Development from the University of Sussex, a MSc in Development Studies from SOAS University of London, and a BA in International Affairs and Political Science from The George Washington University.

Xiaoyu Dai

Research Assistant, Centre for Strategic Philanthropy

Xiaoyu Dai is currently a Research Assistant in the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy and is conducting case studies on philanthropy in the Global South. She is also an MPhil student in the Department of Sociology and has an academic background in media studies, communication, and sociology of media and culture, where she actively engaged in both qualitative and quantitative research on the exploration of digital media, digital transformation, social issues, and the social impacts.

For now, she is specifically dedicated to conducting needs-based research on the status quo of philanthropy and strategies employed by the philanthropic organisations in the Global South to offer comprehensive insights and practical knowledge for philanthropic practitioners.

Shahzad (Shaz) Ansari

Professor of Strategy & Innovation

Professor Ansari has published in several leading academic journals including Academy of Management JournalAcademy of Management Review, Strategic Management JournalOrganization Science, Journal of Management Studies, Strategic Organization, Research Policy, Industrial and Corporate ChangeJournal of Management Inquiry and Organization Studies. He serves on the editorial boards of Administrative Science QuarterlyAcademy of Management JournalAcademy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management, Organization Science, Journal of Management Studies and Organization Studies, is a high performing member of the Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and is a Honorary Professor of UCL, London. He is also a consultant at Thinfilms Inc., a New Jersey firm providing thin film services (in particular coating services) to over 150 corporations in the hybrid microelectronics, semiconductor, optical, medical and sensor industries.

Professor Ansari’s areas of expertise in executive education include strategic management, technological and business model innovation, social innovation, and corporate social responsibility. He has contributed to executive education programs in many organisations, including McKinsey, Airbus. Shell, British Telecom, China Development Bank, Nokia, Laing O’Rourke, UNICEF, Essex County Council, City & Guilds, KLEC (Kuala Lumpur Education City), Shanghai University of Finance and Education among several others. He is frequently invited to speak on issues related to strategy, innovation and social change. Professor Ansari is a member of the Cambridge Corporate Governance Network (CCGN).

Neil Stott

Management Practice Professor of Social Innovation

Dr Neil Stott is Director of the Master of Studies in Social Innovation programme, and Co-Director of the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation.

Neil Stott was Chief Executive of Keystone Development Trust until April 2015. Keystone is one of the largest development trusts in the country delivering community development, social enterprises and property development.

Neil is a Senior Associate of Locality’s consultancy. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Place Management (SFIPM), a Fellow of the Inter University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society, a Visiting Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University, and a Visiting Social Innovator at Memorial University’s Centre for Social Enterprise, Newfoundland, Canada.

Paul Tracey

Professor of Innovation & Organisation

Professor Paul Tracey is Co-Director of the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation. Prior to joining Cambridge Judge Business School, Paul was Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Warwick Business School. He has also held posts at the School of Geography at Oxford University and the Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Newcastle. Paul serves on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management JournalEntrepreneurship Theory and Practice, and Strategic Organization, has previously served on the editorial board of Administrative Science Quarterly, and is an Associate Editor of Innovation: Organization and Management. He is a member of the Cambridge Corporate Governance Network (CCGN), and a Visiting Social Innovator at Memorial University’s Centre for Social Enterprise, Newfoundland, Canada.

Clare Woodcraft

Visiting Fellow, Centre for Strategic Philanthropy

Clare Woodcraft was the founding Executive Director of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy and charged with its establishment in early 2020. She has over 25 years of experience working in the field of socio-economic development and philanthropy in emerging markets. She is the former CEO of Emirates Foundation, the national foundation of the UAE, where she led the organizations transition from traditional to Venture Philanthropy. During this time, she also served as the Chair of the Arab Foundations Forum, a regional professional association. Earlier, she served as the Deputy Director of Shell Foundation, a leader in the philanthropic sector whose business model entails building scalable social enterprises to address access to energy. Prior to this she was the Regional Director of Communications for Royal Dutch Shell in the MENA region overseeing the company’s social investment portfolio. Earlier, Clare headed Visa International’s public affairs arm in emerging markets and worked as the Finance Editor of Middle East Economic Survey. Clare writes and speaks on the paradigm shift in the philanthropic sector and is a vocal champion of venture philanthropy. She sits on the advisory board of Cambridge Global Challenges, the Cambridge Partnership for Education and Boldly Go Philanthropy. She is also a Trustee of Sumerian Foundation and Chanel Foundation. She is a fluent Arabic and French speaker and has a BA in Modern Languages and a MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.

Caroline Fiennes

Visiting Fellow, Centre for Strategic Philanthropy

Caroline Fiennes founded and directs Giving Evidence. She is one of the few people whose work has appeared in both OK! Magazine and the scientific journal Nature. A recognised expert in philanthropy, she is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge, for three years wrote the ‘how to give it’ column in the Financial Times, and has advised many donors in many countries over many years. She often speaks at conferences and in the press. She serves on boards of The Cochrane Collaboration (specifically Evidence Aid), The Life You Can Save founded by ethicist Peter Singer, and the (amazing) Flemish Red Cross. She has worked with J-PAL at MIT and with its sister organisation Innovations for Poverty Action. She is described by Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler as “charmingly disruptive”.

Alberto Lidji

Visiting Fellow, Centre for Strategic Philanthropy

Alberto is the Founder of The Do One Better Podcast and Knowledge Hub – focused on philanthropy, sustainability, and social entrepreneurship. He advises a wide range of clients on philanthropy and ESG.

Previously, Alberto was Global CEO of the Novak Djokovic Foundation, served as Senior Advisor to the Goldie Hawn Foundation and was Director of Development at the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. His earlier career was in the private sector working in capital introduction with HNWIs.

Alberto has worked closely with the World Bank on education, UNICEF on global advocacy and Harvard University on funding research into childhood development. He is a member of the Global Council of STiR Education, sits on the Board of Governors at St Peter’s C of E Primary School and is on the Judging Academy for the World’s Best School Prizes.

He has written for the Economist EIU and Economist Impact on a range of topics including philanthropy, sustainable business, impact investing and gender equity; and has been invited to lecture at various academic institutions including the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics, Warwick Business School, SDA Bocconi School of Management, and the University of Sydney.

Alberto holds a Masters in Management from the London School of Economics and is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge.

Elena Christodoulou

Visiting Associate, Centre for Strategic Philanthropy

Elena has graduated from the Cambridge Judge Business School with an MPhil in Innovation, Strategy, and Organisation. She has actively engaged with the work of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy as a research assistant and contributed to the report “Philanthropy and COVID-19: Is the North-South Power Balance Finally Shifting?”. As a current Visiting Associate of the Centre, Elena is conducting a study on impact investing in emerging markets. Her focus is on how impact investing can become better tailored to the needs of investees, their scaling efforts, and exit strategies.