Our Team

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Marina Kim Co-Founder and Executive Director

Marina’s work in social entrepreneurship dates back over 15 years. She co-founded and leads Ashoka U, which works with colleges and universities to embed social innovation as an educational focus and a strategic approach to aligning the university’s culture, programs and operations. To date, Ashoka U has worked with over 400 institutions globally. Marina’s writing on institutional change and higher education innovation has been featured in Forbes.com, SSIR.org, and the Diversity & Democracy Journal, and Ashoka U has been featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Huffington Post and The New York Times. Marina was named in the Forbes 30 under 30 for Social Entrepreneurship, received the post-graduate Tom Ford Fellowship in Philanthropy from Stanford, and is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Northampton. Marina holds a BA in International Relations from Stanford University.

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Beeta Ansari COO

Beeta is Ashoka U’s COO. In this role, Beeta leads Ashoka U’s strategic planning, staffing, budgeting and organizational design. In addition to her responsibilities as COO, Beeta also serves as Director of the Ashoka U Exchange, a global convening for social entrepreneurship education and Director of the Ashoka U Commons, an online learning platform that supports university leaders to advance social innovation offerings on their campus. Beeta has been with the Ashoka U team since 2009. Previously, Beeta worked as a Procurement Manager at a high-growth tech startup and tutored students at KIPP Academy in Houston. Beeta graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BS in Economics.

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Angie Fuessel Director, Changemaker Campus

Angie oversees the strategy and operations of Changemaker Campus selection, renewal, and network in support of field-level change. In this role, she works to identify exemplar campuses and enhance individual and institutional transformative capacity, while catalyzing and equipping teams of teams in collaborating to make social innovation synonymous with higher education. She draws from over 15 years’ experience working to foster effectiveness and transformation amongst individuals, organizations, and systems. Amongst previous roles, she has served as both an independent and management consultant across the sectors in the US and abroad and as an advisor for the government of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. To Ashoka U, she brings both a deep practice expertise in organizational strategy, development, change leadership, and transformation and doctoral studies on complex adaptive systems, social innovation, and systemic social change. She earned an EdD in Human and Organizational Learning from The George Washington University and also holds an MBA from the University of Oxford. Angie is currently pursuing the USASBE Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship, higher education track.

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Jessica Lax Growth & Partnerships Director

Jessica’s focus is on increasing Ashoka U’s breadth of impact. She leads Ashoka U’s #MillionsofChangemakers campaign, thought leadership, growth strategy, and efforts to reach out to new audiences.  Based in Ottawa, and as a past member of the Ashoka Canada team, Jess also brings a global lens to Ashoka U’s work.  Through partnerships with higher education networks, she is building an increasingly global, and more representative campus network.  An accomplished social entrepreneur, Jess has been working on spreading ideas in the social impact education space for more than 15 years. Her early experience was as a co-founder of an award-winning environmental organization that scaled across Canada, and the UK. She went on to launch an online school for changemakers, and develop a city-wide collaborative to support social enterprises.  Jessica was awarded a Skoll Scholarship for her work and holds an MBA from Saîd Business School at Oxford University.

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Emily Lamb Changemaker Campus Network Manager, Ashoka U Exchange

Emily is Network  Manager of Changemaker Campus, a global collective of 45 institutions selected for their institutional commitment to changemaker education. Before serving as Network Manager, Emily worked on the Ashoka U Exchange team and oversaw Ashoka U’s largest annual convening of changemaker educators. In 2014, she got her start at Ashoka U as an intern and worked to support various leadership development initiatives within the Ashoka U network. Prior to joining Ashoka U, Emily supported the growth of The Future Project, an Ashoka Fellow organization aiming to reinvigorate high schools into learning labs for 21st century leaders. As an undergraduate student at the University of Kansas, she directed the campus volunteer and service center, the Center for Community Outreach. She graduated in 2012 with honors and a degree in American Studies.

Michelle King Associate Director, Exchange

Michelle is Associate Director of the Exchange, Ashoka U’s annual global convening of university faculty, staff, students, and social entrepreneurs. Prior to taking this role, Michelle was selected as an Education Pioneer Fellow and worked closely with Murmuration, a New York City based non-profit whose mission is focused on equity in education to close the achievement gap for students in grades K-12. During her earlier experiences, Michelle spent several years as a management consultant in the public sector, focusing on organizational strategy, change management, and communications and completed internships in several governmental organizations, including the U.S. Congress, the White House, and INTERPOL. While in undergrad, Michelle worked closely with the women’s center as a peer advocate to support survivors of abuse and assault, creating the campus’s first bystander awareness organization. Through her community engagement and professional experience, she brings a deep understanding of the education, public, and private sector. Michelle holds a BS in Political Science/International Relations from Old Dominion University.

Ali Fraenkel Commons Manager

As the Commons Manager Ali serves to plan, implement, integrate, and grow the Commons as Ashoka U’s newest program. She believes deeply in the creation of unique learning journeys, especially as they connect to the transformational role that institutions can play as leaders in the field of social innovation and in multi-level community building. Ali is thrilled to apply her experience in edtech, higher ed consulting, and strategic philanthropy to both Ashoka U and the Commons. Prior to joining Ashoka U, Ali was based in Boston working with the Learning by Giving Foundation to accelerate student grantmaking opportunities in higher ed institutions nationwide and to launch the first-ever MOOC for effective charitable giving. In her hometown of Rhinebeck, NY Ali co-founded the Ascienzo Family Foundation and remains very connected to the area in supporting the foundation’s operations, community partnerships, and annual grantmaking cycle. She is energized by social change in all forms and especially gravitates to education-based innovation, having also worked for social enterprises like DonorsChoose.org and Room to Read. Ali is a graduate of Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, Northeastern University, with a dual-degree in Human Services & International Affairs and concentrations in Social Entrepreneurship and Strategic Philanthropy. Living in service to others is Ali’s lifelong commitment — she currently serves on the advisory board of youth-powered Positive Tracks, is a founding Director of the Ascienzo Family Foundation, and is always eager to collaborate in ways that support the work and missions of fellow changemakers.

Araseli Lara Exchange Manager

Araseli joins as our new Exchange Manager. In this role, Araseli will lead the logistics, communications, and community building efforts needed to create a dynamic convening with the goal of providing a platform for innovative leaders to continue working towards the transformation of the higher education sector. Araseli first arrived to Ashoka U as an intern for the 2019 Exchange and supported various marketing and communications efforts.  As a recent graduate from American University, Araseli is excited start this new journey and to help strengthen the connection between Ashoka U and the voices and needs of students. With a degree in International Affairs and concentrations in Business Administration and International Development, Araseli is passionate about bridging social innovation, business, and changemaking to help build a more just world.

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Victoria Abboud Canada Director, Changemaker Education

Dr. Abboud has had the privilege of an 18-year career in post-secondary education as faculty and in administrator roles in the college and university systems in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. Through her work in humanistic and socially conscious education, she moved into the social innovation space at MaRS Discovery District (Toronto) as a program creator, manager, and lead facilitator focused on guiding senior-level leaders in education, government, and the private sector to navigate the future of work, learning, and innovation. Over the course of her career, Victoria has taught and encouraged nearly 2,000 learners, created over 30 courses, served over 150 faculty, and she has published guides on approaches to teaching and studies in cross-cultural identity and migration. She is a consultant on teaching and learning, a workshop facilitator for faculty and administrators, and a coach through her organization, The Spirited Academic. She continues to connect with students as an adjunct professor for the University of Guelph-Humber and Humber College. She earned Ph.D. and M.A. degrees through Wayne State University (Detroit) and Honors Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Windsor.

At Ashoka Canada, Victoria is the Director of Changemaker Education and she has the honor of engaging with the Changemaker Campuses and Schools across the country, as well as with her colleagues at Ashoka Canada, Ashoka U, and the larger Ashoka community globally.

 

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Luciana Goles Director of Youth, Ashoka Chile and Exchange Special Projects

Luciana joins the Ashoka U team as the Exchange Manager. In this capacity, she is responsible for driving forward a dynamic conference where participants can engage in transforming the higher education ecosystem into a catalyst for social innovation. Luciana started her Ashoka journey in the Chile office on 2014, focusing on connecting their higher education system with social innovators. Throughout her two years at Ashoka Chile she led the adaptation of the Ashoka U Commons program in Latin America, led the implementation of a regional Globalizer program, and contributed to the Youth Years experience in Chile. Before joining Ashoka, Luciana worked as the coordinator of entrepreneurship in the Economics Faculty of Universidad de Chile, working closely with students, staff members, and faculty on internal and external projects to support the entrepreneurs and innovators through the academic world. Her background is on business and economics, always pursuing the social stream of innovation.