Heather MacCleoud, Chief Network Officer
Heather MacCleoud, PhD has been developing global partnerships to address global issues for 20 years. With a focus on higher education, she has created strategic opportunities for international engagement and collaboration in service of sustainable and inclusive development. Most recently, her focus has been on developing global communities of practice and research. Dr. MacCleoud works closely with individuals, organizations, associations, and government entities to leverage the higher education sector to create a world where Everyone is a Changemaker.
In addition to her work at Ashoka, she is chief executive officer for the Asherah Foundation, a nonprofit focused on supporting women around the world who need a second chance through higher education. She also sits on the Nonprofit Council to advise U-Pledge, a venture-backed FinTech platform which aims to revolutionize the way people donate to nonprofits, political campaigns, and crowdfunding platforms. MacCleoud received her PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri where she focused her research on connecting the individual lived experiences of underserved women seeking to access higher education around the world with global policies designed to support their access. She also has an entrepreneurial background, having founded a higher education consortium while working at the Department of Higher Education for Missouri.
Charmaine Lyn Director, Changemaker Education, Ashoka Canada
Charmaine works closely with Canada’s seven designated Changemaker campuses and their change leaders to deepen and accelerate field-level collaboration and transformation in Canadian post-secondary. In this role, Charmaine is leading Ashoka Canada’s targeted efforts to build upon growing momentum for social impact work in Canadian higher ed by identifying and accompanying prospective Canadian campuses through the designation process. Charmaine draws from over 15 years’ experience advancing equity, diversity, social accountability, and decolonization as drivers of post-secondary institutional change. Prior to joining Ashoka, Charmaine was Senior Director of the Office of Community Engagement at Concordia University in Montreal, where she also served as a Special Advisor to the Provost on Indigenous Directions, and stewarded the launch of the SHIFT Centre for Social Transformation. Charmaine also previously directed recruitment and admissions to McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Law. Born in Jamaica and raised in Tio’ tia:ke (Montreal), where she currently resides, Charmaine is a first-generation university attendee and lawyer by training. She holds a BA in English Literature and BCL (Civil Law) and LL.B. (common law) degrees from McGill University. She speaks English and French.
Diana Wells Ashoka President Emerita and Ashoka U Advisor
Dr. Diana Wells is President Emerita and member of Ashoka’s Global Leadership Team.
Diana first joined Ashoka after graduating from Brown University in 1988 when social entrepreneurship was still a new word. Diana took a leave from Ashoka to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology at New York University. Her ethnographic research focused on understanding how social change happens as a local articulation of a global social movement and resulted in her dissertation: Between the Difference: The Emergence of a Cross Ethnic Women’s Movement in Trinidad and Tobago. She returned to her work at Ashoka building tools to measure systems change social impact, directed Ashoka’s global selection of social entrepreneurs, and was named President of Ashoka in 2005.
Diana has been named both a Fulbright and a Woodrow Wilson Scholar, is a Trustee Emerita of Brown University, previously served on the Advisory Board for the Center of Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and GuideStar International’s Board. Diana taught anthropology at Georgetown University and has authored and edited numerous journal and book publications including two compilations on social movements in the United States.
Diana has received several awards for her work. In 2012, the Brown Alumni Association presented her with the William Rogers Award, its highest honor, George Mason University awarded her their inaugural Social Innovation Champion in 2011, and, in 2007, Diana was celebrated as one of the 10 winners of the first annual Women to Watch award by Running Start, a DC-based organization that empowers young women to be political leaders.
Marina Kim Special Advisor
Marina has stepped down from formal leadership of Ashoka U but remains involved as an advisor and advocate for the work.
Marina’s work in social entrepreneurship dates back 20 years. She co-founded 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 500 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.
Fei Ni, Intern
Fei Ni has a diverse background in social entrepreneurship and innovation. She received a master's degree in international finance from the University of Sussex and a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University with a focus on nonprofit management. She previously worked on impact evaluation for NGOs, social enterprises, and B-Corps in China and around the world. This involved conducting in-depth research with a focus on analyzing social policies and data to guide decision-making for 20 NGOs. This analysis included impact assessments and program implementation tracking through the application of change theories, SROI, Acumen, logic models, focus groups, and self-designed questionnaires.
Fei has traveled to more than 35 countries for volunteer work, policy research, and cultural experiences. Fei is a professional painter, and she is passionate about charitable volunteer work, especially in South East Asia, where she teaches kids painting and English.
Fei first joined Ashoka as an intern with the Ashoka US Partnership Team in 2021 where she provided data and analysis of potential funding sources in a variety of areas. She has been an integral part of the Ashoka U Team since Fall of 2021.