Dennis Shaughnessy

Founder, Social Enterprise Institute. Executive Professor, D’Amore McKim School of Business

Dennis leads the Social Entrepreneurship programs and activities within the Center.

Dennis is Executive Professor in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group in the D’Amore McKim Business School and the founder of NU’s Social Enterprise Institute. He is also a distinguished visiting professor at leading business schools in South Africa and the Dominican Republic, where he works in economic development, social enterprise and microfinance. Dennis also serves on the NU IDEA advisory board with special attention to gap funding for social impact ventures.

Prior to joining Northeastern, Professor Shaughnessy worked for 25 years in public service, corporate law, venture capital and global corporate growth and M&A. He was a vice president of a Fortune 500 company and later a senior executive Charles River Laboratories where he was corporate counsel and led the companies M&A activities. He served as a lead director of a publicly traded software company, Phase Forward, a life sciences software company. Dennis’ consulting activities include advising New England based start-ups and early stage companies as part of the Pierce Atwood Catalyst Program, which offers Legal Services and Business Expertise to entrepreneurs. In his University work, Dennis focused on micro-enterprise consulting, microfinance and impact investing, and economic development in developing countries. He takes large groups of students on field projects in places of need around the world.

Mr. Shaughnessy holds a B.A. from the Pennsylvania State University, a Masters from the University of Michigan, and a J.D. from the University of Maryland’s School of Law. He also holds an MBA from Northeastern’s High Technology MBA Program.

Research Areas

Micro-finance, Intellectual Property

Dennis leads the University’s social entrepreneurship activities, a co-founder of the Social Enterprise Institute, and a frequent traveler around the world with student teams to help the poor venture their out of poverty. Dennis is also our leading expert on the protection and management of intellectual property.

Recent Publications

  • Visit www.neu.edu/sei for access to Dennis’ various publications and case studies in the area of social entrepreneurship.

External Activities

Dennis was and remains heavily involved in industry, with a focus on the life sciences and software. Prior to joining Northeastern, he worked for 25 years in public service, corporate law, venture capital and global corporate growth and M&A. He was a vice president of a Fortune 500 company and later a senior executive Charles River Laboratories where he was corporate counsel and led the companies M&A activities. He served as a lead director of a publicly traded software company, Phase Forward, a life sciences software company. Dennis’ consulting activities include advising New England based start-ups and early stage companies as part of the Pierce Atwood Catalyst Program, which offers Legal Services and Business Expertise to entrepreneurs. Dennis is also an active angel investor and part of organizations such as the Hub Angels.