Behind great causes are great people

Dennis Shaughnessy

Lead Faculty Dennis Shaughnessy

Founder & Executive Director

Dennis Shaughnessy founded the Social Enterprise Institute, an academic unit within the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, and is its first and only Executive Director.  Professor Shaughnessy provided the seed capital to start SEI in 2007, and remains its principal donor.  Professor Shaughnessy created the undergraduate curriculum for social enterprise studies at NU in 2008, which now lead to either a business major within the entrepreneurship concentration or an interdisciplinary minor.  He also introduced social enterprise to the MBA program at NU.   His courses range from an introduction to global social enterprise and economic development, to impact investing and microfinance, as well as field research programs in the Dominican Republic (Haiti), South Africa and Nicaragua.  These unique field programs and on campus courses and seminars have led to NU’s social enterprise program being one of the largest and most diverse among undergraduate institutions worldwide, with nearly 500 students from NU and partner institutions engaged in social enterprise research, learning and service each year.  He also created and teaches seminars in social enterprise in NU’s Honors Program, including impact investing programs in which students invest capital from outside donors in organizations providing enterprise solutions to global poverty.   Professor Shaughnessy is also the faculty advisor to the SEI Student Association, the SEI Newsletter and the SE Review, and has won numerous awards for his teaching.  In addition to his role as Executive Professor at NU, Professor Shaughnessy is also a Distinguished Visiting Professor at TSiBA of Cape Town, South Africa (a free university for disadvantaged students) and INTEC of Santo Domingo, DR, where he teaches courses in social enterprise.  Professor Shaughnessy is an investor and a philanthropist as well, supporting social enterprises that bring innovative and high impact solutions to global poverty. In addition to his work at NU and SEI, Professor Shaughnessy has more than 25 years of experience as a business executive, corporate director, lawyer and public servant. His advanced degrees include a doctorate in law (Univ. Maryland), and masters degrees in business (NU) and social policy (Univ. Michigan).


Sophie Bacq

Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Sophie Bacq, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the College of Business Administration. Professor Bacq received her PhD in Economic and Management Sciences from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. Her research interests include social entrepreneurship, governance and management issues in hybrid organizations, and international new ventures. She has published book chapters and articles in international peer-reviewed journals and is the author and editor of several forthcoming books. Professor Bacq’s teaching experience covers entrepreneurship, corporate strategy, social entrepreneurship, as well as field trip experience in India, among others.

Prior to joining Northeastern University, Professor Bacq was a Visiting Scholar at New York University Stern School of Business. She holds a Master’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Engineering from the Université Catholique de Louvain and studied a semester at the National University of Singapore in 2005. 

Sara Minard

Sara Minard

Executive Professor, Assistant Academic Specialist

Dr. C. Sara Minard is a socio-economist, lecturer, writer, development practitioner and policy analyst with 15 years of experience working in the areas of economic development policy, market-based approaches to development, design methods for development practice, social entrepreneurship, social finance, and program design, monitoring and evaluation. Before joining Northeastern, Dr. Minard taught for five years in the Economic and Political Development concentration at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) where she launched the school’s first courses in social entrepreneurship for development and social enterprise in India, and taught the core courses in methods for development practice.

Prior to Columbia, Dr. Minard’s economic policy research expertise includes five years at the OECD (Paris) leading research and policy dialogues on private sector development, informal economy and policy coherence for development in 18 countries in West Africa, and consultancies with the World Bank, IFC and UN agencies where she has designed strategies on socially responsible investing and banking, as well as policy strategies for creating enabling environments for social enterprise, including the tools for social impact assessment and reporting. She serves as the Chair of Columbia University’s Advisory Education Sub-Committee on Socially Responsible Investing and sits on several social enterprise boards.

Dr. Minard earned her PhD in Economics from Sciences Po in Paris (highest honors) and a dual-degree Masters in International and Public Affairs from Columbia/SIPA and Sciences Po. She is fluent in French, Spanish and Wolof, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal.

Ali Matalon

Ali Matalon

Co- Project Manager


Ali Matalon is an honors student at Northeastern University and has worked with SEI since her Freshman year. She is a Political Science and Business major with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and minors in Global Social Entrepreneurship and International Affairs. Ali has served with us as an honors scholar, teaching assistant and program coordinator for a trip to Jamaica this past year. Ali now serves as the SEI Project Manager alongside Samantha Odreman, planning and executing local events, international trips and acting as Teaching Assistants for Professor Shaughnessy’s ENTR2206 classes. In the past, Ali took part in the SEI field study to the Dominican Republic in 2013. As a Jamaican student, Ali is eager to see positive and lasting change not only in her country but around the world. Holding the Co– Project Manager position, she hopes to use this opportunity to develop relationships and explore possibilities with local and international advocates in the field of social development. 



Gail Batutis

SEI Global Fellow, India Program

Gail is a fourth-year Political Science and Business Administration dual major with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Gail also has a minor in International Affairs. She began her career at Northeastern with the freshman Honors seminar on social enterprise, then went on to be chosen as one of two Honors Program Scholars, and was a Teacher’s Assistant for the freshman class the following year. Gail attended the Dominican Republic and Cuba field study in 2012, has been a contributor and Senior Editor to the Social Enterprise Review, has served on the Executive Board of the SEI Student Association, and has tutored local eighth graders in the Citizens Schools Writing Scholars program. This past spring, she spent her second co-op in India as the inaugural SEI Global Fellow. She worked for Aakar Innovations, a start-up social enterprise creating micro-enterprises where women make sanitary pads for themselves and their surrounding communities, bringing education, livelihoods, and health solutions to the rural poor. She is currently working to develop their operations-based impact measurement tool. She has also studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Gail looks forward very much to the continuation of her work with social enterprise at SEI and in the world.

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Eesha Ramanujam

Honors Scholar

Eesha is a second-year Finance student with minors in Global Social Entrepreneurship and International Affairs. Eesha was intruded to the Social Enterprise Institute through Professor Shaughnessy’s Voices of Development seminar. She became further involved through the class’s Impact Investing Pitch project and the Dominican Republic Microfinance Field Study program. This past year, Eesha had the opportunity to help start Northeastern University’s chapter of Room to Read, a leading literacy and education organization. Apart from her involvement with SEI, Eesha has served as an SAT tutor and college counselor and volunteered with the service organization Circle K. She has also been involved with the Asian Student Union in addition to UTSAV, the South Asian cultural association. This year, Eesha is excited to work as a teaching assistant for the Voices of Development seminar, and to get more involved with SEI’s work in any way possible. Eesha is thankful to have been exposed to SEI and the concept of using business as a tool for poverty alleviation.