Shaw Sophia
Sophia Shaw

PUBLIC-PRIVATE INTERFACE
Adjunct Professor of Social Impact

Print Overview

Sophia Shaw is a managing partner at Acorn Advisors LLC and Adjunct Professor of Social Impact at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. At Kellogg, Sophia teaches board governance and directs Kellogg Board Fellows, a rigorous 20-month program that connects top Kellogg MBA students to Chicago-area nonprofits for a distinct opportunity in board service.

From 2007–2016, Sophia served as president and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden, one of the largest cultural institutions in Illinois and one of the preeminent botanic gardens of the world. Under Sophia's guidance, the 385-acre campus experienced a 52 percent increase in attendance as well as record-breaking fundraising ($39 million in 2014) and operating budget results. The Garden also became recognized as a global model for environmental conservation, urban agriculture, and horticulture jobs training and education, emphasizing programs for diverse and underserved communities in partnership with a wide variety of corporations, schools, healthcare centers, organizations, and government agencies. Prior to leading the Chicago Botanic Garden, Sophia served as vice president of exhibitions and education at The Field Museum and worked in curatorial roles at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Throughout her career, Sophia has made board service a priority. She has brought her skills in governance, strategy, enterprise risk management, master site planning, construction, and nonprofit finance to her role as board president of the Arts Club of Chicago, as well as her service as a board or committee member of the Art Institute of Chicago, the advisory board of the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution), the executive committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Chicago Network, and the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), where she led the membership committee.

In October 2016, Sophia was awarded the Openlands Conservation Leadership Award.

Sophia holds both a B.A. (Wellesley College) and an M.A. (University of Chicago) in art history, and an M.B.A. in finance (Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University).


 



Print Vita
Education
Bachelor of Arts, 1991, Art History, Wellesley College
Master of Arts, 1994, Art History, University of Chicago
Master of Management, 1999, Finance, Northwestern University

Academic Positions
Adjunct Professor and Director, Kellogg Board Fellows, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2016-present

Other Professional Experience
Director, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, 1991-1993
Exhibition Coordinator, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1993-1995
Curatorial Assistant, Museum of Contemporary Art, 1995-1997
Special Projects Manager, The Field Museum, 1997-1998
Manager, The Field Museum, 1998-1998
Director, The Field Museum, 1998-2002
Director, The Field Museum, 2002-2003
Vice President, The Field Museum, 2004-2006
Vice President, Chicago Botanic Garden, 2006-2007
President and CEO, Chicago Botanic Gardern, 2007-2016
Managing Partner, Acorn Advisors LLC, 2016-present

Honors and Awards
Pure Exhibitionsim, Chicago Reader
Field Will Dip Science in Chocolate, Chicago Sun-Times
Frontlines, Chicago
40 under 40, Crain's Chicago Business
Museum's Goal: Saving the World's Wild Places, The New York Times
Field of Opportunity: Sophia Siskel '99 Leads Chicago's Field Museum Into 21st Century, Kellogg World Magazine, Summer
Great Chicago Families, Chicago Magazine
What Will an MBA Get You?, Chicago Tribune
Sophia Siskel '99 Provides a 100-year Plan for Enduring Civic Value, Kellogg World Magazine, Winter
In Winter Gardens, A Marriage of Botany & Stark Beauty, The New York Times
Botanic Garden Plans $250 Million of New Growth, Crain's Chicago Business
Growth Futures, Northwestern Magazine, Spring
History Abounds in Arts Club Naming Sophia Siskel to Board Chair, Crain's Chicago Business
100 Women to Watch 2012, Today's Chicago Women
Mad Love for Green Women, Wren
One CEO's Garden Ethic, WBEZ 91.5 Chicago
Executive Profile: A Bold Plan for Growth, Chicago Tribune
Women in CSR: Sophia Shaw Siskel, Chicago Botanic Garden
Chicago Botanic Garden CEO Moving on After Almost 10 Years, Chicago Tribune
Sophia Shaw Leaving Botanic Garden, Crain's Chicago Business
65 Years, 65 Faces of IES Abroad, IES Abroad online
2016 Conservation Leadership Award, Openlands

Print Research

 
Print Teaching
Full-Time / Evening & Weekend MBA
Board Governance of Non-Profit Organizations (Board Fellows) (KPPI-453-5)
This course was formerly known as KPPI 453-B
This course imparts an understanding of how nonprofit organizations are governed. It is designed for students who will serve as board members, volunteers or staff of nonprofit organizations. The intent is to help students appreciate the nature of nonprofit organizations; the roles and responsibilities of boards, the staff and volunteers; how the boards of nonprofit organizations function; and what makes boards and individual board members effective and ineffective. The course is developed through readings, lectures, discussions, and individual and group projects. Guest speakers bring additional perspectives to the class.

Advanced Board Governance (KPPI-471-0)

Students will earn one credit and receive a grade at the end of Spring Quarter.

This practicum in board governance is an extension of Board Governance of Nonprofit Organizations, in which students selected as board fellows are matched with a Chicago-area nonprofit to gain experience working with a board of directors and its leaders for an entire year. Course instruction, readings and discussions occur monthly during the academic year. A final paper is required. This course is worth a full credit (1.0 credit)