Sophia Shaw is cofounder and managing partner of 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 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, among the largest cultural institutions in the Midwest 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 (nearly $240 million) and operating budget results. The Garden also became recognized as a global model for environmental conservation, urban agriculture, and horticulture jobs training and education; in 2016, Sophia was awarded the Openlands Conservation Leadership Award. Prior to leading the Chicago Botanic Garden, Sophia served as vice president of exhibitions and education at The Field Museum.
Sophia currently serves on the board of directors of the Art Institute of Chicago and the advisory board of the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution), and is a past board president of the Arts Club of Chicago.
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).
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 (KPPI-453-5), during 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 17 months. "Advanced Board Governance" features guest speakers, a board-meeting simulation, and lectures/discussions that delve deeper into topics such as the fiduciary responsibilities of nonprofit boards, board member responsibilities, board member expectations, parliamentary procedure, funding sources, differences between nonprofit and commercial board service, and what to consider before joining a nonprofit board. Course occurs monthly throughout the academic year; students also must attend the board meetings of their nonprofit. A final paper, a consulting project for the student's nonprofit, and an evaluation by the nonprofit partner are required. This course is worth a full credit (1.0 credit)