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Work experience

Mar 2007Present

Head of Global Development Initiatives

Lead two of five Initiatives for the Global Development Team:  Inform and Empower (IE) and Fuel the Growth of SMEs (SMEs).  Led rapid, comprehensive landscaping of economic development space, then conceptualization, development and implementation of both Global Development Initiatives.  Leveraged networks in E. Africa and India to identify gaps, needs, and challenges both in rural and urban settings.  Consulted over 70 non-profits, companies, entrepreneurs as well as local Google offices in designing initiatives.  In fall 2007, developed and managed ten week Global Development Course curriculum and speaker series from Sept-Nov 2007.  Core member of Dotorg management team helping to create grant and investment approval process, hiring process, and focus on initiatives.  Prior to Google, helped start several organizations, including a new division within Goldman Sachs (reporting to the Chairman), and a new think tank (Center for Global Development).  Founded non-profit, IndiCorps, a ‘peace corps’ for Indians from around the world.  Over 200 fellowships awarded.


Co-founder and Director


Co-founded non-profit organization providing fellowship opportunities for Indian diaspora to work on development projects in India.  Projects include:  education, health care, microfinance, post-tsunami crisis work, rural business process outsourcing, technology education programs, and water and sanitation in rural/semi-urban India.


Vice President

Goldman Sachs

Developed and guided Goldman Sachs’ environmental strategy and implementation.  Key responsibilities included:  segmenting and changing Goldman Sachs operations, writing company carbon emission report, developing world-wide implementation plans, determining potential green business opportunities (e.g. alternative energy investments), working with clients on incorporating environmental, social, governance criteria in company reviews, and training bankers on assessing environmental, social, and governance criteria for all investments.  Worked on $45B sale of TXU to KKR and Texas Pacific Group.  Worked on managing environmental strategy for KKR, including negotiations with Environmental Defense and NRDC to scale back number of coal-fired plants and meet more stringent environmental standards.


Associate Director

Wrote policy papers, articles and advised current and former Congressional and Government Executives on trade, outsourcing, post conflict reconstruction and international development. 


Director of Operations and Programs

Center for Global Development (CGD)

Set up the strategy and operations of CGD, including hiring and communications, policy programs, dissemination strategy, legal framework, and metrics for program measurement.


Director/Senior Adviser

Department of Treasury

Director.  Managed and directed office overseeing strategy and programs for sub-Saharan Africa, including debt relief and development programs and World Bank/IMF strategies.  Helped negotiate $40B debt cancellation for African countries (bilateral and multilateral).  Oversaw over $1B worth of aid programs to sub-Saharan Africa.Senior Adviser.  Worked with Secretary and Under Secretaries of Treasury on US response to Asian financial crisis.  Worked on bilateral economic package for Korea.  On core team that developed recommendations to address Indonesian inflation and debt crisis.Attaché Bosnia and Kosovo.  Developed payment systems (procedures and system to settle financial transactions) for Bosnia and Kosovo post-conflict.  Core team that created Central Bank of Bosnia Herzegovina, established first new currency (Convertible Mark), and worked with Ministry of Finance to design banking system.  Designed strategy and implementation plans for WB and USAID programs to rebuild local infrastructure and public services.Director, National Security Council.  Created post Asian financial crisis follow-up programs with Indonesia, Korea and Malaysia with EXIM, OPIC, State and USAID.


Andersen Consulting

Developed (coding) revenue accounting systems for the oil gas industry.


Aug 1992May 1994


Duke University

Tennis, running, hiking

Sep 1986Jun 1990


University of Chicago

South Asian Society, Varsity Tennis Team

Sep 1988Jun 1989

General Course

London School of Economics


Professional Organizations

Aspen Institute, Planned Parenthood, Next Generation Fellow, US UNDP, Synapse, Liberia, Brookings Blum Roundtable


South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT), Center for American Progress, Center for Global Development, Breakthrough, Indicorps, Global Fund for Children, Catalytic Communities, APIA Vote, Planned Parenthood of America (c4), UN UNDP, Manav Sadhna, American Red Cross, Global Giving, KIVA


Over the course of her career, Sonal Shah has consistently shown an aptitude and enthusiasm for humanitarian and philanthropic causes that have distinguished her among her peers. As the Head of Global Development Initiatives for, Google’s philanthropic arm, Sonal Shah utilizes her considerable skills in a variety of ways to help ease the lives of those around the world living in underdeveloped and poverty-stricken countries. Specifically, Sonal Shah has successfully spearheaded the creation of two important initiatives: “Growing Small and Medium Sized Enterprises” and “Inform and Empower”; developed positive relationships with a variety of foundations, non-profit organizations, and other developmentally focused institutions; and delivered numerous lectures on developmental issues to colleges, non-profits, and think tanks. Prior to accepting her position with, Sonal Shah was a Vice President at the globally renowned investment bank Goldman Sachs. Specifically, Sonal Shah worked directly with Goldman Sachs’ leadership team, including John Rogers and Henry Paulson, in the creation of the firm’s environmental policy. In addition, Sonal Shah co-founded Indicorps, a U.S.-based nonprofit that provides Indian-Americans with fellowships to work in India on development initiatives. Additional positions Sonal Shah has held over her extensive career include various roles with the Center for American Progress, the Center for Global Development, and the United States Department of Treasury. Recently, Sonal Shah earned a position as Co-Chair to the new presidential administration’s Technology, Innovation & Government Reform panel. Sonal Shah received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Chicago. Shah also earned a Master’s degree in the field from Duke University. As an undergraduate, Shah was very active on campus as a member of the varsity tennis team and a member of the South Asian Society. Sonal Shah’s first position out of college was with the Dallas-based consulting firm Andersen Consulting.