Shah Joins Buttigieg Campaign
Sonal Shah

Sonal Shah will take a leave of absence from the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University, to become national policy director for Pete Buttigieg presidential campaign. She is the founding executive director of the 5-year-old institution.

“We hope in Sonal’s new role she can infuse some of the Beeck Center’s leading-edge ideas around finance and leveraging data and government digital services into future policy,” Georgetown University Provost Robert Groves said in a message announcing the move yesterday. Nate Wong, the current managing director of the Beeck Center, will assume the role of interim executive director. “Nate is already leading implementation of the Beeck Center’s strategy focused on ‘impact at scale’ as well as creating structures and processes to help scale the work at the Center,” Groves continued.

Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., is among almost two dozen candidates seeking the Democratic Party nomination for president in 2020. Earlier this month, he announced his national service plan, “A New Call To Service.” The proposal suggests funding the Serve America Act to “increase paid service opportunities from 75,000 to 250,000 in existing federal and AmeriCorps grantee organizations and through new Services Year Fellowships.” The plan also has a goal of quadrupling service opportunities to 1 million high school graduates by 2026.

Shah, 51, co-chaired the Obama-Biden transition team technology group in 2008. She was the first director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, which she helped conceptualize during her work on the transition team. The office helps “carry out the national service agenda and to identify and fund successful social innovation programs” throughout the country.

A native of India who grew up in Houston, Texas, Shah worked in the Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton and also launched Indicorps, a nonprofit to benefit the Indian diaspora. She served as a vice president for global development at Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, and previously was vice president at Goldman Sachs, focused on environmental strategy and implementation.