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MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship

Meet the Team

Dame Fiona E. MurrayFaculty Director, Legatum Center

Fiona Murray is the Associate Dean of Innovation and Inclusion at the MIT School of Management and the William Porter (1967) Professor of Entrepreneurship. She is the codirector of MIT’s Innovation Initiative and Faculty Director of the MIT Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship and Development. Fiona is an associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. She received her BA ’89 and MA ‘90 from the University of Oxford in chemistry. She subsequently moved to the United States and earned an AM ’92 and PhD ’96 from Harvard University in applied sciences.

Fiona serves on the British Prime Minister’s Council on Science and Technology and was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for her services to innovation and entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom. She is also a member of the Ministry of Defence Innovation Advisory Panel and the European Innovation Council Joint Expert Group. She also sits on a number of Boards including Prime Coalition (a not-for-profit creating new venture fund with catalytic capital to support start-ups focused on climate impact) and MassChallenge (one of the first large-scale accelerators in New England supporting entrepreneurs solving significant global issues).

Murray is an international policy expert on the transformation of investments in science and technology into deep-tech start-up ventures that solve significant global challenges and create national advantage – from defence and security to health, food and water security. Her work includes understanding new funding approaches for innovations that arise from scientific research, and educating the next generation of technical leaders to build effective ventures. She has focused on the particular issues faced by ventures who have dual-use (commercial and government) solutions and work in contexts characterized by complex global power competition. She also works with large public and private sector organizations to effectively drive their strategic goals by linking to external innovation ecosystems especially universities, start-ups, and risk capital.

Through her leadership role in the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program, Murray has engaged across many global regions in designing and evaluating the policies and programs that shape vibrant innovation ecosystems: including across the UK, Europe, and the Middle East. She is particularly focused on how regions can build more inclusive innovation ecosystems that allow for diverse innovators to focus on their most significant challenges and to build on their most substantial advantages.  Her work on leading innovation from the perspective of public and private sector leaders is published in the Sloan Management Review and Harvard Business Review as well as in a series of case studies.

In her recent scholarship, Murray has emphasized the ways in which women and under-represented minorities are engaged in or excluded from innovation using large-scale data analysis, building metrics and indices of inclusion and using experimental approach.  Her research has explored the ways in which different approaches to evaluating early-stage ideas can overcome the unconscious bias that she has documented in entrepreneurial funding. She has also done extensive economic evaluation of the impact of different policies (national and organizational) on scientific competitiveness and scientific communities.  Her work is widely published in Science, Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, American Journal of Sociology, Research Policy, Organization Science, and the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Fiona brings her deep appreciation of science and technology to an understanding of global innovation economy and to the ways in which the next generation of global innovators and the policymakers who support them can be effectively educated. She teaches IDEA Week (Innovation-driven Entrepreneurial Advantage) to the MIT Executive MBAs, a series of Executive Education programs in corporate innovation, and has taught public sector executives (especially those in frontline settings such as security, defence and health) to effectively lead innovation in their organizations. Most recently, Fiona developed a new course joint with the MIT School of Engineering to educate the next generation of scientists and engineer to become chief technology officers taking ideas from inception to impact.

Dina H. SherifExecutive Director, Legatum Center

Dina Sherif is a renowned expert in the fields of economic development, risk capital (from philanthropy to venture capital) in addition to entrepreneurship and innovation. With over twenty years of experience, Dina has made significant contributions to shaping and advancing these sectors in various regions around the world. She is known for her 1) ability to build mission driven organizations and teams from the ground up, 2) ability to inspire through public speaking and storytelling, 4) her ability to advise government on policies required to create robust and sustainable private sectors, in addition to 4) her ability to build community and global networks that act as agents for change.

Dina Sherif is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management where she also acts as Executive Director of the MIT Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship. She is also a Founding Partner of Cairo based Ahead of the Curve, which is the Arab region’s leading firm on issues related to sustainable business growth and impact driven entrepreneurship. Dina is also a Partner in Disruptech, Egypt’s first Fintech focused venture capital fund as a Partner, pursuing her passion in building a fund that will support technology being used as a critical tool in creating financial inclusion for a largely unbanked population, most specifically women.

Dina previously held the endowed Willard Brown Chair for International Business at the American University in Cairo (AUC), where she was also the Founding Director of their Center for Entrepreneurship.  Prior to the above, Dina helped establish the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at AUC.

Dina has been lead author of several publications including the book From Charity to Social Change: Trends in Arab Philanthropy and key reports such as the 2015 UNDP Business Solutions Report and the first of its kind 7 country study on trends in responsible business practice in the Arab region, in addition to other key policy pieces and blogs on the importance of entrepreneurship and impact investing to building more sustainable and inclusive societies.

In acknowledgement of her dedication to creating a new way of doing business, Dina was given the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Egypt by the American Chamber of Commerce in 2016; was recognized by the Embassy of India as a “Woman of Substance” in 2016; was chosen as one of 10 United Nations Global Compact Sustainable Development Goal Pioneers in 2016; and was named as one of the top 50 most influential women by the Amwal Al Ghad Magazine. During her time at the Harvard Kennedy School, Dina was also a recipient of the prestigious Lucius Littauer Fellows Award in recognition of academic excellence and service. Dina is also an Eisenhower Fellow and was also a fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School as well as a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.

Dina is currently a member of the Special Presidential Advisory Council for Economic Development reporting to the President of Egypt; a Global Advisory Board Member in the Eisenhower Fellowships; a member of the Board of Qalaa Holding, a member of the Board of Smart Medical Services, and a member of the Board of EducateMe.

Dina holds a Master of Public Administration and Management from the Harvard Kennedy School, an MA in Economic Development Studies from the American University in Cairo, and a BA in Political Science and International Relations from the American University in Cairo. She is also a graduate of the non-credit leadership program delivered by THNK School for Creative Leadership in Amsterdam.

Areas of Expertise: Entrepreneurship and Innovation | Development of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems | Sustainable Economic Development | Impact Investing | Strategic Philanthropy | Responsible Business Practices | Gender Equality and Economic Inclusion of Women | Qualitative Research

 

Rania HelmySenior Advisor, Strategy & Partnerships

Rania Helmy is a seasoned communications consultant with over two decades of expertise in advising and collaborating with leaders and executives to enhance their connections with audiences and achieve organizational objectives. With a strong track record in leading integrated communications campaigns, managing strategic partnerships, and overseeing large-scale projects on a global scale, particularly within the MENA region, Rania’s experience is both diverse and impactful.

Presently serving as the Senior Advisor for the Executive Director of the Legatum Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, Rania brings her wealth of insights to counsel the team on critical aspects such as communications and brand awareness, strategic partnerships, donor relations, and stakeholder engagement.

Rania commenced her professional journey in communications agencies in Dubai and the Gulf, later venturing to Egypt to co-found Publicist inc, a public relations consultancy. Through Publicist inc, Rania offered comprehensive corporate communications, media relations, and crisis management services, catering to startups, UN agencies, non-profit organizations, as well as entities in the tech, real estate, and healthcare sectors.

In 2017, Rania’s career path led her to Silicon Valley, where she solidified connections within the entrepreneurship realm and provided advisory services to several startups on matters related to messaging, communications strategies, executive profiling, and media relations.

Rania’s adaptability, results-driven approach, and diplomatic finesse enable her to navigate complex environments adeptly, fostering strong relationships with stakeholders across various levels. A graduate of the American University in Cairo, Egypt with a degree in Political Science, Rania further expanded her academic foundation by obtaining an MA degree in International Affairs from King’s College, London in 2003. She currently divides her time between San Francisco, Egypt, and Dubai, leveraging her extensive global network to provide consultancy services and orchestrate high-profile events.

Jennifer BradySenior advisor, Foundry Fellowships

Jennifer’s work focuses on creating the spaces and experiences that enable global talent to make their contributions toward a better world. A builder at heart, Jennifer loves applying her creative perspective to support collaborative learning and engagement that unlocks opportunity in growth markets.

At the Legatum Center at MIT, Jennifer leads the Foundry Fellowship, a six-month transformative experience for African entrepreneurs and innovation-ecosystem builders. She is inspired every day by the incredible talent, ambition, and energy of the fellows, and in her role strives to offer them a community where they can collectively shape the ecosystems of the future.

As a skilled facilitator, strategist, and learning experience designer, Jennifer also helps guide impact-driven organizations as they navigate complex initiatives, build partner capacities, and mobilize new resources.

Jennifer is the a co-founder of That Spark, a tech-enabled, professional development platform that delivers cohort-based courses and learning experiences to a community of over 8,000 changemakers across China.

Previously, as a Program Director with Geneva Global, Jennifer led philanthropic initiatives that bridged strategic funding with community-based organizations across Asia and Africa; she also helped to build partnerships among donors from established and emerging markets, unlocking significant funding for a wide range of global health and development issues.

Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in art history and an MBA.

Marc Alain BoucicaultDirector, Marketing and Stakeholder Engagement

Marc Alain Boucicault is a social entrepreneur and tech ecosystem builder. He has over 15 years of experience working in international development with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank and with global grassroots organizations focused on youth empowerment and entrepreneurship. He is passionate about leveraging the power of entrepreneurship, technology and communication to reshape socioeconomic dynamics.

He is the founder of Banj, Haiti’s largest coworking space and startup hub connecting various communities to promote innovation in Haiti and the Caribbean and supporting change-makers globally.

He is currently the Director of Marketing and Stakeholder Engagement at The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship, part of the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he focuses on building strong stakeholder communities and amplifying the voice of global growth market entrepreneurs as a mean to prosperity.

Marc Alain holds a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, a Masters in Financial Economic Policy from American University and a Bachelors in Applied Quantitative Economics from CTPEA in Haiti.

Marc Alain serves on the board of the Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP) supporting access to higher education in Haiti.

He is a One Young World ambassador, a Fulbright scholar, a social media influencer and a podcast host.

Philip RigueurEntrepreneur in Residence

Philip Rigueur is the former VP of Enterprise Transformation for Hartford HealthCare (HHC), Connecticut’s only integrated healthcare system with a total operating revenue of $4.3 billion, serving 185 towns/cities.

Throughout his career, Phil has demonstrated a deep passion for the community and giving back. He is a former National Board Member for Planned Parenthood Federation of America and holds a mayoral appointment to Hartford’s Redevelopment Agency. He is the Chairman of the Board for Hartford Public Schools. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of Saint Joseph (CT).

Several organizations have recognized Rigueur for his business acumen and accomplishments, including The Network Journal’s 40 Under Forty; Savoy Magazine: Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America; and Hartford Business Journal’s 40 under Forty Award. Phil has also been honored and featured by Poets & Quants for Executives ‘Best & Brightest’ during his time at MIT Sloan.

Rigueur holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations and a Master of Public Administration from Cornell University. And, has received a Master of Business Administration from MIT Sloan School of Management with a concentration in entrepreneurship & innovation.

Shamil IbragimovScholar in Residence
Shamil Ibragimov is a highly experienced professional with over 20 years of expertise in the fields of international development, social innovation, education, and media development. He previously served as the Executive Director of Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan, an affiliate of the Open Society Foundations, where he became a prominent figure in civil society development, systemic change, community mobilization, and social justice. He is a co-founder of the Ilim Educational Complex, the oldest private school in Kyrgyzstan, and holds the position of Director for International Programs and Development. Shamil also founded Ilim GameDev College, an innovative professional education institution preparing students for the modern job market. As the author and initiator of UrbanEyes, a virtual platform visualizing urban data to promote data-driven civic engagement and municipal accountability, he contributes significantly to urban development. Shamil also initiated and leads SILK, the Social Innovation Lab at the American University of Central Asia.
A thought leader in governance and civic engagement, Shamil regularly contributes to Project Syndicate and Medium, discussing topics like political history, innovation, data-driven governance, urban innovation, and civic engagement. He co-authored the “Income Generation Handbook,” published in 2010. Before joining the Open Society Foundation, he was the Executive Director of the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia, a leading project management organization in the region.
Shamil holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, specializing in urban innovation, adaptive leadership, and problem-driven iterative adaptation in development. He is an Edward S. Mason Fellow, recipient of the Mary and David Boies scholarship, and a Fulbright Scholar. Additionally, Shamil has served as an Advisor to the Minister of Education of the Kyrgyz Republic and sits on the board of various organizations, including the Kyrgyz E-commerce Association, the Creative Industry Park, and the Teach for Kyrgyzstan Foundation. Recently, he was appointed as the High Technology Park Kyrgyzstan Ambassador for Academic Affairs. His research focuses on analyzing the ecosystem for innovative entrepreneurship in Central Asia, with a mission to build bridges between MIT and Central Asian entrepreneurial and academic communities.
Haitham KhouryScholar in Residence

Haitham is an organizational psychologist, Fulbright scholar, and consultant deeply committed to fostering personal and professional growth. Holding a PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology, Haitham brings with him over 17 years of impactful experience as both an assistant professor and consultant.

Kicking off his career as a consultant specializing in talent management and organizational effectiveness, Haitham quickly discovered his passion for transformative leadership and growth. His early experiences in executive succession planning highlighted the importance of a learning and growth-oriented approach, igniting his commitment to fostering cultures of collaboration and positive change.

Haitham’s academic exploration of corporate culture, trust, and leadership seamlessly transitioned into a holistic approach to individual and team development. His role as director of the executive leadership initiative in the globally ranked Executive MBA program at the American University of Beirut enabled him to closely collaborate with over 120 leaders from diverse sectors, facilitating their growth and success.

A driver of engagement, growth, and development, Haitham is recognized for his ability to analyze and embrace the unique qualities of teams and leaders. His emphasis on self-discovery as the bedrock for growth, Haitham collaborates closely with entrepreneurial teams and leaders to prioritize collaboration, growth, and meaningful performance in order to cultivate cultures embracing change and innovation. Committed to fostering transformation, he approaches each endeavor with dedication and an empathetic spirit.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Haitham is a skilled baker, avid traveler, and lover of sci-fi fantasy books and 80s/90s playlists.

 

 

Valeria BudinichScholar in Residence

Valeria is a leading social entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience enabling high-impact alliances for transforming markets to create value across economic and social systems.  Her passion is generating the power of collaborative entrepreneurship to transform the world into more peaceful, equitable, and sustainable societies.   As a Scholar-in Residence at the Legatum Center, she is focused on developing new approaches to build the capacity of system changing entrepreneurs to solve complex social issues and conducting research on innovation ecosystems to support them.

Before joining the Legatum Center, Valeria served for 17 years as a Leadership Group Member of Ashoka, the largest global community of system change entrepreneurs.  At Ashoka, Valeria founded “Full Economic Citizenship”, a global initiative that initiated over 50 hybrid business models in housing, small farmer agriculture, nutrition for all, and recycling. These partnerships, combined with successive generations of new programs that have been inspired by this work, are transforming formal and informal economies by improving the lives of millions of families.  In 2012, Valeria was recognized for her work on articulating a new vision of capitalism when she received the Harvard/McKinsey M-Prize for management innovation for her pioneering work enabling Hybrid Value Chains and Systems.   This work was featured in a “A New Alliance for Global Change” (Sept 2010), a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article co-authored by Valeria and Bill Drayton.

As a practitioner and a researcher, Valeria co-led a three-year collaborative research project analyzing over 1,000+ innovations and reflecting on the learnings of hundreds of system changers shaping and leveraging markets for good in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  The result was a book, co-authored with Olivier Kayser, “Scaling Business Solutions to Social Problems: A Practical Guidebook for Social and Business Entrepreneurs” (Palgrave, 2015).   More recently, she was involved in multi-year McKinsey-Ashoka research exploring the worldview and leadership skills of leading social entrepreneurs tackling complex issues and triggering massive impact. This work is synthesized in “Answering society’s call: A new leadership imperative,” an article published by McKinsey Quarterly (November, 2019).

Prior to Ashoka, Valeria focused on stimulating the creation of new businesses globally, first at Appropriate Technology International (ATI), a global non-profit transforming small producer economies and impacting the lives of half a million people annually, where she served as its Chief Operating Officer for five years. She then played a leading role in launching the first international operation of Endeavor – a global organization enabling the growth of high-impact entrepreneurship and venture capital around the world. Endeavor’s original design for selecting entrepreneurs was developed in Chile and Argentina and has since spread to 30 countries.

Valeria serves on the Advisory Boards of Danone’s Ecosystem Fund (a $120 million investment transforming Danone’s value chains for social impact and sustainability), Leapfrog Investments ($1 billion impact investment fund), and the Sustainable MBA at the University of Vermont. She is a regular guest lecturer and speaker at leading business schools, global conferences, and forums.

Born in Chile, Valeria grew up in Central America and has lived in six countries. She studied Industrial Engineering at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Nicaragua and has an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso (but she is an anthropologist at heart). Valeria has traveled extensively for work and pleasure visiting 57 countries across all continents.  She is a yoga practitioner and an avid listener of jazz and world music.

Donovan BeckCommunications & Storytelling Specialist

Donovan Beck is a multifaceted storyteller – an author, filmmaker, and advocate committed to reshaping dialogues around mental health and creativity, particularly on digital platforms. Through poignant poetry and evocative films, he crafts a sanctuary on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, promoting authenticity and purpose-driven content.

Donovan Beck’s background originates in the film industry as a documentarian and commercial filmmaker. He transitioned to the digital creation realm in 2020, leveraging his skills as a communications researcher at the California State University Northridge and as an advocate to craft compelling stories.

Boasting a community of half a million followers spanning TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, Donovan has transformed the perception of poetry online. His content, fusing his filmmaking roots with his passion for narrative and verse, is akin to deep, late-night conversations about life’s essence. A significant turning point came in 2021 when his poem, “A Friendly Reminder,” garnered over sixteen million views on TikTok and propagated across various media. This acclaim paved the way for the self-publication of his inaugural poetry compilation, “A Fool’s Guide to the Universe,” selling over 10,000 copies globally.

Beyond personal achievements, Donovan champions other creators, focusing on amplifying voices and broadening resources for mental health discussions. He’s collaborated with prominent organizations like The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, The JED Foundation, and Meta, breaking ground for diverse and underrepresented creators. Recognized by Meta’s WeTheCulture Class of 2022, Donovan is pioneering a shift in how communities of color and youth perceive poetic narratives and mental health awareness. He’s also been instrumental in national campaigns like Seize the Awkward and the 988 Launch, directing youth toward vital mental health resources.

Building on his robust background in storytelling and digital creation, Donovan has now expanded his horizons as the Communications Coordinator at the Legatum Center at MIT. Unwavering in his dedication to democratize the realms of art, storytelling, and creation, Donovan eagerly collaborates with the Legatum Center, championing growth markets and nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit globally.

Jacquelyn GasparekGlobal Initiatives and Fellowships Coordinator

Jacque has been with the Legatum Center since April 2023 after her AmeriCorps service as a College Coach with College Possible and a VISTA with UMass Lowell supporting first-generation students like herself at both public and private universities. This focus in work that specifically benefits first-generation, Pell-eligible students stems from a lack of support and resources available to her during her time in college, and a keen interest in seeing an equitable higher education culture for the next generation. Jacque is excited to take the skills acquired in these positions to benefit the Legatum Center’s mission of empowering the growth of emerging markets.
Prior to landing at MIT, Jacque received a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Law Political Science from the University of Wisconsin in 2022. Shortly after graduation, Jacque relocated to Boston to pursue work in higher education. Outside the office she spends her time reading, writing, hiking, and camping.

Eileen CarneySenior Administrative Assistant

Eileen has been a member of the Legatum Center team since October 2018. She manages our office space, tackles purchasing and accounting tasks, and provides logistical support for multiple projects, meetings, workshops and conferences.

A native Bostonian, Eileen has a B.A. in Romance Languages from Boston College, and an M.A. in Education from UMass Boston. She dabbles in language learning as a hobby, her latest interest being in Mandarin Chinese. With broad administrative experience in International Business and Higher Education—balanced by a multiyear stint in foreign language subtitling—Eileen is committed to supporting our mission and that of the larger MIT Sloan community. Staying near our campus shores, she sometimes sails the river Charles, musing upon science, art and song. Eileen is elated to be one of our crew.

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