Shirley Sagawa is co-founder of the sagawa/jospin consulting firm, a fellow with the Center for American Progress, and author of The American Way to Change, (Jossey-Bass 2010), describing how service can be a breakthrough strategy for change. She is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.
Working closely with sagawa/jospin client New Profit, Sagawa helped to conceptualize America Forward, a coalition of leading social entrepreneurs concerned with advancing social innovation through public policy. In this role, she developed the legislation creating the Social Innovation Fund, signed into law by President Obama in 2009.
Shirley served as a presidential appointee in both the first Bush and Clinton Administrations. As Deputy Chief of Staff to First Lady Hillary Clinton, she advised the First Lady on domestic policy and led the planning for three White House conferences. Shirley was instrumental to the drafting and passage of legislation creating the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps. After Senate-confirmation as the Corporation’s first managing director, she led the development of new service programs for adults and students and directed strategic planning for this new government corporation.
She has also managed successful collaborations in the private sector, including the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of national education associations. With advanced degrees in law and public policy, she began her career as the Chief Counsel for Youth Policy for the Senate Labor Committee, specializing in education, children’s, and youth issues, and subsequently served as senior counsel to the National Women’s Law Center, and on many nonprofit boards.
Her book The Charismatic Organization, (with Deb Jospin, Jossey-Bass 2008) offers insights into building strong, effective, and well-resourced nonprofit organizations. Her previous book, Common Interest, Common Good: Creating Value through Business and Social Sector Partnerships (with Eli Segal, Harvard Business School Press) describes how business and social sector organizations can collaborate for mutual gain.
Shirley is a graduate of Smith College, the London School of Economics, and Harvard Law School, where she served on the Harvard Law Review.