Jessamyn Shams-Lau

Jessamyn Shams-Lau

Philanthropy, creativity, and wellbeing

Jessamyn Shams-Lau is an advocate for redistribution of power in philanthropy, nonprofit workforce wellbeing, and feminine leadership.

After realizing she’s far from alone in her frustration with the status quo of power hoarding in philanthropy, Shams-Lau co-wrote and illustrated the book, Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits & Foundations Can Build EPIC Partnerships, with Jane Leu and Vu Le. During her decade-long tenure leading the Peery Foundation, Shams-Lau co-created and stewarded the Peery Foundation’s Grantee-Centric approach to philanthropy as executive director/co-CEO.

Shams-Lau has created a university curriculum on social innovation that is taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels. She has served as an advisor to Intrinsic Labs, Camelback Ventures, The Wellbeing Project, GrantAdvisor, and Ashoka U, as well as an Executive Committee member of Big Bang Philanthropy Group.

Shams-Lau is a high school dropout and community college graduate. She has a BA in Fine Arts and an MBA. She lives in Copenhagen, Denmark with her husband, baby daughter, and two headstrong house rabbits.

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