After a global search, the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis has appointed Heather Cameron as the inaugural Michael B. Kaufman Professor of Practice in Social Entrepreneurship.
Cameron has served on the faculties of Free University of Berlin and the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. She is the founder of several prize-winning social enterprises in the fields of education and sports for community development.
In 2010 she was recognized for her work as a social innovator with an Ashoka Fellowship. She has also won the German Federal Chancellor’s Special Prize from Start Social, a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader Award. She was honored by the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers as Professor of the Year for her extraordinary teaching, engagement and innovation.
“I believe this will be a transformative appointment for the Brown School, the university and the region,” said Dean Edward F. Lawlor. “Heather has a strong interdisciplinary focus and experience creating social entrepreneurship programs. She has the ability to create connections locally, as well as with universities and organizations around the world. She has tremendous passion for guiding students who want to create social solutions through social enterprise.”
Cameron’s innovative Boxgirls organization was founded in 2005 in Berlin and is committed to creating strong girls and women, and creating positive social change in communities through sports. In a short time span, the organization has expanded to include Boxgirls Kenya and Boxgirls South Africa. Recently, her Berlin-based organization Camp Group was a winner of the Google Impact Challenge for its innovative educational tool for refugee children. Cameron continues to work all over the world as an advisor and evaluator of development and education projects, most recently for the Ministry of Education in Afghanistan.
As the Kaufman professor, Cameron will teach and lead curriculum, advise students at the master’s and doctoral levels, build career and enterprise pipelines, and leverage opportunities for national leadership in social entrepreneurship.
“Heather’s work is outstanding; it demonstrates the kind of cooperation and entrepreneurial drive necessary to achieve meaningful change,” said Michael Kaufman, managing partner of KBT Partners in Boston.
Kaufman is a member of the Brown School National Council, received his MSW with an emphasis in social policy and administration from the School, and now works with entrepreneurs to improve healthcare technology and delivery systems. He generously funded the endowed professorship that bears his name.
“The Kaufman chair provides an excellent staging point to explore the emerging field of social innovation and modern leadership of social change organizations,” Cameron said. “The combined skills, methods and cultures of social work and business are needed to create new leaders to take on our most persistent challenges, and many new ones to come. I look forward to working with all the members of the university to build a cross-campus initiative in social innovation and entrepreneurship. I am excited to get to know and work with the wider St. Louis innovation community as well.”
Cameron earned her MA and PhD in social and political thought at York University, Toronto. She completed her post-doctoral studies on technology and public space with a grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada at the Centre for Technology and Society, at the Technical University of Berlin. A formal installation ceremony for the Kaufman professorship will be held in fall 2016.