Leading for Impact by Skoll Centre

The Insights for Action seminar series explores how researchers and practitioners within and beyond Oxford are using research insights for action.

In this seminar we will discuss the individual and organisational practice of leading for impact: the importance of trust, rest, and perspective – and how to do this for the long-term. We will draw on lessons from Réjane Woodroffe’s work at the Bulungula Incubator, Esther Benjamin’s work at World Education Services, and Dr Susanna Kislenko’s research on founder leadership.


Réjane Woodroffe is the Director and a founding member of the Bulungula Incubator, a not-for-profit organisation engaged in an integrated rural development programme in a remote part of the former Transkei of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Established in 2007, the Bulungula’s projects span the individual needs of community members from cradle to career in the Mbhashe municipality, the poorest municipality in the country. In 2014, Réjane was awarded the John P. McNulty prize for her work at the Bulungula Incubator. Réjane has previously held the positions of Chief Economist and Head of International Portfolio Investments for Metropolitan Asset Managers and Research Analyst for US investment bank, Merrill Lynch.

Esther Benjamin is CEO of World Education Services and a Visiting Fellow with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. She was previously CEO for Africa Operations with Laureate Education. In President Obama’s Administration, Esther led Global Operations for the Peace Corps. She was a senior executive with the International Youth Foundation and other INGOs. In 1999, President Clinton appointed Esther a White House Fellow. She began her career with the United Nations, the World Bank, and Grant Thornton. Esther serves on the Board of Directors of B Lab Global, Echoing Green, and Candid. The focus areas of her work are tri-sector leadership, social enterprise, movement building, access to higher education and economic inclusion.

Susanna Kislenko is the Skoll Centre Postdoctoral Fellow. As a social psychologist, Susanna studies leadership in the entrepreneurial context. More specifically, Susanna’s research focus is founder leadership past the founding (start-up) stage. Using qualitative research methods, Susanna’s work pulls back the curtain on the challenges and potentially darker organisational consequences of long-term founder leadership, including Founder’s Syndrome. Prior to entering academia, Susanna worked in the non-profit sector for 12 years, holding a number of leadership roles in social service organisations. Susanna’s research is driven and motivated by her practical experience and she is always looking for ways to translate research into practice.


Professor Marya Besharov is Professor of Organisations and Impact and Academic Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. Her research and teaching focus on leadership, social impact, and hybrid organisations. She engages with leaders and organisations worldwide to help them manage competing demands of social impact and financial performance. Marya received a BA in Social Studies, an MA in Sociology, and a PhD in Organisational Behaviour from Harvard University. She also holds an MBA from Stanford University.


Date 01/12/2023
Time 15:30
Venue The Nest @ SBS
Event type Lecture
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