New Lectureship to Bolster Social Entrepreneurship Education

A new lectureship in social entrepreneurship at the Yale School of Management will expand the school’s support for students interested in creating businesses that strive to create social impact and systemic change.

The Marcelo family

The newly created Sheila and Ron ’92 Marcelo Lectureship in Social Entrepreneurship will enable the school to hire a new faculty member. This person will focus on developing leaders and entrepreneurs who can leverage Yale’s liberal arts education and build businesses and organizations that combine both purpose and profit.

The lectureship is being supported by a gift from Sheila and Ron Marcelo. Ron Marcelo is a 1992 graduate of Yale College and was a member of the founding team at Care.com. He has worked across sectors, having been a caseworker and advocate before working in tech. Sheila Marcelo is the CEO of Care.com; she has also held leading roles at several internet startups.

Yale has played an important part in their personal story: they met as undergraduates when Sheila Marcelo, who attended Mount Holyoke College, traveled to New Haven for an event at Yale’s Dwight Hall for Filipino-American students. They now reside in Weston, Massachusetts, and have two sons, Ryan, 25, and Adam, 18.

The Marcelos’ gift to Yale was inspired by their experience starting and growing a purpose-driven business that addresses a deep human need. Ron Marcelo said, “We wanted to reach students who are very capable and very ambitious, and demonstrate that you can use the tools of private enterprise to drive change across major systems. That’s really what Care.com is; it’s a business plan to address a social problem.”

The Marcelos focused on Yale, in part, because of how closely the School of Management collaborates with other parts of the university.

“Entrepreneurs are by their nature risk taking, problem solving, and innovation oriented,” said Sheila Marcelo. “If you think about the demands on leadership in the future, especially in a very interconnected world, they’re also going to have to understand different systems and how they’re interconnected, particularly the interplay of business, society, and government. We think the interdisciplinary learning that happens at Yale can be critical for entrepreneurs.”

The lecturer will teach new classes on social entrepreneurship, contribute to scholarship in the field, and mentor students interested in starting businesses that make a positive impact. Kyle Jensen, associate dean and Shanna and Eric Bass ’05 Director of Entrepreneurship at Yale SOM, will lead the search for the inaugural Marcelo Lecturer.

“Yale is a place that fluidly integrates business, policy, government, nonprofits, and the for-profit sector,” Jensen said. “There is no better place to nurture the kind of entrepreneurs who will bring about systemic change. There are a lot of students here who care deeply about the world, and having someone here to serve as their champion will unleash tremendous value for business and society.”

Yale SOM Acting Dean Anjani Jain said that the new lectureship will strengthen the school’s programming: “This new lecturer will bring leadership and focus to our efforts to expand the curriculum in the area of social entrepreneurship and will build upon the great work the Program on Entrepreneurship is already doing to educate socially minded entrepreneurs at SOM and across Yale. The Marcelos’ gift is both an act of great generosity and a vote of confidence from two entrepreneurial leaders.”

The Marcelos hope the new lectureship will be a catalyst for further interest in private, entrepreneurial ventures that make a social difference, having seen in their own lives what can happen when a compelling idea gains momentum.

“That usually happens with any endeavor that has legs,” said Ron Marcelo. “More people will congregate around it, you'll get your series A funding, your series B, you'll go public… We’ve experienced it in our entrepreneurial careers, and we know this initiative has the same kind of energy and potential.”