Shamina Singh Sits Down with President Lesperance
In November 2022, the highly accomplished Shamina Singh sat down with NEC President Dr. Wayne Lesperance for the first President’s Speaker Series of his tenure. Singh and Dr. Lesperance met in Model United Nations at Old Dominion University.
“My fondest memories of us were times when we disagreed vehemently about things. We were always thinking, learning, pushing, innovating, and formulating arguments,” Dr. Lesperance recalled. “It was the most important learning experience of my life.”
Singh, whom Dr. Lesperance described as “incredibly accomplished and brilliant,” discussed a number of topics: the impact of family on her life journey, what NEC’s students should seek in their educational experiences, inclusivity and sustainability, the notion of expanding innovation from a work function to a life function, politics in America, and more.
Singh is a transformational and solutions-oriented social and environmental impact leader with over 20 years of global experience across public, private, and non-profit sectors, including service in three presidential administrations and three Fortune 500 companies. This includes leading Mastercard’s $500 million Impact Fund, as well as developing an industry-leading Center of Inclusive Growth, the philanthropic hub of Mastercard. She is a member of Mastercard’s Management Committee and represents the company as an Ex-Officio Member of the Mastercard Foundation Board of Directors, which is investing over $40 billion in Africa.
In 2015, Singh was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to a six-year term on the Board of AmeriCorps, a $1 billion independent federal agency that she chaired for two years. During her tenure as Board Chair, the agency realized operational efficiencies and saw increases in their Congressional budget appropriations for three consecutive cycles.
Singh is a Presidential Leadership Scholar, a Crown Fellow with the Aspen Institute, and has thrice been named to the Financial Times’ Top 100 LGBT+ Executives. She is also one of the Hall of Fame Asian American Top 100 Honorees.
Singh earned a Bachelor of Science from Old Dominion University and a Master of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and has received the alumna of distinction award from both. She has also completed executive education programs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, the Indian School of Business and Stanford University’s Doerr School of Sustainability.
NEC’s President’s Speaker Series began in 2010 under the leadership of then-president Dr. Michele Perkins. The goal of the series is to bring accomplished professionals from all walks of life representing industry, government, higher education, and media for a conversation. Throughout the last 12 years, NEC has welcomed a diverse group of women and men, representing a variety of backgrounds and success stories.