Business & Government Professional Interest Council
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Mission: The Business & Government Professional Interest Council serves as the dynamic forum for HKS students and fellows interested in the thought-leadership, partnerships, careers and innovations at the intersection of business and government.
Chairs: Sara Kassir and Kaivan Shroff
Sara Kassir. Sara is a second-year Master in Public Policy student, concentrating in business and government policy. This past summer, she interned with a biotechnology firm's policy office, focusing on issues related to patient access and insurance reimbursement. Sara previously worked for Deloitte Consulting's federal practice in Washington, D.C. where she supported clients including the U.S. Department of State, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Postal Service. Her experiences have mostly focused on public sector process improvement and performance management. Sara is particularly interested in the applications of Big Data and metrics to support mission-driven public-private partnerships. During her undergraduate education at Dartmouth College, she interned for the Council on Foreign Relations as well as a variety of government organizations, in addition to studying abroad at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Email
Kaivan Shroff is an MPP student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Institute of Education where he was COO and Director of Strategy. Before joining the team at IFE Shroff worked at Microsoft New York on their Technology and Civic Engagement team, partnering with the NYC government and non-profits to offer data-driven solutions to big social problems. Shroff also worked on the Digital Team at Hillary for America. He holds an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management and a B.A. in Political Science from Brown University. He is passionate about using modern tools to educate and engage voters online in a way that motivates them to take actions offline. Email
Finance Chair: Andre Lewis
André O. Lewis is pursuing an MPA degree at HKS. Originally from Jamaica, he is passionate about finding ways to improve the quality of life in underserved communities through the levers of technology, business, and public policy. Before HKS, André worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, where he partnered with transportation and infrastructure clients to improve their strategies, organizational effectiveness, and operational efficiency. Earlier in his career, André worked in corporate treasury, real estate, project management, and systems engineering. André holds advanced degrees in engineering and business. He is excited to serve as Finance Chair for the B&G PIC, and to explore how public-private partnerships can support the sustainable development of cities and infrastructure.
Communications Chair: Ivan Stoitzev
Ivan Stoitzev is a first-year Master of Public Policy student. He is originally from Bulgaria and attended Wesleyan University. He worked in consulting for three years at Argus Information & Advisory Services, where he predominantly focused on projects for credit card issuers. Subsequently, he spent two years at Harvard Business School as a Research Associate for Professor Michael Porter at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness. While at HBS, he focused on corporate strategy development and the transformative effects that Smart, Connected Products are having on companies. Ivan is interested in the intersection of technology and government policy, particularly the ways in which autonomous vehicles stand to reshape the domestic economy.
Desmond Spencer is a Md-Career Master’s in Public Administration student. Prior to coming to Harvard, Desmond served as an Acquisitions officer in the United States Air Force where he worked to update and modify the GPS constellation of satellites. Desmond was born in Houston, TX, but grew up in New Orleans, LA. After Hurricane Katrina, Desmond’s family moved back to Houston, where they have resided for the past thirteen years. On campus Desmond is also a member of The Black Student Union, HKS Democrats, and the Conference on Poverty and Inequality Group. He also mentors Harvard College undergraduates through the Institute of Politics. Desmond holds a B.A. in economics from The Ohio State University and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduation from the Kennedy School he hopes to continue his service to the United States by holding elected office.
Hilary Gelfond is a first-year Master’s in Public Policy student with experience working in and around the federal government. Prior to HKS, she worked as a Senior Research Assistant at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center within the Brookings Institution. She has co-authored research papers on issues relating to tax policy, the federal budget and retirement security and contributed to a forthcoming book on how to reduce the federal debt while implementing a progressive agenda. Hilary received her BS from Cornell University in 2016, where she completed a major in Policy Analysis and Management and dual minors in business and law and society. Upon graduation from HKS, she hopes to return to Washington, DC to work on fiscal policy issues in the federal government.
Matthew Shackelford is a first-year Master in Public Policy candidate in the joint degree program with Harvard Business School. Prior to coming to HKS, he worked at Goldman Sachs in the Corporate Treasury department, focusing on funding optimization and liquidity risk management for the firm’s derivatives portfolio. He hopes to found or join a start-up after the joint degree program focusing on the interaction between businesses and the government in the financial industry and the impact of financial regulations on society and the economy. He is also a member of the Electoral Politics PIC at HKS and is very interested in issues of effective governance. In his free time, he enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and squash and biking around Cambridge.
Francisco Rodriguez is a second-year MPA student focusing on digital government, tech policy, digital strategy and labor markets. With a background in business and economics, Francisco worked as policy manager for the Chilean President's Delivery Unit, a strategic task-force with the mission of ensuring the delivery of priority outcomes for citizens. Later, he co-founded and managed Proxima, a social-impact oriented company that -based on the Good Jobs Strategy-works to create labor mobility from the lower end of the labor market. Proxima delivers low-skilled services that through higher working conditions and training aims to outperform in quality of service while accelerating the development of its employees. He is not very enthusiastic with new tech when it's designed to replace humans at work, but very interested in innovations that enable higher human-machine productivity and progress.
Social Impact Group
Jesper Bodd is a U.S.-Norwegian first-year Master's of Public Policy student with experience working at the intersection of the private and public sectors. During his undergraduate studies, he interned at he Norwegian Confederation of Enterprise aiding in the development of public-private partnerships for Norwegian welfare service provision. Prior to coming to HKS, Jesper worked as an economics consultant in New York City, primarily working with litigation and regulation of financial securities and consumer product fraud. Jesper is passionate about examining how the private and non-profit sector can make welfare service provision efficient and welfare state financing sustainable in developing and developed countries alike.
Sanjana Rajgarhia is a first-year Master of Public Policy student with previous experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining HKS, Sanjana spent two years as a business analyst at BIMA Mobile’s Singapore office working on microinsurance and affordable telehealth solutions for bottom of the pyramid customers in the Asia Pacific region. After graduation she hopes to enter the world of development finance, either through multilateral organizations or through private sector impact investing funds. She is currently an HKS student ambassador and one of the Harvard Graduate Council Representatives on the Kennedy School Student Government. She believes that bringing the public and private sectors together can promote social equality and enable every individual to achieve their potential. Sanjana grew up in Mumbai, India and spent the last 8 years in Singapore, with a short stint in the Netherlands.
Mohini Bishnoi is a first year Master of Public Policy student with previous experience in the education and non-profit sector. Prior to beginning at HKS, she spent 6 years at Teach For India, most recently as regional head of program. She was part of a core team that led a strategic and organizational overhaul of Teach For India's Pune region, coordinating with stakeholders across private and public sectors to implement this change. She is passionate about people development, and tri-sectoral collaboration for social change.
Shermin Luo is a first-year Master’s of Public Policy student with interests in social entrepreneurship and impact investing. She has co-founded an education nonprofit, Global Youth Mentorship Initiative (GYMI), which is dedicated to bridging educational disparities in developing countries by providing underprivileged students with mentorship focused on independent learning, interdisciplinary studies and critical thinking skills. In addition, Shermin also serves as a member of the NGO Youth Representatives Steering Committee to the United Nations Department of Public Information, and the youth subcommittee co-chair to the 67th UN DPI NGO Conference. Shermin is hoping to dive deeper into impact investing, social entrepreneurship in developing countries and public private partnership during her time at HKS.