Cheryl Yaffe Kiser

Executive Director, The Lewis Institute & Babson Social Innovation Lab

Cheryl is the founding Executive Director of the Lewis Institute for Social Innovation at Babson College, which amplifies the College’s mission to educate entrepreneurial leaders to create social and economic value simultaneously

Thanks to Cheryl’s vision and leadership for the past ten years, the Lewis Institute has become an influential entity at Babson and beyond. Cheryl quickly understood that being at a business school, one of the Lewis Institute’s most crucial roles is in helping stakeholders to understand the changing role of business in society. The Institute inspires people to create positive social impact in any role, any sector, and any community. It educates students to see the UN Global Goals as opportunity (and a $12 trillion market opportunity, at that) for addressing the biggest challenges of our time, such as poverty, climate action, and inequality. 

Cheryl has a long-standing reputation as a positive disruptor and lives by the mantra, “Find a way to say yes.” She has an uncanny ability to connect people, resources, and ideas in a way that catalyzes change. 

Through these connections, Cheryl has co-created transformational experiences for Babson, partners, and communities. 

Cheryl has developed immersive learning experiences for Babson students, creating unique opportunities for students to work at a strategic level on real-world social impact challenges and allowing organizations to benefit from fresh entrepreneurial thinking, from her MBA elective on Creating Social Value to the Social Innovation Inventureship program. She has inspired countless entrepreneurial leaders through her BabsonX course, From Corporate Social Responsibility to Social Innovation. She also co-founded Food Sol, an “action tank” that brings together eaters and food entrepreneurs of all kinds for regenerative conversations and actionable connections. 

Most recently, Cheryl has served as the interim CEO of Babson’s new Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership. In this role, Cheryl’s strategic guidance helped to advance many early Blank School initiatives and position Babson’s Blank School for success. She also co-designed and continues to lead the first executive certificate under Babson’s Blank School, called Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Social Sector. 

A global leader in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social innovation, Cheryl is the author of Creating Social Value: A Guide for Leaders and Changemakers, and authored a chapter in the book about Babson’s educational practice, Evolving Entrepreneurial  Education: Innovation in The Classroom. 

Her counsel and infectious energy is sought by countless corporate executive and luminaries seeking ways to cultivate different ways of thinking and acting. She has directly influenced the strategy, operations, and mindsets of dozens of Fortune 500 companies, global NGOs, community organizations, and academic institutions. 

Prior to coming to Babson, Cheryl spent 13 years as the Managing Director of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, a global membership organization of Fortune 1000 companies responding to the changing role of business and society. Under her leadership, she created the largest global convening for CSR practitioners and leaders. Cheryl actively serves on Boards, such as The Base in Roxbury and Wildhearts National Advisory Board.