Jessamyn Shams-Lau

Jessamyn Shams-Lau

Executive Director, Peery Foundation
- Foundations -

High school dropout turned MBA, Jessamyn currently co-creates and stewards the Peery Foundation’s Grantee-Centric approach to philanthropy in her role as Executive Director. Jessamyn is an advocate for interdisciplinary approaches, thoughtful risk taking, and bold ideas developed through apprenticing with a problem.

Jessamyn joined the Peery Foundation as its first staff member in 2009. She utilizes her experience as part of the founding Ashoka U team in her hands-on role as a Board Member of BYU’s Ballard Center, where she has created curriculum now taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. After realizing she’s definitely not alone in being frustrated by the status quo in philanthropy Jessamyn co-wrote and illustrated the book, ‘Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits & Foundations Can Build EPIC Partnerships’, with Jane Leu and Vu Le.

Jessamyn has a BA in Fine Arts from the University of the Arts London and an MBA from Brigham Young University. She lives in Mountain View, CA with her ridiculously funny husband and two headstrong house rabbits.

SUPER SESSION: Unlocking Your Foundation’s Unicorn Potential

Get ready for a rocket-ship ride to a future filled with EPIC Partnerships grounded in equality, trust, and creativity; partnerships to help us think bigger, bolder, and better about social change. In this session, we’ll discuss the relationship between foundations and nonprofits, and how we can all work together more effectively to unleash our potential.  Jessamyn Shams-Lau, Executive Director of the Peery Foundation and Co-Author of Unicorns Unite, will share how foundations can take a grantee-centric approach to philanthropy to create more meaningful funder interactions and achieve incredible social change.

Finally, we’ll talk about how to make it happen! We’ll share a series of fun and thought-provoking exercises for you to take back to your team, your partners, and your board. Join us for a fun and interactive session about creating EPIC partnerships between nonprofits & foundations.