Palo Alto, California

Principal, Skoll

The Organization

The Skoll Foundation was created by Jeff Skoll in 1999 to pursue his vision of a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world. The mission of the Skoll Foundation is to drive large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are society’s change agents – creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world for the better. By identifying the people and programs already enacting positive change throughout the world, the Foundation empowers them to extend their reach, deepen their impact, and fundamentally improve society.

The Skoll Foundation has invested approximately $470 million worldwide, including the Skoll Award to 128 social entrepreneurs from 106 organizations on five continents.

Position Overview

The Skoll Foundation seeks to add to its team of Principals a seasoned, strategic global business professional who has a deep desire to support entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s most intractable problems. Reporting to the Senior Director of Social Entrepreneurship, Principals work in close collaboration with peers across Skoll programs, practice centers, and the executive team to advance knowledge and evidence of scaling impact.

The Principal team is responsible for the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship and the ongoing investments in social entrepreneurs made directly and through funding partners. Principals play the lead role in the selection of new opportunities each year, developing a healthy, long-term pipeline of investments in potential Awardees with whom there exists remarkable potential for large-scale and lasting change in the world.

Principals conduct rigorous due diligence, interviewing issue experts, working with regional leaders, and conducting site visits to understand the social enterprise through the eyes of their beneficiaries and with the lens of large-scale, sustained change. Strong emphasis will be placed on candidates with demonstrated investigative and analytical skills, who can get beneath the surface of a pitch or business plan to determine the true potential for social impact and business sustainability.

The ideal candidate is, above all, a listener and learner. The Principal must be a quick study to prepare insightful questions to learn more about an entrepreneur’s innovations or a partner organization’s goals. The role requires an insatiable curiosity, desire to explore “what if?” questions, ability to connect the dots across sectors and geographies, and embrace of ambiguity.


Candidates should have a minimum of 10 years of demonstrated success in developing, accelerating, measuring, and influencing growth of entrepreneurial organizations. Key competencies include keen investigative skills and relentless attention to detail in the evaluation of investments, business models, financials, and data, while keeping a thoughtful, empathetic field view. Candidates are expected to have a thorough understanding of the dynamics of organizational growth, scale, and investment—in for-profit and non-profit contexts. Significant experience living and/or working outside of one’s culture of origin and in proximity to the world’s most pressing problems is essential. Excellent verbal and written communications skills are imperative. A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is optional. Successful candidates will have foreign language proficiency; highly desirable are Portuguese, Spanish, French, Hindi, Tamil, or other Indian language family. Must be available for international travel.

This position is based in Palo Alto, California.

The full position profile can be viewed here.

How To Apply

The Skoll Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse candidate pool. The Foundation recognizes diversity as an asset essential to accomplishing its work and embraces differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics that make employees unique. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply via Waldron’s Candidate Web Portal.

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