Founding Team

The Founding team lead the 2015/2016 pilot of the Women Effect community

Suzanne Biegel
Founder and Chief Catalyst

Suzanne Biegel is founder of Catalyst At Large Ltd, with more than 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, social impact angel, venture investor, philanthropist, board member, and hands-on operational manager. She has been deploying her own portfolio with a gender lens for more than 15 years and has been an active field builder for the last 8. 

In addition to Women Effect, Suzanne is a Senior Advisor at the Criterion Institute and the Investment Director for the SPRING accelerator. She is the founder of Women in Social Finance, a closed group of mostly senior level women working in the field of social impact finance. She was also founding co-chair of the Values Based Investing Circle within Women Donors Network.


Ainsleigh Ingle
Community and Events Assistant

Originally from South Africa, Ainsleigh supports Women Effect with content and community moderation, as well as event planning and execution. She also manages our social media presence. She is passionate about gender equality, particularly around issues of diversity and the media - she is also a trained actress, completing her MA in London in 2015. 



Simi Wilhelm Shah
Managing Director

Simi Wilhelm Shah is an experienced impact investor with a passion for using finance as a tool for social change.  She has crafted a suite of professional, volunteer and investment-related activities designed around themes close to her heart - including women's leadership and global maternal health rights.
Simi has spent 15 years in the social investment space spanning the US and UK markets.  Prior to joining Women Effect, she was the Investment Director of The Social Investment Business, a £400m fund using a variety of impact-first strategies and blended vehicles to achieve positive social and economic outcomes for UK beneficiaries. 

Sara Sophie Osterholzer
Community & Events Manager 

Sara Sophie spent her last year at The University of Sussex dedicating time to support her peers who were setting up and growing social enterprises and has continued working as the right hand (wo)man for a number of (predominantly female) entrepreneurs ever since. Sophie Sara began her Women Effect journey as employee #1 and the Project Coordinator. 

Advisory Council and Steering Committee

Our advisory council brought their expertise across a range of investment themes, sectors and geographies. The steering committee members (indicated with *) played an extraordinary role in steering the pilot and we are immensely grateful for their commitment, insight, and time.

Joy Anderson*
Criterion Institute

Elizabeth (Betsy) Dietel
Dietel Partners

Ellen Dorsey
Wallace Global Fund

Ellen Friedman
Compton Foundation

Susan Gibbs
Wallace Global Fund


Jessica Houssian
Women Moving Millions

Shalaka Joshi
Toniic Global, Unltd India

Wren Aigaki-Lander
Within People

Margaret McGovern

Reena Mithal PhD
Sankhya Capital

Russell Pullan
Angel and venture investor, UK

Vicki Saunders

Liz Schaffer*
Global Fund for Women

Dr Audrey Selian
Artha Venture Networks

Ingrid Stange*
Partnership for Change

Jackie VanderBrug
US Trust

Rodrigo Villar Esquivel
New Ventures Mexico

Tracy Gray
The 22 Capital Group