Daniela Papi-Thornton

Southeast Asia Instructor

Daniela Papi-Thornton is an educator whose work focuses on systems-led social interventions and is an outspoken advocate for rethinking traditional volunteer travel and social entrepreneurship education models. She helped design and staff Dragons’ first Cambodian programs and helped design and lead Dragons’ first educator programs. Today, she continues to be an active member of the Dragons community from her home base of Boulder, Colorado. Daniela has held university lecturer positions at Yale School of Management and Watson Institute. Previously, Daniela was the Deputy Director at Oxford Saïd Business School’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, and she continues to consult for their team. At Oxford, she launched educational programming designed to help incorporate systems thinking into social entrepreneurship education, including Map the System, a contest now running at 40+ global universities. Her report and subsequent article, Tackling Heropreneurship, have been widely referenced. From that research she designed a tool called the Impact Gaps Canvas, used at universities around the world. Daniela’s work in education design builds upon six years of emerging market entrepreneurial experience in Cambodia running a hybrid social enterprise. She co-authored a book, Learning Service, focused on shifting mindsets and practices related to volunteer travel. She co-authored this book with a team that included another Dragons instructor, Claire Bennett. Her 2018 Ashoka U Big Idea Talk and her TEDx talk on Reclaiming Social Entrepreneurship highlight some of her more recent thinking.