Bill Meehan

BillMeehan
Raccoon Partners Lecturer in Strategic Management

Bio

William F. Meehan III is the Raccoon Partners Lecturer in Strategic Management at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Senior Partner Emeritus of McKinsey & Company.

As a faculty member of the Center for Social Innovation and Public Management Program, he has taught the popular course “Strategic Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations and Social Ventures” for 20 years; developed a pioneering course, “Private Equity in Frontier Markets; ” and continues to teach Managing Difficult Conversations” and Social Ventures Practicum.” As a Faculty Director, he helped launch the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED). Earlier, was instrumental in creating the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford GSB.

In addition, at Stanford, he has advised the Stanford Board of Trustees and President on strategy and governance. He is currently a founding member and vice-chair of the Natural Capital Advisory Council; a Special Advisor to the Stanford Initiative in Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI); and a Special Advisor to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars. Previously he was a founding member of the Advisory Council to the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACs) and the Arts Advisory Council.

In 2014, he received the Excellence in Leadership Award from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

His recent book, co-authored with Kim Starkey Jonker, Engine of Impact: Essentials of Strategic Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector, engineofimpact.org, is a bestseller in its field. Previously, Jonker and Meehan have published a range of articles on non-profits and philanthropy in the Stanford Social Innovation Review and are currently columnists for forbes.com.

Previously, he was a Board Member and Special Advisor to King Philanthropies; and a Board Member of GiveDirectly, which is pioneering the use of digital cash transfers to alleviate extreme poverty. He is also a Life Governor of the San Francisco Symphony; Chair Emeritus of Guidestar; a member of the North American Council of Ashoka, and a member of Positive Coaching Alliance’s National Advisory Board. He has also advised, pro bono, innumerable nonprofit leaders, Boards, and organizations.

Previously, he was Chair of the United Way of the Bay Area, a member of the Board of Fordham Prep, the National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy (STEP) and the California Roundtable. He was also a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Endowment Board and, earlier, its Board.

Mr. Meehan retired in December 2008 after over 30 years at McKinsey & Company where his focus was working with chief executives on strategy, organization and leadership, including mentoring many new CEOs in shaping their leadership agendas. In addition to his service to clients, he held many leadership roles with the Firm. As a member of the Shareholders Council, McKinsey’s Board, he was Chair of the Client Committee and Chair of the McKinsey Investment Office, which oversees more than $8 billion in investments. He was also Vice-Chair of the Senior Partners Review Committee, founder and leader of the Private Equity Practice; Chair of the West Coast Practice, and Managing Director of the San Francisco Office.

He is a former Director of Juniper Networks and Westward Leaning and currently a Director of Big Switch.

Academic Degrees

  • MBA, Stanford University, 1978
  • BA, Columbia University

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1998

Professional Experience

  • Director, McKinsey & Company, Inc., 1978-2008

Awards and Honors

  • Lafayette Partners Lecturer, 2013-present

Publications

Journal Articles

Bill Meehan, Kim Jonker. Stanford Social Innovation Review. 2012, Vol. 10, Issue 1, Pages 48-53.
Kim Jonker, Bill Meehan. Stanford Social Innovation Review. 2008, Vol. 6, Issue 1, Pages 60-65.
Stephanie Lowell, Brian Trelstad, Bill Meehan. Stanford Social Innovation Review. 2005, Vol. 3, Issue 2, Pages 39-45.
Bill Meehan, Derek Kilmer, Maisie O'Flanagan.... Stanford Social Innovation Review. 2004, Vol. 1, Issue 4, Pages 35-43.
Bill Meehan, Ron Lemmens, Matthew R. Cohler. Harvard Business Review. 2003.
Bill Meehan, Les Silverman. Leader to Leader. 2001, Vol. 2001, Issue 22, Pages 1–72.
Jed Dempsey, Robert E. Dvorak, Endre Holen, David Mark, Bill Meehan. McKinsey Quarterly. 1998, Issue 1.
Jed Dempsey, Robert E. Dvorak, Endre Holen, David Mark, Bill Meehan. McKinsey Quarterly. 1997, Issue 4.
Bill Meehan. Internal McKinsey Knowledgebase. 1997.
Robert E. Dvorak, Endre Holen, David Mark, Bill Meehan. McKinsey Quarterly. 1997, Issue 3.

Books

Bill Meehan, Kimberly Jonker Stanford Business Books, November 14, 2017.

Teaching

Degree Courses

2019-20

This elective 3-unit course is offered to MBA, MD, and other graduate students, and to MBA students who aspire to improve their ability to deal effectively with difficult professional and interpersonal situations. The course will be taught by...

This course seeks to provide a survey of the strategic, governance, and management issues facing a wide range of nonprofit organizations and their executive and board leaders, in the era of venture philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. The...

2018-19

This elective 2-unit course is offered to all medical students, residents, and fellows, and to GSB students who aspire to improve their ability to deal effectively with difficult interpersonal situations. The course will be taught by William F....

The Social Ventures Practicum is an experiential learning course for student teams actively working to launch a social venture (nonprofit or for-profit or tbd). SVP is often a useful follow-on for social venture start-up teams after product/...

This course seeks to provide a survey of the strategic, governance, and management issues facing a wide range of nonprofit organizations and their executive and board leaders, in the era of venture philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. The...

2017-18

Social Ventures Funding Readiness is designed as a follow on to the two quarters of the Startup Garage or Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability experiential learning courses or for Venture Studio residents and is specifically designed...

This course seeks to provide a survey of the strategic, governance, and management issues facing a wide range of nonprofit organizations and their executive and board leaders, in the era of venture philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. The...

Stanford Case Studies

Can Firing/Separation/Termination Be Anything But...Awful? | ETH17
William Meehan III, Sheila Melvin2019
King Philanthropies: Intentional Choices for Maximum Impact | SI151
William Meehan III, Sheila Melvin2019
Equal Opportunities Schools: Finding the Missing Students | SM240
William F. Meehan, Davina Drabkin2015
Exits in Emerging Markets: Actis' Investment in Umeme | F311
Mark Hartmann, William F. Meehan, Meaghan Conway2015
Oregon Shakespeare Festival (B): The 2015-2025 Long Range Plan | SM104B
William F. Meehan, Emily Sophia Knapp2015
The San Francisco Symphony | SM63
William F. Meehan, Katharina Schmitt, Anne Lee2015
The Abraaj Group: Making of a Global Private Equity Firm | F312
William F. Meehan, Ali Gara2015
GiveWell Real Change for Your Dollar | SI122
William Meehan III, Davina Drabkin2013
GuideStar | SI121
William Meehan, Davina Drabkin2013
IFC and Emerging Market Private Equity | F288
William Meehan III, Paul Pfleiderer, Michael Kennedy, Debra McCoy2013
Leopard Capital, Private Equity in Cambodia | F279
Michael Kennedy, Debra McCoy, William Meehan III, Sheila Melvin, Paul Pfleiderer2013
Managing for Value at the Global Environment Fund | F285
Michael Kennedy, Debra McCoy, William Meehan III, Paul Pfleiderer2013
Zephyr Peacock India: Perfectly Diligent | F283
William Meehan, Paul Pfleiderer, Sheila Melvin, Debra McCoy2013
Ashoka, Innovators for the Public | SM203
William Meehan III, Georgia Koehane2012
Asia Alternatives, Approaching the Frontier | F278
William Meehan III, Paul Pfleiderer, Michael Kennedy, Debra McCoy, Sheila Melvin2012
Standard Chartered Private Equity Africa, Value at the Frontier | F280
William Meehan III, Paul Pfleiderer, Michael Kennedy, Debra McCoy2012
Willow Creek Community Church, What Really Makes a Difference | SM198
William Meehan III, Davina Drabkin2012
QuestBridge: A Search for Scale | SI83
Georgia Koehane, William Meehan III2011
National Parks Conservation Association: Public/Private Partnerships | SI117
Sara Leslie, William Meehan III2010
Leadership Public Schools: The Challenges of Real Estate Stability | SI111
Leslie Sara Gaviser, William Meehan III2009
Tipping Point Community | SI116
Maureen McNichols, William Meehan III, Jaclyn Foroughi2009
Acumen Fund and WaterHealth International: The Role of Venture Philanthropy | SM158
Jane Healey, David Hoyt, William Meehan III2007
Rural Development Institute (B): Success in India | SM159B
Kim Jonker, William Meehan III2007
The San Francisco Foundation: The Dilemma of The Buck Trust (B) | SI106B
Victoria Chang, William Meehan III2007
Ashoka, Innovators for the Public | SM157
William Meehan III, Trabian Shorters2006
Acumen Fund and Mytry De-Fluoridation Filter Technologies | SM139
William Meehan III Yasmina Zaidman2005
Note On Issues Facing Nongovernmental Organizations | SM141
Charles Bonini, William Meehan III, Brian Tayan2005
Oregon Shakespeare Festival | SM104
Sheila Bonini, Emily Knapp, William Meehan III2002
Ashoka: Innovators for the Public (North America Program) | SM64
Jung Choi, William Meehan III2001
Eastside College Preparatory School | SI13
Pehr Luedtke, William Meehan III2001
Quest Scholars Program | SI11
Lesley Koenig, William Meehan III, Robert Ransom2001
The San Francisco Foundation: The Dilemma of The Buck Trust (A) | SI106A
Robert Augsburger, Victoria, Chang, William Meehan III1998

Conferences, Talks, and Speaking Engagements

Stanford University Affiliations

Greater Stanford University

Service to the Profession

Board Member

  • GiveDirectly
  • San Francisco Symphony
  • Oregon Shakespeare Festival Endowment
  • Chairman, United Way of the Bay Area
  • Philanthropic Research Inc
  • California Business Roundtable
  • Fordham Preparatory School
  • California Business Roundtable
  • Fordham Preparatory School
  • National Academy of Sciences' Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy (STEP)
  • GuideStar
  • Chair, United Way of the Bay Area
  • Big Switch
  • Westward Leaning
  • Formerly, Juniper Networks

Advisory Roles

  • Equal Opportunity Schools
  • Embrace
  • Chairman Emeritus, Guidestar
  • North American Council of Ashoka
  • Positive Coaching Alliances's National Advisory board

In the Media

San Francisco Chronicle, 12 8, 2000

Insights by Stanford Business

November 1, 2017
Researchers examine the $1.7 trillion philanthropy sector to find the fissures.
February 1, 2016
Stanford GSB professors share their reading list for topics related to impact.
July 10, 2015
Apply the fundamentals of corporate governance to charitable work.
April 22, 2015
A new survey shows many lack skills, engagement to effectively oversee organizations.
March 20, 2014
Experienced board members from the Stanford community share their advice for choosing a first time board.