Portrait image for Gayle Northrop

Gayle Northrop

Adjunct Assistant Professor
“Social impact should be a sector-agnostic concept. The biggest problems facing society will only be solved when nonprofits, governments and private enterprise work together to achieve better social outcomes.”
(818) 790-2565
Areas of Expertise:
  • Board Development
  • Health Systems Strengthening
  • Leadership Development
  • Organization Development
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Social Impact
  • Social Innovation
  • South Africa
  • Strategic Planning


Gayle Northrop ('96) is a consultant, coach and educator, and president of Northrop Nonprofit Consulting, a firm specializing in strategic planning, organizational development and leadership development for nonprofits, social enterprises and non-governmental organizations worldwide. With broad international experience, particularly in African countries, she has dedicated her career to helping organizations drive positive social change through strengthened systems, improved service delivery and more effective measurement and communication of impact.

Northrop chose to pursue her MBA at UCLA Anderson because of its partnership with Johnson & Johnson and a shared commitment to apply solid management practices and business skills to mission-driven organizations. Over the last 20 years, she has helped design, teach in, evaluate and expand a suite of UCLA/Johnson & Johnson management development programs, which include the Head Start Management Fellows Program, Health Care Executive Program and Management Development Institute for African Health Care Leaders.  

Northrop is now senior faculty advisor for Impact@Anderson and teaches social entrepreneurship, governance, impact measurement and strategy for social impact organizations. She leads a UCLA Anderson global immersion course on social entrepreneurship and innovation, most recently in South Africa. "The course attracts business-savvy students who in most cases know little or nothing about the concept of social entrepreneurship," she says. "MBA candidates visit foreign countries to see, in part, what it's like to do business there. So when you have the opportunity to introduce them to a variety of businesses that are all doing social good, it changes the way students think about the value of their MBA to society. It's exciting to see how global immersion courses can dramatically shift mindsets." 

Students returned from the experience in South Africa with the sense that no matter what sector or industry they entered, their work could result in some form of positive social impact. Northrop carries these transferable learnings into the general UCLA Anderson curriculum. "I teach students that there is an ever-growing list of business practices that prioritize people and planet, that can cost less and generate revenue," says Northrop. "I teach them that entrepreneurs, and not just social entrepreneurs, must adopt a socially responsible business model early on — they need to bake it into the DNA of a company."  

Prior to starting her consulting business, Northrop was a strategy and organizational effectiveness consultant with the Warner Group (now part of Gartner Group). She then joined ViewSonic Corporation, a billion-dollar technology company, where she was responsible for global strategic planning, corporate development, executive recruiting and human resources/organizational development.

In addition to serving on the faculty of the UCLA Anderson School of Management, Northrop is adjunct faculty at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. She is currently working with the University of Cape Town's Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship on an initiative to identify and scale social innovations in health in the global south. She is the co-founder and former associate director of Spark Health, a program assisting governments in Africa to strengthen their health systems and improve health outcomes, including the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.



MBA, 1996, UCLA Anderson School of Management

B.A. Communications and American Studies, 1989, Stanford University