Marleen Denef is co-founder of impact advocaten, a niche firm focusing on tailor-made legal services to not-for-profit associations, social businesses and impact entrepreneurs. She has been specializing in the NPO practice area for almost 30 years, combining a part-time appointment as Professor at the KU Leuven-campus Brussels (where she teaches a specific 30-hours course on associations, foundations and social enterprises) with her daily practice as a lawyer. Her expertise mainly relates to advisory work on all types of organisational questions (choice of legal form, optimal set-up of activities and group-structures, (public private) partnerships, mergers, network organisations, governance, D&O liability…) as well as, exceptionally, litigation with precedent value concerning specific NPO-matters. In her daily practice, Marleen Denef combines the skills of a technical legal expert with those of a change- and participation consultant during complex collaborations. In this regard she holds a certification in “participation and stakeholder management” as well as in “embodied change”, learning about the importance of alignment between mind and body to allow true change in leadership and business models. She has been exploring these additional change accompaniment services, moving her into the direction of a more strategic and participatory role for organisations involved in processes of “change” (governance, network-building, mergers, etc.) and transdisciplinary collaborations with other types of consultants.
Marleen Denef is editor and author of multiple books and published articles: the book ‘GPS 2019..’ on the CAC focusing on associations, foundations and cooperatives with new models for the articles of associations, published in Dutch and French at Die Keure Publisher, Practical guide “Preparing UK based NGO’s for Brexit” (A4ID, 2017), “A map of social enterprises and their eco-systems in Europe” (European mapping, 2014), a paper “International guide on the Social and Solidarity Economy” (OECD, 2022), B Corp template rules and guidelines for companies (B-Corp Belgium, 2022). Marleen Denef was standing at the cradle of Esela – the legal network for social impact and was member of its board of directors. She participates to other relevant networks, such as BE-impact and B-Corp Belgium, and is often asked to share her insights and expertise on policy issues.