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Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

Featured Speakers

 

Thomas Abell - Senior Manager, Accenture Development Partnerships

Thomas has more than 20 years of experience in international development and technology, with expertise in technology strategy and innovation, financial inclusion, organizational strategy, ICT for development and ICT for education. He has led Accenture projects with CGAP, the Government of Tanzania, Financial Sector Deepening Trust, Gates Foundation, UNHCR, Inter-American Development Bank, Government of Ethiopia and the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR). He has worked in over 30 countries, across Europe, East Africa, Asia and Latin America. Thomas has experience advising governments, NGOs and development organizations on a variety of technology-related issues. He supported UNHCR in developing an assessment of global refugee connectivity needs, and he helped CGAP develop a future vision for financial inclusion. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.


Alan Vernon - Management Consultant, UNHCR

During an international career of over thirty-five years with UNHCR and Non-Governmental Organizations, Alan Vernon has extensive managerial, organizational development and training experience with particular strengths in strategic planning, program development and organizational design.

With UNHCR, Mr. Vernon held a variety of senior management positions including Country Representative in Malaysia and Sri Lanka, Director of Organizational Development and Management and Deputy Director Deputy-Director of the Division of Information Systems and Telecommunications in UNHCR Headquarters. His most recent with UNHCR assignment was as the Project Lead for UNHCR’s Connectivity for Refugees Program which he completed in July 2017. He is now working as a management consultant.

Mr. Vernon has done post-graduate study in urban design and planning at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University and holds a master’s degree from Temple University and a Bachelor’s degree from Elizabethtown College. 


Felipe M. Vasquez de Velasco - CEO, Pagos Digitales Peruanos

Pagos Digitales Peruanos operates BIM in Peru, the world’s first fully-interoperable national mobile money platform. Mr. Vasquez de Velasco CEO of Pagos Digitales Peruanos  has worked for more than 15 years in the financial sector, leading different business lines including credit cards, internet banking, mobile banking, ATMs, correspondent agents, and retail banking products in Peru. He was CEO at a mutual funds company and member of the Board of Directors of companies acquiring payments of Visa, MasterCard and American Express. He has experience in other sectors, in companies such as IBM, BellSouth, and a Peruvian university owned by Laureate International Universities. He holds a degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA.

 


Kate Wilson - CEO, Digital Impact Alliance

Kate Wilson believes that digital technology products, new technology policies and updated business model practices are required to bring about transformative change in the lives of the under-served and decrease the growing digital divide. She has committed the past 26 years to bringing diverse stakeholders together to find common ground in business, technology, and policy, holding leadership roles in both the corporate and non-profit sector. Prior to DIAL, Kate co-founded and led the Digital Health Solutions Group at PATH, the Seattle-based international health organization driving transformative innovation to save lives, where she designed and led several global projects, working in both Africa and Asia, most notably those including the use of digital technology to improve the delivery of immunization services and health information systems for universal health coverage. Kate holds an M.B.A. and an M.A. in Southeast Asian studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a B.A. in International Relations from the College of William and Mary.


Mae Watson Grote - Founder and Executive Officer, The Financial Clinic

For over a decade, Mae has been an important voice in New York City’s public interest, legal and social service communities, leading a number of diverse initiatives for organizations such as the Legal Aid Society and FoodChange. In founding the Clinic, Mae established one of the nation’s first nonprofits dedicated to building financial security through an integrated approach, including direct services, new tools and strategies for practitioners, and large-scale solutions to advance lasting change. Nationally, Mae is a respected speaker on issues of workforce development, income inequality and financial mobility, frequently sought to participate in panels and conferences throughout the country, including engagements with such prestigious institutions as the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), The New America Foundation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Reserve Board. She received a B.A. from Rutgers University and a J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.


Varun Gauri - Senior Economist, The World Bank

 Varun Gauri is Senior Economist in the Development Economics Vice Presidency of the World Bank. He co-leads the Mind, Behavior, and Development Unit (eMBeD), which integrates behavioral science into the design of anti-poverty policies worldwide. He was Co-Director of the World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior. He serves on the editorial boards of the journals Behavioral Public Policy and Health and Human Rights, and is a member of the World Economic Forum Council on Behavior, the Advisory Board of Academics Stand Against Poverty, and the Board of the Behavioral Economics Action Research Centre at the University of Toronto. His research has appeared in journals spanning the fields of economics, philosophy, political science, and law, and has been covered in The New York Times, The Economist, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Hindu, Frontline, among many media outlets. He holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D from Princeton University, and has held positions as Visiting Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Withrow Chair at Deep Springs College, and Visiting Professor in the Department of Economics at ILADES in Santiago, Chile.


Julian Jamison - Senior Behavioral Economist, The World Bank

 Julian Jamison is Senior Behavioral Economist with the Poverty and Equity Global Practice of the World Bank. Before joining the Bank he worked as an economist and served as the Section Chief of the Decision-making and Behavioral Studies group in the Office of Research at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau within the United States government. He is a Research Affiliate at Innovations for Poverty Action and a fellow in the US-China Young Leaders Forum. He holds a B.S. and an M.S. in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



Carrie Creasey - Program Specialist, MetLife Foundation

Carrie Creasey is a Program Specialist with MetLife Foundation, managing content development and strategic storytelling, data and impact evaluation, and global grant-making to support the foundation’s strategy to reach low- to moderate-income individuals with the right financial knowledge, tools, and resources to build brighter futures. Prior to joining MetLife, Carrie oversaw program planning and content curation for Solve - a global initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - and the Clinton Foundation. She received her BS in Business Administration with a concentration in international business from Cal Poly. 


 


Sophie Sahaf - Vice President of Program and Evaluation, LIFT

As Vice President of Program and Evaluation at LIFT - an antipoverty nonprofit that supports low income parents in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. – Sophie focuses on establishing continuous learning and client feedback loops that can improve program design and delivery. She established the organization’s first learning and evaluation unit with the goal of making data accessible and actionable in order to accelerate program improvement.

Prior to LIFT, Sophie spent seven years in the international development sector at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. At MCC, she supported design and evaluation of large-scale investments in the power sector, vocational education, and government anti-corruption efforts with bilateral partners in Indonesia, Mongolia and Sierra Leone.

Sophie earned a Bachelors degree from Tufts University and a Masters from the Fletcher School.


Joan Whelan - Strategy and Learning Advisor, USAID/DCHA/FFP

Joan Whelan is a food security and nutrition specialist with more than 30 years of experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors, and skills along the research to implementation spectrum. Joan brings expertise in designing, implementing and supporting systems and processes to support learning around emerging practices and innovations for improved program performance. With USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, Joan led a highly consultative process for development of the Office’s 2016-2025 Strategy for Food Assistance and Food Security. She has also been working to mainstream core ideas around systemic change, sustainability, social accountability and conflict sensitivity into project design, procurement, implementation and evaluation. Joan lived in Africa for four years, and still looks fondly on her time spent 'off the map' in Eritrea. Joan holds a M.P.A. from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.


Kristin O'Planick - Market Systems & Development Specialist, USAID

Kristin O’Planick is a Market Systems & Enterprise Development Specialist in USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education & Environment. Ms. O’Planick provides assistance to market systems, enterprise development, and youth employment programming. She manages Microlinks.org and previously managed the Leveraging Economic Opportunities project.








Laura Meissner - Economic Recovery and Markets Advisor, USAID

Laura Meissner is an Economic Recovery and Markets Advisor for USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) through a contract with the University of Arizona. Ms. Meissner provides guidance to USAID/OFAD and partners on assessing, mitigating, and repairing the effects of disasters on local markets and vulnerable populations’ livelihoods; as well as on cash and voucher-based interventions. In her work she has contributed to the disaster response and recovery in Syria, Iraq, the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and the Philippines, among others. Previously, Laura managed the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards initiative for the SEEP Network.





Elizabeth Stites- Research Director in Conflict and Livelihoods, Feinstein International Center

Elizabeth Stites’ work focuses on the effects of conflict and violence on civilian livelihoods. She is particularly interested in how different members within a household make changes to their livelihoods in times of conflict or crisis, and also how violence and livelihood strategies can reinforce each other. On the policy level she examines the effects of humanitarian, development, and military policies on livelihoods, security, and gender roles. Her field work aims to improve the effectiveness of international and national policies through evidence-based research reflecting the lived experiences of local communities. She aims to understand the challenges and hopes that inform people’s daily decision making, and strives to ensure that local people’s voices and experiences are heard in contexts in which they are often invisible. She has worked in multiple countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Nepal and on the Syria crisis. 

Tiffany Griffin - Monioring and Evaluation Specialist, USAID

Tiffany Griffin currently leads the resilience measurement, monitoring, evaluation, and analysis work for the Center for Resilience at USAID. Previously, she was Manager for Impact and Learning for the Democracy Fund, a private foundation in Washington DC, as well as a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at USAID supporting the Feed the Future initiative. In this latter role, Tiffany provided leadership on food security resilience measurement, particularly with respect to impact evaluation. She also provided technical leadership on all phases of the evaluation process, including project management, design, implementation, dissemination, and results translation. Using mixed-methods approaches and systems modeling, Tiffany has applied research techniques typically confined to the lab to complex real-world contexts. Prior to her food security work at USAID, Tiffany worked in the US Senate on domestic health policy, as well as on domestic food and nutrition policy. She received her doctorate in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan.


Nathan Byrd - Head of Global Programs, Opportunity International

Nathan Byrd is the Head of Global Programs for Opportunity International, overseeing work in education, agriculture, gender and digital finance. Nathan previously served as Head of Education Finance for Opportunity, building Education Finance from a small pilot to a scaled, sustainable initiative. Nathan holds MBA and a Master of Global Management degree.

 

 

 


Genzo Yamamoto - Director of Knowledge Management, Opportunity International

Genzo Yamamoto is the Director of Knowledge Management at Opportunity International where he oversees the research, evaluation, and development of projects and knowledge exchange. Before Opportunity, Genzo researched and taught on international affairs topics at Boston University and Wheaton College. He holds a Ph.D., a CEP, and a CKM.

 

 

 

 


Abigail Condie - Research and Knowledge Coordinator, Opportunity International

Abigail Condie is the Research and Knowledge Coordinator at Opportunity International where she manages, conducts, and disseminates research on Opportunity’s programs, partners, and pilot initiatives. She has contributed evaluation planning and findings dissemination support to Opportunity’s DFID Girls Education Challenge Programme in Uganda. Abigail holds a Bachelors in International Relations.


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