Chris Walker is the Director of Social Innovations at Mercy Corps, where he manages the Innovation Investment Alliance, a partnership between the Skoll Foundation and USAID that finances the scale-up of social enterprises. He also advises Mercy Corps’ Social Venture Fund, which invests in and accelerates impact-oriented, for-profit businesses. Prior to joining Mercy Corps in 2015, Chris directed the Innovative Finance Program at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), an international organization dedicated to ending malnutrition. He designed and built innovative initiatives that attracted investment capital to address malnutrition, including impact investment partnerships that provide equity and debt financing to companies having a positive impact on nutrition. Before that Chris was a Fellow with Acumen Fund, a non-profit social venture capital fund. He worked for one of Acumen Fund’s investments, Ziqitza Health Care (a.k.a. Dial 1298 for Ambulance Service) in Mumbai, India, as the Head of Marketing and Business Development. He has also lived in southern Africa and in Central America, where he worked on a range of economic development initiatives. Chris attended Williams College where he received a B.A. in History, and eventually got his MPA in International Development from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT IN THIS EPISODE:
- How to scale up your impact in a social enterprise (2:32)
- What the Social Innovations Director does at a major international NGO (3:36)
- Why living abroad and studying foreign languages are great ways to break into the field of international development (6:40)
- Why Chris wishes he’d taken classes in Business, Economics and Finance as an undergrad (8:33)
- Why you should try to get a Presidential Management Fellowship right out of college to get a good job in the US Government (21:30)
- Why strong writing skills and learning how to brief well are essential if you want to work in government (30:17)