International Affairs & International Development

Margaret Richardson is Chief of Staff to the President & Editor-in-Chief of Devex, a social enterprise and media platform for the global development community.  As Chief of Staff her primary responsibilities include: providing critical, high-level support and guidance to Raj Kumar, the President & Editor-in-Chief, and assisting in Devex’s external affairs and communications, engaging and managing key influencers and business development opportunities, and developing and executing special projects as needed. Margaret also manages and supports efforts to ensure staff in various departments are aligned and that the culture of Devex is maintained. Margaret received her B.A. in Political Science and Government at Smith College in 2014. Prior to joining Devex, she was a legislative intern in the office of Senator Angus King an Independent senator from Maine.
Sanam Rastegar is a Senior Associate at McLarty Associates in the field of strategic advising.  She received her B.A. in Global Affairs from Yale University in 2016. Before graduating, she had the opportunity to intern at Independent Talent Group Limited in London, Maclaren and Hermès. In these positions, she tried her hand at marketing, merchandising, and assisting employees in important tasks. Sanam learned the basics of how to succeed at a well known organization before she even received her college degree. In addition, besides her hard work in the academic and work environments, Sanam spent all four years on the Yale Sailing Team. Despite earning valuable recognition in this aspect as well, Sanam says that this experience taught her to be a leader and how to work as a member of a close knit team. She even planned a sailing regatta that gave her useful skills to help plan the McLarty 20th Anniversary Party in 2018. Once she had her degree in hand, Sanam applied for an entry level associate position at McLarty Associates and was hired. Her time spent as an assistant to the Chairman gave her the chance to soak up valuable knowledge from her boss and learn the ins and outs of the industry. Two years into her professional career, Sanam has already been promoted to a Senior Associate position at the firm and continues to be passionate about the company. Tune into this episode to learn how you can be successful right out of the university gate!
April Rinne is a global citizen in every sense of the word — she is an adventurer, a lifelong learner, and an inspiration to those around her through her global ethos and mindset. She has helped startups, policymakers, and even international organizations identify social and economic trends and become more responsible as a result. Although April’s experienced a great deal of obstacles and challenges in her life, her work and life have brought her deep satisfaction and joy because they’ve truly bridged borders and boundaries. A self-proclaimed travel junkie who ‘belongs to the world’, April works in more than 20 countries each year and has some incredible career advice every Java Junkie should hear. Spoiler alert:  April believes (and has the data to prove it) that the days of staying at one company, or in one career your entire life, are behind us. So grab your mug and take a chug, and get ready to the world as you know it flipped upside down!
Emily Schaefer is a Policy Advisor at the global humanitarian and development organization, Mercy Corps. But that was far from her first job at Mercy Corps.  In 2013, Emily got her foot in the door as an intern on the Policy and Advocacy team. Following her internship she got another break when a job opened up for the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Global Engagement & Policy (spoiler alert:  Andrea was in that role) and Office Administrator. Emily held those 2 positions for 2 years before getting promoted yet again to become an Associate Policy Advisor. Since then Emily has steadily climbed the ladder at Mercy Corps on the Policy team. Prior to her time at Mercy Corps, Emily interned at the U.S. State Department in the Office of the Senior Advisor for Innovation. Emily attended McDaniel College, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and double major in Political Science and International Studies, with a focus in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies.
Ambassador Rick Barton currently teaches at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, where he serves as the co-director of Princeton’s Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiatives and Ullman Fellowships.  He has served as an American ambassador to the United Nations and the Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees at the United Nations, and he was the first Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations under former president Barack Obama.  He has led conflict management initiatives in crisis zones across the globe, in countries as diverse as Haiti, Iraq, Nigeria and Turkey. Ambassador Barton is dedicated to advancing peaceful democratic change. In business, politics and government service, he pursues this challenge by building organizations and partnerships that are: driven by mission and principles; committed to learning and mutual respect; and measured by impact. He believes leadership is most likely to be effective if there is a sincere effort to develop a common understanding of what is most important, a clear set of priority actions, an integrated team, independent measures of progress and tireless communication. Over the past twenty years, Ambassador Barton has worked in 40+ countries, engaging with local people and opportunities to catalyze progress. When you expand trust, seek innovation, and encourage ingenuity, risk taking is rewarded.
Madeline Rose is a Senior Global Advocacy Advisor at Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian and development NGO, where she works to create and implement public policies to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. She’s a policy expert and advocacy strategist with innovative problem-solving skills, evidenced by her success in designing Mercy Corps’ first globally coordinated advocacy campaign, which she now leads. Her current focus is passing a bill called the “Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act of 2018” in the U.S. Congress that will help end violence in Guatemala, Nigeria, Iraq and many other conflict-affected countries. Madeline travels frequently and works with her Mercy Corps colleagues in countries around the world to find out what may be driving violence in their countries in order to identify solutions to stopping it. Madeline studied Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College and during her time there, interned with the United Nations. After graduating, Madeline moved to D.C. and worked in the Capitol Hill office of former Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) as a Legislative Correspondent and Staff Assistant. It was in Rep. Honda’s office that Madeline learned the value of mentorship and truly kicked off her career. Since then, she’s worked her way up at Mercy Corps, moving from policy advisor up to her current title. Where others focus on finding problems, Madeline focuses on creating solutions to make the world a better place.
Rena Greifinger is the Senior Project Lead on MaverickNext and advises on Population Services International's (PSI) global youth strategy. Over the last five years as Youth & Girls Advisor, Rena helped establish PSI as a technical expert and thought-leader in private sector approaches to improving sexual and reproductive health systems for adolescents and young people. She spearheaded the organization's work in design-thinking, playing a lead role in its flagship project Adolescents 360. Rena has published and presented extensively on adolescent health globally. In 2009, she published a World Health Organization report on the psychosocial needs of adolescents living with HIV, inspiring her to start an award-winning program that builds leadership, life-skills and mentoring support for young people living with HIV in the U.S. She has served as Chair of the Youth, Health and Rights Coalition and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, and currently sits on the board of Next Step. Rena holds a Master’s of Science from the Harvard School of Public Health where she was presented the Albert Schweitzer award which is given to the graduating students whose past work and current activities have been marked by a “reverence for life.”  If you’re interested in public health or international development or just how to be a maverick in your life press play and enjoy!
Raj Kumar is the founding President & Editor-in-Chief of Devex, the media platform for the global development community. A social entrepreneur and digital media executive, he's been a part of nine presidential campaigns and was a co-founder of a successful financial information company. Raj saw the world-shaping potential of Devex while a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School and promptly dropped out to build it. He has been profiled in Forbes, the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, and the Washington Post, where Devex was called the Bloomberg of foreign aid. Raj is also an active investor in ground-breaking startups, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Clinton Global Initiative, and is the former chair of the World Economic Forum's humanitarian council.
Ann Mei Chang is the Executive Director of Lean Impact at Lean Startup Co., a company that  encourages all organizations, especially ones seeking solutions to social problems, to think like startups. She is also the author of the new book LEAN IMPACT: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good, which takes a closer look at the idea of applying entrepreneurial thinking to social problem solving and explores examples of how these theories have played out in advocacy organizations around the world. Ann Mei came to this work through a winding path of both social and technological innovation. After graduating from Stanford with a degree in computer science, she went to work in Silicon Valley as a software engineer, and quickly climbed her way up the management ladder as she moved between tech startups. But after 20+ years in fast-paced Palo Alto, Ann Mei decided it was time to use her skills as an engineer and innovator to truly make the world a better place. More specifically, she set out to end global poverty. She began a career in government work and again climbed the management ladder quickly, becoming the Chief Innovation Officer at USAID and later the first Executive Director of the US Global Development Lab. She also served the US Department of State as Senior Advisor for Women and Technology in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues and, after moving from government to NGO work, Chief Innovation Officer at Mercy Corps. Today, Ann Mei combines the skills she’s developed over her two illustrious careers to bring a new approach to solving global social issues by thinking like the innovator and engineer she always will be.
Dennis Whittle has worked for the past 30 years in philanthropy and aid. He is currently the co-founder and CEO at Feedback Labs a consortium which aims to change the norms in development, aid, and philanthropic policy to be more responsive to the people that those policies aim to help.  Dennis also co-founded and was the CEO of GlobalGiving, a global crowdfunding platform for grassroots charitable projects. Forbes magazine called GlobalGiving “one of the 10 startups changing the world.”  Before those ventures, Dennis worked for 14 years at the World Bank where he worked in Indonesia, Russia, Papua New Guinea, and Niger on projects and issues including: agriculture housing reform, structural adjustments, innovation, and energy efficiency.  Dennis Whittle has an incredible breadth of experience within the world of nonprofits, philanthropies, as well as the startup world. He hopes to encourage Java Junkies to push themselves outside their comfort zones and learn how to embrace failures as the key to unlocking their true potentials.
Christina Lukeman is Head of Investor Relations at Agora, an organization founded in 2005 as a modern-day “public square” that brings together key stakeholders to accelerate social entrepreneurship -- in order to create a positive social impact.  Christina’s job is to play a kind of a “cupid” role by building relationships with social entrepreneurs and investors who are looking to put their money towards a worthwhile cause. Agora is among the first impact focused investment funds in Latin America, and serves entrepreneurs in that region. Since its founding in 2005 this organization has been at the forefront of the venture capital world.   Christina is a multilingual MBA who has traveled all over the world - even once hula hooping her way across Latin America. After graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Christina spent a few years traversing the world before earning her MBA and filling out hundreds of job applications to find the career that fit her best. For this ‘caffeinated career conversation’ Christina joins us all the way from sunny California, rather than Mexico City where she’s now living,  to share the story of how she got to where she is today, and what its like to work in the influential and exciting world of venture capital.
Provash Budden is Regional Director for the Americas at Mercy Corps, with 20 years of experience in international development, leading programs on land rights, access to education, economic development, violence prevention, natural resource management and support to displaced communities affected by conflict. Provash has designed and implemented programs for Mercy Corps  in Colombia and Sudan read more>>>
Dr. Deepmala Mahla is Country Director in Iraq for the global humanitarian and development NGO, Mercy Corps.  Prior to working in Iraq, Deepmala was Mercy Corps’ Country Director in South Sudan. During her 20 years in international development, Deepmala has worked for a constellation of top NGOs including Marie Stopes International, Oxfam, CARE and the Louis Berger Group.  And while she can’t imagine doing anything else, that wasn’t the case when she was an undergraduate in her native India and a triple major. Yes, that’s right -- a triple major! Back then, Deepmala thought she was going to become a bureaucrat. In fact, it was while she was studying to complete her PhD in Anthropology, specializing in Reproductive Health, that she realized she wanted to dedicate her career to helping improve the lives of the world’s most underserved communities.
Joe Bubman is the Technical Lead for Integrating Approaches in Complex Crises at one of the world’s largest humanitarian and development NGOs, Mercy Corps. Previously, Joe served as Acting Director of Peace and Conflict and as a Senior Peace and Conflict Advisor where he supported the development and implementation of conflict management programs in Africa, read more>>>
David Nicholson is the Senior Director of the Environment, Energy & Climate Change Technical Support Team (TSU) at Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian and development organization.  This team is responsible for honing Mercy Corps’ technical sector approaches and enhancing uptake across a global portfolio of development programs. Prior to joining Mercy Corps in 2012 David worked in Uganda as an energy project specialist working for the Uganda Carbon Bureau.  He has also worked at Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) supporting a Climate Change knowledge platform called InfoSpring, an integrated ICT based innovation and knowledge sharing tool for development practitioners.
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 Merc 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.
Gabriel (Gabe) Sebastian is a Program Manager in Mexico at Population Services International (PSI), a global health organization who has spent his entire life surrounded by philanthropists and social entrepreneurs all over the globe. He was born in Bolivia, and spent much of his childhood in Mozambique.  His parents were involved in philanthropy and founded a large social enterprise in Bolivia. So when it came time to go to college, Gabe thought nothing of traveling to the Netherlands to study International Business at Maastricht University.
Unlike most 11-year olds, when Corie Walsh was still a little girl she decided she wanted to become an aid worker.  Flash forward a dozen years, and today she's much closer to achieving her dream.  But when she was still in high school, Corie thought her professional dreams were unraveling. She was rejected from 9 of the 12 colleges to which she applied.  One of them included her top school -- Georgetown University.  Instead, Corie ended up going to Colorado State where she worked her butt off her freshman year and got a 4.0 which she used to transfer to the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill as a sophomore.  While at UNC Corie continued to work her butt off and double majored in Peace, War and Defense as well as Global Studies.
Sanam Rastegar speaks 5 languages -- 3 of them fluently.  She also had 3 interesting summer internships at Independent Talent Group Limited in London, Maclaren and Hermès that she believes helped her hone skills that she's putting to use now in her job as a Senior Associate at McLarty Associates, a boutique firm specializing in international strategic consulting.  In those internships, Sanam got to try her hand at marketing, merchandising and assisting other full-time employees in important tasks.

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