InterAction Forum 2018 General Sessions


Opening General Session

Wednesday, June 13  |  8:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Courage of Our Convictions

We live in tumultuous times. Despite advances in in education, health and incomes, there remains a widespread precariousness for many across the world due to worsening inequality and economic disruptions, natural disasters and poor government policies. Additionally, the number of conflicts is increasing, resulting in more than 135 million people currently in need of humanitarian assistance. It is within these global conditions that the voice and actions of individuals who stand for the courage of their convictions are even more important. They remind us of our values and can give rise to movements that help us maintain our common humanity. This plenary session will spotlight persons who have had the quality of mind and spirit to act or behave in accordance with their beliefs and ideologies, often in the face of resistance, criticism or persecution.

KeynoteCarrie Hessler-Radelet

Carrie Hessler-Radelet is the President & CEO of Project Concern International (PCI). PCI is a global development organization working with families and communities to enhance health, end hunger and overcome hardship in 18 countries. Hessler-Radelet served as Director of the Peace Corps (2012-2017) and served as Deputy Director beginning in 2010. She has spent decades leading global health efforts with John Snow, Inc. (JSI), consulting on programs for USAID and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). She also founded the Special Olympics in The Gambia and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Western Samoa. Carrie holds a Master of Science in Health Policy and Management from Harvard University.

SpotlightEmily Bove

Emily Bove is the Executive Director of Women Thrive Alliance, a leading global feminist advocacy network that unites and mobilizes hundreds of grassroots women’s rights and gender equality organizations in over 50 countries. Having joined Women Thrive in 2014 as a program director, Emily transformed a group of a dozen local partners into a vibrant 300-plus global community of advocates committed to making gender equality a reality. Prior to joining Women Thrive, Emily led gender programming work at the German Technical Cooperation (GIZ), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Bank, in Indonesia, Cameroon, and Saint Lucia. Emily is the 2018 recipient of the One World Award for Feminist Leadership in International Philanthropy. She has been featured in Huffington Post, News Deeply, Philanthropy Women, Ms Blog, and the Inspirational Women Series.

SpotlightMegan Nobert

Megan Nobert is a Canadian born legal professional and academic specialized in international criminal law and human rights. As a humanitarian, Nobert worked in in the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and South Sudan on issues of humanitarian law and gender-based violence. In 2015, Nobert founded Report the Abuse, whose mandate was to end the silence on sexual violence against humanitarian aid workers. The organization has been instrumental in breaking down barriers within the humanitarian community, inspiring survivors of sexual violence to speak up and creating the first good practices tools to assist humanitarian organizations address sexual violence against their staff.

PanelistShawna Bader-Blau

Shawna Bader-Blau leads the Solidarity Center, the largest global worker rights organization based in the United States. Since October 2011, she has served as executive director of an organization of more than 220 staff in Washington, D.C., and 26 field offices, implementing programs in about 60 countries. Shawna is an advocate and activist for safe, dignified and family-supporting livelihoods—where workers can exercise their fundamental labor rights and have a voice in shaping work conditions and public policies that impact their lives. She is a leading advocate helping link the human rights community with the labor movement’s struggle to protect worker rights. She works to ensure that worker rights issues are part of policy discussions on international development and within the women’s movement and broader civil society. Shawna regularly testifies as an expert on worker and human rights at U.S. congressional briefings and hearings. She organizes and co-convenes discussions on the protection of worker rights in times of closing space and increased impunity, bringing together rights defenders, workers, UN agencies, governments and labor unions to find common solutions. Shawna has worked in the field of international development and human rights for 17 years and has lived or worked in more than 25 countries. Prior to her appointment as executive director, Shawna served as the Solidarity Center’s regional program director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). She holds a master’s degree from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

PanelistDonald Steinberg

Donald Steinberg is a special advisor to the global non-profit, World Learning, having served as its president and CEO from 2013-17.  He is also a Bildner Teaching Fellow at Dartmouth College, senior advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and senior fellow at InterAction, promoting diversity and inclusion of member organizations.  In his 40-year career in diplomacy, development, and peacebuilding, he served as Deputy Administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, Ambassador to Angola, Special Assistant to the President for African Affairs, White House Deputy Press Secretary, Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and Deputy President of International Crisis Group.  He has received numerous Presidential, State Department and USAID distinguished service awards, InterAction’s Leet Award for gender inclusion, and a Pulitzer fellowship.  He has published more than 100 articles on global development; conflict transformation; gender/disability/LGBT equality; and related topics.  He holds masters in journalism from Columbia University and political economy from University of Toronto, and a bachelors in development economics from Reed College.

General Session

Wednesday, June 13  |  10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

State of Transformation: Adapting to the Changing Roles of our Sector

With the rise of the private sector in the international development and humanitarian space, international NGOs, civil society, multilaterals, and donors are rethinking how they relate and work together. This panel discussion will explore how today’s shifting environment is driving NGOs, the UN, USAID, and others to evaluate their systems, structures, and approaches to adapt to an increasingly complex, global environment. Speakers will share how their organizations are transforming in ways that embrace innovation and new types of collaborations to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.

PanelistEduardo A. Martinez

Eduardo A. Martinez is President of the UPS Foundation and UPS’ Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. He is responsible for the operations and management of UPS’ global philanthropic, employee engagement, corporate relations and diversity and inclusion programs. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Ed represents UPS on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Humanitarian Response and serves as UPS Executive Liaison to the Council of Independent Colleges. He is also a member of the Corporate Advisory Board for The National Council of La Raza, corporate liaison to the Points of Light Institutes’ Service Council, Chair of the Corporate Development Council for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Volunteer Effort. He is also Co-chair of the National Academy of Sciences “Resilient America” program and Chair of IAVE’s Global Corporate Volunteer Council. Ed currently serves on Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reeds’ Mayoral Service Board. Ed is a member of the American Bar Association, Florida Bar and Hispanic National Bar Association.

PanelistKaren Smith

Karen Smith works with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Coordination Division as a Business Partnership Advisor working with companies to improve humanitarian effectiveness before, during and after response and through the Connecting Business initiative (CBi). She has deployed on emergency assignments as the private sector focal point for the Typhoon Haiyan response in the Philippines and the Ebola response in West Africa. Karen has also worked with the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, UN Department of Peacekeeping (DPKO) in New York, and several NGOs. Karen holds a MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice from the University of Bath, a Partnership Certificate from Cambridge University, and a BA in International Development Studies from the University of Toronto.

PanelistGloria Steele

Gloria Steele is the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Asia Bureau. A career member of the U.S. Senior Executive Service, Gloria Steele was USAID Mission Director for the Philippines and the Pacific Islands prior to her appointment as Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Asia. Prior to her position in Manila, Steele served as the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Global Health where she oversaw an average annual health program budget of $1.5 billion and a staff of 240. From 2001-2004, she served as Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia. She also worked for seven years in the Bureau for Africa as an agricultural economist, and seven years in the Bureau for Science and Technology.

PanelistBruno Vandemeulebroecke

Bruno Vandemeulebroecke is the Deputy Global Logistics Cluster Coordinator, since July 2017 and previously Emergency Response Coordinator and Head of Logistics for various international NGO’s. Over the years Bruno has been working on a variety of topics and crises ranging from Public Private Partnership creation to response structure creation and working in or supporting operations in Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Nepal and more. He has shifted regularly between the humanitarian and the private sector where he worked in project management and organizational development. Bruno is a Political Scientist by training.

ModeratorHeather Higginbottom

Heather Higginbottom serves as CARE USA’s Chief Operating Officer. She leads overall operations throughout the organization and is responsible for day-to-day execution of CARE USA’s strategy, including the Campaign 2020 initiative. Prior to joining CARE, Heather served as the first female Deputy Secretary of State and managed operations and foreign assistance programming for the State Department and USAID. Prior to joining the State Department, Heather was Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget where she served as the chief operating officer and a principal architect of the federal budget, and as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Heather has also held senior positions on Capitol Hill and on two presidential campaigns. Heather holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Rochester and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the George Washington University.

General Session

Thursday, June 14  |  9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

INGO Impact Investment Competition with Keynote by USAID Administrator Mark Green

Keynote Address

Administrator Green is reengineering and advancing the way the Government does business as the private sector becomes the driver and sustainer of development. He sees NGOs as a key partner in the USAID’s humanitarian and other efforts, helping promote a country’s journey to self-reliance. Join the conversation as Green shares how USAID is rethinking how international development and other initiatives are designed and tested, financed and rolled out.

INGO Impact Investment Competition

Innovative financing for development and humanitarian programs offers INGOs new ways to mobilize capital and amplify their impact beyond traditional grant-based financing. Several InterAction members have already invested in initiatives that generate both financial and social returns, and many others are eager to explore and experiment. This session will consist of three friendly pitch presentations in order to showcase and demonstrate the variety of approaches, instruments, roles, and rates of return that newcomers to this space can expect. We invite the audience to consider what your organization might pitch, and how new ways of financing social change could support your mission and strategy.

Mark Green


Ambassador Mark Green (ret.) was sworn in as the 18th Administrator in August 2017. Prior to joining USAID, he served as president of the International Republican Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing democracy and human liberty around the world. He has also served as president and chief executive officer of the Initiative for Global Development, a nonprofit organization that engages corporate leaders to reduce poverty through business growth and investment in Africa. Green served as the U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania from mid-2007 to early 2009. Prior to serving as U.S. Ambassador, Green served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Wisconsin’s 8th District. Green is currently serving his third term on the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, having been appointed to that post by President Barack Obama in 2010. Green holds a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

JudgeAlexis Bonnell

Alexis Bonnell is the Division Chief of Applied Innovation and Acceleration in the U.S. Global Development Lab of USAID. Alexis has delivered humanitarian and development programming in over 25 countries, in almost every sector from education to stabilization. Her more than 20 years of experience in management and communications has provided her incredible opportunities to work on/with: Wall Street, “Dot.coms”, Middle East Peace Plan, Afghan and Iraq Elections, global emergency response coordination and major logistics operations. Her focus is how to leverage science, technology, innovation, and partnership for greater impact. Alexis founded the Global Innovation Exchange, and has been lucky enough to see USAID invest in more than 1,000 social innovators and entrepreneurs.

JudgeAmbassador John A. Simon

Ambassador John A. Simon is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Total Impact Capital (TOTAL). TOTAL is an impact investing firm that works with partners to structure, market, and manage financing vehicles focused on scaling high impact interventions, mobilizing hundreds of millions of dollars into such vehicles. He is also Vice Chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Prior to starting Total and joining the Medical Credit Fund, Ambassador Simon was a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development, where he co-authored More than Money, a report on impact investing as a development tool. Previously, Ambassador Simon held a variety of posts in the US federal government, including serving as the United States Ambassador to the African Union, the Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Relief, Stabilization, and Development at the White House.

JudgeBob Webster

Bob Webster is the Managing Partner, Impact Investing Strategy at Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF). He sits on SEAF’s Global Investment Committee, which approves all new investments, restructurings, exits and ongoing valuations. Bob also manages the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund, focusing investments on SMEs in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Bob has over 20 years of impact investing experience in emerging markets, including for SEAF and the Grassroots Business Fund. He has also advised on impact investing and small business risk capital, fund strategy and design, due diligence and structuring, capital and grant raises, and fund management. Bob is an active impact investing trainer, including for the Global Impact Investing Network and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs. He also serves as investor-in-residence for Santa Clara University’s social enterprise accelerator program. Bob holds an MBA in Finance and a BA in Mathematics from Indiana University. He also completed Harvard University’s Financial Institutions for Private Enterprise Development Executive Program.

PresenterMary Kate Costello

Mary Kate Costello is the Senior Policy Analyst and UN Representative for The Hunger Project. She joined The Hunger Project family in August 2014. Previously, she was a Fellow for the Alliance for International Youth Development – in partnership with InterAction – and the Executive Program Director for Youth Futures International (YFI) in Ghana. As Senior Policy Analyst, Mary Kate is responsible for The Hunger Project’s global advocacy, namely multilateral diplomacy with the UN and World Bank, and active participation in various civil society coalitions. This includes prioritizing women-centered programming, proving sustainable impact from partnerships with local government, and influencing policy environments that enable youth engagement and integrated development approaches. As The Hunger Project's in-house youth expert, she is also the lead for design and investments for their new Youth Engagement Strategy. Mary Kate holds a BA in Political Science and minors in Eastern European Studies and “Faith, Peace and Justice” from Boston College. She also studied Third World politics and ethics in government at the University of Cape Town. She is a candidate for her Master of Arts in International Relations at the School of International Studies at American University.

PresenterRick Kellett

Rick Kellett has more than 20 years of experience managing investments and international development programs in Central Asia and Africa. He currently leads Impact Investing at Lutheran World Relief where he has been responsible for introducing impact investing as a means of augmenting traditional grant-based programs. During the late ‘90’s and early 2000’s he managed a diverse portfolio of private equity investments in the US, Italy, Belarus, and Kazakhstan that ranged from technology start-ups to industrial manufacturing enterprises. During the 2008 Financial Crisis, he led a series of work-outs on a portfolio of public equity investments in the former Soviet Union and Mongolia. Mr. Kellett began his career with the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to Uzbekistan in 1992. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Global Finance from the New School University.

PresenterChris Walker

Chris Walker is the Social Innovations Director at Mercy Corps and 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. Chris is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he teaches a graduate course on impact investing and innovative finance. Previously, Chris was the head of the Innovative Finance Program at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, where he designed and built initiatives that attracted investment capital to address malnutrition. He also led the creation of the Access to Nutrition Index, a ranking of the world’s largest food and beverage companies on their nutrition practices. Chris was previously a Fellow with Acumen, a non-profit social venture capital fund, and worked for Ziqitza Health Care, in Mumbai, India. He has also worked at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Treasury Department, and the State Department. Chris has a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University and a BA from Williams College.

Closing General Session

Thursday, June 14  |  2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Climate Change and Civil Society Leadership: Let’s Step Up

Climate change is a real and constant threat to the sustainability of critical gains in human development and to the protection of the planet. As we face new environmental pressures that exacerbate current crises and create new challenges, we must focus on how to directly assist those in need and coordinate people centered solutions. This plenary will examine civil society’s role in identifying and mobilizing climate change solutions at a time when our federal government is withdrawing from multi-lateral approaches. It will also help us learn from and be inspired by activists who are driving action from communities and up through political systems.

PanelistKate Brown

Kate Brown is the Executive Director of the Global Island Partnership, a platform that enables island leaders and their supporters to take action to build resilient and sustainable island communities. Kate is a passionate advocate for islands. She is a valued and trusted international partnership and collaboration leader, with a unique ability to connect dots for issues and people. Kate has extensive experience in all island regions globally, and brings an extensive network of island leaders, blue sky thinkers and people dedicated to supporting islands. Kate has experience working inside government, non-profits and intergovernmentally as well as a keen sense of the most important elements of the international policy setting space relevant to islands as well as what is needed for implementation to happen. A strategic thinker who is able to present clear ideas and set up the right conditions for collaboration to thrive. Kate is originally from New Zealand and lived for eight years in Apia, Samoa. Kate now resides in Washington DC with her family.

PanelistJulie Cerqueira

Julie Cerqueira is the inaugural Executive Director of the U.S. Climate Alliance, where she helps to advance the climate and clean energy policy priorities of the Alliance’s Governors and their offices. Ms. Cerqueira most recently served as a Senior Advisor to the Special Envoy for Climate Change, later joining the Office of Global Change, both with the U.S. Department of State.  In this role, she led U.S. engagement in strategic partnerships, such as the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, helped launch high profile climate deliverables for North America and the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, and led the Department’s engagement with sub-national governments on climate change, amongst other priorities.  Prior to her work in the federal government, Ms. Cerqueira worked with developing countries on designing and implementing sectoral climate policies at a climate think tank, and spent four years in Southeast Asia working with local communities, governments and the private sector on environmental projects and promoting policy reforms.

PanelistPablo Méndez-Lázaro

Dr. Pablo Méndez-Lázaro was born and raised in Puerto Rico, USA. Pablo is currently an Associate Professor and the Coordinator for the Master’s Degree program at the Department of Environmental Health of the University of Puerto Rico, Graduate School of Public Health. During the last 10 years, he has been involved in multiple research studies regarding extreme weather events and their impact on public health and resilience in Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and the continental US. He is an Executive Member of the Puerto Rico Climate Change Council and a Co-author of the US Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) for the Caribbean Region (Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands). During the 2017 Caribbean hurricane season, he was involved in relief and recovery efforts impacting communities in US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Following these efforts, he was invited to join Oxfam America’s first delegation of responders from Puerto Rico to travel to Washington D.C. to help educate key Members of Congress and their staff about the Puerto Rico emergency. More recently, he was recognized by the Premier of the British Virgin Islands for his contribution to relief and recovery efforts as a first responder in the British Virgin Islands.

ModeratorMark Tercek

Mark Tercek is president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, the global conservation organization known for its intense focus on collaboration and getting things done for the benefit of people and nature. He is the author of the Washington Post and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling book Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature. Growing up as a city kid in Cleveland, Mark was a late-bloomer to conservation. It was becoming a parent that sparked his passion for nature. “I want to be able to look my kids in the eye,” he says, “and tell them I did all I could to leave the world a better place.” A former managing director and Partner for Goldman Sachs, where he spent 24 years, Mark brings deep business experience to his role leading the Conservancy. He is a champion of the idea of natural capital — valuing nature for its own sake as well as for the services it provides for people, such as clean air and water, productive soils and a stable climate.

Highlights from:  Forum 2018 | Forum 2017 | Forum 2016 | Forum 2015 | Forum 2014 | Forum 2013