Laura Harwig: Director, Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, Fintrac Inc.
Laura Harwig is the Program Director of the USAID-funded Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation program where she catalyzes the expansion of private sector companies and entrepreneurs into rural, agricultural markets. Working with input providers, off takers, financial institutions, and technology firms, Laura co-designs solutions to commercialize their agriculture technologies that have so far transformed the lives of nearly 2 million smallholder farmers worldwide. She is an expert in leveraging private sector investment and market-based interventions to achieve food security goals. Prior to joining Partnering for Innovation, Laura was Vice President of Field Activities at Fintrac Inc, an international agriculture consulting firm, and oversaw implementation of farmer-focused programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Laura began her development career at William and Mary, where she studied for a year in Kenya before graduating with degrees in International Relations and Economics.
Prof. Ranjan Shrestha; Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, William and Mary
Ranjan Shrestha is a development economist whose research focuses on health and development policies, especially in Indonesia. He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics at William & Mary. Prior to joining William & Mary, he taught at the University of Montana after completing his Ph.D. in Economics from the Ohio State University. His current projects focus on evaluating the Indonesian social protection programs, such as the rice subsidy program and the health insurance program for the poor. He is also collaborating with researchers at the Indonesian National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) to study the impact of weather shocks on the incidence of poverty in the country. Furthermore, he is currently evaluating the impact of anemia on mother and child outcomes in Indonesia for the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Michelle Schopp: President, UNA-USA Peninsula Chapter
Michelle Schopp recently retired from the United States Coast Guard after serving the domestic and international maritime community for over 20 years. She currently works as Senior Analyst for the environmental consulting firm Marstel-Day, and a Sales Associate at Wild Birds Unlimited in Yorktown, VA. She serves as President of the local UNA-USA community chapter, and Resource Chair of the Newport News Green Foundation. She and her husband reside in Newport News, VA and enjoy birding, beekeeping, and gardening.
Jacqueline Westley: Manager, Forestry Investments, NatureVest, The Nature Conservancy
Jacqueline develops, launches, and manages climate-smart forestry transactions at NatureVest, The Nature Conservancy's impact investing business unit. Prior to joining NatureVest, Jacqueline was a member of Calvert Impact Capital’s (formerly known as Calvert Foundation) and RSF Social Finance’s investments teams. Her investment experience spans debt, equity, blended finance, and a wide variety of sectors and geographies. She has an MBA in Finance and Social Entrepreneurship from Duke University and a BA in Economics from the College of William & Mary.
Social Entrepreneurship Stream
Jamie Bay Nishi: Director, Global Health Technologies Coalition
Ms. Nishi is the Director of the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), the premier advocacy organization advancing policies to accelerate the creation of new drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and other tools that bring healthy lives within reach for all people. She is currently serving as a G20 Health and Development Partnership Global Ambassador, sits on the advisory board of Duke University’s Launch and Scale Speedometer and co-chairs the Global Health Council’s Multilateral Roundtable as well as the Pandemic Action Network’s Global Health Security Architecture working group. Before joining GHTC, from 2008-2017, she served in several leadership roles at Devex including Director of Membership and Managing Director of DevexLIVE. Prior to that, Jamie spent nearly three years as a Marketing Associate and then Dedicated Advisor for the Advisory Board Company and interned in the US Department of State’s Office of South Central Europe.
Meredith "Beth" Perry: Open Innovation Advisor, Innovation Hub, Democracy, Development, and Innovation Bureau, USAID
Meredith “Beth” Perry is an Open Innovation Advisor for USAID’s Innovation hub in the Bureau of Democracy, Development, and Innovation. She identifies, formulates, and spearheads open innovation tools to source creative approaches to reducing global poverty and improving human well-being. Prior to joining USAID, she worked at Resonance, DAI, and Scientists Without Borders. Meredith has degrees from Claremont McKenna College and the University of California, Berkeley.
Ana Rold: CEO and Publisher, Diplomatic Courier
Ana is an award-winning media executive with a portfolio of print and digital assets reaching five continents and 180 countries. She is the founder of Diplomatic Courier, the flagship media network and magazine for top diplomats and policy leaders around the world. For over a decade she has served as the chief editor of the G7, G20, and APEC summit publications. Her futuristic think tank, the World in 2050 has convened over 20,000 multi-stakeholders in the United States and Europe since 2012. And since 2006, Ana has taught Comparative Politics at Northeastern University, where she led two University delegations to Cyprus and Egypt through the Dialogue of Civilizations program.
Sarah Wyatt: Biodiversity Analyst, Global Environmental Facility
Sarah A. Wyatt is a Biodiversity Analyst at the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The GEF is the largest public funder of projects to protect the global environment, providing approximately one billion in funding to projects in developing countries annually. She works with small islands developing states on biodiversity projects and coordinates the GEF’s engagement with indigenous peoples and local communities. She has a Masters of Environmental Science focused on Conservation Biology and Policy from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a BS in Biology and Government from William & Mary.
Katherine Raphaelson: President, Society for International Development - Washington Chapter
Katherine Raphaelson joined SID-Washington as its president in April 2013. She previously was a director of the Gorongosa Restoration Project, a conservation and human development effort in Mozambique, which she helped manage for nearly ten years. In addition, she spent six years in association management: she founded and managed a membership association in Boston, the Massachusetts Telecommunications Council, which she built to 300 organizational members. She was later asked to return to the association to rebuild it after it had lapsed. Katherine also worked with numerous start-up companies, including International Wireless/International Online, which acquired Africa Online and ultimately became Prodigy International. She served as that organization’s vice president of international marketing. She also worked for seven years at Boston Technology, a high tech start-up which she joined as the 4th employee and helped build to 500+ people. Katherine holds a B.A. in English from Wellesley College.
Prof. Robert Rose: Executive Director, Institute for Integrative Conservation, William and Mary
Robert Rose is the Executive Director for the Institute for Integrative Conservation (IIC) at William & Mary. The IIC will be at the forefront of transformational research and education that will ultimately serve to advance sustainability efforts, solve real-world conservation issues, and train the next generation of diverse conservation leaders. Robert came to William & Mary in 2015 as the Director for the Center for Geospatial Analysis (CGA). Prior to William & Mary he spent seven years at the Wildlife Conservation Society as the Assistant Director of Conservation Support, a team that provided technical support and training to conservation programs around the globe. Robert’s interests include conservation and conservation planning, the use of GIS and remote sensing to better understand drivers of land change and broader conservation issues, the promotion of remote sensing for conservation applications and the integration of advanced and interactive geovisualization tools to better engage students in the classroom.
Laura Sauls: Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield (UK)
Laura studied International Relations and Environmental Science & Policy at the College of
William & Mary in Virginia for her BA before completing an MPhil in Development Studies at the University of Oxford (UK) in 2009. After five years working in international affairs for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS; also from William & Mary), she decided to return to academia, completing her PhD in Geography at Clark University. Subsequent to her role as a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Environmental Studies at the College of the Holy Cross, Laura joined the University of Sheffield’s Department of Geography as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in 2020. She also maintains an affiliation with the Clark University Center for the Study of Natural Resource Extraction and Society (Extractives@Clark). Her current project, “Envisioning forests past and future: contested earth observation in Mesoamerica,” examines how emerging remote sensing and near-earth observation technologies intersect with ongoing land rights struggles in the region.
Business Consulting Stream
Earl Carr: Adjunct Instructor, Center for Global Affairs, New York University | Board Director, The Global Institute for Financial Professionals
Mr. Carr possesses over twenty years of experience working in the private sector and non-profit business organizations. Currently, Earl is an Adjunct Instructor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs. From 2014-December 2020, Earl worked as a Vice President for International Research at Momentum Advisors, an international wealth management firm where his mandate was to develop and implement the global strategy and cross-border business development. Essential to his responsibilities focuses on the nexus of capital markets, public policy, and corporate strategy, to mobilize the power of capital markets. Earl joined Momentum from Morgan Stanley where he was a VP at the Institute for Sustainable Investing working as a strategist and thought leader. Outside of work, Mr. Carr is involved in the Council on Foreign Relations. Earl is a member of The National Committee on United States-China Relations. He is a Senior Advisor to The International Career Advancement Program and is a Board Director at The Global Institute of Finance Professionals and a Board Member of The Association for Diplomatic Studies & Training.
Dan Millison: Manager, Transcerdergy, LLC
Dan Millison is the Manager of Transcendergy L.L.C., a private consultancy established in 2008 to provide sustainable infrastructure solutions. He has helped mobilize well over $10 billion investment in energy and transport infrastructure, including more than $1 billion of co-financing from the Clean Technology Fund, the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program, and the Green Climate Fund. He was formerly a senior energy specialist at Asian Development Bank, and previously worked in the environmental services and upstream petroleum industries. He holds a M.S. in Civil Engineering and a B.A. in Geological Sciences, both from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Anne Simmons-Benton: Principal, Deep Water Point, LLC
Anne Simmons-Benton is a leader in international development and a champion for the economic empowerment of women. Anne is the Deputy Chair of the Society for International Development. She is the Co-head of the US delegation to the W20 and a Board Member for Mining Advisory Group-America. She is currently a Principal at Deep Water Point, LLC where she specializes in bringing private sector partners into development. Previously, as the Executive Director of Arizona State University’s International Development Office, she led the strategy and business development for ASU’s international engagement. She leveraged and connected the knowledge from ASU in education, climate change, gender, supply chains, water and sustainability to help solve complex global problems. Anne led the Trade portfolio for both DAI Global and Booz Allen Hamilton’s Foreign Affairs Business. Anne worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as Senior Trade Advisor in Washington, D.C., as a delegate to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva and as the first business advisor for USAID/Moscow. She also served at the U.S. Department of Commerce as Senior Counsel. Anne has been a licensed attorney for over 30 years. She holds a J.D. from the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C. and a B.S. Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She is married to Jonathan S. Benton, a Foreign Service Officer, and they have three adult children and three grandchildren.