ORG: the business of development
I am currently the Chief of Party for the Global Broadband and Innovation Alliance (GBI), a collaboration between USAID and NetHope to leverage ICT to support socioeconomic development across USAID priority countries. GBI capitalizes on efficiencies that are introduced through technology to achieve USAID’s core objectives in health, humanitarian response, democracy and governance, economic growth and digital financial services, gender equality, education, and emerging technology platforms and trends. While I have day-to-day responsibilities for current and future GBI programs, I also oversee several of the core GBI operational activities, monitoring and evaluation, impact assessment, communications, and staffing, as well as collaboration with donor agencies, universities, think tanks, foundations, government agencies, and 50 NetHope members. I also directly manage the Women and the Web Alliance, which keeps me involved in my primary ICTD passion of gender and technology (pictures below).
EDU: training "academic practitioners" in ICTD
In 2010, I launched the first dedicated master's program in ICTD in the United States at the University of Colorado's ATLAS Institute. Five incredible cohorts of students, coming from over 20 academic disciplines, came to Boulder to become "academic practitioners" -- hybrid technical experts and social scientists who combine these skills to create and advocate for appropriate, sustainable and equitable community change through access and use of ICT. The ten-course program included the core sequence of ICTD Case Studies, Global Development courses, social entrepreneurship, methods, telecommunications and computer science courses, as well as a development domain-specific elective. The hallmark of the program, in addition to the inclusive and interdisciplinary curriculum, was the semester-long field practicum our students conduct with development organizations around the world. Students have gone on to work for the World Bank, USAID, Digital Villages, the FCC, Inveneo, IPAL, World Vision, Dimagi, ReIntegra, National Center for Women and IT, TetraTech, and gone on to pursue Ph.D. options. Some student practicum project examples:
COM: building a foundation
A decade at Microsoft and Microsoft Research (MSR), followed by a Microsoft Graduate Research Fellowship at MSR Labs, India, gave me a strong technical background as well as professional flexibility. I spent five years in product groups (Windows, BackOffice Server, Exchange, Emerging Technologies) and five years in research managing larger research outreach programs in undergraduate research, technology transfer and gender equity. In MSR, I pushed to study female retention and promotion within the company, which then led to a much deeper inquiry of gender and technology in the U.S. context. From here, I worked with leading gender and technology organizations and researchers to create programs to positively affect all education levels by offering girls and women creative on ramps into computing and IT opportunities. At the apex of this work, I was invited to testify on gender and technology pipeline issues before Congress, and began exploring the gender and technology divides in emerging economies, which dovetailed into the work Microsoft Research was starting in this new field of ICTD. My gender and technology work that began at Microsoft and continues is featured in this video from the 2012 Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision award for Social Impact.