2022 Speakers Coming Soon!

2021 Development Conference Speakers


  Samantha Power
Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
In leading the world’s premier international development agency and its global staff of over 10,000 people, Power will focus on helping the United States respond to four interconnected challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic and the development gains it has imperiled; climate change; conflict and humanitarian crises; and democratic backsliding. Power will also ensure that USAID enhances its longstanding leadership in areas including food security, education, women’s empowerment, and global health. Additionally, Power is the first USAID Administrator to be a member of the National Security Council, where she will ensure that development plays a critical role in America’s responses to a range of economic, humanitarian, and geopolitical issues.
  Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX)
Chairman of International Development, International Organizations And Global Corporate Social Impact Subcommittee
House Foreign Affairs Committee

Joaquin Castro was born in San Antonio, Texas on september 16, 1974. A second generation Mexican American, he was raised on the city’s west side and is a proud product of the public school system. Joaquin has worked hard to seize the opportunities created by the sacrifices of his grandmother and prior generations. After finishing high school a year early, Joaquin left San Antonio to graduate with honors from Stanford University in 1996. He then went on to attend Harvard Law School where he received his Juris Doctorate degree in 2000. Upon his return to San Antonio at 28 years old, Joaquin joined a private law practice and was elected to the Texas Legislature. He served five terms as state representative for District 125. Now in his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Joaquin serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee. He was the 2013 Co-President for the House freshman Democrats and currently serves as Chair of the Texas Democratic Caucus.
  Erin Brown
Interim Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion Coordinator, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Erin Brown is the United States Agency for International Development’s Interim Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator where she works collaboratively across the Agency to advance DEIA across the Agency’s people, policy, practices, programs, and partnerships. A strategy and organizational transformation subject matter expert with 22 years of experience in the public and private sectors, Ms. Brown joined the United States Agency for International Development in 2012 as a Franklin Fellow after 13 years in the private sector where she led medium and large-scale strategic planning, business process improvement, and organizational change management initiatives for defense and civilian government agencies.  Prior to joining USAID, Ms. Brown was a Senior Principal at the Hay Group, a global management consulting firm, where she led the Building Effective Organizations Practice in the Federal Sector.y.
  Michael Metzler
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator Michael Metzler oversees DDI’s Private Sector Engagement Hub, the Center for Economics and Market Development, and manages the Agency’s relationship with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. Mr. Metzler was previously the Executive Director of DDI’s Private Sector Engagement (PSE) Hub. Previously, Mr. Metzler was the Director of USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA)  in which he successfully led efforts that mobilized over $6 billion of new financing for development projects in over 80 countries.  He was also a leading Agency voice on the development of the BUILD Act, which created the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and managed the successful merger of the DCA office and program into the DFC.
  Roman Napoli
Policy Director, U.S. Office of Foreign Assistance, U.S. Department of State
Roman Napoli, in his role as Policy Director in the Office of Foreign Assistance’s Policy and Analysis Directorate, is leading the State Department’s efforts to respond to E.O. 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities as it relates to foreign assistance. Throughout his Federal Service, Mr. Napoli has held multiple senior USAID and State Department positions and operated as an integral part of USAID’s leadership team. He previously co-lead USAID’s Transformation for the Office of Budget and Resource Management; Policy, Planning, and Learning Bureau; and served as USAID’s first Deputy Program Management Improvement Officer. In addition, Mr. Napoli previously served in Congress and held multiple positions in the White House, including as a Senior Advisor to the President’s Coordinator of Federal Support for the Recovery and Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. 
  Indira Ahluwalia
Founder and President, KAUR Strategies and Founder/Chair of the REE Task Force
Indira Ahluwalia has founded, led, and advised organizations and coached leaders to strengthen equity, effectiveness, and achievement. Indira founded KAUR Strategies in 2017 to facilitate authentic, strategic, and transformative growth through advisory and coaching services. Previously, Indira led Development & Training Services, Inc. (dTS) to inculcate equality, accountability, and sustainability in 90 countries. In 2015, Indira facilitated the acquisition of dTS by Palladium where she remains a Senior Advisor. Recently, Indira founded and chairs the Task Force for Race and Ethnic Equity (REE) which is developing a pledge to advance racial and ethnic diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in US based international development organizations. Indira has served as the Chairperson of the Small Business Association for International Companies (SBAIC), and was a co-founder of the Council of International Development Companies (CIDC). 
  Sue Chodakewitz
CEO, Nathan
Susan Chodakewitz, a highly recognized and accomplished senior executive with a proven track record of turning around, building, and growing businesses, joined Nathan as president and chief operating officer in May 2015. In her capacity as president and CEO, Ms. Chodakewitz is restructuring, rebranding, and repositioning the firm to promote growth and diversification of offerings and clients, and refresh the corporate culture. Ms. Chodakewitz also serves on the Nathan Board of Directors and is Chair of the Board of Nathan London. Her success lies in her ability to operate at strategic and tactical levels, work across numerous stakeholder communities, and communicate and motivate through both written and oral communication. She possesses a very broad and diverse portfolio of accomplishments, having worked with the Federal Government and commercial industry, as well as international NGOs and non-profits. Before becoming Nathan’s president and chief executive officer, Ms. Chodakewitz served eight years as president of Tetra Tech AMT, an aviation management and IT subsidiary of Tetra Tech Inc., a multibillion-dollar consulting firm. She positioned the subsidiary as a premiere provider of aerospace and technology services, and broadened the client base in U.S. federal, commercial, and international markets. In 2010 the firm was named “FAA Large Business of the Year.”
  Kate Eltrich
President, KAE Strategic, LLC
Kate Eltrich draws on over 20 years of experience in the legislative and executive branches to assist clients on a range of policy and business development matters, with an emphasis on helping clients anticipate legislative and regulatory actions and execute strategies to succeed in a restrained budget environment. Kate’s expertise has guided clients to plan for the current budget caps and sequestration, and to successfully advocate against proposed spending cuts. Recently, Kate has used her experience overseeing the State Department’s educational and cultural exchange programs to lead a coalition in support of valuable public diplomacy programs. Americans for Cultural Exchange was a finalist for the PIEoneer of the Year Award, for innovations in the field of international education. Read more.
  Shiro Gnanaselvam
CEO, Social Impact
Shiro has spent her 30+ year career working to make international development programs and the entities that fund them more effective and impactful.  As the CEO of Social Impact (SI), Shiro develops and executes SI’s corporate strategy and leads its global staff to advance the effectiveness of programs funded by clients such as USAID, MCC and the Department of State. She has been at the forefront of charting SI’s growth as a global management consulting firm that advances development effectiveness through monitoring, evaluation, strategic planning, and capacity building services. Prior to Social Impact, she worked in a variety of international development organizations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. At the Millennium Challenge Corporation she oversaw results planning, measurement and reporting for a $7 billion portfolio of investments and was at the forefront of shaping MCC’s approach to data transparency. At PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM, she led projects for USAID where she was instrumental in supporting efforts to that built a strong foundation for planning, measurement and reporting. Early in her career, during her tenure at the World Bank, she supported the design and implementation of public sector reform projects in a number of African countries. Shiro is passionate about building high performing, diverse and inclusive teams, using data to drive decision making, and mentoring and coaching the next generation of leaders in international development. She was born and raised in Sri Lanka and moved to the US to get her BA from Bryn Mawr College. She also has an MPA from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and an MBA from the Smith School at the University of Maryland. She resides in the DC metro area with her husband and two teenage children.
  Robert Kaplan
Marvin Bower Professor Of Leadership Development, Emeritus, Harvard Business School
Robert S. Kaplan is Senior Fellow and Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Emeritus at the Harvard Business School. He joined the HBS faculty in 1984 after spending 16 years on the faculty of the business school at Carnegie-Mellon University, where he served as Dean from 1977 to 1983. Kaplan has co-developed both activity-based costing (ABC) and the Balanced Scorecard (BSC), widely recognized as seminal contributions to management theory and practice. His current research applies these two innovations to important problems at the intersection of business and society. Since 2010, he has collaborated with Michael Porter on the HBS Value Based Health Care initiative, enabling time-driven activity-based costing to become a global standard for health care costing. He and Porter have become leading advocates to replace fee-for-service with value-based bundled payments to motivate providers to deliver superior patient outcomes at lower societal cost. In 2021, Kaplan partnered with Oxford professor Karthik Ramanna to create the E-liability method, the first system to accurately measure and report corporate greenhouse gas emissions across corporate supply and distribution chains. The approach, readily extendible to societal and other environmental outcomes, is the first rigorous approach for ESG reporting.
  Annie Kneedler
Sr. Director, Corporate Responsibility , Cargill
Annie Kneedler is a Sr. Director in Cargill’s Corporate Responsibility team where she advises businesses on shared value strategies, leads global programs and partnerships such as Hatching Hope (www.hatchinghopeglobal.org) and connects donors, impact investors and other stakeholders with Cargill businesses. Annie’s career has spanned both the public and private sectors. She has been with Cargill for twelve years working in the Corporate Strategy & Development team, in commercial roles in the McDonald’s customer team and in Cargill Animal Nutrition & Health’s global risk management and sourcing team. She also served as the Business Operations and Supply Chain Director for Cargill’s U.S. Animal Nutrition business building and leading an integrated supply chain team across 60 locations and 1,400 teammates. Prior to joining Cargill, Annie worked in the agriculture supply chain in Africa, first as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea, then on USAID-funded projects to increase agricultural exports, and finally working in Ghana to build the policy framework and supply chain to grow horticulture exports. Annie holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the University of Michigan.  Annie and her husband live in Takoma Park, Maryland with their 2 sons. 
  Lisa Manley
Vice President, Sustainability, Mars Incorporated
Lisa Manley is Vice President of Sustainability at Mars, Incorporated, responsible for overseeing the Thriving People pillar of the company’s global Sustainable in a Generation Plan. This portfolio of initiatives is focused on respecting human rights, increasing incomes for smallholder farmers and unlocking opportunities for women across the company’s value chain. Lisa joined Mars in 2017 to refine and help launch the ambitious Sustainable in a Generation Plan. Since its launch, she has worked to build momentum for the Plan through integrated sustainability strategies, dynamic communications, uncommon collaboration with NGO partners, diverse stakeholder engagements and visible leadership. 

Lester Munson
Principal, International Practice, BGR Group
Lester Munson is a Principal in the International Practice at BGR Group, a leading government relations firm in Washington, D.C., where he consults with foreign governments, corporations and advocacy groups. His work has focused on sovereign clients in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. Lester leads BGR’s foreign assistance practice, which provides advisory and government relations services to companies, advocacy groups and non-governmental organizations in the international aid policy area. As a former senior USAID official and veteran of multiple congressional committees, Lester provides clients with unique knowledge, skills and abilities to advance their goals. Lester joined BGR Group in November 2015 after a 26-year career on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch. He was most recently Staff Director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he led policy, oversight, legislative and communications efforts for a staff of 25 and negotiated committee priorities with the White House, the State Department and Congressional leadership.
  Krish O'Mara Vignarajah
President and CEO, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah is the President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). She previously served in the Obama White House as Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama and at the State Department as Senior Advisor under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State John Kerry. At the White House, Krish led the First Lady’s signature Let Girls Learn initiative. At the State Department, she coordinated development and implementation of multiple programs including those concerning refugees and migration, engagement with religious communities, the legal dimensions of U.S. foreign policy, and regional issues relating to Africa and the Middle East. Before joining the White House, Krish practiced law at Jenner & Block in Washington, DC, clerked for Chief Judge Michael Boudin on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and taught at Georgetown University as an adjunct. She holds a B.S. in Molecular Biology and an M.A. in Political Science from Yale College, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an M.Phil in International Relations from Oxford University (Marshall Scholarship). Krish has been recognized as one of The Daily Record’s Top 50 Influential Marylanders and Top 100 Women.
  Eduardo Tugendhat
Director, Thought Leadership, Palladium
Throughout his 36-year career, Eduardo has designed and executed market-led approaches to accelerate inclusive economic growth and generate employment opportunities. He is a recognized expert in the areas of inclusive supply chain solutions and has particular expertise in crafting and managing public-private alliances. He has worked in a total of 64 countries generating private sector investments and transforming value chains across industries ranging from agriculture to financial services. Eduardo was co-founder and CEO of CARANA Corporation, now part of Palladium. Prior to Palladium and CARANA, Eduardo was a senior management consultant at Arthur D. Little. He has an AB from Harvard University and an MA from University of Wisconsin.