DAI Conference Highlighted by Addresses from CEO James Boomgard and Former USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah

October 07, 2016

The DAI Global Staff Conference launched Monday, October 3, convening more than 600 staff from DAI headquarters in Washington and London and from project locations all over the world. The weeklong conference in Washington welcomed an array of guests to help DAI staff celebrate successes, absorb lessons learned from across the company’s portfolio, and discuss ways to improve collaboration and deepen the impact of projects worldwide.

On Monday, DAI experts in economic growth, environment, governance, global health, and other technical areas met to compare activities, share viewpoints, and prepare for the week.

On Tuesday, guest speaker Rajiv Shah, photo left, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development from 2010 to 2015, and a current Distinguished Fellow at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, noted that “we work in tough, fragile, and difficult settings far away from here because it is in [the United States’] interest and because it is a reflection of our values.”

Shah discussed international development and how it will change moving forward based on science, technology, innovation, and private sector investments, which are critical to scaling results, as well as the experience of organizations working in fragile states where extreme poverty, violence, and injustice too often stifles human growth and opportunity.

From left, DAI co-founder and former CEO Don Mickelwait, former CEO Tony Barclay, Board Chair Betsey Nelson, and CEO James Boomgard reflect on DAI's 46-year history and share their thoughts on the way forward in international development.

DAI President and CEO James Boomgard then delivered the keynote, which reaffirmed the centrality of DAI’s development mission to the company and its employee owners. “Development is the reason we do everything that we do at DAI,” he said. “It has always been that way, and I intend for it to always be that way.”

The DAI Global Staff Conference continued Wednesday and Thursday, with panel discussions and workshops delving into political economy analysis, domestic resource mobilization, resiliency, innovation, ICT, global health climate change, land tenure, and countering violent extremism, among more than 80 sessions on the agenda.

Ting Shih, founder and CEO of ClickMedix and a winner of the DAI Innovation into Action Challenge, discusses her health services application with the other Challenge winners, from left, Ben Grimley, CEO of Speak Agent; DAI's Caity Campos, representing Laboratoria Mexico; and Phil Hughes, founder of Mavuno Harvest.

In addition to the addresses by Shah and Boomgard, plenary sessions were presented on DAI business units, the David H. Gunning Awards for Commmunity Service, and reflections by DAI’s past and present leaders. Other large presentations and discussions examined DAI’s global operating model, updates on client regulations and best practices, managing for development results, and results thus far by the DAI Maker Lab.

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