Colleen Green graduated from the University of Oregon in 1989 with a dual major in international studies and German. Times were different—the Cold War still figured prominently in public discourse, nuclear threats loomed, and job prospects were slim. In August 1989, Colleen began a one-year internship in the German parliament with Social Democrat Renate Schmidt from Nuremberg. Weeks later, the world changed: The Berlin Wall fell and with it, life behind the former Iron Curtain. She convinced her new boss of the unique opportunity to participate in the first free election in East Germany and then spent the next few years working and studying to support systemic change in the region. After getting her master’s degree in development economics from the Fletcher School, Colleen continued her post-graduate work in Russia and Ukraine, working to support the creation and growth of small businesses and the institutions that provide services and finance to them.

Since joining DAI in 2000, Colleen has worked on a wide range of economic growth, financial services and health projects funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.K. Department for International Development, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at expanding access to finance, particularly for micro-, small-, and medium-sized businesses and vulnerable populations. She has lent her expertise to a variety of development finance institutions (banks, microfinance institutions, credit unions, and funds), to government social safety programs, and has overseen donor-funded research on expanding financial inclusion.

Colleen has been a Team Leader and contributor to a wide variety of economic growth projects including in the areas of financial services, investment facilitation, workforce development, private sector development and agriculture. Colleen has worked in 25 countries and managed U.S.- and field-based programs including most recently from 2011-2015 when she served as Chief of Party for the Economic Strengthening for Households Affected by AIDS (IMARISHA) project in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, a project that supported local institutions to provide savings-led financial services, business training, and job creation services to HIV-affected households.

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