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 system 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, assisting the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in building organizations for the Russian stock exchange, reforming former state-owned enterprises, and helping small businesses register, expand, and gain access to finance.

Since joining DAI in 2000, Colleen has worked on a wide range of economic growth, financial services and health projects funded by USAID, 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 worked in close to 25 countries and managed large U.S.- and field-based programs including most recently from 2011-2015 when she served as Chief of Party for the USAID 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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