Katja Silva-Leander is Senior Director of Business Growth for DAI UK, bringing more than 20 years of experience working in the financial services and international development fields. Previously, she headed up the Economic Growth and the Development Finance practices in the United Kingdom. She comes from a family of international development practitioners. Her Chilean father and Swedish mother both set the path for their children after working many years at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in Paris. With her brother subsequently at the United Nations Development Programme and her sister at the World Bank, Katja was initially the only one to choose a different career as she went into investment banking after graduating from business school. But after five years at Credit Suisse in London, she decided to go back to school and re-train as an international development practitioner. After graduating from Columbia University, she went on to work for several international organizations, including the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

Since changing careers, Katja has specialized in inclusive economic growth, covering many related areas, including business enabling environment, market systems development, and financial sector development. In addition, she has worked on several challenge funds—matching grant schemes that use a venture capital approach to invest in bottom-of-the-pyramid business models. Before joining DAI, she also worked for an impact investor looking at equity and debt investments in similar types of business models.

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