Nate Bourns began learning the value of language as a 12-year-old while on a trip to Mexico with his Spanish class—and the lesson stuck. “Language opens up all sorts of windows to the world, and lets you think the way other people think,” Nate says. “Being able to see things from the local people’s perspective is essential when working in development.” This is certainly true in microfinance, which provides basic financial services—borrowing, saving, insurance, and so on—for people traditionally seen as too poor or isolated to appear as potential consumers for conventional banks.

“What really inspires me is the notion of business helping society. That is what interests me about microfinance—in microfinance you must think about the real needs of the poor and innovate around that.” — Nate Bourns

Nate helped develop and implement our portfolio of microfinance and enterprise development projects in Latin America for seven years, work that reinforced his commitment to view project beneficiaries first and foremost as clients.

Before his current job, he was deputy director of the U.S. Agency for International Development Access to Rural Finance for Microenterprises project that helped 20,000 of Mexico’s underserved rural and urban people, particularly women, access financial services. His responsibilities included managing the project, coordinating and delivering training and technical assistance to leading Mexican microfinance institutions, and analyzing the microfinance sector in Mexico. He also led the design of the project’s fund for innovation in rural and agricultural finance.

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