Partnerships Practitioners Forum:

Transforming Ideas into Impact


Agenda and Session Descriptions

As part of Global Partnerships Week, the U.S. Department of State Secretary's Office of Global Partnerships, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Concordia welcome you to join us for a Partnerships Practitioners Forum on March 9, 2015.

This is an invite only event. For more information please contact

8:30AM - 9:00AM


9:00AM - 9:30AM 

Lightning Networking Session

9:30AM - 10:00AM

Welcome and Opening Remarks


Opening Video:

  • The Honorable John F. Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State


  • Andrew O’Brien, Special Representative for Global Partnerships, Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships, U.S. State Department
  • Ann Mei Chang, Executive Director, U.S. Global Development Lab, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Matthew A. Swift, Chairman, Co-founder and Interim CEO, Concordia

10:00AM - 11:00AM

Opening Plenary Panel


New Approaches and Innovations in Partnership

The concept of public private partnerships is not new, but in the 21st century, these partnerships have evolved and are taking on a new significance around the world in development, diplomacy, national security, and other domains.  Partnerships now provide a platform for achieving impact and innovation that individual sectors and actors could not accomplish alone.  This panel discussion will focus on what are new and innovative approaches that are being done through PPPs.   Panelists will discuss important trends in partnerships and innovation, including challenges and crowdsourcing, collective action, and innovative financing models.


  • Thomas Debass, Deputy Special Representative for Global Partnerships, U.S. State Department


  • Jennifer Gustetic, Assistant Director, Open Innovation, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Andy McCormick, Vice President, Public Affairs, The Hershey Company
  • Ricardo Michel, Director, Center for Transformational Partnerships, U.S. Global Development Lab, U.S. Agency for International Aid 
  • Judith Hochhauser Schneider, Manager, Private Sector Engagement, World Wildlife Fund

11:00AM - 11:15AM


11:15AM - 12:30PM 

Morning Breakout Sessions

Morning Breakout #1: Partnership vs. Procurement

Unlike infrastructure partnerships that rely upon traditional procurement processes and result in contracts, shared value partnerships are handled via memoranda of understanding or similar agreements.  Resources, however, usually still need to be expended.  With procurement rules and partnerships in play, how best can government, private sector and civil society work together and not run afoul of procurement regulations and policies?  Hear from the experts on their best approaches to addressing procurement issues.


  • James Thompson, Director of Innovation, Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships,U.S. State Department


  • Steve Schmida, Managing Director, SSG Advisors
  • Mark Walther, Contracting Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Simon Winter, Senior Vice President, Development, Tecnoserve

Morning Breakout #2: Partnership Communications: Branding, Champions, and Celebrities

Good communications are critical to the success of partnerships. Partners should agree upon and practice direct communication in all aspects of alliance implementation, at executive and working levels. Many partnerships have looked to the use of media platforms, celebrities and champions to promote their work.  Find out how these experts promote their partnerships work with exceptional communications strategies.


  • Aaron Sherinian, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations, United Nations Foundation


  • Paul Fisher, Corporate Social Responsibility Consultant, Viacom International, The Americas Region                   
  • Lorin Kavanaugh-Ulku, Communications Director, Center for Development Innovation, U.S. Global Development Lab, USAID
  • Jennifer Wayman, Managing Director, US Social Marketing, Ogilvy Public Relations

Morning Breakout #3: Partnership Secretariats and Multi-Stakeholder Alliance Models: Successes and Lessons Learned

In the last decade, the global development community has witnessed a proliferation of multi-stakeholder alliances and partnerships. These collaborative efforts range from funding platforms to industry standard-setting bodies to advocacy and movement builders. Both government and private sector organizations have initiated these alliances and partnerships—often by creating secretariats or ‘backbone’ organizations’—to pool funding, bring together the right public, private and nonprofit sector actors or fill gaps in the existing development landscape of actors.

Despite this proliferation, there is still too little evidence on how these models are working. Some such partnerships have successfully mobilized resources, amplifying impact and advocating for and increasing the visibility of key issues. At the same time, some have encountered significant challenges.  This panel will draw on experiences of practitioners to share lessons learned and case studies on both challenges and key determinants of success in mobilizing such partnerships and what constitutes success, particularly in establishing them.


  • Kris Balderston, Senior Vice President, Senior Partner, and General Manager, FleishmanHillard


  • Leslie Cordes, Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves 
  • Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director, Better Than Cash Alliance, UNCDF
  • Bill Guyton, President, World Cocoa Foundation
  • Bonnie McClafferty, Director, Agriculture and Nutrition, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

Morning Breakout #4: Leveraging Resources for Partnerships

Most partnerships involve pooling of resources or the mobilization of additional resources toward a shared goal. Some partnerships go so far as to fully combine and jointly program resources. Others focus on allowing partners to carry out activities independently and a few towards incentivizing a higher degree of coordination and collaboration. Still others have a distinct focus on raising new funds. This panel will look at examples of different models of resource mobilization and management.


  • Rick Leach, President and CEO, World Food Program USA


  • Doug Cameron, Owner and Principle, C-4 Solutions, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Monica Ellis, Chief Executive Officer, Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF) 
  • Steve Wozencraft, Chairman and CEO, JOD Global Philanthropies

12:30PM - 1:30PM


1:30PM - 2:45PM     

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Afternoon Breakout #1: The Art of Partnership Design, Co-Creation, and Negotiation

The impetus for starting a partnership varies as do the stakeholders involved, but all involve a design process that bring partners together around common goals and define how they marshal their resources and capabilities to advance those shared goals. This panel will reflect on different experiences formulating and designing partnerships, looking at issues of managing a process of co-creation that engenders shared ownership and how to negotiate tough issues between partners.


  • Andrew Stern, President and Executive Director, Global Development Incubator


  • Richard Crespin, CEO, CollaborateUp
  • Corey Griffin, President and CEO, Global Government and Industry Partners (2GIP)
  • Claire Lucas, Senior Advisor, Public Private Partnerships, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Nancy Wildfeir-Field, President, GBCHealth
  • Yasmina Zaidman, Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships, Acumen Fund

Afternoon Breakout #2: Shared Value Partnerships – Learnings from Market-Oriented Partnerships Between Business and Government

In the world of public-private partnerships, we have seen a significant shift from a focus on partnerships driven by philanthropic interests of companies to those driven by the principle of “shared value.” Such partnerships seek to align the core business capabilities of a company to advance efforts which deliver both societal impact and drive business growth and profitability. U.S. government entities have sought to partner with businesses on such partnerships – particularly in international development but also in other contexts. Shared value partnerships with companies are a fertile area for collaboration between business and the public sector, offering key advantages in terms of their ability to leverage corporations’ core business assets and their potential for scale and sustainability. However, they also raise important and challenging questions: what is the appropriate role for government in shared value partnerships?  Where is there a value proposition for government involvement, and where not?  Where is the line between partnership co-investment and ‘subsidy’?  How do such partnerships balance public goods with private interests?  This panel will delve into these challenges through cases in which the practitioners wrestled with such issues in the partnership design process.


  • Jessica Long, Managing Director, Accenture Development Partnerships 


  • Katie Garcia, Division Chief, Private Sector Engagement, Bureau for Food Security, U.S. Agency for International Development 
  • Shira Kilcoyne, Director, Government Affairs International, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Benjamin Schmerler, Director of Investor Relations, Root Capital
  • Renee Wittemyer, Director of Social Impact, Intel

Afternoon Breakout #3: Legal Issues in Partnerships – Focus on Due Diligence and Vetting

As partnerships have proliferated, both government and the private sector have searched for the legal authorities and parameters for partnership agreements. Concerns around due diligence and ethics may arise when one is contemplating entering into these relationships. This panel of leading attorneys will share how they think about these issues and the best practices they have developed to get partnerships underway.


  • Lauren Marks, Director. Private Sector Engagement, PEPFAR, U.S. State Department


  • Jun Jin, Assistant General Counsel, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Alissa Ardito, Attorney-Advisor, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Astri Kimball, Policy Counsel, Google
  • Tiffanie Smith Johnson, Attorney-Advisor, U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Valerie Wenderoth, Attorney-Adviser, U.S. State Department

Afternoon Breakout #4: Managing and Sustaining a Partnership – Relationship Managers and Living Together

As partnerships practitioners we focus much of our energy on the significant effort of identifying and designing partnerships, and often not enough on how to sustain and evolve our partnerships and relationships over time. There is a growing trend of establishing more formal relationship management structures and processes to help maintain ‘partnership health’ and to sustain and deepen relationships over time. This panel will involve leaders from the public, private and nonprofits sectors who have established relationship management approaches that speak to the value of such approaches, and the need for getting it right.


  • Cheryl Steele, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Business Development, FleischmanHilliard


  • Avery Ouellette, Senior Advisor for Corporate Engagement, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Suzanne Immerman, Senior Advisor to the Secretary/Director of Strategic Partnerships, U.S. Department of Education
  • Cate O’Kane, Deputy Director, Corporate Partnerships and Philanthropy, Population Services International
  • Sarah Thorn, Senior Director, Federal Government Relations, Walmart, Inc.
  • Cate O’Kane, Deputy Director, Corporate Partnerships and Philanthropy, Population Services International 

Afternoon Breakout #5: Sustaining Partnerships and Measuring their Results

How do we measure and evaluate the results of partnerships? What evidence do we need to build a stronger ‘business case’ for partnerships? How can partnerships be sustained? For partnerships supported by government funding, what is the right time and way to think about ‘graduation’? These are challenging questions for partnerships practitioners – this panel will bring together practitioners who are wrestling with these topics to talk through specific examples.


  • Beth Jenkins, Insights Director, Business Fights Poverty


  • Cata Garcia, Director of Communications and Sustainable Development, Latin America, SABMiller
  • Matt Guttentag, Partnerships Advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Maria Elena Nawar, Lead Specialist, Inter American Development Bank
  • Ishi Singh, Head of Business Strategy and Market Development, Emerging Markets, Google

2:45PM – 3:00PM


3:00PM – 3:45PM


Closing Plenary: Engaging New Partners in Diplomacy and Global Development- Opportunities, Challenges, and Change

We are seeing a wider range of actors engage in global problem solving, and the emergence of new models of achieving diplomatic and global development outcomes.  This shift offers tremendous opportunities for the State Department, USAID, and other government agencies and large organizations that are traditional 'incumbents' in their fields, enabling them to tap into the ingenuity, innovation, and complementary capabilities of a wider range of new partners and innovators.  But it often requires evolving traditional ways of working, changing institutional processes and systems, and shifting mindsets and organizational culture.  Hear from leaders from the State Department and USAID on how they are engaging with new and 'nontraditional' partners to advance their missions, and how they are leading change in these organizations to seize the opportunity that such partnerships provide.


  • Raj Kumar, President and Editor-in-Chief, Devex


  • Shaun Casey, Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs, U.S. State Department
  • Alex Their, Assistant to the Administrator for Policy, Planning, and Learning, U.S. Agency for International Development

3:45PM – 5:15PM

Afternoon Roundtables: Best Practices in Motion


This session allows you to host or join a table in a semi-structured networking opportunity among Forum participants. Seize this opportunity to pitch to the larger audience an idea, partnership opportunity, challenge, request for feedback, etc., and then host or join a table based on what you hear to learn more and add your insight.