Seema Patel

Contact Seema: Seema(at)gkinitiative(dot)org

Seema joined GKI as CEO in January 2019.  She brings more than a decade of experience in leading entrepreneurial teams working to empower people, organizations, and networks to solve complex development challenges.  She has worked across development sectors and geographies advising public, private and civic partners on their innovation strategies, program designs, investments, and global partnerships.

She joins GKI from the U.S Agency for International Development where she pioneered the use of Open Innovation approaches and designed a portfolio of Grand Challenges for Development and other Innovation Programs, channeling more than $250 million in investments into promising social innovations.  Most recently, she founded the Innovative Design and Advisory practice in the U.S. Global Development Lab, whose mission was to foster a culture of innovation in the Agency, building innovation skills across the Agency’s staff and integrating good design practices in a diverse set of development programs–ranging from Wildlife Trafficking to Palm Oil Deforestation to Global Malnutrition.

Prior to her social innovation work, Seema was a Policy Advisor and Public Speaker for the Center for Strategic and International Studies specializing in citizen empowerment and entrepreneurship in postwar environments, most notably the Afghanistan recovery. Her first professional years were spent in investment banking, where she worked with a boutique investment firm in Silicon Valley and on large global transactions with CitiGroup Europe. While not working, Seema enjoys hiking and exploring nature within the city boundaries, Sunday brunches, and her newest job: being a new mom.