Posted by Monisha Kapila
Name: Meaghan Casey
Hometown: Bristol, CT
Organization: FHI 360
Previous Employer: Dynamics Research Corporation
What inspired you to make the switch into the nonprofit sector?
I decided to switch into the nonprofit sector because I would like my career path to continuously challenge me to develop as an evolving, thoughtful and reflective person who is kind to others and myself. It was not a perfect decision; one lucky day, I stumbled upon a quote that illustrates the complex mix of reservations, sentiment, and inspiration I felt in making the switch: "If you come here to help me, you're wasting your time. If you come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." -Lilla Watson, Australian Aborigine.
What is your current position, and a typical day like?
I am a Business Planning and Strategy Analyst at FHI 360, a global development non-profit.
Today, my morning began with a phone call to one of our sixty country offices, this one in Zambia, to discuss an important foundation client. The conversation was one of more than twenty interviews that will collectively inform FHI 360’s strategy to grow funding that focuses on low-cost, innovative solutions to global development problems.
In the afternoon, I switched gears to another task entirely; as the Country Strategic Planning Project Manager, I am charged with developing and maintaining the work plan for a strategic initiative that supports country-owned, country-driven business planning efforts. Today, I incorporated updates from key stakeholders to track our progress to-date in transitioning strategic planning duties to the country office.
Where did you work prior to making the switch?
I began my career as a Senior Consultant at Dynamics Research Corporation, where I worked to strengthen the financial systems at the Transportation Security Administration and led a business process re-engineering effort for agricultural imports at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
What is your professional background and areas of expertise?
My professional background is in management consulting, and my areas of expertise include training development and delivery, strategic planning, business-process re-engineering, and project management.
What are you involved in outside of work?
I definitely derive energy from finding and pursuing projects about which I am passionate.
Last year, a social enterprise, Journeys for Change, asked me to develop a business plan to determine the feasibility of a 7-day site-visit in India to educate and encourage impact investments in social enterprises.
I serve on the leadership team for DC+Acumen in order to raise funds and awareness for Acumen Fund as well as to promote social enterprise dialogue in the greater DC area.
When I find a free Tuesday evening, which seems hard these days(!), I really enjoy volunteering at Women for Women International, a nonprofit that empowers women in nine conflict and post-conflict countries worldwide.
I also enjoy creating functional (and sometimes funky) pottery, gardening in the Ledroit Park community garden, and commuting around the city by bike – it’s freeing to avoid waiting for a metro or bus!
Tell us about your past leadership experiences and how they are helping you in your current role.
One leadership experience that is very close to my heart is my time as co-Captain of the Women’s Varsity Ski Team at Brown University. My team taught me the value of a positive group environment and the importance of leveraging individual strengths.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role?
If your friends and enemies had to describe you in three words, what would they be?
Positive, curious, passionate.
What is your favorite book?
I thought that following books were beautiful to read: Immortality by Milan Kundera, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.
Where else have you lived?
So far, I have lived in Bristol, CT; West Dover, VT; Providence, RI; Prague, Czech Republic; and Washington, DC.