President & CEO
Dr. Joan Parker joined Counterpart International in late 2010, drawn to the organization’s philosophy of community self-help and inclusive development. With her colleagues, she is working to develop a global network of community leaders, building on Counterpart’s 10,000 community partnerships over the last 50 years, with special emphasis on women and youth leaders.
Dr. Parker is an expert on civil society, regional economics, livelihoods, and organizational development.
Before joining Counterpart, Dr. Parker helped lead national censuses of informal sectors across Africa in a movement to highlight the informal sector’s importance in national income, employment and economic stability.
After that she joined the renowned Kenya Rural Enterprise Programme, working with entrepreneurs in one of Kenya’s largest slums, Kibera, at the inception of the African microfinance movement.
From 1992 – 2007, she was with Development Alternatives, Inc., an organization implementing programs across eleven sectors. Joan’s early DAI service combined program design with monitoring and evaluation: exploring what worked and why. Her subsequent work involved program innovation testing to stretch successful programs to more disadvantaged populations. She then joined the Executive Team to establish knowledge sharing protocols across DAI practices and regions. In her final three years at DAI, she took on a range of executive roles, leading marketing, communications, human resources and strategy development.
Joan has worked with U.S. companies with global platforms for over a decade, seeking a “double bottom line” of economic and social benefits. She was involved in early corporate social responsibility programming, and more recently in strategic philanthropic efforts.
Michigan State University, PhD in Agriculture Economy
“I believe the best ideas – and the ability to implement them – are found through networks of local solution-creators.”