Seema Patel

Washington DC

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 and investments, and 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, prize programs and other multi-stakeholder innovation initiatives, channeling more than $250 million in investments into promising social innovations. At the U.S. Global Development Lab, she founded the Innovative Design and Advisory office whose mission was to foster a culture of innovation in the Agency, building innovation mindsets and skills across the Agency’s staff and integrating collaborative design practices in a diverse set of development programs–ranging from Wildlife Trafficking to Palm Oil Deforestation to Global Malnutrition.

Before 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 as part of the Afghanistan recovery. Her first professional years were spent in finance and investment banking, where she worked with a boutique investment firm in Silicon Valley and on global transactions with CitiGroup Europe.