We are a team of systems strategists, facilitators, partnership builders, network managers, data analysts, and innovation managers that bring a systems perspective to conversations, strategies, and ideas that have the potential to shift stakeholder perspectives and catalyze system change. Working together, we bring valuable systemic insights into the practical reality of collaborative decision-making, problem-solving innovation, and learning.

Seema Patel

Chief Executive Officer

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.

Alycia Ikegami


Carla Zenzola

Executive Assistant

Ilena Paltzer


Mashiat Chowdhury

Innovation Manager

Natalia Oyola-Sepulveda


Abir Ahmed Chowdhury

Engagement Manager

Cecilia Brady

Partnership Advisor

Jacey Spratt

Expert Facilitator

Mashrik Farhan

Project Consultant

Robin Chowdhury

Strategic Partnerships Builder

Boris Ristovski

Systems Data Adviser

Eleonora Corsini

Evaluation Expert

Jenn Hrebik

Financial Director

Megan McGlynn Scanlon

Chief Operating Officer

Sumaiya Ferdous

Project Consultant

Brendon Johnson

Engagement Designer & Facilitator

Gabrielle Rivera


Judith Mong’eri

Network Manager

Monica Cuneo

Network Facilitator

Whitney Pyles Adams

Expert Learning Facilitator

Board of Directors

David Ferguson runs a boutique consultancy that operates at the intersection of international development, creating evidence of what works, and building partnerships to support innovative, collaborative programs to solve complex challenges.

He was the Director of the Center for Development Innovation in the U.S. Global Development Lab at USAID from its inception until 2018. He was one of the leaders of institutional change at USAID. The Center for Development Innovation created both directed and open innovation approaches, many involving a consortium of donors, to sourcing and accelerating solutions that have the potential to be transformative in bettering the lives of millions of people. As a leader of the International Development Innovation Alliance, an alliance of the heads of innovation at a dozen large donors and foundations, he facilitated partnerships that accomplished more than would have been possible otherwise. Before joining USAID, he worked on international development at the nexus of development, technology, and the private sector. His first career was 27 years at AT&T where he created and ran AT&T’s Professional Services Division, developing it into a US$200M profitable entity. He was based in Hong Kong for seven years and focused on the developing markets of China, India, and Indonesia, for telecommunications investment opportunities. He built seven joint ventures during this period. He began his career with AT&T at Bell Labs as a member of technical staff.

Mr. Ferguson holds a Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts.