The Digital Impact Alliance is pleased to welcome Laura Walker McDonald as Senior Director, Insights and Impact. With more than 12 years of global experience in technology, social change, and entrepreneurship, Laura has guided organizations in using technology in principled and impactful ways to support their mission.
“I’ve focused on helping organizations understand and solve problems together. To do this, I’ve drawn upon ideas and methodologies from humanitarian aid and development, applied research, software product management, and human-centered design to create spaces people can think and collaborate in,” said Laura. “I am looking forward to using this experience to shape DIAL’s strategic thought leadership, contribute and manage knowledge production efforts, and lead a dissemination strategy with partners.”
Laura was most recently a Director of Innovation, at the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation (GAHI) where she led an organizational strategy process, guided the development of a collective platform on data ethics, and oversaw research on new technologies like blockchain. Prior to GAHI, Laura worked at SIMLab, FrontlineSMS and the British Red Cross. She has also consulted with organizations and startups on responsible data, evidence, and product, project and organizational strategy, including for the Digital Impact Alliance.
In 2018, Laura served as a project manager and ICT leader for a Baseline Ecosystem Study that DIAL commissioned to understand the current aspects and experiences of the “Digital Development Ecosystem” from multiple stakeholder perspectives and to help inform where the DIAL team needed to focus and/or adjust its own work.
“Laura is a recognized thought leader in information and communications technologies for development (ICT4D), with deep knowledge in leading close-knit and high-performing teams at a number of start-ups in the humanitarian sector,” said Kate Wilson, CEO, DIAL. “I’m delighted that DIAL will be able to continue to benefit from her experience in strategic planning and humanitarian innovation to lead the design and implementation of our research and the tools we produce to support multiple sectors.”
Laura holds an L.L.M. in International Development, Law and Human Rights from the University of Warwick, UK, and an L.L.B. in Law, French and German from the University of the West of England, UK. She currently sits on the Board of the CDAC Network and the funding committee of the Humanitarian Innovation Fund.