Alison started her career in International Development, and today she is the managing director for a global asset management company based in the USA. She works on trying to engage the private sector in order to make an impact that is big enough to change the system. Allison felt being a woman was the hardest thing in business. In every stage of her life during her time with the US government, in a non-profit sector, or at the UN. She often found she was alone, as she was the only woman and the youngest one at the table, and it was tough to raise her voice.
Alison’s family was her most significant support, her husband believed that she should have a career that she loved and took good care of their three children. This gave her the strength to travel around. Recently she was in Afghanistan during the Taliban invasion. As Alison put it “There was a sense of hopefulness in the desire to rebuild the economy and make it strong, as afghan people can have a prosperous future.” Her experience here was truly eye-opening.
She strongly argues that there is a lack of leadership, especially among policymakers. We, as a global society, are facing a lot of existential challenges like climatic changes. There is no clear leader who can help in planning how to properly expose the details without any bandages and genuinely work on fixing them.
At the start of her career, Alison faced gender discrimination and felt as if she was not respected, “In my first job, I sat down, and there was a lot of old white men sitting around me, I was asked if I am dating anyone, someone wants to set me up with their son or take me on a date. I felt quite uncomfortable”. However, she believes that society has changed today.
When asked about traits to become someone like her, she said the traits continue to change as we become more successful. In the beginning, it's all about learning and soaking in all the information to understand various perspectives and navigate the bureaucracy. Once we transcend that journey, we need to learn to marry details, understand different perspectives with vision, and be willing to lend our social capital to push for the change we believe in.