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Dr. Tessie San Martin

President & CEO

Dr. San Martin is a seasoned executive with more than 25 years of experience helping to address gaps in education, economic growth, capacity-building, corporate governance, political reform, and labor policy globally. Her work has taken her all over the world, where professional initiatives have involved supporting disenfranchised populations, a significant number of which are women and young girls.

Dr. San Martin’s career includes work in public and private sectors, bilateral and multilateral development agencies, and academia – as well as a wide variety of international development roles.

Prior to joining Plan International USA as CEO and President, Dr. San Martin served as vice president for international development at Abt Associates, a Cambridge, MA-based consulting company providing research and technical assistance expertise on a wide range of social, economic, and technological policy issues in the U.S. and overseas. While at Abt Associates, she helped grow the company’s international development business to nearly $200 million a year, almost tripling the portfolio in less than three years. Under her leadership, Abt was tapped by the UK government to implement the ambitious $200 million PATHS2 program in Nigeria, designed to improve that country’s healthcare system. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded projects in her portfolio spanned a broad range of activities – from improving the efficiency and quality of obstetrics and newborn care in Jordan and Peru, to helping increase farmer income and food security in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Mali, and Mozambique.

Dr. San Martin previously worked as the director for the operations group of the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), where she was responsible for a group of 45 professionals involved in the Agency’s political risk insurance and technical assistance programs. In this role, she facilitated the integration of the agency’s $1.2 billion underwriting operations with other risk mitigation products in the World Bank, oversaw development of the agency’s new strategic framework, as well as increased significantly MIGA’s trust funds to support an expanded technical assistance portfolio focused on enhancing developing country access to foreign investment.

Before joining MIGA, she was a partner in IBM Consulting Services, where she was responsible for building a $100 million portfolio in international development spanning more than 40 countries. The portfolio included privatization projects in Egypt, Bosnia, and Indonesia; capital markets and corporate governance strengthening projects in the former Soviet Union and India; pension reform programs in Mexico and Poland; and competitiveness and workforce development projects in Egypt. Previously, she was an adjunct professor at Florida International University in Miami; president of a consulting company in Washington, DC that specialized in strategic planning; and senior faculty advisor for a management institute in the Dominican Republic.

Dr. San Martin has a doctorate in political economy and government from Harvard University, a master’s in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two daughters. She is on the road frequently, traveling between Plan’s offices in the U.S. and abroad. But, she always finds time to go running, and as time permits, enjoys tennis and baking (and eating) bread.



From Surviving to Thriving

Orphans and Vulnerable Children programs like Plan’s Nilinde project in Kenya help improve children’s prospects for healthy and productive lives.


From Crisis to Learning

Our work demands trust: trust from donors, trust from those we are ostensibly there to help. And when that trust is violated, then everything else must be called into question.

Transparency: What is Next?

Data is needed to both empower movements of social transformation and transform organizations like Plan International USA

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