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.
I am competitive by nature. So when my colleagues at Plan International USA asked me to take the #5GallonDay Challenge – live for a 24 hour period on five gallons of water a day or less -- I enthusiastically accepted - “bring it on.”
Child marriage and domestic violence robs girls of their futures, and by doing so saps the country's energy and potential. Plan International USA's Protecting Human Rights (PHR) project is working to fight against these issues.
The third and final blog written by Plan International USA CEO Tessie San Martin following her trip to the front lines of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The second of three blogs written by Plan International USA CEO Tessie San Martin following her trip to the front lines of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
In light of this year’s launch of the Aid Transparency Index, I wanted to reflect on Plan’s journey into this realm, which has not been without its challenges.
International NGOs can be and have been an indispensable part of local solutions.
The weather forecasts during Haiyan warned of a big storm surge. Not too many people knew what "storm surge" meant.
In January of 2010, Haiti experienced a 7.0 magnitude earthquake near its capital, Port-au-Prince.
Getting girls to attend and stay in school is another “wicked problem” being tackled by Plan in Ethiopia. As I outlined in part one of this series, wicked problems are hard to define and are unstable.