Marcia Odell

Senior Director, Gender Equality

Marcia Odell served as Sr. Director, Strategy Implementation and Gender Equality at Plan International USA since 2014. Having joined Plan in 2013 as Sr. Gender Advisor, she supported the core tenets of Plan’s development approach, whether through the mainstreaming of gender in all that Plan does; supporting sustainable and scalable community-based participatory development; or promoting the economic advancement of marginalized populations. Marcia provides gender support to projects that include the Hinga Weze Activity in Rwanda, the Systems for Health project in Ghana and the Mitra Kunci program in Indonesia. 

Marcia has more than 25 years of experience in international development, helping civil society organizations and community groups develop ownership of, participation in, and accountability for gender-sensitive development projects. She has managed large-scale programs including the Women Reading for Development (WORD) project, a non-formal literacy program, which reached over half a million women in Nepal. Subsequently, Marcia was responsible for the implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Program, now known as WORTH, a literacy- and savings-led microfinance and micro-business income-generation intervention for 125,000 women and girls. As WORTH’s Global Director, she oversaw the launch of projects in nearly a dozen countries in Africa and Asia that garnered a number of international awards. Whatever the size of a program, throughout Marcia’s work is a commitment to making it possible for girls and women to discover how powerful they already are.

Marcia has an MBA from the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire, a Master’s degree in early childhood education from Wheelock College, and a PhD from Cornell University in economic history, with a minor in early childhood development.