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Vice President, International Development

Michèle Laird is a principal associate and portfolio manager at Abt Associates. An interdisciplinary expert, she has more than 25 years of experience in investment and financial analysis in the United States and international markets. She has worked in developing countries providing financial, investment, and enterprise-enabling environment technical assistance across sectors. Combining an investment banking and venture capital background with public policy experience, Laird manages USAID and multilateral development bank projects for Abt with experience managing projects across Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.

Since joining Abt in 1994, Laird has managed large-scale projects with multiple subcontractors and multidisciplinary teams both as a home office project director and as a teamleader in the field. She is adept at leveraging resources from other donor and development bank initiatives to deepen and scale up the impact of program investments. She regularly manages concurrent projects in multiple continents and time zones.

She is the project director for USAID/Mexico’s $22-million Mexico Economic Policy Program, whose goal is to strengthen economic governance policies and build capacity within counterpart institutions. She is also the climate change adaptation investment advisor for USAID’s global Climate Economic Analysis for Development, Investment and Resilience Project. A key member of Abt’s Climate Smart Group, Laird has managed and contributed technically to multiple climate change mitigation, adaptation and low-emission growth projects.

Prior to joining Abt Associates, she directed the American Chamber of Commerce/Mexico’s Economic Services Department. While on Wall Street, Laird worked both in mergers & acquisitions and in corporate finance, advising private-sector companies in industries from the health sector to agribusiness to software on financial structures and financing issues. 


  • Development finance – agribusiness, clean energy, climate change, healthcare, housing, infrastructure
  • Investment and financial analysis
  • Climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Green growth and low-emission development strategies
  • Venture capital and equity fund development
  • Private sector development and access to finance
  • Economic governance and capacity building
  • Languages: English, Spanish, French

Key Projects

  • Climate Economic Analysis for Development, Investment and Resilience (CEADIR), USAID/E3 and GCC
  • Mexico Economic Policy Program (MEPP), USAID/Mexico
  • Integrated Climate Change Adaptation and Watershed Management Program for the Grijalva and Usamacinta Watershed, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
  • Analysis and Investment for Low-Emission Growth (AILEG), USAID/E3
  • Mexican Competitiveness Program, USAID/Mexico
  • Integrated Initiatives for Economic Growth in Mali (IICEM), USAID/Mali

Selected Publications

  • “Private Sector Role in Climate Change Adaptation,” FS-UNEP, July 2014
  • “Open Government Data,” policy blog, September 2012
  •  “Infrastructure Investment Funds,” concept paper, 2001.
  • “Gestion du risque -- les fonds de garantie,” Réorganisation du Marché Financier Informations Techniques, July 1995.
  • “Les contrôles de protection -- divulgation des informations,” Réorganisation du Marché Financier Informations Techniques, June 1995.
  • “Un système financier efficace -- les contrôles règlementaires,” Réorganisation du Marché Financier Informations Techniques, May 1995.
  • “Les systèmes de négociation -- les choix,” Réorganisation du Marché Financier Informations Techniques, April 1995.
  • "A Greener Frontier, Business Mexico, November 1994.
  •  "NAFTA Goes To Work," Business Mexico, June 1994.
Michele Laird