Cecilia Ciepiela-Kaelin

Cecilia Ciepiela-Kaelin

President and CEO

Cecilia grew up in the Philippines and Panama as a Navy Brat, leading directly to her career in economic development and public service.  She began her professional work as an advisor to the Panamanian opposition to Noriega and subsequently to the newly installed President of Panama, from 1989 to 1991. She began working USAID as a Project Development Officer during the post-1989 transition [Bosnia] and four years at USAID/Moscow as Division Chief for Private Enterprise and Economic Reform [Russia]. She left Russia to work for a small consulting firm as an advisor on small business development [Uganda}, and spent a year at the International Rescue Committee as it began to tackle the challenges of bridging the gap between humanitarian aid and long term development.

In 2003, Cecilia founded AISDevelopment to create new ways of working in and contributing to sustainable economic, environmental and social change.   In 2009, under an AISD contract, she returned to USAID to serve as  Senior Economic Advisor for USAID/Iraq [Iraq] and USAID/Yemen. She then serve fro two years a Vice President for Economic Growth at AECOM, a Fortune 500 architecture and engineering company. That experience led Cecilia to return to academia to earn a second Masters degree, in Sustainable Urban Planning and Climate Change (2017) from George Washington University. Since then her work has focused on planning, public services, local governance, citizen security, crime and violence prevention, and citizen participation at the municipal level with the International City and County Managers’s Association and introducing collective impact in education to countries in Latin America. 

Cecilia is a creative, integrative thinker with excellent writing skills. She is fluent in Spanish, with working knowledge of Russian and Portuguese. 

MPS Sustainable Urban Planning from George Washington University 

 MIA International Affairs, Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Latin American Studies 

 BA History from Williams College