Making gender equality a reality.

Elise Fiber Smith

Board Member Emeritae
Senior Policy Advisor on Women’s Leadership and Human Development
Winrock International

Elise is the Co-Founder and Founding Chair of the Women Thrive Alliance, which educates and influences policy makers on issues of international aid and trade with a gender perspective. She also holds the position at Winrock International of Senior Policy Advisor on Women’s Leadership and Human Development. At Winrock she founded and directed the Global Women’s Leadership Program for ten years. The program includes the creation of the Pan-African Women’s Leaders in Agriculture and Environment Initiative. She also initiated and developed the NIS-US Women’s Consortium of over 200 Russian, Ukrainian, and U.S. non-governmental organizations which carries out advocacy to improve the conditions of women as well as the exchange of technical expertise.

Prior to joining Winrock International, she was the Executive Director of the Overseas Education Fund (OEF) International from 1979-1989, a leading international non-governmental organization in the field of women’s leadership, legal rights, and small business development. In addition, Elise helped found InterAction (American Council for Voluntary International Action) and its Commission on the Advancement of Women. She serves on several boards and is a member of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA) which provides guidance to the Administrator of the Agency for International Development. Elise was a graduate of the University of Michigan and Case-Western Reserve University, a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar and co-editor of Toward Internationalism: Readings in Cross-Cultural Communication. She is a respected leader in international development assistance having implemented programs in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the former Soviet Union.