Dr. Jennifer Isern, CFA, brings over 30 years of experience in development in more than 70 countries. She launched Catalyze Global Impact LLC in 2019 to promote investing and technical assistance to leverage financial and private sector solutions that improve quality of life for people globally. Previously, Dr. Isern served 23 years in multiple roles in the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank Group, including as Senior Manager in South Asia and later in East Asia and the Pacific. With the World Bank Group, Dr. Isern was based in New Delhi (2009-2016) and Hanoi (2016-2019) leading regional teams to support our clients on financial and private sector development with focus on expanding access to finance for households and SMEs, fintech and payments, financial infrastructure, debt resolution and insolvency, agribusiness, and capital markets. Dr. Isern has authored more than 50 publications on financial sector development and broader development issues. She serves on several boards and as advisor to foundations, investment funds, and associations in Europe and the USA.
Earlier, Dr. Isern worked as Lead Microfinance Specialist at CGAP, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, a global partnership housed at the World Bank Group of more than 30 leading development organizations that works to advance the lives of low-income people through financial inclusion. From 1996 to 2009, she contributed as member of the senior management team, manager for CGAP’s work in Africa and China, and manager of CGAP’s network of regional representatives globally. Dr. Isern led several CGAP global initiatives on payments, anti-money laundering, appraising, funding and capacity building for microfinance institutions, and African financial sector development. Prior to joining CGAP, she served as the Regional Technical Adviser for economic development in West and Central Africa with CARE International, and she founded and managed financial service providers while living in Niger (1990-91), and Togo (1992-1996). From 1988-1992, Dr. Isern consulted with public and private sector clients including USAID in Costa Rica and Senegal, UNDP in New York, and AT&T’s international division.
A CFA charterholder, Dr. Isern received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana, her master’s degree in development economics from Princeton University, and her doctorate in both finance and international business from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Isern served as visiting professor at the Princeton University Public Policy School in 2008-2010 and regularly presents at international training programs, universities, and conferences on financial and private sector issues.