Jodi Nelson is the director of Strategy, Measurement & Evaluation at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Committed to helping the foundation maximize its results, the Strategy, Measurement & Evaluation (SME) team is responsible for the organization’s strategy development and review process and its overall approach to measurement and evaluation. SME leads efforts to integrate results-based planning into the foundation’s grant making and operations; develop a strong, organization-wide M&E Community of Practice; conduct independent evaluations of the foundation’s most important investments; and provide teams and leadership with access to relevant data for learning and decision-making.
Prior to joining the foundation, Jodi was the director of Research and Evaluation at the International Rescue Committee. There for almost ten years, Jodi created two new initiatives to improve the organization’s measurement system. In 2003, Jodi raised private funds to launch a three year effort to bridge the gap between academic research and IRC’s field program implementation. Jodi advocated for and founded a department dedicated to research and evaluation. As its director, Jodi strengthened the agency’s program design capacity; streamlined data collection and analysis across country offices; and built capacity for the use of rigorous evaluation for learning and decision-making. This included partnering with bilateral organizations and university scholars to evaluate post-conflict development models in settings such as Liberia, DR Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Burundi and Afghanistan.
Jodi worked before this at several nonprofit organizations with international missions, including the Asia Society, the Society for International Development, the World Resources Institute, and the Committee for Economic Development. She has taught graduate courses on international development and evaluation at Princeton University and New York University.
Jodi has a doctorate in Political Science from Columbia University with a concentration in political economy, and a Bachelor’s from Northwestern University. Jodi was a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations from 2000-2007, and currently serves on the board of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), the Antelope Foundation and Maloto, an innovative nonprofit organization committed to youth in Malawi.