SXSW Eco Advisory Board - Heather Grady
Vice President | Global Philanthropy for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Heather Grady is Senior Fellow, Global Philanthropy for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. She leads the organization's strategy and program development in global philanthropy, including collaboratives, global programs, research, publications, presentations and other initiatives. Previously Heather was a Vice President for Foundation Initiatives at The Rockefeller Foundation where she oversaw an annual grant-making budget averaging $65 million. There she was responsible for a portfolio including strategic initiatives in a range of areas including climate change, health systems, agriculture, impact investing, and philanthropic sector support. As a member of the Executive Team she participated in setting direction for the Foundation and ensuring the Program Team, a diverse group of professionals in New York, Nairobi, and Bangkok, was effective and highly engaged in achieving shared goals and objectives.

Previously Heather served as the Managing Director of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, founded by former Irish President Mary Robinson. She led the development and implementation of organizational strategy focused on catalyzing leaders to act in concert across government, UN, business and civil society sectors, and expanding public understanding of rights and development issues and solutions. She directed the programs on employment, climate change, and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and contributed substantially to programs on women’s leadership, corporate responsibility, and health. During this period she served as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she co-created and taught a graduate course on climate change, as well as a graduate course at Trinity College Dublin.

Before returning to the US in 2004, and for almost two decades, Heather lived and worked in countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East in settings as diverse as Viet Nam, Sudan and Egypt. She managed a range of long-term development and humanitarian programs in these regions that focused on a range of themes including education, livelihoods, health, agriculture and microfinance. Her areas of expertise include economic development and the role of business in society, climate change, rights and social justice issues, and collaborative leadership.

Ms. Grady is a frequent speaker at conferences and has authored numerous publications. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard, and a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College. She is conversant in Chinese and Vietnamese. She serves on a number of Boards and Advisory Groups including The B Team, the Business and Human Rights Resource Center, and SXSW Eco. She is based in San Francisco with frequent travel to New York and internationally.