Hutchison Now highlights recent graduates early in their careers who embody how a Hutchison education can lead anywhere you can imagine. We spoke with Daisye Rainer ’17, Program Associate for Social Impact, a global development management consulting firm.
What do you do in your role for Social Impact?
In my current role at Social Impact, I work in the program management unit and facilitate the operations of several United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded projects. Social Impact's goal is to enhance the effectiveness of government agencies and social sector organizations and assess impact. I essentially help get our project offices up and running — and keep them running — for the duration of the five to seven-year contract, from project award to project close out. Social Impact has worked in more than 85 countries around the world. Throughout my two years at the company, I have worked on projects in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Mexico. My current portfolio includes projects based in Vietnam and Honduras.
What skills have helped you succeed in your position?
The project management unit requires strong organization and attention to detail as we wear many hats and juggle several short- and long-term tasks at once, supporting finance management, contracting, procurement, report writing, recruitment, and travel logistics, to name a few. Proactivity, forward-thinking, and communication skills are essential so that we anticipate challenges and craft solutions to ensure smooth, successful operations and service delivery.
When did you become interested in global development?
My passion for global development was solidified in college, where I studied global development studies and public policy. My interest in travel abroad, global policy, and social studies, however, began years before that in middle school at Hutchison through my teachers. As it turns out, I had no idea that global development studies, my future major, existed at all until my originally planned field of study didn’t work out. It was then at the University of Virginia where I was able to delve into development theory through my studies, time abroad, and positions at a few nonprofit and private organizations in the Charlottesville and Washington, D.C., metropolitan area supporting resettled refugees and Special Immigrant Visa holders.
In your role, you work with people all over the world. What are some of the challenges you face? What are the biggest rewards?
Having the opportunity to meet and collaborate with colleagues and clients all over the world is undoubtedly the best part of my role at Social Impact. While language proficiency is the most common barrier on a day-to-day basis, I find that it is the only aspect that sets us apart. If anything, working in such a global environment has taught me to use every opportunity to learn more about my peers across the globe — their hobbies, favorite cuisines, traditions, and celebrations, language — which in turn, has demonstrated that we’re all not that different! I love that this field allows me to grow not only as a professional but as a global citizen and person as well. What was it like to travel to Vietnam and see where your largest project is based? How did it feel to see your work in action?
One of the most exciting parts about working in the global development sphere is the opportunity to travel. In the fall of 2022, I was fortunate to travel to Vietnam to meet my Hanoi-based team. As an employee who joined the company remotely, it was most rewarding to not only finally meet colleagues I had been working with for a year and a half, but also see our technical and policy work in action on the ground, meet clients, and collaborate in a new way with my peers. Being in the office with my team allowed me to experience the internal workings of a large-scale multi-million dollar USAID project for the first time and has given me a new understanding of all the key players that go into making these projects successful, effective, and most importantly, impactful. How did your Hutchison experience help you get to where you are today?
As a Hutchison student for 15 years, I gained innumerable leadership and teamwork skills that have helped me in this role. Balancing priorities between academics, athletics, and extracurriculars equipped me well for a career in project management, where strong time management, judgment and decision making, and communication/writing skills — and in this field, language skills — are critical. Most importantly, the confidence I gained in and out of the Hutchison classroom taught me that curiosity and a willingness to learn from others are often the most valuable skills we have.
Daisye Rainer ’17 works in the program management unit for Social Impact, a global development management consulting firm. She is a program associate based in Denver, Colorado, and supports several long-term United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded projects across the globe, including in Honduras, Vietnam, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. She graduated from the University of Virginia in December 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Global Development Studies and a minor in Public Policy and Leadership.