Maura O'Neill

Fmr Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Counselor to the Administrator, USAID

Maura O'Neill is the former Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Counselor to the Administrator at USAID where she had responsibility for inspiring and leading breakthroughs innovations in foreign assistance and development worldwide. In addition, she co-led USAID Forward, the Agency's major reform initiative as well as created ground-breaking public-private partnerships in supply chain sourcing, mobile money, gender equity, entrepreneurship and new models for sourcing and scaling development interventions. She served on the White House Innovation Cohort assisting the Administration in innovation across federal government. Maura through her work in the public, private and academic sectors, she has created entrepreneurial and public policy solutions for some of the toughest domestic and global problems. Before coming to USAID, she authored President Obama's Biofuels Strategy while at U.S. Department of Agriculture, and as Chief of Staff for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) tackled the 2008 financial crisis, oil price explosion and renewal of clean energy tax credits. O’Neill has started four companies in the fields of electricity efficiency, customer info systems and billing, e-commerce and digital education. In 1989, she was named the Greater Seattle Business Person of the Year. O’Neill has master's degrees in business administration from Columbia University and the University of California at Berkeley, and currently serves on the faculty of the latter's Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She earned her PhD at the University of Washington, where her research focused on narrow-mindedness and the errors it leads to in science, medicine, business and political decision making. For more information, please visit: