At the Helm of Woman-centered Sustainable Development

Nina A. Miller, Ph.D.
Board Chair, ADP

In April of this year – 2021 – I stepped into the role of Board Chair for Africa Development Promise. On the one hand, I had been witness to ADP and its work since the beginning, when Monica Labiche Brown – my friend and development colleague of many years – first launched her bold effort to put strategic support behind the economic efforts of rural women in East Africa. Monica had taken the leap of faith to channel her passion and experience in helping women farmers find their place in an increasingly globalized marketplace. 

I knew Monica’s vision, I was familiar with the model and had visited the work, and I even knew many of the ADP staff, since a number of them had earned their Master’s degrees in the Regis University Development Practice program, which I have the privilege to direct.

All the more reason to feel intimidated by the Chair role! Given the ambitious Strategic Plan for 2021- 25, the work ahead of us was tremendous: supporting the growth that would reach another 12,000 people with the economic benefits of profitable agriculture and enterprise; greatly expanding our organizational capacity to ensure a strong transition into our second decade; and of course, finding the funds to nearly double our annual revenue.

It has now been three months since that first board meeting, and I couldn’t be more encouraged. The ADP Directors are as talented and dedicated a group of volunteers as you will find anywhere. Collectively, they have deep expertise and experience across fields key to supporting ADP’s brand of woman-centered sustainable development – sustainability, donor investment, market dynamics, financial management, education, infrastructure, water, and sanitation management, community-driven development, women’s empowerment, youth livelihoods, and on and on. And more than opening their resumes to the cause, they bring their passion and the sense of profound gratitude for the privilege of contributing to this work.

Now, in June of 2021, I can report that we are building our team, we are focused on the goals, and we are excited to help each other reach them! There are still the jitters. But what challenge worthy of obsession doesn’t have them? When I feel overwhelmed, I look to Bill and Stacey, Loren and Ilke, Maureen, Carrie, Alex, Dean, and of course, Monica and I know we will get there – in partnership with the rural women of Uganda and Rwanda.