Rose Mary Garcia

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Regional Senior Principal - Development Economics
Arlington, Virginia, United States
Photo of Rose Mary Garcia

What is your greatest professional achievement?

In my eyes, my greatest achievement is the one that gave me the greatest satisfaction. I ran a USAID funded project, Technical Vocational Education and Training Supporting At-Risk Youth (TVET SAY), in Nicaragua during 2016-2018 which exceeded all expectations and was also deemed exceptional by the client. While in Nicaragua, I challenged the team to deal with binding constraints, to always think of sustainability and impact and to be innovative. I was effective in a difficult political environment, and gained respect from local government officials, NGO leaders and the private sector - generally polarized politically. The team was ethnically diverse representing the right and left in a highly polarized country. These folks would not have interacted under normal circumstances. However, the project needed the diversity in political thinking, and it also needed to reflect the ethnic diversity in our target population to be effective. I included the private sector in solving youth unemployment issues, expanded women’s opportunities to cross-over to male dominated fields, and involved adults in understanding youth’s perspectives. We gave youth a voice using Positive Youth Development approaches. It was a joy to design, troubleshoot and apply an integrated methodology to work with at-risk youth, and to strengthen institutions.  The results were personal transformations of them, of us as a team, and of me, as a leader.  

How is it making a difference?

Thousands of youth had access to education, mentoring, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities under that project. A great percentage said that we changed their lives.

What is your Service Line and why are you passionate about it?

I am passionate about alleviating poverty, about opening doors to opportunities for growth. I love leading transformation in institutions so they can better serve the poor. I care deeply about empowering people to have a voice.

Why Cardno?

Cardno has a heart!