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Laura O'Brien

Director, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

Laura O'Brien


Laura is motivated by the vast, ever-changing digital development ecosystem and the continuous opportunities for research, collaboration, and learning it provides. She joined the DIAL as the Monitoring and Evaluation Manager in February 2018, building on her previous work at the nexus of international development, evaluation and innovation.

At DIAL, Laura works with the program teams to define the key outcomes of their work and develop measurement and learning plans to track progress, identify our impact, and make course corrections as necessary. She also supports DIAL to serve as a pioneer in applying adaptive monitoring and evaluation (M&E) principles, ensuring that our programming is driven by continued evidence gathering and responsive to the dynamic needs of the digital development ecosystem.

Prior to joining DIAL, Laura served as the Innovation Program Manager at The QED Group, where she used human-centered design principles to develop prototypes to tackle challenges in the M&E space. She has led evaluations in Guatemala with WINGS, a Guatemalan non-profit organization and consulted with UN Women to evaluate the strategic options available for its Buy from Women software, which connects female farmers with access to finance, markets and information in Rwanda. During her graduate studies, Laura worked as a Research Assistant at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and developed a policy brief on the relationship between public health access and quality, religion and ethnicity. She started her career at Management Sciences for Health (MSH), an international public health NGO, where for six years she worked in M&E, program management, new business development, communications, and technical assistance for projects in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.

Laura has a master’s in global human development from Georgetown University and a BA in international affairs from George Washington University.