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Michèle Laird

Principal Associate, International Economic Growth

Michèle Laird Michèle Laird
Michèle Laird is a Principal Associate and Portfolio Manager at Abt Associates. An inter-disciplinary expert, she has over 25 years of experience in investment and financial analysis in the United States and international markets with work in developing countries providing financial, investment, and enterprise-enabling environment technical assistance across sectors.  Combining an investment banking and venture capital background with public policy experience, Ms. Laird manages USAID and multilateral development bank projects for Abt with experience managing projects across Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europ,e and Asia.

Since joining Abt in 1994, Ms. Laird has managed large-scale projects with multiple subcontractors and multi-disciplinary teams both as a home office Project Director and as a Team Leader in the field. She is adept at leveraging resources from other donor and development bank initiatives to deepen and scale up the impact of program investments. She regularly manages concurrent projects in multiple continents and time zones. She is currently the Project Director for USAID/Mexico’s $22 million Mexico Economic Policy Program whose goal is to strengthen economic governance policies and build capacity within counterpart institutions, and she is the Climate Change Adaptation Investment Advisor for USAID’s global Climate Economic Analysis for Development, Investment and Resilience project. A key member of Abt’s Climate Smart Group, Ms. Laird has managed and contributed technically to multiple climate change mitigation, adaptation, and low-emission growth projects.

Prior to joining Abt Associates, she directed the American Chamber of Commerce/Mexico’s Economic Services Department.  While on Wall Street, Ms. Laird worked both in Mergers & Acquisitions and in Corporate Finance, advising private-sector companies in industries from the health sector to agribusiness to software on financial structures and financing issues.  

Ms. Laird earned her Master’s in Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas and her Bachelor of Science degree from Brown University. She is certified by the Frankfurt School (FS-UNEP) as an Expert in Climate and Renewable Energy Finance.
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Expertise/Skills

  • Development finance – agribusiness, clean energy, climate change, healthcare, housing, infrastructure
  • Investment and financial analysis
  • Climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Green growth and low-emission development strategies
  • Venture capital and equity fund development
  • Private sector development and access to finance
  • Economic governance and capacity building
  • Languages: English, Spanish, French




Key Projects

  • Climate Economic Analysis for Development, Investment and Resilience (CEADIR)  - USAID/E3 and GCC
  • Mexico Economic Policy Program (MEPP)  -  USAID/Mexico
  • Integrated Climate Change Adaptation and Watershed Management Program for the Grijalva and Usamacinta Watershed - Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
  • Analysis and Investment for Low-Emission Growth (AILEG)  - USAID/E3
  • Mexican Competitiveness Program - USAID/Mexico
  • Integrated Initiatives for Economic Growth in Mali (IICEM) - USAID/Mali




Honors/Awards

  • Presidential Management Fellow
  • Johnson Award for Academic Excellence
  • LBJ School Merit Fellowship
  • Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
  • The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi




Selected Publications

  • “Private Sector Role in Climate Change Adaptation,” FS-UNEP, July 2014
  • “Open Government Data,” policy blog, September 2012
  •  “Infrastructure Investment Funds,” concept paper, 2001.
  • “Gestion du risque -- les fonds de garantie,” Réorganisation du Marché Financier Informations Techniques, July 1995.
  • “Les contrôles de protection -- divulgation des informations,” Réorganisation du Marché Financier Informations Techniques, June 1995.
  • “Un système financier efficace -- les contrôles règlementaires,” Réorganisation du Marché Financier Informations Techniques, May 1995.
  • “Les systèmes de négociation -- les choix,” Réorganisation du Marché Financier Informations Techniques, April 1995.
  • "A Greener Frontier, Business Mexico, November 1994.
  •  "NAFTA Goes To Work," Business Mexico, June 1994.