Public Town Hall Meeting

Friday, September 13, 2013 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am

Doors open at 9:45 am

Event Transcript

Topics of discussion include open data and transparency, status of the proposed compact with El Salvador, and key results from completed compacts in Lesotho, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, and Tanzania.


Millennium Challenge Corporation, Bowen Second Floor Conference Rooms
875 Fifteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

Doors open at 9:45 am



Daniel W. Yohannes

Chief Executive Officer



Paul Weinberger

Vice President, Congressional and Public Affairs



Jonathan Bloom

Counselor to the Chief Executive Officer

Jonathan Bloom serves as Counselor to the Chief Executive Officer with responsibility for high-priority strategic initiatives such as implementation of regional investments, building knowledge management systems, and rebuilding organizational health and effectiveness. 

Previously Mr. Bloom was Deputy Vice President, Africa, responsible for MCC’s support to development and implementation of compact programs globally and in Africa.  Prior to that, Mr. Bloom was Deputy Vice President for West Africa, Managing Director for Francophone Africa, Managing Director for Agriculture, Finance and Private Sector Development for the Department of Operations, responsible for program components investing in agricultural production, processing, and marketing, rural development, property rights and land policy, financial systems and institutions, and private sector development. From December 2004 to November 2005, Mr. Bloom also served as MCC’s Vice President for Administration and Finance, and Senior Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer.

Prior to MCC, Mr. Bloom worked for several years as a consultant to international development banks and corporations ranging from Fortune 50 multinationals to private family businesses, as well as teaching international development management at the New School University’s Graduate Program in International Affairs. He was previously Director, Strategic Initiatives for International Paper working on global investments and strategic initiatives in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia, which he joined after growing a family paper business to revenues of $100 million and selling it to IP. Prior to that, Mr. Bloom worked at the World Bank Group, including the International Finance Corporation, on capital markets, financial institutions and agro-industrial development. He also has experience as a software product developer with IBM and as a 6th grade teacher.

Mr. Bloom received an A.B. from Princeton University—Woodrow Wilson School, and an M.B.A. (Highest Distinction) from the Harvard Business School. He speaks Spanish and French.



Heather Hanson

Senior Policy Advisor, Policy and Evaluation

Heather Hanson is a Senior Policy Advisor in MCC’s Department of Policy and Evaluation.  She is responsible for a coordinating MCC’s work on transparency and open government, including overseeing a variety of agency efforts aimed at opening MCC data and information to facilitate public understanding, participation and collaboration.  In this position, she works closely with the Vice President of the department on development issues, strategy, and policy, as well as on departmental budgeting, planning and management.

Heather brings more than 20 years of policy and program experience in international development to her role.  Prior to joining MCC, Heather served as Vice President for Policy at World Food Program USA, where she led the organization’s work to advocate for U.S. policies and programs to alleviate global hunger. Heather also worked for four years as Director of Policy and Advocacy for Mercy Corps, an international NGO with field programs in 40 countries. 

While at Mercy Corps, Heather led the policy team in developing and implementing effective government relations strategies, with particular focus on aid effectiveness, civilian-military relations, and the Middle East, particularly Iraq and Gaza.  Heather worked for five years on human rights issues in Colombia, including developing and implementing protection strategies for threatened human rights defenders, leading a research project to understand armed actors’ logic for killing civilians, and serving as Executive Director of the U.S. Office on Colombia, which is the US-based advocacy partner to four Colombian civil society coalitions.  She has also served as a consultant to the World Bank and the Ford Foundation. 

Heather holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, where her dissertation research examined civil society resistance to State-led oil development in Mexico.  She also has a Master’s degree in International Development and Social Change from Clark University.



James Gerard

Country Team Lead, Compact Operations

James Gerard is Assistant General Counsel, International Operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). He is currently detailed as the country team leader for the development of a second Millennium Challenge Compact with El Salvador.

As Assistant General Counsel, Mr. Gerard advises managers and transaction teams on legal and policy issues related to the development and implementation of MCC’s foreign assistance programs. Mr. Gerard drafts and negotiates Millennium Challenge Compacts and related agreements to provide grant financing to eligible countries. He also works closely with local counsel to oversee the disbursement of MCC funds and the procurement of goods, works and services for project implementation. He has worked on programs in several countries, including Armenia, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Morocco.

Prior to joining MCC, Mr. Gerard practiced law at White & Case LLP. He has advised clients on a broad range of cross-border transactions, including structured and asset financings, securities offerings, and acquisitions, as well as general corporate and commercial matters. He started practice in the firm's New York office and his international experience includes postings to Mexico City and Milan.

Mr. Gerard has a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and is admitted to the New York and Maryland bars. He graduated cum laude from Georgetown University with a degree in Government.