After over 8 years managing and evaluating food security and rural health programs in East Africa for a variety of international programs and governmental organizations, including the Gates Foundation and USAID, Jenny O'Connor founded Guidelight Strategies, a strategic consulting firm focused on the design, development, and implementation of strategic funding and program initiatives in the food/ag, environment, and conservation sectors. As the principal strategist and founding director of Guidelight Strategies, Jenny works with innovative businesses, foundations, government agencies, and nonprofits to strengthen organizational capacity and guide them through the development of both their social and sustainability strategies, as well as advising and implementing strategic funding programs. She focuses her work in the environment, climate change, water, and food/ag sectors and advocates for systems approaches to solving root problems across these issue areas. Over the past year, Jenny has been developing a national landscape analysis of the barriers for ranchers and farmers to transition to regenerative agriculture in the US, diving deeply into financial, supply chain, and policy barriers and opportunities. She published a 2020 report, sponsored by Patagonia, highlighting her work: Barriers for Farmers and Ranchers to Adopt Regenerative Agriculture Practices in the US: Identifying Key Levers and Opportunities for Funders. She also co-leads the SAFSF (Sustainable Ag and Food Systems Funders) special project on US fiber systems, alongside her colleague Sarah Kelley, and recently released a roadmap for investing in and revitalizing a national sustainable textile supply chain: The Fibers Roadmap: Integrated Capital Opportunities to Support U.S. Revitalization and Growth. Jenny was also selected as an RSF Integrated Capital Fellow for 2019, where she engaged with diverse forms of financial and human capital to support enterprises and strategies that address complex social and environmental problems, and is currently the co-chair of the FORA (Funders for Regenerative Ag) policy working group.
January 25, 2021