40 Under 40 Leaders in International Development
Aaron Sherinian says being an extrovert is in his DNA, but technology has helped him to exploit that with people he may never meet in person.
His curiosity about the world and his engaging personality made it easy for him to jump from a Mormon mission project helping Croatian refugees in Italy to more than a decade of outreach through the U.S. Foreign Service and as managing director of public affairs for the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corp.
“Communication matters with behavioral change and delivery of programming because it’s about matching the policy priorities and the public affairs priorities in capitals and boardrooms where people make these decisions,” he told Devex. “It’s not the frosting, it’s the cake when it comes to development.”
He was known around the Millennium Challenge Corp. for organizing panels and informal events with colleagues, media and development experts, and these days he does that through new media. For example, he organized a UNF Digital Media Lounge in partnership with Mashable, a blog and online platform, on the fringes of this September’s Millennium Development Goals summit in New York. He also spearheaded aUNF-Devex collaboration to collect views from the field on the implementation of the MDGs.
The use of smart communications tools allows him to put donors in the developing world into direct conversation with the people they seek to serve, Sherinian said.
“Policy decisions are being made in real time, and partners on the ground demand to know what’s happening,” he noted, explaining that the new generation of digital communicators make that possible through everything from tweets to blogs that turn “sound bytes into sound development.”
One of Sherinian’s biggest concerns is helping the rest of the world see that Americans are, in fact, interested and aware of what’s happening outside their borders. Demonstrating that has never been so easy.
“When I started my career, I didn’t have a blog. Today, I work with people who tweet and blog about their worldview. It makes us better managers and better implementers,” Sherinean said.
Profile by Julienne Gage, originally published by Devex.