Director, Technology for Development
GETTING TO KNOW AYAN
Beyond your job title, please explain your role at Creative.
I support and strengthen projects and proposals across divisions in appropriately and innovatively using information and communication technology. I’m also working on the CreativeU e-learning platform. And I get to build the company’s technology assets and capabilities such as mobile phones for monitoring and evaluating, paying local staff, crowdsourcing, etc.
Do you have an accomplishment, programmatic result or activity that you are particularly proud of?
I’m working with a software team in Egypt to build one of the Company’s newest products—CreativeU—so it can compete in user experience, as well as look and feel, to leading e-learning sites. It also has to easily adaptable from project to project to the needs of appropriate constituents. I can’t wait to show it to everyone in the organization as it gets further along, and get feedback to move it forward more.
Do you have a favorite, unique or fascinating story about your work in development?
I volunteered in a Himalayan village in Uttarakhand, India, in the early 2000s building rock walls and planting trees on hills to prevent rain water run-off. We also provided a drinking water supply solution for the community. To socialize with the villagers, we decided to spend the penultimate evening of our service project putting up an entertainment show where the team would dance to Bollywood songs and the like. I took charge to write two plays in the Hindi language (which I had become rusty on) during time I could spare, and worked with some of the team members as actors to direct the plays. The plays were meant to be entertaining yet provide life skills. We performed the plays at our outdoor campsite with several hundred villagers watching keenly. Seeing them react to plot points, humor, pain and then break into great cheers when simple things happened that were hopeful to them as it pertained to their lives and community was one of the most powerful moments of my life. It has since pushed me on a path to try to bring my work and career to recreate those reactions to hope in the lives of those who need it more than others.
What is it that drew you to the company?
Creative is a well-established international development firm that recognizes the value of entrepreneurship and technology leadership. It is open to challenge the way things have traditionally been done, provides for a unique opportunity for me to help impact the firm and be closer to a population I’d like my work to serve at the end of the day.
When you recommend Creative to other people, what are the attributes that you often mention?
The most diverse workforce (in terms of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion etc.) I have ever seen in any company!
Information & communication technology applications for social good & international development (T4D / ICTD)
Building and managing software development teams; inventing, building and launching software/web products; user-centered development; web & mobile design; technology for employment & workforce development
Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University | BS in Computer Engineering, Georgia Tech
2013 ERE Recruitment Innovator | 2013 Chicago Innovation Award Nominee | 2012 DEMO Product Launch Scholarship | 2011 Keystone Innovation Grant | 2002 Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People – Gold
ASSOCIATIONS AND CERTIFICATIONS:
Chair of the Board, Development Solutions Organization
Executive Vice President, Professional Diversity Network, 2012 – 2014 | CEO and Co-Founder, Careerimp Inc, 2010 – 2012 | Partner, People’s Labs, 2009 – 2010
English and Hindi
“I support and strengthen projects and proposals across divisions in appropriately and innovatively using information and communication technology. ”