SYLVIA ELLISON

Senior Associate, Education for Development

GETTING TO KNOW SYLVIA

Beyond your job title, please explain your role at Creative.
I design and manage projects. Right now, I’m working with our education programs in Jordan and Morocco.

Do you have an accomplishment or programmatic result or activity that you are particularly proud of?
I served as the Chief of Party and Project Director for Creative’s Sri Lanka Accelerated Skills Acquisition Program, which focused on building workforce skills of conflict-affected youth in the eastern part of Sri Lanka. Our project boasted an enthusiastic membership of more than 60 of Sri Lanka’s most prominent private sector companies – some of whom integrated the training program into their own HR or corporate social responsibility portfolios.

The Asia Development Bank referred to the program as the best workforce training initiative on the island. We handed the training program and the curriculum over to a private sector company for them to continue; I have heard that the training program was expanded to reach northern Sri Lanka after the end of the war with the LTTE.

Do you have a favorite, unique or fascinating about your work in development?
While conducting a training program for partner NGOs in Afghanistan, our venue was attacked by an IED outside our windows. The blast left an enormous crater in the street though, fortunately, none of the project team members had been hurt. We ran into the safe room where we remained for about two hours, not knowing what was happening outside the room walls. While sitting on the ground with shards of glass around us, we decided to continue with our work and picked up where we had left off with the training. Our choice to continue, especially at that moment, implied a compelling, unified response to the Taliban and a renewed dedication to the work of educating Afghan citizens. We stopped once we heard news that some of our team’s drivers had been killed as we remembered them in silence.

What do you appreciate most about Creative’s approach to project implementation?
Our ability to deliver results while being responsive to cultural and political contexts in the most challenging of environments.

When you recommend Creative to other people, what are the attributes that you often mention?
Creative’s efforts to live its core values, its visionary leader, and the company’s kind, hardworking and smart team members.

  • EXPERTISE:

    Education

  • Disciplines:

    Organizational Development, Anti-Trafficking

  • education:

    MED in Public Policy and Education, Harvard University | BA, Hollins University

  • Associations & Certifications:

    Co-chair of the Society for International Development’s Crisis, Conflict and Transition Working Group | Certified in Group Relations, Tavistock Institute

  • DEVELOPMENT EXPERIENCE:

    Teachscape, 2000–2002 | American Institutes for Research, 1997–2002

  • LANGUAGES:

    English and French; studied Arabic, Spanish and German

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“Creative is able to deliver results while being responsive to cultural and political contexts in the most challenging of environments.”

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