Former USAID Acting Administrator joins Creative’s Global Advisory Board 

By Michael J. Zamba

Gloria-Steele-photo-228x300 Gloria Steele, who served for more than 40 years at the U.S. Agency for International Development and rose to become the Acting Administrator, has joined the Global Advisory Board at Creative Associates International, a social-impact company working in more than 30 countries. 

During her career at USAID, she served as the Senior Deputy Administrator of three different bureaus — the Europe and Eurasia Bureau, the Global Health Bureau and the Asia Bureau — as well as the Mission Director in the Philippines before she was appointed Acting Administrator by President Biden in 2021. 

Creative President & CEO Leland Kruvant welcomed Steele to the Global Advisory Board, a non-governing body that provides insight and guidance to the organization’s senior leadership.  

“Gloria’s exceptional experience in the practical and policy aspects of development and humanitarian assistance will be an excellent addition to our Advisory Board,” Kruvant says. 

The Global Advisory Board is currently comprised of seven members, including former USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios, former Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall and Harvard Professor Fernando Reimers.   

After her service at USAID, Steele was the Chief Operating Officer at CARE USA, the international NGO that implements development and humanitarian programs in 43 countries, until August 2023. Today, Steele is a consultant and sits on several boards, including DevelopMetrics and the Society for International Development-US. 

“It is both an honor and a privilege to support Creative as it implements its impactful work of making lives better for those less fortunate than we are,” Steele says. 


President Biden appointed Steele in January 2021 to serve as acting Administrator of USAID pending Samantha Power’s Senate confirmation. During her four-month tenure, Steele ensured a smooth transition between the Trump and Biden Administrations.  

In this role, Steele and her colleagues worked to develop USAID’s strategy to address the root causes of irregular migration from Central America, including representing the Agency at the U.S. government-wide Cabinet-level discussions of this issue, and oversight of USAID’s programmatic response to the military coup d’état in Myanmar, among other global issues. 

From 2015 to 2020, Steele served as acting Assistant Administrator for the Asia Bureau, with a fiscal year 2019 annual budget of more than $1.3 billion in 30 countries, including three regional platforms in Asia and the Pacific Islands, and in Washington, D.C. During her tenure, she provided the vision for USAID’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, which fostered a free, open, and secure Indo-Pacific region. She provided strategic leadership of the Asia Bureau’s country-level implementation of the vision behind USAID’s “Journey to Self-Reliance,” a term she coined that became USAID’s guiding policy principle during USAID Administrator Mark Green’s tenure.  

From 2010 to 2015, Steele was the Mission Director in the Philippines where she provided strategic and operational leadership of USAID’s programs in the Philippines, 12 Pacific Island countries and Mongolia. As the Mission Director, she provided strategic leadership in the conceptualization and implementation of the highly successful Partnership for Growth initiative in the Philippines, which promoted inclusive growth and poverty alleviation through good governance. 


Steele is a two-time recipient of the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive, which is the highest annual award given by the U.S. President to the career Senior Executive Service corps. The Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive is given to no more than 1 percent of the total career Senior Executive Service corps in the entire United States in any given year. Steele earned it in 2008 and 2018. 

In 2007, Steele was awarded the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, which is the second-highest award given by the President of the United States. This award is given to no more than 5 percent of the members of the Senior Executive Service corps in the entire United States in any given year. 

When Steele left her post as Mission Director in the Philippines, the Philippine Government awarded her the Order of Sikatuna, a Presidential award given to nationals of foreign states in recognition of their exceptional and meritorious services to the Republic of the Philippines. 

Steele received a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Kansas State University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Maryknoll College in the Philippines.  

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