Dr. Claire Nelson.

Claire Nelson, BS '79

Ideation Leader of the Futures Forum

Dr. Claire Nelson is Ideation Leader of The Futures Forum, a research and education practice specializing in bringing the power of strategic foresight, and the discipline of sustainability engineering to challenges facing diverse organizations and communities. Her public interest speaking and research is around life in 2030, global development challenges such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and How We Share Our Future. Dr. Nelson also provides private strategic thinking, facilitation and advisory services to clients in both the public and private sector.

Before establishing The Futures Forum, Dr. Nelson was a Senior Development Equity Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank, for over thirty years. She has a vast experience in strategic program identification, portfolio development, technical feasibility studies and program management across a variety of sectors including: public sector modernization, private sector development, community development. She was a thought leader in promoting Strategic Foresight in development, organizing the Bank’s first Latin America 2020 Social Development Futures Seminar Series; and pioneered the topic of development with equity in the international financial institutions (IFIs), and was instrumental in the Bellagio Leadership Dialogue on crafting of the UN World Conference on Racism Durban Plan of Action.

Dr. Nelson is a sought-after speaker, and her engagements have included: Institute for Sustainable Systems and Technology; Jamaica Stock Exchange; ASME; BET/CENTRIC; US Air Force Forum on the Future; Blacks in Government; ASU Emerge Festival of the Future; Rubis Energy; World Bank African Diaspora Outreach Forum; Women in Research Engineering Symposium; Black Engineer of the Year Conference; Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference; Institute of the Black World; Harvard University Black MBA Conference; Micro-Enterprise Conference, African Development Bank; and the CARICOM/Africa Union Conference in Barbados.

Dr. Nelson serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Future Studies, and is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists and the World Future Studies Federation. She has also served as a member of the Board of the Sustainability Division of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellowship Review Committee; the African American Unity Caucus of the Constituency for Africa; and the US Department of Commerce US/Caribbean Business Development Council. Founder and President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies, the leading Caribbean American advocacy organization, Dr. Nelson, who is an award-winning writer and storyteller, holds a Bachelors and Masters in Industrial Engineering from the University at Buffalo and Purdue University respectively, and a Doctorate in Engineering Management from the George Washington University. She is distinguished as the first Jamaican woman to earn a Doctorate in an Engineering discipline, a Salzburg Seminar Faculty and Fellow, and winner of many honors for leadership such as an Outstanding Alumni Award from Purdue University, School of Industrial Engineering, commendations in the U.S. Congressional Record, and a White House Champion of Change.