Riffat Manasia is Director of Strategy & Engagement at IC2. Riffat joins the institute after a decade and half of working in senior management in economic and social development, strategy, consulting, applied research & analysis, social impact, and entrepreneurship globally.
She began her career by founding and scaling MRA, a leading research and consulting organization for international agencies focused on development in zones of conflict and extreme poverty before pivoting into social impact, entrepreneurship, and impact investing as CEO of agile non-profits in Houston, Washington DC, and Zurich. Riffat has lived and worked in many countries and contexts.
With MRA, Riffat designed and ran large-scale empirical research & evaluations, leveraging findings for major programs and policies. In Washington DC, Riffat led research and monitoring teams in Syria. She also founded Beyond Aid, a non-profit that supported entrepreneurship with skills, mentoring, networks, and seed funding in developing and complex contexts including refugee camps, informal settlements, and post-conflict zones around the world. As Director of a Swiss non-profit and CEO of a national chamber of commerce, she has created and executed multi-year strategies for scaling and impact, led multiple programs, projects, and high impact events, and built strong partnerships across stakeholders.
Riffat holds a Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a multi-disciplinary Master from Harvard in Urban Planning (GSD) and International Development (HKS, HBS). Raised in Texas and after more than a decade living abroad, she is glad to finally return and call Austin her home.