Futurist, Sustainability Engineer
Dr. Claire Nelson is Ideation Leader of The Futures Forum, a research and education consulting practice specializing in bringing the power of strategic foresight, and the discipline of sustainability engineering to challenges facing organizations and communities. Her clients include: ASME, PETROJAM, Securities Exchange Commission, Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation, and the American Association of Blacks in Energy. She serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the World Future Review Journal, and is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists. She also is a member of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Foresight in Development of the Society for International Development, and a member of the Board of the Sustainability Division of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, where she is leading efforts to establish professional training and certification in sustainability.
Before establishing The Futures Forum in 2012, Dr. Nelson was a Senior Development Equity Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank, with over thirty years experience in program design and management across a variety of sectors including: public sector modernization, private sector development, and community development. She was responsible for strategic program identification, portfolio development and technical feasibility studies of grants and loans including: Airport Privatization; Renewable Energy; Multi-Sector Integrated Community Economic Development; Appropriate Technology for Rural Infrastructure; Trade and Investment Policy; and Stock Exchange 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. Dr. Nelson pioneered the topic of development with equity at the IDB, thus helping to build the Bank’s portfolio in Black economic empowerment in Latin America including for example: supplier diversity program, and the Bank’s Diversity and Inclusion Investment Fund. As a result of her leadership, she was honored with the IDB’s prestigious Ortiz Mena Award in 2010.
Dr. Nelson is a sought-after speaker, her engagements have included: Jamaica Stock Exchange, World Bank African Diaspora Outreach Forum; Women in Research Engineering Symposium; Black Engineer of the Year Conference; Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference; Harvard University Black MBA Conference; Micro-Enterprise Conference, African Development Bank; and the CARICOM/Africa Union Conference in Barbados. Dr Nelson has served on numerous boards and committees including: American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellowship Review Committee; Fundacion UNIPOP, which links Universities serving Black Communities in Central America and the Caribbean; African American Unity Caucus of the Constituency for Africa; US Department of Commerce US/Caribbean Business Development Council; Institute of Caribbean Studies.
She is distinguished as the first Jamaican woman to earn a Doctorate in an Engineering discipline, and graduated in the Top Five of her undergraduate class, as the only woman of African descent. The winner of an Outstanding Alumni Award from Purdue University, School of Industrial Engineering, she was also named a White House Champion of Change in 2012
She holds a Bachelors and Masters in Industrial Engineering from the SUNY at Buffalo and Purdue University respectively, and a Doctorate in Engineering Management from the George Washington University, and is an inductee in Tau Beta Pi and Alpha Pi Mu Engineering Honor Societies.