Betsy Bassan founded Panagora Group in 2011 and is the company’s President and CEO. She launched Panagora with over 30 years of experience as an innovator and social entrepreneur in global health and international development.
From Panagora’s start with just two employees, the company now employs more than 50 full-time staff around the world, with a robust portfolio including numerous long-term contracts and subcontracts, and a proven track record of excellence.
Betsy’s sector expertise includes health, private sector development, environment, democracy/governance, and organizational development. She has decades of hands-on regional experience across Africa, Asia, Europe and Eurasia, and the Middle East.
Betsy has held various executive and leadership positions. At Chemonics International, a major international development company, Betsy served as a Senior Vice President. She led many strategic initiatives, including two highly successful start-up divisions, the International Health Group and the Europe and Eurasia region, as well as helping develop and lead Chemonics’ pivotal outreach and grant support to the US Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC).
At Save the Children, she served as project director for a major USAID initiative to increase PVO/NGO (private voluntary/non-governmental organization) capacity in family planning, reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS, and to provide services through networks and public-private partnerships.
Ms. Bassan has carried out consultancies and long-term assignments for a wide range of national and international organizations in strategic planning, organizational development, activity design and management, and facilitation. She lived overseas for seven years in Kenya and Sudan, where she worked for a variety of NGOs and USAID missions. In Kenya, she managed a local multisectoral grants fund in one of the first generation PVO/NGO co-financing projects. In Sudan, she built the capacity and funding of the Sudan Council of Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA) and helped manage USAID/Sudan’s long-term relief and displaced persons program.
Ms. Bassan holds an M.A. from Columbia University in New York City, where she completed a joint degree program (Planning in Developing Nations) in the School of International Affairs and the Division of Urban Planning; and a B.A. cum laude from St. John’s College, Great Books Program, in Annapolis, Maryland. She speaks French.
Betsy has held a host of industry leadership positions among the leading professional, advocacy, trade associations in our space. Through the USGLC, a membership-based foreign aid advocacy group, Betsy helped build support for critical foreign aid programs. As Program Vice President and then Chair of the Society for International Development-Washington D.C., a leading professional association, she greatly enhanced its profile as the “the public square of development” through cutting-edge knowledge exchange.
As an industry leader who has developed novel approaches to major global health problems, Betsy also works tirelessly to elevate the voice of small business in international development. Through the Panagora platform, Betsy led the founding of the Council for International Development Companies (CIDC) and, as chair, transformed the Small Business Association for International Companies (SBAIC) over three pivotal years from an informal network into a registered and recognized advocate.