Caroline Bird

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: NGO
Job title: Head of Global Partnership Lab
Subject of study: Business Economics with European Study
Year of graduation: 2002
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

United Nations World Food Programme

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

After a short career in social marketing, I joined the HQ of the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, the United Nations World Food Programme in 2010, working to build partnerships with the private sector. In 2021 I was deployed to Kenya, where I became Deputy Head of Technology for East Africa, working on how we digitize our humanitarian programmes. Through this role i have travelled to the deep field, often conflict locations, to ensure that WFP’s food assistance is getting to the right people. Now i am head of WFP’s global partnership lab, evolving how WFP partners with local private sector.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I wanted a job with a purpose. I had always been interested in humanitarian work and other cultures. I enjoy knowing that I’m playing a small part in helping people who are often in incredibly difficult circumstances.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

I was part of the Orchestra.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

How varied it was. I really enjoyed understanding how to make decision based on fact and the interrelated nature of the systems we live in. Biggest highlight was getting to study abroad in France.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

The campus. Being part of a community.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

For the campus and the degree programme.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

My year in France opened my mind up to travel and understanding different cultures.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Travel and get a solid degree that teaches you how to use rational thought. Learn how to make informed decisions and build arguments based on fact.

What are your plans for the future?

To continue growing in the UN!


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