Davos: An NGO leader's survival guide

A staff member passes the Congress Center during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2004. Photo by: Jean-Bernard Sieber / WEF / CC BY-NC-SA

SAN FRANCISCO — When Kate Roberts of Population Services International wrote a survival guide for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, she covered everything from what shoes to wear to where to have a nightcap.

Devex at Davos

Every year, world leaders, business titans, and billionaire philanthropists head to the Swiss mountain town of Davos for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. Under the theme "Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World," will world leaders move beyond divisive politics and narratives to focus on global collaboration and progress? Devex will be on the ground at Davos on Jan. 23-26. Sign up for our daily newsletter briefings and follow Devex reporters Catherine Cheney and Adva Saldinger for everything you need to know about the 48th WEF Annual Meeting.

The senior vice president for corporate partnerships and philanthropy at the global health nonprofit also offered words of warning to individuals that come to Davos with a stack of business cards and a pile of annual reports in hand. “Don’t blatantly sell your company or cause on a panel — listen, learn and make your point clearly and concisely,” she advised. Over the years, Roberts, who was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2007, has learned what strategies do and do not work at what she describes as one huge networking fest.

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About the author

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    Catherine Cheney

    Catherine Cheney is a Senior Reporter for Devex. She covers the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology and innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And she frequently represents Devex as a speaker and moderator. Prior to joining Devex, Catherine earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, worked as a web producer for POLITICO and reporter for World Politics Review, and helped to launch NationSwell. Catherine has reported from all over the world, and freelanced for outlets including the Atlantic and the Washington Post. She is also the West Coast ambassador for the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit that trains and connects journalists to cover responses to problems.