How global growth can mean more opportunity for Abt Associates staff

With challenges comes opportunity, Abt Associates’ President and CEOKathleen Flanagan told Devex of the company’s global shift.

The company’s employee base has shifted dramatically in the last few years, with approximately 1,900 of 2,700 staff members working overseas. It’s a younger employee base — entrepreneurial, innovative and technologically savvy, Flanagan said, which means Abt is working to stay on top of best practices in retaining, developing and supporting them.

Flanagan, who just celebrated 30 years with Abt, said things have changed dramatically since she began, when there was less structure and she could “put her foot through the next door as it was opened a crack” to try new things. Now that the company has grown and is more structured, she is working to retain that feeling of opportunity for employees.

The company is focusing on collaborative work spaces, knowledge sharing and innovation grants to bring people together from across the company to leverage capabilities, she said.

And for those just starting out, Flanagan advises them to “take a chance,” find a mentor and ask plenty of questions.

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About the author

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    Kelli Rogers

    Kelli Rogers is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Bangkok, she covers disaster and crisis response, innovation, women’s rights, and development trends throughout Asia. Prior to her current post, she covered leadership, careers, and the USAID implementer community from Washington, D.C. Previously, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.