2016 Rising Star Awards
Elizabeth Anne Wilhelm
Finding ways to help agencies better execute their missions is a central goal for any good contractor. Identifying the need even before the agency does, however, requires a different level of dedication entirely.
That’s exactly what Elizabeth Anne Wilhelm and her LeapPoint colleagues did for the U.S. Agency for International Development. USAID conducts most of its work through local nongovernmental organizations, and in Africa, finding and screening those partners was a labor-intensive process conducted almost entirely via Microsoft Word documents.
LeapPoint had developed a tool for automating surveys and assessments, and Wilhelm spearheaded an unsolicited proposal to tailor that technology to USAID’s needs. After an initial pilot, the project expanded to 11 additional missions in southern Africa, and this month a new version was deployed that accommodates additional languages and improved querying.
The staff time for each assessment dropped by 25 percent, Wilhelm said, and USAID is now connecting with a much broader pool of potential partners.
The USAID work is just part of her portfolio, however. LeapPoint is a small firm, so she also functions as chief financial officer and — though still early in her career — mentors many of the firm’s three dozen employees. And because any sort of survey framework can be incorporated into the tool built for USAID, a key goal for 2017 is bringing that automation to other agencies.
Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN.
Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.
Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.
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