Grameen Australia is strengthening its commitment to realising the untapped potential of microfinance in Australia with the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer.

International development expert, Jamie Terzi, brings two decades of experience working in poverty eradication, gender equality, and women’s health to the role.

Grameen Australia’s Chair, Ian Neil SC, said the board of directors conducted an extensive and highly competitive selection process which included an interview with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Grameen Bank founder, Professor Muhammad Yunus.

“Jamie has outstanding experience in this sector, and her leadership marks an exciting new chapter for Grameen’s story in Australia,” said Mr Neil SC.

“We believe Jamie’s strong expertise in women’s economic empowerment will drive the scale and reach of our Nobel Peace Prize-winning microfinance social business model.

“Jamie has a strong commitment to the Grameen model and sees the enormous potential of microfinance to support migrant and refugee women on low incomes to generate incomes and meaningful livelihoods,” he said.

As the former Vice President of Program Partnerships and Learning at CARE USA, Jamie led a team of over 150 people supporting US$600 million in global programming. In addition, she was a member of CARE USA’s executive management and leadership team, working with high-profile corporate partners such as Pepsi, Walmart, GAP, and Target, along with high-net-worth individuals. She was also the Country Head of CARE in Bangladesh where the Grameen Bank model was founded.

Returning to Australia after 20 years working abroad, Ms Terzi said she was delighted to be taking on the role.

“I’ve seen the power of microfinance to change lives in countries like Afghanistan and Bangladesh through my previous work with CARE,” said Ms Terzi.

“I’m looking forward to replicating the significant positive impact of the Grameen model in Australia, empowering thousands of migrant and refugee women to create pathways to financial independence for themselves and their families.

“I’m keen to bring a strong focus on working with partners and changemakers to achieve the shared goals of poverty alleviation and gender equality, especially for women from refugee and migrant backgrounds,” she said.

Mr Neil SC acknowledged the work of the previous CEO, Adam Mooney, in attracting initial investment to establish the Grameen Today model in Australia.

Grameen Today works with refugee and migrant women who have entrepreneurial aspirations and are experiencing unemployment, financial exclusion, and poverty. International research shows the program reduces financial hardship, increases income, and improves overall wellbeing.