About Maryann
Throughout her career, Maryann Fernandez has been an industry leader in creating substantial opportunities for multiple stakeholders to convene, explore and solidify ways to support each other and to work together in addressing the world’s most critical challenges.

Maryann brings decades of experience and insight from both the private and public sectors to her work with a diverse set of clients, ranging from wealthy families to US-based non-profits to large multi-national organizations. She provides thoughtful strategy organized in practical steps and processes. She specializes in taking the complicated and daunting to clear and impactful.

As Senior Partnerships Officer, Regional Bureau for Asia & the Pacific, The UN World Food Programme, Maryann focused on diversifying funding streams by revising a dated strategy and cultivating new relationships with the Asian Development Bank and other regional Multilateral Development Banks, financial institutions, regional associations like ASEAN and APEC, and seeking collaborative opportunities with sister UN agencies, Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Maryann provided guidance to WFP country offices on initiating and nurturing relationships with development bank executives, best practices on due diligence and relationship building, engaging corporations, high-net-worth individuals, families and their foundations as potential donor/partners. She helped senior executives understand the value of different kinds of partnerships – beyond just funding. In the regional bureau, Maryann had a key role in selecting, writing speeches, and preparing executives for speaking engagements and meetings at high-level international conferences.

Through Philanthropy Indaba, a unique company that developed customized philanthropic journeys and opportunities for learning and service, Maryann brought donors closer to a deeper exploration and understanding of themselves, each other, and the world in which we live. Maryann used a thoughtful and curated approach to travel and the exploration of nature and humanity to nurture her clients’ ability to sharpen the focus of their philanthropy/social investments and strengthen the impact of their engagement at both at home and abroad. Maryann's signature approach was to focus on individually tailored outcomes and collaboration, as well as expertly facilitated discussions on the ground. Philanthropy Indaba provided access to thought leaders and multiple stakeholders, as well as the chance to identify synergies with and between NGOs seeking to collaborate with others.

Maryann was a strategic consultant to Educate Girls Globally, an organization which utilizes community empowerment and partnerships with Indian state
governments to get and keep girls in school. She has provided consulting services to world-renown non-profit, Ashoka, Innovators for the Public, a 37 year old organization that has funded over 1,800 social entrepreneurs across the world. She also helped launch and establish a private network of ultra-high-net-worth philanthropists which included over 150 families. Her primary responsibilities included program development, recruitment of new families through institutional partnerships, and marketing. Events featured prominent speakers including Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, The Earth Institute, Queen Noor, Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek, and Bill Moyers.  

Maryann was formerly Vice President, Family Education Services and Senior Marketing Representative at the Harris Private Bank, Chicago. With Harris Bank from 1998 - 2002, Maryann oversaw the development and strategic direction of educational events designed to address the issues and opportunities in wealth management. With Harris Bank’s parent company, Bank of Montreal, Maryann spearheaded one of the first private bank cross-border initiatives by introducing educational wealth management events to the Canadian private bank market.

Maryann was member of the Planning Committee for The Asian Development Bank’s 2016 Food Security Forum, served as a judge from 2008-2011 for the New York University Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Program in Social Entrepreneurship. She is on the Advisory Board for Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy Program at The American College. Maryann is a frequent speaker at wealth management/family office events and university forums including the Campden's Family Business Forum, Columbia Business School Family Business Conference and Wharton’s Family Business Program. 

“Maryann possesses a unique blend of relationship management and partnership capabilities that define her approach and conduct in an organization….Maryann has been instrumental in leading and establishing contacts with [Asian Development Bank] and creating the opportunity for elevating RBB/WFP’s relationship with ADB. She has a highly developed sense of emerging issues, the ability to connect these with the mandate of WFP, and generate ideas of collaboration with the relevant partner institution….” Senior Executive, UN World Food Programme

“I was just thinking about the trip and what an amazing opportunity/experience that was. I'm in my second year at [university], studying Sustainable Environmental Design! I'm interested in making cities and urban environments more sustainable and suited for everyone is part of them. Going to Kenya with a group of strong and influential women definitely inspired me to make an impact in some way. “ – young philanthropist who participated in a learning journey

“Maryann has proven to be a skilled and inspired leader, innovator, planner and implementer in both her work with The Bridge and in her other endeavors. Ms. Fernandez is well qualified to help develop the mission and goals that guide an 

enterprise. She has the unusual ability to develop sound strategic directions towards fulfilling defined outcomes as well as the ability to communicate those plans and enlist support from critical individuals and organizations to carry them out.”-  President, The Bridge Philanthropic Advisory Services

“The whole event from your warm welcome to the ambiance, the gathering of interesting committed people, and interchange of ideas was very well done. Kudos to YOU.” – philanthropist who participated in a salon/dinner event

“I just wanted to say another big thank you for all you did to facilitate such an amazing, meaningful trip.” – philanthropist who participated in a learning journey

“Thank you so much for the event yesterday. I had such a great experience and went home last night, and came back to work today, with renewed energy….I learned so much about our target organizations….I would love to do it again – anytime.” – family office executive participant in a local domestic site visit

Note: Because of the confidential nature of working with high-net-worth families, some names, affiliations and other details have been omitted.

Check out our blog:Living Philanthropy
Photo credit: most of the site photos are taken by Maryann Fernandez. 
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