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VIRTUAL: Alumni Conversation in Honor of International Women's Day

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Maxwell alumni and friends are invited to join us on Friday, March 26 at 1:00 p.m. EDT for a virtual alumni event in recognition of International Women's Day. Kristen Patel, Donald P. and Margaret Curry Gregg Professor of Practice in Korean and East Asian Affairs, will engage in insightful and inspiring conversation with a panel of three Maxwell women graduates who are advancing citizenship and the public good around the world: Nuria Esparch '00 MA (PA), Minister of Defense, Peru; Shiro Gnanaselvam '93 MPA, Chief Executive Officer, Social Impact; and Jacquelyn Williams-Bridgers '77 BA (UrSt)/'78 MPA, Chief of Party, USAID Government Accountability Initiative at Checchi and Company Consulting, Inc.

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For questions or more information about this online event, please contact the Maxwell Alumni Office at


The program participants will include:

Nuria Esparch ’00 MA (PA)

Mrs. Nuria Esparch Fernández is a graduate of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), where she earned a Bachelor of Law degree. Mrs. Esparch possesses a Master Degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University in New York, United States.

Throughout her career, she has worked both in the public and private sectors. From 2006 to 2008, she served as Vice Minister for Defense Resources in the Ministry of Defense of Peru. From 2008 and 2011, she served as Chief Executive of the National Civil Service Authority (SERVIR).

She also served as Chief of Staff for the Office of the Vice Minister at the Ministry of the Interior (2003-2004) and as Secretary General at the Ministry of Agriculture (2000-2003), Labor and Employment Promotion (2004-2005), as well as at the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations (2005 -2006).

Mrs. Esparch worked as a professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and the Institute of Governance and Public Management of the San Martín de Porres University (USMP). She was a research affiliate for the Group for Analysis of Development (GRADE). In this field, she developed, among other contributions, institutional reforms for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and for the former National Council of the Magistracy (CNM).
In the private sector, from 2012 to 2014, she worked as Senior Manager of Communications and External Relations for the Río Tinto Mining Company; from 2014 to 2018, she worked as Corporate Manager for Institutional Relations of the Graña y Montero Group. From 2019 to 2020, she worked as General Manager for Hacer Consultores. She has recently become Advisor to the Executive Presidency of the Social Health Insurance Agency (ESSALUD).

Mrs. Esparch was appointed Minister of Defense through Supreme Resolution No. 196-2020-PCM, dated November 18, 2020. She is the first woman to hold this position in the country's history.

Shiranthi (Shiro) Gnanaselvam ’93 MPA

Shiro Gnanaselvam has built her career scaling and repositioning organizations. As the CEO of Social Impact (SI), Shiro brings over 25 years of international development experience in program, operational and leadership roles to develop and execute SI’s corporate strategy and lead its global staff. For the last eight years, Shiro has been at the forefront of charting SI’s growth as a global management consulting firm that advances development effectiveness through monitoring, evaluation, strategic planning, and capacity building services.

Shiro’s talent for developing strategy and translating it into action has allowed her to serve organizations ranging from for profit consulting firms such as Pricewaterhouse Coopers and IBM to government agencies like the Millennium Challenge Corporation, multi-lateral agencies such as the World Bank and non-profits like Africare. Shiro is passionate about building high performing, diverse and inclusive teams, using data to drive decision making, and mentoring and coaching the next generation of leaders in international development.

Shiro was born and raised in Sri Lanka and moved to the U.S, to obtain her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College. She also has an M.P.A. from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and an M.B.A from the University of Maryland.

Kristen Patel ’90 BA (Econ/PSt)

Kristen (Kris) Patel, a distinguished alumna of the Maxwell School (’90 Econ, PSt) with more than 25 years of experience leading intelligence and analytics programs in the public and private sectors, is the new Donald P. and Margaret Curry Gregg Professor of Practice in Korean and East Asian Affairs. Patel returns to Maxwell directly from HSBC’s Compliance Office in Asia-Pacific, based in Hong Kong, where she built and managed the regional financial crime intelligence capability for one of the world’s largest banks.

In her new role, Patel will serve as faculty member in the Policy Studies Program and teach undergraduate courses in policy studies and graduate courses in public administration and international affairs. In addition, Patel will be a research associate in Maxwell’s Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC) and contribute to Syracuse University’s Intelligence Center Community of Academic Excellence.
Patel’s public sector career also includes more than two decades in increasingly senior management positions in the U.S. federal government: as deputy director of intelligence at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the U.S. Department of Treasury, where she focused on high priority illicit finance challenges including counterterrorism, fraud and money laundering issues; as a bureau chief of the DNI Open Source Center in Seoul and as a division chief; and in management and training roles at the Central Intelligence Agency, including as manager of the largest analytics training program at the CIA’s Sherman Kent School. Patel has also served as chair of a National Security Council (NSC) sub-group and provided daily intelligence briefings for senior NSC staff and White House advisors.

Patel graduated with honors from Syracuse University, earning a BA in economics and policy studies. She also holds an MA in economics from Duke University and a certificate in international finance from Georgetown University. She will be in residence at the Maxwell School in Syracuse starting in fall 2021. 

Jacquelyn (Jacquie) Williams-Bridgers ’77 BA (UrSt)/’78 MPA

Jacquie Williams-Bridgers is a leader of public sector reforms and good governance initiatives with experience leading donor-funded democracy in governance projects and implementing consultancies in Africa and Southeast Asia. She has over 25 years of experience in evaluation, audit and investigation of development assistance, foreign policy, intelligence, and international security programs and has worked with government, civil society organizations and parliamentarians to construct organizational, regulatory and legislative reforms. Jacquie has advised leaders of government in Asia, Africa and South America on governance and anticorruption reform policies and strategies. She has led evaluations of housing, community development, and transportation investment and program delivery. 

Jacquie is the former Inspector General of the U.S. Department of State, where she managed a 300-person multi-disciplinary workforce and budget. She has advised three former U.S. Secretaries of State on foreign policy matters emanating from results of her organization’s evaluations. She has chaired and been a member of the Boards of Audit for the Organization of American States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Prior to State, she served as Managing Director of International Affairs and Trade for the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where her congressional testimonies and reporting resulted in billions of dollars saved or cost avoided, and over 80% of recommendations adopted. 

Jacquie currently leads a four-year U.S. Agency for International Development activity to support good governance reforms at the national and local levels of government in Serbia. Prior to joining Checchi and Company Consulting, Jacquie managed a five-year USAID project to support multiple national government agencies in the Philippines.



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