Diana Yousef ’04SIPA ’03BUS
Founder & CEO
change:WATER Labs

Diana’s career spans the arenas of academic life sciences research, international economic development, strategy consulting, finance and venture capital/private equity investing. She co-founded the Life Sciences Investment Group of the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, investing in growth-stage biotech and agritech companies in India, China, and other emerging markets. She also co-founded the United Nation’s Inclusive Markets incubator, to help companies develop innovative products and services for the base-of-the-pyramid.

As a consultant with McKinsey and Company, Diana worked with clients across several sectors and functions. She was a seed-stage venture investor with Battelle Ventures and Kidd and Company, investing in and catalyzing companies around emerging technologies in the cleantech, biotechnology, and IT. As an entrepreneur, she founded and co-founded a number of cleantech and social ventures, including: WeCyclers (social venture to clean up urban slums and create recyclables supply chain linkages in Nigeria), Immerse Global (Stanford-spin out to develop atmospheric water capture technologies), SachSiSolar (MIT-spin out to develop revolutionary new materials to lower the cost of solar energy); and her current venture, change:WATER Labs (to commercialize frugal yet disruptive innovations to expand access to safe water and sanitation in the developing world).

She is a former protein biochemist (BA, Harvard; PhD, Cornell), and holds an MBA and an MIA in international affairs (Columbia). She was an inaugural member of TED Fellows Advisory and Selection Committee, a founding council member for NASA / USAID’s LAUNCH Accelerator, and a 2017-8 inventor ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and the Lemelson Foundation.

She was a 2018 finalist for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award; one of five global winners of the 2018 Chivas-Regal Venture Competition; and currently a 2018-9 top 10 finalist for the African Innovation Prize. Her work and the work of change:WATER Labs have been recognized globally. At the UN General Assembly in September 2018, her venture was announced as one of the global awardees of the inaugural Humanitarian Grand Challenges Awards (funded by USAID, DFID and the Dutch Foreign Ministry). Their work has been covered such publications as Fast Company, BOSS Magazine (on the cover of April 2018 issue), Bloomberg, the Discovery Channel, The Daily Beast and the Boston Globe.