By Susan Kim, Managing Editor
FEBRUARY 8, 2012 Posted in: MEQ
After years of researching the sometimes rocky relationship between businesses and local communities worldwide, Dr. Rani Parker decided to dedicate her life to exploring how businesses can mitigate risk while helping local communities along the path to development. After earning a Ph.D. from the George Washington University School of Business and Public Management, she turned her passion for business-community relations into a business with Business Community Synergies (www.bcsynergies.com).
There, Parker and other international experts help manage corporate and community engagement at local, national, regional and international levels in more than 50 countries around the world, from Afghanistan to Vietnam to El Salvador.
Before a business moves into a local community, Parkers helps businesspeople understand and interpret the local fabric of social and gender issues. She also informs business owners about local capacity for employment and how business-support foundations can help local social development.
“A lot of this works sounds like very technical research,” she said, “but in fact the impact it has on people’s lives is incredible. Businesses that consider these issues before developing a strategic plan find that they are more harmonious and ultimately more profitable.”
Parker is considered a leading authority on corporate-community engagement and is known internationally for her work in community-based gender and social analysis. She has worked for two decades on corporate-community relationships between the public sector, private business and civil society.
Her research spans grassroots work in India, economic development
programs in West Africa, gender analysis in the Middle East and
participatory evaluation and partnership building across many regions of
the world. She was previously director of woman/child impact programs
and chief adviser at Save the Children (U.S.), where she created and led
multinational teams of development practitioners in capacity-building.