Nancy Kete

Independent Consultant


Nancy Kete served as Managing Director for Resilience at The Rockefeller Foundation for four years, beginning in 2012. There she led the Foundation’s global work on resilience, including developing strategies and practices for infusing resilience thinking throughout the Foundation’s work. She also led the development of the City Resilience Framework and a large portfolio of projects aimed at transforming U.S. government paradigms from relief and recovery to resilience building. This Resilience by Design work included the highly honored Rebuild by Design partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the resilience academies that supported the National Disaster Resilience Competence.

During her 25-year career in government, civil society, and the private sector, Kete has provided technical, institutional, and managerial leadership on a number of major environmental and societal challenges. She has been a diplomat, a climate change negotiator, a social entrepreneur, and a highly successful fundraiser.

Before joining the Foundation, Kete spent 13 years at the World Resources Institute, first as Director of the Climate, Energy, and Pollution Program and then as Founder and Director of EMBARQ, a distinguished program that catalyzed environmentally sustainable transport solutions to improve quality of life in cities in Mexico, Brazil, India, Turkey, and the Andean region.

Kete also served on President Obama’s National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. In her role as Senior Advisor on Corporate Safety and Risk Management, she provided recommendations on unilateral steps the industry should take to improve safety—above and beyond regulatory requirements.

Earlier in her career, Kete worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she led the development of the acid rain control title of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the first (and as yet most successful) application of market instruments for pollution control. She holds a PhD in Geography and Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s in Geography from Southern Illinois University.