Karen Newman and Sahba Sobhani
Senior Communications Consultant and Global Programme Advisor-Private Sector UNDP

Karen Newman serves as a Senior Communications Consultant for the BCtA. She comes from the U.S. State Department where she was a Fellow for almost two years working within the Foreign Press Center and with the public affairs and ECOSOC section. Prior to this, Karen spent more than ten years within the UN system, including various roles at UNDP, the ILO and the Foundation for the Global Compact. During her career in the public, private and international sectors, she has developed expertise with building strategic partnerships, resource mobilization, corporate responsibility and economic development. Her work also includes outreach to the diplomatic community and consulting for companies like Microsoft and Philips Healthcare, as well as promoting large UN initiatives related to the Millennium Development Goals. She managed the World Business Development Awards 2010 in conjunction with the International Business Leaders Forum, the International Chamber of Commerce and UNDP, and promoted the launch of the 2009 Business Call to Action in New York and South Africa.Karen’s experience with government includes economic development posts for the City of New York and Chicago city governments. In Chicago, she worked at The Michael Jordan Foundation and United Way in community affairs and grantmaking. Recently, Karen hosted and curated the TEDxUN Plaza and is active in Crowdfunding for social good. In the past she served on the New York Committee for the Friends of World Food Program and with the Hunger Project to raise funds and awareness on poverty and hunger issues. Karen has also served on the Board of NEXCO and Women in International Trade. Karen holds an MBA and a Masters in Social Service Administration both from the University of Chicago.




Sahba Sobhani serves as the Programme Manager of the BCtA,and Team Leader in the Innovation and Development Alliances Cluster of the Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He also serves as the manager of UNDP’s Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative (GIM), which is a research and advocacy initiative with a forthcoming 2013 Africa regional report on the role of enabling organizations in supporting inclusive businesses.Additionally, he is the lead author of the first GIM report, “Creating Value for All: Strategies for Doing Business with the Poor”, which was launched in 50 countries since July 2008 and translated in seven languages and the 2010 report titled “The MDGs: Everyone’s Business”. Sahba served as the first Interim Director of the UNDP Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD), which is in partnership with the Turkish Government, the first global center of its kind established with a major emerging country.Previously, he managed two key private sector initiatives in the executive office of the former Administrator of UNDP, Lord Malloch Brown, including the Commission on the Private Sector and Development headed by Paul Martin, the former Prime Minister of Canada, and Ernesto Zedillo, Mexico’s former President, and the African Financial Markets Initiative. In this capacity, he was the co-author of the “Unleashing Entrepreneurship” report, the seminal report of the Private Sector Commission produced at the request of then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the managing editor of the African Stock Markets Handbook. Sahba Sobhani has also worked in the private sector at Idealab in Palo Alto and Newscom Limited in Singapore. He is a graduate of Yale University and the Fletcher School of Diplomacy.


Articles by Karen Newman and Sahba Sobhani

The Best of NextBillion in Your Inbox Each Week!
Subscribe to NB Notes for news, jobs & on-the-ground insights from the world of emerging markets business.
No Thanks
Thank you for signing up to receive the NextBillion Notes newsletter.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.