Elizabeth Ryan is the Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme. She leads the management of the programme’s operations, including communications, city engagement, international liaison and partnerships.
Elizabeth has over 14 years’ experience in partnerships, project management, business development and community engagement. Her specific expertise and interest is in bringing together diverse people – particularly through cross-sectoral groups – for projects that bring mutual and greater societal benefit.
Elizabeth tertiary qualifications are in business management. Advancing social equity, sustainable local economic development and labour force skills and participation has been a core focus of Elizabeth´s diverse professional experience. This has included a two research position with the Equity Research Centre, an advisory body to the Victorian State government where she conducted research relating to labour force participation, gender, disability and youth. She has also developed skills and vocational experience programmes to support improved education and employment outcomes for young people in Melbourne’s north through the Northern Workplace Education Network. This was based on building partnerships between the private sector and secondary schools. Elizabeth has also worked as an educator in tourism and hospitality, training secondary school students, people returning to work, apprentices and industry professionals. More recently, Elizabeth held a partnership and engagement program management role with RMIT University working to bring together industry and academia for mutually beneficial research, projects and alliances.
In her current role with the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme, Elizabeth has led the Vila Chocolatão research project in Porto Alegre, Brazil (2012 to 2016), the establishment of the UNGC-CP Internship programme, the expansion of the Cities Programme and its service offering to participant cities (2011 to current). She has led the inaugural ‘Cities for the Future’ publication and mentored more than 15 interns. Elizabeth has developing Spanish language skills and a keen interest and growing knowledge of sustainable development in the Latin American urban context.
The most rewarding aspect of Elizabeth´s current role is the opportunity it provides to know, support and recognise the achievement of Global Compact participant cities and the many people who are working within them to bridge social and economic divides and build fairer societies and better places to live. She is passionate about sharing those stories and the cities’ knowledge.