Erik Nielsen is a professional leader with a passion for turning innovation into concrete impact. He has
over twenty years of experience in global affairs, and specializes in policy development, influencing,
strategy design, governance and strategic partnership creation. He has a proven track record of building
new initiatives including labs, funds and programs focused on poverty reduction.
As Plan International Canada’s inaugural Director of Policy and Advocacy, he leads the design and implementation of its national advocacy strategy and government relations activities to drive policy change in Canada and around the world for the benefit of children, especially girls. On an interim basis, Erik was also the inaugural Director of Innovative Finance at Plan International Canada, where he was responsible for building a new engagement strategy and creating a robust innovative finance portfolio.
Before joining Plan International Canada, Erik was the Portfolio Director of a multi-million dollar global investment fund at Nutrition International that leveraged greater collaboration and resources for improved health and nutrition in Africa and Asia. He has also worked for various international agencies including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Transparency International and Global Affairs Canada. He is an advisor to
Evidence Action, Plastic Oceans and the Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise; he was also previously a board member of WelTel International and Marigold Capital.
Erik studied at Guelph, Cornell and Harvard universities and holds a doctorate focused on networked governance from MIT, under the direction of professors Lawrence Susskind and Anthony Saich. During his studies he earned multiple awards and distinctions, including a Presidential Scholarship, a Martin Fellowship and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship. At Harvard University Erik was a Doctoral Research Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government. He has
lived in ten countries, visited over 60 and currently resides in Ottawa, Canada.