TechnoServe | July 19, 2018
After 27 years of leading TechnoServe through its greatest period of growth and maturation, Paul Tierney will step down from his role as Chairman of the Board in fall of 2018. President and CEO William Warshauer sat down with Paul to talk about his journey with TechnoServe.
Your entry into international development was through the Peace Corps. What led you to join the Peace Corps and how did it influence you going forward?
In 1964, I was in my senior year at Notre Dame and I wasn’t sure what was next. I had applied to law school, business school, and several doctoral programs, but sought advice from the university president, Father Theodore Hesburgh, who suggested the Peace Corps. I had a sense of mission, of wanting to do something for mankind and give back, so I took his advice and joined. I was sent to Chile on an economic development program to work with farmers in the agrarian reform movement. My job was to help people structure and improve cooperatives.
During my experience in Chile I’d seen that there were a lot of bright people in development, but few of them knew business or had practical skills. So after my service I decided to go to Harvard Business School and learn how commerce actually works, then pursue a long-term career in traditional economic development. But by the time I finished my MBA program I thought that more effective work in economic development would be done in the private sector. I started a career in investment management. After about 10 years of building my own company, I felt like I could come up for air. I’d made some money, I had some experience, I saw how the real world operated, and I understood capital markets. But I still had a taste for the work I was interested in when I was in the Peace Corps.
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