Jennifer O’Connor

After over 8 years managing and evaluating food security and rural health programs in East Africa for a variety of international programs and governmental organizations, including the Gates Foundation and USAID, Jenny O’Connor founded Guidelight Strategies, a strategic consulting firm focused on the design, development, and implementation of strategic funding and program initiatives in the food/ag,environment, and conservation sectors. As the principal strategist and founding director of Guidelight Strategies, Jenny works at the intersection of capital and climate solutions, focusing her work primarily in the food and agriculture sector and developing systems based strategies and approaches to solving structural problems and challenges.From 2019-2020, Jenny developed a national landscape analysis of the barriers for ranchers and farmers to transition to regenerative agriculture in the US, diving deeply into financial, supply chain, and policy barriers and opportunities. She published a 2020 report, sponsored by Patagonia, highlighting her work: Barriers for Farmers and Ranchers to Adopt Regenerative Agriculture Practices in the US: Identifying Key Levers and Opportunities for Funders. She also supported the SAFSF (Sustainable Ag and Food Systems Funders) special project on US fiber systems, led by her colleague Sarah Kelley, and recently released a roadmap for investing in and revitalizing a national sustainable textile supply chain: The Fibers Roadmap: Integrated Capital Opportunities to Support U.S. Revitalization and Growth. Jenny was also selected as an RSF Integrated Capital Fellow for 2019, where she engaged with diverse forms of financial capital to address complex social and environmental problems through a set of intersectional lenses. As a member of Funders for Regenerative Agriculture (FORA), Jenny has served as the co-chair of the FORA US Policy Working Group, as well as an active role in the Strategic Communications Working Group, and now serves as Executive Director reporting to the Steering Committee.