Connexus Corporation: A Small, Woman-Owned Consulting Firm with Global Reach
By Susan M. Puska, President & CEO
Think "international development," and you might picture young volunteers in far-off lands, digging wells, distributing humanitarian supplies, or overseeing micro-financed projects aimed at empowering women or other vulnerable groups. Although these are all part of what international development looks like, the industry is also a landscape of private-sector employers, with as many firms and organizations as it has challenges.
When veteran development practitioner Anita Campion set out to launch her own firm, she wanted to apply her more than 20 years of experience -- working on financial sector development and access in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo -- to build a more nimble, responsive organization.
"As a small business, Connexus manages and carries out all of its own marketing and communications of projects and initiatives, developing strategies and utilizing tools that maximize exposure and deliver the desired message to target audiences," said Campion, who also serves as the firm's Chief Executive Officer.
Part of understanding those target audiences, Campion added, is "taking into account language barriers and cultural norms," ensuring that communications with stakeholders and partners are clear and accessible.
Accessibility is a key feature of Kanava's Impact Strengthening Development (ISD) tool, which has helped measure and improve the management capacity of international development practitioners, their partners and grantees, from West Africa to Cambodia and Afghanistan -- and, thanks in part to Connexus, in the United States.
Since becoming one of the first firms to pilot the tool, Campion said she has consistently cited the ISD assessment in business proposals as a way to demonstrate her team's competitiveness. "ISD helped us identify ... areas where we could make improvements and operate more formally," Campion recalled. Those improvements, she added, are important as Connexus moves "toward becoming a prime contractor," taking on the lead role in managing large USAID and other donor-funded projects.
Connexus has already established a well-earned reputation in the development industry, including as organizers of the annual Cracking the Nut conference, which includes partners such as the United States Agency for International Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank. The conference theme for 2018 is "Promoting Agricultural Technology Adoption and Resilience."
'Internal Audit' Tool
As her firm continues to grow, Campion says ISD has helped her prepare for external audits that position her and her team to showcase their management capacity. "In essence, [ISD] acts as a tool for conducting an internal audit of policies, procedures, systems and operations," she said.
We at Kanava are proud of our partnership with Connexus and look forward to seeing our colleague Anita Campion and her team continue to grow and thrive.
Connexus Corporation is a small, woman-owned, US-based global consulting firm, specializing in financial services and enterprise development. With a mission to provide high quality global consulting services to transform international development and build local capacity, Connexus has completed numerous initiatives facilitating access to finance to the underserved in a variety of areas, including rural and agricultural finance, microfinance, small and medium enterprise finance and youth finance.
Learn more about Kanava, our partners, and how they have used our ISD tool at kanavainternational.com.