Expert Profile

Lisa Mensah
Executive Director
The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security

Lisa Mensah is Executive Director for The Aspen Institute’s Initiative on Financial Security (IFS). She is an expert in using financial tools to improve the economic security of the working poor. At IFS, Ms. Mensah leads an advisory board of corporate executives and experts to explore financial products that build wealth from birth to retirement for America’s working families.

Ms. Mensah began her career in commercial banking at Citibank prior to working 13 years with the Ford Foundation. Serving as Deputy Director of Economic Development for the organization, Ms. Mensah led the Foundation’s work in microfinance and women’s economic development. She became the leading national funder of individual development accounts (IDAs)–an innovative savings account structured with matching incentives and personal financial training used to finance homeownership, entrepreneurship and education. Under Ms. Mensah’s leadership, IDAs grew from an experiment at a handful of sites to become a tool used by hundreds of community organizations in all 50 states.

Ms. Mensah holds an M.A. from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Harvard University.

Lisa Mensah's discussions:

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Jim Riccio Greenpeace
Alan Khazei Be the Change, Inc.
Nick Taylor American Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA, When FDR Put the Nation to Work
Gerald Tirozzi National Association of Secondary School Principals
Tim Burke Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation
Jeb Bush State of Florida

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  • Risk and Legal Fear in Schools
    With Lenore Skenazy, Frederick Hess, Megan Rosker, Walter Olson, and Nancy McDermott. Start date: June 5