Assisting Government and Multilateral Organizations in Making Effective Use of Data

Meet Andrea Ulrich, Deputy Director Of Operations at Development Gateway, a nonprofit that provides data and digital solutions for international development. 

A bioengineering graduate, Andrea Ulrich followed her parents’ footsteps, but in a slightly different way. She went to Rice University in Texas to attend a program called Rice 360, an engineering field for limited-resource settings. This involved designing technology that could run without stable power in Ecuador, Haiti, and other places. She also worked in consulting for two years before joining Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and eventually landing in her current position at Development Gateway. It is a data for development nonprofit that develops websites that help the audience use the information to make better decisions.

Andrea defines it as an intersection of website development, data understanding, and political and cultural factors that assist people in making policy and organizational decisions. They inquired the clients and partners about the decisions they wish to make and how they currently obtain information. Then, the nonprofit connects the organizations’ current structure and motivation and provides tools for more effective data use. They also work on organizational assessment and research compilation which entails summarizing published research.

Development Gateway collaborates with government agencies and multilateral organizations such as the United Nations to assist them with data strategy and assessment. As the Deputy Director of Operations, Ulrich oversees the technical staff and partners to gather requirements for IT systems that manage decision support data. She also conducts data analysis for sectors including aid management, health, and agriculture and works with the management team to streamline the nonprofit’s internal processes. 

Andrea expresses gratitude to the women who paved the way for her in the professional world. Her mother’s generation had to work in a hostile work environment that was less open to contributions from women in the workplace. Her experience has been relatively straightforward and smooth in comparison to theirs. Her bioengineering teachers were all women, which made it normal for her to see women excelling and get inspired. 

When it comes to maintaining a work-life balance, she notes that it is very easy for some people to put work on a pedestal where they are willing to sacrifice personal life and time for it. Andrea did this too on her first job, and as a result, her health took a huge toll. This taught her the value of balancing everything while focusing on self-care and personal life. She doesn’t want to promote the hustle culture where often the motto is “For you to be valuable, you must always be available.” This is not what success looks like. She believes in being respectful of other people’s time while also making time for herself.