Julie Barrett O’Brien is a lecturer in Global Affairs at Yale University’s Jackson Institute and serves as president and founder of Barrett Global Strategies. Her specific research interests include food security and hunger, and the role of the private sector in addressing complex social issues. After a successful career leading product marketing for a multinational coffee chain, O’Brien shifted her focus to international development and served more than a decade on the leadership teams of Management Sciences for Health and Grassroot Soccer, and as a senior communications adviser to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health. As a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s International Relations committee, O’Brien advocated for sound business practices to create shared value for coffee producers and retailers. She has led marketing, advocacy, and strategic communication efforts in more than 20 countries on five continents, and works with Fortune 100 companies, governments, foundations, and NGOs to build high impact partnerships.
With a BA from the University of San Diego and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School, she co-authored several articles including "The Role of Leadership in Human Resources for Health" (The Lancet), and has been an adviser to the Clinton Global Initiative, the World Bank, and NAFTA’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation. She sits on multiple boards, is chair of The Coffee Trust, and founder of the Mother's Day Fund. O’Brien lives outside Boston with her husband and two sons.