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About Kathleen

Kathleen McLaughlin leads McKinsey’s Social Innovation Practice, which works with clients to develop breakthrough solutions to social challenges. She is also a leader in the Retail Practice. She works across the private, public, and non-profit sectors globally, helping improve the performance of institutions and systems (health systems, food systems, economic development) more broadly.

In the social sector, Kathleen has worked with a range of institutions worldwide including major philanthropic foundations, international development agencies, multilateral development agencies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and public-private partnerships. Examples of Kathleen's client work in the social sector include accelerating country ownership of the HIV/AIDS response in Africa, working with international development partners and local country governments; redesigning the global organization of a major foundation to improve its effectiveness; helping an international agency develop a strategy to engage the private sector in advancing nutrition; and supporting the post-merger organization design and change management of a major development agency.

In the retail sector, Kathleen has worked with grocers, department stores, specialty apparel retailers, drug store chains, gasoline retailers, and hard goods formats in the Americas, Europe, and Asia to improve their performance. She has helped clients expand into emerging markets, defend home markets against foreign competitors, revamp retail formats, launch new formats, introduce new categories, drive productivity improvements, launch profitable online businesses, overhaul marketing, merchandising and store operations functions and substantially reduce cost.

Kathleen has spoken at a number of conferences and symposia, on topics including organization effectiveness, international expansion and development. Recently, at the July, 2012, International Aids Society Conference in Washington, she moderated a satellite session co-hosted by PEPFAR, UNAIDS, McKinsey and the Gates Foundation on using global partnerships to accelerate health systems transformations.

Kathleen received her BSc in electrical engineering summa cum laude from Boston University, where she was a Trustee Scholar; she also received a BA in politics, philosophy, and economics and a Dipl. theology from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Kathleen has been a director of the Toronto Community Foundation for the past ten years, is a board member of L’Arche Canada, and a trustee of the Canadian Opera Foundation.

Published work

Delivery as a management problem,” McKinsey on Society, April 2013

Expert reviewer, “Canada's strategic role in Global Public Health,” Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, 2011

Saving mothers' lives in Namibia,” McKinsey Quarterly, June 2010

Boston University  BSc
Oxford University BA

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