About Lynn

Lynn Taliento leads our Social Sector Practice in the Americas which she also co-founded in 1999, five years after joining McKinsey.

The practice focuses on strategic philanthropy, economic development, global public health, and education. Lynn works with private foundations, corporations, and development agencies to design innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions to social issues. She specializes in strategic planning, leadership, organizational design, board governance, and advocacy strategies. Her work has taken her around the globe, where she has advised high-profile social-advocacy campaigns, developed strategies for new family foundations, and helped Fortune 100 corporations deploy their business capabilities and assets to effect social change. She also developed a five-year strategy for one of the world's largest international development organizations.

Lynn’s diverse group of clients includes highly successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, and thinkers—in the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East—who want to use their achievements and acumen to give back to both the local and world community. Lynn guides them in creating new philanthropic foundations and initiatives that address today’s most pressing social issues.

She also drives McKinsey’s knowledge agenda in the social sector, building a robust collection of tools and resources to support the work of global nonprofits and philanthropies. She conceived, in partnership with Venture Philanthropy Partners, the Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool, an instrument for nonprofits to measure operational capability and identify areas for improvement. Since its launch in 2001, the tool has been used by thousands of funders and nonprofits and translated into 13 languages. Lynn also co-led McKinsey’s seminal research on prize design and social impact assessment.

Fluent in Spanish, Lynn spent four years in McKinsey’s Mexico City office. She serves on a number of boards including the Malala Fund, water.org, the STARS Foundation, and the US Mexico Foundation.

She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two children.


ViewChange: Unleashing Innovation,” Huffington Post, 2012

JobRaising Challenge, Innovative Competition For Nonprofits,” Huffington Post, 2012

Book Notes: A conversation about non-profit management in an era of scarcity,” Leap of Reason, 2011

Published work

Innovative development financing,” McKinsey & Company, August 2013

Delivery as a management problem,” with Kathleen McLaughlin and Jens Riese, McKinsey’s Voices on Society, April 2013

A development agenda for Haiti’s new government,” McKinsey Quarterly, March 2011

Supply chains matter: Lessons from Haiti,” McKinsey on Society, March 2011

Building support for your cause,” McKinsey on Society, March 2011

How helping women helps business,” McKinsey Quarterly, January 2010

Activists, Pundits, and Quiet Followers: Engaging the public in social issues,” McKinsey & Company, August 2010

The business of empowering women: Where, why, and how,” McKinsey on Society, January 2010

And the winner is…Capturing the value of philanthropic prizes,” McKinsey & Company, 2009

Navigating the advocacy maze,” August 2009

What business execs don’t know—but should—about nonprofits,” Stanford Social Innovation Review, Summer 2006

Capacity Building in Nonprofit Organizations,” a study for Venture Philanthropy Partners, August 2001, has been translated into eleven languages


John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University

Yale University