Jessica Grillo

Co-Executive Director, Programs

Over the last 15 years, Jessi has worked with companies, communities, governments and civil society organizations to advance social and economic sustainability. She is a systems thinker who believes that the best innovations are those that bring us closer together.

Much of Jessi’s work has focused on building shared understanding and transforming complex information into practicable policies, programs and tools to tackle the drivers of poverty and improve livelihoods. Prior to establishing Living Wage On-Up, Jessi served six years as Rainforest Alliance’s Senior Advisor on livelihoods and social equity. There, she played a key role in developing and enhancing voluntary sustainability standards and certification toward better outcomes for workers, producers and communities, and led the charge which made living wage a top organizational priority. She also helped numerous individual companies build socially responsible policies and supply-chain programs. Jessi has served on several leadership, technical, and advisory committees, including two leading international coalitions on living wage and living income: the Global Living Wage Coalition (GLWC) and Living Income Community of Practice.

Personally, and professionally, Jessi has been most influenced by her time engaging with people around the world where they live, learn and work. Before joining Rainforest Alliance in 2012, Jessi worked in research and humanitarian assistance across twenty countries in Latin America and Africa, as an expert in livelihood economics and food security. She spent seven years with Food Economy Group, four of those advising US food aid programming as the Livelihoods Advisor for the USAID Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET).

Jessi received her graduate degree in International Development and Social Change from Clark University and undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Stony Brook University.