ABCD Institute > Institute Faculty > Emeritus Faculty > Geralyn Sheehan

Geralyn Sheehan

  • International Development
  • Emeritus Faculty
  • ​Northfield, MN​
Geralyn Rose Sheehan provides advice and training on how to effectively mobilize successful, sustainable economic development. Sheehan works in urban and rural settings in the United States and internationally. Sheehan’s professional experience of 25 years is based on the belief that community improvement occurs only when ideas and solutions are sustainable and born from community members’ own actions. Sheehan works firsthand to identify and mobilize the unique strength of each community — always with an emphasis on economic solutions. Sheehan believes that business models must be designed with community members to assure sustainability of any effort or initiative.

Sheehan currently works with Opportunity International, a global microfinance organization, directing their Global Innovations. Opportunity International provides financial inclusion as well as community support and development in 22 developing countries. Sheehan believes that traditional microfinance is necessary but not sufficient to achieve long-term, self-sufficient communities among the world’s poor that earn $2/day or less. The blending of community and business development strategies with microfinance leads to long-term solutions such as well-paying jobs, improved access to education/health services, and growth of new and expanded business opportunities for microentrepreneurs and their communities.

Sheehan has served as a faculty member at the Asset-Based Community Development Institute since 1994. As a faculty member, Sheehan has consulted, trained and developed funding/program strategies for community, foundations and business leaders both in the USA and internationally. Sheehan authored Building the Mercado Central: Asset Based Development & Community Entrepreneurship. She also co-authored A Guide to Capacity Inventories: Mobilizing the Community Skills of Local Residents with John McKnight. These books highlight how community members can use their local assets to lead change and economic improvements in their community. Sheehan taught asset-based community development at the Community Leadership Institute at the Center for Non-Profit Management, University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. Sheehan has held executive positions in the United Way System where she spearheaded the United Way’s $80 million inclusion of community economic development and neighborhood funding to mobilize local residents/businesses to grow local economies.

Sheehan received her master's degree in public administration from Harvard University. Sheehan also has a JD degree from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, and practiced in both criminal and civil courts. Sheehan was awarded a fellowship in international development through the Kellogg Foundation in 1990 and was granted a Bush Leadership Fellowship in 1994 to further her studies in community and economic development at Harvard University.

Contact Information
112 Marvin Lane, Northfield, MN 55057
Office: 630/242-6313
Cell: 612/991-9461