Meet the Global Programs Director: Q&A with Tony Piaskowy

We are thrilled to welcome Tony Piaskowy to the Cadasta team as the Global Programs Director. Tony comes to Cadasta with more than 15 years of experience working with community-based NGOs and governments at the national, sub-national, and local levels. At Cadasta, Tony will be managing project implementation processes and strategies, including partner training and grants administration. 

Prior to joining us at Cadasta, Tony worked for local politics and government in Detroit, Michigan and for USAID managing and evaluating global land tenure and property rights programs. His international research and field experience is focused on land and urban development in East Africa and Southeast Asia. He holds a graduate degree in international public service from American University, and an undergraduate degree in urban planning from Ball State University.

Read through the questions and answers below to learn more about Tony and his ideas for Cadasta.

How did you learn of Cadasta and what made you apply to the position?

I have known about Cadasta since its founding in 2015, when I was working on land tenure programming at USAID. At that time, both USAID and Cadasta were testing approaches to create and capture land and resource information with new technologies. Since then, Cadasta has refined its approach to deliver technology and tools to communities in a way that is more accessible and applicable to solving land and resource governance problems around the world. It was this new approach coupled with Cadasta’s growth strategy that prompted me to apply for the Global Program Director job.

What excites you most about joining the Cadasta team?

People. For me, the best work environments are the ones with passionate and smart people dedicated to a purposeful mission. In the 3-4 weeks since I started, I have learned that Cadasta has an amazing staff and set of partners who work collectively to secure individual and communal land and resource rights every day. I am also really happy to be back in the land rights sector after spending a few years away, because of the amount of excellence in its practitioner community. 

What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities for the Cadasta Programs team?

Scaling Cadasta’s impact to 8 million people worldwide is the biggest challenge AND opportunity. Fortunately, I think we have a clear strategy and the right set of internal resources to make this happen. I am eager to use a more focused and coordinated partner engagement approach with delivery of high-quality training to meet the impact goal.

When you are not in the office securing land rights, what do you like to do with your free time? 

Outside of work, I am usually traveling or with friends (and ideally traveling with friend groups). This typically involves yoga, hiking, appreciating historic architecture, theater performances, and enjoying good food and beverages. I am a bit obsessive about my coffee and beer preferences (current favorites are natural processed beans from Ethiopia and New England IPAs), and am constantly trying new roasters and brewers. I am also very politically motivated, so during campaign season, you will find me participating in the democratic process by canvassing, phone banking, and fundraising for political candidates and ballot initiatives.

Can you tell us something unexpected or interesting about you?

On my 11th birthday, I took first place in my school’s geography bee competition. Reflecting on that now, its funny to think that almost thirty years later this job at Cadasta allows me to be a ‘geography nerd’ again. The Carmen Sandiego computer game and PBS show definitely played a role in my early interest in geography and history. 

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