Barbara Lamb, Principal and co-founder of Blackstone Corporation, brings over 25 years’ consulting experience in community economic development, tourism, and social assessments, applied to many different sectors (solid waste management; transportation; cadastre, municipal infrastructure, agriculture, education, health, power, extractive industries (oil; mining), youth, SME’s, indigenous peoples, etc.). She has worked in over 40 countries spanning Eastern Europe and Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean and Latin America for the World Bank, IFC, Inter-American Development Bank, Asia Development Bank, CIDA, national governments, and regions.
Along with Blackstone’s other Partner, Barbara has gained a reputation for the type of innovative, outside-the-box thinking required to meet tough challenges, create new opportunities and/or facilitate cooperative problem-solving for our clients. The success of the projects she has worked on has often been due to delivery of smart and unique stakeholder engagement processes designed by Blackstone to produce realistic, sustainable and results-oriented strategies and tangible progress for our clients.
Barbara has a Master of Sciences in Planning and an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies. Speaking Spanish, Barbara generally oversees the company’s Latin American projects in association with our Associates, located in Peru and Bolivia. She has worked throughout South America and in 15 countries of the Caribbean on multiple occasions in the areas of Social Assessment and Tourism.
Stakeholder Engagement (SE) & Social Assessment (SA) Experience
Between 2011 and December, 2014, Barbara helped to mobilize a viable local Social Department for a Canadian oil company operating in Albania. She created an innovative, long-term economic development and job creation program ($1 million/year) that targeted different segments of the locally affected communities, and that was multi-faceted (transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture; needs-based vocational training/VET aimed at specific employers; women’s empowerment program, SME start-up funding, a highly successful job fair, etc.). She worked to ensure that the company complied with IFC and EBRD performance standards, by training and overseeing an internationally designed grievance mechanism. Staff were trained to implement a robust monitoring and evaluation process to enable feedback and ongoing adjustments to the community development program. She was asked by both the IFC and EBRD to present to internal and external stakeholders the economic development program, which was considered by each auditing agency to be good/best practice.
One of the program’s highlights was the introduction of a powerful and sustainable youth empowerment program, never before implemented outside of Canada. The program has had lasting effect on the morale and quality of life of previously marginalized young Albanian men and women and that will continue into the future. This program was recognized by one international agency as something that “should be in all of our countries of operation.” It is a program that Blackstone, with the originators of the program, will offer to other companies who want to improve relationships with local stakeholders affected by their operations.
Barbara’s experience has also included preparation of detailed operational manuals for matching grants and revolving funds to enable local communities and stakeholders receive funding for projects and businesses (Azerbaijan). As noted earlier she has also spearheaded SME grants (Albania).
Barbara was also part of Blackstone’s review, on behalf of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of its Performance Standards. The World Bank, learning of the company’s work for the IFC, requested that Blackstone undertake a similar process for the Bank’s Social Safeguards (2013).
Much of her participation in Blackstone’s SE-SA work has involved needs assessments (e.g., for development of a $48 million loan in Azerbaijan for social infrastructure to improve the lives of Internally Displaced Persons – IDPs; land use and minority rights in Serbia; transportation in Bosnia; indigenous land rights in Belize, etc.).
She, along with Blackstone’s other Principal, has managed the socio-economic aspects of solid waste management projects (Trinidad; Argentina; 6 countries of the OECS; Canada).
Barbara’s international tourism work began in the late 1980s when she worked for one of the world’s largest hospitality industry firms undertaking market and financial feasibility studies for a variety of domestic and international tourism attractions and accommodations properties. Since then, Barbara has taken a lead role in developing and implementing leading-edge methodologies to accurately identify market niches and forecast market demand (which are crucial in this market-driven industry).
In 2010-2011, Barbara was Project Director for the preparation of a comprehensive IADB-funded Community-Based Tourism Loan for Bolivia that resulted in a $20 million loan to the country from the Inter-American Development Bank. She was also involved in a large and complex World Bank-funded cultural heritage tourism project in China, which led the Chinese government to increase its loan to implement the Tourism Plan that Blackstone produced. She has also been Manager recently of tourism-related planning and due diligence assignments in Aruba and in Canada’s Yukon Territory and Nunavut.
Barbara has worked on multiple occasions throughout the Caribbean and Latin America on national tourism strategies. Among others, when Belize’s industry was in significant decline, and the public and private sectors were at odds, Blackstone undertook the research, stakeholder engagement and analyses that led to the approval by all tourism stakeholders and the Prime Minister of a highly successful national tourism strategy.