Sally Davidson, B.A.,M.A., M.C.P., has a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology, a Master of Arts in Social Anthropology and a Master of City Planning. Prior to co-founding Blackstone in 1991, Sally developed one of Canada’s first firms dedicated to sustainable development, growing it to 17 staff over four years.
Socio-Economic Assessment Experience:
Sally has directed a wide range of multi-disciplinary assignments across Canada and in over 45 countries around the world. Her recent experience, from the fall of 2011 through December 2014, included her role as a Community Relations (CR) Manager for Bankers Petroleum, a large Canadian-based company operating in Albania. This full-time undertaking addressed the needs and issues of the 22 villages located within the largest on-land oil field in Europe, as well as the training and development of a professional local CR team. Sally’s roles included integration of CR activities with other parts of the company, and building a Community Investment Strategy and Program that grew to expenditures of $2 million annually on activities such as economic development, social programs and community facility improvements. The program has been recognized as best practice in relation to the integration of an extractive industry with local communities, based on a progressive effort to generate a participatory approach to needs identification and resolution of issues.
In 2013, Sally directed a project for the World Bank involving a review of its Environmental and Social Safeguards Policies through consultations with Project-Affected Communities. This very successful assignment involved field investigations of Bank projects in Kenya, Tanzania, Bolivia, Columbia, Philippines and India. In 2010 Blackstone was chosen, following a global competition, to undertake a review of local stakeholder perceptions in regard to the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards, encompassing nine countries worldwide.
Some representative assignments include social assessments for a number of World Bank projects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) including Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Serbia and Bulgaria. This post-conflict and post-Soviet Union work was highly sensitive, and encompassed many sectors.
Sally has also overseen major environmental and social assessment projects (ESIAs), including: a 115 km highway in Ecuador; an environmental programming strategy for the 15 Commonwealth Caribbean Countries; waste management and institutional strengthening project for several countries/regions; and urban management strategies, such as the design of a multi-million dollar loan to the Government of Azerbaijan for the provision of housing and social infrastructure for persons displaced by war.
As an applied anthropologist, Sally has long-standing interest and experience in conducting assignments involving indigenous, minority and vulnerable populations. Among others, she has worked with over 25 First Nations and Inuit communities in Canada, Roma populations throughout Eastern Europe, Mayan communities in Central America, and local villages in many countries.
Sally has directed a large number of multi-disciplinary tourism assignments throughout Canada and in numerous countries around the world, for clients such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Canadian International Development Agency, national, regional and local governments, and the private sector. She is the firm’s senior expert responsible for tourism land use planning, product analysis and development, safeguards and best practices, and legislation/policy development. Her work in over 35 countries, along with adventure travel in some 70 countries, has given her extensive experience in observing “lessons learned” from study of a wide array of tourism products. Sally’s experience helps to design creative strategies and development plans that are responsive to market demands, natural conditions, institutional realities, local capacities and financial considerations, and are sustainable over the long term.
As an archaeologist and social anthropologist, Sally has strong interests in cultural heritage and its linkages to sustainable tourism. She acted as Project Director for a large cultural heritage and alternative tourism planning project for two large municipalities in China, which resulted in a major World Bank loan to Ningbo and Shaoxing cities for tourism development. She has carried out major eco/cultural tourism planning projects throughout the Canadian Arctic over the past 20 years. She worked regularly for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada as a due diligence reviewer for large scale tourism projects, such as carrying out a comprehensive study of a $12 million dollar river cruise and multi-lodge development in Yukon Territory. She also was Project Director for the National Ecotourism Plan for Belize, which resulted in a multi-million dollar loan to the government from the Inter-America Development Bank and has been cited by the Bank as representing “Best Practice” in regard to tourism planning. Other examples of her work include the development of a tourism plan for the ecologically sensitive Bolivian Pantanal region, where she designed “The World’s Longest Wetland Walkway”, tourism plans for Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Turkey, and developments in many other countries.