Under her leadership, the Futures Forum has among other things designed and curated the first Forum on the Future of the Caribbean Sea, held in Kingston, Jamaica. A sought-after speaker, Nelson’s engagements have included: Association of Blacks in Energy; ASME; BET/CENTRIC; World Bank; Women in Research Engineering Symposium; Black Engineer of the Year Conference; Salzburg Seminar; Pacific Skills Summit; World Steel; University of the West Indies; and the US Air Force. She also provides foresight and sustainability consulting to organizations such as: Development Bank of Jamaica. She has served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Futures Studies and the World Futures Review Journal and is an active member of the Association of Professional Futurists and the World Futures Studies Federation, where she is Editor-At-Large of its flagship publication HUMAN FUTURES Magazine.
Before establishing The Futures Forum, Dr. Nelson held a variety of positions at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), over a thirty-year career which spanned strategic portfolio development; program identification and management, institutional assessments and technical feasibility studies across a variety of sectors including: public sector modernization, private sector development, community development, and trade development. She was a thought leader in promoting Strategic Foresight in development, organizing the Bank’s first Latin America 2020 Social Development Futures Seminar Series, in 2006.
Nelson pioneered the topic of development with equity at the IDB, helping to build the Bank’s portfolio in Black economic empowerment in Latin America. As a result of her leadership, she was honored with the IDB’s prestigious Ortiz Mena Award in 2010.
A social entrepreneur, Dr. Nelson is Founding President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies, the leading Caribbean American Diaspora organization, and recognized as the Architect of the Campaign for June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month. She is the Curator of the Caribbean American Legislative Forum on Capitol Hill and White House Briefings, the Invest Caribbean Business Conference and the Caribbean American Heritage Awards. Most recently, she co-founded the Space Futures Forum to engage the members of the ACP Countries in the emerging space economy, and is steering the establishment of a Center for Engineering Sustainable Futures at Morgan State University.
Under her leadership, the Institute of Caribbean Studies has played host to several Caribbean public and private sector leaders including the Prime Ministers of Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada at various events in Washington DC. Dr. Nelson’s volunteer community service has also included among others: American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellowship Review Committee; Sustainability Division of the Institute of Industrial Engineers; Black Women’s Roundtable; the African American Unity Caucus of the Constituency for Africa; and the US Department of Commerce US/Caribbean Business Development Council.
Dr. Nelson, who is an award-winning writer, holds a Bachelors and Masters in Industrial Engineering from the SUNY at Buffalo and Purdue University respectively, and a Doctorate in Engineering Management from the George Washington University (1990).
Nelson has received commendation in the US Congressional Record, and has also received an Outstanding Alumni Award from Purdue University, School of Industrial Engineering. Dr. Nelson was named a White House Champion of Change in 2012.