Grow Asia director Erin Sweeney leaves Singapore, Megan Sullivan hired as programmes head

Sweeney is moving to New York with her partner over lack of ‘LGBTQ+ legal safety net’ in Singapore. Grow Asia has appointed former USAID executive Megan Sullivan as head of programmes.

Erin Sweeney (left) and incoming head of programmes Megan Sullivan
Former Grow Asia director of programmes Erin Sweeney (left) and incoming head of programmes Megan Sullivan, the former deputy chief of party for USAID Green Invest Asia. Images: LinkedIn

Grow Asia, a non-profit that works to improve the sustainability of food systems in Asia, has appointed a new director of programmes following the departure of Erin Sweeney for the United States.

Sweeney joined Grow Asia in 2019, and worked in a range of roles before her promotion to director of programmes at the start of this year. She led the team that recently developed GrowBeyond, a blended finance facility for farmers and small business owners at the forefront of the climate crisis.

“I have made the difficult decision to repatriate to the United States with my spouse Mrigaa Sethi, as we look to build our family with a LGBTQ+ legal safety net that was not afforded to us in Singapore,” she said in a post on LinkedIn.

Sethi, a journalist, said on LinkedIn that despite the repeal of 377A, Singapore’s decades-old law that criminalises gay sex, the couple cannot sponsor each other for dependent passes, apply for permanent residency as a family, access fertility services such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or “have our future child be recognised as ours”.

Sweeney said she was leaving the region at a time when food and agriculture in Southeast Asia is “exploding with opportunities and (a) need for more responsible, climate-resilient practices and investment”.

Grow Asia has appointed Megan Sullivan to replace Sweeney in the role of head of programmes, based in Bangkok.

Sullivan was previously deputy chief of party for USAID Green Invest Asia, an initiative by the United States development agency involving banks, businesses, and communities in Southeast Asia to shift finance towards sustainable land use.

Also joining Grow Asia are Sanjiv Louis, previously with investment company former Sail Ventures, as senior advisor and Pranav Rastogi, formerly with public relations firm Redhill, as head of communications. They will be based in Singapore.

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