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As Shift's Managing Director, Rachel manages the implementation of our strategy and oversees our day-to-day engagements with companies, governments, civil society and other partners.

Rachel Davis

Rachel Davis

Managing Director, Co-Founder and Treasurer | New York City

As the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Shift, Rachel manages the implementation of our strategy and oversees our day-to-day engagements with companies, governments, civil society and other partners. With over a decade of experience in developing and implementing the Guiding Principles, Rachel frequently speaks at and facilitates events on business and human rights with diverse and senior audiences. She leads our collaborations with financial institutions and sport associations.

Prior to co-founding Shift, Rachel was a senior legal advisor from 2006-2011 for the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on business and human rights John Ruggie. She played a pivotal role in the development of the Guiding Principles, advising on all aspects of the relationship between the Guiding Principles and national and international law.

Since 2008, Rachel has also been a Research Fellow with the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School and she is the author of groundbreaking research on the costs of company-community conflict in the extractives industry

Rachel has experience at the highest levels of the Australian legal system and internationally, having clerked at the High Court of Australia and at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Rachel also served as strategy and policy advisor to the former Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the "Responsibility to Protect" at the International Peace Institute in New York, advancing understanding of the obligations of states to prevent and respond to mass atrocity crimes.

Rachel has a particular interest in indigenous people’s rights, having advised the Australian Federal Attorney-General's Department on indigenous affairs, worked with the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, and acted as Ruggie’s liaison with the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues during his UN mandate. She is a member of the board of the non-profit organization Advocates for Community Alternatives, which works with West African communities to defend their human rights and achieve sustainable development alternatives.

Rachel has a Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School and Bachelors degrees in Law and Politics from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where she also lectured and published in law. She is a (non-practicing) lawyer qualified in New South Wales and is an Australian and British national.

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