DFI Global Leadership
President and CEO
Emilio leads DFI’s global team. His efforts have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in new business and financing, innovative partnerships and expanded relationships for DFI clients. This work has spanned the areas of local socio-economic and sustainability impact resulting in thousands of new / better jobs, cleaner energy and improved infrastructure, enhanced public sector governance, agriculture & food security, and world class science among others; and increased business and profitable growth for DFI.
Committed and focused on clients’ success and achieving their business and sustainability objectives in emerging markets, Emilio has led and contributed to many of DFI’s engagements with the world’s leading companies from US, Canada, Europe, Japan and India for global, regional and country specific strategies and execution plans in a number of sectors including education, science, technology and innovation, agriculture and food security, health and nutrition, renewable energy / energy efficiency, infrastructure, information technology and government reform.
Emilio’s experience also includes significant work with DFI’s non-corporate clients such as national Export and Trade Promotion Agencies, associations, foundations and academic institutions, and multilateral and bilateral international funding institutions.
Emilio joined DFI in 2004 as Senior Manager for Latin America and later became Operations Manager and Managing Director.
Prior to DFI, Emilio worked for five years in major public sector restructuring projects in Argentina for the local Social Security and Medicare agencies, as well as Repsol-YPF, an integrated Oil and Gas company.
Emilio has a BA in Industrial Engineering from the Technological Institute of Buenos Aires, and a MBA from Georgetown University. He is fluent in English, Spanish, and conversational in Portuguese, and is actively involved in several social initiatives as part of the Argentinean diaspora in the US. Emilio lives in Washington, DC with his family and enjoys playing tennis and cooking.
Dave dela Cuesta
Head, Asia Operations
Dave dela Cuesta is Head of Asia Operations based at DFI’s Regional Headquarters in Manila, Philippines. Dave joined DFI in 2010 and has extensive experience in over 20 countries implementing programs to identify and analyze international funding flows, build-out qualified sales pipelines, conduct thought leadership campaigns, and implement capture strategies to secure new revenue and partnerships for DFI’s clients.
Driven by his commitment to public-private partnerships and capability to bridge business and development, Dave’s work has supported the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially in key sectors such as health, education, information technology, public financial management, water/wastewater, infrastructure, transport, and renewable energy. These initiatives have resulted in meaningful impact on neglected populations through new life-saving health commodities for millions of people at risk of tropical diseases, implementation of information technology to support governance and public financial management, health information solutions for hospitals in low-income countries, access to affordable and safe access to potable water in Southeast Asia, and quality research material to over 400,000 students and professors in Asia Pacific.
Dave has delivered workshops to client field staff on emerging market business strategies, procurement, and public-private partnerships to support sustainable business growth in Asia. Dave is also leading the expansion of DFI’s network in Asia including with the World Bank, Asian Development, UN agencies, bilateral donors, and government agencies. Dave holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management Engineering from Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines.
Diane M. Willkens
Founder and Executive Chair
Founder and Executive Chair of DFI, Diane has focuses on delivering sales, measurable triple-bottom-line investments and initiatives, and relationships that enable transparent business and sound economic and social development. Her expertise integrates 30+ years of successful business, partnerships, and funding mobilization, including IFIs such as The World Bank Group and the regional development banks, bilaterals such as Germany’s GIZ, the UK’s FCDO, and Japan’s JICA, and UN Agencies such as IFAD and UNDP, among many other development partners. With more money than good projects, and more needs in search of solutions, Diane positioned DFI as the highly skilled intermediary able to align the discrete needs of development partners, government ambitions, and commercial solutions. The global urgency to accelerate growth in emerging markets® and the comprehensive call to action of the Sustainable Development Goals drives Diane’s commitment to our clients’ success.
Diane has ben Vice Chair of the Board of the Corporate Council on Africa. Additionally, she served consecutive terms on the U.S. Ex-Im Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee, and a further two-terms on the global US Ex-Im Advisory Committee. Diane holds a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center and a BA from SUNY Geneseo. Diane is active in the community as past Board Chair of the Theatre Lab School for the Dramatic Arts. She is an avid golfer and fused glass artist.