Kate Grant: CEO, Fistula Foundation

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My NativeAdVert:

Kate Grant joined the Fistula Foundation as its first Chief Executive in 2005. She led the expansion of the Foundation from supporting one hospital in one country, Ethiopia, to its current position as the global leader in fistula treatment, supporting treatment partners in more than 20 countries in Africa and Asia. Under her leadership, the Foundation has more than quintupled its revenue, enabling the Foundation to support more than 10 times the number of fistula treatment surgeries, while helping build new women’s hospitals in Kenya, Bangladesh, Congo and Tanzania. She’s formed partnerships with key leaders such as Johnson & Johnson, Astellas Pharma EMEA, The Life You Can Save founded by Professor Peter Singer, Direct Relief, Engender Health, and WAHA International. She’s led the Foundation to excellence – 13 consecutive four-star ratings from Charity Navigator, placing the Foundation in the top 1% of nonprofit organizations evaluated, earning a consistent “A” from Charity Watch, being named one of the top 50 charities in the U.S. by Consumer Reports, and enabling Fistula Foundation to earn more than 600 perfect 5 star ratings on GreatNonprofits. In recognition of these achievements, in 2014, Ms. Grant was named “Nonprofit Marketer of the Year” by the American Marketing Association and American Marketing Association Foundation.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Grant was engaged in advocating for a strong United States role in international cooperation. She served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Staff and as the Special Assistant and Deputy Chief of Staff at USAID and as a consultant to USAID’s Mission in Tanzania, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and the Women’s Funding Network. Ms. Grant holds an MPA with a focus on International Development from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, where she was elected chair of the school’s Graduate student body. Prior to attending Princeton, she was an advertising executive at two large agencies: Leo Burnett in Chicago and FCB in San Francisco, managing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies such as Levi Strauss, McDonald’s, and Clorox. She graduated with honors from the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley. She also completed the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program in Nonprofit Management. Ms. Grant has served on several boards, including the Governing Board of Graduate Alumni of Princeton University. She regularly gives presentations about the Foundation’s work, having lectured twice at Princeton University and at Oxford University, for the 2015 Effective Altruism Global conference.

My Goal of the Day: To help someone on my team contribute more to our mission: ending the suffering caused by the childbirth injury obstetric fistula. 

My Thought of the Day: “Ideas are easy. Execution is everything.” – John Doer

My Action of the Day: It’s more of a mindset, really, and our whole team strives for it—to be efficient in everything that we do, and make sure that our supporters’ hard-earned donations help as many women as possible.

My Deed of the Day: Make sure I heartily thank at least on person who helps us help more women with obstetric fistula.

My Tip of the Day: “Done is better than perfect.” I put a lot of emphasis on getting stuff done—we’re in this work for the long haul, and the only way to accomplish anything is to keep moving.

My Pic of the Day

Last week, I received an email from our team in Mansa, Zambia. They just had a surprise visit from Rosemary, a fishmonger and mother of six. She had been carrying dried fish to the market, and noticed a new building in town with our logo on the front. She just had to go inside!

Six months ago, Rosemary received life-changing fistula repair surgery. Now healed, she stopped into our office to give a big “thank you” to the people who made her new life possible. This one made my day!

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A Day in My Life

What do you love most about your city?

Our office is located in San Jose, California, and I love this city for its diversity—there are people here from all over the world. It is stimulating, interesting, and dynamic.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

I always enjoy the tofu scramble at my neighborhood Crepes Bistro—with a giant cup of strong coffee.

What are you doing at…

6:00am - Sleeping—it’s important to get a good night’s rest, so that every day I can be at the top of my game.

10:00am - Finishing my morning email correspondence, and heading into a meeting with my Deputy Director to set priorities for the day.

12:00pm - Usually eating lunch at my desk. If I have time, I enjoy taking short walks in the neighborhood with my rescue dog, Carly, who comes with me to the office every day.

7:00pm - Making dinner, and listening to a rebroadcasting of “Fresh Air” on NPR with Terry Gross. She offers perspectives that I wouldn’t otherwise hear—from jazz musicians to historians to athletes. Her insight is an ideal way to unplug from work and start winding down for the day.

11:00pm - Reading in bed. My favorite book this year was Hans Rosling’s “Factfulness,” which addresses common misconceptions about the ‘developing’ world. I think it should be required reading! I also loved Steven Pinker’s Enlightement Now: The case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.  In these challenging times I appreciate rigorous fact based analysis like both Pinker’s and Rosling’s that demonstrate the state of the world is actually improving.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many?)

I sip on sparkling water to keep me refreshed and alert.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

I like to keep an eye on what’s trending on Reddit, but I spend much more time reading the New York Times. I also make a point to read the perspectives from Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. In these divided times, I want to make sure that I’m gathering points of view that I might not otherwise hear in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What should everyone try at least once?

Everyone should travel to a low-income country, and make a point to step away from resorts and tourist areas. It puts into perspective the everyday things we take for granted.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In a city where I don’t live… unless I’m running to catch a flight!

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