Vice President, Eye Health

Helen Keller Intl
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Posted
    Jan 22

Position description

Guided by the remarkable legacy of our co-founder, Helen Keller, Helen Keller Intl partners with communities striving to overcome longstanding cycles of poverty. By delivering the essential building blocks of good health, sound nutrition and clear vision, we help millions of people create lasting change in their own lives. Working in more than 20 countries – across Africa, Asia, Europe and in the United States – and together with a global community of supporters, we are ensuring every person has the opportunity – as Helen did – to reach their true potential.


Helen Keller is looking for a Vice President, Eye Health to join our Executive Program Team and provide overall vision, leadership and technical expertise, as well as drive resource mobilization to improve access to key eye health services that imperil the vision of the people we serve, with a particular focus on cataract and refractive error.

Scope of the Position


The Vice President will sharpen the strategic direction and accelerate the growth of our eye health portfolio, ensuring that high-quality programs continue, are developed, and are effectively delivered in-line with the organizational mission and international and scientific norms. The position will lend perspective and expertise to organizational strategic planning initiatives.


A major focus for the Vice President will be to proactively identify and lead new business development opportunities across Helen Keller’s geographical reach.


The ideal candidate will be a recognized global expert in eye health with a broad mastery of the eye health landscape. The candidate will have a strong commitment to serving country office teams and to supporting their capacity to design and implement high quality eye health programs and a demonstrated ability to mainstream eye health solutions into existing health and education systems.


The Vice President will coordinate our existing internal eye health expertise as well as draw on an extensive network of external experts to guide the development of new cutting-edge eye health initiatives to ensure that we maintain a strong leadership position in the global eye health community. The position will require significant travel to program countries in Africa, Asia and in the US.



Helen Keller’s programmatic work is rooted in our mission to improve vision, including combatting vitamin A deficiency, controlling the blinding neglected tropical diseases (trachoma and onchocerciasis) and providing eye health services, focusing on cataract and refractive error. As such, our eye health lead will collaborate with the leads for our nutrition and neglected tropical disease programs in addition to accelerating action to provide access to high quality services to address cataract, refractive error and other vision issues. The projected burdens of increases in blindness and vision loss that is preventable or reversible calls for urgent action to scale up access to these services for those who are left behind.


Helen Keller has a long history of leading on eye health issues and works with a broad array of eye health partners, including the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness and the World Health Organization. In countries we support, we work hand-in-hand with the ministries of health, ministries of education, civil society organizations, academic and research groups and professional associations.

Functional Relationships


The Vice President is a member of our globally distributed headquarters function, and a member of the Executive Program Team. Reporting to the Chief Program Officer, the position will work with Vice Presidents for Nutrition and Neglected Tropical Diseases, regional directors, country directors, business development and other cross-cutting functions. Indirect reports include professional level program staff.


Our programs require close relations with governments, partner non-governmental organizations, private industry, donors and United Nations agencies. The Vice President plays a key role in nurturing and overseeing many of these cooperative relationships and representing Helen Keller to donors and our key global and regional stakeholders and forging new relationships that will contribute to advancing the eye health agenda.


We have a matrixed reporting structure. Regular communication and a spirit of teamwork among colleagues, both hierarchically and laterally are essential to make this structure thrive.


Specific Responsibilities




Provide global strategic leadership in eye health across the entire organization and lead strategic planning efforts in this regard. Identify future role of Helen Keller in improving access to essential eye health services, beyond our current activities, and actively pursue opportunities to resource this.

Under the umbrella of Helen Keller’s strategy, identify most promising program models for cataract and refractive error and lead development of scale-up plans in appropriate geographies.

Lead process to develop the global eye health budget during annual budget process.

Lead establishment of a global plan for staff training, orientation, and development in

eye health that fosters organizational learning across eye health projects and across regions.


Program Management and Quality Assurance

· Provide leadership and support to field teams to implement cutting edge programs across the eye health portfolio and identify lessons learned for dissemination within Helen Keller and the global eye health community.

· Ensure that the quality, impact, scale and cost-effectiveness of all our eye health programs meet our management and program standards. Work with other Helen Keller experts to support further development and refinement of these standards.

· Lead eye health program monitoring and evaluation to strengthen existing systems to ensure they are state-of-the-art.

· Proactively collaborate with other experts within Helen Keller working on nutrition and neglected tropical diseases programs to identify ways to integrate field programs to enhance impact, data collection efforts, reach and cost-effectiveness.

· Assure the accurate and timely reporting of eye health program quality results via our Strategic Metrics.

Business Development 

· Lead new business opportunities to proactively grow our eye health portfolios in Africa, Asia and the US that meet long-term funding needs for the national program efforts that we support, in line with visionary scale-up plans.

· Direct eye health resource mobilization to ensure that technical applications are of the highest quality.


· Coordinate our internal network of eye health expertise and complement that with own areas of expertise to ensure that we maintain a position of technical excellence and prominence in the global eye health community.

· Ensure Helen Keller maintains and builds our leadership position in strategic eye health technical groups.

· Provide overall coordination of the strategic eye partnerships with which we are already engaged and complement these partnerships with own network of partners to help advance our mission in eye health.

· Provide strategic direction for promoting Helen Keller’s eye health results in peer review or industry journals and ensure that Helen Keller is appropriately represented and presents at key international meetings.


· A minimum of 15 years relevant professional hands-on experience supporting eye health field programs including at least 5 years at a leadership level; plus MPH (PhD or equivalent medical degree preferred), or equivalent combination of education and experience.

· Must be a recognized global expert in eye health with a broad mastery of the multiple aspects of eye health and an ability to stay current with trends in the sector.

· Proven track record leading successful eye health business development and proposals efforts that have secured substantial funding from government, non-government and private foundation sources.

· Strong technical skills, as evidenced by strong track record of peer-reviewed publications and presentations at international conferences.

· Demonstrated experience with:

o   quality assurance approaches and essential tools required;

o   addressing barriers to access of eye health, including gender inequities.

· Excellent working knowledge of regional eye health landscapes in Africa and Asia regions. Knowledge of the US eye health landscape is an advantage.

· Demonstrated ability to undertake high-level representation and advocacy, including ability to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations in English on complex topics to top management, public groups, and/or boards of directors.

· Excellent oral and written English required. Ability to read, analyze and interpret complex documents and to summarize information succinctly – both verbally and in writing— using an engaging style. French language skills are a strong advantage.

· Excellent interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, including the ability to exercise diplomacy and tact as demonstrated through previous roles that required communication with a broad and diverse set of partners, such as government, civil society, international organizations, the local community and political leaders.

· An ability to work in challenging and changing environments, to find solutions to emerging challenges, and maintain balance when under stress.

· Ability to foster a creative, professional, “open door” management culture; to empower colleagues to fulfill their potential; and to encourage staff to challenge assumptions.

· Respect for all persons regardless of religion, ethnicity, class or gender, comfortable working in a diverse environment, and with a demonstrated commitment to high professional ethical standards.

· Ability and willingness to:

o   flex work hours to accommodate multiple time zones, as needed.

o  travel at least 25% to visit programs, meet donors and engage in partnership meetings.

· Demonstrated knowledge of the application of information technology to Helen Keller program areas. Knowledge of software used to prepare presentations and other work documents (e.g. Microsoft Office Suite).

· Personal commitment to Helen Keller’s mission and goals and the values embodied by our co-founder: courage, integrity, rigor and compassion.

· Helen Keller requires all US staff and staff who travel internationally to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, whether or not they have had COVID.


The midpoint of the salary range for this position is $132,500 with a minimum of $106,000 and a maximum of $159,000. Actual salary will vary based upon, but not limited to, relevant experience, salary of internal peers, and functional specialty.


Application instructions

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

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