NEW YORK, July 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- VisionSpring is proud to announce the appointment of Ella Gudwin as President. Ms. Gudwin will oversee global operations and lead the implementation of VisionSpring's growth strategy to reach 4.5 million people across Asia, Africa, and Latin America in the next three years. "I am joining an exceptional team. Our job is to get millions of eyeglasses to people who need them – to succeed in school, to gain years of employment, to participate in community and civic life, and so much more. And because VisionSpring is a social enterprise, we'll help create jobs and markets in the process." said Ms. Gudwin.
Ms. Gudwin joins VisionSpring with extensive experience in global health and international development. As Senior Vice President of Strategy and Program Development at the global health and emergency response organization, AmeriCares, Gudwin led the development of the organization's ten-year strategic plan and capacities to improve health outcomes in low-resource settings. Over almost nine years with AmeriCares, Gudwin helped the organization become the leading nonprofit provider of donated medicines and medical supplies, delivering over $500 million in quality medical products and relief supplies annually to a network of health care institutions around the world. As Vice President of Emergency Response, she managed humanitarian operations for major disasters including the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, and as Director of Asia and Eurasia partnerships, oversaw the delivery of medical assistance and health programs in 10 countries.
Prior to joining AmeriCares, Gudwin served as Head of Foreign Government Relations at the Population Council. She lived in Indonesia for three years where she taught at the University of Sanata Dharma and conducted research with the World Bank. Gudwin co-founded the Haiti Adolescent Girls Network and serves on the board of Project Rhythm. She earned an MA with distinction in international economics and Southeast Asia studies at the School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, and a BA with honors from Vassar College. Gudwin is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
VisionSpring Co-Chairman and National Vision CEO, Reade Fahs, said: "We see partnerships and collaboration as being a key part of turbo-charging our efforts going forward and we believe Ella's extensive experience in fostering international partnerships will help us do just that."
VisionSpring recently launched a three-year plan that will see it deliver nearly 4.5 million pairs of eyeglasses by the end of 2017. The organization is quickly expanding its operations in India, Bangladesh and numerous other countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America through its Global Partnership program. "With her deep commitment to social justice, strategic growth, and significant international experience, Ella is the ideal executive to ensure VisionSpring's success as a thriving social business bringing high quality eye care to people in need," commented Dr. Jordan Kassalow, VisionSpring Co-Chairman & Founder.
Founded in 2001 by U.S. optometrist Jordan Kassalow, VisionSpring's mission is to ensure affordable access to eyewear, everywhere. VisionSpring achieves its mission by delivering high-quality, culturally appropriate optical goods and services to the base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) consumer. Our work has enabled over 2.3 million BoP consumers to gain access to affordable eyeglasses over the last 14 years. VisionSpring has been recognized by the Skoll Foundation, the Aspen Institute, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, and the World Bank. In 2014, VisionSpring received, in partnership with Warby Parker, the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award.