Integrate Health Launches Recruitment for New Global Managing Director 

Written by Jennifer Schechter Sep 29, 2023

Integrate Health has a longstanding commitment to communities in West Africa. Since our founding in 2004, by Togolese community activists and American Peace Corps Volunteers, leadership has always been vested in individuals who deeply understand and are part of the communities we serve, complemented by a support team outside of Togo. 

Rethinking global support and leadership to advance equity 

Last year marked a significant milestone with Integrate Health’s expansion into Guinea. In addition, we rebranded our small, lean support staff based outside of Togo as the Global Support Team. This change was not just semantic; it represents our commitment to ensure that systems, including our use of language, align to and advance our organizational values and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. While these steps coincide with our growth, they also prompt us to reassess our operational strategy to ensure that we continue to be as responsive and accountable as possible to the communities we serve. 

At the heart of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is the centering of those closest to the problems we aim to solve. We’re committed to what is often termed ‘localized’ or ‘proximate’ leadership, terms that have appropriately stirred debates and critiques within the development sector. For us, these terms are not mere buzzwords but represent a necessary shift in the development sector and a nuanced approach to empowering communities. While the language around localized leadership can inadvertently perpetuate power imbalances or dilute the diversity of experiences among community leaders, our interpretation aims to be different. 

Localized leadership for Integrate Health means being deeply attuned to community needs, continually reassessing power dynamics, and fostering a participatory decision-making process that is inclusive and equitable. This approach advances equity and fairness by shifting resources, decision-making power, and authority closer to the communities we serve. It ensures that diverse voices are heard, valued, and integrated into the decision-making processes that ultimately affect their lives. By focusing on community-driven decision-making, we are making a conscientious effort to counter systemic inequities and to serve as accountable partners to the communities we work with. 

Why a Global Managing Director? 

This brings us to the rationale behind our latest recruitment for a Global Managing Director based in West Africa. The departure of our former Chief Operating Officer, Patrick Aylward, offered an opportune moment to reassess our organizational structure. As we expand, the need for a role that serves as a bridge between the global support team and country operations becomes increasingly critical. This senior leader will not only bring our support services closer to the action but will also embody our commitment to community-driven decision-making. They will ensure that our operations are attuned to local realities, thereby enhancing our effectiveness and accountability. 

This new role, the Global Managing Director, is designed to act as a peer to the CEO and Country Directors in Togo and Guinea. The Global Managing Director will be the cornerstone of a new office in West Africa, eventually becoming the hub for the majority of our Global Support Team. This is a purposeful step towards dissolving unnecessary hierarchies and ensuring that our activities are shaped and steered by the wisdom of the communities we serve. I am grateful for the significant input received from staff at all levels, as well as members of the Board, that led to this decision.  

I welcome your thoughts and feedback as we navigate this transformative chapter in Integrate Health’s journey. Thank you for your unwavering support and assistance in sharing this recruitment widely to help us find the most suitable candidate for this important and exciting role.