Ella Gudwin heads up global operations to accelerate the uptake of eyeglasses in emerging and frontier markets for consumers who earn less than $4 a day. Under her leadership, VisionSpring is working to sell 10 million pairs of radically affordable eyeglasses by 2020, creating $2.16 billion in economic impact at the household level.
Ella is a seasoned global health executive and strategist. She previously served as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Program Development at AmeriCares. In prior roles, Ella led humanitarian operations as Vice President of Emergency Response, and managed health related interventions in ten countries as Director of Asia and Eurasia partnerships. Earlier in her career she served as Head of Foreign Government Relations at the Population Council, focused on reproductive health, youth and poverty. She earned an MA with distinction in international economics at Johns Hopkins University, and a BA with honors from Vassar College. Ella is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ella’s passions for social justice and economic development issues were ignited when she worked for several years in Indonesia spanning the Asian financial crisis and the ensuing democracy movement. She regularly speaks on social entrepreneurship, scaling hybrid business models, and measuring impact.
What’s your first memory wearing glasses?
Working on excel spreadsheets around age 25, I was getting fatigued. My first vision exam was a revelation. Like so many VisionSpring customers, I also hadn’t realized how blurry my vision had become. I have relied on my glasses ever since.
What excites you most about VisionSpring?
Accelerating the uptake of eyeglasses, making them ubiquitous in low income communities, as a way of unlocking the incredible potential for earning, learning, civic participation, innovation and so much more that comes with clear eyesight.