Executive Director, Health Innovators Fellowship

Executive Director, Health Innovators Fellowship

Aspen Institute

Washington, DC preferred   |   July 9, 2021

Organization Overview

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute (“the Institute”) is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information on the Aspen Institute, please visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

About the Leadership Division

The Leadership Division of the Aspen Institute builds off the Institute’s 70-year history of challenging individuals to become more effective, values-based leaders through a critical self-examination of their core values. Today, the Leadership Division includes three components: (1) the Seminars Department (which oversees the Institute’s seminar offerings) and (2) the Aspen Global Leadership Network—both of which support the life-long development of leaders—and (3) Weave: The Social Fabric Project, which connects and supports grassroots community leaders.

About the Aspen Global Leadership Network

The Aspen Global Leadership Network (“AGLN”) is a worldwide community of more than 3,000 high-integrity, entrepreneurial leaders from business, government, and the nonprofit sector in more than 50 countries. Because of their demonstrated accomplishments and abilities, they have been selected to be part of one of 14 geographic or sector-specific Fellowships around the world. The spirit of the AGLN is to move an emerging generation of leaders “from success to significance” and “from thought to action.” The AGLN aims to inspire and activate a global cadre of highly entrepreneurial, creative leaders to do more to address the foremost challenges of our times. For more information on the Fellowships, please visit www.aspeninstitute.org/fellowships.

About the Health Innovators Fellowship

The Health Innovators Fellowship’s mission is to develop a community of energized, values-driven leaders committed to finding viable solutions to confront U.S. health care’s problems. The Fellowship offers high-performing professionals a unique experience—the ability to connect with and learn from a diverse group of peers with whom they would not ordinarily interact while refining their own values and reaching across health care’s silos to develop and drive forward new solutions to some of the most daunting U.S. healthcare challenges. Fellows come from a wide variety of industries and sectors, ranging from medicine to venture capital to public health and beyond.

Each year, approximately 20 Fellows are chosen to participate in the program. Fellows commit to attending four text-based, moderated Aspen Institute seminars over a two-year period and to launching a new social impact venture that stretches them in their leadership and addresses a U.S. healthcare challenge of their choosing. Their commitment to the program and driving positive change in health care continues long after the two-year seminar period and deepens over time. Health Innovators Fellows are also lifelong members of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. For more information on the Health Innovators Fellowship, please visit www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/health-innovators-fellowship.

Program Current State

The Health Innovators Fellowship (“HIF”) was launched in 2015 and currently comprises a network of 100 Fellows across five classes. Of the 100 Fellows, 60 members from the first three classes have completed the Fellowship’s two-year seminar period, and 40 have one or more seminars to attend before they “graduate” from the program. Because of COVID-19, these 40 members of the fourth and fifth classes will complete the seminar period of the Fellowship in 2022—more than a year later than originally planned.

While seminars and other in-person events were postponed during the pandemic, the Fellowship created an array of new programs, tools, and activities to mobilize and connect the program’s Fellows and support their individual and collective efforts. These efforts enabled Health Innovators Fellows to share information and resources, discuss specific topics, collaborate on initiatives addressing COVID-19, share their knowledge with the broader Aspen Institute community and beyond, and provide support to those on the frontlines providing patient care.

The pause in seminars also gave the program time to develop a robust set of marketing and sponsorship materials that the new Executive Director can use to continue fundraising efforts.

The program currently has a large pool of nominees ready to be vetted and selected for a sixth class, which HIF expects to launch in 2022.

The Opportunity

The Executive Director will be a visionary leader responsible for ensuring that HIF realizes its fullest impact and mission: to develop a community of energized, values-driven leaders committed to finding viable solutions to confront U.S. health care’s problems. To achieve this, the Executive Director will help shape and set the strategy and long-term sustainability for the next chapter of the Health Innovators Fellowship program, building upon the strong foundation laid thus far. The Executive Director is responsible for the Fellowship’s strategic, programmatic, operational, and financial success, with oversight of $1.6M annual budget and two to three staff members, at least one of whom will be hired after the Executive Director assumes their position.

The Executive Director is responsible for shaping the future of HIF by recruiting and selecting diverse, high-quality Fellowship classes; delivering high-caliber, unique, and transformational experiences for Fellows; guiding Fellows as they develop and implement high-impact social impact ventures; promoting collaborations within the Health Innovators Fellowship and between Health Innovators Fellows and Fellows from other AGLN programs; and fostering ongoing Fellow engagement and Fellow actions to tackle societal challenges, including after Fellows complete the program’s two-year seminar period. This leader will be responsible for promoting an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Fellowship and among Fellowship staff.

Because the Executive Director is a key leader within the AGLN, they will also look for opportunities to collaborate with others across the AGLN, Leadership Division, and Institute to accomplish the Institute’s broader mission of realizing a free, just, and equitable society.

The Executive Director’s key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Program Leadership

  • Develop and implement strategies that deepen the Fellowship’s impact on Fellows and society at large.
  • Develop funding strategies and cultivate relationships with values-based individuals and organizational partners to assure the program’s financial sustainability.
  • Act as chief spokesperson and advocate for the program and its mission within the Institute and externally.
  • Develop a plan to ensure that HIF’s diversity, equity, and inclusion practices are best in class and consistent with Institute principles and policies; establish mechanisms to hold the program accountable for successfully implementing these practices.
  • Develop a new charter for a Board of Overseers and work with the EVP of the Leadership Division to select members of the reconstituted Board.

Program Administration

  • Lead the HIF team and oversee the program’s day-to-day operations and financial management.
  • Oversee strategic and tactical communications for all stakeholders, including Fellows, candidates, nominators, public audiences, and others.
  • Work with AGLN and Leadership Division staff on AGLN-produced healthcare-related programming and activities.
  • Collaborate with and support peer directors of other AGLN Fellowships and Institute programs to integrate HIF within the AGLN and the Leadership Division and build partnerships with the Institute’s policy and public programs.
  • Work closely with the VP, AGLN and EVP, Leadership Division on HIF matters that need their attention/support, as well as shared strategies across the AGLN and Division.

Fellow Experience and Engagement

  • Candidate Recruitment and Selection: Oversee the annual recruitment and selection of a high-quality and diverse class of 20 Fellows. This includes strengthening and diversifying the annual nomination pool with proactive outreach across the U.S. healthcare ecosystem, vetting up to 200 candidates each year, and interviewing up to 60 of those candidates. Ensure diversity across geography, race/ethnicity, healthcare sector, and political and cultural views.
  • Seminars and other Events: Oversee the planning and successful implementation of all program seminars (four each year) and other public and Fellow-specific events. Support Fellow gatherings and participation at annual events, including Aspen Ideas: Health and the annual Resnick Aspen Action Forum.
  • Venture Development and Collective Impact: Guide Fellows as they develop their social impact ventures that address significant U.S. healthcare challenges, regularly reviewing ventures and connecting Fellows with others who can support their work. Create the conditions for Fellows to work collectively on U.S. healthcare challenges with other HIF and AGLN Fellows, Institute programs, and external partners.
  • Community and Network Building: Promote ongoing interaction, collaboration, and learning among Fellows—including both alumni and those in the active Fellowship stage. Foster Fellow engagement within their own class and with other HIF classes and AGLN Fellows. Maintain regular, individual contact with Fellows, providing counsel, feedback, and assistance as appropriate and needed.

Key Success Factors

  • Ensure a strong and diverse nomination pool and select top-caliber, diverse classes of Fellows committed to using their platforms and experiences to tackle societal challenges.
  • Carry out seamless seminars and other Fellowship events.
  • Ensure Fellows develop and implement ambitious ventures designed to grow and evolve over the long term.
  • Develop and implement strategies that enhance the program’s long-term financial sustainability.
  • Keep Fellows connected, motivated, and engaged during and after the seminar phase of the program so that they continue to undertake individual and collective efforts that have a meaningful impact on health and social problems in the U.S. and beyond.
Candidate Profile

While it is understood that no one candidate will offer every desired skill and characteristic, the following reflects the ideal candidate profile:

  • Mission Connection: Passion for improving health and health care in the U.S.; a professional background in and/or strong understanding of the healthcare ecosystem (minimum of 7 years prior experience working in the healthcare space).
  • Strategy and Vision: Entrepreneurial in thought; Track record of shaping an overarching vision and building effective strategies to execute on that vision to achieve specific outcomes.
  • Leadership Skills: An authentic, open-minded, people-oriented, leadership style with a sense of humility; Commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices; Ability to lead with influence rather than authority within a community of highly successful individuals; Ability and willingness to model vulnerability as a strength; A life-long learner with intellectual curiosity.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Interacts with sensitivity and discretion; Ability to inspire others through written, verbal, and one-on-one communications; High emotional intelligence; Evidence of working effectively with people of different cultures, viewpoints, and religions.
  • Fundraising and External Engagement: An aptitude for fundraising, with an entrepreneur’s ability to think creatively about different channels of revenue and develop and carry out new fundraising strategies; Ability to represent the program with a variety of stakeholders.
  • Collective Action: Proven understanding of, commitment to, and experience with building and driving networks toward collective action; A natural connector, with the ability to create linkages between people and ideas that leads to the long-term engagement of Fellows and alumni and, ultimately, greater impact on society.
  • Management and Operations: Ability to lead and manage a small, high-performing team; Ability to operate independently in a fast-paced environment with a diverse set of stakeholders with changing and competing priorities; Ability to prioritize and delegate; Strong logistical and organizational skills.
  • Travel: Ability and willingness to commit to travel for multiple days at a time (25%) once it is safe to do so.
  • Location: Washington, DC preferred.

Compensation will be commensurate with skills and experience.


Molly Brennan and Corina Benitz of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials here, or email [email protected]. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Aspen Institute employees come from a wide range of backgrounds and possess a unique blend of education, skill, and policy experience. The Institute recognizes that people are a vital resource and values their knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment. The Institute offers competitive salaries and a wide variety of benefits to employees and their families. More information is available at: https://www.aspeninstitute.org/careers/.

The Institute is an equal opportunity employer. Employment selections and related decisions are made without regard to sexual orientation, race, age, disability, religion, national origin, color, or any other characteristic protected by law.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

At Koya, we don’t just accept difference—we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team, our clients, and the communities we serve.

Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences. We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone. Koya does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, military status, veteran status, genetic information, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.