Inspiration – Determination - Leadership
by Jane Kendall Photography by Christian Lee
Lisa Hayes is a young, dynamic leader with impressive credentials, goals and unparalleled motivation.
Armed with a BS degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, Lisa began her professional career in New York City, first as a manager for an advertising agency, then as an account executive for an apparel company. In 1998 she moved back to her hometown of Atlanta, got her MBA from Emory University, and spent the next three years working as marketing director and senior project manager for a tax compliance company. Although she was living a comfortable life, she felt something was missing.
Lisa’s beloved father succumbed to a rare form of cancer in 2001. Before he died, he told her that he was very blessed by his life but felt he could have done more to give back. This inspired Lisa to examine her own life and pursue a career that would make a difference. She was inspired by the work of William Foege, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. He was responsible for founding the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, now the Task Force for Global Health, collaborating with United Nations agencies and global leaders to raise childhood immunization rates. With dogged determination, Lisa called the Task Force every two weeks for a year, imploring them to let her be a part of this mission. She was finally given a chance and from 2004 to 2010, Lisa traveled all over the world as a Senior Associate Program Director of two programs: The Global Road Safety Forum and The Center for Global Health Collaboration, leading teams to develop, manage and implement strategic partnerships and programs. During her tenure, Lisa co-authored a book entitled Real Collaboration: What It Takes for Global Health to Succeed. She also produced several films, including a companion to the book and Compassion in Global Health. Both stressed the need for compassion and community engagement with projects, determining common goals, resources, and measurable outcomes. She also managed programs focused on strengthening international collaboration to improve coordination and efficiency of resources among governments and global institutions, including UNICEF, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization.
In 2010 Lisa decided to step back from the constant travel her career required and do some independent consulting. She took time to evaluate her life, re-examine priorities, and start a family. She had always known that she wanted to be a mom. The end result was so worth it. In September of 2012, Lisa fulfilled her dream and became the mother of twin daughters, Catherine and Caroline. She moved to Bluffton, where her mother resides, for her children to have a close relationship with their grandmother, Lisa’s only family. ‘Cate’ and ‘Callie’ are now thriving three year olds. Lisa is extremely grateful for the precious gift of these two beautiful daughters and for her mother’s love and support.
In April of 2014, Lisa accepted a position as Executive Director of the Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council. Here she is able to utilize her skills on a regional level to minister to the health care needs of the uninsured and under-insured residents of Chatham County, Georgia.
Lisa was recently awarded a prestigious Liberty Fellowship, part of the Aspen Institute, whose mission is to connect and help young, proven leaders collaborate to build a stronger South Carolina. Each class participates in four multi-day seminars in South Carolina and selects their fifth from among several Aspen Institute globalization seminars. There is no doubt that Lisa will continue to utilize her skills to impact the world, be it on local, regional or global levels. Thank you Lisa, for committing your life’s work to making a difference!
Words to live by: “Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith about yourself. Trust that it’s going to be okay.”
Memorable moment: preparing and serving dinner to President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter with her family. One day her daughters will realize what an honor it was to meet them.
Wish she had more time for: exercise, gym
What Lisa would like to inspire in others: “Children should be pushed to do their best and be their best and be exposed to what’s possible.”