Elspeth Williams leads Policy and Government Relations for the Population Council. In this capacity, she oversees the institution’s work to ensure high-quality scientific evidence informs U.S. Government global health and development policymaking. These efforts link the Council’s research in more than 50 countries to advocacy efforts in Washington, DC in order to focus investments on proven programs and technologies.
Williams is an international health policy expert, with a background in gender equality and women’s and girls’ health, rights, and empowerment. Previously, Williams worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a grantmaker on the Global Policy and Advocacy team. In this capacity, she managed a strategic grants portfolio and forged new partnerships with donors, private sector partners, governments, and advocacy organizations in order to increase awareness, action, and resources to advance international reproductive health priorities. At the Foundation, Williams also served as Chief of Staff to the President of the Global Development Division, providing strategic and analytical support to global portfolios focused on areas with potential for high-impact, sustainable solutions to reach hundreds of millions of people.
Before joining the Gates Foundation, Williams worked in Central and Eastern Africa with CARE on women's and girls' health, economic empowerment, and education programming. She supported regional program quality and strategic planning for CARE’s regional country offices, including Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somaliland, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Williams also worked for CARE-Rwanda on orphan and vulnerable children an early childhood development portfolios.
Williams holds a Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, with a concentration in Women’s and Reproductive Health and a certificate in Maternal and Child Health, and a Bachelors in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.