Task Force Welcomes New Chief Operating Officer Ellen Wild

Ellen Wild, Chief Operating Officer for The Task Force for Global Health. Photo courtesy of The Task Force for Global Health.

The Task Force for Global Health is delighted to welcome our new Chief Operating Officer (COO), Ellen Wild, MPH. Though new to the role, Wild is not new to the organization. Her 27-year-career at The Task Force and her previous public health work give her  a unique perspective on the organization’s future growth. 

She was selected as COO after a global search by the executive search firm Odgers Berndtson, succeeding former COO Bill Nichols, who retired in January. Prior to becoming COO, Wild served for seven years as the organization’s Chief Business Strategy Officer, where she provided strategic business and operational support in the areas of business development and capacity building. 

“I am thrilled and honored to be the first female COO in The Task Force’s 40-year history,” said Wild. “I want to make sure all people feel that they have a path here at The Task Force and I’m delighted to work for an organization that is committed to providing opportunities for their staff.”

From serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya to being one of the longest-serving Task Force staff members, Wild brings a breadth of experience to the role. Wild joined The Task Force in 1997 as a project officer for All Kids Count, a program to support the design of child health information systems. In this role, she provided technical assistance to state and local health departments developing immunization information systems. All Kids Count later evolved into what is now The Task Force’s Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII). From 2008-2017, Wild was the Deputy Director of PHII, where she established core lines of business and provided strategic direction and oversight to the program.

“I am so pleased that Ellen agreed to become our new COO,” said Dr. Patrick O’Carroll, President and CEO of The Task Force. “There’s no question she has the skills, experience, knowledge, and dedication required of any successful COO. But Ellen also brings a passion for the work and a devotion to the mission of The Task Force that is evident in all she does, and in all her interactions with colleagues.” 

Wild said The Task Force’s history and the maturity trajectory that the organization has been on has helped her decide what she wants to accomplish as COO.

“When I think about the previous COOs, each had a different legacy. The first two  provided the financial stability for the organization to grow and my predecessor, Bill Nichols, helped to build the operational foundation for The Task Force,” said Wild. “I see the opportunity now for bringing additional strategic business thinking to this position. More specifically, I would like to work on strengthening our business model so that we are set up to face current and future challenges.”

Ellen Wild during her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya. Photo courtesy of Ellen Wild.
Ellen Wild during a strategic planning session at The Task Force for Global Health. Photo courtesy of Ellen Wild.

Prior to joining The Task Force, Wild was the Infant Immunization Program Manager for the Hawaii State Health Department. She directed a statewide immunization campaign, developed and enforced state immunization requirements for school entry, advised physicians and nurses on recommended immunizations, and assessed state immunization levels. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado and a Master of Public Health from the University of Hawaii.

Wild fondly remembers how Task Force Co-Founder and first COO Bill Watson left a lasting influence on her career.

“I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with excellent leaders and role models. The one that stands out most to me is Bill Watson,” said Wild. “When I first joined The Task Force, he was my direct supervisor. Bill was an inspirational leader that truly valued every member on his team and made us all feel special. This extended to the field where our grantees would report that they worked harder because of him. He had a great impact on me and since then I have strived to be that inspirational leader.”

Ellen Wild with colleagues from the Arizona Department of Health and The Task Force for Global Health, including Task Force Co-Founder Bill Watson (fourth from the left). Photo courtesy of Ellen Wild.

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