Helene Gayle


Dr. Helene Gayle is the CEO of the McKinsey Social Initiative (MSI) which was founded to develop innovative approaches to global problems. The unique model leverages relationships across the public and private sectors to create, test, and scale new ways to address the world’s most pressing issues.  Generation, MSI’s  first program, is a global youth-employment program that aims to connect 1 million young people with jobs over the next five years in India, Kenya, Mexico, Spain, and the United States.

Helene brings a deep understanding of how business, government, and philanthropy can shape what’s possible when working on global challenges—thanks to more than 30 years of her work on global issues with CARE USA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Her career has spanned from the doctor’s office to the highest levels of international development. As a young pediatrician, she saw how her patients’ well-being was linked to wider societal issues and opted to pursue public health. In 1984, she joined the CDC, where she pioneered the domestic and international work on HIV and eventually became the director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention; she also achieved the rank of Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General in the U.S. Public Health Service.

As the director of the Gates Foundation’s HIV, TB, and Reproductive Health program, Helene continued her work on HIV, funding an HIV prevention and treatment program in Botswana that was the first to show that treatment could reach people even in resource-poor settings. President Obama tapped her to chair the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in 2010.

At CARE USA, Helene worked with partners in the private sector, governments, and nongovernmental organizations to expand CARE’s reach to more than 97 million people in 2014. She’s been recognized by Forbes, Foreign Policy, Newsweek, and other publications as a top thinker and leader. She received the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award in 2012.

In her role at MSI, Helene is building the organization and supporting the growth of Generation. In a world where 300 million young people are unemployed or underemployed and 40 percent of employers say they struggle finding qualified entry-level candidates, the program aims to create a replicable, scalable training approach that demonstrates a return on investment to both employers and young people. The resulting program will be made available to anyone who wants to use it anywhere in the world—to ultimately reach tens of millions of young people.