Meet Renée S. Acosta who has served as president of Global Impact
for the past 20 years. Under her leadership, the organization’s annual revenue increased from $10 million to $101 million to assure help for the world’s most vulnerable people. Ms. Acosta often says that she is “but a cog in the wheel that helps millions of people worldwide.”
Voices of Global Health profiles leaders in Seattle' global health community working to improve the lives of others globally. Hear the stories of people in this vibrant community in their own words. From leaders of some of the most influential global health organizations in the world to students just embarking on a their journey, the stories in this series will inspire and incite action.
What sparked your interest in global health?
My entire life has been spent helping others. While I’m not wired for hands-on field work, I have always been grateful to have the skills to help others through fundraising and leadership. The opportunity to learn and broaden my perspective of humanitarian efforts throughout the world came at a critical juncture in my life when I was offered the position at Global Impact.
What is the greatest joy in your work?
The greatest joy is when I am traveling overseas, spending time with the poorest among us, and when they find it in their heart to say “thank you” for what we do.
What is the greatest challenge in your work?
Oh my, the greatest challenge in my work is trying to figure out what I need to do to provide more help for others.
Have you met someone that completely changed your perspective? Tell us the story.
I have been fortunate to always have people in my life who believed in me and that I was capable of more than I thought I was capable of delivering. My mother once told me that it was clear I was never afraid to jump off the cliff. I think I learned that spirit from my grandmother who always said, “Go see.” There have been plenty of “cliffs” in my life, but the joy has been in all that I have seen during my journey. I wish my grandmother had lived long enough to share these sights with me. I hope she knows.
What is the strangest experience you’ve had in your work?
While visiting a refugee camp in Northern Kenya, a group of tribesman began their traditional dance with swords flashing through the air. They decided to do this dance in a circle around me since I was a guest. As they tightened the circle, drawing ever closer, I stood taller. At the point of inches, they broke apart laughing.
Inspired? Join us at Global Health month. Be sure to grab a friend, grab your family and check out all the events going on throughout July and August.