Around the world in 365….with a start in Los Angeles
As project manager for the GSK and Save the Children partnership, Matt MacCalla, originally from Los Angeles, is bringing together our business and philanthropic goals to help make the world a better place.
Matt shares his fascinating journey around the world and explains his ambitions to help tackle some of the biggest healthcare challenges.
"It's been a long road to GSK. I’m originally from Los Angeles, but I got involved in the international aid and development sector after studying abroad. After returning, I worked for the Rand Corporation, a think tank, on a project providing healthcare to the homeless population in downtown Los Angeles. That’s how I became interested in public health.
From there I traveled the world to see where I could really make an impact – teaching politics and culture in China; working as a journalist in South America; working with US Congress International Relations committee; and I even became a Los Angeles City lifeguard.
But I wanted to do something bigger.
Having spent most of my career in the non-profit sector, I understood the power of collaboration with the private sector. I wanted to work in a partnership of equals, which combined both sides' skills and resources to do more together than they could separately. That's what attracted me to GSK. Our work with Save the Children combines GSK’s scientific expertise and resources with Save the Children's on-the-ground knowledge to help change the lives of children living in some of the world's poorest countries.
One of the projects I work on is the Healthcare Innovation Award, which recognizes that some of the most ingenious solutions to development challenges come from those closest to the problem. But the infrastructure in poorer countries can sometimes make it difficult to take novel ideas to scale. Our annual $1 million Award aims to give innovators in these countries the resources to help roll out their great ideas more widely.
Another unique aspect of the partnership is that grassroots involvement by employees is built into the structure. My colleagues are always finding new ways to get involved, whether it is a bake sale, a talent show, or a trek up Mt. Everest [link to other stories]! It's always inspiring to hear what motivates my colleagues to get involved. Sometimes seeing friends or family affected by a humanitarian disaster or a local disaster in communities across the US inspires employees to do whatever they can to help. For me, becoming a parent brought a new perspective on maternal and child health.
And to date, we've helped more than 2 million children so far. I’m both incredibly proud of the work I do and I’m hopeful – hopeful that our work inspires other partnerships to focus on the issues where their collaboration can help make a difference."