Our Team: Leadership

VillageReach employs staff with diverse professional backgrounds covering public health, law, business development/marketing, finance, and software development. We have more than 100 employees across all offices, the majority of whom live and work in the communities we serve.


Evan Simpson

Evan Simpson - President

Evan joined VillageReach as President in July 2016. He has worked in global health for more than 15 years. Evan oversees all aspects of VillageReach’s strategic development. Prior to VillageReach, most of his career has been spent at PATH where he managed a diverse portfolio of projects and teams working in diarrheal disease control in Africa and Asia, including Rotavirus vaccine introduction and scale-up of community case management approaches to treatment and prevention.

From 2010-2014 he lead a large team that conducted extensive market research in India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso to examine reasons mothers and providers use or do not use various therapeutic interventions for diarrhea.  In addition, Evan led the RESTORS project which conducted clinical trials to determine the efficacy of a new oral rehydration therapy in Bangladesh.  He was the architect of a cross-program initiative at PATH to integrate various diarrhea-related treatment and prevention interventions into a singular country-level program approach. In 2015, Evan became the Co-Chair of PATH’s Research Ethics Committee, and most recently was the interim Country Progam Director for PATH India.

Evan holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Washington, and is currently completing a Doctor of Public Health in public health leadership and management at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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Emily Bancroft

Emily Bancroft - Vice President

As Vice President, Emily is responsible for the strategy, oversight, and management of all VillageReach programs across our three key areas of work:  health systems; information systems; and social business.  Emily is also responsible for building new relationships and opportunities to help bring VillageReach innovations to scale and sustainability through strategic partnerships and relationships with governments, donors, and implementing partners. Emily joined VillageReach in 2010, leading the design and development of VillageReach innovations for the health systems team. Emily has fifteen years of experience in building successful health systems interventions both domestically and in sub-Saharan Africa, including specific expertise in program development, assessment and management, monitoring and evaluation, health informatics, advocacy, and human resources for health.

Prior to joining VillageReach, Emily worked with the International Training and Education Center on Health (I-TECH), Physicians for Human Rights, and NPower. In January 2012, Emily was appointed as a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Health Services of the School of Public Health at the University of Washington. Emily has an MPH from the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine and a BA from Princeton University.

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Nancy Geiger

Nancy Geiger - Director, Finance & Operations

Nancy is responsible for overseeing financial and administrative matters at VillageReach including financial management and accounting, compliance, human resources, and HQ business information systems and facilities. An experienced nonprofit financial & operations professional, Nancy brings three decades of experience to the position.

Prior to joining VillageReach Nancy served as Vice President & CFO of KCTS 9, Seattle’s iconic local public television station.  She previously worked as Vice President of Finance and Administration for the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and in administrative and financial management positions at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Washington Community Mental Health Council. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Oberlin College and a Master’s in Health Administration from the University of Washington School of Public Health & Community Medicine. She became a Certified Public Accountant in 1985 and a Certified Management Accountant in 1989.

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Jake Watson

Jake Watson - Director & Group Lead, Information Systems

Jake leads the Information Systems Group, providing oversight for the use of technologies within VillageReach. He is responsible for the development of creative applications of ICT that will improve healthcare delivery support at the last mile. Jake has more than 15 years of experience developing large-scale enterprise, cloud and mobile software systems in the private sector.

He has most recently worked as a Solutions Architect in the humanitarian assistance field, providing strategic leadership for the use of ICTs in humanitarian programming. He has also taught secondary education in the US public school system. Jake holds a BA in Humanities from Hampden-Sydney College and is a current Masters candidate, International Relations, at the Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

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Ruth Sincinele Sakhile Bechtel

Ruth Sincinele Sakhile Bechtel - Mozambique Country Director

As the Mozambique Country Director, Ruth is responsible for the overall programmatic and administrative aspects of the organization in Mozambique, serving as the primary representative of Mozambique operations to the government and to VillageReach’s Seattle headquarters.

Ruth brings a valuable last mile perspective with experience in designing, implementing, and monitoring development programs in both Mozambique and Swaziland.

Prior to joining VillageReach, Ruth worked with the Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health as well as with Oxfam Great Britain and Helvetas. In addition, Ruth brings years of experience in linking local community level challenges to national and above national policy debates and advocacy. Ruth has an MSc in Managing Rural Change from the University of London, Imperial College.

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Jessica Crawford

Jessica Crawford - Senior Manager & Group Lead, Health Systems

Jess has developed and led a broad portfolio of health innovations focused on health systems strengthening and improved performance at the last mile of the health system with expertise in supply chain, human resources development, mHealth, and community health programs. Jess has over ten years of experience in the design, implementation, and evaluation of health system programs in both in the USA and abroad. She has led projects in Malawi, Tanzania, and Mozambique.

Jess helped establish the VillageReach Malawi Country Office, serving as the first Malawi Country Director. Prior to joining VillageReach, Jess worked in Health Services Administration at the University of Washington specializing in quality improvement and previously served as a community health educator in Tanzania with the Peace Corps. Jess holds a MPH in Health Services and a MA in Policy Studies from the University of Washington and as well as a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology and BA in Sociology.

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Carla Blauvelt

Carla Blauvelt - Malawi Country Director

As Malawi Country Director, Carla is responsible for the leadership and administration of the VillageReach Malawi country office including the management of a multidisciplinary team of nearly 30 employees and various country programs in supply chain, mHealth, maternal and child health, human resources, and community health. In her role, Carla serves as the primary representative of the organization to stakeholders in Malawi including the Ministry of Health, donors, and program partners and to VillageReach’s Seattle headquarters

Prior to VillageReach, Carla was the Country Representative for the Carter Center in South Sudan, where The Carter Center led a Guinea Worm Eradication Program and Trichoma Control Program.  Prior to becoming Country Representative, Carla held a number of technical positions within The Carter Center South Sudan office, including technical advisor,  Epidemiologist/Data Manager and Deputy Country Representative.  She also served as Research Coordinator for Maternal and Newborn Programs at Johns Hopkins University, and helped coordinate a clinical vaccine trial for Rotavirus in Kenya for CDC.  Carla started her global health career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya. 


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Matt DeGooyer

Matt DeGooyer - Director of Development

Matt joined VillageReach as the Director of Development in October 2016. In this position, Matt leads the strategic fundraising efforts of VillageReach including personal giving, corporate giving, and foundations. He has heldleadership positions at non-profit healthcare organizations in fundraising for over 12 years.

Most recently he served as the Executive Director for the American Lung Association, following work as the Associate Executive Director for the JDRF Northwest Chapter.  Previous to that he served as a Director of Development for Seattle Children’s and as the Director of International Student Services at Shoreline Community College.  Matt holds a Master of Arts in Psychology from Wake Forest University.

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Melissa West

Melissa West - Director & Group Lead, Advocacy

Melissa is responsible for advocacy across VillageReach programs in order to advance the organization’s mission of ensuring access to quality healthcare for underserved communities.  She has more than twenty years of experience building partnerships and developing strategies to influence stakeholders and motivate action.  Most recently, Melissa worked as a Senior Program Officer in global policy and advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  In addition to working on issues including nutrition and MNCH, for many years she led advocacy for polio eradication, working with partners at global, national and local levels to ensure funding and political will for ending the disease.

Prior to VillageReach, Melissa served in government relations, marketing, and communications for organizations including Amgen and Microsoft.  She serves on the board of One By One, an organization fighting obstetric fistula, and is actively involved in Wheelchairs for Nigeria, Eastlake Community Church, and her daughters’ schools. She holds an M.A. in applied international studies from University of Washington as well as a B.A. in business administration.

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Joseph Roussel

Joseph Roussel - Director & Group Lead, Private Sector Engagement

Joseph is responsible for developing and applying high-impact private sector partnerships, capacities, and best practices to VillageReach’s work. He also leads VillageReach’s supply chain practice. Joseph comes to VillageReach with deep private and public sector expertise in areas of supply chain, product development, strategy, organizational design, information systems and large-scale transformation.

Joseph was previously a Partner at PRTM Management Consulting and a Principal in PwC’s Strategy & Operations Practice.  Over the last two years, he has applied his expertise to strengthening public health supply chains, working with governments, donors and technical partners in West and Central Africa to develop supply chain interventions with measurable impact. Joseph was a member of the team responsible for establishing the Supply Chain Council and for developing the original Supply Chain Operations Reference model (or SCOR®).  He is a co-author of the book Strategic Supply Chain Management: The 5 Disciplines for Top Performance. Joseph received a Master of Arts from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy with a focus on International Business, International Economics and Technology Management, and a BA in Political Science and French from Louisiana State University.

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