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Thank You, Lauren Smith

To FSG’s stakeholders around the world:

With mixed emotions, I want to share with you all that my fellow co-CEO, Dr. Lauren A. Smith, will be stepping down from her role at FSG in early October.

Lauren will be joining the CDC Foundation as Chief Health Equity Strategy Officer, a newly created position focused on leveraging funding and partnerships to address the inequities laid bare by the pandemic across the United States. Please join us in congratulating Lauren for this exciting new role!

It is a testament to Lauren’s talent, expertise, leadership, and experience that she was recruited into this important public health position. As many people know, Lauren’s background as a pediatrician and as a state government public health leader, combined with her last five years working in health-focused philanthropy at FSG, will provide the CDC Foundation with highly valuable perspectives and insights in shaping its key health equity priorities.

While we are excited for Lauren’s next professional chapter, at FSG Lauren will be missed in so many ways. Personally, I have deeply valued the last 2+ years of serving as co-CEO alongside Lauren. We have been true partners in helping to shape and guide FSG. We have grown as individuals and as leaders, benefiting from the trusted council, mutual support, and diverse perspectives offered by our co-leadership arrangement. Under our leadership, we have continued to advance and deepen FSG’s work in addressing structural inequities around the world. And we are particularly proud of our efforts to further evolve FSG’s focus and capacity toward addressing structural racism across a range of issue areas, clients, and communities in the U.S. At the same time, internally Lauren has also been a wonderful leader, mentor, and role model for so many FSGers during her tenure.

I also know a range of our external stakeholders have benefited from Lauren’s engagement over her last 5 years at FSG. Whether it’s our clients and funders whom she has guided with curiosity, humility, and firmness or our nonprofit partners whom she has invited in, inspired, and engaged, Lauren has been a true ambassador of the best of what FSG can be as we all seek to achieve equitable social change around the world.

While Lauren is stepping down from her co-CEO position, I am happy to report that FSG’s Board of Directors has appointed her to serve on our board effective in early October. Lauren remains very supportive of FSG’s priorities and direction, and we are delighted to keep her involved in a governance capacity. Additionally, FSG’s board appointed me as CEO, also effective in early October.

With Lauren’s departure, it is both humbling and energizing to assume the responsibility of leading FSG’s next chapter. I am deeply committed to continuing to advance our unfinished business in the months and years to come, working closely with our talented team at FSG and with our range of clients, funders, and partners around the world. Our priority remains to work with others to help understand and address structural barriers that underpin the inequitable outcomes in education, health, wealth, and environmental sustainability experienced across the globe.

We will maintain our deep commitment to helping clients, funders, and partners, particularly in the U.S., understand and adopt antiracist policies and practices. The recent decision not to charge police officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor is but the latest example of how much we need systemic change. And internally we will continue to prioritize having racial and gender diversity in our senior leadership to ensure our priorities reflect a range of perspectives and lived experience. 

Lauren’s tenure at FSG has helped make us better and more effective in our work. We have great gratitude and appreciation for her service to FSG and know that she will have the same influence and impact at the CDC Foundation.     

Thank you for your continued engagement and partnership with FSG.