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Maria Thacker Goethe, Executive Director


Maria Thacker-Goethe is the Executive Director of the Georgia Global Health Alliance. She has over 14 years of experience in non-profit management and development.

In addition to her work with GGHA, Maria is CEO for the new Atlanta-based Center for Global Health Innovation formed from the merger of Georgia’s major global health and life science organizations. CGHI was established as an impartial, leading organizer of the global health, life sciences and health technology community which embraces cross-sector collaboration and speak with a collective voice.


Maria has a diverse background including environmental health, women’s health and health communications and marketing. She continues to serve as President & CEO for Georgia Bio, the state's life sciences trade association and prior to that Maria participated in a fellowship at Centers for Disease Control & Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in environmental investigations, working closely with the National Center of Environmental Health in Chemical Demilitarization.

Maria serves as a board member of the CJD Foundation, Southeast Life Sciences Association, and KSU Research Foundation, and as vice chair for the Council of State Bioscience Associations. Additionally, Maria has volunteered for 10 years with the Junior League of Atlanta. Maria received her Master in Public Health in health education/communication, and maternal and child health from Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Sweet Briar College.  

Lisa Hayes, Strategic Consultant


Elisabeth (Lisa) Hayes is an international global health consultant, specializing in strategy and stakeholder engagement towards improved outcomes. With over 15 years of experience in international strategy development and implementation and partnerships, Lisa has produced results with high level and diverse stakeholders that include: leaders of UN agencies (WHO, UNICEF, UN General Assembly, UNECE, UNDP); global health agencies (The Task Force for Global Health, The Carter Center, CDC, Ministries of Health); Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs); donors (Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, World Bank, regional development banks, bilateral aid organizations); and thought leaders from around the world. A skilled meeting and logistics planner, Lisa has managed and supported complex, multi-tiered, high-level committees for international health and development that include a UN General Assembly session; the Global Road Safety Stakeholder Forum in Geneva, Switzerland; regional road safety forums in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico and qualitative research with experts to advance program goals.

A skilled executive leader, Lisa most recently served as Executive Director of the Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council (Safety Net) for five years. Her work coordinated strategy implementation among a planning body of key stakeholders with the goal to: 1) work to strengthen the health care infrastructure; 2) build safety net system capacity; and, 3) improve access to primary and behavioral health care in Coastal Georgia. As a result of this leadership, Safety Net received multiple awards. This includes the 2017 Community Impact Award from Georgians for a Healthy Future for directly improving the health of Georgians in and around their community. Lisa was also recognized as a finalist (one of three national honorees) for the Milbank Memorial Fund and AcademyHealth’s 2018 State and Local Innovation Prize (for “Building Continuity of Care System for Chatham County Jail Inmates via Health Information Exchange”).

For six years, Lisa served as a Senior Associate Program Director at the Task Force for Global Health in two programs: The Center for Global Health Collaboration and The Global Road Safety Forum. In this role, she developed, coordinated and implemented multi-tiered strategies with high level stakeholders for sustainable solutions. For example, she led a national partnership in Uruguay to implement a seat belt law; write and pass a UN Resolution to address road safety with international team; co-authored the book, “Real Collaboration: What it Takes for Global Health to Succeed.” The book details a roadmap, or “Journey” partnership framework, with a toolkit designed to improve outcomes and evaluation metrics for global health partnerships.

Lisa earned a Master of Business Administration from The Goizueta Business School at Emory University, with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is an alumni Fellow of the 11th class of the Liberty Fellowship Program and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, of the Aspen Institute. A member of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Georgetown University Center for Children and Families’ Children’s Health Leadership Network (CHLN) and coordinates a strategy to improve children’s health in Georgia. A recognized thought leader, Lisa is a Fellow at Emory’s Institute for Developing Nations.

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