The Rockefeller Foundation announced that Natalye Paquin has been named Chief Operating Officer (COO), overseeing the global organization’s Employee Services, Human Resources, Information Technology, Innovation, Finance, and Legal teams as well as its workforce at offices in the United States, Italy, Asia, and Africa. Ms. Paquin, who will begin in the role on December 1, joins the Foundation after serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of Points of Light, founded by former President George H.W. Bush to encourage people to change their communities and the wider world. She succeeds Steven VanRoekel, who is leaving the Foundation after five years.
“Natalye is an extraordinary leader. Time and again, Natalye has strategically led mission-driven organizations, most recently Points of Light, through critical times of transformation while advancing their missions,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “As the world faces multiple crises, Natalye will help ensure The Rockefeller Foundation’s team and grantees around the world have the necessary structures, systems, and support to continue to meet the moment for the people we serve.”
Since 2017, Ms. Paquin has led Points of Light, a global organization with a diverse programmatic and impact portfolio, which includes a network of 177 volunteer-mobilizing organizations in 38 countries. Over her five years as President and CEO, the Points of Light Global Network and partners mobilized an estimated 21 million volunteers for 67 million hours of service, impacting 85 million people. Ms. Paquin also led the organization in achieving financial stability and increased revenue 17 percent from five years ago, while the organization’s net assets became four times more valuable.
“I’m thrilled to join The Rockefeller Foundation, a global institution that has for more than a century lifted up humanity and established a model that has not only transformed the world many times over but also changed how individuals and other institutions think about philanthropy,” said Ms. Paquin. “Today, the Foundation is leading again. I look forward to working with Raj Shah and the remarkable Rockefeller team to support the organizations, make the investments, and establish the institutions that will ensure this century is healthier, safer, and more equitable, prosperous, and hopeful for people around the world.”
Prior to joining Points of Light in 2017, Ms. Paquin served as Chief Transformation Officer at Girl Scouts of the USA, where she was responsible for strategy integration and was the key face and spokesperson for aligning and unifying the Girl Scouts federation of 112 councils around its strategic goals. An attorney by training, Ms. Paquin spent more than 15 years in the education sector in legal and executive leadership roles. This includes serving as a civil rights attorney with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and with two of the nation’s largest school districts: Chicago Public Schools and the School District of Philadelphia. She began her legal career in private practice and litigation after earning a juris doctor from DePaul University College of Law. She received her undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University.
Ms. Paquin succeeds Steven VanRoekel, who joined the Foundation in September 2018 as interim COO before becoming permanent in March 2019. Mr. VanRoekel is stepping down as part of his family’s move to the West Coast, though he will continue, for a time, to serve as a consultant to The Rockefeller Foundation.
“I’ve said this many times before, and it bears repeating now: Steve is a visionary, believing that new partnerships and technologies allow us to achieve what might have been impossible even a few years ago,” said Dr. Shah. “Whether it was revamping our offices, sustaining operations through a historic pandemic, or helping start landmark new initiatives like the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, Steve has changed for the better not only how The Rockefeller Foundation works, but also how we serve the world’s most vulnerable.”
Prior to The Rockefeller Foundation, Mr. VanRoekel held a number of senior-level public sector roles, including being appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as nation’s second Chief Information Officer and as COO of the Federal Communications Commission. As CIO of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Mr. VanRoekel was also an instrumental member of the team that coordinated the U.S. response to the Ebola virus outbreak in Western Africa. Before public service, he spent his entire private sector career at Microsoft Corporation, rising to lead one of the fastest-growing parts of Microsoft – the Server and Tools Division. He also worked closely with Bill Gates during the formation of the global health aspects of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“It has been one of the greatest honors and privileges of my life to work side-by-side with my Rockefeller Foundation family,” said Mr. VanRoekel. “I, and the world, owe you immense gratitude for everything you have done and will continue to do to improve the lives of humanity throughout the world.”