News & Learning

12 Jun 2017
News | Multi-Country

Thrive Networks Welcomes Lynn Foden as New Chief Executive Officer

Thrive Networks is pleased to announce that Lynn Foden has joined as Chief Executive Officer, bringing more than 25 years of leadership experience with Room to Read, the Peace Corps, Moving Water Industries and other leading international organizations in both the public and private sector. Lynn will apply her deep technical knowledge and expertise in water and sanitation, public health and education to drive Thrive’s continued innovation and delivery of life-changing programs.

“From my early days in the Peace Corps developing community water and sanitation systems in Africa, to my latest work managing literacy programs in Asia and Africa for Room to Read, I’ve always looked the opportunity to combine fresh, new thinking with an evidence-based approach to helping communities,” commented Lynn. “When Thrive Networks approached me, I saw immediately that it was a wonderful opportunity for me to apply my passion and experience while building on a portfolio of groundbreaking programs,” she continued.

Based on her decades of hands-on experience, Lynn is deeply committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to create locally appropriate solutions. She is a mission-driven leader who constantly strives to improve the quality of life in underserved communities.

As Thrive approached its 30th year, the Board faced the potentially daunting task of recruiting a CEO who had experience across its three key program areas, and that could build on Thrive’s commitment and track record in research and analytics.

Thrive Board Chair Carrie Eglinton Manner commented that “Top funders like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Australian government, and Dubai Cares trust Thrive Networks because of our innovation and rigor, and we knew we needed to find a leader who would maintain and expand our strengths. When we met Lynn, we knew immediately that she had the perfect background.” Carrie concluded “As we got to know her, we see Lynn will be the right leader for our teams and the communities we serve.”

Lynn has extensive involvement developing strategic partnerships, negotiating agreements with governments and partners and overseeing operational implementations of grass-roots development programs. In her previous role as Chief of Operations for the Africa Region of Peace Corps, Lynn was responsible for the strategic vision and daily operations for 27 African countries.

Most recently with Room to Read, as the Chief of International Operations, she oversaw 10 country programs in Asia and Africa that dramatically improved primary school literacy levels, created life-long readers, and supported girls to complete secondary school with critical life skills. Lynn’s team was responsible for the delivery of high quality programs, on time and on budget.

Lynn’s international development experience includes positions with Room to Read, The Peace Corps, the African Wildlife Foundation, Moving Water Industries, International Rescue Committee, and the World Bank. Lynn holds a BA in Geology from Barnard College, a BS in Mining Engineering from Columbia University, a master’s degree in Law and Diplomacy with a focus on Economic Policy from The Fletcher School, Tufts University and a master’s degree in Business Administration, with a focus on Technology Management, from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

As CEO, Lynn will work with our in-country teams to drive the strategic vision for Thrive Networks across its programs in water and sanitation, health and education, while ensuring high quality implementation of programs, with our current focus on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Further, Lynn will continue Thrive’s efforts to share the results from our signature innovative financing and private sector engagement approaches with the international development community, while collaborating with funders to develop new programs that promise excellent outcomes and sustainability.

About Thrive Networks

Thrive Networks is an international NGO pioneering evidence-based programs and technologies in health; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); and education for underserved populations in Southeast Asia. For nearly 30 years, Thrive Networks, also known as East Meets West Foundation, has worked to improve the health and well-being of underserved communities in Asia and, since 2012, also in Africa. Recently, Thrive Networks made the strategic decision to refocus its resources on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, thereby deepening the organization’s long-standing presence in the region. For more information, please visit

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