As Global CEO of Opportunity International, Vicki Escarra sets strategic priorities and facilitates relationships with individual, corporate and foundation partners around the world. She also leads a network of 20,000 members and 30,000 donors that have helped 14 million clients in 24 countries work their way out of poverty, transform their lives and strengthen their families and communities.
Since joining Opportunity International in 2012, she has led several major initiatives to create a long-term strategic plan, rebrand the organization, streamline operations and increase global fundraising by 45 percent to expand the organization’s work around the world. Most recently, she negotiated a groundbreaking partnership with MyBucks, a leading fintech company in Africa, as a strategy to harness the power of digital banking to help more people in need.
Before joining Opportunity International, Escarra spent six years as president and chief executive officer of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization. Among other achievements, she led the organization through an extensive reorganization and rebranding from America’s Second Harvest to Feeding America which increased donations 300 percent and doubled the number of people the organization serves. Escarra also established partnerships with Walmart, JP Morgan Chase, Kraft, Morgan Stanley, General Mills and other leading companies which quadrupled revenue and help grow Feeding America into a $1.2 billion organization. She was also instrumental in the passage of two federal legislative bills to increase funding to provide healthy food for lower income families.
Prior to Feeding America, Escarra spent nearly 30 years at Delta Air Lines, where she rose to chief marketing officer. As one of the highest-ranking women in the aviation industry at the time, she oversaw $15 billion in revenue and led a workforce of 52,000.
Escarra received the Women Extraordinaire Award this year from International Women Associates, a prestigious Skills to Succeed Award from The Committee of 200 and Accenture in 2015, and a Four Freedoms Award in 2009 from the Roosevelt Institute in the Freedom from Want category, which honors people who embody Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s vision for democracy in their life and work.
Escarra has been named among America’s top 50 most powerful and influential executives by The NonProfit Times for three consecutive years. As a leader in the philanthropic and business communities, she is regularly quoted in the media and has been profiled by The Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Philanthropy and USA Today, among other publications.
Escarra received a bachelor’s degree in business and psychology from Georgia State University and completed the Columbia Executive Management Program and the Harvard Leadership Program. She lives in Chicago.