Dr. Nicole Bates is an executive leader and impact-driven strategist with 20 years of experience designing original portfolios; building cross-sectoral partnerships; and activating public and political networks to generate support, policies and financing for health and development priorities – in the US and abroad.
Nicole currently serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships & Initiatives at Pivotal Ventures, a company founded by Melinda French Gates working to accelerate progress in the US by removing barriers that hold people back. Here, she leads the company’s efforts to build a well-resourced and active philanthropic ecosystem of individuals and organizations working together to advance social progress through collective action. Nicole has played a central role in designing several strategic impact frameworks for the company and was the architect of major collaborative investment vehicles including the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, a $40 million philanthropic competition to advance gender equality in the U.S., and a donor network matching program to incentivize giving of high net-worth individuals.
Nicole joined Pivotal Ventures after more than a decade at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she led the foundation’s global advocacy and communications strategy for child health, including immunization and polio eradication. Nicole has served as senior advisor in the Office of the Executive Director at UNICEF as well as the Director for Government Relations at the Global Health Council and Deputy Director for Public Policy at the Center for Community Change. Nicole began her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Presidential Management Fellow and worked for Senator Edward Kennedy on domestic social policy.
Nicole earned her doctorate and master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed undergraduate studies with high honors at the University of Virginia. She serves as the board chair of the Ron Brown Scholars Program, on several advisory committees, and holds adjunct faculty appointment at the Gillings School of Global Public Health Advisory Council at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Washington School of Public Health.