Unsung Heroine: Celebrating Carla Johnson, A Woman of Excellence

On March 5th, many staff members from The Task Force for Global Health kicked off celebrating Women’s History Month by attending Emory’s Women of Excellence Award Ceremony hosted by the Center for Women at Emory. They were there to honor one of their colleagues, Carla S. Johnson, who was accepting the Unsung Heroine Award. 

Johnson, Supply Chain Manager for the International Trachoma Initiative, is an unsung heroine, because her efforts make a tremendous impact in every corner of the world, even though she and her team work primarily behind the scenes.

Eighty percent of jobs in supply chain are held by men, and only 10% of the most senior roles are filled by women. These statistics did not hinder Johnson as she rose through the leadership ranks at Delta Air Lines from Process Engineer to Director of Materials Management, before moving on to the nonprofit world.

Johnson’s first role in the non-profit sector was Senior Advisor – Inventory Management at CARE USA, an organization focused on empowering women and girls in developing countries. Johnson mentions, “Prior to joining CARE, I saw a billboard in downtown Atlanta that featured a young girl holding a sign that read ‘I Am Powerful’. I knew right away that I wanted to use my skills and background to advance CARE’s mission.”

 At the International Trachoma Initiative, Johnson and her team ensure the efficient delivery of donated Zithromax® from Pfizer to some of the poorest and most remote areas of Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, and Asia. This antibiotic is critical for stopping the spread of trachoma, a bacterial eye disease that leads to scarring and irreversible vision loss. Trachoma is responsible for nearly 2 million cases of blindness in 37 countries around the world. An additional 142 million people are at risk. Johnson’s mission is to eliminate a disease that is 50% more likely to affect women. Her work is vital to improving healthcare standards for people, women in particular, worldwide. 

Johnson enthusiastically says, “We act as the liaison between the country and Pfizer to make sure each country receives the right quantities at the right time so they are able to undertake mass drug administration programs in affected communities. Our work demonstrates that strong supply chains have the power to save and improve lives.”

Even outside of the workplace, Johnson is an unsung heroine for those in need. Adhiambo Oginga, a young girl living in Kenya’s Rift Valley, has been sponsored by Johnson through World Vision for the past 17 years. When Adhiambo aged out of the program and was no longer eligible to be supported, Johnson continued to invest in her education by providing funds to attend nursing school. At home, Johnson also has a big heart, by being a single foster mom to Dakota, a two year old boy, and Olivia, his one year old sister. She freely sacrifices time and resources to support her two precious foster children. All in all, Johnson is determined to do what she can to provide the next generation a better life and bright future.

Let us continue to celebrate women like Johnson who inspire all of us during this Women’s History Month and every day.

Header photo caption: Task Force staff celebrated Carla Johnson’s (center) achievement at Emory University on March 5th during Emory’s Women of Excellence Award Ceremony.

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