Vicki Escarra

Global CEO, Opportunity International

Vicki Escarra has dedicated her career to building strong companies, strong communities and strong relationships with her clients and colleagues. Escarra joined Opportunity International—the premier global financial services organization for the poor—in 2012, and was elected Global CEO in 2014. Escarra led a global restructuring of its operations and united 8 international offices under one global banner. Under her leadership, Opportunity has increased its visibility, enhanced its brand, focused its operations and put the spotlight on clients—people around the world determined to lift themselves out of poverty. 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 reach hundreds of millions living below the poverty line faster and more efficiently than has been done before. Another area of high priority is education, where Escarra dramatically increased the number of loans available to assist school proprietors build quality schools and help impoverished families pay for tuition, books, school uniforms and other expenses to keep kids in the classroom. She launched a three-year Education Campaign that raised $24 million to help educate 2 million children across 10 developing countries. She has also strengthened partnerships with key corporate and institutional donors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Caterpillar and MasterCard as part of the organization’s goal to create 20 million jobs by 2020, impacting 100 million lives, through life-changing loans, savings programs and other critical financial services and training. 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 is a member of the DocuSign Advisory Board. Escarra was chairman of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau where she assisted Mayor Shirley Franklin with the Brand Atlanta Campaign. She is also a member of The Chicago Network, a diverse organization of professional women who have reached the highest echelons of business, government and academia. Vicki’s civic leadership extends to a number of prominent organizations, including The Economic Club of Chicago. She received the Women Extraordinaire Award in 2016 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.