Customer Stories

WHO Foundation: Meetings to support critical global health needs

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Challenge

The WHO Foundation wanted to create a culture that was agile and modern from the beginning. While its leadership team grew, so did the administrative challenges.

How we help

Sherpany was chosen to support the creation of a functional and healthy meeting culture, and is involved in preparing The WHO Foundation for greater meeting efficiency.

2020 is a year that will forever be remembered for its global health crisis. The universality of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced every citizen of the world to think about public health on an unprecedented scale. 

While it shouldn’t take a global pandemic for us to acknowledge the importance of supporting health needs globally, it certainly has been effective. 

The WHO Foundation is an independent grant-making foundation that sets out to protect the health and well-being of everyone in every part of the world, working alongside the World Health Organization (WHO) and the global health community. 

In Q3 of 2020, the WHO Foundation made the decision to implement Sherpany. We caught up with Lara Vila, part of the interim COO Office of the WHO Foundation, to find out more about why they decided to optimise leadership meetings in support of the Foundation’s critical work. 

Managing meetings for a growing, global leadership team 

When the WHO Foundation was founded in May 2020 its leadership only comprised three members. Therefore, in its nascency, it was relatively simple to manage board meetings, with documents, agendas, and minutes distributed through a combination of email and document production software. 

Over the course of the summer, the WHO Foundation’s leadership more than doubled in size, and with this step-change came a host of administrative challenges, such as distributing meeting documents and managing collaboration across multiple channels. The nature of the WHO Foundation’s work means that its leadership team is deliberately distributed across multiple geographies, and according to Lara Vila, “the goal is to have a board member present in every region around the globe.” 

The need for a software to help manage the process of meetings became apparent.

Clear governance and greater efficiency

Efficiency is front of mind for the WHO Foundation when deciding to implement a meeting management solution.  

Being able to make decisions in a timely manner is central to the functioning objectives of the Foundation, and this will increase in complexity as the Foundation continues to grow. If 2020 has shown us anything, it is that the need to be responsive, adaptable, and swift-acting is ever present. In the case of the WHO Foundation, whose funding supports critical projects, which often require urgent intervention, this truth is only exacerbated. 

Governance was also high on the list of priorities when implementing Sherpany. As the WHO Foundation’s board grows, so too will the number of approvals needed. Therefore, from early on, it was clear that collaborating over email and document production tools alone would be unsustainable. As a funding body, there is a legal, as well as operational, requirement for the WHO Foundation to record decisions. 

Sherpany provides all of this in a single platform, ensuring that this information is kept in a searchable and auditable way. 

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Meeting management: Central to creating a new culture

Lara commented that culture was also central to the decision to implement a meeting management solution.

The WHO Foundation has the opportunity to be deliberate in the way that it builds its culture - and its meetings are a part of this. Lara commented that “we want the Foundation to be modern, lean, and agile. It is important that we embody this from the outset, and that is why we have only selected tools that will support the construction of this culture early on.”

This is somewhat unique. Often, Sherpany is implemented as a remedy to the pains of meeting madness. However, in the case of the WHO Foundation, the organisation has yet to have the chance to experience these pains. Instead, Sherpany has been chosen in order to support the deliberate creation of a functional and healthy meeting culture. 

We want the Foundation to be modern, lean, and agile... That is why we have only selected tools that will support the construction of this culture early on.

Lara Vila
Part of the interim COO Office

First impressions: Setting meetings up for success

While the WHO Foundation is in the early stages of its meeting management journey, first impressions count; so far Sherpany has been involved in preparing the WHO Foundation for greater efficiency in it’s board meetings, which began using the tool in Q4 2020. 

Lara commented that Sherpany’s customer success team has been in constant contact, supporting the onboarding every step of the way. “We have felt well supported during the onboarding process, although the tool is very user friendly and needs little explaining.” She continued by saying that “Even when we have run into issues with using the platform, Sherpany’s Customer Success team has been on hand to help.”

Working with an organisation as unique and influential as the WHO Foundation is an exciting challenge, and one that we have grasped with both hands. Sherpany is pleased to be playing a small part in the Foundation’s mission. This case study is part one of two. 

Thank you to Lara for sharing the WHO Foundation’s meeting journey with us. 

Are you facing the same challenges in your company? We can help. 

About the WHO Foundation 

The WHO Foundation is an independent grant-making foundation, based in Geneva, that sets out to protect the health and well-being of everyone in every part of the world, working alongside the World Health Organization (WHO) and the global health community. It supports donors, scientists, experts, implementing partners, advocates, and more, from every country, in rapidly finding new and better solutions to the most pressing global health challenges of today and tomorrow. For more information, visit this website.

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