She started her career in the gas business, working for British Gas and then Hess Corporation, before setting up her own company specialising in the turnaround and sale of energy companies. After a couple of years she took a gap year and travelled to a number of developing countries, and felt drawn to international development. “My own family has a lot of blindness, so the mission of Sightsavers really resonated for me,” she explains.
“When I joined the organisation in 2005 it was well respected, but not particularly well known outside of the blindness community. My vision has been to ensure it is respected as a leading organisation more widely in development, to reach more people and increase our influence.
“It is important to look at how eye health fits within a developing health system, and we have become a major player in the field of neglected tropical diseases, several of which cause blindness. In our advocacy work, we believe that to support blind people you need to talk about this in the context of disability if you want to engage governments.”
Caroline has a PhD in energy studies from the University of Cambridge. In 2000 she was awarded an OBE for services to the gas industry, and in 2015 she received a CBE for services to people with visual impairments. She has an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Bristol.
Under her leadership, Sightsavers has expanded significantly, treating millions of people and advocating for policy reforms around the world.