Florence Branchu: Head of Region, Middle East and Head of Qatar Creating Vision

November 2018

What kind of people make up our Orbis family? Here we introduce you to Florence (Flo) Branchu – Head of Region, Middle East and Head of Qatar Creating Vision.

Last year, Flo returned to the UK after organizing Orbis’s presence at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) in Doha, Qatar. Her tireless efforts, skilful relationship building and passion for Orbis turned the event into a triumph!

A colleague says she has incredible energy and tremendous abilities to connect people

In "The Tipping Point," Malcolm Gladwell says that the success of any kind of social epidemic depends on the involvement of "Connectors." These are the people who know everyone and mobilize them, and have the resources required to get things done. Rebecca Cronin, Orbis UK’s CEO, elaborates, “Flo is a connector, her connecting abilities combined with her dedication and energy has made the Middle East a viable source of strategic support and funding for the global organization over the last five years.

Flo has incredible energy and tremendous abilities to connect people, to create opportunities, and to exceed expectations when furthering our work and our mission in the region.

Hunter Cherwek

Deputy Chief of Program

Flo continually demonstrates the Orbis values. She has shown utter commitment to raise the profile of Orbis by championing the issue of Eye Health and to persuading the World Innovation Summit for Health to include it as one of the key health focus areas.” - Allan Thompson, Orbis UK, Director of Fundraising

Orbis at the World Innovation Summit for Health

WISH was a huge success for Orbis and Flo made sure to maximize the opportunity by arranging a Flying Eye Hospital tour alongside the event. Over the past two weeks she showed her organizational skills by arranging a packed roster of high impact events on the plane including tours for donors and partners, and medical workshops for Qatari nurses and ophthalmologists, to showcase what the Flying Eye Hospital and Cybersight can deliver. “Through WISH, over 2,000 leading health professionals and policy makers from around the world saw the importance of investing in eye health,” explains Allan, “and Orbis was seen as a leading player in the fight against avoidable blindness.

Allan summed it up best when he said “my mantra for the last two weeks was simply Go with the Flo and I was reminded daily that this was the correct path or way forward every time!

Her personal motto is make each word a gift

We asked Flo why she so clearly loves her job, she told us it’s because not one day is the same and she thrives on meeting new people. Like the true connector she is, she explains, “I love it when I finish a meeting, or a chat and I know that they got it.” She is energized by the enthusiasm of our partners in the region. “The unpredictability of the region can get quite stressful for everyone. I love it when our partners say that we remind them there's good in the world!

She recalls so many special Orbis memories, but last week’s “thank you” dinner after the WISH events will stick in her memory. “At some point during the evening I looked around the room and genuinely had all my favorite people around the tables,” she enthuses. “Over the years some of our supporters have become my closest friends and it was humbling to realize it.

Flo has built a high level of trust and accountability with our strategic partners in the Middle East, especially Qatar Charity and Qatar Fund For Development, and she has worked with them both to agree to an expansion of the Qatar Creating Vision initiative. “At the WISH summit Qatar Charity and Orbis signed an agreement to work together to raise $3M for Orbis over the next 3 years from the Qatari public and companies,” explains Allan. “We are hopeful of signing a new agreement with Qatar Fund for Development in the near future - all thanks to the relationships that Flo has built!

For Flo, our values are a great reminder that Excellence is not perfection. “Striving for excellence is to care, to be accountable, to be committed and above all to trust each other,” she explains. “That's the foundation of excellence.”

Her personal motto is make each word a gift. Flo certainly is a gift to the Orbis family. Please joins us all in thanking her!