Shelly Helgeson

Shelly Helgeson originated the role of vice president of partnerships at Fistula Foundation. She brings to the role more than 15 years of experience in social entrepreneurship and strategic communications. She also brings a commitment to ensuring that birthing people everywhere have access to quality healthcare.

Before joining Fistula Foundation, Shelly was director of communications and partnerships at Equalize Health. While there, she led the strategy for securing partnerships that expanded the organization’s ability to connect mothers and babies with life-saving healthcare. Previously, she served in leadership roles at the University of San Francisco, where she worked to increase educational opportunities for people historically excluded from higher education, including refugees.  

Shelly has also worked with both large NGOs and grassroots organizations to support community-led development initiatives in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and the United States. Her love of communications and storytelling stems from her early career in New York City as a documentary filmmaker, specializing in films that give voice to marginalized communities.

Shelly holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and world religions from Ithaca College and a master of public administration degree from the University of San Francisco. When she isn’t forging great partnerships for Fistula Foundation, she is traveling, making music, and hiking the beautiful landscapes of Northern California.

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