Global Health Strategies Reviews

Updated Apr 28, 2021

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2.9
50%
Recommend to a Friend
56%
Approve of CEO
Global Health Strategies Chief Executive Officer David Gold  (no image)
David Gold
17 Ratings
Pros
  • "Before GHS I had never worked in a position where I was as confident as I am now that my work is important and appreciated(in 8 reviews)

  • "Truly a place for the best and brightest global health professionals(in 8 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "and below (long hours, low pay, unfulfilled promises of professional growth) actually breaks my heart(in 11 reviews)

  • "Current and former staff will recognize defining traits of working for GHS:(in 9 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
    1. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      Great place to grow

      Jan 17, 2021 - Associate in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great career trajectory and upward growth

      Cons

      Poor pay and compensation, could be better

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    2. 3.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Dedicated & passionate core staff continually let down by exec management

      Apr 8, 2021 - Senior Associate in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      GHS is filled with incredibly smart, creative and motivated young staff members who push GHS to be a better, more impactful company. The opportunities available to someone the start of their career, as I was, are great for those looking to work in global health/communications/consulting. You will be trained to be a better writer, speaker, communicator - and build connections with your colleagues, clients and partners (though, for those in the NYC office, be aware that the work leans much more toward communications than advocacy). Those same passionate people who go to GHS to make the world a better place are also (largely) committed to making GHS a better place, and in recent years, have been working to address toxic norms (e.g., long work hours, low pay, lack of transparency) perpetuated by executive management and present in GHS infrastructure and culture. That is to say that you will be surrounded by other folks willing and wanting to change the status quo.

      Cons

      As hinted at above (and visible through other reviews), GHS has an issue with power dynamics. Management (largely white, more men than at core staff level) makes more money, works fewer hours, and is generally immune from critique. Core staff makes less money, works a huge amount of hours, and is constantly being asked to take on more - especially if you're up for a promotion or raise. The lack of transparency between management and core staff is also a reason people leave the company. There is such a lack of clarity about financials at GHS; people at the same level are all paid different amounts; yearly bonuses vary for everyone; and there isn't any sort of conversation about company profits in real numbers. The company seemingly continues to grow, have more clients, rake in more money - and yet core staff remains underpaid and teams understaffed. It's important to mention that while I experienced times of being overworked, underpaid, and generally burnt out at GHS, I also carried immense privilege as a white woman coming from familial wealth. I could accept the low salary and still live in NYC; I could rely on my parent's health care to save money; I did not have any student loans/debt to pay off. I never experienced any sort of discrimination or harassment from executive management, co-workers, or clients - and I cannot say the same for others, particularly my colleagues of color. While I know efforts are underway to address institutionalized issues at GHS, I cannot imagine this shift happening overnight and those applying should be aware.

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      4 people found this review helpful

      Global Health Strategies Response

      Dear former GHSer, Thank you for your thoughtful observations about GHS. Your comments are a fair assessment that reflect both our areas of progress and where we still fall short and are committed to growing. Regarding your comment about the gender of our management team: Our global C-suite consists of one man and two women, and our New York executive team consists of three men and three women. The NY director and manager levels are both majority women. We have made it a priority to improve transparency in our compensation practices and have shared salary bands for each of our levels. We review salaries twice yearly and have enhanced the process to consider internal equity in addition to performance and tenure. We continue to examine our compensation levels compared to other similar companies so that GHS remains a competitive choice. Finally and most importantly, we are glad that you did not experience discrimination or harassment while working with us – we have no tolerance for those infractions. We raised diversity, equity and inclusion to a high internal priority in 2020 and have instituted measures including training and a staff-led DEI committee to advise senior leadership. We appreciate your commitment to making GHS the best company it can be, and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

    3. 1.0
      Former Employee

      Culture So White

      Jul 10, 2020 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Recruits with significant privilege might find success here. However, long-standing pillars of GHS's culture can inhibit the inclusion and growth of women, people of color, and people from low- or middle-class economic backgrounds, at least compared to the trajectories of their white, male, upperclass counterparts.

      Cons

      I encourage anyone surprised by negative reviews or the recent reckonings on race and gender to review "The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture" (2001; see Showing Up for Racial Justice website). Current and former staff will recognize defining traits of working for GHS: -Perfectionism -Sense of Urgency -Defensiveness (as it protects power) -Quantity Over Quality -Worship of the Written Word -Paternalism -Either/Or Thinking -Power Hoarding -Fear of Open Conflict -Individualism (low prioritization of management + collaborative skills) -Progress is "Bigger, More" -Objectivity (those with power claim absolute objectivity) -Right to [White] Comfort

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      12 people found this review helpful
    4. 2.0
      Former Employee

      Average company that claims to be more

      May 24, 2020 - Anonymous 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Fun work environment with many opportunities to bond and socialize Interesting work and wide exposure to different tasks and projects

      Cons

      Few good people managers, most seem to prioritize clients and their own program work over employees Often a sense of micromanagement, meaning junior staff realize quickly they can't get much more out of their experience past a couple years Odd feedback delivery, often done with little understanding, encouragement and support, or avoided and sugarcoated, which feeds insecurity and confusion Not unique to the company, but employees who have been there awhile sometimes get paid less than the recent hires who they are training and supervising, demoralizing when you find out The above create a somewhat toxic culture, perpetuated by senior staff and played out by junior staff

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      9 people found this review helpful

      Global Health Strategies Response

      Thank you for this comprehensive feedback. Mentoring is a key focus of our work at GHS. We are proud of how many of our alumni have gone on to work at extraordinary organizations in global health and development. But we know that our leadership can be more effective people managers while staff are working at GHS. This includes getting performance management and feedback right. We need to do better on developing better training and tools for giving feedback and strengthening skills in delegation and management. A couple of comments on your specific points: • Agree that 360 should not only be selected by the person being reviewed. This is not the policy here but rather the manager is encouraged to seek out feedback from a wide array of folks, not only those recommended by the reviewee. Thank you for raising this and we will work to correct this for this midyear performance cycle. • We need to do more management and leadership training particularly in the area of management and delegation. One of the hallmarks of GHS is that we allow people to take on as much responsibility as they are ready to- regardless of tenure or level. We will raise the issue of micromanagement with our leadership team. • We have now shared our compensation structure with the staff and we review salaries twice a year to correct for significant internal inequities and to remain competitive with the external market • We try to be transparent and genuine in our communications to the team, but we don’t always get it right. We will keep your feedback on “overly messaging” in mind for the future. Please feel free to reach out to Gordon at gchang@globalhealthstrategies.com if you would like to further discuss. We sincerely hope we have a chance to speak. Sincerely, Linn Dorin, Chief Operating Officer and Gordon Chang, Director of Talent

    5. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      I'm honestly still haunted.

      May 14, 2019 - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Cool office, fun work events. Junior staff suffer together and bond, much like members of a hazed fraternity pledge class.

      Cons

      I'm still haunted by GHS more than a year after leaving. I've never worked somewhere so abusive, that made me feel so disrespected and unappreciated. It sounds like very little has changed. Imagine working from 9 am to 9 pm for an entire winter. Of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in front of your computer screen, every day. Of being paid, often, less than $50k/year for this treatment. All this, while multiple people in senior management have several homes. This is a place where managers intentionally make junior staff feel bad about their work. Junior staff, in turn, work long hours to prove themselves. You'll succeed here if you are prepared to work as late as 9 pm indefinitely, if you don't like lunch breaks, and you bring your work laptop home on the weekends. If you're a young woman, prepare to be just the right amount of *mousy* around your male managers' fragile egos. Some people find this environment "exciting" and "challenging," I felt hazed. Favoritism is rife here, and sexism is real. Appalling racial microaggressions fly at the highest levels of the company. Obama's portrait hangs in the office. "Progressive!" I remember seeing negative reviews on Glassdoor before I applied, but I hoped the complaints wouldn’t apply to me, or were exaggerations—plus, there were some positive reviews! I didn't realize, at the time, that upper management actively encourages these positive reviews, especially after a bout of negative ones. That’s probably all the ethically-minded really need to know. Look elsewhere if you want to do good and feel good at work.

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      26 people found this review helpful

      Global Health Strategies Response

      Dear Former GHSer, I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts so thoroughly. I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting you because I joined GHS in early 2019, but your review of the company is not an accurate depiction of the GHS I know, care about, and am constantly trying to make better in partnership with our leadership team. I am making my way through the company, speaking to staff regularly about their concerns and how we can continue to improve our culture. I’d like to add that this is not a solo effort – the decision to hire for my position was championed by the COO and involved input from several members of management and junior staff. As with any professional client services firm, there will be busy seasons as well as slower seasons. It’s a difficult field that many are proud to be a part of and thrive well under its pressure. What we do for our clients is both meaningful and urgent, but it’s not for everyone. As the Director of Talent, I have the honor of representing our company and setting expectations throughout the interview process and employee life-cycle. It’s unfair to assume that our positive reviews were written under pressure from management. Most potential applicants know that there is a selection bias on review sites that skews towards impassioned and disgruntled employees, particularly in competitive companies. If these employees (past and present) care enough to speak with me about their issues and concerns, I am here to help however I can. All of this is to say, I would be happy to have a coffee with you to further discuss the past, present, and future of culture here at GHS. Please feel free to reach out to me at gchang@globalhealthstrategies.com – I sincerely hope we have a chance to speak. Sincerely, Gordon

    6. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Good job terrible environment

      Jun 4, 2020 - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Very interesting work Good opportunities 4 growth Pathways to advance if you are committed Empowerment and leadership is encouraged Lots of ways to learn new skills and many issues to get involved with

      Cons

      Terrible work life balance Very little diversity, microaggressions of all kinds abound Not a safe space If you aren't coming from wealth and white american passing you will feel left out

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      9 people found this review helpful

      Global Health Strategies Response

      Thank you for taking the time to give us your honest feedback. It’s good to hear that you found the work interesting and impactful and that you were challenged in learning new skills. Our team at GHS does work hard. We are committed to making an impact in global health and supporting the vital work of our clients. But we are also working actively to create a good work life balance for our team. We are tackling this on many fronts: we have rolled out new tools and databases so that we can easily understand time worked per day, week and month, allowing us to take action when team members are working unreasonable hours; we are trying to work in some flex capacity in our recruiting and match new opportunities with available capacity; and we have created smaller more intimate teams lead by VPs so that each staff member has greater access to a senior person who will support them in managing their work life at GHS. We also are trying to find opportunities for our team members to be able to work on issues in which they feel particularly passionate about. We agree that we have fallen short on diversity and equity in the office in the past and have committed to doing better. We have launched a senior led initiative to drive improvements in our recruitment and retention practices. More importantly, we are committing to train the team on more equitable and inclusive practices. We will hold our leadership- at the very highest levels- accountable for changes on these efforts. Finally, as a mission-driven for-profit firm employing 145 staff worldwide, we do actively manage our financial circumstances and profitability so that we can weather difficult times such as the economic impact of COVID and take on issues such as universal health coverage and LGBTQ health in developing countries where there may not be a paying client. We are also very proud that we did not have to lay off any staff through this challenging time. Please feel free to reach out to Gordon at gchang@globalhealthstrategies.com if you would like to further discuss. We sincerely hope we have a chance to speak. Sincerely, Linn Dorin, Chief Operating Officer and Gordon Chang, Director of Talent

    7. 1.0
      Former Employee

      Difficult culture but good experience

      Jun 29, 2020 - Senior Associate 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Smart, ambitious people, boot camp experience

      Cons

      Overworked, underpaid, boot camp experience

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      5 people found this review helpful
    8. 5.0
      Current Employee

      Great place to work!

      Oct 27, 2018 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Great group of people at all levels who are passionate about their work - The company recognizes the large amount of work and long hours that most people do and rewards people with fun activities, parties, and pretty substantial bonuses - The content is incredibly rewarding to work on - Nice space in midtown Manhattan with a roof deck - Easily accessible (most subways stop nearby)

      Cons

      - The hours can be long at certain times of year depending on the teams or accounts to which you are assigned - some clients are more demanding than others and some causes just demand more work by nature so this can vary - There is a diversity issue (but the management seem to be putting a lot more work into resolving this over the past few months including adding diversity training sessions to the yearly calendar and actually seeking out diverse candidates for open positions) - Salaries are a little low compared to comparable positions elsewhere (but the aforementioned bonuses do a lot to make up for this)

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      6 people found this review helpful
    9. 5.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      Great place to do meaningful and interesting work

      Dec 18, 2019 - Project Manager 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great culture, supportive teams, many professional development opportunities. Opportunities to work on really complex and high-level projects with international organizations

      Cons

      High volume of work, often long hours and little work-life balance

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    10. 1.0
      Former Employee

      I finally understand what it is to "sell your soul"

      Oct 17, 2019 - Senior Associate in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      There are numerous advantages to working at GHS. There’s a pretty office space and roof deck. Their kitchen is stocked with snacks and lunch is catered twice a week. There are fun company-wide events year-round, and interesting exposure to well-known clientele. Junior staff are lovely and get really close. I found that, collectively, these benefits do not outweigh the drawbacks of working at GHS.

      Cons

      GHS’s original vision and brand have been tarnished by mission drift; they are “progressive,” but only when convenient. In one moment GHS consults for the Gates Foundation, ostensibly promoting human rights. In the next, it does the bidding of ethically dubious clientele. Its leaders claim to not have a "mission” when challenged by concerned staff. While working at GHS, I often felt we were on the wrong side of history. || Worse, GHS exploits its employees. The treatment of “Senior Associates” and below (long hours, low pay, unfulfilled promises of professional growth) actually breaks my heart. The company operates on a toxic model of high stress and high turnover, a fact in which its leaders take some pride (describing GHS as a “boot camp”). I’ve never felt so disrespected, so unappreciated, or seen so many tears shed in a workplace. || GHS doesn’t have a real HR department, which could promote a healthier culture. They’ve established a tiny “Talent” team, but it lacks the stature needed to bring real change. People are promoted or fired seemingly at random, yet a self-serving illusion of “meritocracy” thrives among recipients of favoritism. Cutthroat, dishonest behavior is both modeled by the company’s leaders and rewarded; the CEO and COO are particularly resistant to making real change, which might undercut their profitable assembly line of a business model.

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      24 people found this review helpful

      Global Health Strategies Response

      First, we shouldn’t have taken so long to reply and for that we apologize. You raise some important points, some of which we have begun to address and some that we need to do additional work on. GHS is strongly committed to improving the work experience of our staff. We are proud of the work we have done, our team and the fact that so many GHS alumni have gone on to do amazing work. But sometimes – and with some people - we fall short. We have increased our investment in HR/Talent and now have 2 full-time professionals for the NY office. We have also made important improvements including the advancement of our mental health benefits and the open sharing of our salary structure. We are proud of our benefit package but would welcome a conversation with you as to where you feel it was substandard. We are incredibly proud of the clients and partners that GHS works with. We have also turned down a significant amount of work that we didn’t feel reflected our values and work. Client decisions are decided at the executive level, but we actively encourage staff to question and discuss these choices in an open forum with senior management. In fact, we have had open, full-staff discussions about working with some individual clients as well as safe-space discussions in more intimate groups. GHS remains committed to working with a range of partners in the non-profit, civil society, multilateral and for-profit sectors. GHS is committed to working hard on behalf of our clients and their deliverables. We have rolled out new tools and databases so that we can easily understand time worked per day, week and month, allowing us to take action when team members are working unreasonable hours. We are also trying to work in some flex capacity in our recruiting and match new opportunities with available capacity. We have raised our base salary structure and have now shared the ranges of salary with our staff. We also review our salaries twice per year for external competitiveness and internal equity. We are aware that senior management does sit on one side of the office and this needs to be changed. Our CEO and another director moved their seats to the middle of the office to sit with the core staff, but this was met with some opposition. Other staff members that were promoted into senior management positions have remained in their original seats as well. We will consider other options when we return to the office next year (note given the risk of COVID for our team traveling on the NYC subway system, we have decided to remain virtual until 2021 and until we can assure that our team’s health will be safe). We encourage you to reach out to Gordon at gchang@globalhealthstrategies.com if you would like to further discuss. We sincerely hope we have a chance to speak. Sincerely, Linn Dorin, Chief Operating Officer and Gordon Chang, Director of Talent

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