Helen Keller Intl Elects William Toppeta Chair of Board of Trustees

Leading global health organization also announces appointment of four new trustees

New York, NY, Jan. 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Helen Keller Intl, a global health organization dedicated to eliminating preventable vision loss, malnutrition, and diseases of poverty, announced the election of William Toppeta as Chair of its Board of Trustees, as well as the appointment of several new trustees. Toppeta, a former executive officer of MetLife, Inc., has served as a trustee for Helen Keller since 2016. 


“Bill Toppeta is a fierce advocate for the world’s most vulnerable people and will help Helen Keller accelerate our work to create a world without barriers to human potential,” said Kathy Spahn, Helen Keller CEO. “As we tackle the global health challenges exacerbated by Covid-19, Bill’s wise and insightful leadership comes at the right moment.” 


Toppeta’s appointment coincides with a critical time for Helen Keller as its programs implement lifesaving measures for children and families. Not only are Covid-19 rates rising in many countries where Helen Keller works, but the pandemic has catalyzed a tidal wave of hunger and malnutrition. Moreover, Toppeta will help shift the organization toward greater fiscal strength through donor recruitment and unrestricted support, particularly important now as the virus strains world economies and governments. 


“I am proud to serve Helen Keller as we address the world’s most pressing global health problems,” said Toppeta. “Millions of people lose their sight because they lack access to quality, affordable healthcare. Others face tremendous health obstacles simply because they were born in a place that lacks access to lifesaving medicines or nutritious food. We can, and must, act to ensure that every child and family lives a full, healthy life.” 


Toppeta’s experiences in business, law, and foreign relations offer multidisciplinary leadership for Helen Keller’s trustees. He is currently a semi-retired business consultant, lawyer and independent director for various businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Previously, he was a consultant with Promontory LLC and prior to that was an executive officer of MetLife, Inc. from which he retired as Vice Chairman in 2012, following a career of almost forty years with the company. He served for several years as a Trustee of Fordham University and of the MetLife Foundation and is also currently a member of the Board of the LaGuardia Community College Foundation.  


Toppeta received his undergraduate degree from Fordham College in 1970, his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1973 and his LL. M. in Corporation Law, also from NYU in 1977. He is a member of the bar of the State of New York, the Council on Foreign Relations, and has previously taught several law school and graduate business courses.  


Along with Toppeta’s new role on the Board of Trustees, Helen Keller also announced the election of several new trustees:  


Nchacha Etta 

Senior Vice President and CFO at Essilor USA 

Southlake, TX 


James Gaffey 

President, Flying Monkeys Media LLC 

Quogue, NY 


Janine Luke 

Retired Financial Advisor 

New York, NY 


Eunice Reddick 

Retired U.S. Ambassador 

Chevy Chase, MD


Bill Toppeta, Board Chair, Helen Keller Intl

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