You are here:

“The strength of The Union is its people”, Nathalie Emaille-Léotard, Global Director of Human Resources

Published on


Nathalie Emaille-Leotard

As Global Director of Human Resources for The Union, Nathalie Emaille-Léotard is responsible for the overall strategic direction of The Union’s Human Resources function, taking account of the structure, competencies, processes and policies that enable The Union to be agile in a consistently changing environment. With a global workforce of 867 people, that is no small task. 

“There are three layers in my job”, she says. “A global level, a programme/project level and a local level. At the global level: to ensure people are delivering the strategic goals of The Union; at the programme level: to maximise our resources on the deployment of our technical expertise (skills, job content and impact); and at the local level: to enable our offices to structure themselves for sustainability. As an organisation, we need to continually optimise our management of human resources and adapt it to the new realities. 

“I see human resources as the oil in the machine of The Union. It needs to be as smooth and as invisible as possible.” 

Nathalie brings her natural energy to her role and to supporting staff and the Human Resources team at The Union. Since Nathalie joined in 2013, The Union’s Human Resources department has been striving to build an effective, agile and efficient organisation and disseminating a culture of accountability across different departments, countries and fields of expertise. 

For Nathalie, it is important to encourage health and well-being amongst the workforce to create a culture of work-life balance which, in turn, encourages more efficiency at work. “A healthy body is a healthy mind, and vice versa.” 

The Union positively encourages physical activity amongst its own staff and, at its headquarters in Paris, runs weekly fitness and meditation classes that are offered to employees free of charge. 

Nathalie, who describes herself as a very active person, attends the meditation group. “Meditation is absolutely great for me, it enables me to slow down.” 

In her spare time, Nathalie also practices kickboxing, “the only sport I’ve found where my brain is at rest”. 

Nathalie holds a MBA from Pittsburgh University in the United States and a Masters in International Management. She brings to The Union more than 15 years as an international consultant, helping companies align their business and human resources strategies. 

“During my studies, I was really interested in strategy and was keen to understand the people side: what motivates them and keeps them committed, loyal. What makes them tick!” 

The mission of The Union is to promote national autonomy within the framework of the priorities of each country by developing, implementing and assessing anti-tuberculosis, lung health and non-communicable disease programmes as well as other public health issues. Nathalie believes The Union’s mission is what motivates people. ”It is the best gift you can give to people, it’s what drives them to be so dedicated to their work! 

“What I keep seeing over and over at The Union, and that I have rarely seen in other organisations, is commitment and loyalty. Especially as The Union is a not-for-profit organisation. Even in the face of a crisis, Union staff are truly dedicated to its mission.” 

For the future, as The Union keeps expanding its reach and activities, Nathalie’s role will be to ensure that “The Union continues to be a key influencer in healthcare solutions for low- and middle-income countries.” 

Over the next three years, Human Resources will endeavour to play a more strategic role in supporting the development of The Union in an evolving environment. It is committed to building a high performing, fully trained, and more efficient workforce to take on new professional challenges. 

“It is a commitment of Human Resources to provide leadership and to work in partnership with other departments and offices within The Union to bring managerial and workforce excellence, while fostering a culture of collaboration, diversity, and accountability. We will take into consideration both the organisational needs and fiscal reality in our pursuit of shaping the future of The Union. 

“The strength of The Union is its people”, says Nathalie. “You can have the best processes, but without the right people in the right place, it cannot work.”