Nicole K. Bates


Dedicated to creating the environment where all people can realize their full potential, Dr. Nicole Bates is an impact-driven leader and strategist with 20 years of experience building innovative portfolios, driving multisectoral partnerships and activating public and political networks to generate support, policies and financing for health and development priorities in the U.S. and abroad.

Nicole serves as Senior Strategy Advisor at Pivotal Ventures – a private incubation and investment company dedicated to social progress in the United States, founded by Melinda Gates.

Nicole joins Pivotal Ventures after a decade with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she served as Deputy Director for Multilateral Partnerships and Deputy Director for Global Policy & Advocacy among other roles. In 2009, Nicole led the design of the foundation’s first global advocacy strategy for vaccines. Over time, the portfolio expanded to include communications as well as polio eradication and other causes of preventable child deaths. These strategies grew civil society presence in major political markets across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia; facilitated cross-sector collaboration to produce a global action plan for vaccines endorsed by the governments of 194 countries; and leveraged the foundation’s investments to generate more than $15 billion to improve child health in the world’s poorest countries. While at the foundation, Nicole also undertook a special assignment to partner with executive leadership at UNICEF to design and implement a portfolio approach to increase the organization’s global impact on child health, education and protection by harmonizing and strategically activating advocacy, communication, fundraising, public engagement and brand assets across the agency.  

Nicole previously worked in the U.S. Senate for Edward M. Kennedy and served as the Director for Government Relations at the Global Health Council. She began her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a Presidential Management Fellow.   

Nicole earned a doctorate and master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed undergraduate studies with high honors from the University of Virginia.  Nicole sits on international, national and local boards, is a regular guest speaker and holds adjunct faculty appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Washington.