Former Chief of Staff to the Managing Director
International Monetary Fund
Board Member Since 2015
Tessa van der Willigen spent about 30 years in international macroeconomics, most of them at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where she managed divisions responsible for strategy in different areas, and where her last position—in the midst of the global and euro crises—was as Chief of Staff to the Managing Director. Originally from the Netherlands, she was educated in France and at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, first in zoology and later in economics, and received additional training in psychology from Birkbeck College in London.
Tessa and her husband, Jonathan Walters, have two sons, of whom the older, David, born in 1995, has hydrocephalus. Tessa and Jonathan discovered HA when its biennial conference was held in Washington, D.C., in 1998, and have remained connected to HA ever since. While David has had his fair share of ups and downs—including dramatic seizure-related issues—he is now a thriving undergraduate at Ursinus College in Philadelphia, and an active member of HA’s Teens Take Charge program. Tessa is passionate about every aspect of HA’s mission, but perhaps most excited about the relatively recent addition of research to HA’s portfolio, and the prospect of a cure.