Christine Theodoloz-Walker

Ashoka Fellow
Sion, Switzerland, Europe
Fellow Since 2008
Fondation Integration Pour Tous

THE IDEA

 

With the Foundation Intégration pour tous (IPT), Christine has been transforming the way the Swiss public and private systems support individuals who have lost jobs due to their health. Christine created a revolutionary path to help people get back to work, and has transformed the Swiss social welfare system using a model that can easily be transferred to other European contexts and beyond.

 

IMPACT


There are 20 iPT offices in Switzerland, 8000 companies across Switzerland supporting the organization. So far, tens of thousands of workers have been placed thanks to iPT, saving billions of Swiss Francs.

THE PERSON


Initially an assistant in a law practice, Christine focused on insurance claims and then took a role with the health care policy department at national level. Later, Christine worked as coordinator of the National Medical Doctors Association. Christine joined IPT in 1991. The organization was near bankruptcy and being investigated for mismanagement. Within five years, Christine turned around their finances and piloted her case management approach which would later be nationally referenced. Christine is now retired.

 

Citation

This profile was prepared when Christine Theodoloz-Walker was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Christine has developed an individualized process to accompany those in Switzerland denied employment due to ill health. Believing that everyone is employable, Christine works to understand their abilities and supports them to re-enter the workforce. With an assortment of innovative tools, she offers personalized evaluations, coaching, training, and work placements to thousands of Swiss people each year, and is shifting their energy from seeking an appropriate insurance scheme to finding a job. Over the past twelve years, Christine has refined and improved her methodology and intervened at the earliest stage of people’s health problems in order to prevent them from falling into unemployment and dependency.

By focusing on individuals, Christine has built IPT’s neutral position. With a case management approach, she has formed partnerships with all public and private stakeholders who subsidize, support, and potentially employ people in her target group (social aid, employment agencies, public and private invalidity insurance, and businesses) and engages them on the path to employment. Because she identifies and strengthens their competencies, she has given the business sector access to a vast, untapped workforce of highly motivated if not perfectly healthy persons. Christine has placed tens of thousands of workers in long-term employment and demonstrated the employ-ability of assisted groups.

In 2002, Christine managed to convince the world’s largest reinsurance company of the economic value of her work, and of the hundreds of millions of Swiss Francs they and society were being saved. Though insurance companies and public institutions initially contracted out to her to handle complex cases, they have progressively taken on her best practices and shifted their mission. This shift in private practices eventually forced the public sector to recognize IPT’s impact, and led to reform of the 2008 Swiss Invalidity Insurance Law; shifting social aid from assistance to support for job re-entry through an improved provision of public social services. Having partnered with a number of international insurance and reinsurance companies, Christine is seeking the best ways to trigger similar changes in neighboring countries and across Europe.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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