Yifat Susskind, Executive Director, works to make human rights a reality for all people. For more than 20 years, she has partnered with women’s human rights activists from Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa to create programs in their communities that combine grassroots partnerships and international advocacy to meet urgent needs and create lasting solutions.
She has led successful initiatives to secure women’s rights, both in policy and in practice. For instance, under her leadership, MADRE sustains women’s shelters in warzones while countering policies that lead to war, and runs projects that bring clean water to drought-afflicted communities while demanding a space for women’s voices in climate policy. Read more.
Maya Crawford, Deputy Director, oversees the management and functioning of MADRE including oversight of administration, human resources, financial management, development and programs. For over 20 years, Maya has led teams and raised funds to support the human rights and educational opportunities of marginalized and vulnerable communities around the globe. Most recently, she served as the Director of Development for Young Women’s Leadership Network, and before that, Director of Major Gifts at American Jewish World Service. Maya holds an A.B. in Asian Studies from Bowdoin College. Read more.
Lisa Davis, Esq., Senior Legal Advisor, is MADRE’s Senior Legal Advisor, Chair of the Legal Strategies Advisory Committee. Lisa has written and reported extensively on human rights and gender issues, including on women’s rights and LGBTIQ rights, with a focus on peace building and security issues in conflict and disaster settings. Lisa has testified before U.S. Congress, U.K. Parliament, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and various international human rights bodies. In 2016, Davis was elected by their peers to deliver the civil society statement for the U.N. Security Council’s open debate on the use of sexual violence in conflict situations. Read more.
Natalia Caruso, Director of Grantmaking and Partnerships, plays a key role overseeing our work with sister organizations in Africa, Middle East, and Latin America. Natalia's work includes coordinating humanitarian assistance, the provision of direct services, technical assistance on leadership, and training on capacity building with grassroots organizations. Read more.
Diana Duarte is the Director of Policy and Strategic Engagement at MADRE, leading the organization's policy and public education work, and designing and implementing initiatives to advance women's human rights worldwide. She directs MADRE's Feminist Policy Jumpstart initiative, partnering with grassroots women worldwide to bring their perspectives and analysis to shape progressive US policymaking.
Shonda Smith, Director of Communications, works on communications and marketing strategies that affirm MADRE’s position as a visible and leading authority in the global human rights space. She has helped raise the brand profiles of organizations committed to social justice through content development, speaker bureau management, and the creation of strategic partnerships with influential individuals over the years. In her spare time, Shonda finds joy in laughing loudly and often with family, writing about extraordinary people, and curling up with a riveting memoir. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from SUNY at New Paltz and an M.S. in Publishing from New York University.
JM Kirby, Esq., Human Rights Advocacy Director, provides strategic advocacy services and support for grassroots women’s organizations in Latin America and the Middle East. Before joining MADRE as staff, Kirby dedicated her time to human rights advocacy in support of communities fighting for social and economic justice in the U.S., and consulted for domestic and international organizations focused on gender justice. Read more.
Lucie Canal, Associate Advocacy Director, contributes to the development and implementation of human rights advocacy strategies in support of MADRE’s grassroot partners in Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Prior to joining MADRE, her work primarily focused on the documentation and strategic litigation of conflict and atrocity-related sexual and gender-based cases in Nepal and The Gambia, and on the provision of support to grassroot activists working with transitional justice processes and international human rights mechanisms. Lucie holds a M.A. in Human Rights Studies from Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and is currently based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Madeleine Rees, Global Strategies Advisor, Co-Chair of the Legal Strategies Advisory Committee, became a lawyer in 1990. She worked for a major British law firm, becoming a partner in 1994. There, she specialized in discrimination law, being particularly involved in the area of employment, and also specialized in public and administrative law. Madeleine worked on behalf of the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equal Opportunities Commission, where she helped establish rights for individuals under domestic law. Read more.
Brittney Bartlett, Major Gifts Manager, fosters meaningful relationships with current and potential MADRE individual supporters to raise funds to sustain and advance MADRE’s work with our grassroots partners worldwide. Prior to MADRE, Brittney worked in development at Human Rights First and Amnesty International USA, helping to build and grow their individual giving programs. Brittney holds a MA in International Administration from the University of Miami and a B.S. in Criminology from Barry University.
Cait Mackaman, Content Marketing Manager, helps provide strategy and leads the implementation of MADRE’s systems and content for the communications team.
Adan Obeid, Program Coordinator for Middle East and North Africa, works across teams to help coordinate MADRE's work with its partners in the MENA region. She received her MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies from University of Exeter in the UK. Adan is a former Research Associate at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. She speaks Arabic and Farsi fluently.
Maria Rein, Program and Development Manager, acts as a bridge between MADRE’s program and development teams to raise vital institutional funds to sustain and enhance MADRE’s work with our grassroots partners worldwide. Prior to MADRE, Maria worked as a program research consultant for ShelterBox UK and as a management consultant serving local, national and international nonprofits at Development Guild DDI. Maria holds a MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a B.A. in International Relations and Geography from Syracuse University.
Reed Helms, Data Associate, manages data for MADRE’s membership program. He operates in academic and non-profit spaces to promote debate and just policy initiatives. He holds an M.A. and a B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University and the University of Connecticut, respectively.
Igdalia Rojas, Program Coordinator, Partnerships, works in close collaboration with sister organizations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. She leads the coordination and implementation of programs with grassroots partners in addition to providing technical assistance on leadership and capacity building. Igdalia has over ten years of experience working with grassroots organizations focused on racial, education, and immigration justice. Originally from Mexico, she received her M.A. in International Education from New York University.
Danny Bradley, International Justice Coordinator, supports MADRE's advocacy initiatives that advance the rights of women, LGBTIQ persons, and marginalized groups at the domestic and international level. His work at MADRE focuses primarily on domestic violence, accountability for gender persecution, and documentation of gender-based crimes, and includes drafting reports and UN submissions, implementing advocacy strategies, and coordinating with local partners. He holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).
Ahmed Hanoon, Program Coordinator, Iraq and Information Solutions, works as a part of learning and evaluation team with our partners in Iraq to implement activities including programs evaluation, reporting on progress, drafting internal research, and conducting research and analysis on humanitarian and human rights issues in Iraq. Ahmed is a former Program Officer in International Medical Corps (IMC) and the International Commission on the Missing Persons (ICMP).
Rejna Alaaldin, Iraq Legal Advocate, is a lawyer and holds a Masters from University College London (UCL) and acquired further postgraduate degrees at the College of Law, London. Rejna has advised the public and private sector in Iraq, including the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre, part of the Ministry of Interior Kurdistan Regional Government, assisting with the preparation of a draft law and institutional framework for disaster and crisis management and response. She has extensive experience working with civil society organisations on providing gender equality and human rights programmes to the community in general, rehabilitation of Yezidi women and girls and increasing women's political participation (or political inclusion of women) in the region. Rejna also started a mentorship programme, assisting women and girls in the region through education and entrepreneurship skills training.
Michelle Dörlemann, DRC Legal Advocate, holds two law degrees and has more than ten years of professional experience in the strategic conceptualization and practical implementation of projects, partnerships and studies in the Great Lakes Region and beyond. Based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 2015, she works with an intersectional approach on questions of fighting violence against women, promoting women’s and girls’ empowerment and rights, civil society strengthening, and access to health and other services for vulnerable groups. Read more.
Victoria Calderon, Program and Development Coordinator, received her M.P.H. in Global Health from The George Washington University and a B.S. in Journalism from Ohio University. She collaborates with the program and development teams to deepen and grow vital institutional funds for MADRE and its partners, who protect and provide for communities facing war and disaster. Victoria formerly worked as a research coordinator at Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo Ohio.
Malika Giddens, Communications Associate, works to highlight MADRE’s work through social media, content creation, site development and broader communication support. Inspired by her participation in many non-profit organizations as a student, she began her growing career within the non-profit industry. Formerly employed with Color Of Change, Malika dedicates herself to uplifting the voices of vulnerable communities as well as the projects that center them. She holds a B.A. in English Language & Literature from Ithaca College.
Akhila Kolisetty, Policy and Campaigns Manager, helps to lead strategy and implementation of MADRE's Feminist Foreign Policy Jumpstart, conducts policy analysis, and coordinates campaigns to advance women's human rights and feminist policy. She previously worked on human rights and access to justice policy with the Open Society Foundations, worked with non-profits across India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sierra Leone, and provided legal representation to survivors of domestic violence in New York. She holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Northwestern University and J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Divya Sooryakumar is MADRE’s Program Officer for Partnerships and Grantmaking. She manages MADRE’s portfolio focused on intergenerational leadership and adolescent girls. Divya brings eight years of experience working with girls through grassroots feminist organizations including the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA Bharat) and smaller initiatives like Chhoti Si Asha. She brings expertise in education, gender, and strategic communications. She received her M.Ed in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University.
Marianna Garcia, Executive Assistance and Special Projects Associate, graduated with a Masters in Latin American Studies from Columbia University in 2019. Since then she interned at CoreWoman Nonprofit, assisting in product strategy for an app designed to aid social workers in Latin America to empower women entrepreneurs. Additionally, she provided support to the founder and the entire app development team throughout her internship. Additionally, Marianna has won multiple national championships in competitive speaking, and set a record as the first person in the history of Collegiate Speech in the United States to win a national championship with a speech entirely in a non-English language (Spanish).
Yeiri Robert, Program Associate, Partnerships, supports the Partnership Team's work with grassroots women led organizations from around the world. She also oversees the Helping Hands Campaign, which collects medical and other donations from private and corporate donors to provide much needed aid to our partner organizations. Yeiri is originally from the Dominican Republic but grew up in New York City. She has many years of experience working with at risk populations in New York and Massachusetts to address homelessness, domestic violence and unemployment. Yeiri has an MA in Sustainable International Development with a concentration in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence from Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management.
Laura Martinez, Program Associate, Partnerships and Grantmaking, supports the Program Officer for Partnerships and Grantmaking with MADRE's portfolio focused on intergenerational leadership and adolescent girls. Laura brings four years of experience in project management, communications, research, and planning. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Yale University.
Sydnee Novack, Program and Development Associate, assists the program and development teams in raising institutional funds to sustain MADRE’s work with our grassroots partners worldwide. Prior to MADRE, Sydnee worked in various advocacy and operational roles in community-based social justice organizations, with an emphasis on framing culture as a human right. Sydnee holds a M.A. in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from the Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) and a B.A. in Labor Studies and Employment Relations from Rutgers University.
Emily Sours, Development Associate, supports the strategy and growth of MADRE's overall individual giving program. Starting as an intern, she has grown into her role, bringing her interest in development to advance women's rights on a global scale. Emily holds a B.A. in Arts Administration and Art History from Simmons College. She is currently completing a master's degree at Rutger's University in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Anne Hess is co-chair of MADRE's Board and as a founding board member since 1983 she has helped shape MADRE's vision and projects. Anne has spent the past 40 years working with a variety of non- profit organizations, whose mission for social justice she shares. Anne serves on the board of Community Resource Exchange and The Bauman Foundation Advisory Board. She is the Ex Officio representative for Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer on the American Museum of Natural History board and is on the Mayor's Commission on Gender Equity.
Blaine Bookey is co-chair of the Board of MADRE. She is a Legal Director and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, University of California Hastings College of the Law. At the Center, Blaine's work focuses on advancing protection for women, children and LGBT individuals fleeing persecution. Prior to joining the Center, Blaine served as a federal appellate judicial law clerk and a fellow at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti/Bureau des Avocats Internationaux where she first began collaborating with MADRE to support grassroots organizations and Haitian lawyers fighting to end sexual and gender-based violence. She is a graduate of Hastings and also holds an undergraduate degree in Social Policy and Gender Studies from Northwestern University.
Nadia Allaudin is a Senior Vice President and Wealth Management Advisor with Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management in Century City. She earned the Certified Investment Management Analyst® designation. As of January 2019, The Allaudin/Brahos Group is entrusted with over $450 million in assets and liabilities. In November 2018, InvestmentNews recognized Nadia as a 2018 Women to Watch Honoree. As one of the 20 prestigious winners, Nadia was chosen from more than several hundred nominations for her leadership, contributions and impact in the financial advice industry.
With more than 20 years of in-depth experience in the financial services industry, Nadia and her partner, Bill focus on empowering women and the LBGTQI community to better understand their wealth management needs. They enjoy exploring their clients relationship to money and assisting them with their financial concerns.
Having founded the annual Women, Wealth & Wisdom Conference in Los Angeles that brings together hundreds of professional women, Nadia works to foster deeper relationships and participate in discussions with renowned speakers on health/wellness, leadership and spiritual best practices. In appreciation of her efforts, she was awarded the prestigious Bank of America Diversity & Inclusion Recognition award.
Nadia plays an active role in the community through her involvement as a Board Member of Marymount High School and MADRE. She completed her yoga teacher training program at Yogaworks and is a certified yoga instructor.
Nadia earned her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration with a dual emphasis in Finance and Business Communication from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.
Elz Cuya Jones is the Deputy Director of Resources and Strategy at North Star Fund, New York City's community foundation supporting grassroots leaders and lasting social change. She has built and led award-winning communications teams, having won the American Business Award for Best Annual Report in Print, four years running. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, she spent a decade in radio, where she cultivated her appreciation for the transformative power of storytelling. Born to immigrant Filipino parents in the San Francisco Bay Area, Elz earned her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications at the University of California, Berkeley. She currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and son.
Anna Kennedy is a longtime MADRE supporter and human rights activist.
William Spear is the founder of the Fortunate Blessings Foundation and their initiative Second Response, and is a life-long educator who leads trauma relief teams in response to disasters. His work has reached more than 250,000 children and 6,000 parents, teachers, caregivers, disaster specialists and mental health professionals from virtually every disaster response organization in the world. Much of his heart-to-heart work began following in-depth training in the mid 1980’s with Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the foremost authority on the subject of end-of-life care, and Tibetan Lama Sogyal Rinpoche.
William has conducted dozens of workshops worldwide on compassionate care at end of life. In 1991, when war broke out in the former Yugoslavia, he made eight visits to Bosnia-Herzegovina and other sites in Croatia to work with victims of war, survivors of torture, refugees, traumatized children and others affected by the regional conflicts. He also focused on the special needs of young refugees, caregivers and first responders.
He has written extensively on the unique needs of traumatized children. As a part of this effort, he authored the guidebook Care for Caregivers: Helping Children Work Through Trauma. He currently teaches Integrative Health and Healing in the Master’s of Art Degree program at the Graduate Institute in Bethany, Connecticut.
Louisa Shipnuck currently serves as the Senior Vice President of FX Networks (within The Walt Disney Company) for Studio and Franchise Management. Louisa oversees ancillary business, brand management, and international efforts for FX’s popular shows like The Americans, Fargo, American Crime Story, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Better Things and others.
Having worked at the confluence of technology and media for over 15 years, Louisa has held many faceted roles including Chief Marketing Officer for Verizon Digital Media Services (VDMS) and multiple leadership roles with IBM’s Media & Entertainment sector. At VDMS, Verizon’s over-the-top (OTT) entertainment service provider, Louisa was responsible for the go-to-market plans, customer and market activations, and branding efforts. Before FX and Verizon, Louisa served as both the IBM think tank leader for Media & Entertainment and the IBM Global Business Development lead for Media & Entertainment customers. Louisa’s early career began as the client director of an advertising agency and as a senior strategy consultant for studios, online content companies and broadcasters with PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting.
Louisa is actively involved in community groups with past and current Board service including: Co-Founder & Current Co-Chair Women@21CF (1600 member employee group); Current Emeritus Board Member, Step Up Women’s Network, following Board service 2004 – 2007; Past Board Member, Library Foundation of Los Angeles, 2016 – 2018; Past Board Member, American Civil Liberties Union, FAB (Junior) Board of Southern California, 2008 – 2009.
Anika Rahman serves as the principal contact for the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Board of Trustees and advises on key external relationships and special projects for NRDC’s president. Before joining NRDC in 2018, Rahman—a lifelong champion of human rights, women’s and children’s rights, reproductive rights, global economic development, and social and environmental justice—held leadership positions at the Center for Reproductive Rights, Friends of the United Nations Population Fund, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and the Rainforest Alliance. She also practiced law at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton.
A lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Rahman has received the Women’s eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century Award and Columbia Law School’s Lawrence A. Wien Prize for Social Responsibility. She was also recognized recently as “21 Desi Women Who Are Game Changers.”
Rahman has written for the New York Times, Crain’s New York Business, Rewire, CNN.com, Huffington Post, and the Dhaka Tribune. She is also the author of Female Genital Mutilation: A Guide to Laws and Policies Worldwide. Anika earned her bachelor’s degree from The Princeton School for Public and International Affairs and her J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Rhonda Diaz Caldewey is an Executive Vice President at JLL’s Food and Beverage and Hospitality Retail practice. She has lead teams contributing to the retail vibrancy of high-profile mixed use, retail and entertainment projects. She has been recognized as one of San Francisco’s Most Influential Women three years in a row and was inducted into the Forever Influential Women Hall in 2017. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Cal State East Bay, and her MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. A native San Franciscan, her parents migrated to California from the farmlands of Wyoming and the sugar cane fields of Puerto Rico. She currently lives in the Bay Area with her husband and cat Coco.
Carla Christofferson is the Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer at DXC Technology. She leads DXC Technology's risk and security efforts. Ms. Christofferson is focused on risk management, including the ethics and compliance function, cybersecurity preparedness, resiliency and security, brand protection initiatives and asset protection.
Prior to joining DXC she was at AECOM, a leading infrastructure firm, where she served as executive vice president and chief legal officer.
Ms. Christofferson led AECOM's risk management, IT security, physical security and safety, and health and environment departments. She also oversaw the company’s legal organization globally, including litigation, government affairs, ethics and compliance, SEC reporting, and transaction-related legal activities.
Ms. Christofferson is active in Los Angeles community affairs and has served on the boards of the Los Angeles Library Foundation and the Metropolitan YMCA. She received a law degree from Yale University and a BA in communications from the University of North Dakota.
Dr. Ramatu Bangura is leading the design and inception of the Children’s Rights Innovation Fund (CRIF). Prior to CRIF, Ramatu previously served as a Program Officer for the NoVo Foundation’s Advancing Adolescent Girls’ Rights initiative where she co-led strategy development and grant making to advance philanthropy’s largest portfolio working to advance the rights, leadership and well-being of adolescent girls in the United States and in the Global South. Ramatu has spent the last 25 years working with and on behalf of adolescent girls in New York City, Washington DC, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica. She has engaged in organizing, advocacy and research on a host of issues impacting transnational girls, including early and forced marriage, sexual violence, trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and educational access for English Language Learners. Ramatu earned both a Masters of Education (EdM) and Doctorate of Education (EdD) in International & Transcultural Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her dissertation, In Pursuit of Success: The Educational Identities and Decision-making of African Girls with Limited Formal Schooling, utilized African feminism to examine how immigrant girls with limited formal schooling navigate American schools, and make decisions about college and marriage. Ramatu is committed to decolonizing philanthropic practices to ensure that those most impacted by structural violence and oppression are afforded the tools to create a world where all are safe, seen and celebrated.
Christopher Price is a seasoned nonprofit leader with extensive experience working with social justice and participatory community development programs across the globe. He has significant skills in the areas of organizational development, program management, budgeting, and fundraising. Chris has worked in partnership with community activists, nongovernmental and community-based organizations, as well as public sector agencies. He has a MA in International Affairs, a BA in Political Science, and is fluent in Spanish. Chris is completely his final year of service on the Board of Vivent Health, a national HIV/AIDS nonprofit where he is a member of the PR/Development and Quality of Care subcommittees.
Chris and his husband Renato Bustinza moved from Lima, Peru in 2014 to Denver, Colorado where they currently reside.
The Vivian Stromberg Memorial Fund
Vivian Stromberg, MADRE co-founder and former Executive Director
Vivian Stromberg worked tirelessly for more than four decades to make human rights and social justice a reality for women and families. Her work was infused with a passion that has inspired thousands of women to stand up for their rights and demand change.
Vivian came of age in Brooklyn, New York during the Civil Rights Movement and played a key role in US-based organizing for nuclear disarmament, peace, and human rights-based foreign policy. In 1983, Vivian helped to found MADRE to bring attention to the US-sponsored wars in Central America.
After co-founding MADRE, Vivian worked extensively at the United Nations and with women in conflict zones on issues including: armed conflict, displacement, women's health, reproductive rights, economic justice, community development; Indigenous Peoples' rights, food security, sustainable development, and US foreign policy.
Read our loving tribute and learn how you can make a gift to the Vivian Stromberg Memorial Fund here.
For 35 years, MADRE has been more than just our Staff and Board, but a family of volunteers, friends and supporters. See who we're paying tribute to today in MADRE's Spotlight.