Yifat Susskind, Executive Director of MADRE, 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.
She authored the MADRE report “Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-Based Violence and the US War on Iraq,” which remains widely circulated and cited. Her critical analysis has appeared in online and print publications such as The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, and The Washington Post. Ms. Susskind has been featured as a commentator on CNN, National Public Radio, and BBC Radio.
She is an eloquent, powerful advocate of women’s resilience and solutions as vital to confront our world’s many crises.
Partnerships for Change
Natalia Caruso, Director of Partnerships at MADRE, 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. Natalia has also contributed for over 10 years to the work of the International Indigenous Women's Forum (FIMI), providing technical assistance in the areas of financial management, development, and monitoring of FIMI's programs. Her previous experience includes consulting at the United Nations Human Development Report Office at the Headquarters in New York and conducting research on gender/children budget initiatives in developing countries. Originally from Argentina, she has a degree in sociology with research and field experience in Indigenous women's rights, women's rights, and the right to development.
Meave Murphy, Partnerships Coordinator, supports MADRE's programmatic work in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. Meave received her MPA in International Policy & Nonprofit Management from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service. Meave has worked in Central America and the U.S. on issues of gender, food security, human rights, and economic empowerment with a focus on monitoring and evaluation and program management.
Hilda Marshall, Operations Manager, plays a key role by working closely with our Executive Director to support, coordinate and oversee the day-to-day operations. Hilda brings over 12-yrs of experience in operational functions. She holds a B.A. in Public Health and a Masters of Business Administration.
Human Rights Advocacy
Lisa Davis, Esq., Human Rights Advocacy Director provides litigation and advocacy services for women's human rights organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. For over ten years she has worked as an advocate and has written extensively on international women's human rights issues, including in disaster and post-conflict settings. Prior to MADRE, Lisa worked as a human rights legal consultant for various UN Experts, international organizations, and governments throughout the world. Lisa currently serves as the Coordinator for the Lawyers' Earthquake Response Network (LERN) Gender Working Group and is a member of the American Bar Association's International Human Rights Committee.
Cassandra Atlas, Director of Project Management, at MADRE, received her M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from the American University's School of International Service. She plays a key role in coordinating MADRE's human rights advocacy initiatives. Cassandra is a former Research Assistant for the United States Institute of Peace's Colombia Program.
Afarin Dadkhah, Human Rights Advocacy Coordinator, works as part of the Human Rights Advocacy team to plan and implement initiatives for advancing women's human rights at domestic and international levels. Prior to joining MADRE, Afarin volunteered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in San Diego, California implementing programs to foster empowerment and leadership skills in refugee and immigrant youth. Originally from Iran, Afarin received her M.A. in International Peace and Justice Studies from University of San Diego Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.
Ramy Aqel, Esq., Middle East Project Coordinator at MADRE, assists in project-related programmatic implementation, research and report writing for MADRE's Middle East projects. Ramy received his J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law. As part of the Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic at CUNY School of Law, he played a major role in the implementation of human rights and gender equality advocacy campaigns in several countries, including the United States, Iraq, Syria, and Haiti.
Diana Duarte, Communications Director at MADRE, leads the organization's strategy on public education and media, designing and implementing campaigns to increase the visibility of global women's rights issues and to raise support for the work of our grassroots partners. She has also worked in policy analysis and communications to advocate for progressive changes to US policy towards Africa.
Elizabeth Droggitis, Membership and Public Education Manager at MADRE, works as part of the Communications team to maintain a cohesive communications plan, strategize fundraising for programs, and build and maintain strong relationships with our members. Prior to joining MADRE, Elizabeth spent a year in Chulucanas, Peru where she translated for visiting medical campaigns, taught in the local schools, and volunteered at a local women's empowerment center. Elizabeth has a A.B. in Government & Legal Studies and Spanish from Bowdoin College and a M.Sc. in Gender, Development and Globalisation from the London School of Economics.
Maya Crawford, Development Director, leads MADRE’s development efforts, generating revenue and building awareness to support the organization’s core work and that of our grassroots partners. For over 20 years, Maya has 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 the 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.
Johna Hoey, Program/Development Manager, works to cultivate relationships with current and prospective funders, and coordinates reporting on MADRE's programmatic and advocacy initiatives. She joins MADRE from the Open Society Foundations Public Health Program, and prior to that she was a research assistant focusing on gender, violence and health at Raising Voices, a grassroots organization in Uganda, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Tina Baboyan, Program/Development Coordinator, coordinates the implementation of MADRE’s fundraising strategy to support the women’s rights programs and advocacy initiatives of MADRE and its grassroots partners. She joins MADRE from Social Accountability International, where she developed capacity building programs to advance the human rights of workers in global supply chains. She worked on corporate social responsibility issues such as human trafficking, forced labor, child labor, and gender discrimination. Tina also consulted for the Rural Women’s Movement in South Africa to develop a food security project for rural women farmers. She is originally from France, where she studied human rights law, and moved to New York to pursue a M.A. in International Affairs at The New School.
Emily Ball, Development Coordinator, works to deepen and expand support for MADRE’s programs and advocacy efforts, which provide critical resources and opportunities to women and families around the world. She has developed and implemented fundraising strategies for a variety of organizations, including American Ballet Theatre and Project for Public Spaces. Emily holds a B.A. in Political Science and a M.A. in International Affairs.
The Roxana Children's Fund
Roxana Diaz Gomez, a MADRE Program Coordinator, died in a tragic accident in July 2013 at the age of 27. We lost a friend, sister and dedicated activist for women's rights worldwide. In memory of Roxana and in celebration of her dedication to human rights, MADRE created a fund to sustain programs for children in Nicaragua, Roxana's home country. Click here to make a donation to the Roxana Children's 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.
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 30 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 Board. She is on the Advisory Board of the Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC, 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 Equality.
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.
Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan is a human rights lawyer who has worked on the intersection of racial and gender justice in both domestic and international contexts. She is Associate Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, where she works with low-wage Latina immigrant workers as well as on the domestic implementation of human rights norms. Prior to joining LatinoJustice, she worked in the International Women's Human Rights Clinic at CUNY School of Law and the Center for Reproductive Rights. She clerked for the Hon. Ronald L. Ellis in the Southern District of New York and was an Ella Baker Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Natasha graduated from CUNY School of Law, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the CUNY Law Review and a Fellow at the Center for Latino/a Rights and Equality.
Natasha is President-Elect of the National Lawyers Guild, the nation's largest and oldest progressive bar association, and Co-Chairs its Subcommittee on Puerto Rico. She has advocated before international and regional human rights bodies on issues including sexual violence in armed conflict, femicide, reproductive rights violations, hate crimes, as well as human rights violations in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Natasha has authored several articles on gender and human rights and is barred in the states of New York and New Jersey.
Brandee M. Butler is Head of Partnerships & Innovation at C&A Foundation. Based in Brussels, she drives partnerships and processes to support breakthrough innovations on key social and environmental challenges in the apparel sector. Prior to joining C&A Foundation, Brandee managed the Levi Strauss Foundation's HIV/AIDS, asset building, and worker rights portfolios in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Brandee has devoted much of her career to improving human rights protections for marginalized populations. From 2006 until 2010, she was a Program Officer for Human Rights and International Justice at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, supporting human rights movements and promoting the rule of law globally, and with a particular emphasis on Africa. Earlier in her career, Brandee practiced law at the Alliance for Children's Rights in Los Angeles and was awarded the Yale Law School Bernstein Fellowship for International Human Rights to combat child trafficking with UNICEF in Gabon. She has served as a Board member for the Chicago Foundation for Women, and is an advisor for Art Works Projects Chicago and Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year Fund. Brandee received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard University and a juris doctorate from Yale Law School.
Elizabeth Kilgore, MA, is the Director of Communications for the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She has overseen the production and airing of the bureau’s successful anti-smoking and anti-obesity media campaigns, including “Cigarettes Are Eating You Alive,” “Marie,” “Reverse the Damage,” “Secondhand Smoke Kids,” "Pouring on the Pounds," and “Suffering Every Moment.” Prior to this, she coordinated qualitative research projects at the health department, first for the Bureau of Epidemiology Services and then for the Bureau of Tobacco Control. She has studied a variety of public health topics, including tobacco use, media effectiveness, HIV, emergency preparedness, women’s health and medical care in public schools. From 1998-2002, she coordinated Ohio’s annual Survey of Safety Belt Usage, and conducted traffic safety research. Ms. Kilgore received a BA and MA from Ohio University.
Jennifer Ogden is Senior Vice President of Brokerage at Cassidy Turley, a commercial real estate firm. Jennifer advises clients on their occupancy strategy, focusing on tenant representation for a wide variety of occupants from early stage start-ups to large corporations, specifically media, entertainment, financial and not-for-profit organizations. Prior to joining Cassidy Turley, Jennifer was at CBRE where she completed numerous transactions including for Day Pitney, Hewlett Packard, KPMG, Cinedigm and Rodale. Before entering into real estate, Ms. Ogden spent 10 years in finance as a banker and high-yield bond analyst. Jennifer is a past board member of Goodwill Rescue Mission, where her duties included creating a vision for the group's future and helping realize its mission through effective strategic planning, real estate monetization and the implementation and oversight of annual operating budgets. She is also a former board member of The Junior League of Montclair-Newark and a co-founder of the League's Endowment Campaign where she helped raise over $1 million, ensuring the organization's future financial stability.
Margaret Popper is a Principal at Sard Verbinnen & Co., a strategic communications firm based in New York. She works with corporate clients on all aspects of strategic communications concerning investor relations, media relations, ongoing corporate positioning, special situations, mergers, and proxy contests. Margaret joined Sard Verbinnen after a career in journalism that spanned two decades and included work for print, online, newswire and broadcast media outlets including CNBC, Bloomberg and BusinessWeek. She covered a broad range of industries including finance, energy, biotech, retail, and media. Margaret began her career on Wall Street, working for Dean Witter Reynolds in mergers and acquisitions and in asset finance for Kidder, Peabody & Co. Margaret has a B.A. in English from Yale University and an M.B.A. in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Anna Safir is a longtime MADRE supporter and human rights activist.
Elyse Lightman Samuels is Communications and Learning Officer at Unbound Philanthropy, a private grantmaking foundation that works to ensure that migrants and refugees are valued, treated with respect, and are able to build relationships of mutual engagement with their new communities. She oversees all aspects of Unbound’s communications and organizational learning. Elyse previously worked in communications, qualitative data analysis, and external relations at EngenderHealth and American Jewish World Service. Elyse has spent extensive time working in Cambodia as a founding member and Trustee of the Harpswell Foundation, whose mission is to empower a new generation of women leaders; she is also a founder of PEN Cambodia. Elyse earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University's School of the Arts and an MPA in International Nonprofit Management and Public Policy at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. Elyse received a BA from Brown University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and daughter.
Patricia D. Shannon is the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President for Strategy, Innovation, Finance and Grants Management for AARP Foundation. Trish has over 25 years of for profit and non-profit experience both domestically and internationally. She has a passion for working to improve the lives of others. At AARP Foundation she leads the overall efforts to align resources with outcomes that provide the greatest impact for the low income 50+. Trish’s key responsibilities include; strategic allocation of resources in alignment with organizational priorities and leadership for integration, innovation, evaluation, efficiency and effectiveness. She has operational oversight of grants management and the development and execution of the Foundation's strategic and financial plan and priorities. Prior to joining AARP Foundation she was the VP, Finance & Administration for CEDPA, an international non-profit focusing on women's rights, education and health issues. She was also the Director of Internal Audit at CARE (the world's largest international development and relief organization) where she successfully established and developed the internal audit function serving headquarters and over 40 country offices throughout the developing world. She began her career with the public accounting firm of Coopers &Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) in New York, NY and Sydney, Australia. She has traveled extensively throughout the developing world working with local non-profit organizations to improve financial management and internal controls. Trish is a CPA with an MBA and a BS in Accounting. She was a 2014-2015 member of the Baldrige Executive Fellows Program – a one-year, nationally ranked leadership development program for rising senior executives.
For over 30 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.