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Staff | Board


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 CrawfordDeputy 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.

Cassandra Atlas, Director of Learning and Evaluation, 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.

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, Policy and Communications Director, 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.

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.

Emily BallDevelopment Manager, 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. Read more.

Cait Mackaman, Membership and Content Manager, provides strategy and leads implementation of MADRE’s membership programs and communications. She holds a M.A. in Gender and Sexuality and a B.A. in International Relations. 

H. Marshall, Operations and Human Resources Manager, plays a key role helping global women's rights by working closely with our Executive Director and Deputy Director to support, manage, lead and oversee the day-to-day human resources and operational functions of the organization. She brings over 20 years of experience in various operational and human resources roles predominantly in non profit. She holds a B.A. in Public Health and a Masters of Business Administration.

Catherine Hsieh, Development Coordinator, works as part of MADRE’s Development team to cultivate and build support for the organization’s work with our grassroots partners. Before joining MADRE, she worked in nonprofit fundraising at New York City Ballet. Catherine holds a B.A. in Sociology from Princeton University and a M.A. in Performing Arts Administration from New York University.

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.  

Rebecca Pendleton, Program Coordinator for Colombia, works with our partners in Colombia to implement projects aimed at ensuring Afro-Colombian women and their communities are meaningfully included in peace implementation and that their individual and collective rights are respected. Rebecca received her J.D. from City University of New York, School of Law and is a candidate for a PhD in Law from Universidad Externado de Colombia. A legal permanent resident of Colombia, Rebecca has worked on human rights issues in Colombia for over a decade. 

Maria Rein, Program and Development Coordinator, 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. 

Megan Richardson, Membership Coordinator, works as part of the Communications team to share MADRE’s work, to coordinate fundraising, and to build and maintain strong relationships with our members. Megan holds a B.A. in Sociology and a M.A. in International Education. 

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.

Meagan Barrera, Human Rights Advocacy Coordinator, helps to coordinate MADRE's strategic human rights advocacy initiatives and provide support to women's civil society organizations. Before joining MADRE she assisted various international human rights organizations with research and advocacy on issues related to gender, children's rights, and business and human rights. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University.  

Anna Feingold, Grants Associate, supports MADRE's grantmaking strategy to build long-term partnerships with grassroots women's organizations around the world. She has previous experience in Indigenous-led-grantmaking, and contributed to the development of a strategy for a gender-based violence prevention program through stakeholder and partner interviews in Bolivia. Anna holds a Master in Public Administration with a focus on international policy and management.

Danny Bradley, Human Rights Advocacy Fellow, supports MADRE's advocacy initiatives that advance the rights of women and marginalized groups at the domestic and international level. His work at MADRE focuses primarily on sexual and gender-based violence in Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo and includes analyzing documentation of rights violations, 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, Iraq Consultant, 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.   


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.

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.

Elyse Lightman Samuels is Communications Manager at Unbound Philanthropy, an independent 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. Elyse previously worked in communications and external relations at EngenderHealth and American Jewish World Service. She has spent extensive time working in Cambodia as a founding member and Trustee of the Harpswell Foundation, whose mission is to equip young women in Southeast Asian with leadership skills, education, and a supportive network. 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. 

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.

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.

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