Women's Economic Imperative

Board of Directors

A word from the Chair of the WEI Board of Directors

Dr. Margo Thomas

Founder and CEO

Amadou Mahtar Ba

Chair of the Board

Dr. Yonette Thomas

Board Member

Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke

Board Member

Douglas Richardson

Board Member

Dr. Margo Thomas – Founder and CEO

As Founder and CEO of the Women’s Economic Imperative (WEI), Dr. Margo Thomas serves as a catalyst for initiatives aimed at increasing opportunities for the economic empowerment of disadvantaged and under-represented groups around the globe.

Throughout her career spanning more than two decades as a senior official at the World Bank Group, Dr. Thomas has provided policy advice to over fifty national and sub-national governments.

Dr. Thomas successfully completed her appointment as the Chief of Secretariat for the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment in 2017. Under the Argentinian Presidency of the G20, she was appointed as Co-Chair of the 2018 Think 20 Task Force on Gender Economic Equity. Dr. Thomas was invited by the Japanese Presidency to continue her work and serve as Co-Chair of the 2019 Think 20 Task Force on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Under the 2020 Saudi Arabian Presidency of the G20, Dr. Thomas is a member of the COVID-19 Response Task Force and the Social Cohesion Task Force. Dr. Thomas has been appointed as an inaugural Global Solutions Fellow.

Web: https://www.margothomasphd.com/

Amadou Mahtar Ba – Chair of the Board

Amdou Mahtar Ba is the co-Founder and Executive Chairman of AllAfrica Global Media, Inc., and owner and operator of AllAfrica, the largest specialized content service provider on the African continent.

Mr. Ba sits on several boards and participates in a number of international working groups including the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, the World Economic Forum’s Network of Global Councils, and the Africa Policy Advisory Board of ONE.

He is the recipient of many distinguished awards and recognitions in Africa, Europe and the United States, including being selected as one of the “100 Most Influential Africans” three years straight by New African Magazine. Forbes Magazine listed Mr. Ba one of “The Top 10 Most Powerful Men in Africa” in 2014.

Dr. Yonette Thomas – Board Member 

Dr. Thomas is a globally acknowledged thought leader, urban health champion, and an advocate for valuing the health of women and girls as an economic imperative. She founded Borjoner International and Strategic Transitions to influence the progress, health, and wellbeing of individuals and communities across the world. As a founding board member of Women’s Economic Imperative (WEI), she leads the organization’s focus on the health of women and girls as an economic value.

Her work as global advisor for Evidence for Sustainable Human Development Systems in Africa (EVIHDAF) and the Centre for Urban Health and Development within the Asian Institute of Poverty Alleviation (CUHD-AIPA) extends her focus on the global south and the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals in this last decade. She is the Associate Editor for Women and Girls for Cities & Health.

Web: http://yonettethomasphd.com

Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke – Board Member

Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke is the Founder and Managing Director of W4 (Women’s World Wide Web), an international humanitarian organization and Europe’s first crowdfunding platform dedicated to girls’ and women’s empowerment around the world.

Upon completing her degree at Cambridge University, Ms. Nefesh-Clarke joined Human Rights Watch in New York. She then worked for several years with UNICEF in Africa and later with the humanitarian organization Children of Asia.

She has received many accolades for her work in the technology sector including being recognized as a “40 under 40” European Young Leader by EuropaNova/Friends of Europe.


Douglas Richardson – Board Member

Doug Richardson is a Distinguished Researcher at the Center for Geographic Analysis and the Institute of Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. He was previously the longest serving Executive Director of the Association of American Geographers (AAG).

Prior to joining the AAG, Dr. Richardson was the founder and President of GeoResearch, Incorporated.​

His current research and management interests focus on the geospatial dimensions of health and equity, and on geography and GIS’s evolution as international resources for economic development and global understanding.​

Web: https://gis.harvard.edu

William Reese – Board Member​

Bill Reese is the emeritus President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Youth Foundation (IYF). In this role, Mr. Reese provide leadership and oversight for the management of the Foundation’s operations and programs supporting positive youth development in more than 70 countries and territories. Prior to joining IYF he served as President and CEO of Partners of the Americas.

Mr. Reese currently sits on the boards of several esteemed global business and humanitarian organizations including Youth Business International, Solutions 4 Youth Employment, Global Citizen Year, W.R.A.P. and the ICTI Care Foundation. 

Web: https://www.iyfnet.org

Dr. Barbara J. Orser – Board Member

Dr. Barbara J. Orser is a Full Professor, and the Deloitte Professor in the Management of Growth Enterprises at Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa. Her research and industry outreach focus on gender and women’s entrepreneurship, finance, SME procurement and policy.

Dr. Orser is the lead author of over 100 academic and industry publications and has served as an advisor to many distinguished global agencies. Her research and contributions have been acknowledged through numerous awards, including the Women’s Executive Network’s ‘100 Most Powerful Women in Canada’.​

Web: https://telfer.uottawa.ca/en/directory/barbara-orser/

Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu – Advisor & WEI Board Member​

Joannes Yimbesalu is a self-described “global citizen” having lived, studied and worked all over the world. Over the past year with UNICEF in Nigeria, He has led Generation Unlimited (GenU) – a multi-global partnership working to prepare young people to become productive and engaged citizens.

As a youth advocate, Joannes has provided expert policy recommendations to governments and Think Tanks and has worked with several institutions including the Medical College of Wisconsin (USA) and most recently as the Community Engagement Officer with UNICEF Canada.

Victor Gadabor – Website Manager

Victor Gadabor is an accomplished website developer and manager, graphic designer, and digital and brand communications expert. He has proven, professional experience over the past 10 years. He has worked on and led significant projects for leading organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Selective examples of the extensive range of his projects and clientele include: Wateraid Ghana social media branding project; EMY Africa website design and management; Huawei Ghana campaign design; UE Beverages visual identity design; Ghana Business Awards; Ghana CEO Awards; Ghana Shippers Awards; and The Education Collaborative at Ashesi.

Victor is a vibrant individual who values learning and thinks it is each person’s job to reach their potential. Victor is married with two lovely children and also plays the bass guitar.

Janiece Welcome Bio

Janiece Welcome has worked for several years in the fields of management, administration and education. She has developed her management and administration experience in a number of different large corporations, including Starbucks Coffee Company. In addition, she has worked with AmeriCorps Project Change and the Montgomery County Public Schools. 

Her commitment to incorporating diversity into her project management work contributed to her successful completion of projects and increased the impact of her efforts in effecting progressive change within her community.

Janiece is a leader, whose outstanding customer service and drive shines through her work. She has extensive operational and technical skills.

Janiece attended Arizona State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree. She has completed a training program at the Project Management Institute and is currently pursuing her certification in Project Management.