Women's Economic Imperative

Team of Experts

Global Institute

Enterprise Development​​​

Transformational Entrepreneurship​

Sustainable Communities & Environment​

Education & Youth​

Health Of Women​

Trade & Investment​

Global Institute​

Dr. Margo Thomas

Founder and CEO​

Cynthia Forson

Advisor Women’s

Entrepreneurship

Colette Henry

Advisor Women’s

Entrepreneurship

Dr. Barbara J. Orser

Advisor Women’s

Entrepreneurship

Amanda Shaw​

Advisor Gender Justice

Dr. Yonette Thomas

Global Advisor

Health of Women

Roseline Wanjiru​

Global Lead

Trade & Investment Policy

Kutisha Ebron

​​Fellow​

Enterprise Development​​

Dinah Bennett

Global Lead

Enterprise Development​

Anne Jenkins

Coordinator​

Jane Shaw

Cultural Sector, Community,

Refugees​

Keith Hermann​

Banking, Growth &

Skills for Youth​

Dr. Smita Premchander​

Enterprise Development team​

Judith Gardner​

Development & Conflict Resolution​

Jessie Nyirenda​

Banking, Microfinance​

Huan (Helen) Ni​

Transformational Entrepreneurship​

Mireille Toulekima​

Co-Lead, Transformational

Entrepreneurship​

Toyin Abiodun​

Advisor​

Martha Meghendi-Fisher

Advisor​

Michael Adenuga​​

Advisor​

Hyasintha Ntuyeko​

Beverly Nuthu

Thalia Simich​

Jessie Nyirenda​

Sustainable Communities & Environment​

Daniela Cocco Beltrame

Co-Lead, Sustainable

Communities & Environment​

Marcelle Mardon

Co-Lead, Sustainable

Communities & Environment

Graciela Hijar Santibañez​

Gabrielle Nagy

Advisor

favicon-wei

Nani Noverita​

Intern​

Education & Youth​​

Nafula Wafula​

Lead, East Africa​

Aderonke Ige 2 WhatsApp Image 2020-09-25 at 08.18.45

Aderonke Ige​

Lead, West Africa​

Tiffany Daniels-Bailey​

Lead, Caribbean​

Elizabeth Patterson

Lead, Education​

Bellow Jeremy Kusakana​

Coordinator​

Christeen Adridge

Interim Coordinator​

Gerald Chirinda​

Advisor​

Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu​

Advisor & WEI Board Member​

Esther-Gail Fraser​

Mike Wamaya​

Gertrude Morgan​

Shatiea Blount​

Dr. Alice Ojwang​

Abigail Opong

Nancy Hoque​

Graciela Hijar ​Santibañez​

Health Of Women​​

Dr. Yonette Thomas​

WEI Board Member

Global Advisor

Health of Women​

Lisa Jones​

Global Lead – Health of Women​

Adaeze Okonkwo​

Coordinator – Health of Women​

Dr. Abi Fapohunda​

Public Health​

Dr. Alice Ojwang​

East Africa + Nutrition /

Dietetics and Health​

Hyasintha Ntuyneko​

Entrepreneurship/Health Products –

Menstrual Health Management​

favicon-wei

Jennifer Reddock​

Caribbean​

Dr. Mable Kipenda​

Population Health/Zambia +

Girls & Women Health​

Mercy Sepadi

Maasago Mercy Sepadi

Environmental health

Health of Women and Girls

Dr. Omolade Femi-Ajao​

Public Health​

Robyne Kim Moody​

Public Health

favicon-wei

Ramatoulie Jallow

Public Health

Shatiea Blount​

Mental Health​

Trade & Investment​​

Dr. Roseline Wanjiru

Global Lead,

Trade & Investment Policy

Dr. Amanda Shaw​

WEI Global Institute team

Yolanda Gibb​

Lead, Trade Practice​

Toyin Abiodun​

Advisor​

Dr. Dina Nziku​

Nicole Pitter-Patterson​

Noreen Cesareo​

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/

Cynthia Forson – Entrepreneurship & Gender ​​

Associate Professor Cynthia Forson is the Deputy Provost at Lancaster University Ghana. Cynthia teaches Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management and her research centers on the work, leadership and management experiences of women in the labor market and organizations and has published several articles in this area. She focuses particularly on gender, ethnicity, class and migrant status and the intersectional influence of these structures in the lives and careers of women. Cynthia pays particular attention in her research to black and ethnic minority women in the labor market and organizations. ​​

​​

Her research interests now extend to the work and labor market encounters of African women in Africa and the Diaspora and has a particular interest in the development of management theories that reflect the lived work experiences of women in different African contexts.​​

Colette Henry – Entrepreneurship Policy​​

An academic manager with university-level international teaching, research and program development experience, Colette Henry’s expertise is in the area of Entrepreneurship Education, Women’s Enterprise and Veterinary Business. Currently Head of Department of Business Studies at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, her previous roles include: Norbrook Professor of Business & Enterprise (Royal Veterinary College, London); Visiting Professor (Birmingham City University), and President of the Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship (ISBE, London). ​​

​​

In 2015, Colette was awarded the Diana International Trailblazer award by Babson College for her research on gender, and in 2017, was honored with the Sten K. Johnson European Entrepreneurship Education Award. In 2018, she was awarded a Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences.​​

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/

Amanda Shaw – WEI Global Institute team

Dr. Amanda Shaw is a researcher, lecturer and feminist advocate with more than 13 years of experience in research, policy, evaluation and community organizing. She specializes in integrated and intersectional approaches to women’s rights and economic justice within the context of international trade, development and agriculture programs. Amanda’s academic research has examined how gendered and racialized inequalities manifest in the politics of food and agriculture. ​​

​​

In her consulting work, Amanda has advised clients such as the UK Department of International Development (DFID) and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and evaluated programs for the International Organization for Standards (ISO), the World Bank, World Trade Organization (WTO), International Trade Center (ITC). ​​

​​

Amanda holds a PhD in Gender Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). ​

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

Dr. Roseline Wanjiru – Trade & Investment Policy​​

Dr. Roseline Wanjiru is Associate Professor at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University at Newcastle. Her research projects cover economic development and international business with extensive experience gained working across countries in Africa, Europe and Asia.

Roseline is an expert on international investment and trade policy and consults for governments and business in these areas. She is currently an advisor to the UK government on international trade support. In 2018, she was appointed to the Exports Guarantees Advisory Council, an expert group which advises national Government policy on official support for UK trade and exports, as well as the operation of UK Export Finance. ​​

Roseline is a member of relevant professional associations, a Fellow of the Institute for Trade and Innovation (Offenburg), Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Royal Geographical Society, and member of the Academy of International Business. ​​

Roseline supports the work of Women Economic Imperative (WEI) on international trade and the impacts on women and girls.

Kutisha Ebron – Fellow, WEI Global Institute​​​

Ms. Ebron is a passionate social inclusion professional with over 15 years of career experience within the United Nations system. She served on the United Nations Secretary-General High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. The programs she has worked on span the world’s regions, covering social innovation areas that include ending violence against women, gender equality, women, peace and security and social integration. ​​

​​

K.T. holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Towson University as well as a Master’s Degree in Management from St. Thomas University. She is currently working on her Ph.D., Ethical Leadership at St. Thomas University.​​

Dinah Bennett – Global Lead, Enterprise​​​

Dinah Bennett has been a leader of women’s economic empowerment for over 25 years. In the UK she initiated a best practice initiative for supporting women’s entrepreneurship based on the concept of developing and growing social capital. She was awarded OBE in 2010 and holds the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.​​

​​

As the founder of International Consultants for Enterprise Entrepreneurship (ICE), Dinah designs and delivers entrepreneurial development programs all around the world. ICE’s aim, to help institutions and individuals understand the small business community in order to introduce effective enterprise strategies and polices. ​​

​​Technical CV: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1R91bYf6fbUeRvJiDxGBykEMMVQA3h8zI

Anne Jenkins – Coordinator​​

Anne Jenkins combines interests in sciences, entrepreneurship and education in areas as diverse as SME policy, research, and overseas development.  At the University of Durham’s Small Business Centre she produced innovative research on SMEs, taught research methodology and was a core member of the pioneering Small Business Foresight Project exploring small business futures. ​

Her business experience includes directorship of Stella Maris, an alternative energy consultancy. In the voluntary sector, Anne leads the enterprise development program for Suubi Africa UK, a nonprofit working in Uganda, in addition to developing their strategies for fundraising and relationship building.​

Jane Shaw – Cultural Sector, Community, Refugees​​

Jane Shaw has 25 years of experience of working within enterprise development. Seeing the potential of enterprise to positively change peoples’ lives, she established People Into Enterprise Ltd. Since its inception in 2002, the organization has animated several thousand latent entrepreneurs by helping them to recognize and exploit their enterprise talents. ​​

​​

Jane Shaw specializes in are entrepreneurship, innovation and ideas generation, stakeholder engagement, business start-up, growth and facilitating connectivity. She designs and delivers projects to support social and economic regeneration and enterprise development. The success of her work is founded on an innovative approach to engaging with people who are detached from the labor market or isolated from conventional business support networks. Jane has worked with targeted audiences including women, the BAME community, refuges and asylum seekers, people living in isolated rural communities and people who are disabled.​​

​​

She currently leads Create North, a business development platform which supports artist and creative practitioners commercialize their work.​​

Keith Herrmann – Banking, Growth & Skills for Youth​​

Keith is the Director of Higher Ed Research, a research consultancy specializing in higher education policy, graduate employability and strategy development. He also has a strong interest in entrepreneurship education and SME development. Previously, Mr. Herrmann was the Director of Employability and Careers at the University of Surrey where he had a university-wide remit as strategic lead on employability, careers and the university’s renowned student placement program. He also successfully developed the University’s strategy on Degree Apprenticeships.​​

​​

Keith was previously the Deputy Chief Executive at the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) where he was involved in research on entrepreneurship education, leadership in higher education, innovation policy, university-business collaboration, employability, career guidance and STEM education. Before this he worked at Durham University Business School as the Director of Programs for Small Enterprise Development. In his role he led a team specializing in entrepreneurship education and economic policy research. Keith is passionate about education and convened pro bono the Careers Alliance, a strategic leadership network of 25 national organizations in the UK with an interest in career guidance, including employer bodies, trade unions and education and skills organizations.​

Dr. Smita Premchander – Microfinance​​

Professor Smita Premchander is the founder of Sampark, and Adjunct Faculty at the premier Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. Dr. Premchander is also the Chairperson of the International Advisory Committee (the Board) of the United Nations University’s Institute of Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in Bonn. ​​

​​

She is a development practitioner and consultant, and has worked in several countries across Asia, South East Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Europe and USA. She has worked on issues related to gender equality and social inclusion, women’s empowerment, microfinance, labor, livelihoods, social protection and sustainable development. She has a Masters in Economics, Business Management, and a PhD from the Durham University, UK.​

Judith Gardner – Development & Conflict Resolution​​

​Judith Gardner is a development practitioner by background (sub-Saharan Africa and Yemen) but for the past twelve years has mainly focused on developing participant-led research into gender, peace and conflict. As an independent researcher, most of her work is in the Somali region, though she has lived and conducted research in Kenya for the past seven years. In that time, she has been very fortunate to have been able to work with some brilliant Somali and Kenyan researchers. ​​

​​

Judith often talks about the relevance of understanding the impact of conflict on gender relations for women’s economic empowerment as she feels this an important intersection. ​

Jessie Nyirenda – Banking, Microfinance​​

Jessie Nyirenda is an Associate Member of the Zambia Institute of Banking & Financial Services and a graduate of Copperbelt University in BSc Banking & Finance. ​​

​​Jessie has over fifteen years’ experience in the Banking Sector with a bias towards Gender and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development. She has developed a passion for taking financial intermediation to the rural based women, youth SMEs and has been considered as a turnaround strategist in product development, capacity building and gender role profiling. ​​

​​She has contributed extensively to the growth of the financial sector through training of bankers in Executive Diploma in SME Relationship Management and government/private stakeholder engagement; and on the demand side through, financial education and Business Development Services to SMEs. ​​

​​Jessie previously consulted on the digitization of government school fee payments; digitization of SACCOS; and served as Chief Operations Officer of an MFI. ​​

​​An Honorary Wild Life Police Officer, Jessie is passionate about the conservation of wildlife and the preservation of the Zambian heritage and promotion of local tourism where she has volunteered for Women in Conservation. ​​

​​

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessie-nyirenda-15480a2a

Huan (Helen) Ni​​

​​

Huan (Helen) Ni has nearly 20 years of experience in developing and managing projects with multi-national corporations, international organizations and Chinese governmental agencies. A graduate from Cambridge University, she is a passionate networker focused on bridging Chinese organizations with the rest of the world. ​​

​​

Ms. Ni is an advocate of green consumption and green living. She has developed several educational programs for her community and founded Green Light-Year, an NGO promoting green lifestyle in communities, schools and businesses) in Eastern China.​​

​​

Technical CV: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ntb7UrbGs6lIKa4VeC92uQ9UKUkjhT6F/view?usp=sharing​

Mireille Toulekima – Co-Lead, Transformational Entrepreneurship​​

​Mireille Toulekima is an award-winning entrepreneur and global energy adviser specialized in developing and emerging markets. She is a petroleum engineer with experience working in global markets in a range of technical and leadership roles. Currently, Ms. Toulekima is the Managing Director of the independent oil and gas consulting company, MT Energy Resources Ltd. in Perth, Australia. ​​

​​

She also serves as a board member, an Ambassador, a global executive mentor and partner to several global ventures and organizations.​​

Toyin Abiodun – Strategic Advisor to the Hon. Minister of Trade and Industry, Rwanda​

In her current role, Toyin Abiodun is advising on trade and industrialization sector strategies for Rwanda. As a Strategic Trade and Industrial Development Advisor, her experience has encompassed trade facilitation, industrial cluster mappings, value chain development and investment engagements with both public, private and non-profit sectors in ways that have centered on the enabling of a thriving business climate that underscores sustainable inclusive growth and development.

Toyin furthers trade interests through diplomatic liaisons at regional economic communities – EAC, COMESA, ECCAS. More recently Toyin has actively advised on structural steps needed to mainstream women into government procurement so as to ensure it’s more accessible.​​

Martha Mghendi-Fisher – Founder & Chair to the Executive Board on European Women Payments Network​​

Martha Mghendi-Fisher is a fintech and payments thought leader, an immigrant, a social entrepreneur, diversity and inclusion advocate and a philanthropist with years of experience in cards, payments, financial industry, NGOs and social entrepreneurship. 

She is the Founder and Chair to the Executive Board at European Women Payments Network (EWPN), founder of African Women in Fintech & Payments (AWFP), founder of the Dali Spaces, Femtreat and The Fintologist.​

A passionate philanthropist, Mghendi-Fisher founded, Beyond Innocence Foundation (BIF), a charity organization created to provide a safe haven for sexually abused minors age in Kenya.

Web: http://ewpn.eu/

Web: https://www.awfp.tech/

Web: https://dalispaces.global/

Web: https://thefintologist.com/

Web: http://www.beyondinnocence.org/

Michael Adenuga – Advisor

Michael is a Director at Cognizant USA, a Fortune 200 global technology and management consulting firm, where he serves as a Senior Advisor to C-suite executives in the global banking industry to address their large-scale digital transformation and digital banking initiatives. Prior to his role at Cognizant, Michael was a Managing Consultant at Navigant, a leading global consulting firm, and a Senior Consultant at Enclude (now Palladium Group) both in the United States. ​

Michael has worked with banks, central banks, FinTechs, regulators, multilateral organizations and global foundations in over 20 countries across the world to implement disruptive digital financial and payment technology solutions geared towards improving access to financial services for the financially excluded and underserved. ​

He holds a Master’s degree in International Business & Management from Alliance Manchester Business School, UK.

Hyasintha Ntuyeko​

Hyasintha Ntuyeko is a telecom engineer, founder and managing director of Kasole Secrets, which develops organic made sanitary napkins to solve menstrual complications for women.​

Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to expand education programs for the training of young women and girls and get support to take them across all of Tanzania by increasing the number of trainers able to drive the education.

Beverly Nuthu

Beverley Simiyu Nuthu, Co-Founder and Lead Trainer of B&G Consultants Ltd., has a wide​​

range of experience within the field of leadership development, helping individuals realize and​​

experience the immense leadership potential within them and their teams. She has an​​

uncommonly strong talent for building and cultivating trusting relationships with high level​​

executives and groups to create business opportunities, a competitive advantage and translate​​

ideas into innovative practical and profitable solutions. Through facilitation and coaching skills,​​

she has worked with almost 10,000 professionals drawn from numerous organizations in the​​

private sector, NPOs, UN Agencies and Missions globally over the past 20 years.​​

​​

Beverley has served on the boards of the Faulu Deposit Taking Micro Finance Ltd. and the​​

Institute of Directors, Kenya. She’s a mentor of the junior mentorship program of The​​

Women on Boards Network.​

Thalia Simich​​

From Lima, Peru, Thalia Simich is a Professional Lawyer holding a Diploma of Specialist on Sustainable Development and Community Leadership. She has over 6 years of experience in legal consulting in the energy and mining sector (Oil, Gas, Electricity and Mining), Environmental Law and regulations of natural resources. Beside her corporate side, she has always been passionate about gender equality as a key aspect for community development. Therefore, since 2017, she has been dedicated to organizing, alliance building, public relations, fundraising and program development that involve youth, women and communities to promote awareness, development and growth. ​​

​​

Currently, she is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Sustainability of Ligas Femeninas de Futbol 7, a Peruvian social enterprise that promotes women empowerment through football. As well as the Fundraising Manager of LMI Peru, an NGO that fosters financial literacy for women.

Marcelle Mardon – Co-Lead, Sustainable Communities & Environment​​

Marcelle Mardon is a trained architect with a passion for socially driven participatory design processes within urbanism and, in particular, its intersection with gender inclusivity. ​​

Working within a context of informal urban neighborhoods in Africa, she has been fundraising, technically supporting and working to bring awareness to the incredible potential of women-led transnational community grassroots movements in implementing sustainable solutions for the future. ​​

​​

With over 20 years of multi-disciplinary experience behind her, she has combined both her technical and creative background with international development. Currently, her work sees her strongly advocating for women as agents of change, both on the continent and in the diaspora, focusing on livelihoods and entrepreneurship. ​

Graciela Hijar Santibañez​

Graciela Hijar Santibañez is a human rights lawyer and advocate for women’s rights. In addition, she is a certified Project Manager with over 5 years of experience in sustainable development and international affairs and she holds a Joint Master in Public Administration and International Relations. Graciela has worked with a wide array of stakeholders, ranging from the United Nations to national and sub-national governments, civil society and academia. ​​

​​

Throughout her career, she worked on and managed projects aimed at strengthening institutional frameworks and evidence-based public policy, empowering women in non-traditional areas, tackling rural poverty and promoting sustainable management of natural resources. Graciela has a proven experience in innovation, project management and fostering partnerships for development.​

Gabriel Nagy – Advisor​

With a background in architecture, urban planning, economics and management, Gabriel Nagy is a multi-faceted developer and executive with global experience in successfully planning, structuring, managing and executing complex and large-scale public and private projects. He prioritizes designing more attractive, economically and environmentally sustainable communities. ​

Mr. Nagy is a member of the International Research Foundation for Development’s (IRFD) advisory council, member of the Colombian Builders Association (CAMACOL), certified Project Management Professional and lecturer at the at the Universidad del Rosario. ​

Nafula Wafula – Lead, East Africa​​

Nafula Wafula is an advocate for gender equality and human rights and is passionate about Pan-Africanism, youth empowerment and social justice. She is currently the Vice Chairperson for Policy and Advocacy at the Commonwealth Youth Council. Ms. Wafula is also the Programs Director at the Brydges Centre, an organization that provides child protection services, education and economic empowerment to at-risk youth. ​​

​​

Ms. Wafula participates on several boards and also serves as a consultant on topics including gender mainstreaming, gender-based violence prevention and intervention and meaningful youth engagement. ​

Tiffany Daniels-Bailey – Lead, Caribbean​​

Tiffany Daniels-Bailey is a social development professional with experience in Guyana, the Caribbean and Commonwealth regions. With thirteen years working in a range of thematic areas, Tiffany has dedicated much of this time in the youth sector, specifically focusing on research, programming and policy-work that emphasizes participatory stakeholder engagement and inclusive and evidence-based approaches to development.​​

​​

Tiffany specializes in sustainable partnerships at the community, Caribbean and Commonwealth levels for the engagement and empowerment of young people. She has led and contributed to the emergence of key democratic youth-led networks such as the Guyana National Youth Council (GNYC), Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN) and the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC). ​​

​​

Tiffany currently provides strategic development and technical assistance to key governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.​​

​​

Tiffany is a Chevening Alumni, specializing in the synthesis of research for policy and practice at the University College London and is a part-time lecturer of Sociology and Youth Sociology with the University of Guyana.​

Elizabeth Patterson – Lead, Education​​

Elizabeth Akua-Nyarko Patterson is the founder and executive director of the Girls education initiative of Ghana, GEIG. GEIG’s mission is to provide academic and financial support for girls, including applicants with special needs, so they may access secondary, higher education and professional opportunities. She is the founder of EANP Consults, a consultancy which aims to support individuals, non-profit organizations and small businesses with strategic planning and developing and implementing effective communications plans.​​

Ms. Patterson holds an MPA, Masters in Public Administration from NYU Wagner School of Public Service where she specialized in non- profit management. Ms. Patterson holds a BA in Political Science and Business Management from Caldwell University where she graduated cum laude in 2009. ​​

Prior to her work with GEIG, Ms. Patterson served as the Director of Communications and Marketing for The Council of Young African Leaders, CYAL and communications and marketing associate at Junior Achievement of New York, JA- New York. ​​

​​Ms. Patterson is the 2014 ReconnectGH-Education Entrepreneur, presented in 2015 at Tedex Accra, was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community- Kumasi Hub from 2014-2015, and the 2015 Vlisco Brand Ambassador for Ghana. Ms. Patterson is a 2016 alumni of the Young African Leadership Initiative- Regional Leadership Center- Accra, and the 2017 humanitarian of the year as recognized by the Ecclesiastical Bishops and Leaders Conference of Africa.

Bellow Jeremy Kusakana – Coordinator​​

Bellow Jeremy Kusakana is currently pursuing a Master’s in International Affairs at SUNY-Albany, concentrating in International Development. His research has included the impact of joining the Economic Monetary Union of the European Union. ​​

​​

Since 2017, he has served in the United States Army National Guard in New York where he serves as Logistician on petroleum products. ​​

​​

Passionate for the education of children, he also worked as Foreign Language Instructor at Future Leader’s Academy, teaching French and Spanish. ​

Christeen Adridge – Interim Coordinator​​

​Christeen Adridge is a recent graduate of the University of Guyana where she excelled at Communication Studies. She is an advocate for animal rights, human rights and social justice. She takes her role as a voice for minorities very seriously and can be seen raising awareness of these issues daily on various social media platforms. At university, she was largely involved in group projects where she spearheaded and co-led most of them. ​​

​​

She loves creative writing and is passionate about photography. In her spare time, she can either be seen doodling in a notepad or taking pictures of nature. She is a future lawyer. 

Gerald Chirinda – Advisor​​

​Gerald Chirinda an entrepreneur and founder of Tapiwa Capital, an African-focused Investment Holding and Advisory Company specializing in start-up and early stage companies. The company takes businesses from concept to market and believes in concepts that are scalable, impactful and innovative, with potential to generate favorable returns. ​​

​​

He recently founded the Future Africa Forum, a community of young African thought-leaders from across the globe, that coven to discuss the continents future and its most pressing challenges while formulating actionable solutions. ​

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.

Esther-Gail Fraser​​

Known as the “Global Leader in Training”, Esther-Gail Fraser is a dynamic youth leader and a recent graduate of Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong. After spending the past 7 years juggling school, work and student leadership, she is now in her gap year working with various companies and individuals to strengthen her skills and widen her exposure in areas such as Marketing & Communications, Photography, Corporate Social Responsibility and Crisis Management. ​​

​​

To adapt to the new normal, Esther-Gail now spends her time ‘traveling the world’ by watching movies and documentaries from different cultures and countries.​

Mike Wamaya​​

​Michael Wamaya teaches dance in Kenya’s Kibera and Mathare slums, combining arts and social skills to make a positive impact in the community. He was a Top 10 Finalist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize for his unique and extraordinary approach to empowering children in the slums through ballet.​​

​​

He is also the founder of Project Elimu, an NPO that champions quality education for children living in informal settlements. The organization’s programming gives the children he works with confidence, fosters aspirations, and motivates learning. ​​

​​

Technical CV: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Q4PMTxCOSH3P2pOXw16V_V7Aukm5F3vzozUd5k3FWa8/edit#slide=id.p ​

Gertrude Morgan​​

​Trudy Morgan is Policy Coordinator at the New York State Network for Youth Success, a non-profit organization working to strengthen the capacity and commitment of communities, programs and professionals to increase access to high-quality programs and services beyond the traditional classroom. ​​

​​

Previously, she worked as a College Chapter Coordinator with Generation Citizen— an action-civics, non-profit organization that empowers young people with tools, skills and knowledge to become effective citizens. ​​

​​

Technical CV:​ https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SWtcvUt9qjoDXjl5yhb_u0W9WAAnvUUy/view?usp=sharing

Shatiea Blount​​

​Shatiea Blount is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-C) and Certified Professional Coach (CPC) with over a decade of experience in psychotherapy, management, and teaching. She has a background in life coaching, culturally humble curriculum development, intra-organizational advocacy, and public/private program management. ​​

​​

Using a judgement-free approach while promoting self-care, her mission is simply to support individuals and organizations work toward goal achievement.​​

​​

Technical CV: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJ-vzTXoD1KPu1Iso4konT0dffCdFnxG/view?usp=sharing​

Dr. Alice Ojwang​​

​Alice Achieng Ojwang, is a nutrition and health professional. During her 20-year career as a nutrition and dietetic consultant, she has been instrumental in shaping the direction of nutrition and the dietetics profession in her native county of Kenya.​

She created the first mentoring program for young nutrition professionals in Kenya and has also worked closely with stakeholders in the private sector to develop programs focused on improving the quality of life for employees. ​

Technical CV: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1tcNbnHBWijDFN0SqqAIjdGeHZzEN60FD

Abigail Opong​​

​Abigail Oppong is a young African lady and humanitarian who passionately works to positively impact the lives of others. She is a speaker, mentor, changemaker, youth activist, motivator and social entrepreneur. Ms. Oppong actively participates in several organizations and initiatives focused on impactful social projects that empower women, children and youth. ​​

​​

Passionate about engaging more women through technology, she takes part in several Women in Tech organizations diligently working to ensure that women are well-represented within the STEM industry.​

Nancy Hoque​

​Nancy Hoque is a Go-to-Market Strategist at Adobe and co-founder of “The Pursuit, Global Women for Change”. A former solutions architect designing communications for the U.S. military, and founder of a global Muslim headscarf startup, she is a woman in leadership advocate, discussing the need for more women leader role models and addressed Chancellor Angela Merkel on the topic.

She is part of the Leadership California 2020 cohort, a NextGen Leader honoree and recognized as a Leadership scholar at Berkeley-Haas. She holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from UC San Diego, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from San Diego State University, and a M.B.A. from UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business. Through “The Pursuit”, her goal is to create a global network of women who support emerging leaders in business and society.

Lisa Jones – Global Lead, Health of Women​​

​Lisa Jones is a proven clinical informaticist and leader with 20 years of strategy and health IT experience specializing in population health management and clinical transformation. Currently, Ms. Jones is the IT Director for a Clinically Integrated Network at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. ​​

​​

Previously, she served in multiple health related roles across several different countries around the world including – Qatar, Zambia, and Spain.​

Adaeze Okonkwo –Project Coordinator, Health of Women and Girls

​Adaeze Okonkwo is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences and minor in Chemistry and Africana Studies. She later earned her MPH in Program Evaluation from Mercer University, Macon, Georgia.

Adaeze currently works as a Program Analyst for the Government of the District of Columbia’s Department of Healthcare Finance where she plans contribute to policy changes that address health disparities and promote healthcare equity and access.

Dr. Abi Fapohunda​ – Public Health

Dr. Fapohunda is a trained epidemiologist and health educator with over nineteen years of experience in public health and running her consulting company. She teaches part-time at the Department of Africana Studies, University of Pittsburgh and has conducted several studies among African Americans, Africans in the Diaspora and on the African Continent. ​​

​​

Centered around building a healthy community for Black immigrants, Dr. Fapohunda’s research is currently focused on the intersectionality of segregation, health disparities and COVID-19 pandemic. ​

Dr. Mable Kipenda​

Dr. Mable Kipenda has over 5 years of experience in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and Women’s Empowerment in Zambia. She is a physician at the NDOLA Teaching Hospital and a co-founding member of Copper Rose Zambia focusing on menstrual hygiene health, family planning and maternal and child health. ​​

​​

Mable is passionate about giving back to her community and is committed to working with young women to help make the world a better place through health and empowerment.​​

​​

Technical CV:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ZleSydWtWV40xRepypsprcLCaNzvtpFH

Dr. Omolade Femi-Ajao​

​Dr. Femi-Ajao is a Lecturer in Global Oral Health and Early Career Research, developing an international profile in global health services research with a specific focus on global women’s health. Her research interests focus on the intersection of SDG-5 on gender equality and women empowerment and SDG-3c on training the healthcare workforce. ​

Through focused research, Dr. Femi-Ajao aims to influence policy for women and children across a range of global health issues, particularly domestic abuse and oral health issues.

Robyne Kim Moody- Team Member, Health of Women and Girls

​Kim is passionate about the social development of women and children. Kim holds a BA in Public Health and is completing a MA in International Development. She has experience working with Public Health NGOs across Southern Africa.

That strive to improve access to quality healthcare for socially disadvantaged communities. She also has experience working in primary education in South Africa. Working to ensure that students pursing their education in socially disadvantaged areas can do so in a conducive environment.

Yolanda Gibb – Lead, Trade Practice​

Yolanda Gibb has over 30 years of experience working with individuals, educational institutions, members of the business support ecosystem, policymakers and international institutions. Her work and research interests primarily revolve around fostering entrepreneurship, internationalization, leveraging intangible assets in companies and regions and improving the investment climate. ​

Ms. Gibb has designed and delivered programs to facilitate women’s paths into enterprise and taken an active role in the management of local networks and associations for women entrepreneurs and professionals. ​

Technical CV: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LfnACljFNUMvZW_1vs-zoYW2x0BGAvs1/view?usp=sharing

Dr. Dina Nziku​

​Dr. Dina Nziku is a Lecturer and Deputy Director of Research and Publication at the Centre for African Research on Enterprise and Economic Development (CAREED) at the University of the West of Scotland. She has extensive experience across a range of enterprise and business topics with a particular interest and expertise in female entrepreneurship and government policies/strategies for promoting enterprise and innovation in developing countries. ​

Dr. Nziku has a number of published papers in academic journals, book chapters, and has presented papers at various international conferences.​

 

Technical CV: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CnleFTGW3xoofqJDNsbQXvjhi7yZBVxP/view?usp=sharing

Nicole Pitter-Patterson​

​A senior international development advisor over 20 years of expertise in both the public and private sectors, Nicole Pitter Patterson has focused her career in the areas of community-based entrepreneurship, SME growth and social enterprise development. ​​

Nicole has successfully designed and managed a combined portfolio with agencies including USAID and the United Nations. ​​

​​

Nicole has undertaken significant work on the development of women-owned businesses and emerging SMEs in the creative industries and facilitating business development through local, regional and international industry platforms. ​

Noreen Cesareo – Director, Marketing & Outreach​​

Noreen Cesareo MA BA is an experienced international specialist in marketing, brand and communications. She has over 30 years of experience working with global brands and businesses across industries including financial, technology, travel, supply chain and professional services. In 2007, she set up Market Accents, a WE Connect International Certified woman-owned business. ​

A Masters in Marketing, she channels her knowledge and experience to provide big company expertise to businesses. Together with her team, Noreen helps them achieve sustainable growth using smart marketing strategies and effective branding and integrated communications. Noreen is passionate about new technologies, educating and empowering women in enterprise, collaboration and communities. She works across cultures and speaks a number of languages. ​

She is actively involved in a number of international initiatives, boards and working groups. These include: Trustee, The Commonwealth Girls Education Fund (CGEF); Director, The Malta Business Network (MBN); Ambassador, Pink Shoe and TeamEB Lead, Marketing and Markets (Exports). TeamEB is building the first UK Economic Blueprint for SMEs and women-owned businesses. She also sits on the All Parliamentary Party Group (AAPG) for Women and Enterprise where she is a lead in the International Trade and Connections sub-group.​

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.