Women Deliver Staff
Jill Sheffield, President
Jill Sheffield is the founder of Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization working to generate political commitment and financial investment for fulfilling Millennium Development Goal 5 – to reduce maternal mortality and achieve universal access to reproductive health. Most recently, Sheffield was one of few civil society representatives appointed to the UN Secretary General’s Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health. She currently serves on the board of the Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation. Jill is also the founder of Family Care International (FCI), a distinguished non-governmental organization and winner of the 2008 United Nations Population Award for outstanding work in sexual and reproductive health and rights. Jill completed advanced degrees at Columbia University, Teachers College, where she was later recognized as a distinguished alumna for her international work in women's health and education, and she also received the American Public Health Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. She was Director of International Programmes at the Carnegie Corporation, and founded FCI in 1987 in response to the call at the Women's Decade Conference in Nairobi which identified the silent tragedy that one woman dies each minute from pregnancy related causes. Though she has played a central role in several key world conferences, Jill Sheffield believes her true education came when she worked in the family planning/reproductive health outpatient clinic of Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya.
Louise Dunn, Vice President, Operations
Louise Dunn is in charge of operations - budgets, human resources, grant administration - and works with the President and Senior staff in development. Prior to Women Deliver, Louise consulted for Family Care International. She was formerly Vice President of Operations for the Foundation for Accountability in Portland, Oregon. Louise also worked at Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center in Portland as a grant writer, and as director of a statewide caregiver program for Alzheimer’s families. She began her career in a Planned Parenthood affiliate serving as its Executive Director. She has her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
Vanita Gowda, Senior Director, Advocacy and Communications
Vanita has worked for more than a decade on global advocacy initiatives for issues including reproductive health, clean water, corporate responsibility, and access to medicines. In particular, she has focused on new health technologies, most recently working with GSK Bio to build global and local support for a late stage malaria vaccine trial spanning 11 sites in seven African countries. As a consultant with global public affairs firms, she has led strategy development, branding, media outreach, and alliance building activities for organizations including the Malaria Vaccine Initiative, GSK Bio, PhRMA, Qiagen, Sabin Vaccine Institute, Bioventures for Global Health and Galvmed. She previously worked with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative as an advocacy and communications specialist. Vanita started her career as a journalist covering federal legislation and national affairs for Congressional Quarterly and the St. Petersburg Times. She earned a master of public administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Victoria Ward, Senior Adviser
Victoria provides technical advice and support related to our Corporate Exchange and participates in the development of the agendas for Women Deliver regional and global meetings. Victoria has over twenty years of experience in the sexual and reproductive health field. From her base in Panama, she currently works on issues of access to health and organizational development, especially for women, youth and indigenous populations. From 1995 – 2010 she worked with the International Planned Parenthood Federation / Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR) as Director of Programs, managing programs addressing access to sexual and reproductive health (including HIV/AIDS) for adults and young people, gender-based violence and abortion. She also oversaw grant-making, evaluation, procurement and sustainability. Prior to her work with IPPF, Victoria was on the faculty at Columbia University’s Heilbrun Center for Population and Family Health where she worked with the Prevention of Maternal Mortality Program in West Africa. In the 1980’s, Dr. Ward lived in Guatemala where she conducted research related to improving access to health for indigenous (Mayan) populations. She is also President of the Board of an NGO that focuses on partnering with Mayan communities to increase access to water, environmental sanitation and family planning, through strategies that empower women and young people. Victoria holds a Ph.D. from Tulane University in Latin American Studies with a focus on public health and development, as well as a Master’s degree from the same university.
Janna Oberdorf, Director, Advocacy and Communications
With almost 10 years of experience as a journalist and communications specialist, Janna leads the online and offline communications strategies at Women Deliver. Prior to Women Deliver, Janna was a writer and editor at Parents magazine, crafting articles on maternal and child health, behavior, and more. She has also freelanced as a journalist for numerous national publications and has published work in magazines, newspapers, blogs, websites, podcasts, and streaming video. At Women Deliver, she engages in media outreach, public relations, marketing, social media strategy, website management, and the creation of targeted messages. Additionally, in 2010, Janna launched the “Deliver for Youth” project which works to build the capacity of youth advocates on MDG5. Under Janna’s leadership, the Deliver for Youth campaign convened a meeting of “100 Young Leaders,” selected through a scholarship application process, and worked to train, inform, and educate youth focal points in the developing world to share key advocacy messages on maternal health. She has her BA from New York University, where she double-majored in Journalism and Mass Communications and Politics.
Joanna Hoffman, Manager, Special Projects
Joanna Hoffman is the Special Projects Manager at Women Deliver. In this role, she helps to coordinate elements of Women Deliver's global conferences and ongoing advocacy efforts. She represented Women Deliver in the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves’ Health Working Group, and in the Beyond 2015 Civil Society Working Group. Prior to Women Deliver, she worked in the violence-against-women field at the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County. She then relocated to New York and worked at The Synergos Institute as a Partnerships Coordinator. She also completed an evaluation in Guatemala on women’s health publications for The Hesperian Foundation. Joanna has a Masters of Public Administration in International Public Policy & Nonprofit Management from New York University, and is a published poet.
Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Manager, Advocacy and Communications
Lindsay joins the Women Deliver team as Advocacy & Communications Manager after nearly a decade as a youth activist and advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Lindsay served for over three years with the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GYCA), where she coordinated the network of youth SRHR and HIV activists, facilitating leadership-building opportunities, leading communications efforts and identifying partnership opportunities. During this time at GYCA, she helped to facilitate youth advocacy and capacity-building in a variety of international health and rights spaces, including UN High Level Meetings, the International AIDS Conference, the Mali Youth Summit, the Commission on the Status of Women and others. While completing her M.A. program at Columbia University in Human Rights Studies, Lindsay wrote her thesis on the discursive gap between sex workers' rights organizing and HIV/AIDS programs in India and global policy and initiatives to combat trafficking into forced prostitution. Prior to moving to New York to start graduate school, Lindsay worked as an abortion counselor at a women's health clinic in New Hampshire after having graduated cum laude from the University of New Hampshire in 2006 with a double major in English and Women's Studies.
Sara Pellegrom, Campaign Assistant
Sara works on the It Takes Two campaign, a project to increase public support for family planning in developing countries and galvanize governments to meet their FP2020 commitments. Prior to Women Deliver, she worked at International Planned Parenthood Western Hemisphere, researching and composing materials on sexual and reproductive health indicators and trends, and USAID in Nairobi, Kenya, monitoring projects that receive USAID funding. She has also co-authored a policy brief about the links between HIV-positive women and non-communicable diseases that was presented at the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. Sara graduated with a Master of Public Health from Columbia University and wrote her thesis on the importance of integrating family planning and HIV/AIDS services around the world. Before moving to New York City for graduate school, Sara worked at a Planned Parenthood clinic while majoring in International Studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN.
Scarlet Macas, Finance Associate
Scarlet Macas oversees all financial statements, grant expenses and financial information on behalf of senior management. In addition, she ensures that Women Deliver stays up to date with all accounting policies and procedures, based on IRS regulations. Prior to Women Deliver, Scarlet worked as a staff accountant in the private sector, and as a freelancer for start-up corporations. She holds a bachelor’s in accounting from Queens College, City University of New York and is fluent in Spanish.
Alyssa Mahoney, Events and Projects Manager
With over 10 years of experience in event management for both the non-profit and financial services arenas, Alyssa leads projects related to Women Deliver's global conference as well as ongoing policy and communications activities. Prior to her current role, Alyssa managed events for OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and Barnum Financial Group, an Office of MetLife as well as coordinating both national and international conferences for the Tea Association of the USA, Inc. Additionally, she sat on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Life, Inc., a non-profit organization based out of Connecticut that supports children and families throughout the northeast United States. Alyssa received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Political Science from Providence College.
Roger Pagano, Administrative/Office Assistant
Roger is new to the NGO world. Having worked for almost 16 years in the medical field; beginning as a medical records clerk, he moved his way up the ranks to become the Center Administrator for a medical facility in Brooklyn Heights. He decided he needed a change and resigned from his position and accepted a position at Women Deliver. He is enjoying his role as all around assistant for Women Deliver, and is also working with Scarlet who is showing him the ins and outs of grants management and finance. Roger is a graduate of Brooklyn College with a B.A. in Art History.
Maz Kessler, Catapult Founder, Creative Director
Maz Kessler's work stands at the intersection of design and advocacy. She conceived, designed and built Catapult as a digital platform to help advance equality for girls and women worldwide.
Her early work put her at the center of the digital-musical revolution in New York's downtown music scene of the 1980s. Maz was a chart topping song writer, recording with artists including Malcolm McClaren, Hall and Oates, Madonna, among many others. She was a producer in NY's acid jazz scene with the Detour project, writing and producing for jazz legends the Brecker Brothers (with whom she won a Grammy). In the mid-1990s Maz co-founded FunArts Software, specializing in conversational interfaces and social intelligence. Maz also served as Creative Director for Microsoft¹s Social Interface Group. Maz's work in advocacy and equality campaigning began as a co-founder of Keep a Child Alive, an HIV/AIDS foundation. Maz then went on to join Advocacy International as Creative Director. Working alongside Ann Pettifor, Maz brought her technology and design skills to global justice issues, particularly addressing the problem of gender inequality. She has worked with Women Deliver since 2006, and has now designed and launched Catapult – the first funding platform dedicated to advancing equality for girls and women worldwide. Check out Maz's bio on Catapult.org.
Robby Kilgore, Chief Technology Officer
Prior to joining Catapult in September of 2012, Robby spent the better part of the last decade as Creative Director of Mobile and Consumer Services at Nuance. In that capacity, he led a series of large-scale solutions teams designing and implementing dozens of now familiar products we all use on a daily basis. From Delta to Dell, Ford to Intel, Robby brings his unique blend of consumer-centric design and deep technical know-how to the Catapult team and our mission to build-out a lasting infrastructure for social giving. During his misspent youth, Robby was a prominent "session player" performing live and on numerous records with such household names as Steve Winwood, Mick Jagger, James Taylor, Eric Clapton and Cyndi Lauper. He is also a Grammy Award winning composer and producer with several film and television scores to his credit. Check out Robby's bio on Catapult.org.
Tyler LePard, Senior Strategist
Tyler helps connect people who care about women and girls with Catapult and our projects that make a difference in the world, using the power of the internet.Tyler is an accomplished digital strategist and communications professional, with a decade of experience in writing, editing, advocacy, and training. She is passionate about advocating for women's health and fighting poverty and injustice. After launching the award-winning reproductive health online publication RH Reality Check, Tyler managed traditional and social media for Population Action International. Before joining Catapult, Tyler spent several years with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- first in Global Health Policy and Advocacy, then in Communications on the New Media team. She earned her BA in American Studies at Wesleyan University, and her Master of Public Policy at George Washington University. Check out Tyler’s bio on Catapult.org.
Rati Bishnoi, Program Manager
Rati's one of Catapult's partner gurus. She works with partnering organizations using Catapult to launch projects, making sure the platform represents the spectrum of work going on globally to end gender inequality. Rati brings more than six years of editorial and project management experience to Catapult. In addition to a master's in public policy and administration from New York University, she's earned her chops in Washington, D.C., as a health care policy editor and a defense reporter. She also served as a board member of Asha for Women, a non-profit serving South Asian American survivors of domestic violence. Rati joined Women Deliver in 2011, and transitioned to Catapult as one of the founding staff members in 2012. When Rati's not working with partners, she's traveling, taking photos and spending time with people who make her laugh. Check out Rati’s bio on Catapult.org.
Isabel Garcia, Program and Platform Funds Associate
Isabel is a Global Health professional and a licensed, board certified child art therapist with experience in the field of gender issues and trauma. She has previously worked for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Cares, UNESCO Cooperating Center, International Center for Education and Human Development (CINDE), and various INGOs, such as Art for Refugees in Transition and HealthRight International. During her clinical career she has served as a therapist in a mental health clinic in Harlem, New York. Her job responsibilities have included research, assessment, program management, capacity building in mental health, child protection, advocacy, gender- based violence prevention, and psychosocial support. Her focus is in the areas of child and maternal health, post-conflict health system strengthening, program analysis and evaluation, and curriculum development. Check out Isabel's bio on Catapult.org.