President and Chief Executive Officer
Alyse Nelson is president and chief executive officer of Vital Voices Global Partnership. A cofounder of Vital Voices, Alyse has worked for the organization for 15 years, serving as vice president and senior director of programs before assuming her current role in 2009. Alyse has worked with women leaders to develop training programs and international forums in over 140 countries and has interviewed more than 200 international leaders, including Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former presidents Mary Robinson and Bill Clinton, as well as Nobel Peace Prize laureates Aung San Suu Kyi, Wangari Maathai, and Muhammad Yunus. Under her leadership, Vital Voices has tripled in size and expanded its global reach to serve a network of over 14,000 women leaders in 144 countries.
Previously, Alyse served as deputy director of the Vital Voices Global Democracy Initiative at the U.S. Department of State. Her position aided former First Lady Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s commitment to promote the advancement of women as a U.S. foreign policy objective. Alyse helped design and implement Vital Voices initiatives throughout the world. From July 1996 to July 2000, Alyse worked with the President’s Interagency Council on Women at the White House and U.S. Department of State. She attended the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995. Alyse is a Member in the Council on Foreign Relations. She serves on Secretary Clinton's Advisory Committee on Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society and is a Board member of Running Start.
Alyse is the author of the best-selling book "Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World," which shares the stories of remarkable, world-changing women, as well as the story of how Vital Voices was founded, crossing lines that typically divide.
Alyse has been featured in international and national media, including the Washington Post, Financial Times, the Miami Herald, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Reuters, and has appeared on BBC, PBS, CNN, NPR, FOX News, and CNBC. She completed her graduate degree work at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. In 2006 Alyse was named one of ''Ten Women to Watch'' by Washingtonian Magazine and was honored by her alma mater, Emerson College, with the distinguished speaker award. In 2011 she was featured in Newsweek as one of ''150 Women Shaking the World,'' and in 2012 she was The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) World of Difference 100 Award recipient. In 2013, Alyse was invited to speak at the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and at the Department for International Development’s Distinguished Speaker Series.
Chief Operating Officer
Alvin is a results-oriented leader with a 22-year track record of leadership success in operations, financial management, board relations, sales, marketing, and public relations. His extensive experience includes leading service companies with multi-location operations and 15 years of senior management team experience. Alvin was most recently the senior vice president at Edisonlearning, Inc., where he developed and oversaw the Virtual and Alternative Education Solution. The Magic Johnson Bridgescape and Provost Academy initiatives expanded high school education opportunities for kids across the country. Prior to that, Alvin was the founding executive vice president and chief operations officer of Educational Services of America, one of the leading providers of special education and alternative education services in the nation. Alvin is a veteran of the United States Army, and earned a BA in advertising and public relations and an MA in organizational management.
Program Coordinator, Middle East and North Africa Program
Anam Raheem is the Program Coordinator for the Middle East & North Africa team at Vital Voices. In this position, Anam has a role in all of the MENA team’s Econ and Advocacy programs. She joined Vital Voices in June 2011 as an intern for the MENA team, and then advanced to consultant. Prior to joining Vital Voices, Anam has held a variety of internship positions, including as Editorial Intern for PalestineNote.com, as well as a Field Human Resources Intern for Doctors Without Borders.
Anam spent the spring of 2010 studying abroad in Jordan, during which she traveled throughout the region. Her interest in the MENA region has led her to pursue language studies in Arabic and Farsi, and focused her university coursework to examine the social dynamics of the region. Anam holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University in Linguistics, with a minor in Arabic.
Director of Online Communications
Ann Hoffman is Director of Online Communications and responsible for the overall growth and strategic direction of Vital Voices' digital and social media communications. In this role, she manages the organization's thought leadership content and voice across a range of platforms and applications to fulfill marketing, fundraising and partnership management objectives. She began her nonprofit career at the Middle East Research and Information Project and developed expertise in program management, online communications, fundraising and multi-channel marketing at NGOs focused on democracy, social justice and civil and human rights, and public health. Ann joined Vital Voices in March 2009 and holds a BA in Political Science from the State University of New York at Geneseo.
Assistant to the President & CEO and Coordinator of Special Projects
Annie Hurwitz is the Assistant to the President & CEO and Coordinator of Special Projects at Vital Voices Global Partnership. She coordinates special projects and program initiatives that are of particular focus to the President & CEO and supports the President & CEO on programmatic, administrative and logistical activities both locally and internationally. Before joining Vital Voices, she worked at Taurus Education, an education consulting firm, in Shanghai, China. Annie graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Asian Studies. During college, she worked at Women’s World Banking in New York and spent her junior year abroad in China.
Vice President, Development and Engagement
Bobbie Greene McCarthy is the Vice President of Development and Engagement. Before this role, Bobbie served as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, and is a founding member of Vital Voices.
Previously, Bobbie was the director of Save America’s Treasures at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Bobbie has served as deputy chief of staff to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and helped her create the Save America’s Treasures program. She has over 25 years of nonprofit experience, including 12 years as vice president of people for the American Way. Prior to that she served as the deputy director of the Indochina Refugee Action Center and the Cambodia Crisis Center, working with the Carter administration to ease the Post-Vietnam refugee crisis. Earlier in her career, she spent 10 years as the chief of the oral history program at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
In 1972, Bobbie played a major role in Vice President Joe Biden’s first campaign for the U.S. Senate. A graduate of Syracuse University with a double major in Journalism and Political Science, Bobbie was among the first Peace Corps volunteers in Kenya. She is married with two sons, three bonus daughters and five perfect grandchildren.
Senior Program Officer, Africa
Celena Green is the Senior Program Manager-Africa. Celena leads Vital Voices’ Africa Region in developing and implementing programs for women’s political participation, economic empowerment and human rights in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining Vital Voices, she worked with the International YMCA and with Global Kids, Inc., and spent several years leading capacity-building and training programs serving women and youth throughout Southern Africa, with extensive work in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique. Celena has a BA in Africana Studies from Brooklyn College-City University of New York.
Program Assistant, Africa
Christiane is a Program Assistant- Africa at Vital Voices Global Partnership. With a background in international development and gender, she previously worked with Women for Women International on economic development in post-conflict countries and with the UNFPA supporting women’s reproductive care in humanitarian operations. Christiane has a BA in Laws from University of Law and Health in Lille, France, and an MA in International Politics, Gender and Development from American University.
Vice President, Human Rights
Prior to joining Vital Voices in 2008, Cindy Dyer served as the Director of the United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. Cindy was nominated to this position by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate. As Director, she served as the liaison between the Department of Justice and Federal, State and International governments on crimes involving violence against women.
Cindy has spoken at numerous conferences and professional training sessions before national and international audiences. She was a specialized domestic and sexual violence prosecutor for 13 years and has received numerous awards and recognition for her service to victims. Cindy served for 10 years as a member of the Public Policy Committee of the Texas Council on Family Violence and she was a weekly hotline volunteer for 9 years at a shelter for battered women and their children.
Program Coordinator, Global Ambassadors Program
As Coordinator for the Global Ambassadors Program, Cynthia provides logistical and strategic support for a Vital Voices and Bank of America partnership that offers mentorship opportunities to emerging women leaders. Cynthia first started working for Vital Voices in 2008 as the Contracts and Office Administrator. In that capacity, she managed the office and assisted the Finance and Human Resources Departments. Cynthia received her MPP in 2012 from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. While there, she interned for an anti-trafficking organization called MATTOO (Men Against the Trafficking of Others), acted as a Research Assistant for the Humphrey School’s Center on Women and Public Policy, and volunteered at a St. Paul shelter for victims of domestic violence. Cynthia also holds a B.S. in Business Administration from American University.
Program Manager, Human Rights
Dinah Jean joined Vital Voices in the fall of 2009 as an intern for the Human Rights Program. Following her internship, she was a Consultant supporting Vital Voices’ work on The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women, a public-private partnership between the Avon Foundation, Vital Voices and the U.S. State Department. Dinah graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in Political Science and Community Health. Prior to her work at Vital Voices, Dinah worked as a Research Assistant at Physicians for Human Rights where she focused on issues facing asylum seekers in the United States. In addition, Dinah studied International Health at University College London and interned for Malcolm Wicks, MP in the House of Commons of the British Parliament.
Senior Program Manager, Global Leadership Network
Emma Hersh is currently Senior Program Manager, Global Leadership Network at Vital Voices. She joined Vital Voices in August of 2011 as Global Leadership Network Program Officer. Her prior work experience includes consulting for a non-profit economic development corporation; serving two members of the San Antonio City Council as council aide, field office manager, and, ultimately chief of staff; and field organizing for a number of local, state, and national campaigns. In 2011, Emma graduated from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service with a Master of Public Administration and specialization in public policy analysis. While at Wagner, she worked as teaching and research assistant for Senior Fellow Robert Shrum. Emma obtained her BA from Trinity University (TX) and holds a Certification in Nonprofit Management from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Office and Finance Coordinator
Emily Hooker joined Vital Voices as the Office and Finance Coordinator in January 2013. She supports the finance team in its weekly activities, and provides administrative and logistical support to Vital Voices staff. Prior to joining Vital Voices, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso from 2010 to 2012. During her time there, she worked as a Girls Education and Empowerment specialist, supporting the staff of her local primary and middle schools and creating extracurricular activities for young girls. Emily received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and International Studies from Wake Forest University.
Director, Latin America and the Caribbean
Eugenia manages the Latin American and Caribbean program to support women’s progress and strengthen their leadership capacity. Additionally, she supports the regional network of Vital Voices Chapters. Eugenia has extensive international experience and a demonstrated commitment to public service. Prior to joining Vital Voices, Eugenia worked in tourism development in Latin America advising on sustainable tourism projects. Previously, she provided legal assistance to incarcerated persons in Wisconsin and also managed public policy and literacy programs for the Hispanic/Latino community with the United Way. Her background in education stems from her experience as an instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Edgewood College. Eugenia attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a BA in Spanish Literature and Hispanic Studies, and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies, an MA in Latin American Studies (focus on sustainable development) and a Juris Doctorate. She has also studied International Law at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima.
Director of Human Rights
Ms. Scoles joined Vital Voices Global Partnership in the fall of 2013 as the Director of Human Rights, where she develops and implements programs for and with foreign leaders on issues involving gender based violence, human trafficking, harmful traditional practices, sexual assault and domestic violence. Prior to joining Vital Voices, she spent more than 8 years as an Assistant Prosecutor at the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in Newark, New Jersey, where she spent the majority of her tenure assigned to the Special Victims Unit. She has been active on issues involving the abuse of women and children, developing an expertise in policy issues involving human trafficking and sexual assault. In 2009, Ms. Scoles was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice to serve as the intermittent legal advisor to Djibouti on Human Trafficking from November 2009 to June 2012. She has taught and designed courses on a variety of topics ranging from the commercial sexual exploitation of children, child protection, and human trafficking in New Jersey and around the world, particularly in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Cameroon, Tanzania, and Mexico. Ms. Scoles received her undergraduate degree from McGill University in Montreal; her law degree from the Rutgers University School of Law, Camden Campus and an LL.M. Adv. in Public International Law from the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands.
Regional Program Manager, Middle East and North Africa
Gillian Robinson is the Middle East and North Africa Regional Program Manager and is responsible for Vital Voices’ economic empowerment portfolio in the region. In this capacity, she supports the development and implementation of programs which encourage the growth of women-owned businesses and an improved enabling environment for women business leaders. Prior to this role, Gillian served as the MENA Program Coordinator and Program Assistant in which she supported the formation of a regional businesswomen’s network, facilitated the creation of a network of women building peace, supported regional policy advocates, and fostered public-private partnerships and corporate social responsibility initiatives to combat domestic violence. She first joined Vital Voices in 2008. Gillian holds a B.A. from The George Washington University in International Affairs, with a concentration in the Middle East. She also studied international affairs at the University of Jordan and development and public health at The School for International in Switzerland, where she also conducted research on the inclusion of women in peace-building.
Program Coordinator, Global Leadership Network
Jana Spacek is the program coordinator for the Global Leadership Network. In this position, she contributes to the management of the VVLead Fellowship Program for emerging and established leaders working to improve the wellbeing of women and girls around the world. The program provides technical trainings, mentorship opportunities and state-of-the-art resources to women who provide unique and sustainable solutions in the areas of violence against women (VAW), forced/early marriage and economic empowerment. Prior to joining Vital Voices, Jana was the Senior Associate for Women and Girl Programs at the Center for Interfaith Action (CIFA) where she managed a Nike Foundation funded program focused on equipping and mobilizing religious leaders to combat forced/early marriage and female genital cutting in Ethiopia and Nigeria. She has interned and volunteered on projects focusing on the intersection of gender, development and health for the past 10 years. Jana holds a BA in International Development and Social Change, with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from Clark University.
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Jennifer has worked as a consultant to global companies, helping to develop and expand corporate social responsibility programs and build multi-sector stakeholder engagement platforms that address issues related to global supply chains, economic development, capacity building, labor relations, and international trade.
As Director of Strategic Partnerships for Vital Voices, Jennifer manages a diverse portfolio of corporate and government supporters, cultivates new relationships and opportunities for partnership and engagement with business and government leaders.
Jennifer holds a B.A. in English Non-Fiction Writing & Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh, and an M.A. in International Relations and International Communication from Boston University.
Program Coordinator, Africa
Julie Muriuki is the Africa Program Coordinator at Vital Voices Global Partnership. In this capacity, she assists with the development, coordination and execution of programs in Africa that are designed to build capacity, connections and credibility of African women leaders working in the fields of Economic Development, Political Participation and Human Rights. Prior to joining Vital Voices, she was based in Nairobi as a Research Consultant at Dalberg Research A/S, part of the Dalberg Group where she provided research and analytics on issues of development, social impact and investment in Sub-Saharan Africa. Julie has also worked with NGOs in Uganda and Tanzania, focusing on preventative approaches to gender based violence and HIV/AIDS. She received her Master of Public Administration with a Concentration in International Public Service and Development from Rutgers University and her Bachelor of Social Science in Government & Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Program Manager, Africa Team
Karine Lepillez is currently Program Manager, Africa at Vital Voices, leading work on the Supporting Public Advocacy for Regional Competitiveness (SPARC) Program in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda. Previous to joining Vital Voices, Karine managed multi-million dollar development programs in microfinance, trade, SME development, and capacity building in Africa and the Middle East with the International Executive Service Corps. She also worked with the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Independent Diplomat on programs providing practical assistance and advice in diplomatic strategy and technique to the governments of Somaliland, South Sudan, and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. Karine began her career as a Research Analyst with Compassion International, a child advocacy organization. She holds a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University and an M.A. in International Human Rights from the University of Denver.
Senior Advisor for Programs
Kathleen Hendrix is Senior Advisor to Vital Voices for Programs. Kathy has served as a Senior Advisor to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize, evaluating NGO finalists for the Prize around the world. She has also consulted with several U.S.-based NGOs and government contractors on international development and humanitarian projects, especially focusing on gender-related issues. During the 1990s Kathy worked at the U.S. Department of State and was involved with policy preparations, participation in, and follow up to the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Later at the White House and at State, she was Associate Director of the President's Interagency Council on Women. A former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she wrote about domestic and international social and political issues, Kathy served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sarawak, East Malaysia.
Senior Program Manager, Global Leadership Network
Lauren is the Senior Program Manager, Global Leadership Network at Vital Voices. In this role, she manages Vital Voices’ signature leadership and mentoring programs and all initiatives focused on young women and girls; these include the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Program, the ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Initiative, Global Ambassadors Program and the Malala Fund. She is also responsible for the development of the organization’s leadership curriculum, based on Vital Voices’ Leadership Model. Since 2006, Lauren has served in a variety of programmatic and consulting roles at Vital Voices, creating training tools and managing leadership summits and programs in Africa, Latin America and Eurasia. With experience in political organizing, public affairs and policy research, Lauren has worked in nonprofit and academic fields. She was most recently the Research Analyst for Governmental and Legal Affairs in the University Counsel Office at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, where she oversaw the implementation of the university’s community benefit initiative. Lauren received her Master’s Degree in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from Temple University.
Director of Development
Liam T. Dall joins Vital Voices as Director of Development, working with individual supporters, family foundations, and other private foundations. Liam is a development professional with over 10 years of experience in international fundraising and development, having worked at organizations focused on the global advancement of women, HIV and AIDS prevention and international health. He joins Vital Voices after three years at Women for Women International (WfWI) as the Senior Development Officer. In this role, he worked with the organization’s top individual donors and family foundations on efforts to support rights education and economic development programs for women survivors of war. He led the design and implementation of WfWI’s individual major gifts program and the organization’s Global Men’s Campaign launched at the Clinton Global Initiative. Liam also led groups of supporters on donor trips to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo and Rwanda.
Prior to Women for Women International, Liam was a Development Officer at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. He also served as Assistant Director of Annual Giving and Development Services at Georgetown University’s School of Nursing & Health Studies. Liam received both his B.A. and M.A. from Georgetown University and also studied at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain.
Senior Director, Middle East and North Africa
Malini Patel is the Senior Director for Middle East and North Africa and Acting Senior Director for Economic Empowerment at Vital Voices Global Partnership. She is responsible for vision and leadership; day-to-day program and financial management; program design, quality and integrity; new business development; and internal and external relations.
With 20 years of international development experience, Ms. Patel has led teams globally in Europe, the Caucasus, Africa, Middle East, Latin America and the Pacific and Ms. Patel has overseen technical programs in SME/MAGE growth, community development, democracy and governance, advocacy, local and regional economic development, micro-finance and organizational development globally. Prior to joining Vital Voices, Ms. Patel worked at numerous non-profit, for-profit, educational, and government entities including CHF International (Global Communities) and Peace Corps. Ms. Patel received her Bachelor of Arts from University of Michigan and Masters in Public Administration from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Program Assistant, Global Leadership Network
Margarita is the program assistant for the Global Leadership Network at Vital Voices. In this position she supports the VVLEAD Fellowship Program, the FORTUNE/U.S. State Department exchange program, and the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative. Prior to joining Vital Voices, Margarita was at the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families (CIR) where she focused on issues facing veterans and military families as they transition into the community. She has experience in the nonprofit and academic fields working in event planning and research positions. Margarita received her B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California.
Vice President, Strategic Communications
Margaux Bergen is a global strategic communications and marketing specialist who has worked for 15 years in the worlds of international development and philanthropy in leading development and charitable institutions such as the World Bank, United Way WorldWide and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
Her communications emphasis had been on business strategy, global branding, marketing and leveraging social media for global advocacy and increased programmatic and grassroots support. Some specific communications ventures include magazine and book publishing, branding campaigns, "super" events management for former world leaders, hosting editorial roundtables and acting as corporate spokesperson.
Margaux has led teams globally with a specific emphasis on communciatons and fundraising development on the following issues in the U.S., Africa, Latin America, China and Russia: gender, global health, sustainable urban development and faith and health.
Born in Paris and raised in London, she received her Master’s degree from the University of Edinburgh in History. She is a former Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her three children.
Vice President for Impact, Evaluation and Research
Marguerite (Meg) Berger is currently the Vice President for Impact, Evaluation and Research. She has over 30 years of experience in economic development in the Americas and Asia, focusing on gender issues, women’s empowerment, micro and small enterprise, access to finance and public financial management. She has led program design and execution, monitoring, evaluation and research in these areas.
Prior to joining Vital Voices, Meg served in various capacities at the Inter-American Development Bank. She began her career there as Advisor for Women in Development and led the creation of the Women in Development Unit as its first chief. She was also Chief of the Bank’s Microenterprise Unit and Grants and Co-financing Management Unit and was seconded to the Brazilian small business agency as an advisor to the president. She was an economist at the International Center for Research on Women, and consulted for the US Small Business Administration, UNCDF, IFAD, USAID and the World Bank.
Meg is a Fulbright Scholar with a doctorate in Economics from the American University. She has authored numerous books, articles and evaluations, including An Inside View of Latin American Microfinance (with Goldmark and Miller) and Women’s Ventures (with Mayra Buvinic).
Program Coordinator for Leadership and Mentoring
Maya Babla is the Program Coordinator for Leadership and Mentoring. In this role, she helps manage the FORTUNE/U.S. State Department exchange program for rising business leaders and the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, which seeks to train the next generation of American women leaders. Her previous experience includes public diplomacy consulting, government communications, public affairs and media research. A California native, Maya received her B.A. in Communication and her Master’s in Public Diplomacy from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California.
Program Coordinator, Human Rights
Megan joined Vital Voices as the Human Rights Program Coordinator in September 2012. In this position, she provides support for the development and implementation of the human rights portfolio. Prior to joining Vital Voices, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua from 2010 to 2012. In this capacity, she trained rural high school English teachers, managed education projects and workshops, and worked with grassroots community groups. Megan holds a B.S.F.S from the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service, where she majored in International Politics with a focus on law, ethics, and institutions. She also studied international affairs at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and interned with Vital Voices in 2008.
Program Assistant, Africa
Miriam Kirubel joined Vital Voices in September 2011 as an intern for the Africa team. Now as Program Assistant, Miriam works with Africa Program staff to provide programmatic, administrative and logistical support for the development, execution and follow-up of Africa Programs. Prior to joining Vital Voices, Miriam was an intern with the U.S. State Department's Office of the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance-Africa Regional Team and a Research Assistant at the University of Virginia. She also previously worked with the Afterschool Alliance as a Development Assistant, supporting fund development research and donor prospecting; and as a Program Manager with MY Webinars, where she organized educational webinars for corporate audiences. She has a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.
Manager, Latin America and the Caribbean
Working closely with the Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Rebecca provides support for the LAC Businesswomen’s Network. In 2008, she received a Fulbright grant to Vietnam, where she taught American culture and English, researched sustainable tourism and worked as a consultant at the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the Institute of International Education. As an undergraduate, she contributed to a University publication on quality of life indicators in Baja California at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, in La Paz, Mexico. Rebecca also spent time in Costa Rica researching the success and limits of the anti-domestic violence movement, which she presented in her senior thesis. Previously, she served as Border/Environmental Research Assistant at the Institute of the Regional Studies of the Californias at San Diego State University. Rebecca holds a B.A. from Knox College in Integrated International Studies and Spanish and studied at the Universitat de Barcelona in Spain and the Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Vice President, Finance
Sara Vandepeute joined Vital Voices in 2004 as the Office Administrator. Since 2005, she has served as Office Manager, Associate Director of Finance and Administration and Director of Finance and Administration. Since joining Vital Voices, Sara has played an integral role in the finance, human resources and administrative functions. Since 2007, she has provided fiscal oversight for federal and private agreements and has overseen the organization's rapid growth. Prior to joining Vital Voices in August 2004, Sara worked at the American Field Service (AFS), an international exchange program for high school students. Sara also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia, where she taught Physical Science and Math. Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Willamette University.
Program Manager, Middle East and North Africa
Sophia Aziz is Middle East and North Africa Program Manager at Vital Voices Global Partnership. In this capacity, she focuses on the MENA economic development portfolio, supporting member services, organizational development, strategic growth, and sustainability of a regional network of businesswomen’s associations. Sophia first joined the Vital Voices team in August 2010 as the Middle East and North Africa Program Assistant, providing programmatic, logistical and communications support for all cross-cutting regional programs. Prior to joining Vital Voices, Sophia served as an AmeriCorps member and also worked with the British Council, Catalist, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and the Washington Peace Center. Sophia holds a Masters of Science in Human Rights from the London School of Economics, where she focused her studies on effective implementation and localized advocacy models for women’s rights in Islamic states. She also studied Middle East Politics at the American University of Cairo and holds a BA in Political Science from The George Washington University.
Development and Engagement Coordinator
Yaba Haffar is the Development and Engagement Coordinator at Vital Voices. In this capacity, she supports the Development and Engagement Team in implementing fundraising strategies, organizing events, and managing the production of the play, SEVEN. She initially joined Vital Voices in August 2010 as Office Administrator and was responsible for managing all the organization’s administrative functions. Yaba graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in International Relations and created a special minor in Theater Arts and Film Studies. Prior to working at Vital Voices, she was in Accra, Ghana, as an associate with GATE Institute, an organization that provides teacher development in-services to both rural and urban schools in the country.
Senior Director of Global Programs
Having begun her journey with Vital Voices in January 2007 when she attended the Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, Zoë joined Vital Voices as Senior Director of Global Programs in March 2013. Between 2007 and 2011, Zoë was based in her home country of Swaziland and assumed the role of Senior Director of Vital Voices’ Global Entrepreneurs in Handcrafts Program. During this time, she also worked with TechnoServe Swaziland, mentoring a number of emerging handcraft export organisations and helping to develop the country’s handcraft sector. Her activities have also included working with IFC’s Grassroots Business Initiatives across Africa and in South East Asia on handcraft development.
Between 2011 and 2013, Zoë worked with The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, leading and project managing the Foundation’s programs in Water, Health and Youth Development across Africa. Prior to 2007, she was Managing Director of Gone Rural, working with over 700 women handcrafters in Swaziland, exporting beautiful hand-crafted tableware and homeware products across the globe. In 2007, she launched the Gone Rural BoMake non-profit organisation facilitating programs such as access to clean water, food security, HIV/AIDS support, women’s rights education & literacy and youth entrepreneurship.
In 2011, Zoë received a 2011 TIAW World of Difference Award. She received a 2005 Pan African Business Woman Award for Capacity Building and through her role in business, Gone Rural won a 2004 World Bank Development Marketplace Award and was a finalist in the BBC World Challenge 2006 competition. Zoë has been active in public speaking internationally, addressing socially responsible business practice as well as issues concerning Swaziland such as HIV/AIDS, women’s rights and basic community needs.
She is a Jury member of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. As a Social Entrepreneur, in 2009, she was invited to join the World Entrepreneurship Forum. She was also awarded a Cordes Fellowship to participate in the 2011 Opportunity Collaboration Forum, a problem-solving, strategic retreat for non-profit leaders, for-profit social entrepreneurs, grant-makers and social investors engaged in poverty alleviation and economic justice enterprises. Inspired by her attendance of the Vital Voices Cape Town Summit in January 2007, Zoë initiated the Vital Voices Young Women’s Mentorship Program to foster a culture of Mentorship between successful women and potential young women leaders in the Kingdom of Swaziland.