Officers of the Board

Leila Hessini

Leila Hessini, Board Chair Algeria/USA
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Leila Hessini is a global feminist leader and activist with over twenty years of advocacy, grantmaking, and organizing experience. Over the past two decades, she has worked in partnership with feminist and women’s networks, community-based organizations, government officials and UN representatives across five continents to promote women’s human rights. Her global experience is informed by extensive residency in Egypt, Morocco, France, and the United States.

Leila serves as Director of community mobilization and women’s organizing at Ipas, a global organization that promotes women’s reproductive health rights. In that capacity, she supports global technical and strategic leadership and country level efforts across three continents to strengthen women’s and communities’ knowledge, agency, and power. Prior to Ipas, she co-founded Strategic Analysis for Gender Equity promoting gender and economic justice and global equity, worked to support gender, human rights, and women’s organizing at the Ford Foundation’s Cairo office, and documented and analyzed women’s strategies to challenge and mitigate gender-based violence in Algeria and Egypt with the Population Council and UNIFEM.

Leila serves on the boards of the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights and the Safe Abortion Action Fund. She is an advisor committee member of the Urgent Action Fund and the Center for Women’s Global Leadership’s 16 days of action against gender-based violence. Leila has published widely on feminist organizing in North Africa and the Middle East, women’s reproductive rights, and the impact of stigma and discrimination on women’s choices and rights. She has an MPH and MA from the University of Michigan, studied Islamic law in Morocco, and pursued doctoral studies in sociology in France.

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Marissa Wesley

Marissa Wesely, Treasurer United States
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Marissa C. Wesely is a Fellow in Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative and a Global Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, affiliated with the Center Global Women’s Leadership Initiative. A retired corporate attorney with over 33 years of experience, Marissa has been recognized as a leading lawyer in banking and finance by Chambers & Partners and The Best Lawyers in America. In 2013, she was named Finance Lawyer of the Year at Chambers’ Women in Law Awards. Marissa is a member of the Executive Committee of DirectWomen and Legal Momentum-The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund. She is a co-founder of The Kate Stoneman Project, a leadership organization for women partners of 10 leading New York-based law firms. Marissa is a regular public speaker on issues relating to women and leadership. She has designed and taught courses in China and Indonesia on international trade and financing for the (former) Harvard Institute of International Development. She is a 2010 recipient of the Diversity Champion Award from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and, in 2009, received the Kay Crawford Murray Award from the New York State Bar Association in recognition of her efforts to mentor women and promote diversity in the legal profession. Marissa is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

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Linda Gruber

Linda Gruber, Secretary United States
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Linda Gruber is a long-time community volunteer and president of the Gruber Family Foundation which funds in the areas of education, progressive media, the arts and women’s issues, including reproductive rights. She also serves on the boards of the San Francisco Museum of Art and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

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Members of the Board

Chandra Alexandre

Chandra Alexandre United States
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A former Board member of the International Museum of Women, Chandra Alexandre is Chief Development & Communications Officer at Partners in School Innovation, a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating the racial achievement gap by strengthening teaching, learning and achievement in under-performing public school districts. Previously, she was Vice President at the Bay Area Council where she also led fund development for Secretary Hillary Clinton's Women and the Economy Summit. Prior to the Council, Chandra ran operations at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy where she also created a rite of passage program for low-income middle school girls. Before her transition to the nonprofit sector, Chandra was in private banking and the diplomatic corps. Chandra earned an AB at Columbia and her MBA at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. She holds a PhD in Asian & Comparative Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies and serves as adjunct faculty at several Bay Area graduate schools. She has a long-standing commitment to women’s human rights and has previously been a member of several Bay Area boards working to promote the well-being of women and girls. She is a homebirth advocate and lover of Sanskrit.

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Julie Parker Benello

Julie Parker Benello United States
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Julie Parker Benello has over 15 years experience in producing/executive producing award-winning documentaries on global social justice issues that have broadcast in the US and internationally. She is the co-founder of Chicken and Egg Pictures, an innovative nonprofit film fund and production company that provides grants and mentorship to women documentary filmmakers. Chicken & Egg's portfolio of films includes Oscar winners Freeheld and Saving Face along with The Barber of Birmingham and Semper Fi: Always Faithful. She currently invests in social issue cinema via Impact Partners and is an active member of the Women's Donor Network and The Philanthropy Workshop West.

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Abigail Disney

Abigail Disney United States
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Abigail Disney is a filmmaker. Her 2008 film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, won the Best Documentary award at the Tribeca Film Festival. She is also the founder and president of the Daphne Foundation, which provides operating support to grassroots organizations working with low-income communities in New York City. She serves on the board of the White House Project, the Fund for the City of New York and the Roy Disney Family Foundation, and serves as Vice Chair of the board of Shamrock Holdings of California.

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Roxane Divol

Roxane Divol United States
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Formerly the Chair of the Board of the International Museum of Women, Roxane Divol is the SVP of Alliances at Symantec, where she is responsible for technology alliances across the Symantec portfolio, The Internet of Things offerings, its Technical Services organization and Strategy and Operations for Products and Services. Symantec is the world's biggest security-software maker, providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help customers secure and manage their information-driven world, and providing business with endpoint, cloud, mobile and virtual security solutions. Prior to joining Symantec, Roxane was a Principal at McKinsey & Company for over 15 years, where she was a core member of the High Tech Practice. She also led McKinsey & Company's Marketing and Sales Practice on the West Coast and created their Marketing ROI service line for B2B companies. She is an active volunteer at the Lycée Français La Pérouse where two of her children attend and a mentor for the TED Senior Fellows Program. Roxane holds dual French and Colombian citizenship. She obtained an MBA from Insead with distinction, and a Masters in Engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique, France’s top engineering school and leading military academy where she majored in Chemistry and Economics. As an Officer, Roxane served in the French Air Force and was assigned to NATO’s Group for Aerospace Research and Development.

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Nurgul Djanaeva Kyrgyzstan
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Nurgul Djanaeva is President of the Forum of Women’s NGOs of Kyrgyzstan. She is a founder of a national program that enabled 50 local women to join the Kyrgyz Parliament and other decision-making positions. Nurgul was the vice-president of the International University of Kyrgyzstan, is currently a Steering Committee member of the Asia Pacific Women Watch, and the national Kyrgyzstan coordinator for the UN NGO Network (IRENE), in addition to playing a vital co-ordinating or liaising role with international organizations. She is widely published and is the author of a book “Kyrgyzstan Women in Transition.”

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Amina Doherty

Amina Doherty Antigua & Barbuda/Nigeria
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Amina Doherty is a young feminist ARTivist whose work focuses on feminist philanthropy and creative arts for advocacy. Amina supports several community-led media platforms across Africa and the Caribbean and brings to her activism a passion for music, art, travel, photography, fashion and poetry. She has facilitated several learning initiatives on women’s rights, youth development, resource mobilization and economic justice. Prior to her role as founding member and general coordinator of FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund, Amina worked in the women’s rights grantmaking program at the Sigrid Rausing Trust in London and has also worked as a researcher and youth organizer at the Directorate of Gender Affairs in Antigua. She currently sits on the board of Just Associates (JASS). In 2012, singer Annie Lennox recognized Amina as a women’s rights champion for change. She holds a B.A. in Political Science & Women’s Studies from McGill University (Distinction) and an MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization from the London School of Economics (LSE). Amina has lived and studied in Nigeria, Antigua, Canada and the UK. She currently lives in Kingston, Jamaica.

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Lydia Alpízar Durán

Lydia Alpízar Durán Costa Rica/Mexico
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Lydia Alpízar Durán is the incoming executive director of the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID). She is co-founder and advisor of ELIGE - Youth Network for Reproductive and Sexual Rights (Mexico), and co-founder of the Latin American and Caribbean Youth Network for Reproductive and Sexual Rights. She serves on the boards of the International Council of Human Rights Policy and the International Committee for the Peace Council.

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Hoda Elsadda Egypt
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Hoda Elsadda holds a Chair in the Study of the Contemporary Arab World at Manchester University and is Co-Director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW). Before moving to the UK in 2005, she was Professor of English Literature at Cairo University. She co-founded and co-edited Hagar, an interdisciplinary journal in women's studies published in Arabic. Hoda also co-founded and currently chairs the Women and Memory Forum, a feminist research organization based in Egypt, which focuses on gender and Arab cultural history. Hoda is a widely published scholar and activist and her work has focused on Arab and Muslim women’s history and narratives, comparative literature and feminist issues.

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Nita Ing

Nita Ing Taiwan
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Nita Ing is the Chairman of Continental Holdings Corporation and Continental Engineering Corporation in Taiwan. She had previously served as Chairman of Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation, a BOT Project Company from 1998 to 2009. Ms. Ing also serves on the Board of TSRC Corporation, a publicly listed Taiwanese Synthetic Rubber manufacturing company, and American Bridge Holdings Corporation, a US construction company. Ms. Ing is involved in various philanthropic works. From 2000-2008, she served as Chairman of “921 Earthquake Relief Foundation,” a philanthropy established for the sole purpose to reconstruct and recover the most devastated affected area in Central Taiwan due to a 7.7 magnitude earthquake in 1999. She has also served as Chairman of The Hao Ran Foundation of Taiwan since 1997, which focuses on education, social welfare, and human rights.

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Boriana Jonsson

Boriana Jonsson Bulgaria/Sweden
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Boriana Jonsson brings many years of expertise in women’s human rights and organizing in conflict areas as a result of her work in the Balkans and most-recently in the Middle-East as a regional coordinator for Kvinna till Kvinna (KtK), a Swedish foundation. Boriana is part of the France-based European Feminist Initiative that is currently lobbying for new Defense and Security policies with the European Union and for a different Europe. She is fluent in Bulgarian, Swedish, English, Russian, and Macedonian/Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian.

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Musimbi Kanyoro

Musimbi Kanyoro Kenya/USA
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Dr Musimbi Kanyoro is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Global Fund for Women and has been a passionate advocate for the health, development and human rights of women, girls and minority groups throughout her life. Prior to the Global Fund, Dr Kanyoro led the Population and Reproductive Health Programme at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and also served for 10 years as General Secretary of World YWCA. Dr. Kanyoro is a member of the Aspen Institute Leaders Council and the UNFPA/IPPF High-level Taskforce for Reproductive Health. She also sits on the boards of Intra Health, CHANGE and CARE.

Read Musimbi Kanyoro's complete bio »

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Blythe Masters

Blythe Masters United Kingdom
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Blythe Masters is J.P. Morgan’s head of Global Commodities and CIB Regulatory Affairs and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. From 2004 to 2007, she was chief financial officer of the Investment Bank. Prior to that role, she was J.P. Morgan's head of Global Credit Portfolio and Credit Policy and Strategy, responsible for managing the credit and market risks of the bank's retained credit positions and the development of credit strategy, policies, infrastructure and limits to measure and control credit risk. In addition, she coordinated the financial and risk reporting of the firm's credit activities. Earlier positions at J.P. Morgan include head of North American Structured Credit Products, co-head of Asset Backed Securitization and head of Global Credit Derivatives Marketing. Her responsibilities have included the structuring and distribution of credit derivative products and related credit risk management strategies, both for J.P. Morgan and its clients. Blythe received a B.A. in economics from Trinity College, Cambridge. She is an avid equestrian and lives in New York with her husband and daughters.

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Gay McDougall

Gay McDougall United States
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Gay McDougall served as the United Nations Independent Expert on Minority Issues from 2005 to 2011. She is the former executive director of Global Rights. She has also served on the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. She was appointed the only American member of the 1994 Electoral Commission of South Africa, which facilitated the election of Nelson Mandela. In 1999 she was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

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Tabara Ndiaye

Tabara Ndiaye Senegal
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Tabara Ndiaye is a Program Consultant with New Field Foundation, with a focus on building the capacity of rural women’s associations in French-speaking West Africa. She is a trained teacher with over twenty years of experience with local women’s organizations in the Casamance region of Senegal, where she grew up. Tabara is deeply connected to the culture and environment of rural women, their challenges and opportunities. From 1999-2005 Tabara acted as a founding member and communications officer for Usoforal, a group promoting women’s solidarity for peace in Casamance. She has also managed an education program for young students on family planning and reproductive health, and worked with students on civic action projects to identify and influence a public policy issue within their community.

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Supriya Pillai

Supriya Pillai United States
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Supriya Pillai is one of our youngest Board Members. With a Bachelor’s of Arts in Anthropology from Washington University and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from Columbia, Pillai has continued to actively participate in social justice movements. While serving as the Executive Director of the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing, she has helped strengthen youth organizing and grassroots movements throughout the world. Prior, she worked with Population Services International to introduce contraceptive products for women and men in Cambodia and West Africa. She has also served as the Program Officer for Asia at the International Women’s Health Coalition. Read more about Supriya »

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Sharon Bhagwan Rolls

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls Fiji Islands
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Sharon Bhagwan Rolls is a Fiji Islander and a media professional. Passionate about content development and distribution, Sharon enables and empowers community media production to increase the visibility of women’s viewpoints and realities, especially rural and young women. During Fiji’s second political coup in 2000, as Secretary of the National Council of Women Fiji, she coordinated the Blue Ribbon Peace Vigil and the Women’s Action for Democracy and Peace. Shortly after, she helped established FemLINKPACIFIC, a community media organization that advocates for women as decision makers in the long-term transformation of Fiji. Sharon also lobbies governments and civil society for gender sensitivity and balance in media and ICT policy. She also advocates for regional implementation of “1325” within the Forum Regional Security Committee of the Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific Missions at the United Nations. Sharon is a member of the UN Women Global Civil Society Advisory Group and a board member of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict. She also serves as a member of the Programme Management Group of the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS).

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Jurema Werneck

Jurema Werneck Brazil
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Jurema Werneck was born in Morro dos Cabritos, a slum in Rio de Janeiro. She was the first in her family to attend university, where her activism was nurtured in the student movement. Jurema is co-founder of Criola-a black women’s organization, and Articulation of Brazilian Black Women Organizations. Jurema is a visiting scholar at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, member of the Civil Society Advisory Group of UN Women Brazil, on the Board of Trustees at the Brazil Human Rights Fund, and board member of the Institute of Socioeconomic Studies in Brasilia.

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