The Global Fund for Women is governed by a board of directors that reflects the diversity of the globe and brings together a wealth of experience in philanthropy, international issues and human rights. A majority of our board members are from countries other than the United States and have been members of either our grantee network or international advisory council.
Leila Hessini, Board Chair Algeria/USA
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.
Marissa Wesely, Treasurer United States
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.
Linda Gruber, Secretary United States
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.
Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi Nigeria
Bisi is Nigerian/British and is co-founder of African Women’s Development Fund, (AWDF). AWDF is the first Africa-wide grant-making fund, which supports the work of organisations promoting women’s rights in Africa. Since it began grant making in 2001, AWDF has supported over 800 women’s organisations in 42 African countries, providing more than US $17million in grants. AWDF has played a key role in the promotion and protection of women’s rights in Africa, through its support of grassroots initiatives, policy engagements and movement building for social justice. Prior to AWDF, Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), an international development organization for African women based in the UK, with an Africa regional office in Kampala, Uganda. There, she conceptualized the African Women’s Leadership Institute which has helped train over 3,000 women leaders in Africa.
Julie Parker Benello United States
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.
Roxane Divol United States
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.
Nurgul Djanaeva Kyrgyzstan
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.”
Amina Doherty Antigua & Barbuda/Nigeria
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.
Mozn Hassan Egypt
Mozn is an Egypt advisor for Global Fund for Women and the founder and Executive Director of Nazra for Feminist Studies. Nazra aims to build an Egyptian feminist movement, believing that feminism and gender are political and social issues affecting freedom and development in all societies. Nazra aims to mainstream these values in both public and private spheres. Mozn is also member of political and social coalitions which aim to defend Egyptian human rights defenders, especially females and enhancing human rights values in Egypt. In 2013 Global Fund for Women honored Mozn with a Charlotte Bunch Human Rights Defender Award, for her bold, passionate actions on behalf of women in Egypt and around the world.
Nita Ing Taiwan
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.
Musimbi Kanyoro Kenya/USA
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.
Layli Maparyan United States/USA
Layli is Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College, one of the nation’s largest and most influential organizations conducting scholarly research and developing action programs centered on women’s and girls’ perspectives. She is a leader in the area of womanism, a social change perspective that focuses on what everyday women from around the world can contribute to global dialogues about social and environmental problems. Womanism is historically rooted in the cultural perspectives of women of color, particularly Africana women, and integrates social, ecological and spiritual dimensions into the change process, with the goal of creating well-being for families and communities.
Blythe Masters United Kingdom
Blythe Masters recently left J.P. Morgan after a career spanning 27 years, and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Named J.P. Morgan’s head of Global Commodities in 2007, Blythe was responsible for building an integrated physical and financial commodity business. Between 2007 and 2013, she architected a major expansion, by both organic growth and a series of acquisitions, including Bear Energy and RBS Sempra Commodities. Following a decision to sell the business in 2013, primarily for regulatory reasons, Blythe led a successful competitive sale process.
From 2012 to 2014, Blythe was chair of the Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA), which represents the common interests of the world’s leading financial and capital markets participants. She was previously chair of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), whose mission is to support a strong financial industry, job creation and economic growth while building trust and confidence in the financial markets. Blythe is a member of the board of directors of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and is the former chair of the board of the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She serves on the Third Way’s Capital Markets Initiative Advisory Group, is a member of the Economic Studies Council of the Brookings Institution and is a fellow of the Foreign Policy Association. 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 daughter.
Tabara Ndiaye Senegal
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.
Maria Núñez United States/Mexico
Maria emigrated to the U.S> from Mexico City in 1980 and is a San Diego-based international tax and estate planning attorney and philanthropist who helps high net worth global families achieve their estate planning objectives. In 2008 she founded Núñez Law Group which helps clients develop and implement global philanthropy plans and serves as consultant in family law, trusts and estates and other litigation matters involving international issues. Maria is a long-time Global Fund donor and supporter. In 2012, she traveled to Turkey to meet grantees and attend the AWID conference, an experience, she said that gave her a new appreciation and understanding of the women’s movement and Global Fund’s unique role in the movement.
Sharon Bhagwan Rolls Fiji Islands
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).
Jurema Werneck Brazil
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.