Christopher Anderson serves on the engagement team at the Women’s Refugee Commission as senior officer, individual giving. He is a frontline fundraiser with deep experience leading multi-million-dollar capital campaigns and impact investment initiatives, as well as stewarding strong growth portfolios and relationships with major donors.
Before joining WRC, Christopher led the advancement efforts for Island Housing Trust on Martha’s Vineyard, where he raised over $18 million in donations and low-interest revolving loans to build and repurpose affordable rental and ownership homes. He also served as a parent representative on the board of Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, and was a lead community organizer for the Coalition to Create the Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank in its efforts to secure a permanent source of revenue dedicated to affordable housing. As a committee member with We Stand Together/Estamos Todos Juntos, he helped gain a commitment from local sheriffs to limit the use of town resources to enforce federal immigration laws.
Christopher has also worked as a public-school professional working with neurodivergent children, a writing instructor at Mercy College, an editor at a Bangkok law firm, and a copywriter with International Rescue Committee’s Resettlement network.
Christopher holds an MFA from Brooklyn College, a BA from Tufts, and fundraising and nonprofit management certificates from Boston University and the Institute of Nonprofit Practice.
UN Representative and Senior Advocacy Officer
Rahel Beigel is the Women’s Refugee Commission’s UN representative and senior advocacy officer, serving in the External Relations Department. She is an advocacy strategist and analyst specializing in humanitarian and human rights law and policy. She has over a decade of experience leading grassroots, bilateral, and multilateral initiatives focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equity, and access to justice. Rahel is WRC’s focal point for sexual and reproductive health and rights, and serves on the board of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund.
Rahel holds a master’s of arts degree in international affairs from The New School, and has post-graduate training in forced migration and refugee studies.
Aditi Bhanja is a research advisor at the Women’s Refugee Commission, advising and managing efforts in research, monitoring, and evaluation across WRC’s program areas, primarily on the integration of gender-based violence protection, and cash and livelihoods.
Before joining WRC, Aditi worked across several research areas, first in disaster epidemiology at New York University and later in health policy and management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. While at NYU, she supported the assessment of two cohorts of displaced Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina survivors, analyzing long-term outcomes at five and ten years follow-up, respectively. At Harvard T.H. Chan, her work oscillated between examinations of American health policy on vulnerable populations and optimization of healthcare management by assessing dynamics of interdisciplinary teams and their leadership therein.
Aditi holds a master’s of public health in epidemiology from New York University and a bachelor’s in biology from Case Western Reserve University. Fundamentally, she is committed to turning research to action and improving the lives of the most vulnerable among us.
Senior Policy Advisor
Mario Bruzzone is a senior policy advisor in in the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Migrant Rights and Justice program. His work focuses on protecting the rights of unaccompanied children and reparative justice for the harms caused by family separation. He also coordinates several national working groups related to unaccompanied children’s care and protection.
Prior to joining WRC, Mario worked on the policy team at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, covering a broad range of issues including unaccompanied children, federal appropriations, refugee and humanitarian protection, and regional protection in Latin America. While at the University of Wisconsin, he led a multi-year research project on Central American migrants’ survival strategies as they travel through Mexico, which included over 110 interviews with migrants, participant observation as a staff member at migrant shelters in the cities of Guadalajara and Celaya, and organizing a survey team for 300+ systematically sampled ethnosurveys.
Mario holds a BA from Oberlin College, as well as an MS and PhD in human geography from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Vice President, Programs
Dale Buscher is vice president, programs, at the Women’s Refugee Commission. He oversees the organization’s programs: gender and social inclusion; economic empowerment and self-reliance; sexual and reproductive health; and migrant rights and justice.
Dale has been working in the refugee assistance field since 1988 in a variety of capacities. He worked with Vietnamese boat people in the Philippines and later with Haitian refugees interned at Guantanamo Bay. He has worked with displaced Kurds in northern Iraq, with Bosnian refugees in Croatia, and with Kosovars in Albania and Kosovo. He went on to work as the director of operations for the International Catholic Migration Commission in Geneva, where he oversaw the organization’s $25 million international programs—covering 20 countries and 800 staff. He started numerous new programs for the organization, including during extended field postings in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Additionally, he has worked as a consultant for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, where he wrote a field handbook entitled Operational Protection in Camps and Settlements.
Dale earned his master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah and his bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University.
Institutional Giving Coordinator
Lucille is the institutional giving coordinator at the Women’s Refugee Commission.
She began her career at Foresters Financial. She provided customer service support to clients and registered representatives via telephone, email, and through the company website, and completed administrative tasks. Mostly recently, she worked in nonprofit development at Mount Sinai Health System. She worked extensively with Raiser’s Edge, in addition to creating various newsletters and web pages, creating and scheduling several email deployments,. Lucille also served as the production associate for the Mount Sinai Science & Medicine Magazine.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in music from the College of Staten Island.
Sarah Costa is the executive director of the Women’s Refugee Commission, a leading global organization advocating for the rights and protection of women, children, and youth displaced by conflict and crisis.
Under Sarah’s leadership, the organization has experienced significant growth, with the budget more than doubling, and has expanded its ability to ensure refugees’ right to sexual and reproductive health care, to safety from gender-based violence, and to economic and social empowerment.
Sarah has more than 25 years’ experience in the fields of women’s rights, reproductive health, gender, and youth development, as well as global philanthropy. Throughout her career, she has worked in partnership with those closest to the issues, from government officials to local women’s organizations.
Before joining WRC in 2010, Sarah served as regional director of the Global Fund for Women, a grant-making organization that supports women’s rights organizations working on economic security, health, education, and leadership. Previously, she was a program officer for the Ford Foundation in Brazil and New York, developing and managing international and national programs on gender, sexuality, reproductive health, women’s rights, HIV/AIDS, and health policy.
During her tenure as professor of women’s health at the National School of Public Health, Brazil, Sarah was active in the national women’s movement, serving as a member of the Advisory Committee to the National Council on Women’s Rights. She also served on the boards of several women’s organizations. She is a member of World Learning’s Global Advisory Council.
Sarah holds a master’s degree in medical demography from London University and a PhD in social medicine from Oxford University.
Senior Advisor, Adolescent Health and Protection
Julianne Deitch is the Women’s Refugee Commission’s senior advisor for adolescent health and protection. Her work focuses on the integration of health and protection services, engaging adolescents in program design and implementation, and collecting meaningful evidence to inform programming and service delivery.
Julianne has worked in global health for more than 10 years with international, regional, and community-based organizations. Her experience includes five years with the United Nations Secretariat, where she conducted research and provided guidance to UN member states on achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals and implementing policies on gender equality. She has also supported UNICEF in data collection and reporting on adolescent health and well-being, and conducted qualitative and quantitative research with the RAISE Initiative at Columbia University.
Julianne is currently pursuing a doctor of public health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Her dissertation interests include understanding adolescent demand for contraception and the provision of adolescent sexual and reproductive health services in humanitarian settings. She holds a master of public health from Columbia University, a master’s degree in development studies from the London School of Economics, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and economics from the University of California, Davis.
Emily Ervin is the grants manager at the Women’s Refugee Commission. She manages government, foundation, and corporate fundraising to improve the lives and defend the rights of refugee and internally displaced women, children, and youth.
Before joining WRC, Emily had six years of experience at humanitarian and development organizations in proposal development, grants management, and program delivery related to refugee education and sexual and gender-based violence. She recently graduated with a master’s in international educational development from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she collaborated with refugee communities on various research projects that supported an asset-perspective that refugee women and children are the experts of their own contexts. She advocates for locally driven solutions for women and children experiencing emergencies.
Emily holds a bachelor’s in international service from American University and a master’s in international educational development from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Senior Research Advisor
Katherine Gambir is a senior research advisor at the Women’s Refugee Commission. She advises WRC’s research, monitoring, and evaluation efforts across program areas. She ensures WRC designs, implements, and evaluates programs and research projects using precise and participatory-based data collection and analyzes rigorous data and testimony from crisis- and conflict-affected individuals to inform programming and advocacy. Katherine also leads research trainings and capacity-building of WRC staff and global partners.
Prior to joining WRC in 2019, Katherine, an expert in sexual and reproductive health and rights research, co-managed the poverty, gender, and youth research program at the Population Council, providing quality assurance and technical support to 14 global country offices on research projects in 30 low-resource countries. She also conducted research on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and family planning in Sierra Leone and Zambia and provided technical support on girl-centered program design for organizations serving indigenous girls in Latin America, Mozambique, and the United States. Previously, she developed automated surveillance systems and Mhealth apps, directed needs assessments, evaluated global health programs, and facilitated trainings on community-based behavior change approaches.
Katherine received her master’s degree in public health from Boston University School of Public Health and a bachelor’s degree in world politics and Hispanic studies (literature) from Hamilton College. She is also a certified labor doula.
Senior Advisor, IAWG
Alison Greer is a senior advisor, sexual and reproductive health, to the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Reproductive Health in Crises. The Women’s Refugee Commission hosts the IAWG secretariat at its New York office.
Alison manages IAWG’s Training Partnership Initiative. She works in collaboration with IAWG members and partners to support the development of regional, national, and local capacity to effectively coordinate and deliver quality sexual and reproductive health services from the onset of a crisis response. In addition, she provides general support to IAWG and serves on its Maternal and Newborn Health, Supplies, and Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights sub-working groups. She has been with IAWG since 2016.
Alison received her master of public health and master of public administration in international health policy and management from New York University, and holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature, French, and history from Oberlin College.
Associate Director, Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights
Catherine Harrington is an associate director at the Women’s Refugee Commission and campaign manager of theGlobal Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, a coalition of national and international NGOs, UN agencies, academics, and civil society partners. The Global Campaign is housed within the Women’s Refugee Commission.
Catherine has more than a decade of experience in advocacy and civil society capacity-building on issues related to gender equality, human rights, and citizenship. She represents the Global Campaign as a member of the advisory committees to the UN Women-led “Equality in Law for Women and Girls by 2030” initiative and the Coalition on Every Child’s Right to a Nationality, and served on the High-Level Group on Justice for Women.
She previously worked at Women’s Learning Partnership, where she was the senior program officer for advocacy and communications. Catherine has also been a research assistant at the Center on International Cooperation and an editorial assistant for Foreign Affairs at the Council on Foreign Affairs. She has co-produced two films – one on the backlash against women’s rights post-Arab Spring,Because Our Cause Is Just, and a documentary on combating gender-based violence, From Fear to Freedom.
Catherine holds a master’s degree in global affairs from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Tulane University.
Program Assistant, Migrant Rights and Justice Program
Kate Harrison is the program assistant for the Migrant Rights and Justice (MRJ) program at the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC). She provides administrative support and helps to track budgets and spending. She also supports the MRJ team in their research and advocacy on topics such as access to asylum.
Prior to joining WRC, Kate worked as a direct service provider at a refugee resettlement agency, providing assistance to clients in accessing employment, housing, and education as clients started their new lives in the United States.
Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations and Middle East studies from Hampshire College where she wrote her thesis on the impact of forced migration on Syrian women and children in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.
Policy Advisor, Migrant Rights and Justice Program
Kimiko Hirota is a policy advisor for Women’s Refugee Commission’s Migrant Rights and Justice program. She conducts research and advocacy to promote fair, safe, and humane access to asylum at the US-Mexico border and throughout the United States.
Prior to joining WRC, Kimiko worked on immigration and citizenship issues with the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee as a John Gardner Public Service Fellow. Kimiko previously worked at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute as a research assistant and at the National Partnership for Women & Families as a workplace advocacy intern.
Kimiko holds bachelor’s degrees in sociology and comparative studies in race and ethnicity from Stanford University. There, she wrote an award-winning honors thesis examining immigration services at the US-Mexico border, for which she interviewed more than 35 immigration attorneys, government officials, nonprofit employees, and volunteers.
Advisor, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Lily Jacobi is an advisor with the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Program and research unit. She works in a number of areas, including family planning, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and community-based disaster preparedness for sexual and reproductive health.
Prior to joining WRC, Lily worked with programs in St. Louis and Chicago supporting survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence and has conducted research and advocacy on a range of topics, including abortion access and rights in humanitarian settings, gender-based violence among asylum seekers from Mexico and Central America, and migration and trafficking in Europe.
Lily received her master’s degree in human rights studies from Columbia University and her bachelor’s degree in anthropology and women, gender, and sexuality studies from Washington University in St. Louis.
Director of Institutional Giving
Nicole Jordania is the director of institutional giving at the Women’s Refugee Commission. She leads the organization’s foundation, corporate, and government fundraising in support of its work to improve the lives and defend the rights of refugee and internally displaced women, children, and youth.
Nicole has over 20 years’ experience in program development, grants management, and fundraising that bridges international development with both private and nonprofit sector management. In addition to fundraising development, she has designed and managed multi-million dollar assistance initiatives to strengthen women’s economic empowerment and to serve populations of youth, refugees, internally displaced persons, racial and ethnic minorities, seniors, and women and children.
Before joining WRC, Nicole held senior institutional partnerships positions at Children’s Health Fund, EastWest Institute, HIAS, and Hadassah in New York. Previously, she managed humanitarian relief programs overseas for Save the Children and USAID. From 2012 – 2014, she served as co-chairwoman of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Commission and Consultative Board coordinator at the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia. She is also an expert contributor to the first UN Global Compact CSR Manual for Georgia, “Winning with Integrity.”
Nicole earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in history and Slavic studies, and conducted graduate work at Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in Middle East cultures and languages.
Vice President, Finance and Administration
Eldar Kekic is the Women’s Refugee Commission’s vice president, finance and administration. He leads the organization’s financial management function, including planning, budgeting, and reporting.
Eldar has more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit financial management and accounting. Originally from Bosnia, he has dedicated much of his career in the US to working with nonprofit agencies. Prior to coming to WRC as finance controller in 2011, he spent 12 years with Volunteers of America, where, most recently, he was senior staff accountant.
Eldar holds a master’s degree in accounting from Hunter College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting from Baruch College, where he graduated magna cum laude.
Sarah Knaster is associate director, coordinating theInter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Reproductive Health in Crises. The Women’s Refugee Commission hosts the IAWG secretariat at its New York office.
Prior to joining IAWG in 2013, Sarah worked as a communicationsassistant at Doctors Without Borders and as a development associate at the Guttmacher Institute.
Sarah received a master’s degree in public health with a specialization in forced migration from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. As a student she led a mixed-method family planning baseline study among Burmese refugees living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which was part of a multi-country study led by the Women’s Refugee Commission, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Senior Director, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Program
Sandra Krause is the Women’s Refugee Commission’s senior director, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Program. She provides strategic direction on sexual and reproductive health advocacy and research.
Sandra has been active in the public health arena for 30 years, 25 of which have been devoted to international health. She has worked in various regions, including Thailand, Haiti, Colombia, and Croatia, as well as numerous countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Sandra has conducted reproductive health needs assessments in multiple emergency settings. She has established health programs for refugees and internally displaced persons in Somalia, Sudan, and Malawi, where she was a country director. She established the health unit and worked as the international health advisor for six years at the headquarters of a leading humanitarian response agency.
Sandra has extensive experience advocating to a wide array of actors, including the UN, the US and European governments, donors, and domestic and international relief organizations; conducting field research; publishing articles and media releases; developing technical resources; conducting trainings; and convening networks and leading coalitions that support sexual and reproductive health for displaced persons.
Sandra is a registered nurse with a master’s degree in public health administration from the University of Minnesota.
Senior Director, External Communications
Joanna Kuebler is the Women’s Refugee Commission’s senior director of external communications. She directs WRC’s strategic communications operation.
Joanna has more than two decades of experience in government, political, and NGO communications and strategic planning. Prior to joining WRC in 2017, she served in senior roles in global education and sexual and reproductive health and rights at NGOs, developing and implementing communications plans that increased organizational awareness and demonstrated internal and external impact. Joanna also has extensive government communications experience at both the state and federal levels, including in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. She served as the long-time communications director for US Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), including running communications for his successful 2006 Senate campaign. Joanna has worked closely with TV, print, and radio media from around the world, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, MSNBC, and the BBC.
Joanna holds a bachelor’s degree in English and political science from Millersville University.
Dhana B. Lama is the program/officer manager at the Women’s Refugee Commission. Previously, he was WRC’s program coordinator. In his current role, he oversees and manages the organization’s travel, logistics, security, and administrative matters.
Before coming to WRC in 2011, Dhana worked as an administrative assistant for the United Nations Population Fund for South and West Asia.
Dhana has a bachelor’s degree in business studies from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He is fluent in Hindi and Nepali.
Executive Assistant and Board Liaison
Tania Maddalena is the executive assistant and board liaison at the Women’s Refugee Commission. She manages the executive director’s office along with all board-related matters.
Before joining WRC, Tania built her foundation in global humanitarian operations at the International Rescue Committee and Helen Keller International, where she supported the executive management team and key stakeholders. She spearheaded board engagement activities, such as field visits with global programs, and coordinated special events and initiatives.
Tania holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science and government from Pace University.
Ava McLaughlin Gagliardi
Ava McLaughlin Gagliardi is the program assistant at the Women’s Refugee Commission. She provides administrative support across all of WRC’s programs.
Prior to joining WRC, Ava worked at the Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs as the design research fellow leading the Design for Humanity initiative. The initiative focuses on the ability of the design fields to impact humanitarian response related to migration, conflict, crises, and climate change. Ava previously worked with youth leadership development and educational programs in Belize, Philadelphia, and New York City.
Ava holds a master’s degree in international political economy and development from Fordham University. As an undergrad, she studied psychology and anthropology.
Senior Legal Advisor
Jessica Mider is the Women’s Refugee Commission’s senior legal advisor. She provides legal advice on issues that include review of contracts, policies, and other legal documents, compliance, risk, corporate relations, and governance.
Jessica started her legal career in London where she represented clients in the mining, insurance, and telecommunications industries, as well as sovereign issuers, in matters relating to corporate finance, securities regulation, and corporate governance.
Jessica received her law degree from Cornell Law School. Prior to studying law, Jessica received her bachelor’s degree from Drew University.
Grants Management Unit Lead
Norrisa Noel is the grants management unit lead at WRC. She is responsible for leading the grants unit through managing the organization’s grant portfolio, including but not limited to budget proposals for grant applications and post-award grant administration.
Prior to joining WRC, Norrisa worked exclusively in the nonprofit sector, most notably at Harlem Children’s Zone managing the finances of their charter schools, then at Planned Parenthood of New York City (post 2020 merger, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York), where she managed a portfolio of over $15M in governmental and private funding.
Norrisa is a graduate of Baruch College, CUNY, where she obtained both her bachelor’s degree in accounting and her master of public administration. She is also a New York State notary.
Director, Migrant Rights and Justice Program
Katharina Obser is the director of the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Migrant Rights and Justice program, where she advocates on the national level for the rights of women, children, and families seeking protection. An expert on US immigration detention, she writes and presents frequently on immigration detention and refugee protection issues, and has researched and authored numerous reports on asylum, detention, and case management alternatives to detention in the United States, as well as the European refugee response.
She previously researched and advocated on immigration detention issues at Human Rights First, where she also worked to expand access to legal representation nationally for asylum seekers and immigrants, and earlier coordinated Human Rights First’s pro bono legal representation program for indigent asylum seekers in the Washington, DC, office.
Katharina holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and French from the University of Michigan, and a master’s degree in forced migration studies from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.
Senior Grants Accountant
Solange Ondende is the Women’s Refugee Commission’s senior grants accountant. A member of the finance team, she is responsible for managing the organization grants portfolio; ensuring the accurate and timely tracking of WRC’s grants and sub-grants spending, including preparing the budget proposals for grant applications; the operations of post-award grant administration and related accounting duties, such as budget modifications, expenses analysis, financial reporting to donors, and journal entries; and ensuring that grant spending complies with donors’ rules and regulations.
Prior to joining WRC in 2011, Solange worked at AHRC, an organization that serves more than 15,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in New York City, most recently as business manager. In this capacity she was responsible for monthly reconciliations, preparing budget performance reports, and keeping track of all awarded grants, as well as preparing budget modifications and journal entries
Solange has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in accounting from Hunter College.
Director, Human Resources
Leathy Pittman joined the Women’s Refugee Commission as human resources (HR) director in 2018.
In her junior year of college, Leathy landed a role as an HR intern at Time Inc., which the company created especially for her. After graduation, she was invited to stay on and begin a career in HR,working largely at their publishing arm where she supported some of their core businesses and magazine titles (Time, Essence, People). After “growing up” within the ranks of the media giant, Leathy has assumed a vast number of HR roles.
Over the years, Leathy has expanded her interests to include cognitive science and innovative HR solutions. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management.
Leathy holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, with minors in anthropology and women’s studies, from the University at Albany.
Chief Writer and Editor
Diana Quick is the Women’s Refugee Commission’s chief writer and editor. Since 2018, she has managed all aspects of the organization’s editorial production, including writing and editing website content, reports, and other publications. From 1995 to 2016, she worked in a range of communications roles at WRC, covering all areas of internal and external communications.
Before she returned to WRC, Diana was communications and digital strategist at ChildFund Alliance. She led all aspects of communications of the Secretariat of a global network of children’s development and rights organizations. Early in her career, she worked at Amnesty International USA and at the Quaker United Nations Office in New York.
Diana holds a bachelor’s degree in linguistic and international studies from the University of Surrey in the UK. She also studied in Paris and Berlin.
Associate Director, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Program
Sarah Rich is the Women’s Refugee Commission’s associate director of the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Program. She leads the organization’s work on improving access to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and nutrition services in northeast Nigeria through an innovative project supporting the state government to develop and implement community and primary health care programming. She also co-leads the Inter-agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises sub-working groups on supplies and contraception. Her prior projects at WRC focused on improving care for survivors of gender-based violence and integrating gender and sexual and reproductive health into disaster risk reduction in Pakistan.
Sarah has worked in reproductive health, gender, and poverty reduction advocacy, programs, and evaluation for more than 15 years across a wide range of settings, including Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Senegal, India, and the United States. Prior to joining WRC, Sarah was a senior technical advisor for the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, where she led advocacy strategies to integrate emergency contraception into reproductive health and post-rape care efforts at the global and national levels. She also co-chaired the family planning technical resource team of the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children under the Every Woman Every Child initiative.
Sarah received her master’s degree in public affairs with a focus on international development from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and her bachelor’s degree in international relations and women’s studies from Pomona College.
Melina is the campaign manager for #WelcomewithDignity, a national campaign for asylum rights in the United States. The Women’s Refugee Commission is a member of the campaign.
Melina brings over six years of experience developing and managing digital and in-person advocacy campaigns at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). There she regularly consulted with the organization’s nationwide members and developed advocacy strategies based on AILA’s national and state and local chapter strategic priorities. Before her time at AILA, Melina was engaged in community outreach and development at the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. (LALDEF), a community-based organization in New Jersey. A proud Guatemalan immigrant, Melina is fluent in Spanish and holds a master’s degree in public policy and bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and communications, all from Monmouth University.
Katherine Sarkis Acerra
Senior Director of Individual Engagement and Marketing
Katherine leads the Women’s Refugee Commission’s engagement efforts. She works to grow and strengthen relationships with the many generous individual donors and extraordinary friends whose meaningful commitment of unrestricted support empowers the WRC’s mission, expands our reach, and deepens our impact for displaced women, children, and the most vulnerable.
Before WRC, Katherine served in key marketing and fundraising roles at leading organizations—the International Rescue Committee and Helen Keller International—where she drove bold, all-embracing strategies to build vital, donor-centric brands rooted in client voices and humanitarian values.
Over 30 years in the nonprofit and social sector, Katherine has managed change, complexity, and crisis to shape campaigns, platforms, and partnerships that inspire connection and giving. She has been a grateful collaborator with global coalitions and local communities to help protect and transform human rights and lives.
Katherine holds a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from The New School.
Maura Sawyer is the Women’s Refugee Commission’s controller. She is responsible for coordinating annual audits and 990 tax return filing; performing monthly financial closing and preparing accurate and timely financial statements; analyzing financial statements for discrepancies; performing general ledger journal entries; reconciling balance sheet accounts; assisting the finance director with the day-to-day financial operations and resolving accounting issues; maintaining internal controls and integrity of the accounting system; and administration of the payroll and supporting human resources with compliance-related issues.
She has more than 25 years of experience in corporate accounting, including financial statements reporting and analysis, and has extensive experience in budgeting, auditing, payroll, and tax. Before joining WRC in 2016, Maura worked as a senior accountant for the Wallace Foundation for 10 years, and for Rockefeller & Co. for 12.5 years as an accounting manager.
Maura holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a major in accounting from University of the East, Manila, Philippines, a forensic accounting certificate from New York University, and a certificate in nonprofit accounting.
Senior Digital Media Officer
Christine Show is the Women’s Refugee Commission’s senior digital media officer. She oversees the strategy and operations of WRC’s digital communications, including its website, social media, and email platforms.
Christine’s previous experience includes serving as associate director of digital platforms at the Joyful Heart Foundation and as website editor at Columbia Law School, and working as a reporter for several news organizations, including the Orlando Sentinel, Associated Press, and Newsday.
Christine holds a master’s degree in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in newspaper journalism and women’s studies from Syracuse University. At Syracuse, Christine served as student representative on the board of directors of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Salonee Onta Shrestha
Salonee Onta Shrestha is the Women’s Refugee Commission’s staff accountant. She is responsible for accounts payable and receivables, accounts reconciliation and analysis, and provides support with the monthly closing, annual audit, and other critical accounting functions.
Salonee has more than 16 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Most recently, she worked for over six years at Seeds of Peace, a peace-building youth organization that works in seven countries worldwide to bring youth from areas of conflict to its international camp in Maine.
Salonee earned a bachelor’s degree in business, with a major in finance, from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal.