Our Team

Our Staff

  • Dr. Susan M. Blaustein, Founder and Executive Director of WomenStrong International

    Dr. Susan M. Blaustein

    Founder and Executive Director

    Susan sets the vision and strategic direction for WomenStrong, including its grantmaking, the Learning Lab model, knowledge and learning, and communications.

  • Hannah Barrueta Sacksteder, Program and Equity Manager of WomenStrong International

    Hannah Barrueta Sacksteder

    Program and Equity Manager

    Hannah supports the management and organization of the Learning Lab community, and works to ensure diversity, inclusion, and equity are reflected in WomenStrong and Learning Lab activities.

  • Elizabeth Gibbens, Senior Advisor for External Communications of WomenStrong International

    Elizabeth Gibbens

    Senior Advisor for External Communications

    Elizabeth leads strategic external communications to support the awareness and engagement of WomenStrong and its partners.

  • Amy Gregowski, Director of Research  of WomenStrong International

    Amy Gregowski

    Director of Research

    Amy leads WomenStrong’s Knowledge and Learning efforts, including assessing WomenStrong’s model and providing technical guidance to partners on monitoring, evaluation, and learning.

  • Dr. Chisina Kapungu, Director of Learning and Organizational Strengthening of WomenStrong International

    Dr. Chisina Kapungu

    Director of Learning and Organizational Strengthening

    Chisina oversees the Learning Lab, including technical areas focused on girls’ education, women’s health, violence prevention, and economic opportunity.

  • Michelle Lambert, Senior Advisor for Program Communications of WomenStrong International

    Michelle Lambert

    Senior Advisor for Program Communications

    Michelle leads WomenStrong’s program communications, amplifying the work of WomenStrong and its partners.

  • Denise Mishiwiec, Senior Grants Manager of WomenStrong International

    Denise Mishiwiec

    Senior Grants Manager

    Denise leads the development and implementation of WomenStrong’s grant systems and policies, oversees the organization’s portfolio of agreements, and manages the full lifecycle of grants.

  • Charity Namara, Technical Advisor, Capacity Strengthening  of WomenStrong International

    Charity Namara

    Technical Advisor, Capacity Strengthening

    Charity manages WomenStrong International’s Learning Lab and support activities that promote community-building, peer learning, and capacity-strengthening among Learning Lab partners.

  • Mara Steinhaus, Senior Research & Learning Specialist  of WomenStrong International

    Mara Steinhaus

    Senior Research & Learning Specialist

    Mara provides technical assistance to WomenStrong’s partners to improve their research, monitoring and evaluation, and products to share their findings.

  • Naomi Walston, Director of Strategy and Engagement of WomenStrong International

    Naomi Walston

    Director of Strategy and Engagement

    Naomi directs strategy and fundraising efforts, drawing on her extensive experience as a program manager, technical advisor, and researcher.

  • Bianca Zhang, Chief Operating Officer of WomenStrong International

    Bianca Zhang

    Chief Operating Officer

    Bianca oversees WomenStrong’s operations, finances, administration, IT systems, and team resources and strategy.

Our Board of Directors

  • Prof. Yasmine Ergas, WomenStrong International Board Member of WomenStrong International

    Prof. Yasmine Ergas

    WomenStrong International Board Member

    Prof. Yasmine Ergas is Director of the Specialization on Gender and Public Policy and Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and Senior Advisor to Columbia’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights.

  • Steve Kass, WomenStrong International Board Member of WomenStrong International

    Steve Kass

    WomenStrong International Board Member

    Steve Kass serves as Senior Environmental Counsel at Carter Ledyard and Milburn LLP, and Adjunct Professor at Brooklyn Law School and at NYU’s Center on Global Affairs.

  • Cathy Lee, WomenStrong International Board Member of WomenStrong International

    Cathy Lee

    WomenStrong International Board Member

    Ms. Catherine A. Lee, founder and manager of Lee International Business Development since 1997, focuses her current practice on climate change policy, projects and programs domestically and internationally.

  • Dr. Howard C. Mandel, MD, FACOG, WomenStrong International Board Member of WomenStrong International

    Dr. Howard C. Mandel, MD, FACOG

    WomenStrong International Board Member

    Dr. Howard C. Mandel, FACOG, is a practicing obstetrician gynecologist in Los Angeles with extensive leadership in political advocacy.

  • Prof. Geeta Mehta, WomenStrong International Board Member of WomenStrong International

    Prof. Geeta Mehta

    WomenStrong International Board Member

    Prof. Geeta Mehta is an adjunct professor of architecture and urban design at Columbia University in New York, where she teaches seminars and design studios that have worked in India, China, Austria, France, Ukraine, Colombia, Brazil, Jamaica, Ghana and Kenya.

  • Heather Goldberg Mendelow, WomenStrong International Board Member of WomenStrong International

    Heather Goldberg Mendelow

    WomenStrong International Board Member

    Heather Goldberg Mendelow is an attorney and teacher. Most recently, Heather practiced law at Pfizer as a Senior Corporate Counsel for a variety of drug portfolios. Prior to practicing law, Heather taught elementary school in Compton, California for three years as a Teach For America corps member.

  • Pam Schutz, WomenStrong International Board Member of WomenStrong International

    Pam Schutz

    WomenStrong International Board Member

    Pam Schutz, a seasoned financial services executive, is the retired CEO of Retirement and Protection for Genworth, a spin-off of GE.

  • Peggy Shepard, WomenStrong International Board Member of WomenStrong International

    Peggy Shepard

    WomenStrong International Board Member

    Community activist, environmental health researcher and advocate; Co-Founder and Executive Director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice (WE ACT)

  • Robin Smalley, WomenStrong International Board Member of WomenStrong International

    Robin Smalley

    WomenStrong International Board Member

    Robin Smalley, an Emmy Award-winning television director/producer/writer, is co-founder of mothers2mothers, a Cape Town based NGO providing education, empowerment and support to pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV/AIDS in Africa.