BRAC USA Staff

Click on images for team bios.

Vice President
Sharad AggarwalVice President

Vice President Sharad Aggarwal works with the President and CEO to guide and strengthen all BRAC USA activities related to programs and development. He joined BRAC USA in September 2015, after more than 15 years with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

 

As Director of International Programs at UMCOR, he identified and implemented strategies for program, organizational and resource development, while overseeing staff and program operations in the Balkans, Caucasus, Africa and Asia. He also led program alignment with headquarters business development, monitoring and evaluation, human resources and finance and risk management units, while ensuring systems promoting program quality were developed and applied consistently at UMCOR’s country offices.

 

Sharad has almost 20 years of experience in overseas and domestic PVO relief and transitional development programs, serving previously with the International Rescue Committee in Washington, D.C., Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and with Mercy Corps/Scottish European Aid in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 

He holds a master’s in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service with a concentration in International Public and Non-profit Management and Policy. Sharad completed his undergraduate studies at Brown University, where he concentrated in International Relations as well as Modern Literature and Society.

Public Education Consultant
Emily BellPublic Education Consultant

Emily consults with BRAC USA to provide strategic guidance and explore funding opportunities that enhance its public engagement strategy.

 

She brings over 13 years of experience in nonprofit advocacy, communications, grant management and fundraising, including at the United Nations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, and other leading nonprofit organizations.

Senior Advisor
David BruscinoSenior Advisor

David Bruscino is the Senior Advisor to BRAC USA where he helps lead BRAC’s microfinance multiplied partnership with the MasterCard Foundation, as well as contributing to other key programs. Before joining BRAC USA as a Senior Advisor in June 2015, he previously dedicated his time as a volunteer.

 

David advises social enterprises and nonprofit organizations abroad and domestically on strategy, management and organizational matters. Prior to joining the team, he spent a combined 14 years as a senior executive and attorney with Hewlett-Packard and AOL Latin America, 12 of those in South America, Asia and Europe. During that time, he managed a budget exceeding $80 million, including 375 professionals in 40 countries. David began his career as a partner with the international firm of Baker & Hostetler.

 

David earned his MBA from the Fundação Instituto de Administração (Brazil), a JD from the University of Michigan Law School, and a BA in Economics from the University of Notre Dame. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Taproot Foundation. He is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.

Senior Communications and Marketing Associate
Emily CoppelSenior Communications and Marketing Associate

Emily Coppel is the Senior Communications and Marketing Associate and communications lead at BRAC USA, where she oversees outreach, communications and public fundraising to garner support for BRAC in North America.

 

Emily brings a background in multimedia journalism and non-profit program management of youth education programs, with previous experience in New York and Johannesburg, South Africa. Her work has been featured in the Mail and Guardian newspaper, the Guardian, KBIA radio (an NPR affiliate) and NextBillion. She has contributed to publications in the Harvard Business Review.

 

Emily is passionate about finding engaging ways to tell stories that empower disadvantaged communities.

Finance Associate and Intern Coordinator
Amanda CucchiaraFinance Associate and Intern Coordinator

Amanda is the Finance Associate and Intern Coordinator at BRAC USA, where she contributes to its financial management and oversees its volunteer and intern program.

 

Previously, she performed research on the regional aspirations of middle-class college students in Northern India. She has also interned with the Logistics Department of the United States Army Europe in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

 

Amanda earned a bachelor’s in International Relations, with minors in Asian Studies and Political Science, from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Education Program Manager
Devon RitzerEducation Program Manager

Devon Ritzer is the Education Program Manager at BRAC USA where she supports BRAC with technical assistance, public engagement and strategic fundraising.

 

Previously, Devon was the Head of Global Education and Workforce Development at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York, where she advised CGI members on planning, designing, and partnership brokering for their education and workforce development projects. Devon also worked for USAID’s Office of Education as an Education and Youth Development Specialist, where she worked across the agency’s education portfolio to design, monitor and evaluate equitable access for children and youth worldwide.

 

Prior to completing her graduate studies, she lived in Mexico City, where she worked in educational advising at the Institute of International Education, and taught Latin American History and Creative Writing at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, a Mexican preparatory school and university. She earned her master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, with a concentration in Economic and Political Development. Devon also holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American and Latino Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Devon is fluent in Spanish and has worked on development projects extensively throughout Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia.

Program Manager, Ultra Poor Graduation Initiative
Harshani DharmadasaProgram Manager, Ultra Poor Graduation Initiative

Harshani is a Program Manager with the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative where she contributes to proposal development and management of grants and provides technical assistance for existing and emerging clients implementing Graduation programs worldwide. She recently supported the design of phase four of BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra-poor program and development of the “Graduation Boot Camp,” a professional development opportunity to identify and train an effective cadre of BRAC staff to represent the Graduation approach worldwide and provide high-quality technical assistance.

 

Previously, Harshani was a consultant with UN Women where she analyzed gender inequalities within national law and policies regarding health, education and employment in Africa and Asia. She was also a Strategic Litigation Fellow at the Open Society Foundations in New York, where she prepared motions for litigation in national and regional systems on issues of economic justice, with a particular focus on displaced and stateless communities in Latin America and Africa. As a Research Officer for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, she participated on fact-finding missions to assess the health conditions of vulnerable communities, facilitated training modules and workshops for health professionals, and worked with local advocates to reform national health laws.

 

Harshani has also held legal support roles at the United Nations Democracy Fund, the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia, the Australian Asylum Seeker Resource Center, and Red Cross Australia. She holds a Masters of Law, with a specialty in International and Comparative Law, from George Washington University, as well as a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts, Honors, from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

Program Manager
Aissatou DialloProgram Manager

Aissatou Diallo is a Program Manager at BRAC USA, where she focuses on promoting BRAC’s financial inclusion and adolescent development work in Sub-Saharan Africa. Aissatou leads BRAC’s global adolescent portfolio and manages its resilience-based project targeting women entrepreneurs in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

 

Aissatou has more than seven years of experience working across sectors to promote international development, with focus areas around immigration and women and children. Prior to joining BRAC USA, she worked with Zenith Bank in Ghana, and at the African Services Committee where she addressed immigrant rights. Previously, Aissatou also held positions with the Sirleaf Market Women Fund (Ministry of Gender Affairs in Liberia) and with the National Immigration Law Center.

 

Aissatou possesses an academic background in finance, public policy, communications and law. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the University of Ghana Business School. She also holds a Juris Doctor from the UCLA School of Law and a Master of Arts in Communications from New York University, where she was a member of the inaugural class of Reynolds Fellows, a fellowship that encourages social entrepreneurship.

 

A native of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Aissatou is deeply passionate about creating a more equitable world. She is a member of the New York Bar Association and was editor for the UCLA Journal for International Affairs, as well as UCLA’s Women’s Law Journal and National Black Law Journal.

President & CEO
Donella RapierPresident & CEO

Donella Rapier is the President and CEO of BRAC USA, the US affiliate of BRAC, a global leader in creating opportunities for the world’s poor. She joined BRAC USA in July 2016, bringing more than 30 years of experience in finance, fundraising, and strengthening and scaling nonprofit organizations.

 

Before joining BRAC USA, Donella served as the Chief Development and Administrative Officer at Accion, a pioneer and global leader in microfinance and financial inclusion whose work spans nearly two dozen countries. Prior to that, she was the Chief Financial Officer at Partners In Health, a global healthcare organization working in remote places where healthcare alternatives are limited or otherwise nonexistent, such as Haiti, Rwanda and Malawi. Earlier in her career, Donella spent more than a decade in senior leadership roles at Harvard University, including Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Development and Chief Financial Officer for Harvard Business School. Donella received her MBA from Harvard Business School and began her career at Price Waterhouse.

 

Donella is an active alumna of HBS. She has served on the Advisory Board to the HBS Women’s Student Association since its founding in 2007, when she served as its inaugural Chair. She is a Board Director and Treasurer for Kepler, a nonprofit university program based in Africa and designed for the developing world. She also serves as a Trustee and Treasurer for the Lake Titus Protective Association in the Adirondacks, where her family vacations.

 

An outdoor enthusiast, Donella enjoys running, bicycling, hiking and kayaking. She lives in Boston, MA, with her husband, Andy Pickett, a practicing attorney. They have three successful grown children.

Senior Advisor and Chief Knowledge Officer
Rod DubitskySenior Advisor and Chief Knowledge Officer

Rod Dubitsky is Senior Advisor and Chief Knowledge Officer for BRAC USA. Rod’s involvement with BRAC USA dates to 2007 as a volunteer. He joined the Advisory Council in 2009, and the Board in 2011. In 2011, he coauthored with BRAC a chapter discussing agriculture and microfinance in the book, “New Pathways out of Poverty.” In his current role, Rod provides coverage of Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as supporting BRAC’s agriculture and microfinance programs. He has also played a key role in BRAC’s Ebola response. In addition, Rod has produced knowledge products including a summary review of BRAC’s impact research and a primer on BRAC’s social enterprise programs.

 

Prior to joining BRAC, Rod was an executive vice president and lead asset expert in PIMCO’s Advisory Group. PIMCO Advisory played a leading role in several of the most important financial crises bailout programs. Prior to joining PIMCO in 2009, he was managing director and head of asset-backed securities research at Credit Suisse, where he helped create residential mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and Asset-Backed (ABS) surveillance and analytics systems. He was ranked as a leading analyst in asset-backed securities by Institutional Investor magazine in 2002-2008.

 

Rod has volunteered with TechnoServe in Peru, where he contributed to research related to the development of the cocoa value chain. He holds an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and an economics degree from the State University of New York, Binghamton.

Senior Program Associate
Stacia FrederickSenior Program Associate

Stacia is the Senior Program Associate at BRAC USA where she manages Board relations, liaises with the CEO and supports grant management.

 

Previously, she was the Housing Coordinator at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, where she designed and developed a new housing program to place chronically homeless patients in sustainable, supportive housing. She was also a fundraising intern with the nonprofit international organization, Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa, where she researched and wrote proposals to support innovative youth development initiatives.

 

Stacia holds a master’s in International Affairs from The New School and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Sciences with a Minor in Africana Studies from Rutgers University.

Program Manager, Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative
Ian OrtonProgram Manager, Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative

Ian is a Program Manager for the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative at BRAC USA, where he works with the team to promote global advocacy of the Graduation approach, provide technical assistance for existing and emerging clients implementing the approach, and connect with wider social protection efforts.

 

Previously, Ian worked for the International Social Security Association of the International Labor Organization as a social protection analyst, where he produced research on social policy issues related to social protection. He was also co-editor of ‘Social Security Programs throughout the World’, a collaborative publication produced by the ISSA and the United States’ Social Security Administration.

 

His main research interests include the impact of the financial crisis on social protection, how social protection can improve resilience to climate change, the political economy dimensions of the basic income proposal, and the social and economic effects of social transfers.  Notably, he also co-authored the UN’s 2011 Bachelet report: “Social Protection Floor for a Fair Globalization” for the International Labour Organization.

 

With an academic background in political theory and philosophy, he earned his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Northampton in 2006. He is also a qualified university lecturer and has taught courses in political theory and sociology at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels at a number of universities in the UK and in Mexico City.

Program and Development Associate
Linda PatentasProgram and Development Associate

As the Program and Development Associate, Linda Patentas directly supports the entire program team to maintain efficiency and secure capital flows for projects that reach vulnerable communities around the world.

 

Linda has more than four years of professional experience working in international development and related fields, including finance, strategic programming, community engagement and communications, at a variety of institutions including the World Bank, the United Nations, the Synergos Institute and Slum Dwellers International. Prior to joining BRAC, Linda was a research associate for a New York-based private equity firm, where she furthered her understanding of investments and how to leverage market-based solutions to support international development initiatives.

 

She holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from The New School, with concentrations in Economic Development and Urbanization & Social Justice. She also holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Global Affairs and Spanish Language & Literature from Loyola University Maryland, where she was inducted to the Alpha Sigma Nu honor society for scholarship and service.

Senior Writer and Communications Specialist
Scott MacMillanSenior Writer and Communications Specialist

Scott is the Senior Writer and Communications Specialist with BRAC USA where he directs communications and public fundraising for North America.

 

A writer and former journalist, he has spent most of his working life in developing countries, covering the transition from communism in central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s as a business journalist, then working as an editor and freelance writer in the Middle East. As a travel writer, his work has taken him throughout Southeast Asia, China, India, and Africa.

 

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Amherst College. His work has been published in Slate, The Boston Globe, and The Chicago Tribune.

Communications and Marketing Associate
Matt KertmanCommunications and Marketing Associate

Matt Kertman is the Communications and Marketing Associate at BRAC USA where he finds creative ways to tell the BRAC story to a North American audience.

 

A returned Peace Corps volunteer (South Africa, ’10-’12), he brings a decade of experience in nonprofit outreach, development and communications to BRAC USA. Matt cut his teeth producing documentaries for veteran journalist Bill Moyers at New York’s WNET and retains an interest in how we all tell our stories.

 

He received his Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies from Wesleyan University. You can find him on the trail, most weekends, punishing his Nikes.

Finance & Administration Manager
Whitney ReichenbackerFinance & Administration Manager

Whitney Reichenbacker is the Manager of Finance and Administration at BRAC USA, where she oversees finance, operations, benefits, HR and technology.

 

She has more than 10 years of experience in finance and operations in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

 

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Evansville in Indiana.

Project Director, Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative
Sadna SamaranayakeProject Director, Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative

Sadna manages consulting services and provides technical assistance to external governments and INGOs related to BRAC’s pioneering Ultra-Poor Graduation approach. In addition to consulting services, Sadna also manages the creation and dissemination of knowledge products and global advocacy efforts related to the Graduation approach, including outreach and engagement with implementing and funding agencies, immersion training and speaking engagements related to Graduation.

 

Prior to her work at BRAC USA, she founded and was Managing Partner of B Inclusive, an organization providing consulting services to help market-based, BoP initiatives and inclusive businesses grow and thrive. She has consulted on strategy, barriers to scale, effective messaging and knowledge products for various social enterprises and development sector organizations. Her clients include The World Bank Group, World Bank Institute, Vision Spring, The Network Enterprises Fund and Ashoka’s Full Economic Citizenship Initiative. Previously, Sadna was the founder and Managing Partner of InSiteLogic, a technology and software development company providing solutions to a range of social enterprises, for-profit and nonprofit organizations. 

 

She writes and speaks on the subjects of livelihood development and innovation at the base of the pyramid. She earned a master’s in Social Entrepreneurship and International Development from New York University and is a recipient of the Reynolds Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs.

Program Manager
Adam SchwartzProgram Manager

Adam Schwartz is a Health Program Manager at BRAC USA where he helps oversee the organization’s health portfolio. His current portfolio focuses on a variety of projects, including efforts to rebuild health systems in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the wake of the Ebola epidemic.

 

Prior to joining BRAC USA, Adam worked as a researcher and clinician in Botswana and India, with a focus on health systems strengthening, primary care expansion and mHealth implementation. A physician by training, Adam splits his time between BRAC USA and Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, where he is a primary care doctor. He is also on the faculty at the New York University School of Medicine.

 

Adam received his M.D. from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and completed his residency training in internal medicine at Weill Cornell Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.

Program Manager
Ashley ToombsProgram Manager

Ashley Toombs is a Program Manager at BRAC USA where she supports technical assistance efforts, public engagement and strategic fundraising initiatives.

 

Previously, Ashley was part of the fundraising team at the Nature Conservancy’s New York office. She also spent four years working with the Peruvian Environmental Ministry first as a Peace Corps Volunteer and, after, as a technical facilitator specializing in community-based environmental management and youth development.

 

She holds a master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, with a concentration in Environmental Science and Policy. Ashley completed her undergraduate studies at Fairfield University, where she majored in International Studies and Spanish, with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Nepal Fellow
Sheetal TuladharNepal Fellow

A native of Kathmandu, Nepal, Sheetal joined BRAC USA in January 2015 as an intern and again in July 2015 as a Fellow. After a 7.9 Richter scale earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, 2015, killing more than 9,000 people and injuring many more, BRAC in Bangladesh responded immediately, providing emergency relief supplies. As a fellow, Sheetal works with BRAC International to document needs on the ground and facilitate key relationships with potential program and funding partners as BRAC shifts its focus from emergency response to provision of long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in Nepal. Prior to joining BRAC, Sheetal worked with the Afghanistan Blind Women and Children Foundation and United Nations Development Programme, both in New York, providing technical and administrative assistance. Sheetal holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Salem College.

Program Manager
Lauren WhiteheadProgram Manager

As a Program Manager with the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative at BRAC USA, Lauren promotes the global advocacy of the Graduation approach, provides technical assistance for existing and emerging clients implementing the approach, and contributes to proposal development and management of research work streams for programs throughout Africa and Asia.

 

Prior to joining BRAC USA, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to design program evaluations, baseline research, and additional programming related to livelihoods, social and economic empowerment and financial inclusion targeting the ultra-poor with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ecuador. She has worked with a number of for-profit and nonprofit organizations in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa, including Accion International, Mercy Corps, the Inter-American Development Bank’s Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), d.light design, InterAction’s Alliance for International Youth Development (AIYD), HelpAge International, Tomorrow’s Youth Organization and others.

 

She possesses a background in evaluative research, program design and fundraising, with a focus on livelihoods, financial inclusion and programs designed for vulnerable and marginalized populations such as women, youth and refugees.

 

Lauren holds a master’s in Global Human Development, with certificates in Refugees & Humanitarian Emergencies and Global Social Enterprise & Development, from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and a bachelor’s in Spanish & Portuguese, with minors in Latin American Studies, Near Eastern Studies and Theater & Dance, from Princeton University.