Donella Rapier is the President and CEO of BRAC USA, the North American affiliate of BRAC, one of the largest humanitarian and development organizations in the world. Originally founded in Bangladesh, BRAC now touches the lives of more than 120 million people through programs in 11 countries across Africa and Asia. BRAC has also provided advisory services to governments and others on implementing its signature Ultra-Poor Graduation program in 9 additional countries. Donella brings 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.
An outdoor enthusiast, Donella enjoys bicycling, hiking and kayaking. She also serves as a Trustee and Treasurer for the Lake Titus Protective Association in the Adirondacks, where her family vacations. She lives in Boston, MA, with her husband, Andy Pickett, a practicing attorney. They have three successful grown children.
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.
Lindsay Coates is Managing Director of BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative, a holistic, time-bound approach to reach the poorest people and help them on a pathway out of extreme poverty.
Lindsay has nonprofit executive experience and a legal background in civil rights, which bring together her passion for human rights, the social sector, and global development. She is active as a speaker and writer on a range of topics around equity and inclusion.
Lindsay leads BRAC’s advocacy agenda to leave no one behind using effective, innovative, and multidimensional approaches to change the lives of the most marginalized people. She is also responsible for its learning agenda and technical assistance activities worldwide in the 10+ countries where BRAC is currently implementing or assisting with Graduation programs.
Before joining BRAC, Lindsay served as the president of InterAction, where she oversaw management and institutional outreach to InterAction members and partners. Lindsay has also served on the steering committee of the World Bank Global Partnership for Social Accountability, the executive committee for Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network, and the boards of Episcopal Relief and Development, United States Global Leadership Coalition, and Development Gateway. She also served on the Obama administration’s Task Force on Global Poverty.
Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, Lindsay practiced civil rights law in various capacities, including beginning her law practice in Mississippi. She is a graduate of the University of the South (Sewanee) and the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Whitney Reichenbacker is the Director 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.
Whitney earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Evansville in Indiana.
Scott works as a senior advisor for BRAC USA with a focus on knowledge management and dissemination. He manages BRAC USA’s portfolio of research grants along with other special projects.
As a writer and former journalist, his work has taken him to over 50 countries. He covered the transition from communism as a business journalist in central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, then worked as an editor and freelance writer in the Middle East in the 2000s. His stint as a travel writer took him to Southeast Asia, China, India, and Africa. He joined BRAC USA in 2011.
Scott earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Amherst College. His work has been published in Slate, The Boston Globe, and The Chicago Tribune.
Devon McLorg is the Director of Education at BRAC USA where she oversees BRAC USA’s portfolio of education grants and leads strategic advocacy efforts on behalf of BRAC in North America and beyond. Along with her team, she also supports BRAC with technical assistance and strategic fundraising.
Previously, Devon was the Head of 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 programs 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 Asia. She enjoys yoga, travel, cooking, and running around Brooklyn with her dog, George.
Ashley Toombs is the Director of External Affairs 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.
As the Regional Advisor for Youth Empowerment, Carrie provides technical support to BRAC International countries in Africa on youth programming, including program design, proposal development, and quality program implementation. She is based in East Africa.
Prior to joining BRAC, Carrie was the COO of Kepler, an innovative higher education program serving vulnerable students in East Africa. Carrie led the drive to prepare for expansion and ensured graduates were ready for transition to employment. Carrie was also the inaugural Country Director for the Akilah Institute for Women in Bujumbura, Burundi. She started with Akilah as the Academic Director in Rwanda.
Before beginning her work in East Africa, Carrie served as the National Program Director of Girls for a Change for seven years, overseeing strategy and program implementation. She also served two terms in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, worked for the Girl Scouts of Silicon Valley, and was a consultant to NGOs for more than seven years.
Carrie earned a Master’s in International and Multicultural Education with an emphasis in Human Rights Education from the University of San Francisco. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. She is also an American Association of University Women Career Development grant recipient.
Dr. Adam Schwartz is the Senior Program Manager for Health at BRAC USA, where he oversees the organization’s health portfolio.
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.
As a Senior Technical Specialist 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.
Matt Kertman is the Senior Manager for Communications 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 today retains an interest in how we all tell our stories.
Matt earned his bachelor’s from Wesleyan University. You can find him on the trail, most weekends, punishing his Nikes.
As Communications Associate, Sarah helps build brand awareness in North America and mobilize resources to support BRAC programs, primarily through digital media and marketing.
Sarah previously worked with Outreach360, an NGO focused on education and youth empowerment in Latin America, and with Community Empowerment Network, a nonprofit implementing economic development programs related to financial inclusion, agriculture, and community-based tourism in Brazil. She has also worked in the education sector as an early childhood educator at a bilingual school, and as an English teacher in Querétaro, Mexico and Jinotega, Nicaragua.
Sarah graduated summa cum laude from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and minors in Spanish Language and International Business.
As the Program Associate for the Health and Agriculture team, Annie provides strategic program support in the areas of health, nutrition, WASH, agriculture and rural livelihoods.
Prior to joining BRAC USA, Annie was a Global Health Corps fellow at Save the Mothers in Uganda. During her one-year fellowship, she designed, implemented, and evaluated projects for ten partner hospitals, including a research study to evaluate the effectiveness of a toll-free hotline on maternal and child health outcomes.
Annie is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist. She holds a Master’s in Nutrition with a concentration in Public Health as well as a Bachelor’s in Nutrition, both from Saint Louis University.
Emily Gosselin the program manager for agriculture and rural livelihoods at BRAC USA.
Emily previously served at One Acre Fund in Kenya, where she worked with teams across eight African countries and the United States to support the adaptation and roll-out of innovations, best practices, and systems in agriculture and financial inclusion. She also worked with the Council on Foreign Relations, where she managed digital publishing projects.
She holds a Master’s degree in development administration and planning from University College London and a Bachelor’s in international relations from the University of Southern California.
Meghan Greene provides senior level advice and support to BRAC USA in the continued roll-out of its goals and objectives as it seeks to expand its base of donor support.
Previously, Meghan spent five years at Accion, a global pioneer in microfinance that works to expand economic opportunity around the world. As Director of Institutional Partnerships, she grew and managed relationships with foundations, corporations, and government partners.
While at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, she served as the founding staff member of the Microfinance CEO Working Group, a collaborative initiative by the CEOs of 10 international organizations working to strengthen the industry. In this role, she led the creation of foundational strategic plans, established processes and procedures, coordinated group-wide communications, and conducted research on emerging issues in the microfinance industry.
Earlier in her career, Meghan gained research, analytical, and strategic planning experience with Root Capital and FINCA International. She also brings a background in grantmaking, philanthropic program management, and direct marketing.
Meghan earned a bachelor’s in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA in public and nonprofit management from Boston University.
Jihoon Im is a Development Associate at BRAC USA, where he supports the individual giving team’s efforts to mobilize private philanthropy for BRAC’s programs.
Prior to joining BRAC USA, Jihoon supported the development team at UC San Diego, working closely with senior fundraisers to coordinate the advancement of the University’s academic divisions. He also gained international experience at the International Food Policy Research Institute, where he worked for HarvestPlus, a global leader in the research and delivery of bio-fortified staple food crops. There, he supported the Chief Executive Officer to facilitate the management of over 160 staff across 10 countries, and worked closely with external relations and program teams to coordinate fundraising and advocacy efforts with institutional partners and donors.
Jihoon received his Bachelor of Science in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis, where he also worked with the UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute and the Land Use and Natural Resources extension program.
As a Senior Communications Associate for the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative, Bobby provides communications support for the Graduation Approach, promoting global advocacy efforts and contributing to technical assistance for its implementation.
Before joining BRAC USA, Bobby lived in Thailand, working on a variety of issues, including human rights, climate change, and migration. Previously with the Center for Social Development Studies, where he focused on policy and research projects in Southeast Asia, Bobby developed communications and engagement strategies to create opportunities for local activists and researchers to better engage with the public, sharing their knowledge to improve impact and drive change. Prior to that, he worked at a learning and development organization in New York and for the 2010 World Exposition in Shanghai.
Bobby holds a master’s degree in International Development from Chulalongkorn University as well as bachelor’s degrees in Chinese and Political Science, with a focus on International Relations, from Rutgers University.
Bobby is a passionate advocate for the underrepresented, and his experiences learning about and working with marginalized communities around the world deeply informs his approach to communications. Happy to once again reside in New York, you might find him playing volleyball or dancing to funky beats on the weekends.
As a Senior Associate for the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative, Julie promotes the global advocacy of and supports technical assistance and research for the Graduation Approach. Before joining BRAC USA, Julie was a consultant at the General Systems Consulting Group & The LEAD Institute in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Previously, she worked with CARE International in Sri Lanka to develop and implement a handloom weaving entrepreneurship program for women-headed households in post-conflict regions. She also worked with the International Water Management Institute in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to design a livelihoods survey and participatory mapping project for smallholder farmers.
Julie has extensive consulting experience, including with Ten Thousand Villages, the Liberian Consulate of Georgia and Sagal Radio in Atlanta. She holds a master’s in Development Practice with a concentration in Business Planning and Management from Emory University, as well as a bachelor’s in Human Development and Social Relations from Kalamazoo College.
Nazia joined BRAC USA in October 2016 to promote the global advocacy of the Graduation approach and provide technical assistance to existing clients, particularly the Government of Kenya. Nazia has previously worked on the Graduation pilot in Yemen as a Research Associate with BRAC.
Prior to joining BRAC USA, she was a consultant at the World Bank, where she worked on a technical advisory project to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene among the extreme poor in Bangladesh and Tanzania. She has worked with various organizations including Human Rights Watch, the Middle East Institute and BRAC Development Institute in Bangladesh.
Nazia also has extensive experience in technical assistance, quantitative analysis and program evaluation in issues ranging from social protection and gender to water and sanitation. Nazia holds a master’s in International Trade and Development Economics from the George Washington University and a bachelor’s in Economics from Colgate University.
Cait O’Donnell is a Senior Associate for the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative at BRAC USA, where she promotes global advocacy, technical assistance, and research around the Graduation Approach.
Cait has over five years of experience with expertise in inclusive development, rural livelihoods, and environmental policy. Prior to joining BRAC, she was a specialist on the World Economic Forum’s Food Security and Agriculture initiative, where she led stakeholder engagement and strategy development to promote public-private cooperation. She researched emerging trends in technology innovation and their impacts on smallholder farmers, consumers, and the planet.
She previously worked with the World Wildlife Fund on energy access and rural electrification in Myanmar. She also has experience supporting corporate climate leadership with the Carbon Disclosure Project, and with World Resources Institute to promote access to environmental information, public participation, and justice. Cait served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine and has worked in multiple countries in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Cait holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs with a focus on energy and environmental policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Global Poverty and Practice from the University of California, Berkeley.
Linda Patentas is a Program Manager at BRAC USA, where she oversees the design and implementation of projects related to urban development, migration, and the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh. She also supports higher education institutes at BRAC University, including the Center for Peace and Justice and the Center for Entrepreneurship Development. Linda works closely with BRAC USA’s senior leadership to build partnerships and execute business development strategies across BRAC’s eleven countries in Africa and Asia.
Linda brings more than six years of professional experience working in international development and related fields, including finance, strategic programming, research, 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 served as a research associate at a New York-based private equity firm, where she furthered her understanding of investments and market-based solutions to complex global development challenges.
Linda earned a Master of Arts in International Affairs with concentrations in Economic Development and Urbanization & Social Justice from The New School. She 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.
Mia Perez is a Program Associate with the Education team at BRAC USA, where she supports the proposal development, project design, and evaluation of BRAC’s portfolio of education programs in Africa and Asia, focusing on early childhood development, education in emergencies, primary and secondary education, and skills development.
Prior to joining BRAC USA, Mia earned her master’s degree at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, where she completed a final capstone project in Nicaragua on NGO social and financial sustainability and homeless youth workforce opportunities. Mia also gained experience working at Ivy Camps, an education start-up in Shanghai, China, and Progreso Latino, a US-based non-profit that serves vulnerable youth and immigrant populations in Rhode Island.
Outside of BRAC, Mia is also involved in local community engagement work in Brooklyn local government, where she is leading a community assessment in both Spanish and Chinese that will guide local policy decision-making around education, affordable housing, and economic development.
Mia earned a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies at Columbia University, where she focused on comparative studies of affirmative action policies and minority access to education in China and the United States.
As a Technical Specialist, Bart provides technical assistance and advisory services to development organizations and governments implementing Graduation programs. Bart brings over seven years of experience conducting policy research and designing technical assistance programs for NGOs, governments, and multilateral agencies. His areas of expertise include: food and nutrition security, rural livelihoods, and natural resource management.
From 2011 to 2018, Bart lived and worked in Southeast Asia, playing several roles. As Country Representative for Mekong Economics, he set up and grew a new branch office in Myanmar. He later went on to work as an in-house Development Economist for the Myanmar Institute for Integrated Development and was instrumental in designing their livelihood and social inclusion programs in the remote north of the country.
Bart has also worked periodically as an independent consultant in both Myanmar and Cambodia. Through his work, Bart has applied both qualitative and quantitative research techniques across both rural and urban populations. This has given him an in-depth understanding of the complex interplay between ethnic identity, government institutions, and the private sector in emerging economies. He holds a master’s in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Economics from Indiana State University.
Walid is the finance and administration manager at BRAC USA, where he is responsible for managing the revenue and expenses for the organization, contributes to donor reporting and budgeting, and maintains local, state and federal registrations.
With previous roles at several educational organizations in New York City, Walid possesses more than seven years of experience in non-profit finance and accounting. He brings direct knowledge of day-to-day financial management of non-profits, including state and federal grants management, payroll, financial reporting, and budgeting.
Walid earned a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics from the City College of New York.
As a Senior Associate with the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative, Dristy promotes advocacy and supports communications and technical assistance delivery. Previously, Dristy was a Consultant at World Bank Nepal, where she conducted field research to investigate factors affecting individuals who are eligible to receive but unable to access social protection allowances.
She has extensive fieldwork and consulting experience, including with Pact on Sajhedari Bikaas, a project funded by USAID that aims to improve local governance in Nepal. She also supported AmeriCares on their emergency response efforts after two major earthquakes hit Nepal in April 2015. Dristy has worked as the technical officer at Root Change, where she supported the design and implementation of various development projects in Mexico, Nepal, and Nigeria.
Dristy holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy, with a certificate in International Development focusing on Social and Political Change, from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a bachelor’s in Psychology and Economics from Middlebury College.
Rosa is the Program Associate on the Learning, Empowerment and Adolescent Development (LEAD) team at BRAC USA, where her responsibilities include proposal development and project design, implementation, and evaluation to support education and girls empowerment programs, with a focus on early childhood development, primary and secondary education, skills development, and empowerment and livelihoods for adolescents.
Prior to joining BRAC USA, Rosa gained experience on the development and communications teams at the British Council, Human Rights Watch, and C4Q. While at C4Q, Rosa led grant writing, grant management, and event planning efforts, including launching the organization’s inaugural HackFemme conference to support women pursuing careers in technology.
Rosa earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Columbia University, where she focused her studies on international relations and human rights.
Alexander Wheeler is a Development Associate at BRAC USA, where he works closely with senior leadership to cultivate individual and institutional partnerships that strengthen BRAC’s development programs, research, and emergency response efforts across 11 countries.
Prior to joining BRAC USA, Alexander was a Princeton in Asia Fellow at AIP Foundation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where he developed corporate, philanthropic, and government partnerships to implement child injury prevention and road safety projects in Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. He was also instrumental in writing project proposals and evaluation reports, and developing sustainable and innovative programs. Alexander also brings a breadth of experience in research and programmatic capacities, including with the American Red Cross’ Restoring Family Links program, the Brookings Institution’s Center for Universal Education, and BRAC’s Health, Nutrition, and Population program.
Alexander holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy from Georgetown University, with focuses on international development, anthropology, and ethics.
As Program Associate for the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative, Isabel focuses on business development while providing support on communications, advocacy, and technical assistance delivery.
Isabel also supports communications for the BRAC microfinance program. She spent two years based at BRAC’s headquarters in Dhaka, where she led communications and knowledge management for the program, working alongside the research and development team to pilot new financial products in Bangladesh.
Isabel has also conducted several field assignments for BRAC in Myanmar, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Externally, she represents BRAC on the Microfinance CEO Working Group’s Microfinance Communications Council as co-Chair, and she is Director of the Microfinance Network.
She possesses formal competencies in knowledge management and human-centered design, and has participated in the Boulder Microfinance Training program. Isabel completed her undergraduate degree in Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, and earner a master’s in International Public Policy from University College London.