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.
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.
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.
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.
Emily Coppel is the Manager of Communications and Marketing 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.
Amanda is the Finance and Human Resources Senior Associate at BRAC USA, where she contributes to its financial and organizational management, employee engagement and volunteer and internship programs.
Previously, she has performed research on the aspirations of middle-class college students in Northern India. She has also interned with an affiliate of the United Nations Association of the USA and the Logistics Department of the United States Army Europe in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Amanda holds a bachelor’s in International Relations from the State University of New York at Geneseo, and is a certified Professional in Human Relations (PHR).
Harshani is a Program Manager with the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative at BRAC USA, where where she provides technical assistance for clients implementing Graduation programs worldwide.
She recently supported the design of BRAC’s first Graduation pilot in Uganda by creating training curricula and leading modules to instruct field staff on how to target youth participants; developing a household-level targeting tool to assess household poverty levels and identify the most vulnerable youth; and reviewing market opportunities and linkages key to identifying the types of livelihoods to be supported. Harshani has also supported the design of phase four of BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra-poor program in Bangladesh; developed and delivered training content for UNHCR staff working with refugees; worked to bring Graduation to Lesotho and Haiti; co-authored a UN publication on mainstreaming Graduation into social protection systems; and delivered workshops, webinars and seminars to train, enable and raise awareness on how to design, adapt and implement the Graduation approach.
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 in 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.
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.
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.
As a Program Associate for the Ultra Poor Graduation Initiative, Julie supports promotes global advocacy, technical assistance and research around 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.
Matt Kertman is the Communications and Marketing Senior 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 today retains an interest in how we all tell our stories.
Matt received his Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University. You can find him on the trail, most weekends, punishing his Nikes.
Sarah is a Global Health Corps Fellow with BRAC USA, where she assists with the design, management and evaluation of health, family planning, education and nutrition projects. Prior to joining BRAC USA, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, aiding in various health assessments, nutrition programming, vaccination campaigns, malnutrition screenings and health education trainings.
Sarah previously worked with the City of Cambridge in Massachusetts to develop a regional emergency response plan. She also oversaw malnutrition programming for the Royal Seeds Children’s Home in Ghana and surveyed HIV knowledge with the Youth Outreach Mission, a local nonprofit in Uganda.
Sarah interned with Save the Children’s Emergency Health and Nutrition team. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social work from the University of Washington and a Master of Public Health from Boston University.
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.
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.
Kenn is a Global Health Corps Fellow with BRAC USA, where he assists with the design, management and evaluation of health, family planning, education and nutrition projects.
Prior to joining BRAC USA as a Global Health Corps Fellow, he worked as a graduate research assistant at the Duke Kunshan Global Health Research Center (GHRC) in China on tobacco cessation and health system reform projects, including health finance and human resources for health.
He previously worked in Kenya with Innovations for Poverty Action, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, and IntraHealth International on epidemiological, behavioral and health services research projects. He also held a fellowship position on cancer control and prevention in resource-limited settings with the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France in 2013.
Kenn earned a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from Kenyatta University and a Master of Science in global health from Duke University. He is a native of Nairobi, Kenya.
As Senior Program and Development Associate, Linda Patentas works closely with BRAC USA’s CEO and senior leadership to design and execute strategic business development frameworks and engagement strategies across BRAC and BRAC International’s 11 countries in Africa and Asia.
Linda also manages the Digital Ready-Made Garment Factory Mapping initiative in Bangladesh in collaboration with BRAC University, and supports other programmatic areas, including Property Rights, Human Rights, Legal Empowerment, Agriculture and Livelihoods.
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 market-based solutions to complex global development challenges. Linda has more than five 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.
She holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at 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.
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.
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.
Dr. Adam Schwartz is the 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.
As the Director of Advisory Services, Lara leads a team of Ultra-Poor Graduation experts to design and implement graduation models in different settings across the globe.
Previously, Lara was the Director of Financial Inclusion at MIX, where she led the development of the first global financial inclusion data platform, the FINclusion Lab. Lara brings rich experience in financial inclusion and client-centered microfinance from her work as Director of Youth-Inclusive Financial Services at Making Cents international, Client and Market Research Manager at Pro Mujer, and as Microfinance Accreditation Specialist at Catholic Relief Services.
Prior to entering the world of Financial Inclusion and Social Protection, Lara was an analyst at Fitch Ratings. Lara’s passion for development sparked during a two-year assignment for a travel company in Ecuador where she witnessed the desire of local communities to build inclusive economies and opportunities for all.
Lara holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Geography at the University of California, Davis.
Ashley Toombs is the Manager of External Relations 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 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.
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.