WGEP works to address the complex barriers—economic, cultural and social—keeping girls out of school and uses a multi-tiered approach that includes scholarship support, family involvement and community awareness to help more girls go to and succeed in school.
WGEP now works in 65 villages in rural Senegal and Kenya, reaching nearly 8,000 individuals each year. By partnering with local, community-based partners, WGEP ensures that our programs are tailored to, led by and owned by the communities we serve.
Amy Maglio, Executive Director
Amy Maglio is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Global Education Project. In her role as ED, Amy collaborates with key stakeholders such as foreign governments, in-country partners, the United Nations, family foundations, and fortune 500 companies. In 2010 Amy was invited to present WGEP’s model as a “Best Practice” approach to girls’ education at the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative Conference in Dakar, Senegal, and was a drafter of the UN Declaration on Gender Equality. Also in 2010, Women’s Global Education Project was selected by the Neutrogena Corp. to be the face of Girls’ Education in the multimedia “Wave for Change” Campaign. Amy is a regular guest on Chicago Public Radio. In 2011, she received an Impact Award, from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her role in helping women and girls around the world. Most recently, Amy was selected as an Emerging Leader with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, class of 2014.
Amy holds a master’s degree from the School of International Service at the American University in Washington, D.C. and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a gender specialist with experience in the field of international development having worked for nonprofit, business and government agencies. She began her career with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as a gender research analyst measuring the impact of the agency’s programs on women worldwide. Amy served in the United States Peace Corps in West Africa as an agriculture specialist.
Lily Messih, Program Manager
Lily Messih is a longtime advocate for women and children, whose career has focused on promoting social justice. Most recently, she served as Catholic Relief Services’ Regional Representative for Middle East Programs, coordinating US-based assistance to projects in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza, as well as representing CRS to the State Department and USAID. She brings to WGEP her background in law and public policy, including her experience as a Policy Analyst for the Alliance for Children and Families and as a Research and Advocacy Associate for Catholic Relief Services. Lily has served on the City of Toronto Committee on the Status of Women which dealt with diverse women’s issues including childcare and violence against women. She holds Masters degrees in law and international affairs from Columbia University, and a law degree from Queen’s University in Kingston,Ontario, Canada. Besides English, she speaks Arabic and French.
Daniela Bovio, Finance Manager
Daniela comes to WGEP with over 15 years of experience in non-profit finances. Before joining WGEP, Daniela was the Associate Director for Fiscal Operations at El Valor Corporation and later a Finance Associate at the Environmental Law and Policy Center. Daniela has performed and supervised most aspects of non-profit financial operations and employees’ benefits administration with a focus on process improvement. Daniela has an M.B.A from Edgewood College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Universidad Catolica Andres Bello.
Kirsten Turpel, Program Officer
Before becoming Project Assistant in 2014 and Program Officer in 2016, Kirsten served as a Women’s Global development intern beginning in June 2013. She received her B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in French from the University of Michigan in 2011. She then studied Public Administration and International Public Service at DePaul University, receiving her MPA in 2013.
Aniceta Kiriga, Kenya Project Director
Upon finishing high school, Aniceta completed a two-year course in personnel management with the Railway Training School and worked for six years in Nairobi before resigning to return home and help the community. After observing the poor status and low literacy rate of women in the area, she formed a women’s community organization and served as its first chairwoman. Soon after, she was nominated as a community delegate to Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization (MYWO), a prominent national women’s organization in Kenya, and quickly became their Vice-Chairlady for the entire district. In 1996 after conducting research and attending workshops for MYWO on FGM, she started the Ntanira Na Mugambo, or “Circumcision with Words” program as an alternative to FGM, helping girls in the community abandon the harmful practice of FGM. After the success of that first program, she formed the Tharaka Women’s Welfare Program, TWWP to help women and girls in the community on a variety of issues including girl’s education, health and economic development. In recognition of her outstanding services to the development of women, she was given the Presidential Award of the Head of State Commendation (HSC) in 2006 by the president of Kenya. In 2006, TWWP began partnering with Women’s Global Education Project, and is the lead agency responsible for implementing WGEP’s Sisters to School Kenya program. In 2014 Aniceta was recognized for her leadership efforts to eradicate FGM with a Kenya Presidential Award from the National Gender and Equality Commission.
Adjaratou “Adji” Oumoul Khaïry Senghor, Senegal Project Director
In 1980, Adji graduated high school and was accepted to the University of Dakar. Unfortunately, Adji had to leave the university because she lacked the means to pay for her studies. Instead, Adji received teacher training, after which she obtained a teaching position in Sokone and started working with a teacher’s association as well as the Departmental Committee of Teachers for the Promotion of Girls’ Education. After this, Adji joined a teachers union focusing on women’s issues. While teaching, she realized many of the students faced similar problems she did as a child, and in 1998 formed a program with other female teachers called “One Teacher, One Student” in which each teacher provided tutoring and extra support to female students struggling in school. This program eventually became the “Sisters to School” program. In 2004 Adji partnered with the Women’s Global Education Project and is the head person responsible for implementing the Sisters to School Senegal program. Adji, co-presented the paper, Gender Equality in Rural Girls Education, at the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative Conference in Dakar, Senegal, and was a drafter of the UN Declaration on Gender Equality.
Jennifer Kenoian, Board President
Jennifer Kenoian is a marketing leader with 20 years of brand-building and communications expertise in the consumer products and nonprofit sectors. Most recently she was marketing director at the American Medical Association (AMA), leading a team of communications professionals on several strategic initiatives including improving health outcomes and accelerating change in medical education.
Prior to the AMA Jennifer directed brand and marketing plan development engagements as part of the account services team at Lipman Hearne, a leading brand consultancy and communications agency in Chicago. Jennifer built a strong marketing foundation during her 11 years at Brown-Forman Corporation, managing globally recognized brands including Lenox China, Fetzer Wines, and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. At Brown-Forman Jennifer managed marketing efforts for two start-up business units, focusing on the development of international markets. She started her career at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration where she counseled small businesses.
Jennifer received her B.A. in international relations from The Johns Hopkins University and her M.A. in international studies with concentrations in Latin American studies and international economics from The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Sue Crothers, Board Vice President
Sue Crothers is a Director of the Manaaki Foundation, a private family foundation whose mission is to enhance both local and global communities by providing access to healthcare, offering opportunities for education, empowering the disadvantaged, fostering environmental awareness and helping to cultivate alternative media outlets. Through her work with Manaaki, Sue has engaged with both small and large non-profit organizations in countries throughout the world (i.e. Ecuador, Guatemala, Kenya, Liberia, Nicaragua, Senegal, South Sudan, Syria and Tanzania) as well as within her own local community.
Sue is also a Senior Member on the Future Philanthropist Program, a selective 2-year program for high school students to learn the workings of Philanthropy. She is a former President of the River Forest Parks Foundation and a Core Team member of PlanItGreen, where she collaborates with residents, businesses, government and other stakeholders to create and implement environmentally sustainable initiatives.
Julie Stagliano, Board Secretary
Julie has a firm grounding in international development assistance with more than 30 years experience, including living and working overseas for 12 years, primarily in West Africa. In Washington, DC she managed USAID and World Bank-funded contracts, directed overseas operations and engaged in strategic business development for several firms. She served in the Peace Corps in Tivaouane, Senegal and returned there for an additional five years with her family, volunteering in NGO service projects while working for USAID and the U.S. Embassy. She is a former President of Citizen Bridges International (now closed) a US non-profit that designed and implemented international training and exchange programs to promote social justice and economic development in emerging democracies. She also previously led the Chicago Sister Cities International program, the largest such program in the U.S. In 2014. to help launch the new USAID grant, Julie returned to Senegal for two months to assist the WGEP field Director in Sokone with administrative start-up issues. Julie speaks French and Wolof. Volunteer work includes: mentoring with the Link Unlimited Scholars program, Co-chairing the Casablanca Sister Cities Committee and serving as Executive Director of Chicago Shares, a program to provide food vouchers for the homeless.
April Kanne Donnellan
April Kanne Donnellan joined Global Philanthropy Partnership as executive director in 2005. Previously, Ms. Donnellan served as program director of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and as a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State completing assignments in Port Louis, Mauritius, and Washington, DC. April serves on the board for the Stanley Foundation, she served as staff assistant to the assistant secretary for international organization affairs, and as a sanctions/peacekeeping officer covering the Middle East and Africa. She earned a Meritorious Honor Award for her work implementing multilateral sanctions. Ms. Donnellan, a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is a graduate of Georgetown University and is fluent in French. In the spring of 2012 on behalf of Women’s Global, she traveled to Sokone, Senegal and visited our “Sister’s to School” program and met with Women’s Global local partners and scholarship recipients.
Mariam is the Founder and Managing Director of Axxum Consulting, a Chicago-based Management Consulting firm. She provides advisory services to clients in Organizational Effectiveness, Change Management, Communications, Training, Program Management and Process Improvement. With 15 years of experience in professional services working in business development, client relationship management and transformation projects, her personal & professional experiences have taken her in France, Ireland, Canada and the U.S., across many industries, companies and teams. She has been working for small and large businesses leading global, strategic initiatives and diverse, cross-functional teams and managing business transformations programs such as mergers & acquisitions, technology implementations and process improvement initiatives.
Her volunteer experience includes board member of Amnesty International (Canada Francophone) and other non profit organizations focused on education.Mariam speaks and works fluently in French and English, also originally from Senegal, she speaks Puular and frequently travels to the country where she has most of her extended family.
Juliana Kerr joined The Chicago Council in 2002 and is currently the director of the immigration initiative where she manages the Council’s publications, research, partnerships, and programming on immigration and immigrant contributions to the regional economy. She also oversees Global Chicago activities and the Gus Hart Visiting Fellowship. In 2007 she participated in the Rotary Group Study Exchange, spending one month in Paris examining immigrant integration issues. She has a BA in political science and French from the University of Iowa and a certificate of political studies from the Institut d’Études Politiques in Lyon, France. A dual-citizen of the U.S. and Brazil, she is fluent in Portuguese and French, and proficient in Spanish.
Howard is President/CEO of CHP International, a firm specializing in international and domestic training and consulting. Through his work with CHP’s major clients over the company’s 40-plus years of existence – the Peace Corps, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Job Corps – Howard has acquired an understanding of grassroots development work, expertise in federal government contracting, and on-the-ground experience in many countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. Before forming CHP, Howard began his career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines and was later a trainer and director of Peace Corps training programs in Micronesia and Brazil. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish.
Joan K. Sherman
Joan received her Master’s Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University, with a specialization in international economic development. She worked for CARE International, first in Haiti working on rural clean water systems and in mother and child health, then in India as director of their micro-credit program. She became an organizational resource on gender issues, and participated in the strategic planning processes for the India mission. Upon returning to the U.S., she worked for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Global Security and Sustainability Program. She currently teaches a seminar course on International Development and the Politics of Gender at Northwestern University.
Monika is the Director of Engineering IT at Motorola Solutions. She has 17+ years of experience working for Motorola Solutions. She is a technology leader and strategist accountable for transforming the tool chain for Motorola Engineering group. She has skilled expertise in the area of IT Project & Program Management having led several strategic, large & complex IT Programs and Projects. originally from India, she graduated as an Electronics and Communications Engineer from Manipal Institute of technology, India.
She is a firm believer of the famous quote by Malala Yousafzai “One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education First.” She is a collaborative leader giving trust and building it as she shares her energy, passion, and accountability to commitment. In her spare time, Monika loves to read and her favorite vacations are hiking trips with her family.
Elise is a Founding Board Member of Women’s Global Education Project. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Senegal (‘96-’99). Upon her return from West Africa and a training contract for the Peace Corps in Guinea, Elise worked at Chemonics International and managed multi-million dollar USAID contract projects in Mali, Senegal and Uganda. On behalf of Women’s Global, she traveled to Senegal in December 2004 and met with Women’s Global local partners and scholarship recipients. Elise received her master’s degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Policy from The George Washington University in 1995, and her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Mary Washington College in 1990. She is fluent in English and French and learned Wolof in Senegal.
Lucy Ascoli is a consultant to nonprofit organizations in fundraising and strategy.
She has been a fundraiser for low-income housing organizations and refugee organizations in Chicago and worked for the Donors Forum of Chicago, leading a successful program to increase the number of family foundations in Illinois.
She has been a member and a leader on several nonprofit Boards in Chicago including Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, Changing Worlds and the Chicago Committee for Human Rights Watch. She is Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Cambodian American Heritage Museum.
Lynn Besser, LCSW
Lynn received a master’s degree in psychiatric social work from the University of California at Berkeley, and has worked in both in-patient and out-patient psychiatric settings. She has experience in individual, family and group therapy, and has worked in all aspects of the adoption process in New Mexico and Illinois, including counseling with pregnant adolescents, education and counseling with adoptive families, and grief counseling with all members of the adoption triad.
Catherine received a BA in English Literature & Classics and a Master’s of Non-Profit Administration from the University of San Francisco and a JD from Loyola University, Chicago. Catherine has worked in the non-profit world in grant writing and program development for the Goodwill Industries in San Francisco. She has also worked as a freelance writer, and practiced employment law at the Legal Assistance Foundation in Chicago. She also co-owned and managed Yoga Trek and now tutors Latin and works as a substitute teacher at Oak Park River Forest High School. She is originally from London and is married with three children.
Farah Eck is a global citizen who was born of a Pakistani father, American mother, and has lived in 9+ countries, so she is from everywhere and nowhere! Farah’s background is in fundraising, organizational capacity building, communications, and stakeholder engagement. She has a B.A. in Advertising, a M.A. in Communications, a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management, and a M.A. in International Relations and Conflict Resolution. She relocated to Nairobi in April 2015 with her husband, Daniel, to experience the adventure of a lifetime in Africa while serving as the Alumni & Volunteer Relations Director of the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa. In Africa, Farah is involved in various capacities that support gender equality, refugees, youth empowerment, and global public policy.
In her spare time, Farah loves to expend her creative juices writing, having recently co-authored a children’s cookbook and nutritional guide, Freddy, Fork it Over! and is currently penning a children’s storybook based upon oral Kenyan folklore. Dan and Farah are expecting their first child in August 2016 and are eager for a third member of the family to join them on their international adventures.
Nancy Juda is an activist, a philanthropist, and an artist. She focuses her attention, activity, and passion on supporting and empowering community building and leadership, especially that of women and girls. Currently, along with Women’s Global Education Project she is most engaged with The Mastery Foundation School for Leadership, The Chicago Foundation for Women, and The Hunger Project. Nancy lives in Chicago and travels frequently to work towards the possibility she envisions for our shared world.
Soudary Kittivong-Greenbaum is an independent fundraising consultant with more than 15 years experience in the nonprofit arena, helping organizations reach their goals through the right infrastructure, people, and resources to sustain, grow and thrive. Soudary channels her passion for human rights and social justice into projects that engage supporters to address systemic issues that touch upon equity, education and public health. During her tenure at a strategic communication and fundraising firm, she worked with a number of regional and national organizations; and previously led development initiatives for RefugeeOne, ACLU Foundation of Oregon, and International Rivers.
Soudary holds a Masters in Public Service from DePaul University, and a Bachelors in Asian American Studies and Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Based in Oak Park, IL, Soudary is an active member of AFP Chicago, and has volunteered with Women’s Global Education Project since 2009.
Edith Njuguna is a Senior Program Officer at Grand Victoria Foundation where she works on the Foundation’s three funding areas of education, environment and economic development. In particular, she led the development of the Illinois Early Childhood Fellows program, which is designed to develop the next generation of leaders in early childhood policy advocacy. Edith develops and manages relationships with grantees, contributes to developing the Foundation’s strategic guidelines and program priorities, and supports the implementation of programs that advance those priorities.
Edith has extensive experience with nonprofits in Chicago and internationally in education, leadership development and community engagement. She serves on the Board of Directors of Chicago Women in Philanthropy and Co-chairs the Steering Committee of the Illinois Early Childhood Fellows program. She was a fellow in the Association of Black Foundation Executives’ Connecting Leaders Fellowship in 2010. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University, a Certificate in Hispanic Studies from Universidad Complutense in Madrid and a BA in Literature and Linguistics from the University of Nairobi. She is a native of Kenya and speaks four languages.
Barbara Rose retired as CEO of S. N. Peck, Builder, Inc. She has a B.A. in Sociology and an M.S. in Counseling from Purdue University and has designed numerous training programs and seminars for leadership training, management development, and communication skills, especially for people in the construction industry. She is currently serving on the Illinois Food, Farm & Jobs Council and the Commission to End Hunger in Illinois. In addition to serving as an Advisor to Women’s Global, she is on the Boards of Directors of Girls in the Game and Bright Promises Foundations and previously served on the Boards of Chicago Foundation for Women, Industrial Council of Near West Chicago, Heartland International, and For Global Progress. She has held office in several women’s organizations and has organized, volunteered and led community programs in Illinois and Indiana. She is also a volunteer fundraiser for the Hunger Project and has traveled to many countries in Africa, including Senegal and Kenya where Women’s Global currently operates.
Jennifer enjoyed two years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching environmental education in Senegal, where she became aware of the lack of opportunities for girls to attend school and improve their situation through education in Africa. Jennifer has been a fundraising professional for more than a decade, raising funds at many of San Francisco’s most prominent non-profits. She is currently the Director of Development for the LightHouse for the Blind. Her passions include running and painting.
Bill Taylor, Oakton Community College, retired professor of political science
Bill Taylor taught political science and history at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Illinois, for 32 years before retiring in 2004. He began volunteering in 1999 with Seeds of Peace, an organization that brings Israeli and Palestinian teens to a camp in Maine every summer for a 3-week experience in peaceful coexistence, where he served as facilitator of the camp’s daily dialogue sessions. During the school year, Bill also teaches short courses for older adults on such subjects as Islam and the Arab-Israeli conflict. In 2002 he assisted in the founding of Hands of Peace, an organization modeled after Seeds of Peace, but adapted to the urban setting of Chicago’s northwest suburbs and has been volunteering with Hands of Peace in various capacities. He became involved with Women’s Global after hearing founder Amy Maglio interviewed on the Chicago Public Radio global affairs program Worldview.
Alexa McCarthy, President
Alexa works on marketing and business development for CancerIQ, a Chicago-based health tech startup that helps doctors predict and prevent their patients from getting cancer based on their genetics. Prior to CancerIQ, Alexa studied Journalism and Arts and Humanities at Michigan State Universtiy (’16). Alexa is a Florida transplant who always had a childhood dream of moving to Chicago and has loved every minute of it. In her free time she loves biking around the city, trying new food and volunteering with other organizations dedicated to fighting for women’s rights.
Amelia Garza, Vice President
Amelia works at the University of Chicago in Alumni Relations and Development as an Assistant Director for Global Engagement. In her role, she manages the Alumni Boards in the US southern states and Latin America. She started at UChicago after receiving her masters at Texas Woman’s University and her bachelors at Augustana College. During her summers growing up, she worked at Camp For All–a camp for children and adults with special needs and challenging diseases. She continues to fight for social justice issues concerning: education, women and minority issues, and immigration.
Hannah Bonecutter is an accomplished young woman with high aspirations and immense dedication. While earning her Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Hannah became a licensed professional educator in Illinois. Since then, Hannah has taught and privately tutored students in all subjects and across all ages from infants to high schoolers. She also has experience teaching in a variety of different settings, including urban, suburban, private, and public. Although Hannah always desired to inspire people, and indeed found a way to do this regularly through her teaching, she also longed to be a successful entrepreneur with a business of her own. So in 2015, Hannah officially began her own professional organizing business called BoneClutter. BoneClutter provides peace and efficiency to its clients by professionally organizing their objects, data, and/or time. Yet, Hannah Bonecutter’s deep passions do not stop there, as she always had a knack for acting and modeling. Hannah has been acting on film since she graduated in 2013 in several large television shows such as Empire as well as local, independent films such as Bloodlines. Hannah Bonecutter has served as a promotional model for various products featured at popular events as well as a fashion model in digital fashion shows for retail companies such as Goodwill Inc. Hannah states that her mission in life is “to be a light of exposure and inspiration.” Whether she is teaching students in a classroom, professionally organizing a client’s home, or acting on the big screen, she strives to always be achieving this mission and improving this world to become a much better place.
Lisa is currently a Program Associate at Get IN Chicago, a private philanthropic fund dedicated to youth violence reduction support and research. From 2011-2013, she served as a preventive health educator with Peace Corps Senegal, where she worked on a new community health initiative for teenage dropouts with Plan International and led gender development projects with the volunteer-led organization, SeneGAD. Additionally, during her time as an undergraduate at Notre Dame, she had the opportunity to work with a women’s rights organization in Uganda and study the role of language in advocacy for human rights campaigns. In her free time, she can often be found performing at standup or storytelling events, doing yoga outside, or planning her next vacation.
Katherine serves as the Chicago Development Manager for Peer Health Exchange, a nonprofit that trains college student volunteers to teach health education to 9th graders in underresourced public schools. In this role, Katherine is responsible for supporting the Chicago Executive Director in managing the local, individual, and institutional giving portfolios, as well as maintaining and strengthening data and knowledge management systems. Prior to joining the Chicago team, Katherine volunteered as a Health Educator with Peer Health Exchange for three years while attending Northwestern University. Katherine graduated from Northwestern with a major in theatre, a concentration in performance, activism, and human rights, and a minor in creative nonfiction writing. Her experience includes serving as the Executive Director of a Northwestern course in consulting for nonprofits, interning for the Alzheimer’s Association and Women’s Global Education Project, leading American teenagers on cultural exchange/service-learning trips to Japan and New Zealand, and studying global development in Ecuador, China, India, and South Africa.
Michelle is what people call “a handful”. She loves eating, biking, exploring, and being on the go in general. The only thing that can slow her down is Netflix or a good book. After working in China for a few years after college, Michelle made her way to Chicago and has started a career in tech sales for SpringCM. She is dedicated to supporting and empowering women of all ages by working with WGEP, Girls in the Game, Girls on the Run, and more. She also attempts to educate people on women’s plights and rights, whether they like to hear it, or not. Feminist for equality for life!