Board of Directors, Young Professionals Board, & Ambassadors

Board of Directors

Regine currently serves as WGEP’s board president. She is a retired managing partner of Baker McKenzie’s Chicago office and was a member of the Firm’s global Financial Committee and North American Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

Regine currently serves as WGEP’s board president. She is a retired managing partner of Baker McKenzie’s Chicago office and was a member of the Firm’s global Financial Committee and North American Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

Julie has a strong background in international development, beginning with Peace Corps service in Senegal and then as an executive and senior manager for NGOs and private sector companies in the US, Senegal and other West African countries for over a decade and also in Washington, DC.  As President of Citizen Bridges International she designed hands-on programs for international participants to foster the exchange of best practices through the sharing of professional skills and knowledge. She has a BA in Sociology from D’Youville College and is fluent in French.   

Born and raised in France, having lived in Colombia and, for the past 20 years, in the USA, multilingual, Florence has been with the Board of WGEP for 1 year and brings 30 years’ experience in Finance and project management. Florence graduated from HEC Paris, one of the leading European business schools. Some of Florence’s passions include advocating for women, minorities, free education and healthcare, justice and the environment. 

Aimee is the Quality Risk Management (QRM) Director at Protiviti.  Aimee has over 20 years of experience in the information systems field with a background in information risk management and cyber security.  Aimee enjoys spending time with family and friends, planning vacations, and having dinner parties at home.  In addition to coaching and supporting women in the workplace, Aimee enjoys serving alongside WGEP to advocate and enable more women and girls globally to reach their full potential! 

Jennifer is a marketing leader with 20 years of brand-building and communications expertise in the commercial and nonprofit sectors. She is a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton. Jennifer received her B.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins University and her M.A. in international studies with concentrations in Latin American studies and international economics from Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

John Iatonna is Chief Information Security Officer at Spencer Stuart, an international executive search and leadership advisory firm based in Chicago, IL, where he oversees global operations of the company’s information security program. Prior to his current role, John served as Senior Vice President of Information Security, Governance and Risk at Edelman, Inc. a global communications firm. John holds a master’s degree in IT management from Northwestern University, a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from DePaul University and has been a certified information security professional (CISSP) since 2008. 

John developed his connection with Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia. There he served as director and instructor of the Haile Selassie University Extension Center in Debre Zeit (Bishoftu), where the main Ethiopian Air Force base is located. Many of the students he taught were air force officers, including the commander of the base. He also taught history in the high school and English in the elementary school. After re-visiting Ethiopia in 2003, he and a fellow former PCV started a project with an Ethiopian NGO to support vocational training for street girls in Addis Ababa, but the project was forced to end after about 4 years. In 2014 he went back to Ethiopia where he visited projects of three international NGOs focused on girls’ education and hopes to bring what he has learned to his membership on the Board of WGEP.  

Following his stint in the Peace Corps, John received a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is professor emeritus. 

Mariam is the Founder and Managing Director of Axxum Consulting, a Chicago-based Management Consulting firm providing advisory services to clients in Organizational Change Management, Communications, Training, Program Management and Process Improvement. With 17 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. She holds an M.B.A. from Université Laval (Canada) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from IPAG Paris (France) and she speaks fluently in English and French. 

Shan Bhati is the Global Chief Adminstration Officer and General Counsel at Edelman. Before joining Edelman, Shan was a corporate attorney in Abbott Laboratories’ legal
department. Prior to that, she practiced law at the law firm of DLA Piper in Palo Alto, CA. Shan received her undergraduate degree in English Literature, with honors, from the University
of Chicago and her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Shan is a member of the
Economic Club of Chicago, the American Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the
Illinois State Bar Association and the State Bar of California.

Tria is currently director of global development programs at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and oversees the Women, Equity, and Global Development Forum. Prior to joining the Council, she spent nearly a decade working for the United Nations in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, and for UNICEF. Tria holds a BA in political science and sociology from the University of Alberta. She is fluent in French and Italian.

Young Professionals Board

The Young Professionals Board (YPB) takes part in unique fundraising and social networking events and has a huge impact in the transformative work WGEP does. Email to learn more!

Meredith is the Governance Chair of the Young Professionals Board. She is a committed relationship builder, nonprofit administrator, and wellness advocate. In 2018, Meredith spent a year in Soweto, South Africa where she assisted in facilitating educational, wellness, and social services programs for individuals impacted by HIV/AIDs and economic disparities. Meredith graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and French from Luther College. As part of her undergraduate studies she spent a semester in Senegal learning French, Wolaf and studying the intersection of mental health and spirituality in a Senegalese context. Meredith is deeply passionate about building relationships and investing in community-led solutions. For leisure, she enjoys running, hiking, yoga, and traveling.

Hannah Bonecutter is an accomplished, young woman with high aspirations and immense dedication. Hannah holds a Master’s of Public Health from University of Illinois at Chicago, a BS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a licensed professional educator in Illinois. Hannah is an avid volunteer as she serves as a Leadership Committee member, Associates Board Member, Young Professional board member, and Community Engagement Specialist of four separate nonprofit organizations, which include Women Employed (WE), Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.OM.E.), Women’s Global Education Project (WGEP), and Justice Journey Alliance (JJA) respectively. Further, Hannah is an actress, model, and filmmaker. 

Driven by her deep fervor for international education, Jacqui has spent the last few years on-the-go as an expatriate, teaching in Thailand and volunteering her TESOL efforts across South East Asia. The most challenging and rewarding of these events, developing a literacy clinic for youth and adult refugees fleeing Myanmar. Repatriating in 2019, Jacqui now serves as the Academic Advisor at the American Institute for Foreign Study working with undergraduates to fulfill their academic goals abroad and promoting cultural exchange through the use of the J-1 visa. Advocate and scholar, she is a proud alumna of Duquesne University and connected with The Youth Education Series, Project Mexico and Give Kids the World Village. She looks forward to return to academia to acquire her master’s degree in International Education & Development in the upcoming year. At present she is enjoying her newfound freedom of working remote, touring as many of America’s National Parks as she can. Jacqui is excited to join the Women’s Global Education Project, because she believes with knowledge and empowerment, all things are possible.


Aliyah’s goal of empowering communities through mentorship, holistic wellness, and education have been the motivation behind her work. As a Chicago native with Caribbean roots, she has witnessed first-hand the beauty and struggle of diversity. Through her own experiences and desire to serve, she has been fortunate to engage with amazing organizations across the city. Aliyah is an alumni of the Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps, a member of the Giving Project 2021 Cohort, and the Chicagoland facilitator of Global United Diaspora, an organization centered on the empowerment of members of the African Diaspora. As a business owner and health coach, she aims to provide health and wellness products and services rooted in her West Indian heritage. Aliyah currently serves as a Program Associate at Arabella Advisors. She is an alumni of Loyola University of Chicago where she studied Political Science and African Studies. 

Anna New

Anna graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BBA in Accounting and minor in Gender and Women’s Studies. She then completed her Masters in Accounting and is now a CPA at a public accounting firm. Anna is actively involved in women’s leadership and empowerment initiatives. She loves yoga and trying new restaurants!

Ayeesha holds a BBA from the University of Michigan – Stephen Ross School of Business. She currently works as an investment management associate, and enjoys supporting WGEP’s communications objectives in her free time.

Ambassadors' Circle

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 WGEP, she traveled to Senegal in December 2004 and met with WGEP 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 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.

Sue is a Director of a private family foundation that cares deeply about enhancing local and global communities through healthcare, education, and empowerment. Through her work, Sue has engaged with both small and large non-profit organizations in countries throughout the world and within her own local community.  Sue is the Founder and Director of the One Earth Film Festival’s Young Filmmakers Contest, and a board member for Planned Parenthood of Illinois. She was born in Australia, attended Gymea College and spent 15 years in the travel industry before redirecting her career to philanthropy.

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.  Farah currently serves as the Senior Director of Policies and Programs at the United Nations’ Foundation in Washington, DC.

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, Friends of the Parks, the Lakeview Community Garden at Diversey, and The Hunger Project. Nancy lives in Chicago and travels frequently to work towards the possibility she envisions for our shared world.

Soudary has spent her 22-year career in the nonprofits and philanthropy, helping organizations power their missions through community-centric strategies with equity at the core. Proud 1st generation Lao American, Soudary channels her passion for refugee and immigrant rights, children youth + families, and social justice into engaging supporters to address systemic issues that touch upon equity, education and public health. Soudary is Vice President, Development at Alliance for a Healthier Generation which is dedicated to building healthier communities, and driven by an impact goal of every mind, every body, every young person–healthy and ready to succeed. She most recently served as senior managing director of development at Teaching Trust and led strategic philanthropic initiatives at Heart House, an afterschool program in Vickery Meadow, Dallas. 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. Soudary values connecting small, community-based organizations typically left out of funding and access–with funding partners who can amplify their work, and is also a member of the Orchid Giving Circle of the Texas Women’s Foundation.

Edith Njuguna is the Director of Programs and Policy Implementation at the Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University in Chicago. 

Edith has extensive experience with nonprofits in Chicago and internationally in education, leadership development and community engagement. 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.

Howard’s involvement in international development began in the mid-60’s. when he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer teacher trainer in the Philippines. After completing his tour of duty, Howard devoted the next phase of his career to training, initially preparing Volunteers for service in Micronesia and later, as director of training for Volunteers in Brazil.

In the mid-70’s, Howard incorporated CHP International, a training and consulting business, and became its president. For the next several decades was a major contractor for the Peace Corps, managing pre-service and in-service Volunteer training programs in numerous countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Notably, CHP held the contracts for several years in both countries WGEP serves, Senegal and Kenya. Howard is proud to have served a term on the WGEP Board of Directors.

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 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. 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.  In 2008 he moved to Seattle to become a “manny” to his granddaughter Eloise, and later her brother Loic as well. Since 2009 he has been teaching courses to senior adults at the Lifetime Learning Center.  He recently completed a four-course sequence with the overall title of “The Consequences of Being Black in White America.”  He became involved with WGEP after hearing founder Amy Maglio interviewed on the Chicago Public Radio global affairs program Worldview.