Team & Board

Concern Worldwide US Team

Colleen Kelly

Chief Executive Officer

Colleen Kelly has been CEO of Concern Worldwide US since 2017. She brings to the organization three decades of advertising and marketing leadership, which has infused new energy and expertise into Concern’s growing engagement of private sector partners, as well as geographic and tactical expansion of marketing and fundraising efforts in the U.S.

It’s part of a board-driven initiative to generate more income to support Concern’s mission, built on a long track record of program effectiveness and efficiency. This includes a strengthening of Concern’s U.S. government funding portfolio and evolving private funding strategies to include corporate partnerships, social impact investing, and new streams of individual donor engagement at all levels.

In addition to leading a team of 50 professionals in the U.S., she is a member of the Board of Directors as well as the global senior management team, ensuring maximum coordination and programmatic impact.

She has traveled to Concern programs in Lebanon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, and Bangladesh to strengthen ties and help expose donors directly to the work their generosity makes possible.

Before joining Concern Worldwide U.S., she served as Managing Director of SET Creative, helping establish a rapidly growing New York practice for the leading, Portland-based global brand experience agency. Prior to that, she was for five years a partner and Managing Director of Triptent, where she was responsible for strengthening the agency’s advertising practice while leveraging its award-winning creative and production capabilities to meet clients’ growing content needs. It was an approach that ultimately drove 200% growth over just two years, winning key accounts such as Unilever and PetSmart.

Concurrently, from 2008 to 2013, she served as Managing Director of Product of the Year USA, engineering the North American launch of the world’s largest consumer-voted award for product innovation, which had been founded in France more than two decades earlier. Product of the Year’s mission is guide consumers to the best products in their market and reward manufacturers for quality and innovation, and under Colleen’s leadership, the organization achieved its standing as a now widely accepted seal of approval. She served as lead sales and marketing strategist, forging media partnerships and winning the participation of leading consumer brands; and as public ambassador, representing the cause at conferences and in television appearances.

Earlier, Colleen spent more than a decade as a founding partner, Media Director, and ultimately Director of Business Development for the advertising agency Deutsch LA. The fourth employee hired, she was part of a dynamic team that drove the agency’s exponential growth from start-up to major industry force. Among her many achievements: building a 60-person media planning team from the ground up; generating more than $1 billion in new business billing; opening the agency’s Toronto office to manage growing Canadian business; and guiding the agency’s positioning, philosophy, and marketing strategies, ultimately establishing Deutsch as one of the boldest, most innovative voices in advertising.

Before joining Deutsch LA, and after graduating from Boston University’s School of Management, Colleen spent a decade working in media planning and direction at Vic Olesen & Partners and Dailey & Associates.

She is the former President of the Los Angeles Association of Advertising Agencies, as well as the former Executive Vice President and an originating board member of ThinkLA, a non-profit organization established to build awareness of the Los Angeles creative community, provide education and training, and create social and philanthropic events, with a focus on innovation, diversity, and multi-cultural representation.

Colleen is also a member of the Kelly Gang, a charitable organization that brings together prominent figures in the areas of media, publishing, business, sports, and politics, who all happen to share the surname ‘Kelly.’ In honor of early member Michael Kelly, the longtime editor of Atlantic Monthly, who died in 2003 covering the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Kelly Gang holds an annual benefit, which has to date generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for worthy causes.

Having grown up in Pinehurst North Carolina, she now makes her home in New York City.

Kristen Packett

Chief Finance Officer

Kristen is an experienced executive with a focus on financial and operational management in complex global markets. She is passionate about international humanitarian and development efforts, especially around women’s and children’s issues. Throughout her work on projects throughout the US, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, she has always strived to weave this passion into her life and career goals.

As the Chief Finance Officer for Concern Worldwide US, Kristen ensures the financial health and integrity of the organization while driving business operations to maximize returns and mitigate risks. She is dedicated to formulating unique solutions and opportunities that will ultimately enhance Concern’s level of maturity, assessed through a financial and operational lens.

She has a multi-functional background operating at both the strategic and operational level in large corporate and NGO environments. Prior to joining Concern, she served as the Finance Lead for global development projects with Lockheed Martin and Pacific Architects & Engineers, and is a graduate of Lockheed Martin’s Financial Leadership Development program. Kristen obtained her BA in Business from The George Washington University, was the recipient of the Lockheed Martin Business Process Solutions President’s Team Award, and is a member of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy. She has worked in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Dubai, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, and Sierra Leone.

Dara Burke

Vice President for Individual Giving & Events

As Vice President for Individual Giving & Events, Dara heads up Concern’s Individual Giving team in New York, which includes major gifts, special events, employee giving, and monthly giving, collectively raising over $4.6 million annually. Dara’s primary focuses are building strong and lasting philanthropic relationships with key stakeholders, as well as growing individual giving revenue more broadly.

Along with more than 10 years of experience in public service, Dara brings a lifelong commitment to preserving and protecting basic human rights and dignity, stemming from her experience growing up in Nairobi, Kenya.

Starting her career at ActionAid International, Dara joined Concern Worldwide in 2006. Her first responsibilities included Office Manager and assisting the Executive Director. A year later, she traveled to N’Djamena, Chad, as Concern’s Liaison Officer, hiring personnel and setting up in-country operations. She then transitioned to fundraising, rising to Development Manager overseeing the strategy and execution of six major annual fundraising events, major gift solicitation, and direct mail. Dara has helped guide and develop strategies to increase donor retention, exceed fundraising revenue goals, and triple event income. Her experience at Concern also includes time as Concern’s Foundation Relationship Manager, where she was responsible for a portfolio of foundation and corporate partners, raising $4 million annually. In early 2016, she was appointed Director of Individual Giving.     

Dara holds a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in French from the University of Vermont, and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University. Born in Geneva, Switzerland with dual Irish and American citizenship, Dara currently lives with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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Colleen Kelly

Chief Executive Officer

Colleen Kelly has been CEO of Concern Worldwide US since 2017. She brings to the organization three decades of advertising and marketing leadership, which has infused new energy and expertise into Concern’s growing engagement of private sector partners, as well as geographic and tactical expansion of marketing and fundraising efforts in the U.S.

It’s part of a board-driven initiative to generate more income to support Concern’s mission, built on a long track record of program effectiveness and efficiency. This includes a strengthening of Concern’s U.S. government funding portfolio and evolving private funding strategies to include corporate partnerships, social impact investing, and new streams of individual donor engagement at all levels.

In addition to leading a team of 50 professionals in the U.S., she is a member of the Board of Directors as well as the global senior management team, ensuring maximum coordination and programmatic impact.

She has traveled to Concern programs in Lebanon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, and Bangladesh to strengthen ties and help expose donors directly to the work their generosity makes possible.

Before joining Concern Worldwide U.S., she served as Managing Director of SET Creative, helping establish a rapidly growing New York practice for the leading, Portland-based global brand experience agency. Prior to that, she was for five years a partner and Managing Director of Triptent, where she was responsible for strengthening the agency’s advertising practice while leveraging its award-winning creative and production capabilities to meet clients’ growing content needs. It was an approach that ultimately drove 200% growth over just two years, winning key accounts such as Unilever and PetSmart.

Concurrently, from 2008 to 2013, she served as Managing Director of Product of the Year USA, engineering the North American launch of the world’s largest consumer-voted award for product innovation, which had been founded in France more than two decades earlier. Product of the Year’s mission is guide consumers to the best products in their market and reward manufacturers for quality and innovation, and under Colleen’s leadership, the organization achieved its standing as a now widely accepted seal of approval. She served as lead sales and marketing strategist, forging media partnerships and winning the participation of leading consumer brands; and as public ambassador, representing the cause at conferences and in television appearances.

Earlier, Colleen spent more than a decade as a founding partner, Media Director, and ultimately Director of Business Development for the advertising agency Deutsch LA. The fourth employee hired, she was part of a dynamic team that drove the agency’s exponential growth from start-up to major industry force. Among her many achievements: building a 60-person media planning team from the ground up; generating more than $1 billion in new business billing; opening the agency’s Toronto office to manage growing Canadian business; and guiding the agency’s positioning, philosophy, and marketing strategies, ultimately establishing Deutsch as one of the boldest, most innovative voices in advertising.

Before joining Deutsch LA, and after graduating from Boston University’s School of Management, Colleen spent a decade working in media planning and direction at Vic Olesen & Partners and Dailey & Associates.

She is the former President of the Los Angeles Association of Advertising Agencies, as well as the former Executive Vice President and an originating board member of ThinkLA, a non-profit organization established to build awareness of the Los Angeles creative community, provide education and training, and create social and philanthropic events, with a focus on innovation, diversity, and multi-cultural representation.

Colleen is also a member of the Kelly Gang, a charitable organization that brings together prominent figures in the areas of media, publishing, business, sports, and politics, who all happen to share the surname ‘Kelly.’ In honor of early member Michael Kelly, the longtime editor of Atlantic Monthly, who died in 2003 covering the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Kelly Gang holds an annual benefit, which has to date generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for worthy causes.

Having grown up in Pinehurst North Carolina, she now makes her home in New York City.

close

Kristen Packett

Chief Finance Officer

Kristen is an experienced executive with a focus on financial and operational management in complex global markets. She is passionate about international humanitarian and development efforts, especially around women’s and children’s issues. Throughout her work on projects throughout the US, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, she has always strived to weave this passion into her life and career goals.

As the Chief Finance Officer for Concern Worldwide US, Kristen ensures the financial health and integrity of the organization while driving business operations to maximize returns and mitigate risks. She is dedicated to formulating unique solutions and opportunities that will ultimately enhance Concern’s level of maturity, assessed through a financial and operational lens.

She has a multi-functional background operating at both the strategic and operational level in large corporate and NGO environments. Prior to joining Concern, she served as the Finance Lead for global development projects with Lockheed Martin and Pacific Architects & Engineers, and is a graduate of Lockheed Martin’s Financial Leadership Development program. Kristen obtained her BA in Business from The George Washington University, was the recipient of the Lockheed Martin Business Process Solutions President’s Team Award, and is a member of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy. She has worked in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Dubai, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, and Sierra Leone.

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Dara Burke

Vice President for Individual Giving & Events

As Vice President for Individual Giving & Events, Dara heads up Concern’s Individual Giving team in New York, which includes major gifts, special events, employee giving, and monthly giving, collectively raising over $4.6 million annually. Dara’s primary focuses are building strong and lasting philanthropic relationships with key stakeholders, as well as growing individual giving revenue more broadly.

Along with more than 10 years of experience in public service, Dara brings a lifelong commitment to preserving and protecting basic human rights and dignity, stemming from her experience growing up in Nairobi, Kenya.

Starting her career at ActionAid International, Dara joined Concern Worldwide in 2006. Her first responsibilities included Office Manager and assisting the Executive Director. A year later, she traveled to N’Djamena, Chad, as Concern’s Liaison Officer, hiring personnel and setting up in-country operations. She then transitioned to fundraising, rising to Development Manager overseeing the strategy and execution of six major annual fundraising events, major gift solicitation, and direct mail. Dara has helped guide and develop strategies to increase donor retention, exceed fundraising revenue goals, and triple event income. Her experience at Concern also includes time as Concern’s Foundation Relationship Manager, where she was responsible for a portfolio of foundation and corporate partners, raising $4 million annually. In early 2016, she was appointed Director of Individual Giving.     

Dara holds a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in French from the University of Vermont, and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University. Born in Geneva, Switzerland with dual Irish and American citizenship, Dara currently lives with her husband on the Upper West Side.

Ed Kenney

Vice President for Communications

Ed Kenney is a communications executive with diverse experience over a two-decade career spanning the private and nonprofit sectors. He started his career at the Boston-based strategic communications firm McDermott Ventures, then a small start-up, and remained on the team for ten years. Over that time, he helped the firm grow into a thriving practice, managing client accounts in commercial real estate, energy, community housing development, and public affairs. He rose to the position of Senior Vice President and led the spin-off of an entertainment management and communications practice.  

During his tenure at McDermott Ventures, he also studied nonprofit management and communications at Suffolk University, where his capstone project was the production of a half-hour documentary that aired as an episode of The Visionaries public television series. It would become one of a number of television projects he helped produce for nonprofit and entertainment clients.

His relationship with Concern Worldwide U.S. began in 2004 as a pro bono consultant providing video coverage of their programs in Haiti, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006. In 2007, he joined the organization as a full-time member of the communications team whose early responsibilities included writing, editing and helping the organization build its in-house capacity in video and field communications. He went on to serve as part of the emergency team responding to the 2010 earthquake, and assumed management of the communications team in 2012.

He has helped guide the organization’s vision for communications growth through two strategic plans, a major national digital marketing campaign, a full-scale web re-development, brand strategy initiatives, team expansion, and ultimately its emergence into a leading content creator in the international NGO sector. He was appointed Vice President in 2016.

His favorite activities are those involving his wife, Allyson, and their precocious toddler daughter, Grace.

Kirk Prichard

Vice President for Programs

As the Vice President of Programs for Concern US, Kirk manages the team responsible for all US funded programs and policy, a portfolio totaling more than $50 million USD in 16 countries, reaching over 8 million people.

Kirk also oversees Concern’s involvement in a growing collection of programs designed to improve humanitarian coordination and response, namely the National NGO Program on Humanitarian Leadership and the Building a Better Response program. Kirk has personally facilitated over 40 workshops, training more than 1,000 humanitarian professionals in practically every humanitarian setting.

He brings to this role more than a decade of experience, including humanitarian deployments with Concern in Afghanistan from 2008-2009; the 2011 Horn of Africa food security crisis; Typhoon Haiyan (2013) in the Philippines; the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal; the Syria Crisis (Lebanon); the 2016 Burundi emergency; and the 2017 Somalia food security crisis. During his tenure with Concern, he has worked in and with 21 countries on everything from monitoring and evaluation to capacity building to project design.

A proud native of New Jersey, Kirk received his Master’s degree in International Humanitarian Assistance from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands.

Robbie Rusbuldt

Vice President for Marketing & Business Operations

Robbie has always been a business-first minded individual with an unbridled passion for connecting the dots and solving organizational challenges. As the Vice President for Marketing & Business Operations, he uses his diverse experience in the music, sports, and nonprofit sectors to connect marketing, technology, data, and operations for Concern.

Joining Concern in 2017, Robbie immediately led the US team through a large-scale migration of its constituent relationship management system (CRM) and its marketing and payment processing platform. The end result included a richer understanding of Concern’s passionate supporters, as well as greater opportunities for connecting with past, present, and future donors, and deeper insights on organizational performance metrics. He continues to lead on other digital transformation efforts by building efficient end-to-end processes that create optimized workflows for the Concern team — and ideal donor experiences.

Prior to his work in nonprofit technology, Robbie pursued his passion of music, playing hundreds of pop-punk shows across the country (including dates on the Vans Warped Tour). As a self-managed musician, he facilitated a publishing deal with Viacom’s Hype Music, which resulted in placements on MTV, CBS, A&E, and other media outlets. Robbie graduated with a Bachelors in Business Management and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and camping in the mountains with his wife, playing ice hockey, and watching the Philadelphia Flyers.

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Ed Kenney

Vice President for Communications

Ed Kenney is a communications executive with diverse experience over a two-decade career spanning the private and nonprofit sectors. He started his career at the Boston-based strategic communications firm McDermott Ventures, then a small start-up, and remained on the team for ten years. Over that time, he helped the firm grow into a thriving practice, managing client accounts in commercial real estate, energy, community housing development, and public affairs. He rose to the position of Senior Vice President and led the spin-off of an entertainment management and communications practice.  

During his tenure at McDermott Ventures, he also studied nonprofit management and communications at Suffolk University, where his capstone project was the production of a half-hour documentary that aired as an episode of The Visionaries public television series. It would become one of a number of television projects he helped produce for nonprofit and entertainment clients.

His relationship with Concern Worldwide U.S. began in 2004 as a pro bono consultant providing video coverage of their programs in Haiti, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006. In 2007, he joined the organization as a full-time member of the communications team whose early responsibilities included writing, editing and helping the organization build its in-house capacity in video and field communications. He went on to serve as part of the emergency team responding to the 2010 earthquake, and assumed management of the communications team in 2012.

He has helped guide the organization’s vision for communications growth through two strategic plans, a major national digital marketing campaign, a full-scale web re-development, brand strategy initiatives, team expansion, and ultimately its emergence into a leading content creator in the international NGO sector. He was appointed Vice President in 2016.

His favorite activities are those involving his wife, Allyson, and their precocious toddler daughter, Grace.

close

Kirk Prichard

Vice President for Programs

As the Vice President of Programs for Concern US, Kirk manages the team responsible for all US funded programs and policy, a portfolio totaling more than $50 million USD in 16 countries, reaching over 8 million people.

Kirk also oversees Concern’s involvement in a growing collection of programs designed to improve humanitarian coordination and response, namely the National NGO Program on Humanitarian Leadership and the Building a Better Response program. Kirk has personally facilitated over 40 workshops, training more than 1,000 humanitarian professionals in practically every humanitarian setting.

He brings to this role more than a decade of experience, including humanitarian deployments with Concern in Afghanistan from 2008-2009; the 2011 Horn of Africa food security crisis; Typhoon Haiyan (2013) in the Philippines; the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal; the Syria Crisis (Lebanon); the 2016 Burundi emergency; and the 2017 Somalia food security crisis. During his tenure with Concern, he has worked in and with 21 countries on everything from monitoring and evaluation to capacity building to project design.

A proud native of New Jersey, Kirk received his Master’s degree in International Humanitarian Assistance from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands.

close

Robbie Rusbuldt

Vice President for Marketing & Business Operations

Robbie has always been a business-first minded individual with an unbridled passion for connecting the dots and solving organizational challenges. As the Vice President for Marketing & Business Operations, he uses his diverse experience in the music, sports, and nonprofit sectors to connect marketing, technology, data, and operations for Concern.

Joining Concern in 2017, Robbie immediately led the US team through a large-scale migration of its constituent relationship management system (CRM) and its marketing and payment processing platform. The end result included a richer understanding of Concern’s passionate supporters, as well as greater opportunities for connecting with past, present, and future donors, and deeper insights on organizational performance metrics. He continues to lead on other digital transformation efforts by building efficient end-to-end processes that create optimized workflows for the Concern team — and ideal donor experiences.

Prior to his work in nonprofit technology, Robbie pursued his passion of music, playing hundreds of pop-punk shows across the country (including dates on the Vans Warped Tour). As a self-managed musician, he facilitated a publishing deal with Viacom’s Hype Music, which resulted in placements on MTV, CBS, A&E, and other media outlets. Robbie graduated with a Bachelors in Business Management and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and camping in the mountains with his wife, playing ice hockey, and watching the Philadelphia Flyers.

Rebecca Babin

Director of Marketing

As the Director of Marketing for Concern Worldwide US, Rebecca manages the team responsible for all nationwide, donor-focused mass communications to increase awareness of and funding for Concern’s mission and programs. She brings with her over a decade of experience with private-sector marketing.

Building brand engagement that fuels long-lasting and deepened consumer engagement included, Rebecca previously worked with brands including Target, Urban Decay Cosmetics, and Unilever. She was thrilled joined the Concern team in April 2020 and put her experience to good use. After seven years of Minneapolis winters, Rebecca was thrilled to hang up her heavy-duty snow boots once and for all and return to her hometown of New York. She received her Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Dilenia Baez

Grants & Compliance Accountant

Dilenia Baez joined Concern Worldwide US as a Grant & Compliance Accountant in 2019. She is responsible for providing financial, accounting, compliance and other grant support services in order to meet the needs of the organization and its donors.

She brings 11 years’ experience, to Concern, seven of which were focused on quarterly budgeting, accounts payable, and the operation of all accounting systems and records. Dilenia holds a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Felician College and an MBA in Innovation and Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Elana Blumenfeld

Human Resources Officer

As Human Resources Officer, Elana ensures that the daily operations of Concern’s HR department run smoothly and efficiently in order to deliver maximum value to the organization. Her philosophy of HR as customer service includes a focus on employee engagement.

Concern team members meet Elana during the recruitment process, including interviewing and hiring. She continues to work with team members in the onboarding process, learning and professional development, payroll benefits, and leave. She also works with team members transitioning to different roles or the next phase of their career with offboarding. As Concern Worldwide US’s benefits administrator, Elana also manages our HR Information System.

After receiving her BA in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder (with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies), Elana completed her MS in Elementary Education at Long Island University. Her interest in the humanitarian sector led Elana to begin her carer with Concern in 2015 as an Administrative Coordinator, where she soon discovered her passion for taking care of her colleagues. She joined the HR team the following year and, in 2020, proudly celebrated her fifth anniversary with Concern.

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Rebecca Babin

Director of Marketing

As the Director of Marketing for Concern Worldwide US, Rebecca manages the team responsible for all nationwide, donor-focused mass communications to increase awareness of and funding for Concern’s mission and programs. She brings with her over a decade of experience with private-sector marketing.

Building brand engagement that fuels long-lasting and deepened consumer engagement included, Rebecca previously worked with brands including Target, Urban Decay Cosmetics, and Unilever. She was thrilled joined the Concern team in April 2020 and put her experience to good use. After seven years of Minneapolis winters, Rebecca was thrilled to hang up her heavy-duty snow boots once and for all and return to her hometown of New York. She received her Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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Dilenia Baez

Grants & Compliance Accountant

Dilenia Baez joined Concern Worldwide US as a Grant & Compliance Accountant in 2019. She is responsible for providing financial, accounting, compliance and other grant support services in order to meet the needs of the organization and its donors.

She brings 11 years’ experience, to Concern, seven of which were focused on quarterly budgeting, accounts payable, and the operation of all accounting systems and records. Dilenia holds a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Felician College and an MBA in Innovation and Entrepreneurial Leadership.

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Elana Blumenfeld

Human Resources Officer

As Human Resources Officer, Elana ensures that the daily operations of Concern’s HR department run smoothly and efficiently in order to deliver maximum value to the organization. Her philosophy of HR as customer service includes a focus on employee engagement.

Concern team members meet Elana during the recruitment process, including interviewing and hiring. She continues to work with team members in the onboarding process, learning and professional development, payroll benefits, and leave. She also works with team members transitioning to different roles or the next phase of their career with offboarding. As Concern Worldwide US’s benefits administrator, Elana also manages our HR Information System.

After receiving her BA in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder (with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies), Elana completed her MS in Elementary Education at Long Island University. Her interest in the humanitarian sector led Elana to begin her carer with Concern in 2015 as an Administrative Coordinator, where she soon discovered her passion for taking care of her colleagues. She joined the HR team the following year and, in 2020, proudly celebrated her fifth anniversary with Concern.

Vanessa Bright-Isaac

Controller

Vanessa began working with Concern in August 1998, making her the longest-working member of the US team as well as an asset to the organization during its early stages in the United States

Her background and ability to multitask is an asset within the Finance and Administration department as well as the other departments that form Concern Worldwide US. Her role as Controller focuses on the daily financial management of the organization.

She has a Bachelors in Accounting, a Masters in Business Administration, and is a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP). Before coming to Concern, Vanessa spent 4.5 years at the Coalition for the Homeless in several departments as Assistant Bookkeeper, Officer Manager/HR/Payroll, and Administrative Assistant.

Allyson Brown Kenney

Director, National NGO Program on Humanitarian Leadership

With more than two decades of work alleviating poverty and hunger, Allyson has a range of experience as both practitioner and executive, spanning grant management, program design and development, capacity building, and representation and advocacy. Currently, she serves as Director of the National NGO Program on Humanitarian Leadership, which provides world-class training to the next generation of humanitarian leaders.

Over 12 years, Allyson has held a variety of positions at Concern. For much of that time, she managed the organization’s Child Survival grant funding and provided technical support to Concern’s maternal and child health programs in Bangladesh, Haiti, and Rwanda. She later oversaw global citizenship engagement, which included high-level food security and nutrition advocacy efforts. Concurrently, she served as acting US Operations Director, overseeing US Government grants, providing high-level representation, and temporarily deploying to Haiti for the 2010 earthquake response.

Earlier in her career, Allyson worked with other mission-driven organizations, including coordinating services for New York City families affected by 9/11. She holds a BA degree in English and Peace and Conflict Studies from the College of the Holy Cross, and both Master of Science in Social Work and Master of Public Health degrees from Columbia University.

Raina Clark-Gaun

Business Development Officer

Raina has worked in East Africa, West Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Caucuses and is most interested in the intersection of humanitarian and international development, design thinking, and indigenous knowledge production.

Passionate about unpacking, deconstructing, and reimagining current approaches to humanitarian and longer-term development programming, she also enjoys systematically questioning who defines a “good response.”

Of her time before Concern, Raina says: “I grew up between here and there but I got my education everywhere.”

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Vanessa Bright-Isaac

Controller

Vanessa began working with Concern in August 1998, making her the longest-working member of the US team as well as an asset to the organization during its early stages in the United States

Her background and ability to multitask is an asset within the Finance and Administration department as well as the other departments that form Concern Worldwide US. Her role as Controller focuses on the daily financial management of the organization.

She has a Bachelors in Accounting, a Masters in Business Administration, and is a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP). Before coming to Concern, Vanessa spent 4.5 years at the Coalition for the Homeless in several departments as Assistant Bookkeeper, Officer Manager/HR/Payroll, and Administrative Assistant.

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Allyson Brown Kenney

Director, National NGO Program on Humanitarian Leadership

With more than two decades of work alleviating poverty and hunger, Allyson has a range of experience as both practitioner and executive, spanning grant management, program design and development, capacity building, and representation and advocacy. Currently, she serves as Director of the National NGO Program on Humanitarian Leadership, which provides world-class training to the next generation of humanitarian leaders.

Over 12 years, Allyson has held a variety of positions at Concern. For much of that time, she managed the organization’s Child Survival grant funding and provided technical support to Concern’s maternal and child health programs in Bangladesh, Haiti, and Rwanda. She later oversaw global citizenship engagement, which included high-level food security and nutrition advocacy efforts. Concurrently, she served as acting US Operations Director, overseeing US Government grants, providing high-level representation, and temporarily deploying to Haiti for the 2010 earthquake response.

Earlier in her career, Allyson worked with other mission-driven organizations, including coordinating services for New York City families affected by 9/11. She holds a BA degree in English and Peace and Conflict Studies from the College of the Holy Cross, and both Master of Science in Social Work and Master of Public Health degrees from Columbia University.

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Raina Clark-Gaun

Business Development Officer

Raina has worked in East Africa, West Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Caucuses and is most interested in the intersection of humanitarian and international development, design thinking, and indigenous knowledge production.

Passionate about unpacking, deconstructing, and reimagining current approaches to humanitarian and longer-term development programming, she also enjoys systematically questioning who defines a “good response.”

Of her time before Concern, Raina says: “I grew up between here and there but I got my education everywhere.”

Kathleen Felesina

Director of Development, West Coast Region

Kathleen Felesina is a nonprofit professional of nearly 20 years, as well as a published author who has written/edited six nonfiction books. Born in Los Angeles, she has lived abroad twice, including several years in Hong Kong. There, she was part of the team that launched CNBC Asia in the mid-1990s, just as the digital revolution was dawning and globalization was escalating.

This experience imbued an awareness both of the world’s interconnectedness as well as its profound inequities and led Kathleen to pivot to the nonprofit arena when she returned to the United States, providing crucial resources and amplifying marginalized voices. She has worked with organizations dedicated to providing educational access, workforce development, and healthcare services for at-risk and underserved populations throughout California.

Kathleen was drawn to Concern’s mission because it not only provides critical humanitarian and development assistance on a global scale, but does so in partnership with local communities in order to eliminate the need for ongoing external support. Joining the team in 2019 to start an office on the West Coast, she’s proud to help raise funds and awareness for Concern throughout the region.

Gabriela Gerlach

Program Manager: Post Award

As Program Manager for Post Award, Gaby leads the Grant Management team that oversees programs funded by USAID, the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, as well as those supported by US foundations, corporations, and major donors. Her portfolio totals more than $50 million and reaches over 8 million people in 16 countries.

Gaby started at Concern Worldwide in 2012 as the Office Administrator, supporting the Building a Better Response project’s workshop in Kenya. In her tenure as Program Officer, she supported and provided grant management, compliance, and proposal support to over 11 country teams. She has worked in more than seven countries, in capacities that include humanitarian deployments (namely the 2015 earthquake in Nepal) and donor compliance monitoring and training (including work in Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Ethiopia). In her current role, Gaby provides direct support to several of Concern’s country teams, including those in Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, and Lebanon.

An alumna of Tufts University, Gaby holds a BA in International Relations with a minor in Sociology. Born in Venezuela, Gaby has also lived in Brazil, Spain, and several states in the USA. She currently calls New York City home.

Sugandha Gurung

Manager, Business Development

Born and raised in Nepal, international development work was instilled in Sugandha during her childhood as she actively tagged along with her dad to the remotest parts of the country. There, she watched him use his agroforestry and project management skills to help those in greatest need, and make magic by turning dry barren lands into green fertile patches.

Sugandha holds double masters’ degrees: a MA in Anthropology and a MSc in Environmental sciences. In her early professional life, she worked for international development organizations including the World Wildlife Fund and Winrock International in Nepal. She also joined ETC International for a short-term internship in Laos. Her time with Concern began with its Nepal program in the fall of 2009, followed by a two-year international assignment in South Sudan. After a short-term return to Nepal as part of Concern’s response to the 2015 earthquake, she made her home with Concern Worldwide US in April 2016.

Currently, Sugandha manages the US Government new-business development portfolio, with a special focus on the emergency and humanitarian side that averages at over $40 million in new funding to Concern each year.

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Kathleen Felesina

Director of Development, West Coast Region

Kathleen Felesina is a nonprofit professional of nearly 20 years, as well as a published author who has written/edited six nonfiction books. Born in Los Angeles, she has lived abroad twice, including several years in Hong Kong. There, she was part of the team that launched CNBC Asia in the mid-1990s, just as the digital revolution was dawning and globalization was escalating.

This experience imbued an awareness both of the world’s interconnectedness as well as its profound inequities and led Kathleen to pivot to the nonprofit arena when she returned to the United States, providing crucial resources and amplifying marginalized voices. She has worked with organizations dedicated to providing educational access, workforce development, and healthcare services for at-risk and underserved populations throughout California.

Kathleen was drawn to Concern’s mission because it not only provides critical humanitarian and development assistance on a global scale, but does so in partnership with local communities in order to eliminate the need for ongoing external support. Joining the team in 2019 to start an office on the West Coast, she’s proud to help raise funds and awareness for Concern throughout the region.

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Gabriela Gerlach

Program Manager: Post Award

As Program Manager for Post Award, Gaby leads the Grant Management team that oversees programs funded by USAID, the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, as well as those supported by US foundations, corporations, and major donors. Her portfolio totals more than $50 million and reaches over 8 million people in 16 countries.

Gaby started at Concern Worldwide in 2012 as the Office Administrator, supporting the Building a Better Response project’s workshop in Kenya. In her tenure as Program Officer, she supported and provided grant management, compliance, and proposal support to over 11 country teams. She has worked in more than seven countries, in capacities that include humanitarian deployments (namely the 2015 earthquake in Nepal) and donor compliance monitoring and training (including work in Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Ethiopia). In her current role, Gaby provides direct support to several of Concern’s country teams, including those in Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, and Lebanon.

An alumna of Tufts University, Gaby holds a BA in International Relations with a minor in Sociology. Born in Venezuela, Gaby has also lived in Brazil, Spain, and several states in the USA. She currently calls New York City home.

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Sugandha Gurung

Manager, Business Development

Born and raised in Nepal, international development work was instilled in Sugandha during her childhood as she actively tagged along with her dad to the remotest parts of the country. There, she watched him use his agroforestry and project management skills to help those in greatest need, and make magic by turning dry barren lands into green fertile patches.

Sugandha holds double masters’ degrees: a MA in Anthropology and a MSc in Environmental sciences. In her early professional life, she worked for international development organizations including the World Wildlife Fund and Winrock International in Nepal. She also joined ETC International for a short-term internship in Laos. Her time with Concern began with its Nepal program in the fall of 2009, followed by a two-year international assignment in South Sudan. After a short-term return to Nepal as part of Concern’s response to the 2015 earthquake, she made her home with Concern Worldwide US in April 2016.

Currently, Sugandha manages the US Government new-business development portfolio, with a special focus on the emergency and humanitarian side that averages at over $40 million in new funding to Concern each year.

Lauren Hacker

System Administrator

As the System Administrator for Concern Worldwide US, Lauren develops and manages high-level data architecture within Salesforce, assists in the overall systems architecture of all business solution software, and manages data security to ensure organizational safeguards, donor privacy, and data integrity.

Lauren joined Concern in May 2019 with experience in analytics, data management, and system integration. After completing a year of direct service with City Year New York as an AmeriCorps volunteer in East Harlem, she opted to work behind the scenes within the sector. She has since worked as an operations and data professional with nonprofits both local and international.

Lauren holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Born in Arizona, she is an avid hiker, tea drinker, and tennis enthusiast.

Rachel Isely

Program Officer

As a Program Officer for Concern Worldwide US, Rachel supports a diverse portfolio of country teams in Somalia, the Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, and Bangladesh. Rachel oversees $13 million of Concern’s programs funded by USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance along with other American foundations, corporations, and major donors.

Rachel also manages Building a Better Response (BBR), a joint initiative of Concern, International Medical Corps, and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative which aims to strengthen the capacity of NGO personnel engaging in the international humanitarian coordination system during complex emergencies.

During her time at Concern, Rachel has worked in more than 10 countries in various capacities, from monitoring donor compliance in the Central African Republic to organizing and co-facilitating workshops in Djibouti, Malawi, Nepal, Thailand, and Bangladesh.

Rachel holds a Master’s Degree in International Development Studies from SOAS, University of London, where she focused on labor informality and class issues in South Asia. She hails from Northern Wisconsin, has lived in London and Mumbai, and now calls Chicago home.

Catherine King

Director of Development, Midwest

Catherine King is a seasoned development professional with a deep commitment to connecting donors with personally meaningful missions. She has spent her career building relationships and partnerships that further social justice in many forms — including humanitarian, educational, and environmental — in Chicago and Midwest, as well as nationwide.

Catherine was drawn to Concern Worldwide US by a growing motivation to work in support of an organization focused on the most basic human needs. Skilled in individual major gift fundraising, corporate relations, and both board and volunteer management, Catherine is very excited to work with the team to grow Concern’s development program in Chicago and the Midwest.

A lifelong Illinoisan who has lived in Chicago for almost 20 years, when she’s not fundraising, Catherine loves to spend time with her family, practice yoga, and go on every kind of outdoor adventure. Reach out to her at [email protected] with and questions on the local philanthropy landscape, effective board development, and where to find Chicago’s best deep dish pizza.

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Lauren Hacker

System Administrator

As the System Administrator for Concern Worldwide US, Lauren develops and manages high-level data architecture within Salesforce, assists in the overall systems architecture of all business solution software, and manages data security to ensure organizational safeguards, donor privacy, and data integrity.

Lauren joined Concern in May 2019 with experience in analytics, data management, and system integration. After completing a year of direct service with City Year New York as an AmeriCorps volunteer in East Harlem, she opted to work behind the scenes within the sector. She has since worked as an operations and data professional with nonprofits both local and international.

Lauren holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Born in Arizona, she is an avid hiker, tea drinker, and tennis enthusiast.

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Rachel Isely

Program Officer

As a Program Officer for Concern Worldwide US, Rachel supports a diverse portfolio of country teams in Somalia, the Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, and Bangladesh. Rachel oversees $13 million of Concern’s programs funded by USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance along with other American foundations, corporations, and major donors.

Rachel also manages Building a Better Response (BBR), a joint initiative of Concern, International Medical Corps, and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative which aims to strengthen the capacity of NGO personnel engaging in the international humanitarian coordination system during complex emergencies.

During her time at Concern, Rachel has worked in more than 10 countries in various capacities, from monitoring donor compliance in the Central African Republic to organizing and co-facilitating workshops in Djibouti, Malawi, Nepal, Thailand, and Bangladesh.

Rachel holds a Master’s Degree in International Development Studies from SOAS, University of London, where she focused on labor informality and class issues in South Asia. She hails from Northern Wisconsin, has lived in London and Mumbai, and now calls Chicago home.

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Catherine King

Director of Development, Midwest

Catherine King is a seasoned development professional with a deep commitment to connecting donors with personally meaningful missions. She has spent her career building relationships and partnerships that further social justice in many forms — including humanitarian, educational, and environmental — in Chicago and Midwest, as well as nationwide.

Catherine was drawn to Concern Worldwide US by a growing motivation to work in support of an organization focused on the most basic human needs. Skilled in individual major gift fundraising, corporate relations, and both board and volunteer management, Catherine is very excited to work with the team to grow Concern’s development program in Chicago and the Midwest.

A lifelong Illinoisan who has lived in Chicago for almost 20 years, when she’s not fundraising, Catherine loves to spend time with her family, practice yoga, and go on every kind of outdoor adventure. Reach out to her at [email protected] with and questions on the local philanthropy landscape, effective board development, and where to find Chicago’s best deep dish pizza.

Ella Lakew

Grants & Compliance Manager

As Grants & Compliance Manager, Ella ensures good stewardship of Concern’s government funding portfolio. She works across programs and departments to oversee critical aspects of the grant cycle, from pre-award to post-award, focusing on donor guidelines, reporting, audits, monitoring, financial accountability, and regulatory compliance.

Ella is a seasoned finance and accounting professional with more than 13 years of experience in both private and nonprofit sectors. She views her role at Concern as a unique opportunity to apply her financial skills to creating positive change and making a difference in overcoming poverty. She is passionate about humanitarian work and believes we can all make a difference, to quote Desmond Tutu: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Before joining Concern, Ella worked in senior accounting and finance positions at 32BJ Benefit Funds, Action Against Hunger, Kennedy Child Study Center, and Panafric Global. Ella holds a BA in Accounting and Finance from Addis Ababa University and likes to read books and travel during her leisure time.

Karen M. Loftus

Office Manager

Karen joined Concern Worldwide US as Office Manager in 2019 and plays an integral role in continuing the organization’s growth with a broad set of responsibilities including overall office coordination and operations. Her diverse background and experience in both administrative and creative capacities brings a new and innovative lens to Concern’s administrative functions and systems.

She began her career with Burlington Industries as a design and production specialist before moving onto Crest Uniform, where she spent 12 years in various roles including designer, creative director and ultimately the VP of Creative Services. Prior to joining Concern, Karen was the Administrative Director, Marketing for Dazian, LLC, where she was not only a leader for the marketing team, but also responsible for all administrative facets.

An alumna of the College of New Rochelle, Karen holds a BFA in Printing and Drawing, with a second major in Art History and Music. Still a resident of New Rochelle, Karen enjoys her waterside living with two enormous cats.

Hannah Mack

Donor Engagement Manager

As the Donor Engagement Manager, Hannah oversees initiatives aimed at deepening supporter involvement with and investment in Concern, including recurring, planned, and employee giving as well as community fundraising. She plays a critical role in growing revenue and brand awareness across marketing channels and giving levels, ensuring long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships between Concern and its supporters.

Hannah joined Concern in 2019 as a dedicated fundraising professional from the arts and culture sector. As the Manager of Individual Giving & Special Events at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, she produced three major annual fundraising events, along with a variety of print and digital campaigns. She previously held positions in development and visitor services at MoMA PS1, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Walker Art Center.

Hannah graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a double major in Art History and Renaissance Studies and received her master’s degree in Early Modern History from the University of Cambridge. Hailing from Minnesota, she now resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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Ella Lakew

Grants & Compliance Manager

As Grants & Compliance Manager, Ella ensures good stewardship of Concern’s government funding portfolio. She works across programs and departments to oversee critical aspects of the grant cycle, from pre-award to post-award, focusing on donor guidelines, reporting, audits, monitoring, financial accountability, and regulatory compliance.

Ella is a seasoned finance and accounting professional with more than 13 years of experience in both private and nonprofit sectors. She views her role at Concern as a unique opportunity to apply her financial skills to creating positive change and making a difference in overcoming poverty. She is passionate about humanitarian work and believes we can all make a difference, to quote Desmond Tutu: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Before joining Concern, Ella worked in senior accounting and finance positions at 32BJ Benefit Funds, Action Against Hunger, Kennedy Child Study Center, and Panafric Global. Ella holds a BA in Accounting and Finance from Addis Ababa University and likes to read books and travel during her leisure time.

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Karen M. Loftus

Office Manager

Karen joined Concern Worldwide US as Office Manager in 2019 and plays an integral role in continuing the organization’s growth with a broad set of responsibilities including overall office coordination and operations. Her diverse background and experience in both administrative and creative capacities brings a new and innovative lens to Concern’s administrative functions and systems.

She began her career with Burlington Industries as a design and production specialist before moving onto Crest Uniform, where she spent 12 years in various roles including designer, creative director and ultimately the VP of Creative Services. Prior to joining Concern, Karen was the Administrative Director, Marketing for Dazian, LLC, where she was not only a leader for the marketing team, but also responsible for all administrative facets.

An alumna of the College of New Rochelle, Karen holds a BFA in Printing and Drawing, with a second major in Art History and Music. Still a resident of New Rochelle, Karen enjoys her waterside living with two enormous cats.

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Hannah Mack

Donor Engagement Manager

As the Donor Engagement Manager, Hannah oversees initiatives aimed at deepening supporter involvement with and investment in Concern, including recurring, planned, and employee giving as well as community fundraising. She plays a critical role in growing revenue and brand awareness across marketing channels and giving levels, ensuring long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships between Concern and its supporters.

Hannah joined Concern in 2019 as a dedicated fundraising professional from the arts and culture sector. As the Manager of Individual Giving & Special Events at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, she produced three major annual fundraising events, along with a variety of print and digital campaigns. She previously held positions in development and visitor services at MoMA PS1, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Walker Art Center.

Hannah graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a double major in Art History and Renaissance Studies and received her master’s degree in Early Modern History from the University of Cambridge. Hailing from Minnesota, she now resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Annie Marsh Ryerson

Director of Major Gifts

As the Director of Major Gifts, Annie designs and executes new strategies to grow private revenue for Concern Worldwide US (93% of which goes into organizational programming around the world), with a particular focus on institutional leadership and major gifts.

Annie oversees the Concern Ambassadors, a stewardship program to support the investment of Concern’s most generous donors. Managing a portfolio of high net-worth individuals to maintain and increase giving, Annie also develops meaningful partnerships between Ambassadors and Concern’s Board of Directors to identify and engage new donors.

Contributing to the overall stewardship vision and strategy for the Individual Giving Department, Annie works closely with Concern’s leadership team, its VP of Individual Giving, and its Development Directors in Chicago and LA to build on the institution’s historic success and help shape its future philanthropic vision.

Before coming to Concern in 2016, Annie served in multiple roles at Wells College. Consistent with her commitment to helping underserved populations, Annie increased enrollment and implemented programs to recruit and retain first-generation college students and students of color as the Director of Multicultural Recruitment and the Assistant Director of Admissions.

Annie holds an MFA from Syracuse University and lives in Brooklyn with her husband Chris.

Marisa Martin

Events Manager

Julia Merjan

Development Coordinator, Individual Giving & Events

In her role as the Development Coordinator on the Individual Giving & Events team, Julia assists in the management and execution of Concern’s signature special events. She also supports a diverse range of fundraising activities, including but not limited to: donor gift processing, donor correspondence, and donor relations.

Prior to joining Concern in March 2018, Julia was a part of an organization in her hometown of Chicago called the North Shore Exchange, an award winning nonprofit luxury resale boutique. In 2017, Julia was instrumental in helping the North Shore Exchange reach $1 million in annual revenue. This revenue allowed the organization to fund grants totaling over $250,000 to Chicagoland organizations serving underprivileged children and families at or below the poverty line.

Prior to the North Shore Exchange, Julia served as a Legislative Intern for Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. Here she served as a point of contact for all constituent phone calls and emails, as well as a public policy research assistant. Julia has also held internships focusing on Major Gift Development with both the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Ravinia Festival.

Julia holds a BA in International Relations from Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies.

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Annie Marsh Ryerson

Director of Major Gifts

As the Director of Major Gifts, Annie designs and executes new strategies to grow private revenue for Concern Worldwide US (93% of which goes into organizational programming around the world), with a particular focus on institutional leadership and major gifts.

Annie oversees the Concern Ambassadors, a stewardship program to support the investment of Concern’s most generous donors. Managing a portfolio of high net-worth individuals to maintain and increase giving, Annie also develops meaningful partnerships between Ambassadors and Concern’s Board of Directors to identify and engage new donors.

Contributing to the overall stewardship vision and strategy for the Individual Giving Department, Annie works closely with Concern’s leadership team, its VP of Individual Giving, and its Development Directors in Chicago and LA to build on the institution’s historic success and help shape its future philanthropic vision.

Before coming to Concern in 2016, Annie served in multiple roles at Wells College. Consistent with her commitment to helping underserved populations, Annie increased enrollment and implemented programs to recruit and retain first-generation college students and students of color as the Director of Multicultural Recruitment and the Assistant Director of Admissions.

Annie holds an MFA from Syracuse University and lives in Brooklyn with her husband Chris.

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Marisa Martin

Events Manager

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Julia Merjan

Development Coordinator, Individual Giving & Events

In her role as the Development Coordinator on the Individual Giving & Events team, Julia assists in the management and execution of Concern’s signature special events. She also supports a diverse range of fundraising activities, including but not limited to: donor gift processing, donor correspondence, and donor relations.

Prior to joining Concern in March 2018, Julia was a part of an organization in her hometown of Chicago called the North Shore Exchange, an award winning nonprofit luxury resale boutique. In 2017, Julia was instrumental in helping the North Shore Exchange reach $1 million in annual revenue. This revenue allowed the organization to fund grants totaling over $250,000 to Chicagoland organizations serving underprivileged children and families at or below the poverty line.

Prior to the North Shore Exchange, Julia served as a Legislative Intern for Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. Here she served as a point of contact for all constituent phone calls and emails, as well as a public policy research assistant. Julia has also held internships focusing on Major Gift Development with both the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Ravinia Festival.

Julia holds a BA in International Relations from Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies.

Kieran McConville

Head of Content

Kieran has been working for Concern in various capacities since 2010. He gathers much of the imagery used across Concern communication channels, traveling regularly to countries of operation. Kieran also oversees everyday content output. Previously, he was a journalist and TV producer. He is from Ireland.

Erin McCormack

Development Coordinator, Midwest

As Development Coordinator for the Midwest Region, Erin is responsible for supporting a diverse range of fundraising activities. She assists the Concern Chicago team in successfully producing special events and oversees donation collection activities.

Erin’s passion for fundraising was kickstarted in 2019 when she moved to Karibib, Namibia with WorldTeach, where she taught 6th grade students and ran The Girls’ Club at Ebenhaeser Primary School. When her students in Girls Club developed a plan to raise funds for their school, Erin launched a GoFundMe and activated her community back home to raise more than $7,500 (exceeding their original goal by 50%). The funds raised help 250 students purchase new uniforms, shoes, backpacks, and school supplies.

Erin holds a BA in English from UCLA and currently lives near Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

Meghan Murphy

Executive Assistant & Board Liaison

After graduating from LA’s Loyola Marymount University with a BA in Communication Studies and Political Science, Meghan took a break from the sun and moved to Portland, Oregon. In her year of service with AmeriCorps, she volunteered with the nonprofit newspaper Street Roots. 

As the Volunteer Manager and Vendor Coordinator for Street Roots, Meghan worked to provide income opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. The newspaper and related media served as catalysts for individual and social change, and the impactful year ultimately sent Meghan on the career path of social justice and humanitarian development. She made the cross-country move to work at Concern Worldwide US as Executive Assistant to CEO Colleen Kelly and also serves as the organization’s Board Liaison.

In these roles, Meghan strives to maximize Concern’s ability to end extreme poverty by acting as the primary administrative contact for internal and external constituents, facilitating quarterly board meetings, and overseeing executive information flow in a timely and accurate manner. Although she is relatively fresh to the scene, Meghan is thrilled to help Concern Worldwide US enable meaningful and sustainable change.

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Kieran McConville

Head of Content

Kieran has been working for Concern in various capacities since 2010. He gathers much of the imagery used across Concern communication channels, traveling regularly to countries of operation. Kieran also oversees everyday content output. Previously, he was a journalist and TV producer. He is from Ireland.

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Erin McCormack

Development Coordinator, Midwest

As Development Coordinator for the Midwest Region, Erin is responsible for supporting a diverse range of fundraising activities. She assists the Concern Chicago team in successfully producing special events and oversees donation collection activities.

Erin’s passion for fundraising was kickstarted in 2019 when she moved to Karibib, Namibia with WorldTeach, where she taught 6th grade students and ran The Girls’ Club at Ebenhaeser Primary School. When her students in Girls Club developed a plan to raise funds for their school, Erin launched a GoFundMe and activated her community back home to raise more than $7,500 (exceeding their original goal by 50%). The funds raised help 250 students purchase new uniforms, shoes, backpacks, and school supplies.

Erin holds a BA in English from UCLA and currently lives near Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

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Meghan Murphy

Executive Assistant & Board Liaison

After graduating from LA’s Loyola Marymount University with a BA in Communication Studies and Political Science, Meghan took a break from the sun and moved to Portland, Oregon. In her year of service with AmeriCorps, she volunteered with the nonprofit newspaper Street Roots. 

As the Volunteer Manager and Vendor Coordinator for Street Roots, Meghan worked to provide income opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. The newspaper and related media served as catalysts for individual and social change, and the impactful year ultimately sent Meghan on the career path of social justice and humanitarian development. She made the cross-country move to work at Concern Worldwide US as Executive Assistant to CEO Colleen Kelly and also serves as the organization’s Board Liaison.

In these roles, Meghan strives to maximize Concern’s ability to end extreme poverty by acting as the primary administrative contact for internal and external constituents, facilitating quarterly board meetings, and overseeing executive information flow in a timely and accurate manner. Although she is relatively fresh to the scene, Meghan is thrilled to help Concern Worldwide US enable meaningful and sustainable change.

Makayla Palazzo

Policy & Advocacy Officer

As the main advocacy staff member at Concern US, Makayla champions some of the most pressing issues for people living in fragile and conflict-affected states.

In addition to representing Concern at major forums (including the United Nations, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, Interaction, and meetings of the United States Government), her role involves liaising with country teams on relevant issues, analyzing crisis contexts and events, supporting key advocacy strategies across the organization, and building relationships with major advocacy stakeholders in New York and DC.

Makayla came to Concern from REACH Syria in Amman, Jordan, where she managed the initiative’s portfolio of needs assessments in Syria. In her role as Technical Advisor, Makayla oversaw a team of staff in Jordan and Syria to ensure high-quality data and reports. While at REACH, Makayla also managed the organization’s external stakeholder relationships — from NGO coordination platforms to UNOCHA — to ensure that needs assessments were relevant and strategic. Prior to REACH, she also worked briefly at Ground Truth Solutions in Austria, using data to report on global sentiment towards various refugee populations.

Makayla holds BAs in French and Economics, as well as a Master of Public Policy, from the University of Virginia.

Candance Patel-Taylor

Development Manager, Midwest

As Development Manager, Midwest for Concern Worldwide US, Candance is responsible for individual giving and event activities including major donor stewardship, regional public awareness, corporate relationship management, and new donor engagement.

Candance leads Concern’s special events in Chicago, including the Women of Concern Awards Luncheon, Concern Chicago Golf Outing, and the Thanks-for-Giving Gala. Together these events raise approximately $600,000 of critical funds each year to support Concern’s programs. Candance also manages relationships with members of the newly-launched Concern Action Council.

In her time at Concern, Candance has strengthened honoree, donor, committee, and board relationships in the midwest, streamlined event budgets to increase ROI, and elevated the event programming. She also leads the organization’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging working group for the US.

Candance holds a BA in Marketing Communications: Public Relations and Black World Studies from Columbia College Chicago. She hails from Wisconsin, is a former resident of both Accra and London, but now calls Chicago home with her husband and two littles who make regular cameos on all of her Zoom meetings.

Jenna Pulvermiller

Donor Care Coordinator

As Concern’s Donor Care Coordinator, Jenna works her Development and Individual Giving colleagues to steward our generous supporters. She primarily focuses on donation entry and acknowledgement management, but is also involved in event support and fundraising.

Originally from Colorado, Jenna volunteered for much of her youth with an organization supporting young people who grew up in Romania’s government-run orphanage system. Post-college, she joined the team at Stand Beside Them, which provides free coaching services for American veterans. Her tenure at Concern started as an internship, where she helped run Concern’s 2019 Spring Run. After a successful fundraising event that benefitted our programs in Haiti, she joined the team as the Donor Care Coordinator.

Jenna graduated from Fordham University with a BA in Humanitarian Studies, a scope of knowledge she now happily brings to the Concern team.

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Makayla Palazzo

Policy & Advocacy Officer

As the main advocacy staff member at Concern US, Makayla champions some of the most pressing issues for people living in fragile and conflict-affected states.

In addition to representing Concern at major forums (including the United Nations, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, Interaction, and meetings of the United States Government), her role involves liaising with country teams on relevant issues, analyzing crisis contexts and events, supporting key advocacy strategies across the organization, and building relationships with major advocacy stakeholders in New York and DC.

Makayla came to Concern from REACH Syria in Amman, Jordan, where she managed the initiative’s portfolio of needs assessments in Syria. In her role as Technical Advisor, Makayla oversaw a team of staff in Jordan and Syria to ensure high-quality data and reports. While at REACH, Makayla also managed the organization’s external stakeholder relationships — from NGO coordination platforms to UNOCHA — to ensure that needs assessments were relevant and strategic. Prior to REACH, she also worked briefly at Ground Truth Solutions in Austria, using data to report on global sentiment towards various refugee populations.

Makayla holds BAs in French and Economics, as well as a Master of Public Policy, from the University of Virginia.

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Candance Patel-Taylor

Development Manager, Midwest

As Development Manager, Midwest for Concern Worldwide US, Candance is responsible for individual giving and event activities including major donor stewardship, regional public awareness, corporate relationship management, and new donor engagement.

Candance leads Concern’s special events in Chicago, including the Women of Concern Awards Luncheon, Concern Chicago Golf Outing, and the Thanks-for-Giving Gala. Together these events raise approximately $600,000 of critical funds each year to support Concern’s programs. Candance also manages relationships with members of the newly-launched Concern Action Council.

In her time at Concern, Candance has strengthened honoree, donor, committee, and board relationships in the midwest, streamlined event budgets to increase ROI, and elevated the event programming. She also leads the organization’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging working group for the US.

Candance holds a BA in Marketing Communications: Public Relations and Black World Studies from Columbia College Chicago. She hails from Wisconsin, is a former resident of both Accra and London, but now calls Chicago home with her husband and two littles who make regular cameos on all of her Zoom meetings.

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Jenna Pulvermiller

Donor Care Coordinator

As Concern’s Donor Care Coordinator, Jenna works her Development and Individual Giving colleagues to steward our generous supporters. She primarily focuses on donation entry and acknowledgement management, but is also involved in event support and fundraising.

Originally from Colorado, Jenna volunteered for much of her youth with an organization supporting young people who grew up in Romania’s government-run orphanage system. Post-college, she joined the team at Stand Beside Them, which provides free coaching services for American veterans. Her tenure at Concern started as an internship, where she helped run Concern’s 2019 Spring Run. After a successful fundraising event that benefitted our programs in Haiti, she joined the team as the Donor Care Coordinator.

Jenna graduated from Fordham University with a BA in Humanitarian Studies, a scope of knowledge she now happily brings to the Concern team.

Conner Purcell

Director, Business Development & Institutional Partnerships

As Director of Business Development & Institutional Partnerships for Concern Worldwide US, Conner oversees all new business from the US Government and US-based foundations, corporations, and other institutional partners. He manages a team of highly skilled business development professionals who specialize in program design, technical writing, proposal coordination, relationship management, and donor compliance. Since joining Concern in 2015, Conner has contributed to more than 75 successful grant proposals, funding a wide range of programs across 18 countries.

Conner brings 13 years of experience in business development and program design, management, and evaluation. Before arriving at Concern, he was an independent consultant and provided proposal management and technical writing to organizations including Oxfam, Search for Common Ground, and the Institute for War & Peace Reporting. From 2009 to 2014, Conner managed business development efforts for PartnersGlobal in Washington, DC. In this capacity, he served in leadership roles in program design and evaluation, donor/partner relationship management, strategy, and fundraising performance analytics.

Conner holds an MA in International Development from the School of International Service at The American University in Washington, DC and a BA from Loyola University Chicago. Originally from the Midwest, he loves to travel in search of new and interesting architecture and food

Katie Talley

Program Officer

Katie Talley has been working for Concern Worldwide US for three years, following an internship with the organization during her undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech. Her first full-time role with Concern was supporting the National NGO Program on Humanitarian Leadership (NNPHL).

Through NNPHL, a joint initiative between Concern, the International Medical Corps, and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative that facilitates leadership training programs for mid-career humanitarian workers, Katie supported multiple workshops in the Philippines, Ireland, and Jordan.

Currently, Katie is a member of the Grant Management team and oversees a portfolio of awards granted from institutional and private funders. Her portfolio encompasses awards supporting projects in seven of the 23 countries where Concern works: Kenya, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Malawi, Haiti, and Pakistan. Her portfolio contributes to the overall Concern US grant portfolio, totaling over $50 million USD reaching over 8 million people.

Shezleen Vellani

Education Advisor

Shezleen Vellani has worked in the field of education for over 15 years, beginning with her work as an ESL Instructor and Curriculum Specialist.

After pursuing a Master of Arts in Education, she joined Upper Canada College in Toronto where she taught at the primary grade. Shezleen then moved to Kenya for six years, and Switzerland for another two, working in the education sector for the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). With AKDN, she taught and provided technical support to education projects in several countries in East Africa and both South and Central Asia. After eight years abroad, she moved back to North America and consulted for several nonprofit organizations.

Since settling in New York City, Shezleen received her Master of Education with a focus on Humanitarian Issues from Columbia University. As Concern’s Education Advisor, she is responsible for expanding and supporting education in various countries and leads on programs in East Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.

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Conner Purcell

Director, Business Development & Institutional Partnerships

As Director of Business Development & Institutional Partnerships for Concern Worldwide US, Conner oversees all new business from the US Government and US-based foundations, corporations, and other institutional partners. He manages a team of highly skilled business development professionals who specialize in program design, technical writing, proposal coordination, relationship management, and donor compliance. Since joining Concern in 2015, Conner has contributed to more than 75 successful grant proposals, funding a wide range of programs across 18 countries.

Conner brings 13 years of experience in business development and program design, management, and evaluation. Before arriving at Concern, he was an independent consultant and provided proposal management and technical writing to organizations including Oxfam, Search for Common Ground, and the Institute for War & Peace Reporting. From 2009 to 2014, Conner managed business development efforts for PartnersGlobal in Washington, DC. In this capacity, he served in leadership roles in program design and evaluation, donor/partner relationship management, strategy, and fundraising performance analytics.

Conner holds an MA in International Development from the School of International Service at The American University in Washington, DC and a BA from Loyola University Chicago. Originally from the Midwest, he loves to travel in search of new and interesting architecture and food

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Katie Talley

Program Officer

Katie Talley has been working for Concern Worldwide US for three years, following an internship with the organization during her undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech. Her first full-time role with Concern was supporting the National NGO Program on Humanitarian Leadership (NNPHL).

Through NNPHL, a joint initiative between Concern, the International Medical Corps, and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative that facilitates leadership training programs for mid-career humanitarian workers, Katie supported multiple workshops in the Philippines, Ireland, and Jordan.

Currently, Katie is a member of the Grant Management team and oversees a portfolio of awards granted from institutional and private funders. Her portfolio encompasses awards supporting projects in seven of the 23 countries where Concern works: Kenya, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Malawi, Haiti, and Pakistan. Her portfolio contributes to the overall Concern US grant portfolio, totaling over $50 million USD reaching over 8 million people.

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Shezleen Vellani

Education Advisor

Shezleen Vellani has worked in the field of education for over 15 years, beginning with her work as an ESL Instructor and Curriculum Specialist.

After pursuing a Master of Arts in Education, she joined Upper Canada College in Toronto where she taught at the primary grade. Shezleen then moved to Kenya for six years, and Switzerland for another two, working in the education sector for the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). With AKDN, she taught and provided technical support to education projects in several countries in East Africa and both South and Central Asia. After eight years abroad, she moved back to North America and consulted for several nonprofit organizations.

Since settling in New York City, Shezleen received her Master of Education with a focus on Humanitarian Issues from Columbia University. As Concern’s Education Advisor, she is responsible for expanding and supporting education in various countries and leads on programs in East Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.

Carl T. Wahl

Agriculture Advisor, SAL

Carl Wahl is Concern Worldwide’s Agriculture Advisor. He supports agricultural livelihoods programs in 10 countries and leads the development and implementation of Concern’s overall agriculture strategy.

After an early career as a systems analyst, Carl joined the Peace Corps in 2004 and served in Zambia for four years. He started working for Concern in 2011 as a Conservation Agriculture Coordinator in Zambia. He then worked as a REDD+ project manager with Fauna & Flora International (UK) in Liberia from 2016 to 2017, before rejoining Concern in his current role.

Carl holds an MS in Agroecology from the University of Wisconsin and a BSE in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan. He is also a published author in topics such as agroforestry and Conservation Agriculture. A resident of Baltimore, Carl enjoys backyard gardening and teaching at the Digital Harbor High School community garden.

Alison Williams

Program Officer, National NGO Program on Humanitarian Leadership

Originally from South Florida, Alison studied International Affairs and Emergency Management at Florida State University. In 2017, she traded in beaches for sidewalks when she joined Concern Worldwide US as the Executive Assistant and Board Liaison.

In the spring of 2019, Alison moved into her current role as Program Officer for the National NGO Program on Humanitarian Leadership (NNPHL). The USAID-funded program aims to help national level humanitarians build their leadership capacity through a blended learning platform. Most days you can find Alison managing the logistics for each cohort, as well as working with NNPHL partners to find creative ways for the program to grow.

When she’s not in the office, Alison can be found running around the city with a seltzer in hand, hanging out with her friends, and trying out new recipes.

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Carl T. Wahl

Agriculture Advisor, SAL

Carl Wahl is Concern Worldwide’s Agriculture Advisor. He supports agricultural livelihoods programs in 10 countries and leads the development and implementation of Concern’s overall agriculture strategy.

After an early career as a systems analyst, Carl joined the Peace Corps in 2004 and served in Zambia for four years. He started working for Concern in 2011 as a Conservation Agriculture Coordinator in Zambia. He then worked as a REDD+ project manager with Fauna & Flora International (UK) in Liberia from 2016 to 2017, before rejoining Concern in his current role.

Carl holds an MS in Agroecology from the University of Wisconsin and a BSE in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan. He is also a published author in topics such as agroforestry and Conservation Agriculture. A resident of Baltimore, Carl enjoys backyard gardening and teaching at the Digital Harbor High School community garden.

close

Alison Williams

Program Officer, National NGO Program on Humanitarian Leadership

Originally from South Florida, Alison studied International Affairs and Emergency Management at Florida State University. In 2017, she traded in beaches for sidewalks when she joined Concern Worldwide US as the Executive Assistant and Board Liaison.

In the spring of 2019, Alison moved into her current role as Program Officer for the National NGO Program on Humanitarian Leadership (NNPHL). The USAID-funded program aims to help national level humanitarians build their leadership capacity through a blended learning platform. Most days you can find Alison managing the logistics for each cohort, as well as working with NNPHL partners to find creative ways for the program to grow.

When she’s not in the office, Alison can be found running around the city with a seltzer in hand, hanging out with her friends, and trying out new recipes.

Board

Joanna Geraghty

Chairperson, Concern Worldwide U.S.
President & Chief Operating Officer, JetBlue Airways

Jim McShane

Vice-Chair, Concern Worldwide U.S.
CEO, The McShane Companies

Joan Carroll

Treasurer, Concern Worldwide U.S.

Colleen A. Kelly

CEO, Concern Worldwide U.S.

J. Jeffrey Assaf

Senior Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer, ICG Advisors

Joseph M. Cahalan


Dolores T. Connolly

Founder, Sterling Engineering, Inc.

Denise Cox

Vice President, Americas CX Center, Cisco

Jumana Culligan

Founder, Paper, Ribbon and Wrap, LLC

Donal d’Arcy

Operations Manager, OGP, Republic of Ireland

Kevin Fortuna

Founder & CEO, Lot18

Scott Gutterson

Attorney, The Law Offices of Scott Gutterson

Michael Houston

Worldwide CEO, Grey Group

Edward J.T. Kenney

Mutual of America (retired)

Edward R. McCarrick

Executive Vice President, ICON International, Inc.

John Murphy Esq.

Principal, John Murphy Law

Shane Naughton

Managing Partner, Artech Holdings

Denis O’Brien

Chairman, Digicel

Deirdre O’Connor

Managing Director, Blackrock Group

Frances O’Keeffe

Volunteer, Concern Worldwide (IRL)

Barbara O’Reilly

Global Network Director, RSA Group

Stephanie Pappas

CEO, MCS Brands

Brendan Ripp

Operating Partner, Attention Capital

Madeleine Schachter

Assistant Professor, Weill Cornell Medicine

Margaret (Peggy) M. Smyth

Chief Financial Officer, National Grid

Gemma Toner

Founder, Chart One Media

John Treacy

Chairperson, Concern Worldwide (IRL)
CEO, Sport Ireland

Angelina Vieira

Advertising & Marketing Consultant

Frank Wall

Senior Vice President, Turner Broadcasting

Kate Waters

Senior Vice President, Morgan Stanley