Team & Board

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

Chief of Staff

Dara Burke was appointed Chief of Staff in 2021. In this role, Dara provides strategic advice and support to the Chief Executive Officer, works closely with the Executive Leadership Team and works across teams at Concern to coordinate, align and build cohesion, streamlining processes and ensuring effectiveness as Concern continues to scale and grow.  

Prior to this role, Dara developed holistic fundraising and development strategies building fundraising capacity at Concern as Vice President for Individual Giving & Events (2016 – 2021), Foundation Relations Manager (2015- 2016), Development Manager (2014- 2015) and Development Officer (2008- 2013). Dara joined Concern in 2006 as Board Liaison & Office Administrator and shortly after accepted a short-term role as Liaison Officer in N’Djamena, Chad (Nov 2007-Jan 2008) hiring personnel and setting up in-country operations. 

As well as her time in Chad, Dara has traveled to Concern programs in Kenya, Uganda, Haiti and Lebanon to deepen donor relations by showing them the impact of their philanthropic investment in Concern’s work.

Dara brings a lifelong commitment to preserving and protecting basic human rights and dignity, stemming from her experience growing up in Nairobi, Kenya. As an experienced non-profit leader, Dara champions responsible leadership, cross-team collaboration and building strong and lasting philanthropic relationships. Personal philanthropic interests and passions includes major gifts and special events, women and girls empowerment, and human rights.  

Dara obtained her 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. She has a love of the outdoors and in her spare time enjoys hiking and canoeing with her husband and dog.

close

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.

close

Dara Burke

Chief of Staff

Dara Burke was appointed Chief of Staff in 2021. In this role, Dara provides strategic advice and support to the Chief Executive Officer, works closely with the Executive Leadership Team and works across teams at Concern to coordinate, align and build cohesion, streamlining processes and ensuring effectiveness as Concern continues to scale and grow.  

Prior to this role, Dara developed holistic fundraising and development strategies building fundraising capacity at Concern as Vice President for Individual Giving & Events (2016 – 2021), Foundation Relations Manager (2015- 2016), Development Manager (2014- 2015) and Development Officer (2008- 2013). Dara joined Concern in 2006 as Board Liaison & Office Administrator and shortly after accepted a short-term role as Liaison Officer in N’Djamena, Chad (Nov 2007-Jan 2008) hiring personnel and setting up in-country operations. 

As well as her time in Chad, Dara has traveled to Concern programs in Kenya, Uganda, Haiti and Lebanon to deepen donor relations by showing them the impact of their philanthropic investment in Concern’s work.

Dara brings a lifelong commitment to preserving and protecting basic human rights and dignity, stemming from her experience growing up in Nairobi, Kenya. As an experienced non-profit leader, Dara champions responsible leadership, cross-team collaboration and building strong and lasting philanthropic relationships. Personal philanthropic interests and passions includes major gifts and special events, women and girls empowerment, and human rights.  

Dara obtained her 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. She has a love of the outdoors and in her spare time enjoys hiking and canoeing with her husband and dog.

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.

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.

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.

close

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.

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.

close

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.

close

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.

close

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.

Jocelyn Paige Carlisle

Marketing Technology Manager

Jocelyn oversees Concern’s email program, marketing automation platform, and website, while optimizing data integration between all digital platforms. All of this is done with an eye towards better understanding the effectiveness of Concern’s marketing campaigns and what motivates its community of supporters to engage and donate.

Motivated by seeing Concern’s digital platforms present the most relevant information in the most efficient and aesthetic manner, Jocelyn is also focused on Concern’s user experience across platforms, including email design and development.

Jocelyn joins Concern with two decades of experience in website and email development and marketing automation. She is originally from Northern California and has lived and worked in ten countries on five continents. She enjoys cycling, singing, and attending concerts.

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.

Karen Arends, CMP

Director of Special Events

As Director of Special Events for Concern Worldwide US, Karen manages the team responsible for raising awareness of and funding for Concern’s mission and programs through the creation and flawless execution of a portfolio of in person and virtual events.

Karen joined Concern Worldwide US in November 2021 to lead on the strategy of Concern’s donor and prospect engagement events and implement efficient systems and processes. Collaborating with colleagues and vendor partners on event development, theme, messaging, agenda, production, and execution, she creates moving and engaging experiences.

Prior to joining Concern, she held roles at Guggenheim Investments, Macquarie, Barclays, Ambac, American Express, UJA-Federation of NY and Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Karen has always been passionate about philanthropy and giving back.  At a young age, she produced her first live event in her backyard — a neighborhood carnival benefiting the American Cancer Society.  After many years in corporate roles, she is thrilled to be back in the non-profit world helping to change lives in the places where change is most needed.

Karen is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and earned her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany.  She is an active member of several professional organizations and volunteers as an Alzheimer’s Association Advocate influencing Alzheimer’s and dementia policy at the federal and state level and with the Brooke Jackman Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting literacy programs for children in need.

Karen lives in Manhattan with her husband and two daughters, and in her spare time enjoys traveling, cooking (and eating), yoga, movies, TV, listening to music and exploring all NYC has to offer.

close

Jocelyn Paige Carlisle

Marketing Technology Manager

Jocelyn oversees Concern’s email program, marketing automation platform, and website, while optimizing data integration between all digital platforms. All of this is done with an eye towards better understanding the effectiveness of Concern’s marketing campaigns and what motivates its community of supporters to engage and donate.

Motivated by seeing Concern’s digital platforms present the most relevant information in the most efficient and aesthetic manner, Jocelyn is also focused on Concern’s user experience across platforms, including email design and development.

Jocelyn joins Concern with two decades of experience in website and email development and marketing automation. She is originally from Northern California and has lived and worked in ten countries on five continents. She enjoys cycling, singing, and attending concerts.

close

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.

close

Karen Arends, CMP

Director of Special Events

As Director of Special Events for Concern Worldwide US, Karen manages the team responsible for raising awareness of and funding for Concern’s mission and programs through the creation and flawless execution of a portfolio of in person and virtual events.

Karen joined Concern Worldwide US in November 2021 to lead on the strategy of Concern’s donor and prospect engagement events and implement efficient systems and processes. Collaborating with colleagues and vendor partners on event development, theme, messaging, agenda, production, and execution, she creates moving and engaging experiences.

Prior to joining Concern, she held roles at Guggenheim Investments, Macquarie, Barclays, Ambac, American Express, UJA-Federation of NY and Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Karen has always been passionate about philanthropy and giving back.  At a young age, she produced her first live event in her backyard — a neighborhood carnival benefiting the American Cancer Society.  After many years in corporate roles, she is thrilled to be back in the non-profit world helping to change lives in the places where change is most needed.

Karen is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and earned her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany.  She is an active member of several professional organizations and volunteers as an Alzheimer’s Association Advocate influencing Alzheimer’s and dementia policy at the federal and state level and with the Brooke Jackman Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting literacy programs for children in need.

Karen lives in Manhattan with her husband and two daughters, and in her spare time enjoys traveling, cooking (and eating), yoga, movies, TV, listening to music and exploring all NYC has to offer.

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

Business Operations & Systems Manager

As the Business Operations & Systems Manager 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.

Andrew Ochoa

Program Officer

Andrew is a grant and program specialist experienced in community-based, humanitarian and international development programs with a passion for supporting and advocating for vulnerable communities across the globe.

As a Program Officer, Andrew is responsible for providing post-award grant management to Concern’s growing grant portfolio, including programs funded by USAID and its Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration in addition to grants funded by U.S. foundations, corporations, and major donors. Andrew currently provides grant management support to Concern country teams in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Liberia, Niger and Turkey.

A New Jersey native based in New York City, Andrew is a graduate of George Washington University and has diverse experience across the NGO and public sectors building strategic relationships, implementing programming and managing multi-sector consortiums.

close

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.

close

Lauren Hacker

Business Operations & Systems Manager

As the Business Operations & Systems Manager 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.

close

Andrew Ochoa

Program Officer

Andrew is a grant and program specialist experienced in community-based, humanitarian and international development programs with a passion for supporting and advocating for vulnerable communities across the globe.

As a Program Officer, Andrew is responsible for providing post-award grant management to Concern’s growing grant portfolio, including programs funded by USAID and its Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration in addition to grants funded by U.S. foundations, corporations, and major donors. Andrew currently provides grant management support to Concern country teams in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Liberia, Niger and Turkey.

A New Jersey native based in New York City, Andrew is a graduate of George Washington University and has diverse experience across the NGO and public sectors building strategic relationships, implementing programming and managing multi-sector consortiums.

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.

Melody Wei

Senior Program Officer, Humanitarian Training

As a Senior Program Officer for Concern, Melody supports the implementation and expansion of Concern’s humanitarian capacity building programs, including the National NGO Program on Leadership (NNPHL), Building a Better Response (BBR), and Local Capacity Strengthening for Response (LCS4R).

Prior to joining Concern, Melody served in multiple roles at Meridian, a global leadership nonprofit in Washington, D.C., where she designed programs to strengthen the international diplomatic corps and coordinated exchange programs, policy dialogues, and technical workshops for various funders, including the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and private entities.

Originally from Taiwan, she now resides in the great state of New Jersey and is always on the hunt for the perfect sandwich.

Austin Kunis

Event Coordinator

Austin Kunis is an Atlanta native whose career started in haunted houses and drag shows. With a background in technical theatre and live event production, he has worked across the country with companies including Cirque du Soleil, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Disney Parks Live Entertainment. However, Austin’s passion for nonprofit events developed while working as the Technical Director for two nonprofit LGBTQ+ performing arts organizations in Atlanta where he was introduced to the inspirational power and impact of storytelling and amplifying the voices of those who need their stories told.

Austin holds a B.I.S. in Theatrical Design and Production from Georgia State University and a M.A. in Arts and Culture Management from the University of Denver.

close

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.

close

Melody Wei

Senior Program Officer, Humanitarian Training

As a Senior Program Officer for Concern, Melody supports the implementation and expansion of Concern’s humanitarian capacity building programs, including the National NGO Program on Leadership (NNPHL), Building a Better Response (BBR), and Local Capacity Strengthening for Response (LCS4R).

Prior to joining Concern, Melody served in multiple roles at Meridian, a global leadership nonprofit in Washington, D.C., where she designed programs to strengthen the international diplomatic corps and coordinated exchange programs, policy dialogues, and technical workshops for various funders, including the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and private entities.

Originally from Taiwan, she now resides in the great state of New Jersey and is always on the hunt for the perfect sandwich.

close

Austin Kunis

Event Coordinator

Austin Kunis is an Atlanta native whose career started in haunted houses and drag shows. With a background in technical theatre and live event production, he has worked across the country with companies including Cirque du Soleil, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Disney Parks Live Entertainment. However, Austin’s passion for nonprofit events developed while working as the Technical Director for two nonprofit LGBTQ+ performing arts organizations in Atlanta where he was introduced to the inspirational power and impact of storytelling and amplifying the voices of those who need their stories told.

Austin holds a B.I.S. in Theatrical Design and Production from Georgia State University and a M.A. in Arts and Culture Management from the University of Denver.

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.

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.

close

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.

close

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.

close

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.

Erin McCormack

Events Officer

As Events Officer, Erin is responsible for supporting the successful production of special events in New York and Chicago.

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

Major Gifts Officer

As Major Gifts Officer, Meghan strives to maximize Concern’s ability to end extreme poverty by providing support across a range of campaigns, donor engagement activities, and managing meaningful donor relationships. Meghan works with the Director of Major Gifts to optimize internal systems and processes to identify, cultivate and steward donors across giving levels, with a focus on upgrading donor retention and experience.

Meghan began at Concern Worldwide US in 2019 as the Executive Assistant to CEO Colleen Kelly and the organization’s Board Liaison. Prior to their time at Concern, Meghan served in multiple roles that supported people experiencing homelessness and poverty throughout the United States, which ultimately sent her on the career path of global social justice and humanitarian development.

Meghan holds a BA in Communication Studies and Political Science from Loyola Marymount University.

Makayla Palazzo

Policy and Advocacy Manager

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.

close

Erin McCormack

Events Officer

As Events Officer, Erin is responsible for supporting the successful production of special events in New York and Chicago.

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.

close

Meghan Murphy

Major Gifts Officer

As Major Gifts Officer, Meghan strives to maximize Concern’s ability to end extreme poverty by providing support across a range of campaigns, donor engagement activities, and managing meaningful donor relationships. Meghan works with the Director of Major Gifts to optimize internal systems and processes to identify, cultivate and steward donors across giving levels, with a focus on upgrading donor retention and experience.

Meghan began at Concern Worldwide US in 2019 as the Executive Assistant to CEO Colleen Kelly and the organization’s Board Liaison. Prior to their time at Concern, Meghan served in multiple roles that supported people experiencing homelessness and poverty throughout the United States, which ultimately sent her on the career path of global social justice and humanitarian development.

Meghan holds a BA in Communication Studies and Political Science from Loyola Marymount University.

close

Makayla Palazzo

Policy and Advocacy Manager

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

Director of Communications

As the Director of Communications, Candance leads a team of passionate storytellers responsible for communicating Concern’s mission of ending extreme poverty — whatever it takes.

With over ten years of marketing and fundraising experience, Candance started her career at Concern as Regional Development Manager for the Midwest Office. In that role, she was responsible for individual giving and event activities including major donor stewardship, regional public awareness, corporate relationship management, and new donor engagement. One year and a global pandemic later, Candance spearheaded the transformation of Concern’s special events into exciting virtual engagement opportunities such as Women of Concern presents WORK OF ART and the Concern Global Gala: Unite to Fight Hunger.

Candance brings a celebration of culture, traditions, and diversity to everything she creates. For her, there is no greater joy than supporting our programming team and participants in telling their stories to garner support, policy change and awareness for those experiencing extreme poverty.

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. When she’s not working, you’ll find her oversharing tales of #BlackJoy on Instagram.

Jenna Pulvermiller

Data Operations & Prospect Research Officer

As Concern’s Data Operations & Prospect Research Officer, 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

Senior Director, Business Development & Institutional Partnerships

As Senior 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 80 successful grant proposals, funding a wide range of programs across 18 countries.

Conner brings 15 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

close

Candance Patel-Taylor

Director of Communications

As the Director of Communications, Candance leads a team of passionate storytellers responsible for communicating Concern’s mission of ending extreme poverty — whatever it takes.

With over ten years of marketing and fundraising experience, Candance started her career at Concern as Regional Development Manager for the Midwest Office. In that role, she was responsible for individual giving and event activities including major donor stewardship, regional public awareness, corporate relationship management, and new donor engagement. One year and a global pandemic later, Candance spearheaded the transformation of Concern’s special events into exciting virtual engagement opportunities such as Women of Concern presents WORK OF ART and the Concern Global Gala: Unite to Fight Hunger.

Candance brings a celebration of culture, traditions, and diversity to everything she creates. For her, there is no greater joy than supporting our programming team and participants in telling their stories to garner support, policy change and awareness for those experiencing extreme poverty.

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. When she’s not working, you’ll find her oversharing tales of #BlackJoy on Instagram.

close

Jenna Pulvermiller

Data Operations & Prospect Research Officer

As Concern’s Data Operations & Prospect Research Officer, 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.

close

Conner Purcell

Senior Director, Business Development & Institutional Partnerships

As Senior 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 80 successful grant proposals, funding a wide range of programs across 18 countries.

Conner brings 15 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

Dan Rocklin

Marketing Analyst

A part of the Marketing and Operations team, Dan manages Concern’s paid digital marketing campaigns and assists with measurement and reporting. Prior to starting with Concern, Dan worked as a Senior Account Strategist for a digital marketing agency, helping clients maximize their digital marketing budgets. When not knee-deep in spreadsheets, Dan enjoys reading, running, and obsessively refreshing his podcast feed.

close

Dan Rocklin

Marketing Analyst

A part of the Marketing and Operations team, Dan manages Concern’s paid digital marketing campaigns and assists with measurement and reporting. Prior to starting with Concern, Dan worked as a Senior Account Strategist for a digital marketing agency, helping clients maximize their digital marketing budgets. When not knee-deep in spreadsheets, Dan enjoys reading, running, and obsessively refreshing his podcast feed.

Meet our Team

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

Dolores T. Connolly

Founder, Sterling Engineering, Inc.

Jumana Culligan

Founder, Paper, Ribbon and Wrap, LLC

Donal d’Arcy

Operations Manager, OGP, Republic of Ireland

Scott Gutterson

Attorney, The Law Offices of Scott Gutterson

Michael Houston

Worldwide CEO, Grey Group

John Murphy Esq.

Principal, John Murphy Law

Denis O’Brien

Chairman, Digicel

Frances O’Keeffe

Volunteer, Concern Worldwide (IRL)

Stephanie Pappas

CEO, MCS Brands

Brendan Ripp

CEO, Pushly

Madeleine Schachter

Assistant Professor, Weill Cornell Medicine

Margaret (Peggy) M. Smyth

Chief Financial Officer, National Grid

Eash Sundaram

President & CEO, Utpata Ventures

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