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Leadership

Laurie Hays
Editor-in-Chief & CEO, Board Member ex officio

Laurie Hays is Editor-in-Chief and CEO of The Fuller Project, overseeing both the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and the business functions of the nonprofit. 

Hays’ professional journalism career began in New Orleans as a politics and education reporter for the States-Item and Times Picayune. After joining the Wall Street Journal in 1986, she went on to report from Moscow during the fall of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1993, to become bureau chief in Atlanta, to serve as national news editor starting in 2003, and finally to become assistant managing editor for investigations. After 23 years, she left the Journal in 2008 for Bloomberg News to oversee 1,200 beat reporters globally and reshape the newsroom to break more stories and pursue stronger enterprise articles. Under her leadership, Bloomberg won its first and only Pulitzer Prize, along with numerous education and business reporting awards.

She left Bloomberg in 2015 to work in crisis consulting for Brunswick and Edelman, and later founded Laurie Hays & Assoc., a strategic communications advisory firm focused on business and society, primarily working on #MeToo issues and advocating for equality in the workplace for women and people of color. She writes a Substack column, Boardroom Confidential, and has been published in Barron’s, Fortune Magazine and the Harvard Law School Forum on issues of gender equality and corporate governance. She has been a passionate journalist and feminist since high school, when she became the first woman editor of the newspaper at Phillips Exeter Academy, which had just gone co-ed. 

Hays serves on the boards of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, the Overseas Press Club, and the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism. She was a founding director of the Pulitzer Prize-winning non-profit Marshall Project and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of New York.

She was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard College, with an honors degree in American History. She is based in New York City.

Zsuzsanna Lippai
Executive Director

Zsuzsanna is the Executive Director of The Fuller Project, where she leads the continual deepening of the organization’s strategy work, monitors and drives execution of progress on key organizational priorities, and ensures that strategy, operations, and resources are aligned in order to maximize effectiveness. 

Zsuzsanna brings to the role her deep experience in building inclusive organizational cultures, leading organizational change, and nurturing strong relationships with internal and external partners. Focusing on women’s rights and democratic governance issues, she has spent almost 15 years successfully leading strategic planning, operations, and impact measurement functions in non-profit and philanthropic organizations of various sizes.

Zsuzsanna joins The Fuller Project after almost eight years at the Open Society Foundations, a global human rights philanthropy. While there, she initially served as a grant maker to a $1M portfolio aimed at strengthening the women’s rights ecosystem and specifically young feminist organizations. Later, she served as the director for strategy and impact for OSF’s biggest program, the Human Rights Initiative, where she led operations, strategy, evaluation, and grant making for a staff of 42. In 2021, Zsuzsanna became the acting director of OSF’s women’s rights work and in this capacity shepherded the organization’s $100M gender equality commitment. While at OSF, Zsuzsanna made critical, lasting changes to how the organization approached and implemented strategic planning and evaluation practices and led successful internal advocacy to create pioneering family planning human resources benefits for staff. 

Prior to OSF, Zsuzsanna developed an organization-wide impact measurement system and served as an advisor on designing and measuring national policies on women, peace, and security for the Institute for Inclusive Security, a foundation advancing women’s participation in peace processes and the security sector. She advised the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Agency for Gender Equality on developing and resourcing a national policy framework, which resulted in the country’s first National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. She co-wrote “What Matters Most: Measuring Plans for Inclusive Security”, the first guide on designing measurable policies to advance women’s participation in the security sector and implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325. 

In her previous roles, Zsuzsanna delivered creative solutions at the intersection of strategy, evaluation, and learning, conducted research on human rights in the Middle East, facilitated capacity building sessions on project design, and honed innovative evaluation methodologies such as social network analysis. Her career has included work at the National Democratic Institute, Search for Common Ground, the Middle East Institute, and nonprofits in Hungary and France. 

Zsuzsanna was a 2020 92Y Women inPower fellow and a 2021 Truman National Security Fellow. She has previously served as the Program Co-Chair of the Advocacy and Policy Change Working Group at the American Evaluation Association and a co-host to the New York Philanthropy Evaluation Roundtable. 

Zsuzsanna holds an MA in international peace and conflict resolution from American University, a BA/MA in international relations from Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary, and spent a semester abroad at l'Institut des Sciences Politiques de Paris. She is fluent in French and Spanish in addition to her native Hungarian. She lives in Maryland with her family. 

Leslie Bernard
Chief Development Officer

Leslie Bernard is the Chief Development Officer of The Fuller Project, where she oversees the organization’s fundraising program with a focus on growing and diversifying its community of individual and institutional supporters. In partnership with the Board, Chief Executive Officer, staff, and donors, she nurtures a culture of philanthropy that supports organizational and newsroom priorities. 

Leslie brings over 20 years of experience working in the field of philanthropy, as a fundraiser, foundation program officer and philanthropic consultant. She is a philanthropic strategist experienced in managing the design and implementation of fundraising and programmatic strategies to achieving impact at the local, national, and international level.

Prior to joining The Fuller Project, Leslie served as a Senior Director of Strategy and Strategic Implementation for Arabella Advisors, a philanthropic consulting firm.  In this role she managed a team of specialists providing advisory services to major national foundations in the areas of strategy, grantmaking, impact investing and donor collaboration.

As Senior Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Johns Hopkins University, Leslie was the primary strategist overseeing foundation relations for the School of Medicine.  In this role she achieved a four-fold increase in foundation revenues through the implementation of a new strategic approach and collaborated with academic leadership, faculty, and development staff to close major six, seven and eight-figure philanthropic gifts.

Working with regional and local and nonprofits in the Baltimore region, Leslie served as Director of Special Projects for Associated Black Charities (ABC), and Director of Development at East Baltimore Development Initiative (EBDI).  At ABC, she advised the President and CEO on special projects in health and grants and created and implemented a fundraising plan that diversified revenue and increased giving from individual, corporate and foundation donors.  At EBDI she collaborated with key staff and stakeholders to secure over $28 million in funding partnerships to support initial community revitalization efforts in East Baltimore.

Prior to her work in the Baltimore region, Leslie served as a Program Officer for The Kresge Foundation.

In this capacity she advised nonprofits, evaluated grant proposals, and made funding recommendations from $100,000 to $2M for capital grants to nonprofit organizations operating in the fields of higher education, health, arts and humanities, environment, human service, science, and public affairs.   

Before joining The Kresge Foundation, Leslie was a Development Officer for The Philadelphia Foundation where she successfully developed strategies to increase awareness of the Foundation as a vehicle for charitable giving in African-American, Asian-American and Latino communities, resulting in new donor-advised funds, organizational endowments, and scholarship funds.  

Leslie’s early career was in the field of international development, working for Oxfam America monitoring and evaluating small-scale development projects in West Africa. This early work experience led her to the field of philanthropy and work with foundations, and nonprofit organizations to bring greater resources and strategic innovations to serve the needs of communities in the U.S. and abroad.

Leslie holds an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a B.S. in International Politics from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.   She lives in Maryland with her husband and enjoys running and traveling.

Kimberly Abbott
Chief Communications Officer & Head of External Relations

Kimberly Abbott is the Chief Communications Officer and Head of External Relations for The Fuller Project, where she amplifies the organization’s strategic priorities, ensuring the newsroom’s groundbreaking reporting on women reaches diverse audiences worldwide.  

Kimberly draws on her deep experience of expanding the impact of mission-driven organizations. She has 25 years of success in global communications, media training, public relations, foreign policy, and journalism with a particular focus on underreported humanitarian issues in post-conflict situations.

Kimberly started her career as a broadcast journalist and has worked as a writer, producer, booker and reporter. During Kimberly’s seven-year tenure at CNN, she covered breaking news around the country from the 2000 Presidential Election and recount to 9/11, and was an on-air reporter for “CNN Newsroom”, filing stories from D.C., Bosnia, and Germany. Her first job was reporting for local radio covering education and government. Her journalism has also included France 3 television, Radio France, and BFM Radio in Paris. 

Prior to joining The Fuller Project, Kimberly was Vice President of Marketing and Communications for World Learning, a global development, exchange and education nonprofit. There, Kimberly established a rigorous digital media strategy that included the overhaul of multiple websites and the tripling of social media traffic to drive business growth. She also conducted media training for women around the world and created journalism fellowship programs in South Africa and India that enabled young journalists to gain international reporting experience.   

At World Learning, Kimberly launched a communications department and led a team of 18 to drive brand awareness and elevate the importance of individual programs, including The Fulbright Specialist, IVLP, and other State Department-funded programs. Her work drove recognition of a range of development initiatives, from teaching Syrian refugees in Lebanon to STEM education in Egypt. She produced more than a dozen award-winning videos, and her robust content production resulted in earned media placements in PBS NewsHour, Christian Science Monitor, Inside Higher Ed, US News & World Report, AARP, and many local outlets.

While Communications Director for North America at the International Crisis Group, an independent, nongovernmental organization, Kimberly was responsible for developing strategic approaches for communicating its policy prescriptions. This included partnering to create news reports with legacy media outlets such as “60 Minutes”, “Nightline” and “PBS NewsHour” to cover underreported stories in Darfur, DRC and Northern Uganda, and producing multimedia that enhanced the visibility of the organization as a highly recognized, go-to source for news and analysis on conflict situations.  Her podcasts and stories about Crisis Group reports appeared in Foreign Policy, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN Global Public Square and Huffington Post. She produced over a dozen documentaries about Crisis Group’s impact, including “Crisis Group On the Frontlines”, which was a finalist for the CINE Golden Eagle Award, and interviewed global leaders including U.S. President Bill Clinton, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, and U.S. General Colin Powell. She originated Crisis Group's "10 Conflicts to Watch" series with Foreign Policy, which has become the organization's flagship publication.

At InterAction, an alliance of international development and humanitarian NGOs, Kimberly served as Acting Communications Director and successfully brought attention to lesser known humanitarian and development stories, while collaborating with InterAction's 160 member organizations to develop media and advocacy campaigns on collective humanitarian and development priorities. 

She has been a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is the recipient of numerous fellowships in journalism and international affairs, from the Radio Television News Directors Foundation, German Marshall Fund, Atlantik-Brucke German-American Foundation, French American Foundation, and others. Her career has also included time on Capitol Hill, in U.S. presidential politics, and as an envoy and translator for the Centennial Olympic Games.

A French speaker, Kimberly earned a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism from Boston University and studied French media at the Ecole Française des Attachés de Presse in Paris. She lives in Maryland with her husband and son.

Claire Cozens
Managing Editor

Claire Cozens is the managing editor of The Fuller Project, focused on developing international coverage of issues involving and affecting women and girls. She has extensive experience in international journalism, both as a reporter and as an editor, and a deep interest in shining a light on underreported issues.

As senior editor with the Thomson Reuters Foundation for nearly four years, Claire commissioned and edited enterprise and investigative stories on issues that disproportionately affect marginalised communities around the world, from modern slavery to climate change.

Before that, she worked for more than a decade for the AFP newswire, taking in postings in New Delhi, Beijing, Hong Kong and Kathmandu. As AFP’s news editor for South Asia, she led a multimedia team of journalists, driving coverage of stories ranging from the rise of Hindu nationalism in India to China’s growing regional influence. She also led on-the-ground coverage of the Nepal earthquake and the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh.

Claire speaks fluent French and has an M.A. in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies and a B.A. in Modern Languages from the University of Cambridge. She lives in London and enjoys hiking, yoga and attempting to grow as many different plants as she can fit in her postage stamp-sized garden.


Team

Dorcas Odumbe
Contributing Editor

Dorcas Odumbe is the Gender Editor at Kenya's Nation Media Group. A creative and motivated editor, communication specialist, and graduate teacher, Dorcas has a Master’s degree in Communications, a Bachelor’s degree in Education specializing in English Language and Literature. Dorcas was previously a senior editor at Kenya's The Standard.

Jennifer Bramble
HR Business Partner

Jennifer is the founder and principal at Tanzu Consulting, LLC, a boutique consultancy specializing in aligning their clients’ organizational cultures with their vision and values. Jennifer most recently served as inaugural Chief People, Culture, and Operations Officer at Democracy Forward Foundation in Washington, DC. She is a People, Culture, and Human Resources professional whose career spans the full talent lifecycle of people-centered initiatives. She has served in executive roles with responsibilities including talent acquisition, diversity, equity, and inclusion, executive coaching, employee relations, compensation, benefits administration, and culture curation.

Prior to joining Democracy Forward Jennifer served as Chief People Officer for Civic News Company, the New York based parent company of nonprofit newsrooms Chalkbeat and Votebeat. There she oversaw the building and maintenance of company culture and all aspects of the organization’s people-centric policies and practices. Jennifer also served as Chief Talent Officer for Richmond Public Schools, the school district in Richmond, Virginia. The majority of Jennifer’s career was spent supporting mission based organizations as well as national law firms by overseeing operations and initiatives that impact employee experience and company culture.

Sarah Bernstein
Development Program Manager

Sarah Bernstein is the Development Program Manager with the Fuller Project, where she supports individual and institutional giving efforts, manages donor communications and databases, and develops grant materials.

Sarah got her start in gender justice work as an undergraduate student organizer with Planned Parenthood, where she organized direct actions focused on sexual violence prevention, sexual health, and reproductive justice. Sarah interned at Uprooted: a Jewish Response to Fertility Journeys where she supported the individual giving program and grant administration. 

Before joining the Fuller Project, Sarah worked at American University Hillel, the center for Jewish life on campus. There, she created and led the organization’s first student engagement strategy, expanded social justice initiatives, cultivated new partnerships with DC-based non-profits, and ran the internship program. 

Sarah holds a BA in Public Policy and Communications from the University of Delaware. In her free time, Sarah loves to swim, host dinner parties, and volunteer with her local library and an abortion doula collective.

Mariela Clari
Office Manager

Mariela Clari is the Office Manager at The Fuller Project, providing administrative support to the team. She attended college in Lima, Peru to obtain a business administration degree, and got an Associate in science from Montgomery College in Maryland.

Prior to The Fuller Project, Mariela worked for several years in the medical field, and one of her last positions was as a Clinical Research Coordinator. She loved being able to help a large population of uninsured patients through several assistance programs.

Originally from Peru, she has lived in Maryland for over 25 years, she has three children and loves the outdoors, movies, and a good book

Allan Olingo
East Africa Bureau Chief

Allan Olingo is The Fuller Project's East Africa Bureau Chief, based in Nairobi. Previously, he was the Group News Editor, Print and Broadcast for Nation Media Group, where he led the integrated Newsdesk in delivering digital-first news to Kenyan audiences.  Prior to that, he was News Editor at The EastAfrican, where he was responsible for gathering and analyzing facts on newsworthy events through interviews and investigations, covering business, diplomacy and foreign policy news across Africa. In this role, he managed a team of 70 correspondents in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.

Allan's experience spans eleven years in print and digital media with a focus on business, technology, diplomacy and human interest beats in East Africa and Africa. He has also held various positions within the Nation Media Group as a senior reporter for The EastAfrican, Bureau Chief and Breaking News Editor for the Daily Nation.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Communications from the University of Nairobi and a Master of Science in Digital Audience Strategy from Arizona State University.  He is also an alumni of the Bloomberg Media Initiative from the Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya and an alumni of the United States Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)-2020.

Hanisha Harjani
Reporter

Hanisha Harjani is a reporter and Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellow with The Fuller Project. They're an award-winning audio reporter and have written and produced stories for outlets including NPR, KALW, Yale Climate Connections, Oaklandside, and the Richmond Pulse. Hanisha received their bachelor’s in Writing at the Pratt Institute and their master’s in Journalism at UC Berkeley. Before they were a reporter, they were a science educator in museum and classroom settings, and they are passionate about learning and sharing information.

Maggie Fox
Contributing Reporter

Maggie Fox is an award-winning journalist with more than 40 years experience reporting from around the world. She’s worked for Reuters, CNN, NBC, ABC, National Journal and various newspapers, reporting from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and, for the past 25 years, on medicine, science, and global health from Washington, DC. 

Maggie hosts the One World, One Health podcast for the One Health Trust.

Maggie started her career in radio while studying at the University of South Carolina, covering the most local of news before joining ABC radio in New York. She moved to Beirut, Lebanon in the 1980s to work as a freelance radio and newspaper reporter, specializing in covering conflicts and political developments in the region. From her next base in Hong Kong, she covered political changes in the Philippines, South Korea and events in China, including the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.

She joined Reuters in London, covering the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, political change in Northern Ireland, as well as financial regulation and the British royal family before establishing a beat specializing in health and science news. After moving to Washington, Maggie hired and led a team of global reporters covering health and science for the news agency. She’s written about AIDS, bird flu, stem cell science, the sequencing of the human genome, cancer and heart disease as well as space discoveries. 

At National Journal, Maggie set up and led teams covering technology and health care, before moving to NBC News to write about health. Most recently, she joined CNN’s health team to cover the COVID pandemic and helped WebMD and Medscape set up coverage dedicated to long COVID.

Emily Elena Dugdale
Contributing Reporter

Emily Elena Dugdale is a Los Angeles-based journalist covering criminal justice. Previously, she was the senior criminal justice reporter at NPR station LAist 89.3 (formerly KPCC), where she broke stories and investigations on the L.A. County jail system and sheriff's department. She was also part of the 2020/21 ProPublica Local Reporting Network, publishing a searing investigation into the role of sheriff’s deputies in a California desert school district that won a Golden Mic Award for investigative storytelling. Emily is a 2022 Maynard 200 fellow.

Neha Wadekar
Contributing Reporter

Neha is an independent international multimedia journalist. She reports at the intersections of climate, gender, conflict and crisis, human rights, and emerging democracies.

Neha’s written and video work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, PBS NewsHour, National Geographic, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, CNN, and others.

She has received fellowships from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, the United Nations Foundation, the Fuller Project, the Overseas Press Club, the International Women’s Media Foundation, the Groundtruth Project, and Journalists for Transparency.

Neha is originally from Boston, MA. She attended Tufts University and received a masters in journalism from the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Journalism.

Abigail Steckler
Video Producer

Abigail is a documentary filmmaker and podcast producer based out of Brooklyn, NY. With her production company, Little Scorpion Studios, her goal is to amplify unheard voice, raise awareness about injustice, and tell inspiring stories about those overcoming it. 

She began her career in Los Angeles, where she worked as a director and edito on TV/Film/Digital content with NBC, Disney, Freeform, among others. After many years, she found herself wishing her video work could involve more meaningful stories, content that actually could impact audiences and change lives — hence her decision to move East and launch her own production company. 

Now bringing her Hollywood experience to the non-profit and NGO world, Abigail loves finding creative and engaging ways to tell essential stories, using audio and video to inform and motivate. In between work and travels, she enjoys reading (especially ancient) history books, wandering around Brooklyn on the hunt for bagels and coffee, and practicing Krav Maga. 

Moraa Obiria
Contributing Reporter

Moraa Obiria is an award-winning journalist with the Gender Desk at The Nation in Nairobi, Kenya. Her work with the Fuller Project began in 2020 as part of our partnership with The Nation. She co-reported a story with Louise Donovan about toxic trash sites that are making women sick, and another about migrant workers forced to return home during the pandemic. Beginning in 2023, Moraa will collaborate closely with a dedicated Fuller Project reporter for our unique partnership. 

Moraa has been recognized for her excellence in producing impactful stories, which often lie at the intersections of gender and human rights. Most recently during the 2022 Media Council of Kenya, Annual Journalism Excellence Awards, for her story Why Kitale Men are Warming up to Kangaroo Mother Care, which won second place in the development award category for digital media, and she was named a finalist for UN Women Gender Journalism Awards for her story How feminists shaped Kenya’s response to gender-based violence amid Covid-19. In 2021, she received a Journalists for Human Rights award for her work investigating cross-border female genital mutilation between Kenya and Tanzania, and the National Gender and Equality Commission recognized work to champion gender equality and inclusion in Kenya. In 2017, she won an impactAFRICA award for reporting about challenges women with disabilities face while seeking maternal health services. 

Moraa lives by the mantra “I cannot change anything without doing something.” So, every day she is motivated to write stories and go further to advance societal progress. In addition to her rigorous journalism, she is a 2022 WanaData fellow and a 2022 cohort of the WAN-IFRA Women in News Leadership Accelerator Program, where she has also served as a team leader. She is also a trainee of Journalists for Human Rights. Moraa is a member of the Association of Media Women in Kenya and the secretary to its committee on resource mobilization and planning. 

Moraa’s reporting has taken her to Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia to cover regional stories on gender and human rights. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Al Jazeera, among other highly regarded media outlets. 

Prior to entering journalism, she worked as a human rights advocate, with a focus on the rights of minority communities in Kenya and Africa.  

Moraa has a Bachelors in Communication from Egerton University and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Gender and Development at Kenyatta University.

Jodi Enda
Washington Bureau Chief & Senior Correspondent

Jodi Enda is the Washington bureau chief and senior correspondent for The Fuller Project, where she focuses on the effects of U.S. policies and politics on women and girls in America and around the world.

Jodi is an award-winning journalist who has covered government and politics at every level, from city hall to the statehouse to the White House and presidential campaigns. Throughout her career, she has paid particular attention to women’s rights, challenges and emerging power, with special emphases on the battle over abortion rights and the influence of female voters.

Prior to joining The Fuller Project, Jodi served as editor in chief of ThinkProgress; spearheaded CNN’s 2016 election book, Unprecedented: The Election That Changed Everything; and covered the White House, Congress, presidential campaigns and national news for Knight Ridder newspapers. As a Washington correspondent for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jodi covered national news, reporting in depth on political lobbying and health care, and crisscrossing the country to report on major events and to unearth interesting stories that otherwise were overlooked. Jodi started her career covering public housing for The St. Louis Globe-Democrat and education and city hall for The Rocky Mountain News. Her work has been published in numerous national outlets, including Vanity Fair, USA Today, CNN.comNBCnews.com, American Journalism Review and the American Prospect.

Jodi has won awards for investigative reporting, deadline reporting, White House coverage and media coverage, including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the White House Correspondents’ Association’s Merriman Smith Award (twice) and the John M. Higgins Award for best in-depth/enterprise reporting on the media industry, the most prestigious of Syracuse University’s Mirror Awards.

She is a former president of the Journalism & Women Symposium, which advocates for the empowerment of women in journalism and for inclusive coverage in the media, and a former member of the White House Correspondents’ Association board of directors.

Jodi also teaches a political journalism course at Cornell University’s Washington Program.

Arnold Hawkins
HR Business Partner

Arnold Hawkins is The Fuller Project's Human Resource Business Partner. He joins us as part of JLM HR Consulting where he serves as Director of Client Services. He has over 20 years of experience in the field of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) as an EEO Investigator, Counselor and Mediator.  He has managed numerous federal, state, local government and private industry EEO projects. Arnold has extensive project management experience applying applicable knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to meet the demands of project activities and requirements, with proven accomplishments. 

Arnold earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rockford (formerly known as Rockford College) Rockford, Illinois.  He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore, Maryland.  Prior to earning his Jurist Doctorate Degree, he received a Certificate of Law from the William & Mary/Marshall-Wythe School of Law, International & Business Law Study Abroad Program, University of Exeter, Exeter, England.  He has earned the following certifications: Project Management Professional (PMP); EEO Investigator; EEO Counselor and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI).  He also received his training as a Mediator from the Maryland office of Administrative Hearings. 

Outside of work hours, Arnold enjoys spending time with his family, pursuing his passion as a BBQ Pit Master, sports and his ministerial calling as an ordained minister.

Melissa Thompson
Finance & Operations Specialist

Melissa Thompson is a Finance & Operations specialist with The Fuller Project, where she liaises between the editorial and finance teams, contractors, and vendors. Her responsibilities include processing payment requests, contract drafting and amendments, tax compliance, and administrative support.

Her twenty years of experience in the financial and accounting sector includes managing the financial operations for the largest female-owned logistics company in the world, as well as overseeing the day-to-day operations and compliance requirements of small and mid-size businesses.

She is a University of Tennessee alumna. As a mother of a child with a rare genetic disease, she is also a passionate disability advocate and a peer advisor to other newly diagnosed families through the National MPS Society. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her husband, son, daughter, and two dogs.

Erica Hensley
Reporter

Erica Hensley is a public health and data reporter based in and covering the South, with a particular focus on reproductive health and equity.

Before joining The Fuller Project, she freelanced and worked as an investigative reporter focusing on public health for one of the first Southern non-profit digital outlets, Mississippi Today, where she was a Knight Foundation fellow and her COVID-19 work helped put national attention on Mississippi’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was the inaugural recipient of the Doris O'Donnell Innovations in Investigative Journalism Fellowship and won Atlanta Press Club's investigative reporting award for her work on lead exposure in Georgia.

Erica received a bachelor’s in print journalism and political science from the University of Southern California and a master’s in health and medical journalism from the University of Georgia. She now splits her time between Mississippi and Georgia.

Xanthe Scharff, PhD
Co-Founder

[ZAN-thee SHARRF]

Dr. Scharff is the Cofounder of The Fuller Project, the global newsroom dedicated to groundbreaking reporting that catalyzes positive change for women. 

The founder of two acclaimed nonprofit organizations and a gender expert, Scharff launched The Fuller Project from Turkey while reporting in Istanbul and on the Syrian border. She has built the project to be the go-to source for exclusive, in-depth global reporting about women that would otherwise be untold. The journalism is relied on by decision-makers and published in renowned outlets, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. 

Scharff has led The Fuller Project through steady growth and oversees a staff that includes several dozen editors, reporters, contributors and senior business leaders. Under her leadership, The Fuller Project newsroom and communications team have won 24 industry awards and citations. The newsroom’s reporting has spurred federal funding for maternal care in the United States, the hiring of hundreds of policewomen in India, and the banning of virginity testing in state hospitals in the Philippines. 

Together with Foreign Policy, Scharff launched the global monthly column on women and global affairs, The Full Story, covering women amid violence, authoritarianism and extremism. For Foreign Affairs, she reported on issues facing Syrian refugee students, and on Turkish policies driven by religion that impacted children and women’s choices. 

During the coronavirus pandemic Scharff called for a federal release of data to better inform policies in The Boston Globe. Her reporting in TIME, among the first to call attention to the disproportionate impact of COVID on women in early March 2020, received a citation from the Society for Professional Journalists. She and her colleagues discovered that women were disproportionately claiming unemployment insurance immediately after COVID shutdowns. Federal data releases would not show the trend until weeks later. Their exclusive data findings were cited by a dozen news outlets including The New York Times just as policymakers were legislating trillions of dollars of emergency aid. Based on a partnership Scharff built with the largest media company in East Africa, Scharff commissioned evaluative research to advance the field of collaborative journalism. 

In 2005, Scharff wrote an article for The Christian Science Monitor about a family living in Malawi. When readers learned that the daughter had dropped out of school, they asked how to help. Scharff worked with Malawian leaders to found AGE Africa, which has served 3,000 girls. Harvard’s Africa Policy Journal published the research that Scharff conducted to underpin scholarship provision. CBS, Voice of America, The Christian Science Monitor and MSNBC have featured the scholars in their reporting. The Malawi Government honored Scharff with a certificate of appreciation for her work. 

Scharff led research on girls’ education at the Center for Universal Education where she edited and wrote extensively, led fellowship programs, hosted policy meetings with heads of state and ministries and facilitated a network of 60 global foundations. She edited a volume on girls’ education which was the basis for large-scale policy change. While a scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, she investigated donor failures in Uganda after a devastating 20-year war and published findings to inform local government responses and international aid organizations. 

Scharff began her career working for The World Bank in Peru, later returning to investigate whistleblower claims of government and corporate collusion, exposing illegal environmental abuses in Indigenous communities in a leading Peruvian legal journal. After working for the UN in Sudan and observing military posts in South Sudan, she published research in Ploughshares Journal that probed the efficacy of international enforcement of child and adult disarmament.

A lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Scharff is a Gender Advisor to The War Horse and is on the Board of Advisors of the Henry Leir Institute for Human Security at The Fletcher School. She is a member of the Meridian Center Rising Leadership Council and has worked with organizations including the Arabella Advisors, CARE, and Save the Children and was an Education Pioneers Fellow. She is a frequent moderator, keynote speaker and guest lecturer about journalism, women, global affairs and leadership. 

The Fletcher School awarded Scharff a doctorate in International Relations for research on post-conflict education, during which time she was named Minear Fellow, Earhart Fellow, Henry Leir Fellow, and was a Tisch Active Citizenship Fellow. Scharff graduated with honors from New York University and completed executive education courses at Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School at Harvard. She attended the Sulzberger program for news leaders at Columbia Journalism School. 

Scharff was named Distinguished Alumna of Tufts University in 2020 and of the National Cathedral School in 2017. In 2021, she was awarded the Helen Gurley Brown Genius Grant for her visionary leadership on climate journalism and was named among Top 40 under 40 by the Leadership Center for Excellence. She is Board Chair Emeritus of AGE Africa, where an apprenticeship program was named in her honor.

Avid dancer, runner, hockey/soccer mom, Scharff lives in hometown Washington D.C. with her two kids.

Thought Leadership and Analysis

HBO Max: Scharff moderates a discussion on the documentary series, Unveiled: Surviving La Luz Del Mundo.

The Meteor: Scharff on how women-led movements took shape and what people can learn from them.

Atlantic Council: Scharff on how applying a gender lens can contribute to integrated deterrence and the role of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda in implementing the NSS and NDS.

Madam Policy: Scharff & The Fuller Project.

Foreign Policy live: Scharff on women’s voices missing from news.

Foreign Policy live: Scharff moderates a discussion for Foreign Policy’s Climate Summit.

PBS Newshour: Scharff on investigation into sexual abuse online during COVID.

 

 

 

The Fuller Project's Impact

Jessica Klein
Contributing Reporter

Jessica Klein is a journalist covering intimate partner and domestic violence, blockchain technology, and sex work (among other things). Outlets including The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Guardian, and Fortune have published her work, and she writes a monthly column for the National Bulletin on Domestic Violence Prevention.

In 2016, she coauthored Abetting Batterers: What Police, Prosecutors, and Courts Aren’t Doing to Protect America’s Women, updated in 2020. With The Fuller Project, she’s reported on how intimate partner abusers weaponize the U.S. court system and the obstacles Indigenous abuse survivors face when it comes to voting confidentially in U.S. elections.

Recent reporting by Jessica:

How a little-known legal loophole punishes girls who don’t behave – The Fuller Project

‘Women are routinely discredited’: How courts fail mothers and children who have survived abuse – The Guardian

‘We Need To Study Women’: Traumatic Brain Injury in Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence – The Fuller Project

Maher Sattar
Senior Editor

Maher Sattar is an award-winning journalist and senior editor at The Fuller Project. Maher's career has spanned broadcast, print, and digital reporting, with a decade covering South and Southeast Asia for outlets such as The New York Times, Al Jazeera, and The Washington Post. He has reported extensively on the climate crisis, migration and refugees, politics, and the international labor movement, with a particular focus on how women - such as Bangladeshi garment workers - organize for their rights in these arenas.

Before moving to New York, Maher was a lead reporter on the Washington Post's Ivanka Inc project, taking a sweeping look at the women being exploited throughout the Ivanka Trump brand's global supply chain. Since then he has covered the 2020 US primaries and general election for CBS News, and won a Webby for a documentary investigating organ traffickers targeting refugees in the Middle East. He began his journalism career as a local fixer on Water World, PBS NOW's Headliner award-winning documentary on the impact of climate change in Bangladesh.

Samantha Santhanam
Digital Marketing Associate

Samantha Santhanam is a Digital Marketing Associate with The Fuller Project, where she works on developing and executing web, social, and digital marketing strategies. She specializes in digital advertising, data analytics, and SEO. Sam works closely with the CCO in strategic efforts to increase the impact and reach of The Fuller Project.

Sam is an experienced professional who started her digital marketing career with a media start-up, working with clients from a broad set of industries encompassing higher education, technology, healthcare, and hospitality. 

Prior to joining The Fuller Project, Sam worked as a Digital Marketing Manager at World Learning, a non-profit focused on education and international development. There, she developed strategies and executed campaigns that bolstered the company’s digital and online presence, increasing enrollment, and providing data-driven solutions. 

Sam has a Bachelor’s degree in Science from India and received her Master’s degree in Digital Media Technology from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. When not working, Sam loves to tackle DIY projects at home or attempts to learn a new language. 

Mariyah Espinoza
Senior Communications & Marketing Officer

Mariyah Espinoza is the senior communications and marketing officer with The Fuller Project, providing administrative support to the communications team by handling multiple projects from managing content on the website to organizing and maintaining marketing materials. 

She conducts in-depth research to help measure and assess the impact of The Fuller Project's work and helps with external communication development. 

She also builds media contact lists to reach target markets and communicates with external partners to assist in helping  The Fuller Project reach new audiences.  

Mariyah graduated from American University where she received her master’s degree in journalism and public affairs. Prior to that, she received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications at Bethune-Cookman University.

Before joining The Fuller Project, Mariyah interned at WNDB, a local news station in Daytona Beach and was a 2018 Bloomberg journalism fellow in San Francisco. In 2019, Mariyah became a top undergraduate researcher in the state of Florida after investigating how college students use social media to consume the news. In 2020, she worked as a communications assistant for the School of Communication’s Diversity and Inclusion Team at AU.

Mariyah specializes in multimedia projects, with some of her most recent work consisting of a documentary that focused on health care inequality and covering stories that dealt with social justice issues.

She's originally from Las Vegas, Nevada; however, she prefers to live on the East Coast. In her free time, Mariyah loves to travel, read mystery novels and try new food.

Alison Anderson
Head of Finance

Alison Anderson is the Head of Finance for The Fuller Project, where she helps ensure the organization delivers on its mission of breaking new ground in journalism to   raise awareness and expose the injustices surrounding women and their communities. Alison works closely with members of The Fuller team around the world to efficiently manage the organization’s finances and budget, and to assist the COO in strategic efforts to boost the success and impact of reporting.

Alison is a highly-skilled finance professional with over fifteen years of experience.  Her speciality is helping nonprofit mission-driven organizations thrive. As a consultant, Alison's financial expertise has assisted in growing numerous international, women-focused nonprofits, including Nadia's Initiative, Komera, Advancing Girls' Education in Africa, and Free to Run.  Previously, Alison was the General Manager of New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, MA and the Manager of Operations at Grantmakers for Organizations in Washington, D.C.  

She is an alumna of Davidson College and Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz School of Public Policy and Management. She currently lives in Chattanooga, TN with her husband, three children, and two cats. She enjoys gardening, podcasts, and very rare moments of peace.

Louise Donovan
Reporter

Louise Donovan is an award-winning journalist, focusing on investigations and global reporting. She covers human rights, labor exploitation and international supply chains, often at the intersection of climate change or health.

Prior to this, she worked closely with the editorial team of Kenya’s largest newspaper, The Nation, teaming up with Kenyan journalists to cross-publish stories in both African and international outlets.

Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, TIME, The Associated Press, CNN, Foreign Policy and Vice World News, among others.

Louise’s groundbreaking stories have taken her across the globe, from Africa to the Middle East and Latin America. Several have led to systemic changes in garment factories and helped rescue migrant workers in exploitative conditions.

She won a One World Media award for her reporting on sexual violence in India, while her work examining the deadly consequences of curbing reproductive rights in Kenya was shortlisted for the Anthony Shahid Award for Journalism Ethics. In 2021, she won the ILO’s Labor Migration award for reporting on domestic workers in the Gulf using TikTok, published with The New York Times.

Previously the Deputy Digital Editor of ELLE UK, Louise edited the multiple award-winning Warrior series published in partnership with The Fuller Project.


Board of Directors

Deneen Howell
Board Member

Deneen Howell is a partner at Williams & Connolly LLP. She is Co-Chair of both Williams & Connolly’s Transactions and Business Counseling practice group as well as its Employment Counseling and Litigation practice group, and also serves as Chair of the firm’s Budget Committee. 

A transactional lawyer, Deneen is a highly skilled negotiator with broad experience helping memoirists, non-fiction authors, thriller writers and illustrated children’s book authors secure book deals; advising senior executives, fiduciary and advisory board members of public and privately-held companies in matters related to executive compensation and corporate governance; assisting former government officials, public speakers, broadcasters and journalists in their professional, academic, media and publishing pursuits; and counseling privately held businesses and non-profit organizations in employment, corporate governance and publishing-related matters. 

Recognized by Chambers USA a member of Williams & Connolly’s “renowned” media and entertainment practice, Deneen also has been honored as one of Savoy magazine's Most Influential Black Lawyers and frequently has been selected as one of the top 500 lawyers overall(Lawdragon magazine).

Deneen was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up in Sudbury, Massachusetts.  She received her J.D. from Stanford Law School, where she also served as President of the Stanford Law Review, and her B.A. from Yale University. Deneen joined Williams & Connolly in 1998 and has been a partner since 2006. She has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Folger Shakespeare Library (2010-20), and recently was elected to the Board of Directors of the White House Historical Association.

Tim Isgitt
Board Chair

Tim Isgitt is CEO of Public Media Company, a nonprofit organization that works with public and independent media organizations to drive growth, facilitate partnerships, and provide a variety of other services. 

Tim is a long-time supporter of journalists and media organizations around the world. He previously served as Managing Director at Humanity United, a human rights-focused philanthropic organization. Under his leadership, Tim helped the organization focus and redevelop its mission, values, and strategic direction. He also built a public engagement portfolio aimed at cultivating greater levels of understanding, accountability, and action from key stakeholders, including lawmakers, corporations, investors, and civil society organizations. The portfolio includes an Independent Journalism and Media program that supports a variety of journalists and newsrooms in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. 

Humanity United has supported the Fuller Project since 2017.

Previously, Tim served as Senior Vice President of Communications and Government Affairs at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and in leadership and service roles at the U.S. State Department, and at the public affairs firms Burson-Marsteller and Meyers & Associates. Tim began his career as a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives. He received his BA in political science from Texas A&M University, and his MA in government from The Johns Hopkins University. Tim serves as treasurer on the board of Media Impact Funders, a membership organization that advances the work of a broad range of funders committed to effective use and support of media in the public interest.

Stacey Samuel
Board Member

Stacey Samuel is an award-winning journalist, with more than 20 years of experience covering stories that span the globe and is now the founder of her own media company. She leverages her network media experience to work with outstanding storytellers, news and media outlets to elevate their stories and projects to have greater impact and wide audience reach.

She is a fellow with the East-West Center as well as the German-American journalism exchange program: Radio In the American Sector (RIAS). Stacey’s focus has broadened into telling stories through a global lens. 

She considers herself a third-culture kid, as the daughter of immigrant parents from Haiti and Trinidad. 

As a reporter and producer Stacey has invested her skills and powerful editorial positions to shine a light on the contributions of –both extraordinary and regular but impassioned— people who have changed the world and their communities. Many of these people have been featured by the Daily Beast when she worked for Tina Brown on Women in the World, CNN, CBS, NPR and the other networks for whom she has produced and reported over the course of her network news career.

Stacey most recently served as the Executive Producer of Al Jazeera English’s flagship news and current affairs podcast, The Take, which was recognized with several award wins, including the Online News Association’s Excellence in Audio Digital Storytelling. Prior to this post, she was supervising editor for National Public Radio (NPR), where each day her job was crafting the news that shaped our national discourse and highlighted the human condition.

Before radio, Ms. Samuel covered politics, national security and the Supreme Court for CNN, where she was part of the team that won an Emmy for the coverage of the 2012 U.S. presidential election. She also has field produced for CBS Evening News and CBS This Morning. Her reporting experience includes reporting on education for an ABC affiliate in Florida.

Her local reporting earned her an Edward R. Murrow award, amongst others. Along with award-winning talent, she has completed two HBO documentaries on children focusing on music and another dissecting diversity in America, which won Emmy Awards and numerous other acknowledgments. Her many credits include stories she's produced for ABC's 20/20, CNN, Court TV, History Channel, Discovery Health and A&E, WNBC, Lifetime, and Nickelodeon. Ms. Samuel has taught journalism at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and frequently speaks about journalism to university students. A New York native she has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University. 

Stacey speaks nationally to wide audiences about shaping and pitching stories. For nine years she was on the board of the Washington Association of Black Journalists and is a long-time National Association of Black Journalists [NABJ] member.

Maria (Masha) Liberman
Board Member

Maria Liberman is a Los Angeles-based futurist, entrepreneur, investor, and a mom of two.

Pathfinding futurist, data scientist, business leader, advocate for women’s rights and freedom of the press, Maria Liberman has dedicated her life to promoting individual freedom from politically violence governments. 

In 2007, with her partners, Liberman started a VC firm focused on hi-tech which was named top-3 in Russia. Earlier, she founded a nonprofit to document Russian-Jewish history during the 1917 Russian revolution, which put her in the position of advising the most elite Russian philanthropists. 

She gained notoriety among Putin’s government after developing revolutionary technology that slashed the production time of a weekly animation satire so that it could make political commentary in real time, often skewering the Kremlin, and became an emblem of the loosening Medvedev years. The company she and her siblings launched that produced this show, Fastoon, won awards and fame before being canceled by censors after becoming a mainstay of pop culture. 

Liberman’s mission as a futurist, to create pathways for economic freedom for individuals as an alternative to politically violent regimes, is informed by her childhood as the daughter of molecular biophysics whose brilliants was harnessed by the regime to advance warfighting, and then fell into abject food poverty after the Soviet Union collapsed. Through their experiments, they created the basis for a new field in quantum biology which indicates that cells are capable of infinite computations to adapt and survive. Liberman’s work is rooted in a mission to advance her parents’ theory, and philosophy, through the practical creation of financial and other models that promote humans’ ability to adapt, survive, collaborate, and build an abundant and free society where different opinions peacefully coexist. 

Liberman and her siblings, her partners in many of her endeavors, were recruited to Los Angeles at the height of the new tech wave in the mid 10’s. She co-founded Frank Money Inc., a platform of radical financial transparency and launched a million dollar initiative with social non-profit Hack Club, to demonstrate the power of financial transparency in a venture that addresses inequality by teaching programming to girls and boys in underserved school districts. 

In 2016, Snap, the company that owns Snapchat, acquired the company that Liberman and her sibling partners founded, Kernel AR, because of their dominance in technology innovation and digital avatars in Augmented Reality. Liberman’s contributions at Snap are credited with reaccelerating growth and success of the company after a massive devaluation that occurred as a result of mobile performance issues.

Liberman is CEO of Humanism Co, the first pioneering VC firm that offers equity investments into an individuals’ future financial output. Following this model, she co-launched Libermans Co., a holding company for everything of value that she and her siblings produce over the next 30 years. Liberman is also the Chief Business Officer for Product Science, a service that maximizes mobile applications performance. She recently led the company through a Series A funding round that resulted in a USD 18mln raise.

David Payne
Board Member

David is currently a Fellow at Stanford’s Distinguished Career Institute in Palo Alto. Originally trained as an attorney and serving as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., David spent 15 years at Turner Broadcasting where he was general counsel of Turner’s sports teams and, subsequently, led CNN Digital as SVP/General Manager. David later served as Chief Digital Officer of Fortune 500 company Gannett.

David’s multi-decade media career has included responsibilities for general management, editorial, strategy, product, design, technology, business development and sales. Currently, David is also the writer and producer of the award-winning investigative podcast series, Somebody Somewhere, which was recognized as a Spotify Editor’s Choice and has over 4M downloads to date.   

In his “spare” time, David represents pro bono clients seeking post-conviction relief for their sentences in California’s Superior Courts. 

For more on David, please see: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidpaynecdo/

Laurie Hays
Editor-in-Chief & CEO, Board Member ex officio

Laurie Hays is Editor-in-Chief and CEO of The Fuller Project, overseeing both the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and the business functions of the nonprofit. 

Hays’ professional journalism career began in New Orleans as a politics and education reporter for the States-Item and Times Picayune. After joining the Wall Street Journal in 1986, she went on to report from Moscow during the fall of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1993, to become bureau chief in Atlanta, to serve as national news editor starting in 2003, and finally to become assistant managing editor for investigations. After 23 years, she left the Journal in 2008 for Bloomberg News to oversee 1,200 beat reporters globally and reshape the newsroom to break more stories and pursue stronger enterprise articles. Under her leadership, Bloomberg won its first and only Pulitzer Prize, along with numerous education and business reporting awards.

She left Bloomberg in 2015 to work in crisis consulting for Brunswick and Edelman, and later founded Laurie Hays & Assoc., a strategic communications advisory firm focused on business and society, primarily working on #MeToo issues and advocating for equality in the workplace for women and people of color. She writes a Substack column, Boardroom Confidential, and has been published in Barron’s, Fortune Magazine and the Harvard Law School Forum on issues of gender equality and corporate governance. She has been a passionate journalist and feminist since high school, when she became the first woman editor of the newspaper at Phillips Exeter Academy, which had just gone co-ed. 

Hays serves on the boards of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, the Overseas Press Club, and the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism. She was a founding director of the Pulitzer Prize-winning non-profit Marshall Project and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of New York.

She was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard College, with an honors degree in American History. She is based in New York City.

Gina Maya
Vice Chair, Board Member

Gina Maya joined Human Rights Watch in January 2016 as the director of the newly opened Silicon Valley office. Since the office has opened, Gina has helped to significantly increase the engagement of the local community and has overseen the growth of the office into one of the largest fundraising centers for Human Rights Watch. She was previously a member of the Executive Committee of HRW’s California North Committee and traveled to Burma and the Democratic Republic of Congo with Human Rights Watch. She attended Indiana University and Columbia Law School. After graduating law school, Gina worked at the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and then at JP Morgan Securities, Inc. Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Gina took a pause in her career to raise three children but continued to be actively involved in various organizations and local boards in the community.

Jodi Rudoren
Board Member

Jodi Rudoren became Editor-in-Chief of The Forward, the nation’s oldest independent Jewish news organization, in September 2019 after more than two decades as a reporter and editor at The New York Times. She is helping lead a transformation of the storied 123-year-old institution, a nonprofit that went digital-only in early 2019.

A longtime newsroom innovator and collaborative leader, Jodi was an author of the 2020 report on newsroom structure and vision.

As Jerusalem bureau chief from 2012 to 2016, Ms. Rudoren covered two wars between Israel and the Gaza Strip, two Israeli elections, innumerable terror attacks and Secretary of State John Kerry’s failed nine-month peace talks. She also wrote extensively about the Iran deal, struggles over Israeli identity and the collapse of Palestinian politics.

Ms. Rudoren was previously bureau chief in Chicago and national education correspondent, as well as Education editor, deputy International editor and deputy Metropolitan editor. She covered the 2004 presidential campaign, created the print Sunday Metropolitan section, and was executive producer of the multimedia series “"One in 8 Million" which won NYTimes.com’s first Emmy Award, for “new approaches to documentary,” in 2009.

A 1992 graduate of Yale University, the former Jodi Wilgoren and her husband, the former Gary Ruderman, combined their surnames in 2006. They live in Montclair, N.J., with their twins, who were born in 2007.

Mary G. Berner
Secretary, Board Member

Mary G. Berner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cumulus Media Inc., the country’s second largest radio company, has led some of the world’s top media organizations and brands, building and directing companies to deliver strong value, financial performance and growth. Before joining Cumulus, Berner serves as President and CEO of MPA– The Association of Magazine Media. Previously, Berner was Chief Executive Officer of media giant Reader’s Digest Association and formerly led Fairchild Publications, Inc., first as President and CEO, then as President and as an Officer of Condé Nast. Among her many distinctions, in 2016, Berner was named one of the most powerful women in entertainment by The Hollywood Reporter, the only radio executive to be selected for that annual list.

Ritu Sharma
Treasurer, Board Member

Ms. Sharma is the co-founder and former president of Women Thrive Worldwide, a leading advocacy organization bringing the voices of women and girls to Washington’s highest-level decision makers. Ritu’s advocacy was instrumental in the creation of the White House Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally. Women Thrive was the driving force behind the US Agency International Development’s establishment of the Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy. Ritu now trains groups around the world in advocacy and is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She is author of Teach a Woman to Fish: Overcoming Poverty Around the Globe.

Robert “Rosey” Rosenthal
Board Member

Robert J. Rosenthal is a board member and an executive producer at The Center for Investigative Reporting. An award-winning journalist, Rosenthal has worked for some of the most respected newspapers in the country, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Rosenthal worked for 22 years at the Inquirer, starting as a reporter and eventually becoming its executive editor in 1998. He became managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle in late 2002, and joined CIR as executive director in 2008. Before joining the Inquirer in 1979, Rosenthal worked as a reporter for six years at The Boston Globe and three-and-a-half years at The New York Times, where he was a news assistant on the foreign desk and an editorial assistant on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pentagon Papers project.

As a reporter, Rosenthal won numerous awards, including the Overseas Press Club Award for magazine writing, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for distinguished foreign correspondence, and the National Association of Black Journalists Award for Third World Reporting. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in international reporting. Rosenthal was a Pulitzer Prize judge four times. He has been an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Sarah O’Hagan
Board Member

Sarah is a former journalist and a long-time strategic advisor in the fields of refugee and women’s rights. Sarah is vice-chair of the board of trustees of Johns Hopkins University; and former Chair of the Board of Advisors of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (JHU-SAIS), where she and others built SAIS Women Lead. As co-Chair of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) from 2010-2016, Sarah has traveled frequently to visit programs assisting the displaced. She also serves currently on IRC’s Board of Advisors, on the board of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), and the board of the Louis and Nancy Hatch Dupree Foundation for the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University. She is a former Director of America Media, the leading provider of editorial content for thinking Catholics.


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