Board of Directors

Dr. Puchu Bernard, Liberia Civil Service Agency

Amara Konneh, Liberia Ministry of Finance and Development Planning

Julius Saye Keh-nel, PYPP Alumni Association

Thomas N. Williams, Liberia Chamber of Commerce

Betsy Williams, PYPP International Advisory Board

Massa Crayton, Civil society representative

George Werner, Ministry of Education

Saah N’Tow, Ministry of Sports and Education

Dr. Nevida Ricks, United Nations Mission in Liberia

Dr. Rose Macaulay, JSI-Liberia


International Advisory Board

The PYPP's International Advisory Board is supporting the PYPP as it transitions to a newly incorporated Liberian entity, in a public-private partnership with the Government of Liberia.

Betsy Williams

Chair, PYPP International Advisory Board

Betsy Williams founded the President’s Young Professional Program in Liberia in 2009 and serves as Chair of the PYPP International Advisory Board.   She lived in Liberia from 2007-2009 where she managed and expanded the Scott Fellows Program, a sister initiative to PYPP, and served as an advisor to the Ministry of Health.  She also established the Liberia office for John Snow, Inc. 

From 2009-2013, Ms. Williams was as a member of the Global Health Initiative (GHI) Team at USAID, focused on accelerating USAID’s work to end preventable child and maternal deaths through new strategic partnerships. From 2003-2007 she worked with the late Ambassador Richard Holbrook as the founding manager of the AIDS in Asia Initiative at the Asia Society, a public education program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build awareness of the growing impact of HIV/AIDS in Asia. Ms. Williams started her career in health and human rights as a volunteer for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and continued that work at Physicians for Human Rights and the World Health Organization. 

She graduated cum laude from Princeton University, and received her Master’s degree in Public Health from the Mailman School at Columbia University where she currently serves on the Board of Overseers.  She also serves on the Board of Seed Global Health, an organization that is training the next generation of global health educators.


Laura Winthrop Abbott

Senior Advisor, Office of Global Partnerships, U.S. Department of State

Laura Winthrop Abbot is the Senior Advisor to the Office of Global Partnerships in the U.S. Department of State, which serves as the entry point for collaboration between the department, the public and private sectors, and civil society. Prior to this role, Ms. Winthrop Abbot was Senior Vice President of the U.S.-Japan Council, after serving since 2011 in Tokyo as the founding Executive Director of the TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership led by the United States Government and the U.S.-Japan Council, and supported by the Japanese Government, corporations, organizations and individuals from the United States and Japan.  Prior to joining the U.S.-Japan Council, Laura spent eight months as a Council on Foreign Relations-Hitachi Fellow at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. 

From 2009-2011, she was a Professional Staff Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, working on issues related to international development and foreign assistance. Prior to that, Ms. Winthrop Abbot spent five years at the international business risk consultancy, Control Risks, where, as Vice President based in London and New York, she managed political risk and crisis management projects in dozens of countries across five continents. From 2000-2002, Ms. Winthrop Abbot was Special Assistant to the President of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

She holds an M.Phil in International Relations from Cambridge University and a B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard University. She also serves on the Board of All Hands Volunteers, the disaster relief NGO she volunteered with following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.


Nazanin Ash

Vice President, Public Policy and Advocacy; International Rescue Committee

Nazanin Ash is the Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy at the International Rescue Committee. Ash was most recently a visiting policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, where she worked on issues related to governance, political and economic reform, and the Middle East. Prior, Ash served as deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the US Department of State, leading the US government’s Middle East Partnership Initiative and working to advance political and economic reform in the Middle East. Prior to this role, she served as a member of the secretary of state’s policy planning staff from June 2007 to April 2012, designing policy initiatives to strengthen US government aid effectiveness and approaches to political and economic development.  Ash also served as principal advisor and chief of staff to the first director of US foreign assistance and administrator of the US Agency for International Development, developing and supervising the implementation of key strategies for US foreign assistance reform and policies for allocating US foreign assistance.

Before joining the US Department of State, Ash worked for ActionAid–Kenya, one of the largest rights-based NGOs in Kenya and a leading advocacy and local capacity-building institution.  She holds an MPP from Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a BA in political science from Bryn Mawr College.


Greg Behrman

CEO and Editor-in-Chief, NationSwell

Greg Behrman is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of NationSwell, a digital media company focused on American renewal. The team identifies the new American innovators and pioneers who are doing the most creative and impactful things to move the country forward, produces great stories about them, and drives social action in support of their efforts.

He is also the Founder & Director of The CT Heroes Project – a new initiative focused on combating homelessness amongst veterans in Connecticut.

Behrman returned in the spring of 2012 from a one-year military deployment to Afghanistan where he was a Strategic Advisor first to Gen. David Petraeus and then to Gen. John Allen. Prior to his deployment, Behrman was a Member of the Policy Planning Staff at the US Department of State from 2008 to 2011.

He is the author of The Most Noble Adventure: The Story of the Marshall Plan and The Time When America Helped to Save Europe and The Invisible People about the US response to the global AIDS pandemic.

Behrman was formerly the Henry Kissinger Fellow at The Aspen Institute and was also a Fellow at The Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard University. In between college and graduate school, he worked for two years at Goldman, Sachs & Co in the firm’s private equity group. He graduated magna cum laude with a BA from Princeton University and with an M.Phil from Oxford University.


Jacob Hughes

Founder and Chief Executive, Hughes Development, Inc.

Jacob Hughes is the Founder and Chief Executive of Hughes Development, Inc. With 20 years of leadership and management experience, he is a recognized expert in multi-donor funding mechanisms and aid effectiveness, a trusted advisor to senior government decision-makers on aid policy and practice, and founder of an influential consulting firm.


Joel Lamstein

President, John Snow, Inc.

Joel Lamstein founded John Snow, Inc. with his partner Norbert Hirschhorn, M.D. in 1978. Joel is the president of John Snow, Inc., and its nonprofit arm, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. He also serves as president of World Education, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the poor through education, economic, and social development programs. In 1973, Joel co-founded Management Sciences for Health.

Joel is a senior lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is a frequent lecturer on organizational strategy, nonprofit management, international development, and strategic management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In 2009, Joel received the CEO Social Leadership Award, a program funded by the Lewis Family Foundation and given by the Boston Business Journal. In 2011, he was featured in the New York Times' The Boss profile.

Joel serves on the board of Physicians for Human Rights and the advisory council of the Children's Health Fund in New York. He is also on the Dean's Advisory Boards at Boston University School of Public Health, the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. Joel served on the board of the Global Health Council from 2004 until 2012.

Joel has advised numerous public health programs throughout the world on issues of public health management. He studied math and physics at the University of Michigan and management at MIT's Sloan School.


Sarah Kovner

Non-profit Advisor

Sarah S. Kovner serves as an Advisor to non-profit organizations and candidates for public office, and a Board Member on a number of social groups, including the High School for Environmental Studies and Alliance for Justice. Ms. Kovner served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington DC from 1993 to 2001. In that role, she was the department representative for a selection of committees focused on women. She has been a Banking Board Member at New York State Banking Department since June 14, 2007. Prior to 1993, Ms. Kovner founded and served on the board for a number of organizations, including the New York Women’s Foundation, the National Women’s Political Caucus, Community Capital Bank, and First Women’s Bank.


Rachel Macauley

Former Program Manager for the President’s Young Professionals Program, John Snow, Inc.

Rachel has worked closely with the PYPP Program Director to ensure the successful implementation of all program activities, and assists in the development of program curriculum, content, and strategic planning. 

Rachel joined the JSI International Division after serving as the Business Development and Communications Associate for Accordia Global Health Foundation in Washington, DC. Previously, Rachel provided technical and administrative support to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia, and led the review and editing process for the 2009 National Yellow Fever Vaccination Campaign Report. 

A Liberia native, Rachel has lived and worked throughout the African region. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs and Global Public Health from the University of Virginia, and a certificate in Community Development from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and is pursuing a Masters in International Affairs and Economic Development at Columbia University.


Raj Panjabi

Co-Founder and CEO, Last Mile Health

Raj Panjabi is Co-Founder and CEO of Last Mile Health and Associate Physician in the Division of Global Health Equity at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. At age 9, Raj escaped a civil war in his home country of Liberia. He returned to serve the people he had left behind, co-founding Last Mile Health, an enterprise creating a new workforce to save lives in the world’s most remote villages by employing local villagers and giving them the training, equipment, and support they need to become professional health workers. 

Described by Forbes as “a healthcare model for 1 billion people”, Last Mile Health has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, Aspen Institute and Big Bang Philanthropy. Raj has been ranked as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine, is a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Social Entrepreneur, Echoing Green Fellow, recipient of the Global Citizen Movement Award and Advisor at Clinton Global Initiative and the Global Impact Forum.

Dr. Panjabi is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, received a Masters of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and was a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital. 


Mae Podesta

Director of Corporate Strategy, Optoro

Mae Podesta is currently the Director of Corporate Strategy at Optoro. Prior to Optoro, Mae was an Associate with McKinsey & Company’s Mid Atlantic Office where she worked primarily in the areas of strategy development, organization, and change management for large healthcare companies and non-profit organizations. 

Prior to joining McKinsey, Mae spent 5 years in Africa, working for the Clinton Foundation Health Initiative (CHAI), generating extensive experience designing and implementing global health programs. While at CHAI, Mae served as the West and Central Africa Regional Director, responsible for management of CHAI’s offices in 10 countries, including overseeing strategy design as well as programmatic, financial and human resources management. She also launched CHAI’s offices in Liberia, Ethiopia and Lesotho, where she fostered partnerships with each government and designed country-specific programs to facilitate the expansion of quality HIV treatment. 

Mae received a B.A. in economics and international relations from Wellesley College and her M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. 


Maria Springer

Campaign Manager, Liberty & Justice

Maria Springer is a Campaign Manager at Liberty & Justice, an organization that was established to help the African apparel industry meet the challenge of global competition by achieving higher output and lower costs, to build the industrial skills of the African work force, and to establish models for social and environmental justice in apparel manufacturing that are transferable to other industries. Formerly, she was an Investment Associate of IGNITE Fund based in Monrovia, Liberia office.

Maria earned her B.A. from UCLA in Political Science, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Springer is the co-founder and a board member of LivelyHoods, Kenya based social enterprise, where she served as the Founding Executive Director until 2014. Maria was recognized as an Unreasonable Institute Fellow, a D-Prize Distribution Innovation Fellow, a StartingBloc Fellow, a Cordes Social Innovation Fellow, and a Global Social Benefit Incubator Fellow. 


Andrew Stern

President and Executive Director, The Global Development Incubator

Andrew is the President and Executive Director for the Global Development Incubator and a former Partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors. He has significant experience in building social enterprises and launching new initiatives. 

Andrew is a board member and former Co-Chairperson for mothers2mothers, an internationally recognized health program preventing HIV transmission from mothers to children. He has been involved with the organization since 2003 when he spent four months in Cape Town working with the founder to develop mothers2mothers’ first organizational and programmatic strategic plan. 

Andrew previously served for two terms on the Executive Committee of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), a program at the Aspen Institute that supports organizations who invest in and build small and growing businesses in developing countries. Andrew helped start, design, and launch ANDE through a series of facilitated workshops at the Aspen Institute, the development of a business case and strategic launch plan, and the building and hiring of the initial team. 

Andrew has worked with a variety of impact investors and social enterprise funders, and has advised numerous social enterprises in developing their strategic and organizational plans. Andrew holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, and a BA in Economics from Princeton University.


Dafna Tapiero

Senior Advisor, Innovative Financing, Office of the Executive Director, World Food Programme

Dafna Tapiero has over twenty years of experience in international development and strategic philanthropy. At the World Bank Group, Dafna launched funds and new implementation models for development, ranging from financial system reform in East Asia, to agricultural land privatization, to corporate social responsibility. In 2014, she also served as Senior Advisor on Innovative Financing in the Office of the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, forging partnerships and financing mechanisms to build resilience and increased preparedness for climate-induced natural disasters.

Previously, at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a development finance institution with over $22 billion in total investments, she was the Worldwide Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (and the Global Strategic Community Investment Division), applying business approaches, developing financial models and strengthening environmental and social management systems in order to simultaneously increase benefits to communities and mitigate local level risks for clients. Previously, following the Asian Financial Crisis, she established and ran the World Bank’s Financial Sector Reform and Strengthening (FIRST) Initiative, a US$ 60 million global fund established to provide direct support to countries in reforming and developing their financial systems. 

Tapiero is on the Board of Synergos, and a member of the Global Philanthropists Circle (GPC), a network of leading philanthropic families from around world, founded by David Rockefeller and his daughter Peggy Dulany. Tapiero is also a Trustee of the Lauer Philanthropic Foundation.

Tapiero received her Masters Degree in International Economics and International Relations from Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and B.A. from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. 


Taa Wongbe

Managing Partner, The Khana Group

Taa is the Managing Partner of The Khana Group and is responsible for all aspects of the firm’s strategy, teams and operations across all four offices – New York, Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana. He has served a wide range of clients and led projects for governments, corporations, multilateral institutions, aid agencies, and social impact investors in Africa and around the globe that were focused on strategy, program design and development, organizational development, and technology. 

Prior to TKG, Taa was Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Pangean Technologies, a technology firm that provided communication solutions and services to corporations globally. He was responsible for driving technology innovation within the firm and delivering new products and services to clients. As Chief Technology Officer, the company won two consecutive Product of the Year awards and positioned Pangean Technologies as an emerging leader in its space. Taa has also served as a consultant with Deloitte ToucheTomatsu, McKinsey & Company, Gartner, and ThruPoint in New York, specializing in strategy, operations and technology engagements for global organizations. 

Originally from Liberia, Taa has spearheaded various social impact initiatives to foster the growth of SMEs, build capacity and empower women and youth in Africa. He also sits on the board of a number of non-profit and social impact organizations.