Meet Our Experts

Lana Abu-HijlehLana Abu-Hijleh, Country Director, Palestine
Lana Abu-Hijleh is a Palestinian development expert working for the past 28 years with international development and humanitarian agencies in Palestine and throughout the Middle East region. Read more.
Elizabeth AdamsElizabeth Adams, Technical Specialist, Agriculture
Elizabeth Adams is Global Communities’ Technical Specialist for Agriculture. Read more.
Chase ConiglioChase Coniglio, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist
Chase Coniglio is an international development professional with eight years of experience in project design, monitoring, evaluation, and knowledge management. Read more.
Brian EnglishBrian English, Director, Program Innovation 
Brian English is the Director of Program Innovation for Global Communities, working as an urban planner specializing in the intersection of sustainability, technology, and economics. Read more.
headshot Milton Funes, Director of Program Impact & Learning
Milton Funes has 15 years of international development experience, with expertise in capacity building, health, social infrastructure, urban/rural planning, micro-finance and economic development. Read more.
Kelly FurlaniKelly Furlani, Humanitarian Assistance Specialist
Kelly Furlani provides programmatic support to emergency programs and develops and implements Global Communities’ overall humanitarian assistance strategy, focusing on programs responding to Gaza and Syria. Read more.
Natalie HillNatalie Hill, Technical Specialist for Governance
Natalie Hill has more than ten years of experience in democratic development to support the design and implementation of governance programs, including work with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) across the western Balkans, Eurasia, and Asia. Read more.
David HumphriesDavid Humphries, Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs
David Humphries is Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs, where he oversees branding, media relations, communications, marketing, policy and Congressional relations. Read more.
Selline KorirSelline Korir, Program Director, Kenya Tuna Uwezo
Selline Korir directs Kenya Tuna Uwezo, a Global Communities’ program implemented with USAID support , which works to reduce politically motivated and inter-ethnic conflict within informal settlements across Nairobi. Read more.
Franky LiFranky Li, Water and Sanitation for Health Technical Advisor
Franky Li is the WASH Technical Advisor within Global Communities' Program Impact and Learning office. Read more.
Elissa McCarter-LaBordeElissa McCarter-LaBorde, Vice President, Development Finance
Ms. LaBorde is Vice President of Development Finance, where over the last 11 years she has built the technical department that manages Global Communities’ microfinance, SME, and housing finance. Read more.
Nancy McDonaldNancy McDonald, Senior Technical Specialist for Youth
Nancy McDonald is the Senior Technical Specialist for Youth at Global Communities, where she provides technical support to Global Communities youth programming. Read more.
Robyn McGuckinRobyn McGuckin, Vice President for International Operations
Robyn McGuckin has two decades of experience in in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the United States, working with institutions across the local and federal level on the intersection of international development, clean energy, and climate. Read more.
Susan MorawetzSusan Morawetz, Senior Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist
Susan Morawetz has over 20 years’ experience providing technical and programmatic leadership in international development project design, monitoring and evaluation and strategic planning. Read more.
Brett SedgewickBrett Sedgewick, Director of Development Services
Brett Sedgewick co-ran Global Communities’ multifaceted Ebola response in Liberia, which won acclaim from President Obama and many others as having been a key component in that country’s successful fight against the 2014-2015 outbreak. Read more.
Richard ShumannRichard Shumann, Director, Development Finance Operations
Richard Shumann is Director of Development Finance Operations for Global Communities, and Chief Operations Officer of Vitas Group. Read more.
Joanna SpringerJoanna Springer, Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist
Joanna Springer has seven years of experience in evaluation, research and technical writing for international development and international education. Read more.
Tuul TuvshinbayarTuul Tuvshinbayar, Program Manager, EMIRGE
Tuul Tuvshinbayar is the Program Manager of the USAID-funded Enabling Market Integration for Rural Group Empowerment (EMIRGE) program. Read more.
Pia WanekPia Wanek, Director, Humanitarian Assistance
Pia Wanek is Director of Humanitarian Assistance at Global Communities, which works closely with communities to help them recover and eventually rebuild in the wake of both man-made and natural disasters. Read more.
Kristin WilcoxKristin Wilcox, Technical Specialist & Program Manager, Cooperative Development Programs
Kristin Wilcox is a Technical Specialist and Program Manager for Cooperative Development Programs with Global Communities. Read more.
Karla YoderKarla Yoder, Economic Development and Workforce Technical Specialist
Karla Yoder is Global Communities’ Economic Development and Workforce Technical Specialist. She specializes in education, youth transition and workforce development. Read more.
 

Lana Abu-HijlehLana Abu-Hijleh, Country Director, Palestine
Since 2003, Abu-Hijleh has been the Country Director of Global Communities Palestine, leading a team of 200 Palestinian and international professionals in designing and implementing assistance programs focusing on economic revitalization, community and social infrastructure, democracy/governance, job creation, and food security in the West Bank and Gaza. Among these programs is the Youth Local Council movement in the West Bank, which gives Palestinian youths a chance to participate in and run their own electoral process, respond to constituent concerns, plan and execute community improvement projects, and shadow local ministers and council members to learn good governance practices and become engaged citizens in the political process. In 2014, Ms. Abu-Hijleh was named a as a Laureate and finalist of the John P. McNulty Prize by the Aspen Institute for her work developing the program. 

Prior to her work with Global Communities, Ms. Abu-Hijleh served as the Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People for over 17 years and was responsible for developing policies and programs with a range of focus areas from water resource management, sustainable basic infrastructure development, good governance promotion and institutionalization to women and youth social, political and economic empowerment. In addition she is the first Palestinian woman to become a member of the Board of Directors of the Palestine Investment Fund and the Bank of Palestine, the leading National Bank in the West Bank and Gaza. She is a fellow of the Aspen Institute Global Leadership Network member of the Middle East Leadership Initiative; a member of the global Young Presidents Organization; and the Vice Chair of the Partners for New Beginning, Palestine Chapter. She also serves on the Boards of the Palestine Student Lending Fund, Riwaq - the Palestinian Center for Architectural Conservation, Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute, El-Funoun Palestinian Dance Troupe, and the Palestinian Institute for Public Diplomacy. She is also a member of the Education for Employment Foundation-Palestine and the Business Women Forum.

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Elizabeth Adams, Technical Specialist, Agriculture
Ms. Adams has extensive technical knowledge on approaches for reaching smallholder farmers and their organizations; connecting them with inclusive market systems; and value chain analysis and development. She has twelve years of professional experience working with a variety of agricultural development projects in Latin America & Caribbean, Asia and Africa. She has engaged in a mix of technical services, project management, and business development for projects funded by USAID, USDA, MCC, foundations and the private sector.

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Chase Coniglio, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist
 Mr. Coniglio is a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist with a technical expertise in mobile technologies and community-based M&E as practiced in food security and poverty reduction programs. Chase has led technology driven M&E strategies for USG funded programs in El Salvador, Guatemala, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Chase earned his M.A. in International Development with an emphasis in Evaluation Methods from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and received his B.A. in Global Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  


Brian English

Brian English, Director, Program Innovation 
For the past 10 years, Mr. English has managed inter-disciplinary teams on urban development projects in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. From 2009-2011, Mr. English was Country Director for Global Communities in India and directed the SCALE-UP program, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reduce urban poverty. After Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Mr. English managed community revitalization programs in the Eastern Caribbean for USAID. He has consulted on a broad range of development projects including special economic zones, innovations clusters, and city master plans. Mr. English’s work has been featured in New York Times, Scientific American, Business Week and Harvard Business Review. He was an Aspen Scholar at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival and presented at a TEDx on Forces of Change in June, 2012. In 2014, he was selected as a Resident Fellow by Rockefeller Foundation at their Bellagio Center in Italy. He is also a Fellow at University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Urban Research.

Recent Articles & Publications


Milton Funes in Haiti

Milton Funes, Director of Program Impact and Learning
In Mr. Fune’s current role as Director of Program Impact and Learning, he leads a team focusing on taking lessons learned in the field and disseminating across the development field and other interested parties. Prior to his current role, which he began in December, 2015, Mr. Funes spent three years as Global Communities’ Country Director in Rwanda, leading large-scale community-based programs that supported Rwandan families to develop sustainable ways of coping with health and economic challenges. He also served as CHF International’s Country Director for Honduras, where he managed programs worth $60 million from Global Fund for health protection in HIV/AIDS with an emphasis on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC). He has also worked with several country teams while providing short-to- medium term technical assistance to programs in Afghanistan, Haiti, Indonesia, Sri-Lanka, Colombia, Bolivia and Georgia. Mr. Funes has developed proposals and managed programs funded by a wide range of donors including USDA, World Bank, The Global Fund and USAID. He has also been a panelist / presenter in major international conferences such as the International Aids Conference (Melbourne 2014), World Urban Forum (Rio de Janeiro 2010), World Humanitarian Conference (Boston, 2011) and Steel Days Conference (Luxembourg 2011). Mr. Funes holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, completed M.B.A. coursework at the Catholic University of Honduras, and has received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the National University of Honduras. He is a native Spanish speaker and speaks English, French and Danish. 

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Kelly Furlani, Humanitarian Assistance Specialist
Ms. Furlani also develops and implements Global Communities’ overall humanitarian assistance strategy, focusing on the Middle East and programs responding to humanitarian needs as a result of conflicts in Gaza and Syria. Ms. Furlani has over ten years of experience working in humanitarian assistance and development. Prior to her current role, she worked as the Deputy Chief of Party for Grants and Contracts for IRD, and spent over two years working in Afghanistan for Development Alternatives, Inc. as a Field Director for development and stabilization efforts in the country. She worked for Global Communities, then known as CHF International, on emergency and early recovery programming in Indonesia in the wake of the 2006 earthquake on Java island, and as a program development assistant for CHF’s emergency and transition programs. Ms. Furlani received her Masters of Science in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Bachelors of Art in International Relations and Political Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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Natalie Hill,Technical Specialist for Governance
From local government town hall meetings in Albania to constituency offices for members of Parliament in Ukraine, she has broad experience in the technical approaches used to support government representatives’ capacity to be more transparent and responsive to citizen needs. Ms. Hill’s work has helped develop the skills and organizational development of local partner organizations, through such issues as strategic planning, fundraising and sustainability, as well as organizing large numbers of people and advocating for their interests with the government. She has also led programs to engage traditionally marginalized populations in public decision-making, and has extensive experience analyzing the barriers that women and youth face in entering politics or participating in their communities. For example, she supported local organizations to observe the November 2015 elections in Myanmar, but focused on the specific barriers and resulting levels of inclusion for women and youth in the election, respectively. Ms. Hill received a BA in Government from Cornell University and an MA in Conflict Management and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).


David Humphries, Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs
In 2012, Mr. Humphries developed and led the rebranding strategy from CHF International to Global Communities. Mr. Humphries has experience leading media and communications strategies in countries across Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia in the nonprofit, government and private sector. His previous roles include leading the press office of the National Archives of the United Kingdom and five years in education communications. He has lived and worked in the USA, Japan and the UK and has two master’s degrees in English from the University of Cambridge. Mr. Humphries is a prize-winning playwright, a 2011 Aspen Ideas Scholar, and a 2013 recipient of PR Week’s 40 Under 40 award.

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Selline Korir Kenya

Selline Korir, Program Director, Kenya Tuna Uwezo
Kenya Tuna Uwezo focuses on strengthening social networks among residents and civil society to help them collaborate on community issues and address grievances. As Program Director, Ms. Korir works closely with local residents, especially young people, who serve as catalysts for creating dialogue and champions for peace. In 2014, Ms. Korir received the prestigious Mitek Pemper Award of Augsburg University for Reconciliation and International Understanding for her work in peace-building. In addition to her role with Global Communities, Ms. Korir is the founder of the Rural Women Peace Link (RWPL), a network of grassroots women's organizations operating in areas affected by armed conflicts in the western parts of Kenya. Ms. Korir and RWPL are working to help the communities through trauma healing for widows and ex-child-militias, as well as economic empowerment and reintegration of ex-militias into their communities. She has worked for many years in different rural parts of Kenya, empowering women and girls to become active citizens and agents of change.

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Franky Li, WASH Technical Advisor
Mr. Li has implemented a wide range of WASH activities in northeastern Kenya, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and South Sudan. More recently, he served as WASH Cluster Coordinator in Turkey for the Syria humanitarian response. Besides WASH, his 16 years of technical experience in both humanitarian and private sectors include hydrogeology, dam design, flood risk management and environmental impact assessments. While working for Klohn Crippen Berger, Mr. Li provided environmental and water management consulting services to mining companies in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia and Canada. He holds Bachelor and Master Degree in Civil Engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer in British Columbia.


Elissa McCarterElissa McCarter-LaBorde, Vice President, Development Finance
In addition to her role as Vice President, Ms. LaBorde serves as the CEO of Vitas Group, a commercial holding company established by Global Communities to expand its microfinance operations with a particularly focus on the Middle East region. Ms. LaBorde has 15 years' experience as a microfinance practitioner. Prior to Global Communities, she spent 7 years in the field, having started up and managed two microfinance institutions in Armenia and Turkey, and serving as technical advisor to more than a dozen MFIs in Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Ms. LaBorde has authored two books on microfinance mergers and continues to publish articles and opinion pieces that span a number of topics related to financial inclusion. She has a Master’s degree from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris; and currently serves as adjunct professor of a Masters level course on Financial Inclusion at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

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Nancy McDonald, Senior Technical Specialist for Youth
Ms. McDonald has over 15-years’ experience managing large-scale, overseas development projects supporting at-risk youth including scholarship programs promoting girls’ education, English learning, and entrepreneurship skills. She has served as AMIDEAST Country Director in Jordan and as Chief of Party for a USAID-funded vocational education project in Macedonia. She has backstopped large USAID-funded programs such as the $75 million Education Reform Program in Egypt and the Revitalizing, Innovating, Strengthening Education (RISE) program working in earthquake affected  areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in Pakistan. She has designed and managed girls’ scholarships programs in the Middle East as well as smaller UNICEF, US Department of State and corporate-funded projects. Before working in international development, Ms. McDonald worked at Harvard University’s Program on Nonviolent Sanctions and Cultural Survival working on conflict resolution workshops focusing on Oil Exploration in Fragile Environments bringing together indigenous groups, oil company executives and environmental NGOs to dialogue creative solutions to avoid conflict. She also served as an assistant to Prof. Herbert Kelman at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Trinity College and a Master of Arts in International Relations from Boston University. 

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Robyn McGuckin, Vice President, International Operations
Ms. McGuckin's international work has been acknowledged by the media and in several current affairs books and, combined with her infrastructure work, resulted in two consecutive years of distinction as one of the Top 100 Energy Professionals in “Who’s Who in Energy,” and within the Top Ten Renewable Energy Professionals. Prior to joining Global Communities, Ms. McGuckin served as the Vice President of Programs at Winrock International, where she helped the CEO redesign and launch a new Programs organizational structure, including a project management office, strategy planning office, and a new technical division structured around strengthening a key service offering. Before joining Winrock, Ms. McGuckin worked at engineering firm MWH Global, and prior to that, she worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, supporting infrastructure reconstruction in a number of complex, conflict and post-conflict environments including Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon. 

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Susan Morawetz, Senior Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist
At Global Communities Ms. Morawetz serves as the lead HQ point person providing M&E guidance, technical assistance and training related to developing and applying research tools, instruments and processes to monitor and evaluate the appropriateness, effectiveness and impact of our programs. Prior to working at Global Communities, Ms. Morawetz for Social Solutions International, where she was on an evaluation contract to support program evaluations and performance measurement initiatives for the US Department of State.  At Seeds of Peace (SOP), she served as the Director of Government Grants and integrated monitoring and evaluation into all grant-funded programs focused on conflict resolution and peace education programs in the Middle East and South Asia. From 1988 to 2004, Ms. Morawetz worked at USAID where she played a lead role in designing, managing and evaluating numerous technical assistance, training and policy reform initiatives worldwide. Ms. Morawetz holds a BA in Urban Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters in Public Administration from New York University. 


Brett SedgewickBrett Sedgewick, Director of Development Services
Most recently, Mr. Sedgewick worked in South Sudan to initiate a large community development program. He has designed and implemented projects in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Liberia, Mongolia, Nepal, and Nigeria. Mr. Sedgewick was Global Communities’ Country Director in Liberia where he focused on water and sanitation, private sector development, urban services and youth livelihoods. Previously, he was Vice President for the foundation attached to India's association of IT companies, NASSCOM, where he developed partnerships between corporate members and civil society. Earlier in his career, Mr. Sedgewick worked with Chemonics International, implementing large-scale USAID-funded agribusiness projects in Afghanistan. He also worked in the World Bank’s large-scale infrastructure interventions in China and Mongolia. In 2010 he co-authored Managing Urban Expansion in Mongolia: Best Practices in Scenario-Based Urban Planning, published by the Cities Alliance. Mr. Sedgewick received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 2001.

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Richard Shumann, Director, Development Finance Operations
Mr. Shumann has 25 years’ experience in international economic development.  Mr. Shumann is a prominent expert in housing microfinance, having designed or modified products in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, and presented for Deutsche Bank, Lafarge and SEEP, among others.  Mr. Shumann has led training on marketing and product development in Mozambique, South Africa, Morocco and Palestine.  He provides oversight to Global Communities’ credit policies and internal auditors in eight countries. He has worked in over 40 countries, including long term assignments in Mozambique, Angola, Burundi and Guinea.  He has a BA in Economics from Macalester College, and a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.  He is fluent in Spanish and French. 


Joanna Springer, Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist
 Ms. Springer specializes in development planning in post-conflict contexts and citizen engagement for improved transparency and accountability. At Global Communities, Ms. Springer provides technical assistance for project start-up and special projects in the field, and contributes to the development of M&E tools and project evaluations. She also prepares monitoring plans, evaluation plans, and frameworks for results-driven management for project proposals. Prior to joining Global Communities, Ms. Springer was a Research Associate for a rule-of-law advancement project funded by the Qatar National Research Fund; she was responsible for quantitative and qualitative data collection, analysis, and capacity building for local staff.  She previously worked for two Palestinian NGOs and carried out research on the statebuilding impacts of development interventions in Palestine. Her research is published in the August 2015 issue of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development. 

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Tuul Tuvshinbayar, Program Manager, EMIRGE
Ms. Tuvshinbayar has 13 years’ experience in the cooperative sector overseeing 53 cooperatives with over 700 members. As Program Manager for EMIRGE, she works with Mongolian farmers in the dairy and vegetable sectors to increase their production yields through cooperative development. She is deeply involved with cooperative programs in efforts to enhance program effectiveness, and raise incomes of clients. Her work also involves building networks between small farmers, key sector players, local associations, NGOs as well government authorities.

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Pia WanekPia Wanek, Director, Humanitarian Assistance
Ms. Wanek has directed Global Communities’ Humanitarian Assistance response for a variety of crises, including the West African Ebola epidemic, the 2014 war in Gaza, and the ongoing Syrian and Yemen conflicts. A seasoned humanitarian assistance professional, Ms. Wanek has more than 15 years of experience in the donor community and the NGO world. She worked for USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance for six years, predominantly on East and Central Africa emergency response programs, and supported the civil-military portfolio at the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and strategic planning and policy development at the Consular Affairs bureau at the State Department. Ms. Wanek also worked in humanitarian response and resource planning at World Vision U.S. While with an Australian strategic consulting firm, Noetic Corporation, she explored the evolution of irregular threat groups and the potential implications of game-changing, disruptive technologies from technical, social, political, legal and ethical perspectives. She is adept at bringing together diverse stakeholders around complex topics to develop effective ways forward. Ms. Wanek was born and raised overseas, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and International Studies from Colby College in Waterville, ME.  She also holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in Anthropology and Development.

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Kristin WilcoxKristin Wilcox, Technical Specialist & Program Manager, Cooperative Development Programs
Ms. Wilcox provides strategic and technical leadership to economic development and livelihoods focused programming. In addition, she works to develop improved methods for group aggregation facilitation models, implements value chain competitiveness and market integration strategies and new approaches to business performance evaluation.

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Karla Yoder, Economic Development and Workforce Technical Specialist
Ms. Yoder leads has over 15 years of experience designing, implementing and providing technical assistance to workforce development, education, livelihoods and microfinance programs in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the United States. As Economic Development and Workforce Specialist, she leads the development and technical implementation of a global portfolio of economic and workforce development projects. Prior to working with Global Communities, Ms. Yoder worked with International Justice Mission in Zambia, developing and managing a microenterprise and microfinance program for its vulnerable legal clients. She also worked at the AED National Institute for Work and Learning  where she managed the Johnson & Johnson-funded Bridge to Employment program, co-authored a guidebook to assist community colleges in increasing their responsiveness to local labor markets, and assisted counties in the State of Georgia to develop innovative career and technical education academies. Ms. Yoder's publications highlighting private sector-driven approaches to workforce development include: The 21st-Century Community College: A Strategic Guide to Maximizing Labor Market Responsiveness and Strengthening Education to Drive Economic Development: A Manual for Replicating The CEC Experience in Your Community. She also authored a chapter “Women and Microcredit: A Critical Introduction” in The Women, Gender and Development Reader. Ms. Yoder holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the School for International Training and a Master’s of Arts in Sociology from the George Washington University.