WEDO Team

The WEDO team is a dedicated, diverse and dynamic group of activists and advocates committed to realizing the vision of the organization, supported by an extraordinary group of interns, Graduate Fellows and other volunteers, as well as an international Board of Directors.

 

Eleanor Blomstrom, Program Director/ Head of Office 

As Program Director at WEDO, Eleanor manages internal and external relationships and partnerships, including with staff, funders and coalition and project partners. She works closely with program staff in strategic development, implementation and monitoring of WEDO programs and projects. With a particular focus on sustainable development, climate change and urbanization, her work incorporates research, capacity building, and global-level advocacy at multiple UN fora, including the UNFCCC and related to the post-2015 development agenda. Supporting WEDO’s long-standing role of facilitating space for women’s organizing and action, she represents WEDO as organizing partner of the Women’s Major Group for Sustainable Development. Prior to WEDO, Eleanor worked on climate change projects ranging from green roofs to waste management to adaptation with the Earth Institute, the Clinton Foundation and the World Bank. She has community development experience in the areas of agriculture and women’s empowerment with organizations in Nicaragua and Nigeria. Her current work is informed by a professional background in bilingual elementary education with a focus on race and gender equity in public schools. Eleanor holds a Master of International Affairs in Urban and Environmental Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelors degree in Environmental Sciences.

 



Bridget_BurnsBridget K. Burns, Advocacy and Communications Director

With several years experience managing projects, networks and strategic communications in the areas of women’s rights and sustainable development, at WEDO, Bridget works to implement the organizations advocacy goals and influence policy through multiple channels of communication- from traditional and online media to multi-stakeholder outreach and capacity building. She currently specializes in policy advocacy, research and mobilization around the linkages between gender equality, women’s rights and climate change; particularly in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Prior to WEDO, Bridget worked at LEAD International coordinating a global network of environmental leaders and conducting leadership training. She obtained a Masters from the London School of Economics in Gender, Development and Globalization, where the focus of her research was on eco-feminism, strategic essentialism and its deployment in literature and policy, as well as a Bachelors in International Policy. Through this work and study, Bridget has also spent time completing on site practicum on a wide variety of development issues in several countries: renewable energy infrastructure in Beijing, global health issues in Tunisia, disaster risk and resilience in Bangkok, and women’s economic development in Costa Rica. She has been and is currently engaged in a number of local and international climate activist groups, as well as a feminist writing collective.

 



Dona Weekes, Finance Director

Bringing more than twenty years of experience in non-profit accounting and financial management in very diverse settings, Dona Weekes joined WEDO as Finance Manager in January 2013. Thriving on the details and rolling up her sleeves as a team player, Dona’s motto is, ‘Change is good!’ Dona is committed to community volunteer work and counts among her biggest accomplishments taking the lead on a faith-based project called Welfare to Work. Dona has a BS and a Master’s in Accounting from the University of Phoenix.

 



Mary Godinho, Network Administrator/ IT

Based in New York and having worked as an IT consultant with WEDO for a little over a decade, Mary has vast experience supporting the IT needs of small not-for-profit organizations. Asked to describe her role at WEDO, Mary stated (in typical Mary style), “when computer/network stuff breaks, I try to fix them, and then make suggestions on how not to break things in the future.” She also added, “WEDO’s role in my employment is more interesting – putting their money where their mouth is, in terms of supporting and hiring a female techie, in a male-dominated field…..I’m “living” it, and WEDO has been supporting and encouraging it for years.” Mary has been an anchor for WEDO for many years, and continues to be an incredible support.

 



Interns/Fellows/ Representatives 

Kelly Giles, Women’s Leadership Fellow

In September 2014, Kelly will begin her journey as a first year doctoral student in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Here she will focus on the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, mass media & popular culture, particularly as it relates to the body, body image, Eurocentric standards of beauty and sexual expression. Kelly received a BBA from Western Michigan University where she majored in Marketing. This accomplishment spearheaded her move to New York City and a career in the skincare and beauty industry. However after a few years, Kelly realized her skill set would be better served empowering women through a holistic framework that promotes both internal and external beauty and sustainability. This discovery prompted Kelly to return to college, this time pursuing a BA in Gender and Urban Sociology, from CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique & Interdisciplinary Studies (CUNY BA), upon graduating in June 2014. In addition to her commitment to academics, Kelly is also dedicated to community advocacy. She is a member of the Planned Parenthood of NYC, Activist Council – Sex Ed Group, which advocates for comprehensive sex education through New York City public schools. In addition, she works with underserved youth in Harlem and the Bronx to build interpersonal, leadership and employment skills. As an emerging scholar, Black feminist advocate and activist, Kelly seeks to fuse her passion for academics and business in a manner that will champion for equity, agency, tolerance, environmental value, and social justice and responsibility.

Yeniva Massaquoi, Women’s Human Rights Fellow

Yeniva is currently completing her Masters of Law at Columbia University Law School. She is a graduate of McGill University Faculty of Law in Montreal Canada and called to the Ontario bar. As a bilingually (English/French) trained Canadian-Sierra Leonean lawyer, Yeniva aims to harness her interest in international law, human rights and sustainable development issues. At McGill, Yeniva was Executive Managing Editor of McGill’s International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy, where she developed strategic partnerships within the international sustainable development community and coordinated the publication of UNFCCC law and policy articles. As part of McGill’s International Criminal Justice Clinic, she gained a practical understanding of international human rights law by providing high calibre legal memos responding to issues raised by the Defence team at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Further, her work experience on the Charles Taylor trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone allowed her to develop a contextual understanding on the treatment and progression of gender issues at international law. Yeniva has also completed a year-long clerkship at the Quebec Superior Court, worked for the law firm Baker & McKenzie and more recently assisted in setting up an educational non-profit in sub-Saharan Africa. Yeniva has joined WEDO as a Women’s Leadership Fellow – a position she hopes will further contextualize her interest in gender equality and sustainable development.

Beatrice Mauger, Cities, Climate Change & Sustainable Development Research Fellow

After working in Financial Services, Beatrice recently graduated from The New School’s Graduate Program in International Affairs in May 2014. While at The New School she had the opportunity to do fieldwork in Argentina conducting baseline qualitative research on disadvantaged communities’ perception of their role and involvement within the scope of a government environmental clean-up project. Prior to joining WEDO, Beatrice worked at Equity for Children, a New School organization focused on children’s rights, as External Affairs Manager, and at Teach For America as a Development and Alumni Affairs Consultant. Beatrice is also currently working part-time at The New School coordinating events for the People’s Climate March on September 21.

Lora Minicucci, Climate Change Policy Fellow

Lora recently graduated from Florida State University College of Law with a concentration in environmental and international law. She also attended McGill University, in her hometown of Montreal, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and International Development. Lora’s research focuses on climate migration, food security, and refugee and asylum issues. While at Florida State, she was a teaching assistant for the international human rights law class and the Russian comparative law class. Lora’s key interest is building consensus to solve the problems, and exploring how intersectionality is a crucial lens for examining and addressing these challenges.

Iliana Paul, Sustainable Development Fellow

Iliana will embark on an MPA from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service this fall, where she will focus on international development policy and management. She received her BA from Mount Holyoke College in International Relations and French and spent a year studying at l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris. As an undergraduate, Iliana studied various market-based conservation and climate change-mitigation mechanisms, including REDD+, as well as international environmental policy more generally. After college, she spent two years working as a paralegal before making the leap to become a 500-hour Certified Yoga Teacher. At WEDO, Iliana will be focusing on sustainable development, including work with the Women’s Major Group and the Post-2015 agenda. She enjoys the well-balanced life she is making for herself through teaching yoga and pursuing her interests in sustainable development and public service.

Joanna Patouris, Climate Change Fellow

Joanna has graduated with a BA in Environmental Science- Economics and Sociology from St. Lawrence University. Originally from the Kingdom of Swaziland, Joanna’s interests have been traditionally rooted in International Development. More recently, her curiosity for understanding climate change and its impacts on human development has translated into a passion for exploring and creating appropriate platforms to make heard the voices and perspectives of those living on the frontlines of climate change. In her final year as an undergraduate she enrolled in a seminar investigating Solastalgia and the implications of Climate Induced Migration. Recognizing the disconnect between climate induced migration and international legal principles to protect those whose livelihood is at risk, Joanna published a short informative documentary presenting an ethical case for the action of the security of the Pacific Island of Kiribati. Joanna has joined WEDO as a Climate Change Fellow.

Latha Swamy, UN Youth Representative

Latha is a first-year graduate student at Yale University in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she focuses on forest and climate policy and governance, agriculture, gender, and their relationship with human health and poverty. She previously worked in the field of medicine, neuroscience, and clinical research and has an MSc in Neuroscience and Clinical Investigation from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. During her research, Latha sought to better understand how human brains integrate information from a variety of senses – for example, what we see and what we hear – and how that ultimately affects how we process sounds, as well as the how this process differs in individuals who are deaf. She also has extensive clinical training and clinic management experience at both a municipal hospital in NYC and at a free weekend community health clinic for the uninsured in the South Bronx. Prior to making the transition to the environmental field, Latha completed a Community Organizing Fellowship with Physicians for a National Health Program focusing on strategies to engage medical students and residents to advocate for universal healthcare in the US. In addition to her role as the UN Youth Representative at WEDO, Latha sits on the Junior Board of EcoHealth Alliance, is completing a certificate in Urban Agriculture with Just Food NYC, and is currently Program Coordinator for the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry at Yale.