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.

 


Women’s Major Group 

Lean Deleon, Post-2015 Program Associate
As Post-2015 Program Associate, Lean supports the Women’s Major Group for Sustainable Development, particularly in coordination and logistics for the many meetings scheduled throughout 2015. Lean is a Philippine born, Bay-area raised, organizer committed to social movements. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies and South/Southeast Asian Studies. He lived in Thailand for three years working with fisherfolks responding to climate change and disaster risk reduction. In 2014, he organized the 2nd triennial Asia Pacific Feminist Forum. Lean loves community building, poetry, and queer feminist socialist decolonial praxis; and is committed to the national democracy in the Philippines and liberations of all people.

 


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 Prachi Rao, Project and Communications Associate

As the Project and Communications Associate, Prachi supports the Advocacy and Communications Director in amplifying the oganization’s impact by managing multiple channels of communication- from traditional and online media to multi-stakeholder outreach and capacity building, as well as logistical support for the Women Delegates Fund. She holds a BA/LLB from Monash University, Australia and specialised in International Politics and Criminology. As a law student, she worked in a Pro Bono Community Legal Centre empowering disadvantaged members of the community to enforce their legal rights. During this period, she also volunteered for a number of organisations including: Amnesty International, Unicef, The Starlight Foundation and Jeans for Genes. While still at university, Prachi worked as Schools’ Director for Oaktree, Australia’s largest youth-run movement fighting poverty.

unnamed Juliana Vélez, Advocacy and Projects Associate

As Advocacy and Projects Associate, Juliana supports enhanced outreach and effectiveness of WEDO’s work through strategic support to a key set of programs related to WEDO’s advocacy and women’s leadership programs on climate change in particular the Mobilizing Women for Climate Justice Project. Juliana, originally from Colombia, South America, holds an MS in International Development and Humanitarian Assistance with a Gender Studies specialization from New York University. Over the past eight years, she has worked nationally and internationally with a variety of non-governmental and multi-national organizations including UN Women Peace and Security, Concern Worldwide, Girls Leadership Institute, Smithsonian Institution, WorldTeach, and Global Greengrants Fund. Her fields of interest include international human rights, gender equality, environmental sustainability, peacebuilding, and participatory education.


Interns/Fellows/ Representatives 

Kashmala Kakakhel, Climate Finance Fellow

Kashmala Kakakhel has been working on resilience programming and policy analysis over the last six years as the Country Programme Manager for Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), in association with LEAD Pakistan. Her interest is in understanding the various climate finance windows available globally, and making them accessible and meaningful for countries and communities that are most impacted by disasters. She also has an in-depth understanding of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policy and the Loss and Damage discussion under the UNFCCC. Currently, working as an independent expert, she carries out research on these issues, linking to national and local level implementation. Follow her on twitter @Kashmala_14.

Heidi Norden, Finance and Administration Intern

Heidi has joined WEDO as a Finance and Administration Intern. She recently graduated from Gothenburg School of Business Economics and Law in Sweden, where she earned a double Bachelors degree in Business Administration and Financial Economics. Heidi completed her thesis within the field of Corporate Sustainability and another in Emerging Markets, with a focus on China. Through her research, she elaborated on the importance of companies to be held accountable to their actions through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and developed a great interest in issues of sustainable development. Heidi hopes to apply her economics and finance knowledge to engage in the ongoing discussions of financing for sustainable development and climate finance.

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.

11209671_864324056971982_8094929082656442943_nTanvi Purohit, Communications Intern

Tanvi Purohit is a junior at American University in Washington, DC, and Communications Intern for WEDO. Pursuing a degree in Political Science and a minor in Communications, Tanvi is also a student ambassador for American, and an editor for Her Campus, an online women’s magazine. She has previously held internships in a congressional office, as well as with Frontier Markets, a for-profit company with a social justice mission. Tanvi is passionate about women’s issues, particularly those related to global development and inequality. She hopes to work in the political journalism and policy fields after graduation, and eventually attend law school.

 

11751958_10204363293793307_3001652618526751229_nDeanna Drenga, Communications Intern 

Deanna is currently a junior undergraduate student at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. She is a political science major with a peace and conflict studies concentration. For her junior year, she is looking forward to studying at the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She is particularly interested in human rights, international relations, and law.