Board Members

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Founder and Director, Joanne Jorissen Chiwaula obtained an A.B. from Brown University in International Development and then studied at the University of California at San Francisco to become a Certified-Nurse Midwife and Women’s Nurse Practitioner. Awed by birth, inspired by women’s strength, and deeply disturbed by both the prolific grief and resounding silence regarding maternal and infant mortality, Joanne is driven by a desire to serve women who often find quality care in scarce supply. She is committed to efforts making birth and childhood safe and joyous experiences for poor women and their families.

Genevieve Grabman

Treasurer, Genevieve Grabman is a public health lawyer with expertise in maternal and child health policy and programming. She has a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University. She is responsible for policy development for the Pan American Health Organization. From 1996 to 1998, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan where she worked at the United Nations Children’s Fund. Ms. Grabman later was the Kyrgyzstan country manager for a health sector reform project, a human rights consultant for a United States Agency for International Development reproductive health initiative, and a legislative and policy associate at the Center for Health and Gender Equity and the Global Health Council.

Julia Betts

Julia Betts is a corporate communications manager at National Instruments (NI), which sells tools to scientists and engineers in more than 90 countries around the world. Julia holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin. She has more than a decade of expertise in public relations, including messaging development and reputation management. She manages NI’s internal and external communications to key stakeholders, including: press, employees, and financial investors. Julia is a mother to one amazing little boy and her personal experience in pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond sparked a strong interest in working with organizations to improve health and wellness for mothers and babies, particularly in resource poor places around the globe.

Kimberley Chastain

Board Chair, Kimberley Chastain, ARNP, is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a Master’s in Nursing from the University of California at San Francisco. For the past 10 years, her clinical practice has focused on Women’s Health, Family Planning, and Reproductive Care. During that time, she has traveled extensively and volunteered her services in Northern India, Guatemala and alongside our own nursing staff in Malawi. As a health care provider, Kimberley is able to understand the medical needs of the women, children and families we serve as well as the obstacles and challenges faced by our Malawian nurses.

Apur Shah

Secretary, Apur Shah is a product management leader at PayPal, the global standard for electronic payments and commerce. Prior to PayPal, he worked for organizations focused on early childhood education and healthcare. His background is in strategic planning, business development, product development and marketing. Apur holds a BA in International Economic Development from Brown University and is a proud father of two boys.

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Meredith Kruger Kos has managed global projects for various development contractors and private sector food companies for over a decade. An impact adviser for a small non profit, Partners in Food Solutions, Meredith analyzes their volunteer expertise on growing African businesses. She recently returned from two years working in Lilongwe, Malawi, experiencing firsthand the work nurses are doing to help orphaned children and vulnerable families. Meredith holds a BA in Political Science, Hamline University, and an MA in International Development, American University. Meredith enjoys volunteering and she and her husband love spending time in the outdoors, hiking, camping, skiing and biking.

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Judith Benkert

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Shelly Broussard has a decade of both permanent and contract recruiting experience. Shelly is currently Senior Partner in the Accounting and Finance Division at Lucas Group. Her goal is to partner professionals with the right positions, ultimately adding value to people’s lives and careers. Shelly holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Oklahoma. In her free time, Shelly chauffeurs her kids to various activities, gardens, and cooks. She has also been involved with Girls, Inc., the American Heart Association, and the North Texas Food Bank.

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Gigi Jorissen received her BS in Psychology, Masters in Business Administration, and Masters in Health Services Administration in Strategic Planning and Finance from the University of Michigan. She has a broad range of consulting and corporate experience having worked for Booz, Allen, and Hamilton (now Strategy&), Fortis Health, Premier, and Barclays Capital. Most recently, she was a Senior Vice President at ETrade where she built the Transformation Office in addition to running the Asia Pacific business and events team. Gigi is on the leadership team of Women of Vision Fairfield County, an affiliate of World Vision, and has travelled with them to the Dominican Republic and India.

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Marcianna (Meera) Nosek is a board certified nurse midwife and associate professor at the University of San Francisco, teaching maternal child health and social and behavioral health science to nursing and MPH students. Dr. Nosek received her PhD and MS in nursing from the University of California, San Francisco and MPH from University of California, Berkeley. Dedicated to closing the gap in health disparities, she works in immigrant communities, organizes student immersion trips to developing countries, and focuses her research on narrative and community based participatory methods that enable empowerment of vulnerable populations.

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Blanca Lesmes is the Co-founder and President of BB Imaging & Healthcare Consulting. The company’s goal is to make healthcare more accessible to women by providing sonography services at their respective OB offices. Her management style is centered on creating an organization that honors each individual’s strengths. In 2015, her company opened a consulting arm that focuses on operational efficiency and lean management in healthcare. Blanca graduated with an MBA from the University of Texas. She is passionate about working with women entrepreneurs and small business owners.