Our Board


VGIF’s Board of Directors is composed of leaders from the nonprofit and for-profit sector who are dedicated to the organization’s mission of supporting women-led grassroots organizations that advance the rights of women and girls’ around the world. 


VGIF Board of Directors

Ranjana Banerjee, Kolkata, India
Alice Bartelt, Oregon, USA
Meghan Chappell, New York, USA
Susannah Dhamdhere, Seattle, USA
Lisa A. Fleming, Iowa, USA
Maggie Ford, New Hampshire, USA
Sarada Krishnan, Colorado, USA
Dagmar McGill, Pennsylvania, USA
Mary McGovern, Toronto, Canada
John McInerney, New York, USA
Karen McKee, Virginia, USA
Louise McLeod, Pennsylvania, USA
Abby Meiselman, Connecticut, USA
Raime Leeby Muhle, Colorado, USA
Esther Ngumbi, Georgia, USA
Dr. Eleanor Ann Nwadinobi, Abuja, Nigeria
Dr. Julie Pennington, Florida, USA
Jeri Rhodes, Maryland, USA
Susan Russell, Ottawa, Canada
Dr. Gerlinde Sarkar, Saskatchewan, Canada
Christine Schmitz, Maryland, USA
Jane Schukoske, Virginia, USA
Dr. Jacqueline B. Shahzadi, California, USA
Johanna Sterbin, New York, USA
Margery Sullivan, Maryland, USA
Anita Thomas, New Jersey, USA
Andrea Torrico, New York, USA
Gomathy Venkateswar, Kolkata, India
Leslie Erway Wright, New York, USA

VGIF Officers: 2017-2018 Term

Jeri Rhodes
President   |   USA
Jeri Rhodes has a BA in American History from American University (District of Columbia) and a Masters in Administration with a concentration on Finance from University of California, Riverside. She has also earned a CPA and CMA. Ms. Rhodes has worked in Finance and Administration in a variety of settings. From 1983 to 1988, she served as Treasurer at St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland. In 1988, she moved to the legal industry, working as Director of Finance or Executive Director in several firms until 2012. Ms. Rhodes was Chief Financial Officer at Greenpeace US until 2013 and currently works for the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington DC. At VGIF, Ms. Rhodes has served on the Finance and Investment Committee, including two years as convener, as 4th Vice President and as Executive Vice President.
Leslie Erway Wright
Executive Vice President   |   USA
Leslie Erway Wright, a long-term supporter of VGIF as initiator of the United Nations Committee, former Board member and grants previewer, returns to the Board as Executive Vice President in support of the President. Her activism at the UN and community levels, her work as a feminist and her skills in communication and marketing make her well-suited to the role. She says, “I have worked for women’s advancement all my life, and supporting VGIF’s efforts is the best way of accomplishing equality for women and girls. I hope to continue to support these grants and the growth of the Board using all my skills." Wright has worked as a volunteer with various NGOs at the UN for the past 17 years. Before that she was a marketing and communication consultant and organized numerous conferences and events for various organizations. She holds a BA in Latin American Studies, a MA in Public Policy and a MS in Marketing.
Maggie Ford
Vice President, Project Grants   |   USA
Maggie Ford has worked in institutional advancement for more than 40 years, primarily in public and private higher education. Her advanced degrees are in teaching and nonprofit public relations. As the principal of Ford Consulting, she worked with a spectrum of nonprofit clients on organizational and resource development. Today, she provides pro bono consulting through Executive Service Corps. Maggie has been an active volunteer throughout her professional life including: 12 years of service on the board of the AAUW Educational Foundation, the last two as president, service on the board of the YWCA of Hartford (CT), Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford (CT), advisory commissions to a variety of agencies in CT, two local environmental conservation organizations, and of the local historical society. She has donated many hours to VGIF, spending 2 terms on the Board, serving on the Project Grants Committee and as convener of the Nominating and Development Committees. In addition to knowledge of VGIF, Maggie brings an understanding of organizational behavior/dynamics, strategic planning and implementation, demonstrated success in resource development and nonprofit public relations and management, and a recognized commitment to women's equity issues.
Mary McGovern
President Elect   |  Canada
Mary McGovern has a BCL degree from University College Dublin, an LLM from the University of London and a Barrister at Law degree from The Honorable Society of King’s Inns, Dublin, Ireland. From 1987 – 1991 she was an associate at the law firm of David Polk & Wardwell in New York. She served as Executive Director of The Clean Air Campaign in Atlanta, Georgia from 2001-2003. Since then she has volunteered as a fundraiser, grant writer, grant reviewer and evaluator with a variety of nonprofit organizations, including CareRing, Inc., Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Women’s Impact Fund and Alliance for African Women Initiative.
Dagmar McGill
Vice President, Human Resources   |   USA
Bio coming soon.
Christine Schmitz
Treasurer   |   USA
Christine Schmitz has a B.M. from Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University as well as a Certificate in Accounting and a Masters in Legal and Ethical Studies from the University of Baltimore. She is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Planner and Personal Financial Specialist. She is also a Registered Investment Advisor and a licensed advisor in the areas of life and long term care insurance. From 1986 – 2003 she served in various capacities as a CPA. Since 2003 she has been employed by Glass Jacobson, a CPA/Wealth Management Firm. At VGIF, she has served as Treasurer since 2013 and has been a member of the Finance and Investment Committee since 2011. She has served in numerous capacities with other non-profit organizations.
Abby Meiselman
Secretary   |   USA
Bio coming soon.

Current VGIF Committee Conveners

Susannah Dhamdhere
Development   |   USA
Bio coming soon.
Karen McKee
Finance and Investment   |   USA
Karen McKee enjoyed a 32 year career with IBM in sales, marketing and operations. She is currently an Executive Assistant in the Development office of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the largest living history museum in the United States. Karen has been an active member of VGIF for over 20 years, including positions as a Project Grants Committee member, convener of the Strategic Planning Task Force, Treasurer and Convener of the Finance & Investment Committee. She is a lifetime member of AAUW and was past president of the Norwalk/Westport (CT) branch and Director of the Connecticut Educational Foundation. She also served as the Assistant Treasurer, USA for the International Federation of University Women. She has an economics degree from the University of North Carolina and an MBA in finance from Lehigh University.
Margery Sullivan
Governance   |   USA
Bio coming soon.
Dagmar McGill
Human Resources   |   USA
Bio coming soon.
Terry Oudraad
Nominating   |   The Netherlands
Terry Oudraad became a member of VGIF over 20 years ago, and has served on the VGIF Board of Directors as a board member and as 3rd Vice-President. She also served as Convener of the HR Committee and as a member of the Finance and Investment Committee. Terry enjoyed a 34 year career in retail banking in the Netherlands as senior legal counsel. She has a Master’s Degree in law from the University of Utrecht. She also served as Coordinator International Relations (CIR) (1992-1998) for the VVAO, the Netherlands Associations of Women Graduates, and was a member of the Finance Committee (1998-2001) and as Treasurer on the Board (2001-2007) of Graduate Women International (GWI) – formerly known as International Federation of University Women (IFUW). She is currently President of the recently founded Graduate Women International Netherlands (GWI-NL), which hopes to become a member of GWI in the near future.
Maggie Ford
Project Grants   |   USA
[For bio, see under Board Officers above.]
Susan Russell
United Nations   |   Canada
Susan Russell graduated with a BA (English and Latin) and an MA degree (English) from Trinity College Dublin University, Ireland. She has lived in Guyana, South America, where she taught High School English, Latin and History. She emigrated to Canada with her husband and children in 1970 and lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Susan has contributed to her community since her arrival in Canada. In 2000, she received a Millennium Award for Volunteer contributions. She has been active in the NGO community for many years, including serving as a Board member for the Canadian Federation of University Women and as Executive Director for 11 years. She was awarded the National Capital Femmy Award for her contributions to women's equality in 2011. In 2013, Susan was elected Vice President of Graduate Women International (IFUW) at its Triennial conference in Istanbul. Susan brings international experience along with financial, program, and management skills to the VGIF Board.
Andrea Torrica
Audit Committee   |   USA
Bio coming soon.