Based in Brooklyn, NY, our team is passionately committed to building grassroots women’s leadership around the world.
An expert in innovative development, Maureen joined Huairou as Executive Director armed with over 25 years of experience. In a long career of pioneering growth in affordable housing and community development, Maureen has led monumental efforts in advocacy, fundraising and public policy campaigns. Before joining Huairou, Maureen was Strategic Development Officer at Community Access, a leading advocate in human rights and social justice for low income families and formerly homeless individuals living with special needs. Maureen has also served as President and CEO of the National Housing Conference, and worked as a strategic marketing consultant to the National Equity Fund. For 14 years, and as first staff, Maureen led the Supportive Housing Network of New York, growing an ad hoc New York City organization into a robust statewide association representing 35,000 units of supportive housing. Maureen holds a BA in International Relations from Brown University and a Master of Public Policy from UC Berkeley.
An experienced community organizer, Sandy’s life and work reflect the rare capacity to bridge the divide between grassroots realities and global policies, between academic and activist, and between values and practice. Sandy is the Strategic Director of the Huairou Commission and Global Facilitator of GROOTS International, a global network of grassroots women’s organizations. For over 20 years, Sandy has worked to enable grassroots women’s groups to replicate and mainstream their community development approaches and governance interventions. Her work with GROOTS International and the National Congress of Neighborhood Women has supported peer-to-peer learning exchanges and local, national, regional and global advocacy for grassroots women.
Director of Programs
A passionate activist and advocate for women’s rights and gender justice, Katia leads strategic planning with international grassroots women’s organizations and partners, developing programs based on women’s priorities in security of tenure, disaster risk reduction and democratic governance. Katia oversees Huairou’s programmatic work on women’s land rights, community resilience building, and the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. She also co-chairs the Council of the International Land Coalition, a global alliance of civil society and intergovernmental organizations working for people-centered land governance. Prior to joining Huairou, Katia conducted research on women’s issues and implemented projects for several NGOs, including the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault, Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, International Rescue Committee and African Services Committee. Katia holds an MA in International Affairs with a concentration in Governance and Human Rights from The New School. Follow Katia on Twitter @katiaRaraujo
A key driver of Huairou’s work in bringing women’s voice into the sustainable development process, Nicole currently focuses on strategic and creative communications at Huairou, and previously worked on programs and global organizing for Habitat III. Prior to joining Huairou, Nicole served in the Peace Corps in the northern highlands of Guatemala, as an Agricultural Marketing Specialist to small associations of farmers and artisans in collaboration with Save the Children USA. Nicole holds a BA in Economics and Global Studies from Lehigh University and an MA in Economics from The New School for Social Research, where her research focused on increasing investments in women artisans in developing countries.
A skeptic of neoliberal development models that define grassroots constituencies as clients rather than as equal partners of development, Ana Gabriele joins the Huairou Commission with a dedication to empowering grassroots women to be agents of change in their own communities. As Network Liaison, Ana Gabriele supports the organization during its internal transition process towards a grassroots-led governance structure, with the aim of extending grassroots women’s leadership from local to global development processes. Ana Gabriele is from Lithuania, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Law from the University of Amsterdam and a Master’s in Politics and Sociology from New York University.
Tatiana joined Huairou’s Secretariat as Program Associate in January 2017. She was born and raised in a bi-cultural home in San Francisco, California, her father being Italian and her mother Samoan. Tatiana received her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside, with a focus on Cultural Anthropology. Throughout high school and college, she danced and volunteered with the Pacific Islander groups on campus. Tatiana is a recent transplant to New York and currently lives in Brooklyn. She is enthusiastic and passionate about her new role within the Huairou Team.
Director of Finance
Seamlessly combining the arts and an expertise in finance, Riley is a playwright, actor and Huairou’s Director of Finance. Heavily involved with the WorkShop Theater, an off-off Broadway company where she was Executive Director for 7 years, Riley is currently working on rewrites of her newest play. In her theater career, Riley was also Production Manager and Stage Manager at HB Studios, and Wardrobe Supervisor at The Public Theater. Riley’s financial experience began in a small accounting practice and public accounting before she became an accounting specialist for Lever Brothers, finally transitioning into the non-profit sector. Originally working with arts programs at the Franklin Furnace Archives, The Kitchen and Comprehensive Development, Inc, the Huairou Commission is Riley’s first international non-profit. In her free time, Riley volunteers at the Emergency Room at the Manhattan VA. Riley holds degrees in English and Accounting, and has attended Hunter College, Johns Hopkins Nursing School and Salisbury State.
Office Administrator and Bookkeeper
Juanita’s work is informed by her passion to encourage young women to be community leaders. She has been a community activist in Brooklyn for 28 years, and is a member of the National Congress of Neighborhood Women, the Neighborhood Women of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, GROOTS International and the Huairou Commission. As a community organizer, she has worked to better NYC school systems by serving as Principal and Executive Director of the YouCan Community School for 10 years, and through collective action, including the Eastern District High School Boycott. She has received several awards from city council members and other government officials for her dedication to improving NYC’s public school system. Juanita graduated from the National Congress of Neighborhood Women College Program through Long Island University and received an AA in Social Work, BA in Education and MA in Public Administration. She also earned a degree in Fashion Design from Manhattan 7th Ave and was trained as a hair stylist in Puerto Rico — two passions she continues with today.
Assistant Office and Grant Manager
Originally from Bangladesh, Sabrina’s work with the Huairou Commission opened her eyes to a previously unfamiliar parallel life in her home country. At Huairou, Sabrina works administratively, but she began communicating with member groups in Bangladesh, eventually participating in fieldwork as a translator. Tasked with teaching grassroots women about Local to Local Dialogues, Sabrina found that translating went beyond sharing information in Bengali — it required a language shift to make the information make sense within grassroots women’s lived contexts. The L2L Dialogues were a success, ultimately connecting communities and local governments. and achieving legal access to gas and water. “Huairou’s work is important because it can change people’s perspectives about improving their own livelihoods,” Sabrina says. “You realize you don’t have to depend on other people, you have control and you are able to change certain things.” Sabrina received her BA from John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a major in International Law and a minor in Human Rights. When she’s not at Huairou, Sabrina enjoys reading crime thrillers and keeping in touch with her vast network of cousins.
Finance and Administrative Associate
Jonathan assists the Director of Finance in Huairou Commission’s daily operations, including the maintenance of the organization’s financial system and transferring grant funds to program groups. He came to Huairou with a student mindset and is adapting to our strategic objectives and strong women’s leadership. Jonathan is in pursuit of his bachelor’s degree in Law and Paralegal Studies, with the goal of becoming an attorney that specializes in copyright law. When not crunching numbers, he likes to play the guitar in his down time and enjoy the latest television series. Jonathan hopes to use the invaluable experience at Huairou to become more involved with disaster awareness programs and organizations supporting human rights on the global scale.
Regional Organizer for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), Community Resilience, Land & Housing
Manuela is the LAC Regional Organizer for Huairou’s Community Resilience and Land & Housing areas of work. Based in Bogotá, Colombia, she focuses on the organizing, planning and implementation of programmatic work in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as enhancing the Community Practitioner’s Platform and the Community Resilience Fund in the region. Previously, Manuela worked in her native country, Colombia, creating strategies of reconstruction of social networks and social inclusion for communities living in disaster-prone areas in Bogotá. These strategies were later utilized in a Resettlement Program that mobilized more than 5,000 families in the city. She holds a BA and MA in Anthropology from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia and an MA in Urban Development with special focus on Economic Development, jointly taught by the University of Technology of Darmstadt, Germany and the University of Rome “Tor Vergata,” Italy.
Africa Regional Coordinator
A development economist by training, Mino is a rural development expert and activist from Madagascar. Prior to joining Huairou as Africa Regional Coordinator, she spent nine years working for national and civil society organizations as well as an international coalition. Mino draws from deep experience on issues as varied as microfinance, education, rural development and land, also with a national and regional advocacy focus. She has facilitated gender projects as Africa Regional Coordinator for the International Land Coalition, served as a national expert for UNESCO and other agencies, undertaken an independent consultancy with FAO to translate the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure into Malagasy, and has additionally supported the Malagasy Rural Women Federation (FVTM) in Madagascar. Mino is fluent in English and French, and is based out of Madagascar.
For 20 years, Sri has worked in the fields of human settlements, gender equality and new information technologies, and was formally trained in economics, political science and public administration. In 2012, she became the first CEO of Penang Women’s Development Corporation, established to engender public and private sector policies and programs, and work towards gender and social justice. Prior to joining PWDC, Sri served as a Senior Fellow for Program Coordination and Development at Huairou. She was also the Program Manager of the United Nations Women’s Development Fund, now known as UN Women, in Aceh, Indonesia, leading an initiative that promoted women’s legal rights during reconstruction after the 2004 tsunami and the signing of the Peace Agreement. She served as Program Officer for the Urban Governance Initiative (TUGI), where she facilitated the introduction of the Good Governance Report Card on Gender and Governance, as well as the Local-to-Local Dialogue that led to the inclusion of poor urban women and their communities in local governance processes. From 1993 to 1998, Sri was Program Officer at two United Nations Development Program regional projects and the Urban Management Program for Asia and the Pacific. Sri is currently a member of the Advisory Group on Gender Issues of UN-Habitat and of the UNDP’s Local Governance and Local Development global working group.
Advisor on Community Resilience
Suranjana Gupta is a part-time, India-based Advisor on Community Resilience. From 2002 to 2015 she worked full time with GROOTS International and Huairou Commission, dividing her time between Mumbai and New York. Suranjana has closely involved in the development of Huairou’s Community Resilience Fund and Community Practitioners Platform. Over the years, Suranjana has worked on a wide variety of areas with Huairou, including policy advocacy, fund-raising, strategic planning, facilitating learning exchanges and documenting grassroots women’s accomplishments. Prior to working with Huairou, Suranjana worked for five years for Swayam Shikshan Prayog in India. She was also adjunct faculty at the New School University’s Graduate Program for International Affairs from 2002-2004. She has an M.Sc. in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Mumbai.