Our Team

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Staff


Clare Dowd, Executive Director

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Clare is the founding Executive Director of CAI, responsible for leading the growth and evolution of the organization for the past 11 years. With over 20 years of international experience that straddles the private and non-profit sectors, Clare brings a unique background that blends an entrepreneurial business mind with strong non-profit management skills. She has worked with hundreds of international and grassroots partners across Central America and Africa to design powerful programs that leverage creative methodologies to advance women's and girls' human rights and build resiliency in the face of climate change. She has a strong background in international business, having worked as an International Marketing & Trade Consultant for 10 years with Global Connection. Her early experiences as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya and a teacher in Colombia were foundational motivations for her passion for building strong communities. She holds an MBA in International Business from The University of San Francisco and a BA in English Literature from Saint Michael’s College.


Louisa Trackman, Programs & Partnerships Director

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Louisa first joined CAI in 2010 and has held a variety of roles in fundraising, program design, and evaluation. As Director of Programs and Partnerships, Louisa develops strategic institutional and programmatic partnerships, as well as manages and evaluates CAI’s transformational work at the intersection of creativity and social change. Prior to returning to CAI, Louisa was the Associate Director of Institutional Giving at the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston. Louisa holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics and Human Security from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and a BS in Political Science and Human Rights Studies from Barnard College. When not dreaming about her next international trip, Louisa enjoys mountain biking, reading novels, and adventuring with her two very active sons.


Aryeh Shell, Education & Training Director

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Aryeh first joined CAI in 2006 as a Field Artist serving in rural El Salvador, and now leads our Education and Training program. Aryeh is passionate about bringing art and creativity to the forefront of human and community development. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the Universidad del Salvador in Argentina and an MA in Education: Equity and Social Justice from SFSU. She is deeply trained in Theatre of the Oppressed and Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects with extensive experience in cultural activism and popular education. Aryeh has designed and facilitated transformational trainings, campaigns and creative projects for over a decade throughout the United States and Latin America with a specialization in community theater, deep ecology, systems thinking and Integral Life Coaching. She is also an avid gardener, hiker, poet and dancer.


Eloise Willemsen, Finance & Operations Associate

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Eloise joins the CAI team with experience in project management, holistic health care and education. She previously worked as a project management intern with Autism Speaks New England, and the STEP Women’s shelter as a volunteer coordinator. Eloise is passionate about environmental stewardship and gender equity and has held positions on farms and in multiple student and community empowerment organizations. She hopes to earn a Masters degree and currently holds a BA in Anthropology and Chinese from Whitman College.


Veronica Thamaini, Regional Coordinator

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Veronica joins CAI with experience in working with adolescent girls and young women in East Africa. Previously she worked as a program director with Akili Dada, an internationally recognized leadership incubator. Veronica believes in creating spaces for girls and young women to develop and grow and become what they can be and want to be and to use their power in changing and building communities positively. She holds a BA in Commerce from Strathmore University in Kenya. 

 

 


Isabel Carrio, Field Project Manager

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Isabel is a Visual Artist from Argentina, trained in painting, murals,​ drawing and printmaking at the Arts Students League and the National Academy of Fine Arts in NYC. She worked for two years as a teaching artist in the public school system with the Brooklyn Art Council and also taught visual arts at Kanoria ​C​community ​C​enter in India. As an educator, Isabel emphasizes the value of learning from one another. Isabel has worked with our indigenous partner organizations FUNDENOR AQ’AB’AL, in Alta Verapaz and Ecologic - 48 Cantons in Totonicapán. Her work encourages the weaving of Mayan culture into community development and environmental projects. Today she is the Field​ Project​ Manager in Belize working with our partner organizations in Belize: Ya'axche', SACD, TIDE, SEA and in Guatemala with Fundaeco for the Gulf of Honduras Creative Conservation Project.


Board of Directors


Davis Bradford, Co-Chair

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Davis is a Practice Area Lead with Slalom Consulting for their Finance and Performance Solutions practice in Boston. Davis has over 16 years of management consulting and business experience. His focus is on the delivery of advisory services to the office of the CFO, with an emphasis on increasing value in the finance function and helping finance organizations move along the value preservation/value creation continuum based on their maturity and industry challenges. Davis has served as a member of his alma mater’s Alumni Board and as the Chair of Young Alumni Giving. In his spare time, Davis enjoys skiing and keeping up with his young son and daughter.


Elizabeth Gibbons, Co-Chair

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Elizabeth is a leader, strategist and advocate who has inspired change at both local and global levels, leading transformative action for social justice and the realization of human rights. Currently, she's Senior Fellow and Director of the Child Protection Certificate Program at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights in the Harvard School of Public Health. Prior to her academic appointments, Elizabeth enjoyed a lengthy career at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Her career in social development and humanitarian affairs spanned more than three decades, during which she lived and worked in Togo, Kenya and Zimbabwe, and served as head of UNICEF's offices in Haiti and in Guatemala. A graduate of Smith College and Columbia University, Elizabeth is the author of Sanctions in Haiti: Human Rights and Democracy under Assault, and a contributing author to several other books.


Daniel Preston, Treasurer

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Dan is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University. He currently teaches various courses covering public policy, international relations, development finance, and international security in addition to being the Head of the Honors Program and a Director for overseas programs in the Balkans and Cuba. He has taught over 2,000 students since joining the faculty earning multiple awards for outstanding undergraduate instruction. Dan’s area of expertise is international development finance, and he maintains ongoing advisory engagements with organizations such as the OECD, World Economic Forum, and USAID. Prior to SPEA, Dan worked in the private sector where he held investment banking positions with Citigroup in the United States and France specializing in economic advisory, debt management, and capital raising for sovereign governments in Europe, Africa, and Asia and securitization programs for corporations primarily in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Japan. Previously, he worked as a management consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Information Resources on a range of strategic issues for Fortune 500 companies and technology start-ups. Dan holds a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.


G. Brett Robb

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Brett is a staff scientist with the RNA Biology Division at New England Biolabs. Prior to joining NEB, Brett held various teaching and academic advisory positions in the US, Canada and France. In addition to his scientific and teaching work, Brett has volunteered with the AIDS Action Committee in Boston and the AIDS Committee of Toronto. Brett brings his knowledge of science and technology and passion for developing critical thinkers worldwide to CAI. Brett holds a Ph.D from the University of Toronto and a BS in Genetics from the University of Western Ontario.


Courtney Scott

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Courtney has 15 years of experience in all aspects of marketing communications, as well as extensive senior management experience, including leading small to mid-sized organizations through periods of ambitious growth. She served as the Director of Marketing at both FirstGiving, a leading online fundraising platform, and Gentle Giant Moving Company, the largest residential moving company in New England. Previously, she filled several professional service and client-facing roles at MediaMap, a PR software and media consulting agency. She holds an MBA from the FW Olin School of Business at Babson College and a BA in French and Spanish language from Bates College. She previously served on the board of Everybody Wins! Metro Boston and actively volunteers with several local animal shelters, urban farms, disaster recovery agencies, and her local business community.


Sherry Handel

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Sherry is an award-winning social entrepreneur and founder of three start-ups. Sherry also served as the founding Executive Director for a nonprofit organization and was principal of a consulting firm. She has over thirteen years of executive management experience leading start-up businesses and eight years of nonprofit management experience. She is recognized as an innovative and visionary leader and won awards from the American Association of University Women, the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, and the National Association of Women Business Owners. Sherry graduated from Northeastern University with a B.S. in Business Administration. She earned a certificate in Sustainable Business Practices from the University of Vermont and completed graduate work at Boston Architectural College. Sherry is the author of the acclaimed book, Blue Jean: What Young Women are Thinking, Saying, and Doing.


Cathy Estey

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Reverend Estey is a mentor, coach and educator with experience working with a diverse marginalized population. She brings a skill set that includes program development, leadership, and team building. Reverend Estey is currently serving at Trinity Episcopal Church in Haverhill as the Interfaith Prayer Minister. She was ordained in June 2015 from One Spirit Seminary in New York City. Cathy has worked as a psychotherapist and educator for 30 years with the approach of helping individuals uncover and use their voice to develop their strengths and confidence. Reverend Estey was also an adjunct faculty member at Northern Essex Community College and Lesley University for 15 years, teaching a full range of psychology and human service courses. She has served on several church Boards as President, Secretary and Director, and is currently serving a three-year term on the vestry at Trinity Episcopal Church, Haverhill. Her most recent mentoring experience is at One Spirit Seminary, where she serves as Mentoring Team Leader.


Jennifer Butz

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Jennifer is an international development professional, specializing in good governance and green growth. For nearly 30 years, Jennifer has lived in and worked with citizens, community groups and government officials on four continents—North and South America, Asia and Europe and has traveled to Australia, Africa, and Antarctica to cover the rest of the globe. Jennifer brings a mix of experience, expertise, and a sense of wonder to help partners imagine, design, fund and implement initiatives to improve local and national democratic governance and sustainable development. She delights most in engaging people in local communities—fishers on coasts, nomads in the Gobi, craftsmen in their shops, or farmers in fields—to understand their challenges and insights and find pathways of progress. Jennifer has an MA in International Policy Studies/Regional Economic Integration of the Pacific Rim from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a BA in German Literature from Michigan State University. Her home is the community of San Miguel de Allende of central Mexico, where she serves on the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.


Alyssa F. Wright

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Alyssa is an award-winning artist, strategic philanthropic advisor, and creative social impact strategist. An accomplished consultant in the fields of social change and philanthropy, Wright has collaborated with dozens of organizations and companies over the past decade, bringing together artists, activists, and philanthropists who desire ways to powerfully and creatively accelerate social change. Alyssa is a featured contributor to Feminist Wednesday, Levo League, Global Giving and Women @ Forbes, where she writes to offer communications, fundraising and leadership tips to all those working in the fields of philanthropy & social change. She is a recent Tedx speaker who debuted her talk, "Claim Your Philanthropy" in Portsmouth, NH and she is a sought after national nonprofit facilitator who can be found around the country discussing how one instills a successful "Culture of Philanthropy" at their organization. 

In her free time, Alyssa can be found volunteering at the York Art Association in York, Maine where she resides with her husband William and their big orange cat, Izzie.