Creative Action Institute

Contact us:

978-998-7993

240 County Rd
Ipswich, MA 01938
USA

Join our mailing list!

©2019 by Creative Action Institute. Proudly created with Wix.com

Meet our staff

Meet the Team

Louisa Trackman

Director of Programs and Partnerships

Veronica leads Creative Action Institute’s work in Africa, including our East African Girls’ Leadership Summit and Mentor Program. Veronica has deep experience working with adolescent girls and young women in East Africa and believes in creating spaces for them to develop and to use their power in changing and building communities positively. Prior to joining Creative Action Institute, Veronica was the Program Director with Akili Dada, an internationally recognized leadership incubator. She holds a BA in Commerce from Strathmore University in Kenya and is completing her Master’s in Business Administration from Strathmore University.

Isabel Carrió

Field Project Manager

Isabel is a visual artist with nine years of experience with Creative Action Institute in the Central America Region as a community arts worker and creative facilitator. She manages and implements skill-building workshops that integrate community-based arts for social change on issues related to gender equity, sexual and reproductive health, environment, social justice, youth, and leadership. Isabel holds a Masters in Fine Arts from Argentina and was trained in painting, drawing and printmaking at The Students League and the National Academy of Fine Arts in New York. Based on her experience with combining the arts and community development in different countries, Isabel emphasizes the value of learning from one another and the respect for different cultural and ancestral practices.

Veronica Thamaini

Africa Regional Coordinator


Clare Dowd

Executive Director

Clare is the founding Executive Director of Creative Action Institute. 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' equality and build resiliency in the face of climate change. Clare holds a BA in English Literature from Saint Michael’s College and an MBA in International Business from the University of San Francisco. When not trotting across the globe to remote locations, Clare loves being in her garden, at the beach or in the woods, preferably with her husband, grown boys and devoted dog.

As Director of Programs and Partnerships, Louisa develops strategic partnerships, designs new projects, manages programs in Latin America, and leads the evaluation of Creative Action Institute’s transformational work. Louisa has 10 years of experience as a non-profit professional in US and international contexts. 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.

Hilary Wolkan

Development and Communications Associate

Hilary has worked in development and fundraising for the past six years for agencies that have helped families experiencing homelessness. Her passion for advocacy and amplifying the voices of the community comes from her previous career as an archaeologist, as well as her personal activism in social justice, gender equality, and human rights. Hilary holds an MA in Field Archaeology from the University of York in England, an MA in Classical Archaeology from Tufts University, and a dual BA in Archaeology and Art History from the University of Evansville, though she still considers herself a life-long student since she enjoys constantly learning about pretty much any subject.

Mukonyo is a womanist who believes in girls' and women’s rights. She has three years’ experience as a Human Rights Advocate having interned at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights; volunteered at the Federation of Women Lawyers – Kenya; and worked as a Program Assistant at Akili Dada. Mukonyo believes that the provision of quality education culminated with affirmative action will help effect positive change in the lives of girls and women globally thus bridging the gap and achieving gender equality.

Mukonyo holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Nairobi and a Post Graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law.

Project Coordinator

Mukonyo Muendo

Leslie Frame-Crowley

Operations Assistant

In addition to her work with Creative Action Institute, Leslie is currently pursuing her Masters of Social Work at Simmons University in Boston with a focus on serving women and girls. Originally from Chicago, Leslie is a performance artist, writer, and a very proud new mother.  

Meet our Board

 

Alyssa Wright

Chair

Alyssa is an award-winning artist, strategic philanthropic advisor, and creative social impact strategist. 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, her beautiful daughter Piper and their big orange cat, Izzie.

 

Dan Preston

Treasurer

Dan is a Clinical Associate Professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University (IU).  His area of expertise is international development finance, and he maintains senior level advisory engagements with the OECD, World Economic Forum, Center for Global Development, and African Center for Economic Transformation. Dan earned a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

 

Sherry Handel

Secretary

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 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

 

Jennifer Butz

Officer

Jennifer is an international development professional, specializing in good governance and green growth. 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.

 

Nyasha Laing

Officer

While Nyasha has spent much of her career working as a transactional attorney and human rights consultant, recently her creative pursuits have transitioned her out of a narrow legal practice into a wider role. In 2008, she released a documentary film entitled Punta Soul,tracing the evolution of afro-indigenous music from Central America. The film led her to a six-year sojourn in Belize, and active work in the service of arts and culture, notably for the Belize National Institute of Culture and History where she reactivated cultural revival programs, and for The Global Parish Project, a U.S. State Department-funded community service organization that she founded. The Global Parish Project cultivated the voices of hundreds of young artists and leaders in Belize City, Belmopan, and Punta Gorda through media literacy, poetic expression and filmmaking skills until 2014. Since that time, she has continued to cultivate her own voice as an emerging documentary filmmaker.

 

Rali Tufts

Officer

Ralitza G. Tufts (Rali) is resolute that every woman have a chance to lead an independent, authentic and empowered life. She helped launch the mission-driven investment management firm PowerHouse Assets, LLC and has been instrumental over the years in the design and implementation of the firm’s business operations, culture and vision. As COO, she has an integral role in the sustainable, creative and efficient growth of the firm’s capacity and operations in alignment with its mission to give women investment self-confidence. Prior to PowerHouse Assets LLC, Ralitza had over 7 years of experience working on Wall Street trading floors, on foreign exchange and emerging market bond desks for global financial institutions like HSBC and South Africa-based Standard Bank. She holds a MA in Law & Diplomacy with focus on international finance from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a BS Magna Cum Laude in International Relations and Corporate Communications from Drexel University, where she enrolled from her home country of Bulgaria. She is a proud mom of two amazing girls and an avid fashionista.

 

Casey Madinger

Officer

Casey has been an employee at New England Biolabs for 13 years and presently works in Quality Improvement.  She is a specialist in mass spectrometry, focusing on large molecule analysis, and obtained her Ph.D. working under the direction of Drs. David and Jean Smith at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.  A transplant to Massachusetts, she has become very involved in her community on the North Shore: for six years she organized an annual crafts fair to showcase artists and artisans, and she takes an active role in local politics.

 

Christine Rozzi

Officer

Chrissie currently manages and produces Next Generation Sequencing products at New England Biolabs, a leading producer of life science reagents on the East Coast. She produces over 60 kits with a wide range of applications for DNA and RNA-Seq, Microbiome Enrichment, Ribosomal and Globin Depletion, PolyA Isolation, Library Quantification, and Targeted Gene Panel Enrichment. She also works in conjunction with the Marketing team to organize student workshops around the United States, where students can test kits from the NEBNext product line. She has helped the NEBNext team grow into the recognized world-wide brand it is today. Chrissie graduated from Florida Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Molecular Biology and received her M.S. in Marine Biology from Northeastern University. In her free time Chrissie enjoys playing soccer, skiing, scuba diving, and traveling the world.

 

Cheryl Mazer

Officer

Cheryl is a relationship builder, collaborator and problem solver. For over 21 years, Cheryl was a senior member of the innovative substrate company, Soitec, headquartered in Grenoble, France acting as the V.P of Sales in North America and later at the Sr. V.P of Strategic Development. Prior to her life in the semiconductor world, Cheryl was a dedicated educator for 20 years, having been a classroom teacher and administrator, and most significantly, the co-founder/co-director/head teacher of a child-centered, creativity focused, pre-school. Enhancing others’ lives through enriching experiences is a driving force for her as is making a “positive difference” in the growth of an individual or a community. She is V.P. of the Board of Directors of her local community center in Gloucester, MA as well as served on the Board of a local performing arts center, Windhover, for many years. Cheryl has a B.A in English from the U. of Wisconsin, Madison and an M.A.T. from Simmons College.