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Meet our staff


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.


Louisa Trackman

Director of Programs and Operations

As Director of Programs and Operations, Louisa manages programming across the organization - from strategy and research to design to evaluation and learning - and works closely with partners to develop curriculum, toolkits, and trainings that meet their needs. Louisa has 15 years of non-profit experience in US and international contexts, including 10 years with Creative Action Institute where she started as an intern. 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, listening to climate action-focused podcasts, and adventuring with her two very active children.


Doris began her career as a journalist in Kenya where she used her skills and passion in storytelling to produce documentaries and films that highlighted challenges facing communities across the country. After 2 years of practicing journalism, she has spent the last 8 years in the development sector directly contributing to the disruption of inequality-ridden status quo. Doris joins us from Akili Dada, where she has been spearheading the implementation of different gender-focused projects in Kenya and East Africa. She brings a wealth of experience in strategy and programs development, and she is a firm believer that if afforded the space, skills and knowledge, women and girls have the ability to bring meaningful change in all levels.

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Doris Kamathi

Regional Program Manager - East Africa

Isabel Carrió

Project Manager and Community Artist

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Meet the Staff

Isabel is a Project Manager, Creative Facilitator, and Community Artist for the Creative Environmental Leadership Program (CELP) and Creative Advocacy Practicums (CAPS) in the Latin America and Africa regions. After many years of working in the field and learning from it, she now applies her artistic experience by co-facilitating participatory process activities and community art projects to generate community-driven solutions to contemporary challenges. She is passionate about leveraging art as an advocacy tool to promote community actions for positive environmental and social change. Isabel holds a Master's Degree in Visual Arts from Argentina and The Art Students League of New York. In addition, she graduated from the Mural program at the National Academy of New York.

Madhavi Phadke

Instructional Designer and Trainer

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Madhavi Phadke joined Creative Action Institute in 2022 as an Instructional Designer and Trainer. Madhavi utilizes project-based learning, inquiry, and structured collaboration to provide context and purpose in science instruction. Madhavi’s current focus is to bring science tools and practices that may be customized for community initiatives improving climate mitigation, gender equity, and access to education. Madhavi believes that community engagement and purpose-driven education are key to building climate-resilient communities. In her free time, Madhavi is busy exploring things with her curious kiddo, pursuing her passion for North Indian Classical music as a vocalist, and growing or cooking lots of food. Madhavi has nine years of teaching, mentoring, and instructional design experience. Madhavi holds a Master’s in Science Education from Rutgers University.

Allison Havens

Development and Communications Specialist

Allison brings over 12 years of experience working in international non-profit administration, communication, and fundraising roles. She began her work in the field as a muralist and arts facilitator with the ArtCorps organization in Honduras over a decade ago, and from there, has dedicated her career to empowering women in Latin America. She was the director of a women's artisan organization, a fundraising coordinator for a domestic violence shelter, and has supported a variety of other women's organizations through marketing and coordination roles. She enjoys facilitating multicultural communication and is passionate about creating a future where women and girls lead the path forward towards a more sustainable future. Allison holds a BLA with a focus on studio art from Macalester College. In her free time, Allison enjoys hiking, studying Chinese Medicine, dancing, and trying new foods.


Christian Chacón Gallardo

Field Project Coordinator

Born in El Salvador and currently residing in Guatemala, Christian is a permaculturist and social sciences enthusiast. Discomforted by the status quo, he immersed himself in liberation psychology, and participated in conferences and classes across Latin America. Christian then pursued his interests in permaculture, alternative organizing models, and pantheism. Over a span of 10 years, his facilitation style integrated expressive arts, popular education, and eco-sociohistorical analysis. As a permaculture promoter, he seeks to integrate decolonialism and Latin American theories into permaculture curriculum. Currently, he is committed to transforming social structures that directly affect communities and environments in the Global South. Whenever he is back in El Salvador, Christian makes sure to rehearse with his black metal band and cook his latest recipes for family and friends.


Wanjiru Ndung'u

Program and Operations Associate, East Africa

Wanjiru is our Program and Operations Associate, East Africa. She joins the team from Akili Dada and brings four years of experience in the humanitarian sector. In various capacities, Wanjiru has worked to promote youth development, access to quality education, and economic empowerment. She is passionate about gender equality and supporting the next generation of girl leaders. She says she is her happiest when working directly in the field with youth and adolescent girls! ​Wanjiru holds a B.A. in Gender and Development Studies from Kenyatta University.

Veronica Thamaini



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. Veronica was the Africa Regional Coordinator for four years, during which time she helped grow the East African Girls' Leadership Summit and Mentor Program and designed our COVID-responsive Sauti ya Dada programming. She continues to work with Creative Action Institute as a consultant for its work in East Africa. She holds a BA in Commerce from Strathmore University in Kenya and an MBA from Strathmore University.

Meet our Board

Alyssa Wright


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.


Nyasha Laing


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.

Emily DeMasi

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Tracie Hines

Cheryl Mazer


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Emily DeMasi is passionate about the empowerment of women and girls globally; and the power of the arts to inspire and express. Currently, she is the director of engagement at EOS Federated Hermes where she integrates issues of gender equality, pay equity and opportunity access for all women. She spent nearly a decade in the socially responsible investing field, first as an academic publishing her graduate thesis on corporate social responsibility in commercial banks, then as a portfolio manager and investment adviser integrating the social and financial objectives of her clients into her investment process. Her diverse background also includes non-profit fundraising, impact investing and community investing, as well as serving as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa. She earned her MBA and Master of Public Policy from Duquesne University and her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Boston University

Tracie is a non-profit strategy and fundraising consultant specializing in institutional relations, grants, and partnerships, working directly with and advising executive leadership across a variety of mission-driven organizations. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 25 years, including the fields of land conservation, international study abroad, homelessness, and youth arts. She is a passionate environmentalist and believes that every individual can make a difference in minimizing our impact on the earth. Tracie holds a B.A. in geography and environmental studies from Framingham State University and a Masters of Regional Planning with a concentration in environmental policy and planning from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Tracie is also a certified plant-based chef and holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition. In her free time, she enjoys travel, yoga, and cooking for her family and friends.


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 as 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 President 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.

Winthrop Carty


Winthrop is co-founder of Catalyst Co-Labs, a co-design program for social entrepreneurs in partnership with Catalyst 2030. He also hosts the "Collaboration Beyond the Buzzword" video series. In addition to being an officer of the Board of Creative Action Institute, Winthrop is a co-founder and Board member of Empowered to Educate, a fellowship for women innovators in education, and a Board member of both NEID Global and Catalyst 2030. Winthrop’s current endeavors were preceded by two decades of leadership with global fellowship, philanthropy, and social entrepreneur networks. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, Winthrop has worked or lived in all major world regions, starting with a childhood in Colombia. He is currently based in Cambridge, MA.

Kruti Patel


Deborah Calvanese




Kruti is a Research and Development Scientist with over 15 years of experience in the biotech industry. She has led the development and deployment of various tools that have been used to further the advancement of cancer and agricultural research. Currently, she is a Senior Scientist at Directed Genomics, a technology development company focused on building and optimizing sample preparation workflows for next generation sequencing. For the past year, Kruti has also served as secretary of the board for an agricultural biotech company. She holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. When she is not busy with work, Kruti enjoys traveling, hiking, and live music.

Deborah is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice, specializing in treating post traumatic stress disorder and maternal mental health. She also enjoys serves as a guide for fellow therapists in the process of starting their own practices. Deborah earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Roger Williams University and her Masters in Clinical Psychology at American International College, and joined the Creative Action Institute Board in April of 2022, where she will serve as an Officer. 

Christine Rozzi

Chrissie is a Lead Development Biologist at Data Driven Bioscience, where she currently designs an innovative NGS based assay that can detect and identify various types of cancer. The assay is paired with machine learning and novel bioinformatic software that will make cancer identification fast, easy, and accurate. 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.

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