Our advisors possess a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds drawn from every region of the world. They are trusted advisors to governments, development agencies, donors, community leaders and non-governmental organizations. Each member of Maestral’s team is driven by our organizational mission to secure a better life for children—bringing experience, passion and integrity to the work of our clients with a laser focus on results.
Founder and President
A passionate advocate for children, Philip has decades of experience in designing, negotiating and implementing comprehensive human development programs for the World Bank, UNICEF and global foundations, and covering the social and child welfare, health and education sectors. Philip managed development and completion of a comprehensive global toolkit for mapping and assessing child protection systems, and has been supporting related programming in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Since 2018, Philip has been a member of the Member of the Lancet Commission on the Institutionalisation and Deinstitutionalisation of Children. Philip has extensive current and past board and philanthropic experience, including Mayo Clinic, the Global Alliance for Children, the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, the Better Way Foundation, Court Appointed Special Advocates (D.C.), the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance, the Advisory Board of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Progress Valley, the Sieben Foundation and the International Leadership Institute.
Cassie has worked with UNICEF and other international agencies to promote policies and programs in support of young children and their families. Over the past 20 years, she has provided technical assistance and support to child development programs in over 60 countries throughout Southern Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. A primary focus of her work has been the design and evaluation of programs to support parents and families in their role as primary caregivers. In collaboration with the Open Society Foundations, Cassie has designed a Master degree program in Early Childhood Development, BRAC University, Bangladesh and is a visiting professor at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Studies. She is currently on the faculty of the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University and teaches courses in global child development.
Leonora Borg has seventeen years of experience in safeguarding and child protection support across the private, public and third sectors, in the UK and internationally. This includes direct work with children and young people; boards and trustees; governments and statutory agencies; businesses and sporting bodies. Leonora has worked with vulnerable groups, including street-connected children and children with disabilities. She specialises in reviewing, developing and implementing safeguarding and protection strategy, policy, processes and organisational structures; involving children and young people in creating effective safeguarding and child protection processes, monitoring and evaluation.
Senior Associate & Technical Director for Changing the Way We Care
Beth Bradford is an international child protection consultant with twenty-five years of experience. She is currently the Technical Director for Changing the Way We Care. Her work with both government and non-government partners has focused on child protection and care systems development. More specifically, Beth’s work has focused on integrated case management, social work practice, deinstitutionalization and alternative care, holistic early childhood development, and family strengthening. Beth has experience in qualitative evaluation, program design and management, designing standards and guidance, and curriculum development and training.
Kelley is an international child protection and social welfare consultant. Kelley has more than twenty-five years of experience working and living in East Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. She has worked with a wide range of actors including international organizations, private foundations, government ministries, USAID and UNICEF. Her work is focused on systems strengthening and child protection, with particular emphasis on supporting the expansion of the social welfare workforce, developing child-rights based policy frameworks and strategies and strengthening alternative care programming for children outside of family care. Kelley consults with a variety of institutions and organizations to strengthen the child protection system, identify and promote linkages between child protection HIV, expand the social service workforce and document and support child care reform. She has a Master’s degree in Child Rights and is a regular contributor to articles and books covering intercountry adoption and international child welfare.
Janet du Preez is a development consultant, a social worker by profession with +40 years’ experience, in direct service delivery to all vulnerable groups, specifically children. Janet has expertise in legislation development and interpretation for practice; policy development and implementation; strategic and operational planning and management, supportive supervision and leadership and coaching. She has vast experience in designing, implementing and building the capacity of social services practitioners at all levels as well as strengthening the governance and building the capacities of civil society organizations in program and project design and management, and resource mobilization.
Mari is an international child protection and social welfare consultant with experience working in Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Her work focuses on system strengthening, monitoring and evaluation and using data for decision-making. She has worked across a range of international non-governmental organizations, with multiple local government Ministries and on work funded by CDC, DFID/UKAID, UNICEF and USAID.Her most recent work includes work at Palladium Group on USAID’s flagship health and social service monitoring and evaluation project, MEASURE Evaluation.
Anna Jolly is an international child protection consultant with 10 years’ experience working and living across Eastern and Southern Africa and South East Asia. Anna consults with civil society groups and governments to support disproportionately affected children, adolescents, and families. Her work focuses on strengthening child protection systems with a particular focus on reinforcing the child protection workforce and services for children living outside of parental care. Anna has assessed, trained, and supported cadres of child protection practitioners at all levels of the workforce (including community volunteers, non-government professionals, and local, sub-national and national government officers), and additionally specialises in case management, reintegration, and care system reform.
Shar Kurtishi is a public policy and public finance specialist with 18 years’ experience in the design, administration and management of PFM systems and within the eight seven years, direct involvement in social protection and child protection strategies, policies and programs. Shar’s core expertise is in the analysis of human development and the interface with public financial management, budget preparation and medium-term expenditure planning, and fiscal and administrative decentralization. He has worked in Kosovo, Albania, Nigeria, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia, UK, US, Slovenia, Nepal and Turkmenistan.
Siân has worked on child protection and issues impacting children affected by HIV and AIDS for over 25 years, working and living in Southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, West Africa and the Middle East. She is an expert in HIV-sensitive child protection, social welfare support, violence against children and community-level child protection. She has expertise in participatory research and assessment approaches with children, working with families and service providers, developing and delivering training at multiple levels, and on developing strategy, policy and programming tools for use by a wide range of policy makers and practitioners. Siân consults with civil society groups and governments to strengthen the child protection system, identify linkages between violence, HIV and social welfare systems, and support interventions and initiatives that seek to place children and adolescents at the centre of child protection and social service programming.
Atieno has extensive experience in international development both at country and regional levels. She has worked with direct service delivery focusing on gender-based violence against women and children, people with disabilities, the elderly, refugee rights and integration; as well as provided technical assistance to strategic planning for national and sub-national level ministries on issues around HIV, care and support for children in the context of HIV, sexual and reproductive health and rights, child protection, human rights and sports and development. She has experience in results based strategic and operational planning, human rights based approaches, partnership development, organizational strengthening, programme and project design and management, and resource mobilization.
Bill is a Child Protection, Global Health, and ICT Systems strategist and lawyer with over 22 years experiences in HIV and AIDS, child protection, systems strengthening and integrated programming to improve the well-being of children. His global experience, which began in Rwanda and at CARE USA, first as manager of vulnerable children programmes, and later as Director of HIV and AIDS, includes working with diverse vulnerable populations, focusing on vulnerable children.
Viktoria Perschler is an international consultant with over 20 years of experience in child protection and almost 10 years in gender based violence. She is a strategic thinker who has demonstrated capability to work at national and community level to effectively design, monitor and evaluate programs and projects. Her experience includes working with governments and other stakeholders to create inclusive national child protection strategies. She is also an experienced trainer and has carried out numerous assessments, reviews and evaluations.
Sully has been working for years in Guatemala to improve child welfare and to strengthen the capacity of the Government to ensure that the rights of children in the care system are respected, particularly (but not solely) during the adoption process. Sully has participated in related activities and work around the region, including Panama, Chile, Mexico, Honduras, San Salvador, and Paraguay. During the ensuing two decades, she developed a portfolio of professional expertise in care reform, deinstitutionalization, case management, family empowerment, social management, monitoring and assessment, emergency planning, and administrative and technical management, among other areas.
Anna Nordenmark Severinsson is an international advisor on child protection policy and system reform with 20 years of international professional experience. She has been a team leader on different USAID, SIDA, EU, UN and civil society projects. The focus of Anna’s work has been on strengthening the policies and implementation of policies for better fulfilment of child protection rights and human rights, most often focusing on sectors such as the welfare and social protection and their coordination with health, education and justice sectors. One of Anna’s specialties is in child protection system governance and capacity building with a focus on whole sector reform.
Francesca Stuer has sixteen years of international social and health development work providing a depth of experience, reaching across global, regional and country level policy, strategy and program development. Her specialist experience and expertise includes social welfare, child protection and alternative childcare. Other areas of expertise include vulnerability assessment and resilience building, women and girls empowerment, household economic strengthening, HIV/AIDS and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights with a particular focus on adolescents, and strategic behavioral communication. Francesca has worked at a senior level to support and build capacity of host governments, non-government organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs).
Joanna has 13 years’ experience developing and leading monitoring, evaluation and research work focused on child protection, family reintegration and family strengthening. Joanna has been at the cutting edge of pioneering child-focused monitoring and evaluation (M&E) approaches which bring out children’s and caregivers’ experiences of family-child separation and reintegration. As the Monitoring and Research Advisor for Retrak, an international NGO working to see no child forced to live on the streets, she developed and managed M&E frameworks for reintegration and prevention of separation projects across eastern Africa.
Doreen has fourteen years of work experience, nine of which in government system strengthening and over five in child protection. She has significant programme & project management experience in several areas including child protection, system strengthening in the social service sector as well as cross sectoral system strengthening specifically for decentralised local governments. Doreen has engaged extensively with key institutions and government bodies. She holds a Master of Science in Cross Cultural Studies of Children, Childhood and Youth and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Administration.
Vanessa Fonseca has more than twenty years of experience in researching and designing programs on topics related to promoting gender equality among young people, especially men, in Brazil and globally. She has been responsible for advising on the adaptation of programs on sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV/AIDS prevention, parental care, and gender-based violence in countries such as Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mozambique, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Angola, among others. Vanessa started her child protection work more than fifteen years ago while working to involve men in parental care, increase male parental involvement in education, reduce corporal punishment, and gender equality.
Katherine has over 15 years of experience working with populations in need of care and protection. She has worked with children experiencing homelessness, family separation, resettlement, and human trafficking. Katherine worked within social welfare systems strengthening and care reform in Eastern Europe, South East Asia, South Asia, and Central America. She has acted as a senior-level manager for local and international non-governmental organizations and as a technical advisor for USAID. She has experience with a wide range of actors including DFAT, DFID, World Bank, UNICEF, UNHCR, and IOM. Katherine holds a BS in Education and a Masters in Clinical Social Work degree from Boston College.
Emmanuel is a development management consultant with over a decade of experience in results-based project management, strategic planning and institutional strengthening. Emmanuel’s expertise is in seeking the welfare of the vulnerable, particularly women and children, through project management in various sectors including Health, Education, WASH, Agriculture, and Energy. Currently, his work has focused on building capacities of government and stakeholders in assessing, addressing, and monitoring care reform, social workforce capacity assessment and strengthening, coordinating country-level assessments, and developing strategic plans for eliminating child labour in the cocoa industry.
Nicole Williams graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education. Her teaching led her to develop a strong interest in working at the international level. She enrolled in the Heller School for Social Policy & Management, at Brandeis University where she earned her Master’s Degree in Sustainable International Development. During her tenure at Brandeis, Nicole spent nine months in Moshi, Tanzania, undertaking a practicum for her thesis working with an organization supporting children at risk in the region. As a research assistant with the organization, Nicole conducted a school baseline study on truancy, drop-out rates, literacy and numeracy in Moshi and Arusha primary schools. Prior to joining Maestral, Nicole worked as an International Program Assistant with the American Refugee Committee.
Senior Communications & Program Manager
Joanna Ison has a Master of Science in Justice, Law and Society from the American University School of Public Affairs, along with a B.A. in Communication, Law, Economics and Government. She also received a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Illinois at Chicago. After graduation, Joanna joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Barskoon, Kyrgyzstan, where she taught English at a local secondary school and completed several community development projects. Upon her return to the US, Joanna worked as a Program Officer for Projects and Partnerships at the American Library Association, where among other things she worked on public awareness campaigns, advocacy, and diversity efforts. Prior to joining the Maestral team, Joanna was a Grants Writer for Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota.
Marsha received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Her heart for hurting people has led her in many directions over the years. Before becoming a mother, she was the Office Manager of a Crisis Center. For many years she was a stay-at-home mom and homeschooled her three children, who are now all successful adults working to change the world for the better. For nearly twenty years she was the Worship Pastor at her church where she was responsible for recruiting, training, developing, and leading multiple teams of volunteer musicians and technicians. In 2007, Marsha started her own small business, Wilder Piano Studio, where she currently teaches 30+ piano students. Marsha also enjoys her role as the Administrative Assistant for Hope Station – a non-profit in Chengdu, China founded and directed by her daughter who is an advocate for orphans.
Matt works in business development for Maestral, coordinating and managing proposal development for potential new projects. Prior to joining the Maestral team, Matt worked in nonprofit higher education and university access. Most recently, he worked as Managing Director of Graduate Admissions at Augsburg University. While at Augsburg, Matt also taught a world religions course as an adjunct professor and served on a team of staff and faculty promoting campus-wide intercultural development through the Intercultural Development Inventory. He completed a term of service with AmeriCorps through College Possible where he worked with underrepresented students in their pursuit of a university degree. Matt holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Psychology and a Master of Arts in Systematic Theology.