MAG America board members
Cynthia Bemis Abrams
Board ChairCynthia Bemis Abrams is a public relations and leadership consultant. She serves her client base of nonprofit organizations and small businesses with 25 years experience in communications and strategic planning, audience and messaging analysis and social media. Since 2014, Ms. Abrams has been an adjunct professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Ms. Abrams graduated with a bachelor's degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato and holds a master's degree in Organizational Leadership from St. Catherine University of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Board memberSheila Crowley is a mission-driven, international development executive with 25 years’ experience in public, private, and non-governmental sectors. Sheila has been fortunate in her career to have worked for two gold-standard organizations: Peace Corps and Habitat for Humanity International. In her tenure with Peace Corps from 2010-2018, she held multiple leadership positions: Country Director in Romania and Indonesia, Chief of Operations and Associate Director, culminating in being named as Acting Director of the agency from January 2017 to April 2018, during an administration transition. Having worked for Habitat for Humanity International from 2004-2009, Sheila recently returned to Habitat as Vice President of Volunteer and Institutional Engagement where her focus is on developing strategies to engage the next generation of champions in the cause of poverty-shelter issues. In the middle of her career, Sheila took a detour and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine from 2001-2003, and worked prior at JP Morgan and McKinsey & Co as a Senior Business Researcher and Librarian from 1994-2001.
Sheila volunteers as an English teacher at the Washington English Center, and she and her black Labrador, Maya, currently serve as volunteers at People. Animals. Love., visiting veterans and children’s libraries. Sheila holds a bachelor’s degree in history and Russian studies from The Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in information science from Drexel University.
Board memberTunc Dayioglu is a Managing Director at The Rock Creek Group where he focuses on global macro strategies. He joined the firm in 2008 and led the credit/event driven strategies before taking on global macro strategies. Prior to this, Tunc was a Principal Investment Officer at the World Bank's Investment Management Department and also worked in Asset-Liability management, where he structured and traded derivative transactions for the World Bank. He also worked with the Financial Products and Services group, advising clients on sovereign debt management techniques and designing new financial products. Tunc received a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering from Bogazici University in Istanbul. He also holds an MBA from Georgetown University and a master's degree in Finance from George Washington University.
Board SecretaryJean Gilson is Senior Vice President for Strategy at DAI, an employee-owned global development company active in more than 90 countries, with USAID and DFID as its primary customers. Jean first joined DAI after a career in banking and has over 30 years of experience in the development field. Jean is responsible for corporate strategy, planning and development, brand and communications, strategic marketing, and IT. She also oversees DAI's innovation activities, strategic initiative pilots, and the firm’s growing commercial business in corporate sustainability and local content services. From 2000 to 2006 Jean worked for USAID first as country representative in Vietnam and later as USAID’s Senior Policy Advisor to the MCC.
A leading figure in the development community, she currently serves as Vice Chair of Program Affairs for the Society for International Development (SID) Washington, D.C. Chapter, and also serves as Vice President of the Governing Council of SID International, headquartered in Rome.
Jean holds a master’s degree in international law and economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, an MBA equivalence certificate from the First National Bank of Chicago, and her bachelor's degree from Georgetown University.
Finance ChairMr. Mark Michalowski has served in senior management finance roles with leading nonprofit and commercial organizations for over 20 years.
Mr. Michalowski is currently Vice President of Finance and Administration at IDS International. Prior to that, he served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Institute for Physical Sciences and held senior financial management roles in defense and telecom firms, including Lockheed Martin Global Telecom (COMSAT Corp). He holds an MBA in Finance from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Princeton University.
Board memberMs. Kaikham Onedamdy has over 20 years of wide-ranging experience in supporting access to finance, infrastructure, climate change and small enterprises, globally. As an investment professional and strategist at the World Bank, she works wholeheartedly to advance the mission of reducing poverty. Kaikham was previously an honorary Ambassador to iCare Benefits Laos, a social enterprise which helps improve the lives of female workers at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Kaikham is also an advisor to Raw Boxing, a nonprofit organization which aspires to strengthen the minds and bodies of youth in the Washington D.C. area. Kaikham holds a master’s degree in International Business from the University of Ottawa and a master’s degree in IT & Telecommunications from Johns Hopkins University. Kaikham experienced being in a refugee camp at the age of six and grew up in Montreal, Canada.
Development & Advancement ChairVeronica Pollock is a Senior Public Policy Advisor with The Daschle Group, a Public Policy Advisory of Baker Donelson. She advises a wide range of clients on public policy matters and political developments that impact businesses. Veronica specializes in monitoring and analyzing international policy developments and how they affect politics and commerce within the United States.
Prior to joining TDG, Veronica worked at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) managing a variety of projects across the globe. She contributed to international election-observation missions, program development and management, and coordinated with international leaders on special projects. Veronica was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine from 2001 to 2003, which is where she first developed her commitment to international affairs.
Veronica lives in Washington, DC with her husband David and their son and senior rescue dog. She is from Central New York and graduated with a bachelor's degree in History from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Board memberByron Radcliffe, CEO and President of Equal Access International (EAI), uses his extensive expertise in the public and private international development sectors to build bridges between diverse stakeholders in the industry. Byron draws on over 30 years of experience in international development and finance to drive innovative growth. Byron’s expertise as an executive leader includes leading corporate administration, strategic business planning, finance, and compliance departments. He is actively involved in project implementation around the world and has been responsible for overseeing regional offices in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Byron is a passionate mentor and spokesperson for international development. Byron’s 16-year tenure on the board of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Society for International Development culminated in a four-year term as chairman and now as Ex-Officio board member. Byron currently serves on the Humentum Government Advisory Council.
Byron is a frequent expert lecturer and panelist speaking at national and global forums about matters related to various areas of international development. Byron holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Central Missouri State University.
Governance ChairTommy Ross is a career national security professional and has worked in senior leadership positions in both chambers of Congress, the executive branch, and the private sector.
He currently serves as Senior Director for Policy at BSA | The Software Alliance, where he focuses on cybersecurity and law enforcement policies, and as a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Previously, Ross served as the first Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security Cooperation, where he led the most significant reforms to Department of Defense security cooperation, resources, and implementation in the department’s history. He joined the Defense Department after 12 years as a staff member in Congress. He served as Senior Intelligence and Defense Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and as Legislative Director for Representative David Price (D-NC) and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), advising each on national security policy.
Mr. Ross holds a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College in North Carolina and a master’s degree in Theology and Ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York. He is a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.
MAG America advisors
Donald "Pat" Patierno
Board President EmeritusDonald F. “Pat” Patierno has a diverse and expansive background that spans 38 years of military and civilian service with the U.S. Federal government. He spent over 21 years at the State Department where, among other positions, he served as the Director, Office of Contingency Planning; the Executive Director of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs; the Director of the Office of Humanitarian Demining (PM/HDP); and the Executive Director of the Bureau of Public Affairs.
As Director of PM/HDP, the forerunner of the State Department organization that manages the U.S. government’s humanitarian mine action projects, Mr. Patierno oversaw a $60 million program that supported humanitarian mine action assistance to over 40 countries. Subsequent to his retirement, in addition to his service on MAG America’s Board of Directors, Mr. Patierno served as the U.S. advocate for the Slovenian-based International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance. He earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Maryland College Park in 1975 and a master's degree in National Security Resource Strategy from the National Defense University in Washington D.C. in 1998.
Mr. Patierno joined MAG America's Board in 2006, became President of the Board in February 2011, and retired as Board President in July 2015. In May 2016 Mr. Patierno was selected by the Board to be President Emeritus.
MAG America AmbassadorRebecca Rusch has been a professional athlete for 25 years and counting, earning accolades for her work around the world. The “Queen of Pain” with a heart of gold has done it all, from riding her bike up Africa’s legendary Mt. Kilimanjaro to developing training clinics to introduce more women to endurance biking to writing a best-selling memoir, Rusch to Glory. The seven-time World Champion is recognized as a trailblazer in adventure racing, becoming the first female ascent rock climbing captain in Yosemite, river-boarding 300 miles of the entire Grand Canyon in 18 days, and giving men a run for their money in endurance mountain bike racing in events like the Leadville 100 and Dirty Kanza DXL. Rebecca is CEO of Rusch Ventures, which oversees Rusch’s signature “Rebecca’s Private Idaho” gravel bike event, Rusch Academy’s outdoor camps, and her epic travel adventure MTB-Lao. In addition, Rebecca recently launched the BeGood Foundation, a nonprofit organization which supports unexploded bomb clearance in Laos and preservation of public lands through personal growth and outdoor exploration. To date she has raised over $500,000 for various local, national and global charities, including the Mines Advisory Group, where she has been named MAG Ambassador for her work to bring attention to the UXO crisis in Laos. In 2017, with Red Bull Media House, Rebecca released the award-winning film Blood Road, which followed her personal journey cycling the 1,800 kilometer Ho Chi Minh Trail. The film has received the 2018 Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction. Rebecca spends her spare time serving her community as a volunteer firefighter with the Ketchum Fire Department.
MAG America counselSteve Solow has worked for MAG America for over 12 years as the organization's outside pro bono counsel. Steve is currently a partner at the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.
Previously he served at the United States Department of Justice as Chief of the Environmental Crimes Section and, before that, as a prosecutor with the New York State Organized Crime Task Force. Steve has also been a law professor at both the University of Maryland School of Law and Pace University School of Law.
While at the U.S. Department of Justice, Steve oversaw an international investigation into the smuggling of ozone depleting chemicals and worked extensively with the U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies, as well as Interpol.
As MAG America's outside counsel, Steve and his firm provide pro bono legal support for the organization and he has personally visited MAG operations in Lebanon. Steve is a graduate of Brown University and New York University School of Law.
MAG America staff
Executive DirectorJamie Franklin has over 18 years of experience in the humanitarian and development sectors, including more than 15 years of experience working with MAG. Jamie joined MAG America in 2011 as MAG’s Representative in the Americas before becoming Executive Director in 2014. Prior to joining MAG America, Jamie spent two years as MAG’s Country Program Manager in Cambodia and also has worked for MAG in Laos, South Sudan and the U.K.. He holds a master's degree in Economics in Development Administration and Management from the University of Manchester, and a bachelor's degree in Engineering from Loughborough University. Jamie is a keen oenophile, but is more likely found at his local Target or Home Depot stores these days. He lives in northern Virginia with his wife Charlotte and daughter Leena.
Connect with Jamie at email@example.com
Development DirectorKathryn Duval joined the MAG America team in 2018 as Development Director. Prior to her work with MAG America, she served as the Director of External Relations & National Giving at 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now and as the Manager of Individual Giving at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. She is a member of the Development Leadership Consortium, YNPN - DC and the Women's Information Network. Kathryn holds a master's degree in Nonprofit Management from DePaul University and a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Art History from Case Western Reserve University. When she's not putting the fun in fundraising, Kathryn can most likely be found practicing yoga, taking photographs, eating bagels, or cultivating her Netflix queue.
Connect with Kathryn at firstname.lastname@example.org
Grants ManagerRachel joined MAG America as Grants Management and Administration Assistant in September 2014, rising to the role of Grants Manager in July 2018. Prior to joining MAG America, Rachel taught for the Cambodian National Defense University and delivered high-level language training for business professionals in Phnom Penh. She also worked for Altsean Burma in Bangkok, Thailand, undertaking policy research and providing off-site training for Burmese activists. Rachel holds a Global Master of Arts in International Relations from Webster University, encompassing graduate work in Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Thailand and the United Kingdom. Rachel also holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science with concentrations in Public Administration and Sociology from Truman State University. In her free time, Rachel can be found hiking and kayaking in the great outdoors.
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Development Operations CoordinatorLisa joined MAG America in 2014 as an intern, then as Executive and Development Assistant from 2015 to 2018, before assuming her current role as Development Operations Coordinator in 2019. Prior to working at MAG America, she worked as an Administrative Assistant at Lockheed Martin from 2008 to 2013. Lisa has also worked with various news outlets as a correspondent. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University. Lisa enjoys old, sweet literature, painfully depressing music, and watching Bob Ross videos with her husband.
Connect with Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive AssistantBrenna Hettler joined MAG America as Executive Assistant in 2019. After graduating from Ohio University with a bachelor's in Applied Linguistics, she taught English in southwest China for two years. Prior to joining the MAG team, she worked at Clearwater Legal as Office Manager. When she's not planning her next trip, Brenna enjoys going to farmers markets and checking out local bands.
Connect with Brenna at email@example.com