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Who We Are

Meet the Global Health Visions Team

Nejla Liias, MPP

President and Founder

Nejla Liias, MPP

In 2008, Nejla Liias founded Global Health Visions to provide strategic guidance on the formulation and implementation of global health and development initiatives that aim to improve the lives and livelihoods of women and children. Prior to starting Global Health Visions, Nejla was an independent consultant for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in its Global Health Policy and Advocacy division. Before her work in global health and development, Nejla spent five years as a public finance professional at the Wall Street firms of Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan.

 

Nejla recognized a need in the industry to provide access to exceptional consultants who could provide guidance on a range of development issues for short and long term projects. As such, she built a team of consultants with a wealth of expertise, skilled in a variety of areas from advocacy and communications to proposal formulation and in-depth research and analysis, to meet the varied needs of organizations. Nejla prides herself on providing consultants who understand the needs of organizations, work closely with them to determine the best means to achieve their goals, and go above and beyond expectations. Global Health Visions partners with and serves NGOs, governments, foundations, development agencies, and the private sector.

 

Nejla holds a Master of Public Policy with a concentration in International Policy and Development from Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy Institute, and a Bachelor of Science from Bates College.

Susannah Hurd, MPH

Vice President and Director of Women, Children, and Adolescents

Susannah Hurd, MPH

Susannah has been working in the field of global health for 15 years, with a particular focus on RMNCH, advocacy, and strategy. Susannah brings a deep understanding of the global health landscape, having worked with a range of GHV clients since 2009 to strengthen and support their work in global fora and at country level. Susannah has a comprehensive knowledge of health care delivery systems and policy environments at the national and sub-national levels, as well as relevant global policies, initiatives, and critical events; she is able to leverage this deep and cross-cutting understanding of both service delivery and policy environments, as well as a variety of health issue areas, to develop robust advocacy strategies and tools that are appropriate and effective for different audiences and users. Susannah also has extensive experience supporting and facilitating meetings and trainings for a variety of global health and development partners, helping participants to effectively identify and accomplish common goals, reach consensus, and/or identify clear action items and next steps.

 

Prior to joining GHV, Susannah worked for both international and domestic organizations, including Planned Parenthood, The Population Council, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, where she oversaw programs and direct service delivery, including program management, research, evaluation, training, financial oversight, regulatory compliance, and communications in the U.S., Latin America, the Caribbean, and throughout the world. Working with GHV since 2009, Susannah has provided strategic guidance, research and policy analysis, advocacy strategy development, proposal formulation, and high-level initiative support. Susannah works across a range of health and development areas, including maternal, newborn, and child health, reproductive health and family planning, nutrition, gender equity and women’s empowerment, and adolescent girls.

 

Susannah holds a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, focused on population and family health. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Bates College, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She serves as President of the Board of Midwife International. 

Rene McGuffin

Director of Agriculture and Nutrition

Rene McGuffin

Rene McGuffin brings to Global Health Visions more than 10 years of experience working on global food and nutrition security programs and advocacy. Previously Rene worked for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) where, as a senior program advisor based in East Africa, she ran development food assistance programs as well as an emergency operation for one of the world’s largest refugee populations. Her project development and management incorporated innovative approaches to addressing food and nutrition security, including support to smallholder farmers, rainwater harvesting for drought-tolerant crops, home grown school feeding, pilot nutrition interventions, and public-private partnerships. She also oversaw WFP’s strategic communications and advocacy in North America, researching and formulating corporate messaging and positioning around global initiatives, events and partnerships including G8 and G20 summits, Feed the Future, and 1,000 Days.

 

As the Director of Agriculture and Nutrition at GHV, Rene provides strategic guidance and support to clients, focusing primarily on agriculture, nutrition, and trade. Her expertise includes global advocacy, strategic communications, and grant and partnership management, and she leverages her experience in program oversight, policy and budget analysis, monitoring and evaluation, and public-private partnerships to support her clients’ global development priorities.

 

Rene holds a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College and currently lives in Washington, D.C., where she is a candidate for a Masters of Science in Nutrition.

Kristen Cox Mehling, MPH, MPA

Deputy Director of Women, Children, and Adolescents

Kristen Cox Mehling, MPH, MPA

Kristen has worked in global health and development for the past 12 years, with an emphasis on strategic advocacy, accountability, and policy change efforts for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH). She has deep knowledge of reproductive and family health as well as extensive experience with strategic planning, grant analysis, impact evaluation, messaging, and communicating with leadership.  

 

Since joining Global Health Visions as a senior consultant in 2012, Kristen has provided strategic guidance to clients with respect specific interventions like family planning, nutrition, maternal and newborn health, and tobacco control, as well as in cross-cutting realms such as health systems strengthening, civil society capacity building, and accountability systems. For the past four years, she has worked extensively for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, advising and supporting a range of teams and initiatives in reaching their policy, advocacy, and communications objectives. Kristen has also worked as a consultant for organizations including the United Nations Association of the USA, the UN Foundation, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF).

 

In addition to her work in global health, she previously worked as Program Director for the City University of New York's Institute for Health Equity, helping to develop a multi-year research initiative to uncover causes of persistently high infant mortality rates in the South Bronx.

 

Kristen holds a Master of Public Health from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Haverford College.

Andrea Mara

Manager of Business Operations

Andrea Mara

Andrea is responsible for all of Global Health Vision’s day-to-day business operations, including administration, communications, scheduling, and process development and implementation. Prior to joining GHV, Andrea dedicated over ten years – as a program coordinator, team supervisor, and licensed therapist – to increase assistance and opportunities for women, children, and families. She has led the strategic development, execution, and management of both large and small teams for numerous organizations in the non-profit sector. She believes strongly in helping others and is excited to lend her skills to support the GHV team in their global health and development initiatives.

 

Andrea holds a Master in Clinical Counseling from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she also received a Bachelor in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies. During this time she studied abroad in London and Italy and has continued her international travels with her family.

Jessica Bowers

Senior Consultant

Jessica Bowers

Jessica Bowers has over ten years’ experience working at the intersection of poverty alleviation, women’s and girls’ social, health and economic equity, and philanthropy. Jessica’s primary areas of expertise include business development, program development, research and mapping, strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, coalition building and capacity building.

 

Jessica was previously the Grants Portfolio Director at Every Mother Counts where she developed and managed a $1.2 annual grants program supporting organizations strengthening health systems in 12+ countries through improved maternal and primary care and strengthening of small community-based organizations. Jessica also worked as Senior Program Manager for the United Nations Foundation’s Universal Access Project, a multi-stakeholder initiative supporting coalition-based U.S. and global advocacy on reproductive and maternal health. In this role, Jessica was responsible for the management and monitoring and evaluation of an annual grants portfolio of $2.5 million, and supporting a coalition approach.

 

Jessica has served as an independent consultant to organizations that include the International Center for Research on Women, UNFPA,CARE, Every Mother Counts, and the UN Foundation, as well as smaller international NGOs. She has traveled extensively in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Aubrey Cody

Senior Consultant

Aubrey Cody

Aubrey Cody is a senior consultant at Global Health Visions with fifteen years of experience in the areas of refugee health, maternal, newborn and child health, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). She has expertise in strategy development, organizational development, research and policy analysis, coalition building, resource mobilization, and strategic investment guidance.

 

Aubrey has designed and supported innovative strategies and initiatives across a range of health issues for international organizations, including Save the Children, Intrahealth International, and the International Rescue Committee. She has co-authored numerous publications including The UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities for Women and Children: Country Case Studies. She has also contributed to numerous briefs to influence health policies, and coordinated global webinars to expand global access to information and increase demand for lifesaving technologies and services. Aubrey has field experience in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and Indonesia.

 

Aubrey holds a Bachelor of Science from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and a Master of Public Health from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Maty Dia, MSc

Senior Consultant

Maty Dia, MSc

Maty Dia is an international health specialist with a background in program planning, management, and advocacy on Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition. Maty was formerly the Africa Focal Point for The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (PMNCH). She led on advocacy and communications around RMNCAH Global initiatives at the regional and country levels for civil society partners. Her work focused on the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health and the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman, Every Child, ensuring partner engagement and alignment in the region.

 

Prior to joining PMNCH, Maty served as Research and Policy Manager for Speak Up Africa, managing an RMNCH advocacy program in Senegal. Maty’s previous experience also includes working for four years on health and nutrition issues as the West African Program Officer for the Terre des Hommes Foundation. She also led funding and business development for Oxfam Great Britain for 2 years, and successfully facilitated the implementation of strategies for bilateral and multilateral donor funding for Oxfam programs in the West African Region.

 

Before entering the public health sphere, Maty worked for several years in Management Information Systems for private sector entities in the United States and Switzerland. Maty holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems and a Master’s in International Health from Humboldt University.

Susan Fox, MIR

Senior Consultant

Susan Fox, MIR

Susan has worked in global health and development for more than 13 years, with a focus on maternal, newborn, and child health, and specialized experience in HIV and AIDS. She has worked in management, operations, and policy-focused positions, finding particular fulfillment in engaging with local stakeholders and civil society. Susan has broad and diverse experience, including overseeing direct service delivery at primary health centers in Mozambique, developing a global initiative on NGO accountability and good practice, and creating a US-based campaign to support the education of children affected by HIV. Her passion for global health – particularly the health and well-being of children – was inspired while working as a health journalist in South Africa in the late 1990’s when the AIDS crisis was escalating.

 

Susan has experience at the headquarters, regional, and country levels, having worked for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (Switzerland), Absolute Return for Kids (ARK) (UK and Mozambique), the United Nations Association (USA), and the Centre for AIDS Development Research and Evaluation (South Africa). She has provided consulting support for clients including UNAIDS, Pershing Square Foundation, and World Vision International.

 

As a senior consultant for Global Health Visions, Susan offers expertise in strategic planning, program design and management, organizational planning and development, grants management, research and data analysis, advocacy, and monitoring and evaluation.

 

Susan holds a Master in International Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Ohio University.

Katherine Major

Senior Consultant

Katherine Major

Katherine is a senior consultant at GHV with more than 15 years of experience as a fundraiser, writer, manager, communicator, and strategist. She specializes in working with health, social service, and international development institutions to strengthen their programs and better position them to secure and manage grants from large foundations, corporations, and individuals. Most recently, Katherine’s work has focused on advocacy efforts for maternal, child health, family planning programs. In addition, Katherine has provided high-level planning and analysis to support the communications and revenue-building objectives of organizations including the Children's National Medical Center, Share Our Strength, the American Red Cross National Headquarters, the National Parks Conservation Association, Defenders of Wildlife, the U.S. Green Building Council, and CARE USA.

 

Katherine holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, and a Masters in Journalism from Georgetown University. Connect with her on LinkedIn

Nathan Perkins, MSc-GH

Senior Consultant

Nathan Perkins, MSc-GH

Nathan has worked in global public health for eight years, across a diverse range of issues, including malaria, maternal health, non-communicable diseases and global health security. He has supported the development and implementation of public health programs for governments, industry, multilateral organizations and civil society across a variety of settings.

 

Prior to joining Global Health Visions, Nathan worked for a New York based consulting firm, where he helped orchestrate a cross-industry collaborative effort in support of the Global Health Security Agenda; co-led the development of a Pan-African non-communicable disease program; and helped develop and facilitate the communications and advocacy strategy as the Secretariat for Saving Mothers, Giving Life, a public-private partnership to improve maternal health outcomes during pregnancy and child birth. Previously, he led quantitative and qualitative operational research on food security and nutrition in humanitarian emergency contexts.

 

Nathan has also led the development of Intellectual Capital tools to systematize and streamline strategy and operations for companies, with a focus on stakeholder mapping and engagement.

 

As a member of the Advisory Board of the Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation in Rockport, Maine, Nathan supports a council of business leaders with a mission to promote and integrate a wellness and social determinants of health focus into the Foundation’s strategic fundraising efforts.

 

Nathan holds an M.Sc. in Global Health from Trinity College, Dublin and a B.A. in International Development Studies from McGill University.

Chad Shipmaker, MIDP

Senior Consultant

Chad Shipmaker, MIDP

Chad has extensive expertise in food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture developed through a decade of experience working with the United Nations system, philanthropy and the private sector. Prior to joining Global Health Visions, Chad held multiple positions, including Deputy Director of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation (HGBF), where he oversaw a portfolio of food security and agriculture grants and worked to advance the Foundations mission to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations in the United States and internationally. Previously, he was Senior Strategy Advisor and Policy Officer for the UN World Food Programme (WFP), where he supported the development of the 20014-2017 WFP Strategic Plan as well as the feasibility study, cost-benefit analysis and proposal for a regional emergency humanitarian food reserve under the G20 Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture. Earlier in his career he served as a Coordination Officer for the UN System in The Gambia, West Africa and as a Canadian DFAIT Junior Professional Officer with the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights.

 

Chad is a Rotary World Peace Fellow through which he earned a Master’s degree in International Development Policy from Duke University and a Graduate Certificate in Peace and Conflict studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He also holds Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Victoria, Canada.