Our Team

Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq., Founder and Executive Director

Suzannah Phillips, Deputy Director

Amanda McRae, Director of United Nations Advocacy

Anastasia Holoboff, Senior Legal Advisor

Jenny Lindstrom, Director of Development

Si Kailian, Director of Finance

Brittany Evans, Communications Manager

Hewan Solomon Areaya, Legal Fellow

Luci Prosapio, Project Coordinator

Virginia Ossana, Communications Assistant

 

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Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq.
Founder & Executive Director

Stephanie Ortoleva is the Founder and Executive Director of Women Enabled International (WEI), a non-profit organization which works at the intersection of women’s rights and disability rights and educates and advocates internationally for the human rights of women and girls with disabilities, through collaborations with organizations of disabled women worldwide.  WEI works at the United Nations and other multilateral organizations to ensure the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in national, regional and international human rights law, policy  and development programing. 

WEI is recognized as innovative and ground breaking and serves as a prime resource for disabled women’s rights advocates globally.  Under Stephanie’s leadership WEI has expanded and now has a staff of nine and a growing budget.  At WEI, she manages the organization, supervises the staff of nine, engages in fund raising, and leads the conceptualization, design and implementation of its work and special projects, including WEI’s innovative accountABILITY Toolkitamong other projects.  As a woman with a disability herself she brings the development, academic and legal perspectives to her work as well as her personal experience as a woman with a disability.  

Prior to founding WEI, Stephanie served as an attorney and human rights officer at the U.S. Department of State, where she was awarded the prestigious Franklin Award in 2009 for her outstanding work on human rights matters. Recently, Women’s E-News recognized Stephanie as a leader for women’s rights for the 21st Century in 2016 and Hofstra University School of Law recognized her as an Outstanding Women in Law awardee for 2017.  Stephanie has authored numerous scholarly publications and policy papers regarding women's rights, disability rights, sexual and reproductive rights, access to justice, violence against women, conflict and post-conflict situations, electoral and political reform, and rule of law. Her papers can be found on the Social Science Research Network at http://ssrn.com/author=1875099 and on WomenEnabled.org.

She is the former founding Co-Chair of the American Society of International Law's International Disability Rights Interest Group, serves on the American Bar Association's Commission on Disability Rights and serves on the Board of Directors of several women's rights and disability rights organizations.  She graduated from Hofstra University School of Law with outstanding honors, served on the Hofstra Law Review and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and in the State of New York.

 

 


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Suzannah Phillips
Deputy Director

Suzannah Phillips is the Deputy Director of Women Enabled International. Her work focuses on conceptualizing and supervising the implementation of WEI’s strategies to advance human rights standards at the intersection of gender and disability. Suzannah has played a lead role in developing key institutional publications, including WEI’s Abortion and Disability framing document and our accountABILITY Toolkit, and in strengthening capacity of stakeholders to protect and promote the rights of women and girls with disabilities, particularly around access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and freedom from gender-based violence.

Prior to joining WEI in 2015, Suzannah was a Clinical Fellow with the Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic (previously the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic) at CUNY School of Law, where she led a project addressing the unjust criminalization of individuals who were trafficked into the sex trade and co-taught a clinic seminar on human rights doctrine and lawyering skills. Previously, Suzannah was the Legal Adviser for International Advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), where she engaged in international and regional advocacy to strengthen reproductive rights standards. Before that, she was a Human Rights Fellow with both CRR and VIVO POSITIVO, in Santiago, Chile, where she investigated and litigated discrimination against, and forced sterilization of, women living with HIV.

Suzannah received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a teaching assistant for the Human Rights Clinic, the Editor-in-Chief of the Spanish Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual (a publication of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review), and a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar. She was awarded the Clinical Legal Education Association’s Outstanding Student Award and received a Certificate in Comparative and International Law from Columbia. Suzannah received her B.A. in Social Anthropology from Harvard University.


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Amanda McRae
Director of United Nations Advocacy

Amanda McRae is the Director of United Nations Advocacy at Women Enabled International. With WEI, she built upon our relationships with U.N. human rights institutions, agencies, and political bodies and has collaborated with several of WEI’s partner disabled women’s rights organizations in several other countries on U.N. submissions and advocacy.

Before joining WEI in 2016, Amanda was a Global Advocacy Adviser with the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she conducted oral and written advocacy with U.N. institutions in New York and Geneva, including with the CRPD Committee, on sexual and reproductive rights, substantive equality, and women’s rights more broadly. Amanda also served as a researcher at Human Rights Watch, where she focused on human rights issues in the Western Balkans and disability rights worldwide. She conducted one of the first research projects at HRW, or from any general human rights organization, to invoke the CRPD. Her documentation of the institutionalization of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities in Croatia and advocacy with the Croatian government, the European Union, and U.N. institutions helped shape the understanding of two of the most challenging and groundbreaking rights in the CRPD: the rights to legal capacity and to be free from arbitrary detention. Amanda also served as a fellow at the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School, where she taught in the Gender Justice Clinic and did research and writing related to gender-based violence.

Amanda holds a J.D. from Duke University School of Law, where she founded the international Human Rights Law Society, served for two years as a law student attorney with the AIDS Legal Assistance Project, and received academic awards for Pro Bono Service and Law Clinic Advocacy. She also holds a B.A. in International Relations/Political Science from Carleton College.

 

 


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Anastasia Holoboff
Senior Legal Advisor

Anastasia Holoboff is a Senior Legal Advisor at Women Enabled International.  At WEI, Anastasia's work has included the research and drafting of the innovative UNFPA and WEI publication, Guidelines for Providing Rights-Based and Gender-Responsive Services to Address Gender-Based Violence and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for Women and Young People with Disabilities And now she has assumed a key role in providing training on the Guidelines to UNFPA regional offices worldwide.  Anastasia also researches and develops submissions to U.N. treaty bodies and mechanisms, and other forms of legal advocacy and substantive publications that aim to strengthen the human rights standards on the rights of women and girls with disabilities around the world. Additionally, Anastasia supervises WEI’s social media team. 

Prior to joining WEI, Anastasia served as a Staff Attorney in the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (PADD) program at Disability Rights New York (DRNY), New York State’s Protection and Advocacy system.  As a DRNY Staff Attorney, Anastasia investigated abuse and neglect complaints, monitored the rights and safety of people with developmental disabilities receiving services in New York, and represented and advocated for people with developmental disabilities in a variety of civil disability-related issues.  

Anastasia joined DRNY immediately after graduating magna cum laude from Cardozo School of Law in 2014, where she was awarded the Telford Taylor Award for Outstanding Achievement in the fields of Constitutional Law and Human Rights.  During law school, Anastasia interned at numerous civil and human rights organizations where her work focused primarily on the rights of women, people with disabilities, and refugee and asylum seekers.  As a law student, Anastasia interned at Human Rights Watch in the Disability Rights Division; the American Civil Liberties Union at the Women’s Rights Project; the Women’s Legal Centre in South Africa; the Urban Justice Center at the Sex Workers Rights Project; the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in the U.S. Protection Unit, and at HIAS, in the immigration unit.

 

 


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Jenny Lindstrom
Director of Development

Jenny Lindstrom is the Director of Development at Women Enabled International and she has dedicated her career to helping nonprofit education, advocacy, and human service organizations raise the funds they need to advance their missions.

As an independent consultant since 2006, Jenny has worked with more than two dozen clients, ranging from foreign policy think tanks to community-based social justice groups.  She provides senior fundraising counsel to staff and boards, builds individual and institutional giving programs, conducts development audits and organizational assessments, and facilitates long-range planning processes.

Prior to launching her consulting practice, Jenny held leadership positions in a number of prominent organizations. Most recently as Director of Institutional Advancement at Girls Incorporated, a national youth-development organization, she secured major grants for program development and capacity building, negotiated innovative partnerships with corporate donors, conducted grantsmanship training for staff across the organization, and initiated stewardship programs to strengthen grant makers’ interest and commitment.

In the 1990s, Jenny worked for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, where she raised awareness and funds to support international human rights work during the Rwandan genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, as well as efforts to provide asylum and resettlement services in the United States for victims of persecution.

Jenny holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the State University of New York, College at Oswego. Her continuing education credentials include: Nonprofit Management Seminars through the New School for Social Research and Hofstra University; Fundraising, Marketing, and Accounting Workshops through the Support Center for Non-profit Management and The Foundation Center; and Facilitative Leadership certification through Interaction Associates. Jenny is a founder and executive board member of the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee in New Jersey’s South Orange/Maplewood School District.

 

 


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Si Kailian
Director of Finance

Si Kailian is the Director of Finance for Women Enabled International. Si is responsible for maintaining WEI’s financial records, and preparing and tracking WEI’s project budgets, annual budgets, development budgets and reporting as well as other financial statements. She also manages WEI’s Human Resources functions.

Si has worked as consultant business manager for over 20 years with several small women-owned businesses and non-profit clients in Washington, D.C. 

Si serves as a founding board member for City Blossoms - an educational non-profit that maintains community green spaces, builds school gardens and develops gardening, nutrition and art curriculum primarily for underserved communities in Washington D.C., and beyond. Through this organization she is a recipient of the Center For Nonprofit Advancement’s 2015 Board Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding excellence in nonprofit board governance. She also serves on the board of School for Friends in Washington D.C., a Quaker preschool which provides early education under the principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. 

 


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Brittany Evans
Communications Manager

Brittany Evans is the Communications Manager at Women Enabled International. Originally from rural Illinois, she attended school at American University and Prescott College where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Education. During college, she studied in Nairobi, Kenya, researching Deaf culture and Kenyan Sign Language while working with the African Cultural Research and Education Foundation.

Before joining WEI, Brittany worked in global health policy and advocacy at IntraHealth International where she drove legislative activities, coordinated events, and supported the Frontline Health Workers Coalition and the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition.

Additionally, Brittany previously worked for a United States Congresswoman, cofounded an international NGO, taught peace education and art in Washington, D.C., public schools, and created a model for small liberal arts colleges to address Title IX concerns.

Brittany enjoys exploring nature, watching documentaries, swimming in the ocean, and spending time with her dog, Atlas.

 

 


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Hewan Solomon Areaya
Legal Fellow

Hewan Solomon Areaya

Hewan Solomon Areaya is a Legal Fellow with Women Enabled International. She recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Law, specializing in legal institutions, as a recipient of a Civil Society Leadership Scholarship from the Open Society Foundation. Hewan also holds a law degree (LL.B.) from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. She is the co-founder of a women’s rights initiative called Siiqqee Scholars. Through the initiative, Hewan led different projects including trainings on sexual reproductive health and rights, sanitary pad donation campaigns for economically marginalized young girls, mentorship projects, and online activisms. She also volunteered in different women’s rights organizations, including Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association. Hewan is a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, where she attended a six weeks leadership training at Bridgewater State University representing her country, Ethiopia.

 


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Luci Prosapio
Project Coordinator

Luci Prosapio is the Project Coordinator at Women Enabled. Luci has held different roles at WEI, including Program Coordinator and Events Coordinator, before joining WEI as a consultant in April of 2020 as its Project Coordinator. Luci’s focus is on organizational development and efficiency measures as well as assisting with the organization’s website redesign. Her goal is to strengthen the organization’s foundation so WEI can to continue to grow in capacity and impact.  

When not with WEI, Luci is the Principal Event Director at Sempre Events, an international social impact event planning company, where she works with organizations around the world to create and host Events with an Impact. Her focus is on working with international development, human rights, women’s rights, and humanitarian organizations that address systematic barriers to justice and further advance the rights of persons around the world. Luci combines her background in women with disability rights, anti-trafficking, gender-based violence, and socio-economic development along with her project management and events and logistics experience to help changemakers advance their agenda and create a positive impact on the world around them.  

Luci holds a Masters in International Policy and Practice from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, a certificate in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford, and a Masters of Arts in International Development from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. She lives with her husband, Andrew, and two dogs, Tipsy and Carrera, in Greenville, South Carolina.

 


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Virginia Ossana
Communications Assistant

Virginia Ossana is the Communications Assistant at Women Enabled International. Originally from Argentina, she graduated from Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Argentina) with a B.A. in Translation Studies. She later pursued an M.A in International Liaison and Communication at the University of Westminster (United Kingdom).

Before joining WEI, Virginia worked as a Spanish translator at the United Nations and provided linguistic services for various UN agencies, NGOs and private companies.

Virginia is a passionate disability and women’s rights advocate and an active member of Red META, where she volunteers, and has coordinated a variety of projects promoting accessible communication for young people with disabilities.

 

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