Our Team

Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq., Founder, President and Executive Director

Suzannah Phillips, Deputy Director

Amanda McRae, Director of United Nations Advocacy

Alisha Bjerregaard, Acting Director of United Nations Advocacy

Anastasia Holoboff, Senior Legal Advisor

Jenny Lindstrom, Director of Development

Marta Herrara, Executive Administrative Assistant

Mariela Galeazzi, Legal Fellow

Anna Woodward, Senior Social Media Intern

Mavish Nazar, Social Media Intern

Si Kailian, Director of Finance


Stephanie Ortoleva at a U.N. session. Photo by Tom Olin.

Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq.
Founding President & Executive Director

Stephanie Ortoleva is the Founding President 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.



suzannah phillips

Suzannah Phillips
Deputy Director

Suzannah Phillips is the Deputy Director of Women Enabled International. Her work focuses on developing and implementing WEI’s norm building strategies to strengthen human rights standards on the rights of women and girls with disabilities and promoting cross-movement collaboration between women’s rights and women with disability rights advocates.

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.


amanda mcrae

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.



alisha bjerregaard

Alisha Bjerregaard
Acting Director of United Nations Advocacy

Alisha Bjerregaard is the Acting Director of United Nations Advocacy at Women Enabled International. She is also a Schell Center Visiting Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School. Prior to joining WEI, Alisha was a Clinical Lecturer in Law and the clinical teaching fellow in the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School, where she supervised law students on a wide variety of human rights projects and co-taught the Lowenstein Clinic seminar.

Previously, Alisha was a Legal Adviser in the Africa Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. She was based in Nairobi, Kenya and worked on advocacy and litigation strategies to advance reproductive rights in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.

Alisha has authored human rights reports documenting the impact of restrictive abortion laws in Kenya and Ireland and of mandatory pregnancy testing and expelling pregnant students from schools in Tanzania. She has also undertaken reproductive rights research and advocacy as a consultant for various organizations, including Amnesty International, Ipas and the World Health Organization. Alisha received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. in International Relations from Brown University.



Anastasia Holoboff

Anastasia Holoboff
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.



jenny lindstrom

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.



Marta Herrera

Marta Herrera
Executive Administration Assistant

Marta Herrera is the Executive Administrative Assistant for WEI, where she serves as the main point of contact for logistical and administrative support for WEI's operational and programmatic priorities including the coordination of special events, meetings, and projects as well as managing the social media team.

Marta completed her B.A. in international studies with a focus in communication and media from Texas A&M University. She has prior international experience working with Servicio Nacional de La Mujer (SERNAM), a national women's organization, in Viña del Mar, Chile as a human rights intern to advance women’s rights, economic empowerment, and political participation. More recently, Marta interned with the communications and marketing team at TechnoServe, a nonprofit international development organization, where she worked on multimedia and writing projects to increase internal and external engagement and developed digital campaigns for fundraising efforts.



Mariela Galeazzi

Mariela Galeazzi
Legal Fellow

Mariela Galeazzi is a Legal Fellow with WEl. She is an Argentinian attorney and has recently obtained her LL.M with a specialization in Human Rights at the American University Washington College of Law as a recipient of the Disability Rights scholarship from the Open Society Foundations.

She has a law degree from the Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP), Buenos Aires, Argentina. From 2012 to 2014 she coordinated the Disability Rights Law Clinic of the UNLP. From 2015 to 2017 she worked as the coordinator of the Disability and Human Rights area of ACIJ (Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia) based in Argentina. At the regional level, she had an active role in the foundation of the Regional Network for Inclusive Education – Latin America (RREI). In 2017, she worked as a research assistant with the Disability Rights Law Clinic of the Washington College of Law and collaborated as a writer for the Human Rights Brief.  She also interned at the Center for Justice and International Law in Washington, DC and represented the Center for Human Rights and International Law at the Civil Society Forum that took place during the 11th Conference of State Parties of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the U.N. Headquarters in New York.

Anna Woodward

Anna Woodward
Sr. Social Media Intern

Anna Woodward serves as the Social Media Team Coordinator for Women Enabled International, where she coordinates the social media postings, develops themes for social media and prepares reports on social media analytics. Ana is an undergraduate at The George Washington University pursuing a B.A. double majoring in American Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies andgraduates in May 2019. She is particularly interested in the interplay between labor and power and is exploring in her thesis whether migrant and undocumented workers belong to a subaltern class. Anna is involved in many organizations on campus including GW Best Buddies, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the Residence Hall Association. She is excited to be part of the WEI social media team and learn more about disability rights advocacy and international law.



Mavish Nazar

Mavish Nazar
Social Media Intern

Mahvish Nazar is a Social Media and Press Relations intern with Women Enabled International. She is a Fulbright scholar and a graduate student at Syracuse University pursuing a Masters in Cultural Foundations of Education and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Disability Studies. A woman with a disability herself, Mahvish has great interest in disability advocacy and how public policy can help in securing rights for persons with disabilities – especially disabled girls and women. She also runs a blog which focuses on promotion of awareness regarding disability rights and works towards dispelling the negative stereotypes surrounding disability in Pakistan.



Si Kailian at the Women's March

Si Kailian
Director of Finance

Si Kailian, Director of Finance, is a consultant business manager with several small women-owned businesses and non-profit clients in Washington, D.C. As Director of Finance, Si is responsible for human resources, maintaining WEI’s financial records, and preparing and tracking WEI’s project budgets, annual budgets and other financial statements. Si also supports the preparation of WEI’s grant applications and reporting.

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., Baltimore, 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. Si has lived abroad and traveled extensively overland to over 50 countries.


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