Our Team

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

Suzannah Phillips, Deputy Director

Amanda McRae, Director of United Nations Advocacy

Anastasia Holoboff, Legal Advisor

Jenny Lindstom, Director of Development

Juan Jaime Pardo, Legal Fellow

Wei Gao, Legal Fellow

Sara Bautista, Director of Social Media

Anna Woodward, Social Media Intern

Hilary Martin, Social Media Intern

Luci Prosapio, Program Coordinator

Si Kailian, Director of Finance

 

A black and white photo of Stephanie Ortoleva at the United Nations during a treaty negotiations 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.

 

 


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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.

 


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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
Legal Advisor

Anastasia Holoboff is a Legal Advisor at Women Enabled International.  At WEI, Anastasia's work has included the research and drafting of the forthcoming 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, submissions to U.N. treaty bodies, 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. 

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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Juan Sebastian Jaime Pardo
Legal Fellow

Juan Sebastián is a Legal Fellow with Women Enabled International from summer 2017 through spring 2018. He will bring his extensive experience on women’s rights and disability rights as well as his experience working in the Inter-American Human Rights Legal system and the United Nations human rights Legal systems.

Juan Sebastián worked as a Clinical Lecturer and Senior Staff Attorney at the Gender and Disability Rights Legal Clinic (Action Program for Social Equality and Inclusion -PAIIS-) of Los Andes University. His main area of expertise is gender studies and disability rights, where he has done most of his work. He has been a Graduate Research Assistant and S.J.D. Program Coordinator, member of the Gender and the Law Research Group and adjunct professor for the classes of Legal Interpretation and Bioethics, Disability and the Law at Universidad de los Andes. He is a Disability Rights Scholar from Open Society Foundations, a board member of Sentiido, a Colombian journalism site on gender and LGBTI issues, and member of the Colombian Coalition for the Implementation of the CRPD.

In the past, Juan Sebastián coordinated and participated in projects related to supported decision-making of victims with disabilities of the Colombian armed conflict, sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities, and rights to identity and health care access for transgender persons, amongst others. As a Staff Attorney, he submitted several amici curiae and represented persons with disabilities before the Colombian Constitutional Court in landmark disability rights decisions.

Juan Sebastián holds a Law Degree from Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia) and is a LL.M. in International Legal Studies candidate from American University, Washington College of Law, with specializations in Human Rights and Gender.

 

 


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Wei Gao
Legal Fellow

Wei Gao, Legal Fellow at WEI, has a Master’s in Law Theories from Wuhan University and a Master’s in Human Rights Law from Central European University. She is currently a Hubert H. Humphrey fellow with American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL). She was working as a lawyer and researcher with The East Lake Institute for Social Advancement in China. Through research, education, legal assistance, and advocacy, Gao has dedicated her career to promoting equal access to justice and enjoyment of human rights of disadvantaged communities in China, working with groups including rural women, migrant workers, and environmental pollution victims. Gao’s main area of interest is to promote equal rights of persons with disabilities in China. She is a Disability Equality Training facilitator, and the Executive Editor of Disability Rights Studies in China, the first rights-based, multidisciplinary and empirical journal on disability in China. During her year in AUWCL, she was awarded the Morris & Claire Krauthamer Prize in Disabilities Law for her paper in the Disability Law class.

 

 


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Sara Bautista
Director of Social Media

Sara Bautista is the Director of Social Media for Women Enabled International. She is responsible for managing WEI's social media platforms and directing WEI's social media strategies and campaigns. Sara is currently a graduate student at the Elliott School at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She is working toward a M.A. in International Affairs with a concentration on Global Gender Policy.

In 2014 Sara graduated with a B.A. with a major in International Affairs and minors in French and Theater from the University of Northern Colorado. Sara has worked on gender equality since her time as an undergrad where she canvassed for the Human Rights Campaign for equality in the work place. More recently, she spent the summer of 2017 in Timor-Leste working with a local NGO focusing on women's economic empowerment.

 

 


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Anna Woodward
Social Media Intern

Anna Woodward serves as a Social Media Intern for Women Enabled International. 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. 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 join the WEI team as Social Media Intern and learn more about disability rights advocacy and international law.

 

 


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Hilary Martin
Social Media Intern

Hilary Martin is currently pursuing her Masters in Critical Disability Studies at York University in Canada. She is studying how the presence of disability and impairment impacts transnational adoptees. Hilary enjoys volunteering and supporting organizations, like Best Buddies Canada that support inclusion and equity for people living with disabilities. Additionally, she is a supporter of the AODA Alliance, a non-partisan coalition that fights for a barrier-free Ontario.

 

 


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Luci Prosapio
Program and Office Coordinator

Luci Prosapio is the Program Coordinator for Women Enabled International.  She conducts research and supports the implementation of WEI projects and grant activities and coordinates international meetings and special events for the organization. 

Luci has a background in international economic development and international human rights law and policy.  She completed her Master’s in International Policy and Practice (MIPP) at The George Washington University in 2017, focusing on international human rights law.  She focused on gender equality, sexual and reproductive rights, and enforcement tactics to combat gender-based violence and human trafficking. Luci received a Master’s in 2014 from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where she focused her research on socio-economic development initiatives for members of disadvantaged communities.  She continues to work with international colleagues on research and publications in the fields of socio-economic development and human rights. 

 


Si Kailian at the Women's March

Si Kailian
Director of Finance

Si 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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