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Gender Specialists

    Amy Denkenberger
    Chief of Party, Kosovo

    Amy Denkenberger is an international development professional with more than 18 years of experience in economic growth and democracy and governance programs in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Caucasus. Ms. Denkenberger’s experience emphasizes inclusivity, whether working on community development, economic growth, or advocacy for women and youth. Her diverse professional experience and knowledge inform her global approach and enable her to deliver creative and flexible solutions with enduring impact. Ms. Denkenberger has worked with a wide variety of donors, including USAID, UNHCR, ECHO, USAID, BPRM, Stichting Vluchteling/Government of the Netherlands, USDA, Danish Refugee Council and Norwegian Refugee Council, SIDA, African Development Bank, AusAID, IADB and World Bank.

    Ariana Szepesi-Colmenares
    Manager, Latin America and the Caribbean

    Ariana Szepesi-Colmenares is a manager with more than eight years of experience working on citizen security and democratic governance in Latin America and the Carinnbea. In her current role, supports new business efforts to design gender-sensitive projects that advance citizen security and democratic governance, in addition to serving as the gender focal point for projects in Latin America. Prior to Chemonics, Ms. Szepesi-Colmenares worked as a citizen security specialist, working closely with governmental institutions, civil society, and other partners. She has experience working in Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.Ms. Szepesi-Colmenares holds a master's degree in Latin American studies from Georgetown University and a master's in international relations and political sciences at Sciences PO Bordeaux in France.

    Carlos Quintela
    Chief of Party, Mozambique

    Carlos Quintela is a senior project manager and environmental policy specialist with more than 20 years of experience managing donor-funded regional and national environmental initiatives throughout Latin America, Uganda, and Afghanistan. Mr. Quintela currently serves as the chief of party of USAID's Mozambique Coastal City Adaptation Project, which supports the Mozambican government, local NGOs, and universities in climate change adaptation measures for vulnerable coastal cities through gender-sensitive programming. He has led gender-focused capacity development for strategic partners and affirmative action programs to ensure the participation of women in project-supported activities, such as the development of the National Forestry Policy and protecting the rights of indigenous women and the forest.

    Catherine Maldonado
    Director, East and Southern Africa

    Catherine Maldonado is a public health nutrition specialist with more than twelve years of experience working in project design, management, gender mainstreaming, and monitoring and evaluation in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East. In Nigeria, Ms. Maldonado designed, managed, and evaluated an integrated livelihood and nutrition activity targeting women from food insecure households. She oversaw a support activity that built the capacity of caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children to improve nutrition of their households with fortified food supplements. Ms. Maldonado also has experience designing and managing M&E tools for health and agriculture projects in Nepal, Nigeria, and the West Bank. She holds a master’s degree in international public health nutrition from the University of Westminster and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Loyola College in Maryland.

    Christy Sisko
    Manager, Middle East

    Christy Sisko is a program management and economic development specialist with experience in designing and implementing programs around financial services, women’s economic empowerment, investment, sector competitiveness and entrepreneurship. She has worked in in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Nigeria, South Sudan, Vietnam and Thailand. Ms. Sisko currently serves as a technical manager for the USAID Asia and Middle East Economic Growth Best Practice project overseeing implementation for activities related to gender-lens investing, equity investment in the MENA region and entrepreneurship. Previously, she served as manager of the Economic Growth and Trade Practice at Chemonics.

    Jill Loran Arriaga Meeks
    Director, Education and Youth Practice

    Jill Loran Arriaga Meeks is a director in the Education and Youth Practice with over 20 years of experience in education and international development. She currently manages the Access to Basic Education All Children Reading IDIQ. Prior to Chemonics, Ms. Meeks led education projects in Afghanistan, Jordan, Nigeria, Lebanon and Mozambique. Her short term field work as included addressing barriers to education for girls and school-related gender-based violence in Ghana and Malawi and conducting a gender audit for reading materials in Mozambique. Ms. Meeks spent eleven years as a classroom teacher, teaching Spanish as a foreign language and English as a second language. She was also a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea Bissau, and spent three years at the Peace Corps Headquarters incorporating gender-sensitive programming into projects. Ms. Meeks has a M.A. in international training and education from American University and a B.S. in education from University of Georgia.

    Kelly Cronen
    Director, Gender and Social Inclusion Practice

    Kelly Cronen has 15 years of experience managing international development projects covering human trafficking, women's empowerment, community development, and youth civic engagement in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan. She also has experience protecting vulnerable groups, assisting in victim rehabilitation, and working with youth and local communities at the grassroots level and working on civil society development programs. Ms. Cronen is currently the director of the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Practice, and also serves as the gender and outreach advisor for projects in Afghanistan and Vietnam. She previously served as chief of party on a Washington D.C.-based anti-trafficking project and as a technical representative on a USAID bilateral anti-trafficking program. Ms. Cronen has previously worked in Albania, Afghanistan, Armenia, Bulgaria, Guatemala, Kosovo, Mexico, Moldova, Somalia, Slovakia, Tanzania and Ukraine.

    Meredith Richardson
    Chief of Party, Afghanistan

    Meredith Richardson is a gender expert with more than 35 years of experience managing gender equality, education, civil society, and organizational development projects, including nearly five years of project experience in Afghanistan. Ms. Richardson currently serves as the chief of party on the Promote: Women in Government project. She previously served as chief of party for the USAID Mali Monitoring and Evaluation Platform project and the USAID Collective Action for the Security of Children, Women, and Youth project in Haiti. Ms. Richardson has held numerous senior-level gender specialist positions in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa, designing, developing, and implementing gender strategies and action plans. As the gender expert for the USAID Kandahar Food Zone (KFZ) project in Afghanistan, she worked with government partners to develop gender mainstreaming training. Ms. Richardson has also shaped the Women’s Land Right Advocacy Forum (WLRAF) through her work with the USAID Land Reform in Afghanistan (LARA) project.

    Mina Sherzoy
    Director, Afghanistan

    Mina Sherzoy is an international development practitioner with 25 years of experience in economic empowerment, capacity building, entrepreneurship, and gender equality. Ms. Sherzoy is currently a director in the Afghanistan region and supports a variety of initiatives to promote women's empowerment in Afghanistan. Previously, she served as a technical deputy chief of party and a gender advisor on the Financial Access for Investing in Development of Afghanistan (FAIDA) project in Afghanistan. Prior to joining Chemonics, Ms. Sherzoy held consulting, advising, and project management roles on USAID-funded government and private sector initiatives. In 2015, she successfully launched the first pilot internship program for 20 women in Afghanistan. She has been honored for her humanitarian services by the Afghan president, senate, and ministries, as well as by the former First Lady of the United States, Laura Bush. Ms. Sherzoy holds a bachelor’s degree in business and public administration from the University of Phoenix and an Honorary Degree in Human Letters for her work in Afghanistan.

    Roselle Agner
    Deputy Chief of Party, Afghanistan

    Roselle Agner has nine years of experience implementing development projects with a gender focus, including USAID-funded and private sector-funded projects. She currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Party on the USAID funded Promote: Women in Government project in Afghanistan where she manages efforts to ensure that women’s empowerment efforts are conducted in a culturally sensitive and effective manner. Prior to her role in Afghanistan, Ms. Agner served as the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion practice manager at the Chemonics home office where she assisted projects and project development teams to integrate gender considerations into their activities. In this role, she also managed efforts to promote knowledge sharing, trained staff on gender mainstreaming and served as a technical resource for home- and field-office staff in project gender integration. She started her gender in development work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan where she worked with a women’s crisis center.

    Terri Kristalsky
    Senior Vice President, Europe and Eurasia

    Terri Kristalsky is a senior banking, microfinance, and SME development specialist committed to women's economic empowerment. With nearly 30 years of experience in microfinance, commercial finance, business training, and project design and management, Ms. Kristalsky currently serves as senior vice president of the Europe and Eurasia Division at Chemonics. Previously, as chief of party on the Southern Africa Financial Sector Program, she used policy reform to stimulate access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and advised financial intermediaries on innovative financial products that have helped women-owned businesses. By integrating gender considerations into all aspects of the project, nearly 50 percent of the SMEs who collectively received 1.7 billion Rand in loans were women-owned. She has worked with Chemonics for the past 15 years in several other roles, including chief of party for USAID’s Rural SPEED program in Uganda and as microenterprise initiative team leader for USAID’s Achievement of Market-Friendly Initiatives and Results program in Jordan. On AMIR, Ms. Kristalsky designed and launched the Women Access to Entrepreneurship Development and Training Society, a comprehensive training program for female entrepreneurs which is now a registered NGO.


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