ECDAN has a lean secretariat to help partners achieve their joint vision for young children.
Elizabeth is a widely recognized expert on international development and global health issues and has devoted her career to strengthening global commitments and programs addressing the needs of women, adolescents, children, and infants. Elizabeth worked previously at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as their Director of Family Planning, at Pathfinder International as their Regional Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa, and with USAID in Nigeria. Elizabeth has been instrumental in establishing and supporting global partnerships, networks, and coalitions to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and HIV programs, and was the founding chair of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition. Before joining ECDAN in 2018 as its first Executive Director, she served as a senior consultant with the World Bank Group supporting the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman and Every Child and increasing financing for multisectoral pandemic preparedness at both global and national levels. At the World Bank, she also held several senior management and technical positions including Interim Director and Manager of Africa Regional Integration, Sector Manager of the HIV-AIDS program and Global Advisor for Population and Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health. She serves on several Boards of Directors and has been a member of global think tanks, UN Inter-Agency Task Teams and global advisory groups. Elizabeth is a passionate advocate for the rights and well-being of women and children. She has a joint advanced degree in Medical Demography from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the London School of Economics.
As ECDAN’s Executive Director, Elizabeth coordinates with the Executive Leadership Council to set the network’s strategy, manages the Secretariat as they implement the strategy, and leads on partner engagement and fundraising.
Shekufeh Zonji provides technical leadership to ECDAN and spearheads key knowledge, learning, and strategic partnership initiatives for the network. She brings her extensive experience built over fifteen years in global Early Childhood Development within the sectors of Education, Child Protection, and Health to the role. She has worked on critical challenges to the well-being of young children across Latin America, East Africa, and South Asia. In Bangladesh, she designed innovative ECD models for a range of vulnerable contexts including urban slums, garment factories, tea estates, and fragile flood-prone communities. In Afghanistan, she led the Aga Khan Foundation’s national ECD portfolio contributing significantly to Afghanistan’s national pre-primary policy development. She has worked as a senior consultant on strategy and policy development, research, curriculum design, and intervention design for global think tanks and civil society organizations like BRAC and Save the Children. She also runs a design practice in collaboration with architects to design urban interventions in spaces for children based on the science of child development. She speaks eight languages and completed her education at McMaster University in Canada in Biology and Psychology, specializing in cognitive science and neuroscience.
Brett is an experienced government relations professional, trainer, and advocate who has successfully developed and executed innovative US and global issue campaigns and advocacy programs. During his career, Brett has built advocacy programs for several nonprofit organizations, led the planning and implementation of campaigns across a range of policy issues, and pioneered inventive strategies to assess, measure, and evaluate campaigns and advocacy organizations. Brett served as Director of Advocacy for Feeding America where he was responsible for designing, implementing, and overseeing Feeding America’s advocacy strategy including advocate recruitment and development, grassroots mobilization, capacity building training, content development, strategic planning, and impact measurement. He guided Feeding America through major legislation including two Farm Bills and Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Prior to ECDAN in 2021, he worked at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator, a Program of the Tobacco Free Kids, as the Associate Director of Capacity Building and Training. His role was to strengthen the advocacy capacity of global grantees and partners to advance public health policy campaigns, develop systematic tools and processes to evaluate campaign impact, and plan strategic advocacy initiatives. Brett has a Masters in Applied Politics from American University and a Bachelors in Political Science from Villanova University.
As the Global Policy and Advocacy Lead, Brett develops, oversees, and coordinates ECDAN’s overall policy and advocacy strategy. He works with a range of partners elevate ECD policy priorities on the global agenda, develops and disseminate tools and resources support grass-roots advocates, and respond to emerging issues.
Emily has nearly 15 years of experience leading programs that serve vulnerable communities in the US and abroad. She is deeply driven to increase equity and has specialized in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of child-centered programs by developing resources and offering continuous professional development for implementers. Emily is a teacher by training with experience teaching the early grades in the US and internationally in Africa. Building on her classroom experience, she spent 8 years working for international nongovernmental organizations in Rwanda and Kenya, managing early literacy and community development programs. During that time, she focused on early childhood initiatives at both the national and community level. Emily also brings experience managing domestic social programs that offer education and health services utilizing volunteers. Prior to joining ECDAN in 2023, she worked for a national refugee resettlement agency and led the launch of community sponsorship programs, which involve community members in welcoming and supporting refugee families, at local sites across the agency’s US network. Emily holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of the Pacific in California.
As ECDAN’s Senior Program Officer, she coordinates and quality assures the Secretariat’s work to enhance achievement of its strategic objectives.
Katherine is a former journalist with more than 15 years’ experience leading in communications and advocacy efforts for nonprofit organizations. She has worked with organizations focused on education from PreK to university level, public health, and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion across society. Prior to ECDAN in 2023, Katherine was the Deputy Director of Communications for the New America Foundation, where she focused on the responsible use of cutting-edge technologies. Before that, Katherine served as Campaign Communications Director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Katherine advocated for public health with a focus on communities experiencing health disparities. Through multi-channel communications campaigns, she helped score policy victories, secured key media coverage, and increased partnerships to advance the organization’s goals. Katherine also led communications programs for the Committee for Economic Development, the American Constitution Society, and the National School Boards Association, where she grew its advocacy network tenfold in one year. Katherine has a Bachelors in Communications and Journalism from George Mason University in Virginia.
As ECDAN’s Senior Communications Officer, Katherine develops and implements ECDAN’s communications strategy, amplifying the impact of the network to external audiences through traditional and digital media, storytelling, and multimedia campaigns.
Carol is a communications professional with over eight years of experience in developing and implementing communications strategies for non-profit organizations. Prior to joining ECDAN in 2022, she worked with organizations like Youth Agenda, Save the Children, Oxfam, Global Communities, and UN OCHA to build their brands and promote social causes. Carol is passionate about tactics as tools for creating social impact, behavior change, and influencing decision-makers. She published her first academic paper, entitled Portrayal of Different Genders and Their Influence on Consumer Behavior, in December 2017. Her expertise spans development communication, PR, digital media and branding. She is committed to using her expertise for good and helping organizations tell compelling stories that inspire action. Carol mentors the next generation of leaders at the Good Kenyan Foundation, demonstrating her commitment to giving back to her community and empowering the youth of Kenya to reach their full potential. Carol has won regional and photography awards, and her work has been featured in prominent Kenyan publications. She earned a First-Class Honors Degree in Communication Studies from St. Paul’s University.
As ECDAN’s Communications Associate, Carol prepares content and graphics that promote ECDAN’s offerings across channels to reach the widest audience possible. She collects news and resources from partners so that they can be shared and uplifted in different ways. Carol brings creativity, strategic thinking, and a solutions-oriented approach to her work, helping ECDAN share its impact and connect meaningfully with audiences.
Hannah has over six years of professional experience conducting outreach, developing briefs, engaging the media, carrying out research, leading trainings, and managing projects for social change organizations. With an academic background in sustainable development and field experience in both East and West Africa, Hannah strives to use her skills to make a difference on both the local and global level. She studied abroad in Ghana and focused on poverty alleviation as well as detecting and treating neglected tropical diseases among local schoolchildren. She also completed a fieldwork internship in Uganda working for the Foundation for Sustainable Development on a sustainable latrine construction project among rural school communities. Prior to joining ECDAN in 2023, Hannah worked as an intern at the United Nations Association of Rochester, Administrative Assistant for the World Affairs Council of Rochester, Legal Clerk for a disability law firm, and Program Assistant for the National Endowment for Democracy. Hannah has a Bachelors in International Relations from SUNY Geneseo and a Masters in International Relations, focused on international negotiation and conflict prevention, from American University.
As ECDAN’s Senior Program Assistant, she provides a wide range of essential support to all members of the Secretariat to ensure smooth operations and close collaboration with key partners.
Sarah is a seasoned public health management professional with over 15 years of experience supporting the operations, implementation, and financial management of a variety of programs and initiatives aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations around the globe. She is passionate about leveraging partnerships to maximize the impact of global health solutions and is recognized for her innovation and leadership. As a long-time, experienced leader at PATH, Sarah became ECDAN’s Director of Finance and Operations when it became hosted by PATH in early 2021. ECDAN is one of several initiatives that Sarah supports within PATH’s Program’s and Innovations Department. Prior to joining PATH in 2010, Sarah served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique and an Assistant Manager at NCBA/CLUSA. In addition to her responsibilities with PATH, Sarah serves as the part-time Executive Director of Partners for Andean Community Health (PACH), empowering local partners to provide high-quality medical care to Indigenous communities in the Andean region of Ecuador. Sarah holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Benedictine University and a Bachelor’s of Science in International Studies from The University of Scranton.
As ECDAN’s Director of Finance and Operations, Sarah oversees the financial management of ECDAN, ensures contractual compliance of ECDAN initiatives, and acts as ECDAN’s liaison to PATH’s operational service departments. Inclusive of her other assignments, Sarah oversees financial management of a portfolio of projects valued at $30+ million dollars, implemented in over a dozen countries in the global south.