StrongMinds treats depression in African women and adolescents, empowering them to lead more healthy, productive, and satisfying lives.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES – UNITED STATES
Elena Anfimova, Treasurer: Elena has spent most of her career in finance. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 2004, her notable roles included serving as a Director for UST, a global digital solutions company, and as the former CEO of Crelia Capital. Elena has a robust history of volunteer service with organizations such as Kiva, New York Cares, and Razom, a disaster and humanitarian relief organization for Ukraine. Elena is a certified transformation/hypnotist trained at the HCH Institute and currently leads Your Inner Wisdom, where she provides hypnotherapy services. Based in New York, Elena has also served as a volunteer financial advisor for StrongMinds for more than three years.
Jeanne Esler, Ph.D., Trustee: Jeanne is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with specializations in behavioral medicine, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders and lives west of Boston, MA. She attended Northwestern University in Chicago for her BA, received her doctoral degree from SUNY Albany (in NY), and completed her Internship and Post-Doc Fellowship at Brown University Medical School. In 2021, she completed the one-year Advanced Leadership Initiative program at Harvard University and co-chairs the Harvard ALI Boston Coalition Network. Jeanne is also the President and Co-Founder of the Esler Family Foundation, a philanthropy that has been involved with mental health programs, youth leadership, educational and economic opportunities through the lens of racial and gender equity, as well as preserving democracy. Their foundation is engaged with StrongMinds on mental health treatment for women experiencing depression in Uganda and Zambia. Jeanne serves on the Mental Health Advisory Panel for StrongMinds, the Advisory Panel for StrongMinds America, and the Board of Trustees. She is also on the board of Mindful Philanthropy, an organization with the mission of catalyzing impactful findings in mental health, addiction, and well-being. Locally, she serves on the board of the Worcester Education Collaborative and is involved in projects with the Nativity School of Worcester. In May 2022, she and her husband, John, were honored by receiving the Alexis de Tocqueville Award from the United Way. In 2022, Jeanne and John were chosen to be part of the Worcester Business Journal’s “Power 50: Most Influential People” for their philanthropic efforts.
Rehmah Kasule, Trustee: Rehmah is a senior fellow at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Institute (ALI). Prior to ALI, Rehmah Kasule founded and was the president of Century Entrepreneurship Development Agency, a Ugandan nonprofit that has helped over 38,000 youth and women pursue equality and economic development opportunities. Ms. Kasule is also a member of the Parliament of Buganda Kingdom and has earned multiple global awards recognizing her social impact leadership. She is currently developing the PLUS+AFRICA Apprenticeship and Leadership Institute, an incubator to prepare young people for jobs, promote enterprise development, create links with the private sector, and work with government to strengthen labor market systems that will transform Africa’s workforce.
Ann MacDougall, Trustee: Ann’s career has spanned legal and operating roles, and she has worked both in the U.S. and Europe. She is currently the Co-Founder/CEO of Dunollie Fund and the Senior Advisor (formerly President) of Encore.org, a national non-profit that promotes encore careers for the greater good. She was previously Chief Operating Officer of Acumen Fund, a global venture capital fund, and oversaw Acumen’s worldwide operations, strategy, and expansion. Before joining Acumen, she was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she rose through the ranks to become General Counsel of PwC US and a member of the Management Committee. During her 17 years at PwC, MacDougall also spent five years in Paris as Global Deputy General Counsel. In 2013, MacDougall was a Fellow in the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative, a year-long program to prepare experienced executives to take on new challenges in the social sector. She holds a B.A. cum laude from Tufts University and a J.D. cum laude from Brooklyn Law School. She currently sits on two corporate boards, Opiant Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Atmos XR. In her volunteer capacity, she sits on the Audit Committee of the Lycée Français de New York and the Advisory Boards of Equality Now and Global Citizen Year. She also co-leads two journalism fellowships, in partnership with the OpEd Project.
Sean Mayberry, CEO & Trustee: Sean Mayberry, Executive Director and Founder of StrongMinds, is a former diplomat and social marketer who believes there are simple and cost-effective interventions that can improve mental health, an area that is often overlooked when addressing poverty in the developing world. For years Sean implemented successful HIV/AIDS and malaria programs in Africa and saw firsthand the struggles of the mentally ill. In 2013, he founded StrongMinds with the goal of ending the depression epidemic on the subcontinent. Previously, Sean was the Chief Operating Officer at VisionSpring, where he helped lead the nonprofit’s partnership with BRAC, and a country director for Population Services International in the Democratic Republic of Congo and India. He holds a BS degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from Emory University.
James Rude, Secretary: Jim Rude is a Senior Consultant at Graham-Pelton Consulting, specializing in non-profit management, fundraising, non-profit executive leadership, marketing, and volunteer management. Prior to joining Graham-Pelton Consulting, he was the Director of Development and Communications for Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO) and led the fundraising efforts for United Way, increasing new funding sources and donor cultivation. Jim has an MBA in Management from Monmouth University and a BA in Business from Muhlenberg College. He believes strongly in the mission of StrongMinds and feels that mental health is too often a forgotten need.
Carol Squire, Trustee: Carol Squire is the Executive Director of Good Cheer, an innovative nonprofit integrating food bank services, organic farming, recycling of previously owned goods, and school and community outreach, which serves the population of southern Whidbey Island in Puget Sound in Washington State. She has spent the last ten years as a management consultant, focusing on creating strategies to strengthen organizations and teams. Prior to that, she worked in the field for PSI, including as Country Director in India. Before working for PSI, she founded a professional development organization, ECOFORM, for corporations in Africa and grew the enterprise to 200 employees. The non-profit arm of this organization worked with bilateral and multilateral donors. She joined the StrongMinds board because she feels mental health is a basic human right that is not available to most women in Africa. As she explains, “Nothing else is possible for an individual or their family without good mental health.”
Annika Sten Pärson, Trustee: Annika Sten Pärson has 25+ years of leadership experience across the telecom, media, retail, and consumer goods industries. A decade ago, Annika intentionally shifted her focus when she became the CEO of a non-profit mental health clinic in New York City. Through this experience, she became acutely aware of the gravity of mental health issues, the dire lack of funding, and the far-reaching implications on both individuals and society at large. In 2021, Annika harnessed her professional and personal experience to co-found The Inner Foundation. The Inner Foundation is committed to investing in solutions that strengthen inner health and address the pressing challenges of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Inner Foundation adopts a blended finance approach by operating as an impact investor and grant giver, uniting both for-profit and non-profit solutions in a diverse portfolio of over 20 investments on three continents: Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and North America. Annika serves on several boards, including First Close Partners, Strong Minds, Braive, and Ashoka Nordic, among others. Additionally, Annika co-founded 1825 Therapy Center for Young Adults, an affordable therapy clinic in Stockholm, where she currently chairs the board and regularly volunteers as a therapist.
Esther Hsu Wang, Trustee: Esther opened IDinsight’s first office in Zambia and lived in Lusaka for eight years, where she helped steward the rapid growth as a co-founder, Chief Operating Officer, and Head of External Partnerships. She has also lived and worked in Eswatini, India, Cambodia, Uganda, Ghana, and China. She will soon be based in Nairobi, Kenya. Previously, Esther was a strategy consultant with Bain & Company, a co-founder of a social enterprise in the Tibetan Plateau, and co-led several not-for-profit organizations. Most recently, she was a partner at the Bridgespan Group. Esther holds joint BS/BA degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business. She also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School. Esther was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, an Echoing Green Fellow, and a Presidential Leadership Scholar. Esther serves as co-chair of the Alumni Council of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership and on the Board of Directors for Govuka and StrongMinds. She is also an advisor to The Agency Fund and Mighty Ally.
Dana Ward, Trustee: Dana Ward is an international public health and development expert with 35 years of experience, predominantly in Africa and Asia. In his various roles, he has served as Country Representative in five countries with Population Services International and was chair of the board of an international school in West Africa. He currently works for the Vermont Department of Health in Burlington, Vermont. Dana has an MBA in marketing from New York University and holds a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. His areas of interest include social marketing and mental health. He is impressed by StrongMinds’ unique, cost-effective, scalable approach that can treat millions of African women.
Paul S. Watford, Chair: Paul is a senior financial executive whose background includes manufacturing, utilities, transportation, real estate, and not-for-profit experience. He served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at the Music Institute of Chicago, where he was responsible for the financial operations of the organization, facilities management, human resources, and payroll. He began his career as a Mechanical Engineer for a public utility company and then transitioned to manufacturing and transportation, where he gained analytical experience with responsibilities in financial reporting and analysis, auditing, and management presentation, human resources, compliance, and controls. He also served as an educator at the City Colleges of Chicago, where he taught Accounting, Business, and Finance. Paul earned his MBA in Finance and Management Policy from Northwestern University, his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University, and his BA in History from the University of Rochester. For twelve years, Paul served on the Board of Trustees for St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts, and on the Board of the Civic Orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Ancona School in Chicago, IL, the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts Center in Skokie, IL, and Planned Parenthood of Illinois in Chicago, IL. He lives with his family in Chicago, where he enjoys cooking, music, film, books, and travel.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS – UGANDA
Milly Katana, Chair: Milly (MPH, MA, MBA) is a public health specialist and internationally recognized community leader who has worked in different fields of social development. She was at the forefront of efforts to campaign for access to HIV treatment in Uganda and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Her efforts resulted in the creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria in 2002. Milly was a founding member of the Board of the Global Fund representing communities affected by diseases in the developing world, where she co-chaired the Monitoring and Audit committee. Milly co-founded the Pan-African AIDS Treatment Movement (PATAM). She was the founding Country Director for The International AIDS Alliance in Uganda, where she pioneered the decentralization of AIDS care in more than 30 districts in Uganda. She worked as a Regional Representative for Eastern and Western Africa for Bausch and Lomb, a Pharmaceutical Company that specialized in producing eye care products. She currently is a co-chair of the Community Working Group for the Microbicide Trials Network, a consortium of global researchers and community members looking at new HIV prevention interventions, a UNAIDS Consultant for Eastern and Southern Africa. She has provided technical support to several organizations working in different areas of public health, including those working with key affected populations like commercial sex workers and people who have sex with people of the same gender identity. She has worked with programs that support children, such as Tearfund in Zambia and Retrack International in Uganda. Her special interests include focusing on access to care issues for marginalized and vulnerable individuals and communities. She has written on several public health-related issues, including capacity building, stigma, and discrimination, as they affect access and uptake of existing healthcare services.
Anne Besigiroha: Anne is an IT professional with 22 years of experience under her belt. She was Team Leader for the Technical Support Section in the IT Operations Department at Bank of Uganda, where she has served in positions of increasing responsibility since 2000. Throughout her career, she has honed not just her technical skills but also received grounding in leadership and governance, communication skills, project management, problem-solving, and people skills, among others. In her time at the Bank, she was at the helm of implementing several cutting-edge payment system technologies, notably working with a colleague in 2010 to implement a new payment system messaging technology (SWIFTNet) and being the only bank worldwide that was able to implement the solution without consultancy services from the vendor. Anne has built her career on integrity, generosity, empathy, and hard work, values she believes are critical for professional success and personal fulfillment. Outside of the workspace, Anne enjoys good music, expressing her creativity through gardening, cooking, and handicraft, as well as seeing the world around her. Her life’s desire is to leave a lasting legacy, and few things give her as much joy as empowering those facing significant life challenges to overcome them and grow into their full potential.
Mariam Lutakome: Mariam is an ambitious finance professional with a strong track record of delivering top performance over the past 15 years. She is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. She possesses a wide spectrum of experience in assessing and building the organizational capacity of local non-government organizations (NGOs) at the community, national and international levels in the areas of grants and contracts management, finance, administration, and human resource management across the health, education, agriculture, and human rights sectors. Ms. Lutakome is familiar with the rules and regulations of all major donors supporting Uganda, e.g., USG, EU, SIDA, CIDA, and DFID. Mariam is a freelance finance management consultant. Previously Mariam worked as Finance Management Specialist on the JSI/TA-NPI project to ensure that all twelve CDC and HRSA grantees developed sound financial, administration, and sub-partner management systems to effectively manage resources, adopt best practices and comply with their national regulations as well as USG funding requirements. Under this project, she worked in east and southern Africa, in particular Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and South Africa, conducting training, providing one-on-one technical support, and developing customized TA to meet the needs and capacity of each partner. Prior to this position, she was the Finance Unit Manager of the EU-Civil Society Capacity Building Program, which promoted an inclusive and empowered society in Uganda by strengthening the capacity of local communities and civil society organizations (CSOs)for social accountability, as well as strengthening “downward accountability” performance of local governments. She has also worked as Grants Accountant for the Human Rights Fund, which is the present-day Independent Development Fund.
Paul Mwirigi Muriungi: Paul is the Founder and Managing Director of Capital One Group, a marketing communications firm with operations in Uganda and Kenya. With twelve years of marketing communications experience, Paul has been a brand custodian for major local, regional, and international brands in East Africa. During this time, he has contributed to various game-changing communication campaigns in various industries in the NGO sector, telecoms, manufacturing, retail, leisure, hospitality, beverages, professional services, banking, insurance, and semi-autonomous Government bodies. Paul holds a Diploma in Public Relations from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in the UK and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) UK. He also holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from Makerere University and a Certificate in Oil & Gas Studies from Makerere University Business School. Paul’s ultimate mission in life is to position brands for market growth and help these brands communicate better to their key stakeholders.
Dr. Hafsa Sentongo (bio coming soon)
BOARD OF DIRECTORS – ZAMBIA
Tina Chama: Bio coming soon.
Frank Harle: Frank is the Country Director for StrongMinds in Zambia Zambia. He is responsible for overseeing the strategic development, management, growth, sustainability, and external representation of our operations in Zambia. Prior to joining StrongMinds, Frank spent fifteen years working in sub-Saharan Africa on health, education, and environmental issues, serving as Deputy Director of Restless Development Tanzania and Country Director for Restless Development South Africa. He has a BA in history from the University of Sheffield.
Yande Kalengo: Yande is a lawyer, women’s rights specialist, and activist with eight years of experience in the international development sector. She is an advocate of the High Court of Zambia and is committed to protecting victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. As a safeguarding expert, Yande works with various international organizations to strengthen policies and procedures. She holds an LLB in Law from Oxford Brookes University and an LLM in International Law from the University of Westminster.
Gabriel Lungu: Gabriel is a mental health champion. His work with the Ministry of Health Zambia and Chainama Hospital has fueled his life’s mission to provide quality mental health services to address national priorities. Gabriel is an active member of the Global Alliance for Mental Health Advocates (GAMHA) and holds an advisory committee position with the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) African Region. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nursing, Mental Health, and Psychiatric Nursing.
Chewe Mulenga: Chewe is a Senior Programs Manager at D-tree International. Over the past 10 years, he has led multiple teams across Restless Development, PsycHealth, and Marie Stopes International. Aside from mental health, Chewe is passionate about gender equality, policy development, and women empowerment. He is an Atlas Corps Fellow and Chevening Scholar. Chewe holds a Master of Science degree in Management and International Business from Leeds Beckett University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Zambia.
Hellen Mwale: Hellen is the Founder and Executive Director of the Media Initiative for Women in Zambia (MIWoZ). As a seasoned journalist and human rights advocate, Hellen’s passion has guided her to write for local and international NGOs. She currently serves on the National AIDS Council (NAC), MISA Zambia, and Women Aiding Women Board of Directors. Hellen is also a member of the Institute of Directors of Zambia (IoDZ) and past chairperson for the MISA Region (SADC) and Zambian chapter. Of her many accomplishments, Hellen’s work has generated professional interest in media policy, regulation, internet governance, and media development ecosystems.