Board of Directors

WCI seeks new candidates for our Board of Directors. If you'd like engage in some world-changing work, please download the document below, complete and return to

Info for WCI Board Candidates.doc
Microsoft Word document [74.0 KB]

Veronica Dangerfield - Board Chair

Based in Oakland, CA


Veronica Dangerfield is a Financial Educator for Patelco Credit Union, an award-winning speaker, a published poet, and a professional comedienne.

She supported the Bay Area Crisis Nursery for six year by producing and performing in an annual Mother’s Day Comedy Show.  Since 2008, she has volunteered with the Berkeley High School RISE program teaching students and serving on the Board. 

Ms. Dangerfield teaches financial empowerment for Habitat for Humanity and has taught financial literacy for ten years at UC Berkeley, Cal State University East Bay, San Francisco State University, Diablo Valley College, and Sierra Junior College, as well as dozens of high schools and non-profits around the state. 

She received her BA Degree in Communications from Sacramento State University.

She is a mother of three, an avid traveler, and committed to life-long learning.


Avril Fitzgerald – Board Secretary

Based in Oakland, CA


Born in Dublin, Ireland, Ms. Fitzgerald is a 25-year veteran of the Financial Services industry and a Vice President at Swiss Re, a global reinsurance firm.

She became committed to women's issues in 2007 during the Darfur crisis. She and a tenacious team of friends raised the funds to support the Kassab Women's Center in Darfur, the prototype of the Women's Center model.



Lisa Gardner. Board Treasurer

Based in San Francisco


Raised in Massachusetts and now a long-time Bay Area resident, Lisa Gardner has had a 25-year career in high-tech sales and account management.  Currently, she is Global Relationship Manager at CenturyLink, the third largest telecommunications and IT services company in the USA, where she manages a team responsible for $20M of annual revenue.

She attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and served as the President of the Holy Cross Club of Northern California for two years.  In this role, she helped build a local community for area alumnae/i, prospective students and their families and raised funds to provide scholarships for students in need.

Lisa also served on the Advisory Board of Child Shelter International.  She was actively involved in Child Shelter’s program to provide education and shelter to street boys in Guatemala including a fact-finding trip to Guatemala to assess the needs and multiple fundraising activities.


Grant Williams

Based in Oregon


Mr. Williams served in the U.S. Air Force then pursued a career as a professional dancer/choreographer/teacher in Los Angeles.

He was initiated into the Mankind Project in 1999 and is a certified I-Group Leader. He became active in Boys to Men in 2002 and took the program to South Africa in 2007. He has support community service projects in Africa including the construction of a clinic in southern Sudan and a school in northern Uganda. He is supporting the expansion of an orphanage in Haiti. He founded non-profit organization The Edge in 2008.


Susan Burgess-Lent – Founder, Executive Director

Based in Oakland, CA


Executive Director, WCI

Ms. Burgess-Lent began her career in humanitarian relief and development in 1994 and  has worked extensively in East Africa. She is the former Program Director of Darfur Peace and Development Organization (DPDO) responsible for the operational support for 37 primary schools in North Darfur and funding and operation of Kassab Women’s Center, the prototype of the Women's Center model.

Her initiatives have been supported by over $1,000,000 in grants from The MacArthur Foundation, the US State Department, Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation, Friedman Family Foundation, Changes Happens Foundation, Swiss Re Foundation, Chevron Employee Matching Funds, Funds for NGOs, Ideas for Good, hundreds of individual donors and scores of businesses.

Advisory Board

Paulette Cooper

Based in Texas


Ms. Cooper has worked for non-profit agencies including the Houston Area Women's Center (the first center in Texas for abused women and children), Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Multiple Sclerosis Society,  churches and a synagogue.  She volunteers as a tutor to refugee children and adults teaching English as a Second Language. She is a reader for Reading Radio Resource, a non-profit organization that reads books, newspapers, magazines and printed materials for those who cannot read for themselves. 

Ms. Cooper also volunteers with the Dallas Peace Center, the Nuba Mountains Peace Coalition and supported the work of Darfur Peace and Development Organization.


Maina Muthee
Based in New York 
Mr. Muthee can pinpoint the night that changed his life. More than 100 wounded soldiers—teenage victims of Sudan's second civil war—had spilled into the battle-torn hospital that his team of relief workers had helped to rebuild. With few supplies and no medical training, Muthee helped the hospital's sole doctor treat their injuries. "It was one of those moments when you realize that what you have been doing is not enough," says Muthee, who has been engaged in humanitarian relief efforts in Africa since 1999. "Your reach as a ground soldier is very limited. I wanted to be a general in the war."
For Muthee, a native of Kenya, that meant furthering his education to give him a better sense of the policy issues that impact humanitarian crises around the world, particularly those in Africa. Muthee holds a Master of Science in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from the Friedman School and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) from The Fletcher School at Tufts University.
He is a Nutrition  Consultant for USAID in New York


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