Board of Directors

 Grant Williams

Based in Ahsland, OR


Mr. Williams served in the U.S. Air Force then pursued a career as a professional choreographer, dancer and 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 supported community service projects in Africa including the construction of a clinic in southern Sudan and a school in northern Uganda. He is also supporting the expansion of an orphanage in Haiti. Mr. Williams founded the non-profit organization, The Edge, in 2008 to assist young people in building bridges of mutual understanding.


 Lisa Gardner

Board Treasurer

Based in San Francisco, CA


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 Relationships Manager at CenturyLink, 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, helping to build a local community for area alumnae/i, prospective students and their families, and raise funds to provide scholarships for students in need.

Lisa also served on the Advisory Board of Child Shelter International.

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 currently Vice President of Business Development for InterRemedy Insurance.

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



Susan Burgess-Lent 

Founder and Executive Director

Based in Oakland, CA


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 genesis of the Women's Center model.

She has raised over $1,000,000 in grants from The MacArthur Foundation, the US State Department, numerous foundations, hundreds of individual donors, and scores of businesses.

Carolyn Woodson

Based in Brooklyn, New York


Raised in the Midwest and on Long Island, Carolyn J. Woodson was bit by the community-service bug as a teenager working alongside VISTA volunteers to bring art education to the village of Greenport.

Since then, Carolyn has continued to serve each of the communities where she resided, including with the late Rev. William Sloane Coffin at Riverside Church in NYC on a homeless program advisory board, and under Mayor Sandra Freeman of Tampa, Florida on the committee for Art in Public Places.

In Philadelphia PA, she served on the WMAN (West Mount Airy Neighbors) Board during their 50th anniversary celebration. West Mt. Airy is the oldest integrated neighborhood in the U.S.

She currently works as a certified life, health, wellness and grief coach, and as an energy healer to help others bring harmony to their lives. Carolyn has led women at the Oakland Center in a mindfulness meditation series that will continue monthly throughout 2017.


Anum Murtaza 


Based in San Francisco, CA


Anum joined the WCI team in 2017. As a finance professional, she has partnered with senior leaders across industries to drive financial management and provide decision support. She is passionate about connecting people and giving back to those in need."