Headquarters Staff

Susan Burgess-Lent, Executive Director


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 funding and operation of Kassab Women’s Center, the model on which WCI's work is based.


She previously worked as a consultant to the African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation (AIF), InterAction, CEPDA, and on staff in International Services of the American Red Cross. She is a writer and worked for many years in television news.


She has raised over $1 million in grants from The MacArthur Foundation, Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation, Friedman Family Foundation, Changes Happens Foundation, Swiss Re Foundation, Funds for NGOs, Ideas for Good, and donations from hundreds of individuals.



Alison Mata, Program Manager


Ms. Mata has worked for seven years in commercial property management in Oakland, San Francisco, and Daly City and has served as a volunteer grant researcher for Orphan Aid Africa. She graduated from St Mary's College (California) with a BA in International Area Studies, including study in Spain.

Regina Shipman, Outreach Coordinator


Regina has been a member of Oakland Women's Center since June 2015.  She comes to us with twenty years of experience in child education and several years as an advocate for teen sobriety at Thunder Road.  She studied Liberal Arts at New College, San Francisco, and has devoted herself to the study of women's spritiuality.  

Ms Shipman is responsible for designing and supporting community outreach initiatives and events, as well as special services to individual members.



Sheila Cotton, Counselor and Case Manager


Sheila has over 20 year of experience in social services including

Sr Advocate/Case Manager , A Safe Place Domestic Violence Shelter, OaklandTrauma Center Director, Family Institute of Richmond, Richmond. Case Manger III/Asst. Mgr, Episcopal Community Services, SF.  

Sheila joined the staff at Oakland Women's Center in September 2016.


Volunteers and Interns




Kim LaBelle, Housing Research and Assistance to Members - 2017


Caitlin Culiman, Admin Assistant - 2017


Carolyn J. Woodson,  Meditation Guide - 2017


Holly Morris, Computer Trainer – 2017


Zenovia Forbes, Certified Yoga Trainer – 2017


Tamara Paiva, Certified Massage Therapist  – 2017


Julie Twichell, Job Works Consultant –  2016


Fatima Almaweri, Housing and Job Coordinator, Fall 2015 to August 2016


Ashleigh Edelsohn, 2015 Summer Internship; graduate student at Monterrey Institute of International Studies


Laura Cook, 2015 Summer Admin Support


Kenya Staff

Teresia Waikuru Mwangi

Baraka Center Manager

Based in Nairobi, Kenya


Ms. Waikuru  earned a diploma in Sales and Marketing and certificates in Computer Studies, HIV/AIDS Training, and Drug and Substance Abuse Intervention. She has worked as a trainer with the Kenya National Authority on Campaigns Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) and the Kenya Defense Forces. Ms. Waikuru joined Nairobi staff in January 2013.


Stiffin Ndungu. as of Sept 3, 2015,  is no longer employed by WCI and has no relationship with Baraka Women's Center.


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