Shawna Bader-Blau leads the Solidarity Center, the largest global worker rights organization based in the United States. Since October 2011, she has served as executive director of an organization of more than 220 staff in Washington, D.C., and 26 field offices, implementing programs in 60 countries. She has been with the organization for 12 years.
Shawna is an advocate and activist for working women and men seeking safe jobs with dignity that provide for their families and futures. As the public face of the Solidarity Center, she testifies as an expert witness at U.S. Congressional briefings and hearings on worker and human rights. She represents the organization at conferences and policy discussions around the world, promoting social justice, gender equity, decent work and more inclusive economic development and democratic societies. She raises the voice of workers within the international rights community and with the U.S. and other governments.
Shawna has worked in the field of international development and human rights for 17 years and has lived or worked in more than 25 countries. Prior to her appointment as Executive Director, Shawna served as the Solidarity Center’s regional program director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). She is an Arabic speaker and holds a master’s degree from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Shawna also currently serves on the Board of Directors of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
Deputy Executive Director
Kate Doherty leads organization-development work at the Solidarity Center, fostering organizational alignment and seeking continual improvement in organizational capacity and effectiveness. She directs the Solidarity Center’s Global Labor Program which includes research in the areas of gender equality, migration and trafficking, informal economy and the rule of law. Kate oversees the operations side of the organization, working closely with the management team running finance, administration, strategic human resources and reporting and evaluation.
Previously, Kate served as interim director, program director, program support coordinator (monitoring and evaluation) and country program director for the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where she facilitated strategic planning and capacity building programs for informal economy workers and trained and mentored domestic worker union leaders and organizers. As a program officer at the African-American Labor Center (AALC), a predecessor organization, she created an internal evaluation program and designed and conducted field evaluations in 20 African countries.
Kate’s career spans 35 years of international work in social justice organizations. She holds Master’s degrees in organization development, and in training and development, and is a Georgetown-trained, International Coach Federation-credentialed leadership coach.
Molly McCoy joined the Solidarity Center in 2009 and became the Solidarity Center’s policy director in 2015. In 2015, she also temporarily transferred from the Solidarity Center to serve as director of the newly launched Democracy, Rights and Governance Initiative of the nongovernmental alliance, InterAction.
From to 2010–2015, Molly served as regional program director for the Americas, directing Solidarity Center programs throughout Central and South America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Molly also has served as deputy to the regional program director for the Americas, supervising the Solidarity Center’s Washington and field-based programs including organizing, collective bargaining and union development. She has extensive field experience as a U.S.-based union organizer, as well as broad international trade union economic policy experience working as an economic policy research officer for the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
Molly holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University, a master’s degree in international relations from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques and is a graduate of the National Labor Leadership Institute. She has authored policy papers and articles on global labor and economic issues, campaign materials and training guides, and has held board memberships on the Executive Council of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, International Cocoa Initiative and U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project.
Director of Program Quality, Learning and Compliance
Mary Markowicz joined the Solidarity Center in 2016. She is a seasoned senior manager with extensive experience in compliance, federal regulations and award management. Most recently, she served as senior director for grants, contracts and compliance at Counterpart International, where she successfully built a team of professional grants and compliance managers, contributed to enterprise risk management efforts and the elimination of audit findings. Mary also worked for 16 years at the National Democratic Institute, where she directed the department that was the primary point of contact with donors on agreement-related matters for programs in more than 60 countries. In addition, she led efforts on behalf of several democracy organizations to jointly respond to Federal Register Notices on USAID assistance regulations and coordinated sector discussions with USAID and the Office of Management and Budget on proposed policy and regulatory changes. Previously, Mary served as an evaluation officer in the Latin America and Caribbean regional office of Family Health International. Since 2006, she has been a member of InsideNGO’s Government Relations Committee, representing members’ views on existing and proposed USAID regulations and practices.
Mary received a master of arts in international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University, and both a bachelor of science in business Administration and a bachelor of arts in Spanish from Nazareth College.
Legal Director, Rule of Law
From 2011 through 2016, Jeff was legal director of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), a global organization that represents 180 million workers in 162 countries and territories. He coordinated the organization’s legal advocacy before the International Labor Organization and other international institutions, advised trade unions on labor law and policy, and assisted in litigation before national and international tribunals. He has published extensively and spoken frequently on international labor law and trade and labor standards, including testimony before the legislatures of the United States, Canada and the European Union. Before joining the ITUC in 2011, he served as AFL-CIO deputy international department director and also was AFL-CIO global economic policy specialist. Previously, he represented domestic and foreign trade unions in litigation in U.S. state and federal courts. He is a graduate of Cornell Law School, where he earned his J.D. and L.L.M. in international and comparative law, and studied international law at University of Paris I–Sorbonne. He also holds a master’s degree in English with a focus on 20th century literary movements.
Regional Program Directors
Americas Regional Program Director
Joell Molina, named Americas Regional Program Director in 2017, first joined the Solidarity Center in 2007, working in the Trade Union Strengthening (TUS) Department to assist South African and Kenyan telecommunications unions develop organizing capacity. Most recently, Jowll was a TUS senior specialist for organizing, and worked with unions in numerous sectors in the Americas and other regions to develop organizing, strategic research and campaigning capacity through workshops and on-the-ground training.
He also has served as the international campaigns coordinator for AFL-CIO Organizing Department, where he worked on strategic campaigns for affiliates and served as a liaison with international counterparts, and as a strategic researcher/campaigner in the AFL-CIO Organizing Department. Joell, who holds a master’s degree in international affairs and economic development, began working in the labor movement in 2001 at the Service Employees International Union. Joell also has worked with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Africa Regional Program Director
Imani Countess joined the Solidarity Center in 2012. She directs all Solidarity Center programs in Africa, including Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. She has 25 years experience working with civil society, social movements and governments, including the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and TransAfrica Forum. Imani serves on the board of directors for Africa Action and the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars, and is a past board member of the African Studies Association.
Europe and Central Asia Regional Program Director
Rudy Porter joined the Solidarity Center in 1995. He leads all Solidarity Center programs in Europe and Central Asia, including offices in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia and Ukraine. Rudy was previously the Solidarity Center Country Program Director in Thailand, Burma and Malaysia (2007-2011), Indonesia and Philippines (2001-2007), Serbia and Montenegro (2000-2001) and Croatia (1995-2000). He serves on the steering committee of the Cotton Campaign.
Prior to the Solidarity Center, Rudy was a field representative for the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, a state representative for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and a national organizer and local union representative for SEIU. Rudy holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University, and a master’s degree in labor economics and human resource management from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.
Asia Regional Program Director
Tim Ryan joined the Solidarity Center’s predecessor Asian institute in 1989. Since 2001, he has directed all Solidarity Center programs for Asia, including offices in Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He served as the organization’s field representative in Sri Lanka (1993-97) and Indonesia (1997-2001), where he began work on migrant workers’ and anti-trafficking issues. He serves on the board of the Global March against Child Labor and on the steering committee of the National Writers Union, Washington, D.C., chapter.
Middle East and North Africa Regional Program Director
Nader Tadros joined the Solidarity Center in 2012. Nader has more than 25 years of experience in rights-based advocacy, social justice leadership and constituency and coalition building. He founded and directed People’s Advocacy, an organization to help marginalized individuals realize their power to participate in decision-making processes.
Technical Program Directors
Kate Conradt has served as the Solidarity Center’s director of communications since 2010. She brings to the position more than two decades of international experience in journalism, advocacy and communications, for organizations that include Save the Children, the Basic Education Coalition and the Economist Intelligence Unit. Kate holds a master’s degree in Hispanic studies and a dual bachelor’s degree in Spanish and journalism. She has lived and/or worked in more than 30 countries.
Director of Trade Union Strengthening
With more than 20 years of experience in the labor movement, Sarah McKenzie joined the Solidarity Center in 2012 as director of Trade Union Strengthening. Sarah oversees the Solidarity Center’s efforts in supporting organizing campaigns and educating workers about their legal right to form a union and collectively bargain. Before joining the Solidarity Center, she served as director of the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute, where she developed organizer training and recruitment programs and led campaigns supporting the U.S. labor movement.
Director, Gender Equality and Inclusion
Lisa McGowan joined the Solidarity Center in 1999 and has more than 25 years of experience in international development at the International Center for Research on Women, the Development GAP and other NGOs social movements working to bring about worker and women’s rights, gender equality and economic and social justice. Lisa is on the International Planning Committee for the 2016 Forum of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), an international, feminist, membership organization committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights.
Migration and Human Trafficking
Neha Misra, J.D., joined the Solidarity Center in 1998 as the deputy country program director in Indonesia, where she managed the Solidarity Center’s Counter Trafficking in Persons Project and its Democracy Project. Before joining the Solidarity Center, she worked in Bosnia and Herzegovina on postwar elections and democracy, and in the United States as a senior attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice. While at the Justice Department, she also served as the president of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 3525. Neha serves on the executive board of the International Labor Recruitment Working Group and on the Global Workers Justice Alliance Board of Advisers.
Administration and Finance
Michael Lawrence joined the Solidarity Center’s predecessor organization in 1992 and has been controller since 2008. As controller, Michael is responsible for the overall management of the organization’s accounting, budget reporting and cash flow management; provides staff with timely and accurate financial information; and ensures compliance with accounting requirements and government regulations. Previously, Michael served as Solidarity Center senior accountant for Budgets and Reporting, and as staff accountant and senior accountant for the Solidarity Center’s predecessor organization.
Human Resources Director
Darren Phelps joined the Solidarity Center in 2015 following decades of experience leading large, progressive organizations dedicated to providing opportunities for women, children and youth in low income communities. Most recently, Darren served as executive director of Pride at Work, an AFL-CIO constituency organization that mobilizes the U.S. union movement and the LGBTQ community around social and economic justice. Darren is a member of the National Writers Union UAW Local 1981.
Director of Finance
Lystia Santosa joined the Solidarity Center’s predecessor organization in 1992 and has been Solidarity Center finance director since 2008. With more than 25 years finance experience in international nonprofit organizations, she oversees all aspects of the Solidarity Center’s finance functions, including risk management, regulatory compliance and overall management of current and future operations. Previously, Lystia served as Solidarity Center controller (1999–2007). She also has served as accounting manager at Citizens Democracy Corporation (1998–1999); and various accounting roles in the Solidarity Center and its predecessor organization (1992-1998).
Director of Operations
Darcy Wertz supervises staff responsible for facilities and IT; works with international field representatives to create personnel policies for local staff; updates organizational policies and procedures and streamlines operations to increase efficiency. Prior to becoming Director of Operations in 2001, Darcy served as senior cost and pricing analyst, Bids and Proposals Section (1999–2000) at AED; worked as administrative manager for Africa programs (1998–1999) at Conservation International and was grants manager (1993–1998) at the Solidarity Center’s predecessor organization.