Board of Directors
Mary Symmonds is an international economic and social development practitioner with over 30 years of experience working with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its Regional Bureau for Africa specializing on economic and social development in Africa. Mary served in various capacities, including Country Director in Uganda, Deputy Resident Representative (Programme) in Nigeria, Country Advisor in NY. She has lived in seven Sub-Saharan African countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe. and worked on 30.
Mary’s work experience has focused on both development issues and on developing and managing country programs as well as building leadership capacities. She has worked on developing programs in such areas as Good Governance, including electoral support, Poverty reduction, microfinance, Crisis response and management, disaster risk reduction, and area development. Ms. Symmonds earned a BA in Political Science from Hunter College of the City University of New York and an MS in International Affairs (Magna Cum Laude) from the New School for Social Research, focusing on conflict prevention and management. She has also done extensive work on transformational leadership currently works on leadership issues and developing leadership and mentoring programs. She coordinates an initiative aimed at promoting leadership in the Caribbean. She has also partnered on a similar initiative for the Pacific and Oceania. Mary is committed that people should be empowered to live productive and fulfilled lives. Mary is passionate about young people and developing leaders. She is the founder of the Global Leadership Coalition which aims to foster a new brand of leader who is ethical, entrepreneurial, connected to their society, and taking actions to transform their society.
Director of Strategy & Growth
Kristin Ellington is an innovative executive with extensive success in managing startups and rapidly evolving businesses. An early digital entrepreneur, Kristin started her career by bringing computer-aided design to the fashion industry, developing the original digital communities for AOL / New Line Cinema, and launching one of the first successful e-commerce businesses for Time Life Medical. Joining forces with the founders of Funny Garbage, she then propelled a tiny creative team into an international powerhouse digital agency. After almost two decades of launching groundbreaking technology, content and digital communities, Kristin was the key architect in the acquisition of Funny Garbage, and led the successful transition of staff and operations to FROM, The Digital Transformation Agency. Kristin next worked with renowned British charity Comic Relief, bringing their iconic Red Nose Day campaign to the united states. Partnering with Walgreens, Mars M&M, NBC, and the Gates Foundation, her team raised over $260M for children living in poverty in the US and around the world, while establishing an independent base of operations for the US branch of the charity. Most recently, Kristin has launched a consulting business A Call To Act where she supports female entrepreneurs with business strategy, operational planning, brand and market positioning, digital content marketing, and product development.
Kristin has collaborated with Mary Symmonds over the lifespan of the Global Leadership Coalition, focusing on growth strategy, entrepreneurship curriculum, and participant communications. Kristin has also led the entrepreneurship training component of two of the Entrepreneurship Challenges and enjoys traveling to Ghana and the Caribbean to develop young entrepreneurs on their home ground.
Jean has been working in the field of personal and organizational transformation over the past 21 years. Her use of state-of-the-art knowledge and tools has developed patterns in systems thinking which have led to extraordinary success in managing through the dramatic changes and unpredictability of human resource development. Her capacity was developed in large measure from learning how to surface and challenge the manager’s mental models. She has also delivered a TED Talk on “Living the Adventure called your Life”
Monica trained as a physician and epidemiologist, worked for the United Nations for more than twenty years. She currently engages worldwide as an international expert and practitioner on leadership development for sustainable and equitable change. She works with a variety of organizations and institutions, including Universities such as the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins, governments, businesses media, and civil society using a conscious full-spectrum model for simultaneously solving problems, shifting systems, and creating new patterns sourced from individual inner capacity and transformational leadership. She has recently published an award-winning book entitled Radical Transformational Leadership.
Regional Youth Advisors
- David Adombila – Ghana
- Adrian Omar Watson – Jamaica & The Caribbean