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Speaker Biographies

Day 1: May 16, 2023

Thinking in Systems, Acting Collaboratively: An Advanced Practicum for Youth Employment 

Pia Campbell 

Pia S. Campbell is a mission-driven leader passionate about connecting people with opportunities that support them on their journey.  Pia has over 15 years’ experience in the nonprofit and private sectors, specializing in youth development, measurement, evaluation, research & learning (MERL), and systems thinking.  She serves as Director of Assets, Strategy & Knowledge, at the International Youth Foundation, where she leads strategy implementation and technical services and contributes to global growth of the organization.  She has worked in the youth and community development, economic growth, and emergency response fields in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the USA.  Ms. Campbell holds a BA from The Johns Hopkins University and a MPA from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. 

Clare Ignatowski  

Clare Ignatowski, Ph.D., is an anthropologist specializing in systems thinking, workforce development, and positive youth development.  For twelve years at USAID, she was a principal author of the Agency’s first Youth in Development Policy, led the creation of YouthPower, co-created the Youth Employment Funder’s Group, and designed youth programs for USAID Missions world-wide. In 2018, she launched the Youth Systems CollaborativeSM with colleagues, a community of practice of 11 international organizations dedicated to promoting global learning around youth systems change efforts. Currently, she serves on the Board of Helvetas USA, provides consulting services to diverse clients, and acts as Senior Advisor for Youth and Systems Thinking for Creative Associates International in Washington, DC. 


Nada Berrada 

Nada Berrada, Ph.D., is a youth scholar, practitioner, and researcher with multi-sectoral experience spanning over 8 years. As an International Project Coordinator at EDC, she brings a dynamic combination of expertise in youth and gender projects, honed through her work with reputable institutions including Virginia Tech, Princeton University, Education Development Center, UNDP, Fondation Orient Occident, German Marshall Fund, Policy Center for the New South, and The Coca-Cola Company headquarters. 

Nada's research in Political Science and Sociology from Virginia Tech underscores her passion for understanding the complex interplay of social, political, emotional, and economic factors that shape young people's lives. Her doctoral research focused on unraveling the experiences of coming of age in Morocco and the ways in which young people navigate the complex social landscapes in which they find themselves. She has taught and developed political science and humanities.curriculum at Virginia Tech. Nada is coordinator of the Youth Systems CollaborativeSM.   


Kristin Brady 

For more than twenty-five years, Kristin Brady has specialized in international development as a youth and education expert, project manager and policy maker.  She serves as Director of FHI 360’s Post Primary, Youth and Higher Education group and leads a cross-departmental Youth Hub to coordinate and share practices in youth development.  She was Project Director for USAID’s YouthPower Action global project that supported research, capacity building, innovation and tool development in positive youth development.  She has worked in Latin America and Africa, speaks Spanish and Portuguese, and published studies on public private partnerships in Latin America.  Earlier in her career, she served as senior staff on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  She has a master's degree in international Affairs from Columbia University.   

Opening Plenary - Shifting Power Dynamics through Youth-Led Development 

Silvya Kananu 

Silvya Kananu is the Project lead for USAID’s Youth Excel project, which seeks to empower youth and youth-serving organizations to use implementation research to strengthen local, national, and global development solutions. In this role, Silvya serves as part of the core leadership team, provides strategic and technical leadership, and further serves as a liaison with USAID, IREX’s consortium, and key Youth Excel stakeholders that include youth-led and youth-serving organizations and local public- and private-sector officials. 

Prior to joining IREX, Silvya worked as a director of East Africa Programs at Sinapis, where she oversaw programs focused on entrepreneurship training and job creation for youth, women, and adults in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. In her tenure, over 30,000 people were positively impacted from jobs created by the program beneficiaries. In her earlier working years, Silvya specialized in marketing and communications where she worked in brand management at Unilever and in media strategy at WPP-Scangroup.  


Marija Vasileva-Blazev  

Ms. Marija Vasileva-Blazev is an international programme lead and technical expert in the area of youth development, empowerment, and participation. She is passionate about advancing the rights and fulfilling the needs of young people everywhere and for ensuring that they are full-fledged partners in building resilient, equal and just societies. She has worked in adolescents and youth development for over 20 years in the civil society sector and at the United Nations at country, regional and global level. She currently serves as a Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. In this role, she supports the overall management, strategic direction and operational processes of the Youth Envoy’s Office as well as the positioning of the youth agenda within the overall institutional structure of the United Nations system and its intergovernmental processes across peace and security, sustainable development and human rights pillars.   


Angel Mutale  

Angel is a Zambian born youth leader with over 6 years of youth leadership experience. He has led community youth led interventions aimed at promoting climate change resilience and hosting antipollution sensitization campaigns such as the Go Clean Go green campaign. Most recently, Angel has facilitated youth led advocacy towards the inclusion of marginalized and youth with disabilities not only in decision making but also in economic participation through the creation of youth employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.  Angel holds a Bachelor of Social Work and other professional qualifications among them; Project Management for Developing professionals, Inclusive Political leadership and Civic Leadership Engagement. He is currently a VSO youth champion in Zambia. Having been a beneficiary of the VSO’ leadership tool kit coupled with his practical youth leadership makes Angel well positioned to lead the VSO youth leadership session.  


Digital Plenary  

Digital Disruption: Exploring the Future of the Digital Economy and its Implications for Youth Employment 

Andrea Park 

Andrea Park oversees skilling content for the Skills for Jobs program team within Microsoft Philanthropies. Prior to joining Microsoft, Andrea ran the Obama Foundation's programming for the Asia Pacific region and was the Assistant Director of Education at UNICEF USA. With around two decades of experience focusing on skilling, social impact and running leadership and capacity building programs, Andrea has lived and worked in over a dozen countries spanning across four continents. 

Castra Pierre 

Castra is a young Haitan activist for women’s rights and digital safety. Known locally for her work in raising public awareness against digital harm, she is the founder of the Cy-youth organization, which mainly carries out preventioncampaigns against the harmful effects of problematic Internet use. From illegal content and behaviour, such as child sexual abuse material and online harassment, to legal content and behaviour, such as disinformation, cyber-bullying and trolling, Cy-youth organization provides online safety support, expertise and education to young people across Haiti. She has also served as part of the inaugral cohort of the USAID youth digital council. 


What does Economic Empowerment Mean for Adolescent Girls and Young Women? A Diversified Conceptual Framework and Guidance on Programmatic Tailoring 

Rani Deshpande 

Rani Deshpande has two decades of experience in the fields of financial inclusion and youth economic opportunities. Currently at CGAP, she is leading an initiative to explore the role of financial inclusion in improving social and economic well-being outcomes for adolescent girls and young women. Previously at Save the Children, she managed a $35M portfolio of youth economic strengthening projects around the world, including the 6-year YouthSave Initiative which helped over 100,000 young people open savings accounts. Ms. Deshpande's previous experience includes other work on microsavings at CGAP; nonprofit management and strategy consulting for Bridgespan; building fair trade supply chains in India; and two years in the Peace Corps in Benin. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and an MBA and Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University. She is fluent in English, French, and Marathi; proficient in Spanish; and knows enough Hindi to basically figure out what's going on in a Bollywood movie. 


Kehinde Ajayi 

Kehinde Ajayi is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, working on gender equality, education, and social safety nets. Previously, Ajayi was at the World Bank, where she coordinated research initiatives on women’s economic empowerment, youth employment, social protection, and childcare in the Africa Gender Innovation Lab. Before joining the World Bank, she was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Boston University, a Faculty Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Fulbright Fellow. She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in economics and international Relations from Stanford University 


Empowering Youth-led Action: Pedagogical Best Practice for Strengthening Youth Agency 

Aaron Ausland 

Aaron Ausland is the Senior Technical Advisor for Positive Youth Development at World Vision and creator of their signature PYD model Youth Ready, which has empowered over 200,000 youth across the globe to become agents of change.  

His 25-year career in global development began with an opportunity to leverage his undergraduate research to launch a MFI serving women in rural Bolivia. He has since worked for a world beyond poverty in over 50 countries across a range of roles, including Latin America director for small enterprise development, associate director of global operations audit, director of independent research and evaluation, CSR consultant for a global mining company, and associate professor for a Master program in international community development.  

He has served on the Global Council of the Center for Inquiry Discovery and Development at SUNY Geneseo, as President of Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship, and founding editor of “The Global Citizen.” 

Getting to Success: Engaging Private Sector (PS) to Support Youth-Led Biz   

Katherine Centore  

Katherine Centore is an expert in leading technical design and providing strategic guidance to global projects in the youth development space. She is currently with Chemonics International, she helps to craft partnerships with organizations from around the world to build effective and impactful teams to carry out work with youth across technical areas. A skilled communicator, Katherine built the cohort of contributors, researchers, and writers to publish Centering Youth in the Green Workforce (Chemonics and Unbounded Associates), the Chemonics Youth Development Philosophy, and many blogs on including youth in the project design process, linking soft skills to private sector actors, how to increase youth agency in programs, and how to learn from data collected on youth projects. She is a motivated, results-oriented, and creative professional with nearly fifteen years of comprehensive experience creating and managing youth employment, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement development programs. She is an advisor on the Alliance for International Youth Development, a community of practice and an advocacy platform of more than fifteen leading U.S.-based youth and community development organizations, and an UNLEASH+ Facilitator.  


Gabriella Oken 

Gabi is a Senior Manager in Accenture Development Partnerships team with more than thirteen years of international development experience across Sub-Saharan Africa. As ADP’s Global Energy Lead, Gabi oversees ADP’s portfolio of projects focused on driving innovative solutions to electrification in the global last mile as well as the critical issues of energy equity and responsible stewardship in the global energy transition. Gabi has worked across a broad range of industry verticals, including oil & gas, mining, and utilities, as well as several access modalities including lighting and solar homes systems, clean cooking, and most notably, minigrids. Since 2012, Gabi has led a joint venture known as CE3, which deploys community owned and operated minigrids to incubate enterprise suppliers along the energy and agriculture value chains and grow latent energy demand (and long-term financial sustainability of the minigrids themselves). CE3 has successfully commissioned eight minigrids in communities across Northern Uganda and South Africa. Prior to Accenture, Gabi served as the director of Harambee SP, a 501c3 nonprofit organization she co-founded. Gabi splits her time between Washington, DC and Johannesburg, where she was born and raised. 


Angelique Roux  

Angelique Roux has 25 years of experience, collectively, in the fields of education and training, in both academic, corporate, and development settings. She is passionate about youth workforce development and entrepreneurship and firmly believes that the youth, and all future generations, need to have a voice in their own progress and development. The programs she supports strengthen life skills, work readiness skills, and entrepreneurship skills of youth in collaboration with various stakeholders such as the Department of Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Private Sector, National line agencies, and Local Government Units. Under the USAID funded Opportunity 2.0 program, implemented by Education Development Center, Angelique leads private sector engagement in support of youth seeking both wage and self-employment. In this role, she works closely with the Department of Trade and Industry in the Philippines to identify ways for youth businesses to succeed. 


Tania Tzelnic  

Tania Tzelnic, project director, is an expert in youth and workforce development. Drawing on her strong background in project design, project management, and user-experience/design thinking, she leads and advances initiatives to prepare youth for the rapidly changing digital economy. She specializes in linking the private sector to youth programs through local labor market assessments, innovation and entrepreneurship challenges, and work-based learning. Tania is an advocate for disability inclusion across youth workforce development programs. 

Tania led the USAID funded Umurimo Kuri Bose project focused on employment of youth with disabilities and provided technical assistance to the Mastercard Funded Building Resilience through e-Learning (BRITE) project, focused on e-Learning and work-based learning, both in Rwanda. She also led the Bank of America funded Virtual First Jobs mentorship program in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. In 2017, she led President Obama’s Young Southeast Asian Leader’s Initiative World of Food Innovation Challenge that invited youth across 10 countries in ASEAN to propose and develop solutions to address local challenges in aquaculture and agriculture. 

Inclusion Plenary - Intersectional Inclusion: What is it and why does development need it? 

Justine O’Sullivan 

Justine is an international development professional specializing in gender, youth, and intersectional identities. Prior to Making Cents, she worked at Women Deliver where she co-managed a fellowship for youth advocating for sexual and reproductive health and gender equity. She has also managed multiple programs and grant making initiatives to increase representation in journalism at the International Women’s Media Foundation and supported the Mandela Washington Fellowship at IREX. At Making Cents, Justine serves as the Advisor for Youth and Inclusion where she provides project management, leadership, and strategic guidance on youth and inclusive development principles and practices. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, reading, baking, and managing her mischievous cat. 


Anita Tiessen 

Anita Tiessen is Chief Executive Officer of Youth Business International, and leads the global network’s efforts to connect members, partners and young entrepreneurs to develop and scale new solutions that leverage the power of entrepreneurship to drive social and economic change. Anita has extensive experience in international development, human rights and leading global networks. Before joining Youth Business International, Anita was CEO of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, a global movement of 150 country members, where she focused on growing the organisation’s reach and impact. Previously she was Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF UK, and Head of Communications at Amnesty International’s global headquarters. 


Wevyn Mugunda 

Wevyn Muganda is a human rights activist from Mombasa, Kenya. She has served as a Cora Weiss Peacebuilding Fellow for the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and the Coordinator for ISIRIKA, a community initiative to connect and organize individuals to act. Through her blog, ‘Beyond the Lines’, she is changing and disrupting the narratives of violent extremism through stories and interlocution of laws and policies related to human rights, peace and security. In 2020, she co-initiated Mutual Aid Kenya, a Covid-19 response initiative providing essential supplies and enhancing political participation and access to economic opportunities amongst communities in informal settlements of Mombasa and Nairobi. She is part of UNDP’s Global Youth Initiative ‘16x16’ that supports 16 activists from all over the world in advancing SDG 16. She also serves in the Advisory Board for Mombasa Women Social Justice Centre and the Young People’s Action Team at Generation Unlimited. 


Regina Mwangi 

Regina Mwangi works at Sightsavers Kenya as a Programme Officer for a disability inclusive economic empowerment programme. She is a disability rights champion in Kenya with experience in promoting the inclusion of persons with disability. Regina is inspired by her personal experience of disability and a passion to see people with disability excel. In her current role, she builds the disability confidence of employers and job readiness of young persons with disabilities through different interventions. 


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