Advocates' staff is a vibrant and diverse team of youth-serving professionals and youth activists. Staff come from a variety of backgrounds, including public health, law, social work, political science, international affairs, sociology, finance/administration and research, and are dedicated to improving adolescent reproductive and sexual health, securing young people’s rights, and realizing the Rights. Respect.Responsibility.® vision.
Deb Hauser has been with Advocates for Youth for 23 years, first as Director of the Support Center for School-based Health Care, then as Executive Vice President. In January 2012, Deb became the organization's fourth President and Executive Director, representing Advocates with the media, funders and colleague organizations and speaking nationally and internationally about young people's rights to honest sexual health information, confidential sexual health services and equitable social and economic opportunities. She has been at the center of numerous innovations in the field of adolescent sexual health, including: co-founding the Future of Sex Education-an initiative producing the first-ever National Sexuality Education Standards; designing an innovative HIV/AIDS prevention and testing-to-treatment program on Historically Black Colleges and Universities; expanding the Great American Condom Campaign into a ground-breaking effort to normalize condom use on more than 1,000 college campuses across the U.S.; and helping to build the infrastructure of the LGBT youth movement in the Global South. Deb is committed to a cascading style of leadership that promotes youth activists as change agents and leaders in the field.
Before coming to Advocates, Deb served as Director of Community Health Services for the City of Atlantic City where she designed, implemented, and evaluated sexuality education, HIV prevention, health promotion, teen pregnancy prevention, and teen parenting programs. Early in her career, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay, implementing child spacing, oral re-hydration, and childhood immunization programs. Deb serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the American Sexual Health Association and is a member of the CDC/HRSA Advisory Committee on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STD Prevention and Treatment. She is proficient in Spanish and holds a Masters of Public Health in Population Planning and International Health from the University of Michigan.
Kathleen Farrell, Vice President of Finance and Administration, oversees the organization’s financial management/controls. She prepares the organizational budget, works with program staff to develop proposals and financial reports for Advocates’ funders, and works closely with the Board of Directors’ Finance and Audit Committees. She has spent the vast majority of her career working in various program and management capacities for Advocates for Youth. Kathy holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the College of William and Mary.
Aimée is the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at Advocates for Youth, where she oversees and coordinates the development, implementation, and evaluation of Advocates' strategic partnerships with youth activists and colleague organizations in allied social justice movements. She also oversees the Youth Organizing and Mobilization Team and the Policy Team. Prior to joining the staff at Advocates, she served as the Interim Executive Director for the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and the Executive Director of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project (PEP). She sits on the Board of Directors for SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, Mobilize the Immigrant Vote and RH Reality Check and is a Public Voices Fellow. She has spoken around the country at venues including the NOW National Conference, Netroots Nation, Center for American Progress, and Facing Race, and her writing and blogs have appeared on Women's e-News, Daily Kos, Feministing, Feministe, and RH Reality Check among others. Aimée earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York.
Jennifer Augustine is the Director of the HIV/STI Prevention Division at Advocates for Youth. She oversees the provision of technical assistance and training to national and community-based organizations serving high-risk youth. Jennifer has 14 years of experience in adolescent sexual and reproductive health. She received a Master’s in Public Health from the George Washington University and is a certified health education specialist.
Eleanor has an extensive background as a strategic researcher and versatile writer for high-profile campaigns and national nonprofit organizations, along with a proven track record in foundation relations and grants management. She is responsible for contributing to the success of Advocates for Youth’s development program raising approximately $6.5M annually, including foundation strategy, prospect identification, proposal development, grant reporting and grants administration. Eleanor previously coordinated all aspects of foundation relationships, including drafting successful grant documents, for the National Partnership for Women & Families, a well-respected advocacy organization with a complex policy portfolio and having an annual budget of $8 million. She received her BA from Syracuse University and her JD from American University’s Washington College of Law. She serves on the community advisory board of the Teen Alliance for Prepared Parenting Program (TAPP) in Washington D.C.
Urooj Arshad is the Associate director of International Youth Health and Rights at Advocates for Youth. She manages a project of the International Division that builds the capacity of youth-driven organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean to empower young people as strong advocates within their own countries and at international forums on reproductive and sexual health and rights of youth, especially young women and LGBTQ youth. She has also designed a project that seeks to address the reproductive and sexual health needs of Muslim-identified youth.
Previously, Urooj provided capacity-building services to community-based organizations working with youth of color around reproductive and sexual health. Urooj has presented about her work at several domestic and international conferences, including the International HIV/AIDS Conference 2010 in Vienna, Austria; the Youth Pre-conference to the International HIV/AIDS Conference 2012 in Washington, DC; International HIV/AIDS Conference 2014 in Melbourne; the European Science Foundation’s conference on Religion, Gender and Human Rights 2011 in Linkoping, Sweden; the LGBT Pride and Heritage Event hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; the State Department; the National Press Club; Georgetown University and Princeton. Urooj was also the keynote speaker at the LGBTQ Symposium 2013 at American University.
Urooj has had seventeen years of experience organizing within LGBTQ communities of color, especially addressing issues of Islamophobia, violence, sexism, transphobia, and ageism. She is a steering committee member of the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) which seeks to address the intersectional impact of Islamophobia, homophobia, and transphobia. Urooj has been a member of the Center for American Progress’ Women’s Health Leadership Network and its Faith and Reproductive Justice Institute. Urooj has been a fellow with the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute and a current member of the Kalamazoo College Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership’s global advisory board and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice’s board of directors.
Urooj is the recipient of several awards including the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance’s 2012 NQAPIA Community Catalyst Award and the Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition’s We Speak award. Urooj was selected to serve on the U.S delegation to the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
Arlene designs and develops day-to-day operations of Advocates’ organizational websites. She manages the distribution of e-mail newsletters, action alerts, and records site metrics. She graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelors of Arts in Graphic Design.
Emily Bridges oversees Advpcates' innovative and dynamic communications strategy, including a wide array of social media properties and groundbreaking online activism campaigns. Emily manages the content of Advocates' web sites, including www.advocatesforyouth.org and www.amplifyyourvoice.org, finalizes materials for publication, develops fact sheets and other educational materials, and assists staff, Advocates' partners, and the public with research. Emily has a Master's in Library Science from the University of Maryland and a BA in English from Towson University. She has been with Advocates since 2006.
Ariel Cerrud drives the engagement of young people in Advocates policy work at the UN and has led Advocate's youth delegations at multiple international development meetings. Ariel manages the Great American Condom Campaign and the International Youth Leadership Council through which he maintains a cadre of over 1,000 youth leaders from the US and global south who are working to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights policy and programs. Ariel has over ten years of experience as an advocate, trainer, and educator with a focus on adolescent health and behavior, LGBT rights and youth leadership development. Ariel has presented about his work at several domestic and international conferences including the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, National Council of La Raza National Conference and the International HIV/AIDS Conference in Washington DC and Melbourne, Australia. Ariel has served on the Advocates for Youth Board and is an alumni of YouthResource.
Nicole Cheetham has over 20 years of experience working in international public health and oversees Advocates' international programs in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Nicole also provides technical assistance and training to partner organizations in sub-Saharan Africa in support of adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights program design and implementation. Core areas of expertise include youth-led advocacy, community mobilization, peer education, youth-friendly services, and parent-child communication. Nicole leads Advocates' international efforts on sexuality education, with expertise in training, instructional design, and curriculum review and has recently worked with UNESCO and UNFPA to develop and pre-test a teacher training module for use in East and Southern Africa. Nicole holds a Masters of Health Sciences in International Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of American Sexuality Education, and is fluent in English, Spanish and French.
Rachel works directly with the media to add the voice of young people in the conversation about adolescent reproductive sexual health; promotes the organization, its programs and campaigns; leads media trainings; and engages external audiences with Advocates' various social media properties. A native Washingtonian, Rachel graduated from The George Washington University with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Communications. Prior to joining Advocates she was a Senior Account Executive at GolinHarris, a global PR agency, was the Communications Assistant at the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, and worked at Strauss Radio Strategies and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Annie promotes Advocates’ programs and campaigns through the implementation of their social media strategy and texting initiative. She also assists in the distribution of email Action Alerts. Prior to joining Advocates she was a Communications Associate at the Consumer Federation of America. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Communications and a focus in Public Relations.
Yvonne Gaither has been Advocates for Youth’s Office Administrator since 1994. Yvonne has over 14 years of corporate bookkeeping and accounting experience and has worked with nonprofits for over 19 years. Yvonne has also participated in volunteer work at D.C. General Hospital and Columbia Hospital for Women.
Nora Gelperin is the Director of Sexuality Education and Training at Advocates for Youth. Nora is one of the national technical assistance providers on the Working to Institutionalize Sex Ed (WISE) initiative and has been a member of the Future of Sex Education (FoSE) initiative since it's founding. She has more than twenty years of experience providing sexuality education to youth and professional development to school health and education professionals. Prior to joining Advocates she was the Director of Training at Answer where she founded the Training Institute in Sexual Health Education (TISHE) and Answer's online professional development workshops. She was a community educator with Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey. Nora holds a Masters in School Health Education from Temple University was awarded a Mary Lee Tatum Award from Planned Parenthood Leaders in Education (APPLE) and has been named a 2014 Fellow of the American School Health Association.
Rana Holland has been at Advocates for Youth since July 1987. After nine months on the front desk, she became the Executive Secretary. Until 1992, she worked for Judith Senderowitz, our founding Executive Director/President who currently serves on the Board of Directors. She also worked for the two executive director/presidents who served between Judy and our current CEO, Debra Hauser.
Sophia Kerby is the State Policy & Partnerships Coordinator at Advocates for Youth. She works with local and state-based organizations and youth activists across the country to advocate for cultural and policy changes that improve and value young people's sexual and reproductive health and rights. Sophia is a advocate for civil and human rights. Most recently, she was the Policy Associate at the Brennan Center, where she worked on racial and criminal justice advocacy and reform, voting rights, and ex-felon enfranchisement. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Sophia worked at the Center for American Progress where her work focused on communities of color, women and their socioeconomic intersections. Sophia is originally from New York and holds a Bachelors degree in Government and Politics from University of Maryland-College Park.
Amanda Keifer, MPH, serves as Advocates' International Policy Analyst. Keifer comes to Advocates from Ipas, where she worked as a consultant analyzing U.S. foreign policy and advocating policies to promote reproductive health and rights, including abortion access, for women and girls in developing countries. She received her Masters of Public Health from George Washington University, focusing her studies on global health policy and federal funding for international family planning and reproductive health. Keifer also worked at the Public Health Institute, where she advocated for young people's access to sexual and reproductive rights and health both on the Hill and through United Nations processes.
J. has worked in the information technology field for more than a decade and has been Manager of Information Technology at Advocates for Youth since 2006.
Abbey is Advocates for Youth's 2014-15 Law Students for Reproductive Justice Law & Policy Fellow. She works to advance federal reproductive and sexual health policy, focusing heavily on the ability of young people to access and consent to the full range of reproductive health care services. Abbey recently completed her term on the Board of Directors of Law Students for Reproductive Justice and serves as a volunteer case manager for the DC Abortion Fund. She graduated in 2009 from George Washington University with a degree in Political Science and Women's Studies and is a 2014 graduate of Harvard Law School. In college, she worked with Advocates for Youth as a public policy intern and member of the International Youth Leadership Council. Between college and law school, Abbey worked for the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division.
Januari McKay is the Program Coordinator for Health and Social Equity. Januari received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Health Education from North Carolina Central University. She has worked with various non-profit organizations implementing group-level youth development interventions and conducting HIV testing and counseling services. From 2011-2013 Januari served as a Young Women of Color Leadership Council member. She served on the DC Community Coalition Youth Core where she assisted in planning events for the 2012 International Conference on AIDS. Because of her exemplary commitment to HIV/AIDS education and prevention through volunteerism and service in the District of Columbia, Januari was selected as the 2012 Mayor’s Community Service Award recipient for The Advocate Award for HIV/AIDS. She currently serves as co-chair for the Women’s Health Policy Network with the Women’s Information Network (WIN).
Diana Thu-Thao Rhodes
Diana Thu-Thao Rhodes is the Director of Public Policy, where she oversees Advocates' international, federal and state policy strategy and advocacy efforts on a wide range of reproductive and sexual health/rights/justice issues that affect young people. Since being at Advocates, she has managed the Cultural Advocacy and Mobilization Initiative (CAMI) where she assisted state partners and youth activists in building advocacy strategies and passing proactive sex education policies in states, including Colorado and Broward County, Florida - as well as provided intensive technical assistance for over 25 state-based organizations/coalitions in order to improve the youth reproductive sexual health/rights policy in their communities. Her expertise and work at Advocates continues to be working with coalitions, advocates and youth activists on policy analysis, policy advocacy strategy, grassroots campaigns, and youth/adult partnerships. Diana has been working in social justice movements for nearly a decade - with both grassroots and grasstops stakeholders - primarily around issues that affect women, young people, communities of color, and the LGTBQ community. Prior to Advocates, Diana worked directly with women state legislators and Members of Parliament, facilitating strategic planning sessions on women's human rights issues. Her passion lies in facilitating and creating intentional spaces for not only social justice, but also for creativity and radical self-expression. She holds an M.A. from George Washington University in Public Policy with a concentration in Women's Studies, as well as a B.A. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Sociology and Women's Studies.
Jen is a fundraiser and organizational management specialist whose mantra is "no money, no mission." In her past three years at Advocates, she has diversified the organization's fundraising by adding a corporate philanthropy program, piloting a Youth Fundraising Advisory Board Corporate, deepening and expanding foundation prospecting and cultivation efforts and beginning to build a base of individual donors through engagement of the Board of Directors to invest in Advocates' necessary, urgent and unique programs to put youth at the center. Prior to her work at Advocates, she managed multi-million dollar fundraising efforts for the American Red Cross where she led the team at the heart of the Red Cross' ability to have the funds needed to respond quickly and decisively to catastrophic events like the earthquakes in Japan and Haiti. In response to the Haiti earthquake alone, her team helped raise more than $350 million, including the launch of a mobile giving campaign which earned an unprecedented $31+ million, more than 1 million online transactions totaling $100+ million, and approximately $20 million in corporate support. At the age of 28, she was the Senior Vice President & Director of Development at the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA). At NARAL Pro-Choice America, she managed the logistics and finances of the 2004 March for Women's Lives, which brought more than a million supporters to Washington, DC. Jen is a proud alum of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in Economics and Political Science.
Mary Beth Szydlowski