Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders in Non-Profit of 2023. In today's non-profit world, women make up more than 70% of professionals, a sector that holds significant importance in the U.S. economy, contributing a substantial $1.4 trillion to the American economy in the first quarter of 2022. Armed with their strong leadership abilities and a pioneering spirit, these women are leaving a profound mark on the communities they serve across various domains. This includes the orchestration of grassroots fundraising initiatives, spearheading global movements, and a myriad of other impactful endeavors.

Notably, research has demonstrated that nonprofits led by women in top positions tend to achieve greater success. They consistently outperform their counterparts in realizing their missions, attaining their objectives, and fostering higher employee satisfaction with the organization's overall performance. Acknowledging the evident influence of female leaders, this year's list of awardees includes women who have played pivotal roles in guiding their non-profits across diverse sectors such as education, housing, environmental conservation, healthcare, and various others.

Among the distinguished honorees featured on this year's list, Wendy Sullivan stands out, leveraging nearly four decades of advocacy experience in her capacity as CEO of Easterseals Midwest, where her leadership has propelled the organization to become the largest provider of developmental disability services in Missouri. Another exemplary figure is Jennifer Harris, who holds the position of Senior Vice President of Philanthropy at the National Park Foundation, overseeing a team of more than 20 experts dedicated to generating an impressive annual sum of over $30 million in support of national parks. 

Lastly, we have Mona Mourshed, a seasoned leader in the education and workforce domains, who brings her extensive expertise to the role of founding Global CEO at Generation; her accolades include being previously recognized as one of Fortune Magazine's "40 Under 40" honorees and her authorship of widely-cited reports in the field of education.

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders in Non-profit of 2023.

3. Colleen Finn Ridenhour
Chief Growth and Strategy Officer, Feed the Children

Colleen Ridenhour is the Chief Growth and Strategy Officer of Feed the Children. Established in 1979, Feed the Children exists to defeat childhood hunger. It is one of the largest US-based charities, and serves those in need within the US and 8 countries around the world. It provides food, education initiatives, essentials, and disaster response. In her role, Ridenhour is responsible for leading the organization's strategic plan that will advance its mission, growth strategy, and impact. She has oversight of marketing, branding, and fundraising programs and is charged with leading US program development and implementation to ensure the organization's increased contribution to reducing childhood hunger. Ridenhour has 27 years of experience. She began her career in 1996.

Before joining Feed the Children, Ridenhour was a chief development officer at Habitat for Humanity International, and before that a senior director of corporate alliances at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Earlier in her career she worked with DMB&B Advertising (Mediavest) as an assistant media planner. Ridenhour graduated from Wake Forest University with an undergraduate degree in health and sports science.

4. Janice Aeppli
SVP of Chapter Operations, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Janice Hurtado Aeppli joined AFSP in 2006 as the Midwest regional director where she worked with the Illinois Chapter to grow the Chicago community walk to be the number one fundraising walk in the country. She was the first to serve as a division director when AFSP’s division structure was first implemented in 2008 and then became senior director for the Central Division in 2015. In her current role as Senior Vice President, she is responsible for the overall leadership, strategic management, growth, and development of AFSP’s national chapter structure.

Before joining AFSP, Aeppli worked for United Way placing and training corporate women and people of color to serve on non-profit boards of directors. She has worked and volunteered on the board level with national non-profit organizations such as United Way, the YWCA, AIDSWalk, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, and the Boys and Girls Clubs. Her expertise includes work in board development, capacity building, diversity & inclusion, volunteer recruitment, conflict resolution, fundraising, marketing & communications, event planning, and non-profit management. Aeppli attended Binghamton University where she received a degree in political science and holds a master’s degree in public relations from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She also holds an executive certificate for diversity and inclusion from Cornell University.

5. Priyanka Sharma
Vice President, World Education

As Vice President of World Education, Priyanka Sharma oversees the organization’s US education portfolio and co-leads Digital US, a national collective cross-sector impact initiative that is designing and implementing a learn and work ecosystem that fosters digital resilience for all. With her leadership at World Education, she supports the global organization’s dedication to enriching people’s lives worldwide through education, public health, and social and economic development programming. An expert in innovative project design, Sharma continues to provide leadership to multiple national initiatives on college and career readiness, financial literacy, technology integration, and digital literacy. 

With a deep commitment to social justice and community involvement, Sharma brings an equity-centered perspective to her work. As a first-generation immigrant, Sharma has a firm belief in the transformative power of education and technology and integrates equity in her work through human-centered design. Sharma continues to develop and lead innovative projects that advance digital equity and leverage technology to increase the reach and impact of education and workforce programs. 

Sharma has over 18 years of experience in non-profit leadership in adult education, and career and college readiness. She advises diverse digital initiatives, including leading employers, non-profits, and organization’s global projects. Sharma also serves as a Board member of the groundbreaking organization, We Care Solar, which works at the intersection of education, health, and climate change. She has a degree in biology and anthropology from the State University of New York. 

8. Deborah Gokie
Vice President, Consumer Health and Ease of Use, Arthritis Foundation

Deborah Gokie is the Vice President of Consumer Health and Ease of Use at the Arthritis Foundation, leading innovative collaborative partnerships for the Arthritis Foundation, overseeing the Foundation’s licensing program, with a focus on easy-to-use design elements for packages and products in the market today. More than 60 million Americans and many children live with arthritis, and the Arthritis Foundation is boldly pursuing a cure for America's #1 cause of disability while championing the fight to conquer arthritis with life-changing science, resources, advocacy, and community connections. With more than 25 years in the non-profit industry, Deborah is an innovative strategic fundraising leader who is mission-centered and drives outcomes through integrated strategies. She can identify opportunities, foresee barriers, and implement plans to complete company objectives.

Deborah’s proven ability to cultivate and sustain relationships at the highest levels with corporate partners, donors, staff, volunteers, and community members has led to successful long-lasting partnerships throughout her career. Deborah is a successful leader and strategic visionary who drives cross-functional collaborations resulting in the achievement and growth of organizational goals. She has presented at several leadership workshops for women and has had the fortunate experience of being supported by many women in her career. Gokie attended the University of Nebraska-Kearney with a focus on business, management, and marketing.

11. Cici Ebersole
Chief Talent Officer, Ducks Unlimited

Cici leads the Human Resources function at Ducks Unlimited and is a member of DU's Executive Leadership Team. Before joining DU, she held senior HR leadership roles at several top organizations including Smith & Nephew, Express Scripts (now part of Cigna), and Jackson Hewitt. Cici began her career in Human Resources as an employment law attorney and has since had an extensive and successful history of working in the non-profit, supply chain, medical device, healthcare, financial services, and retail. She is skilled in proactive employee relations and engagement, culture building, organizational planning, recruiting, and leadership development. Cici has a passion for helping leaders in their professional development journey and finding strengths in their organizations. With over 20 years of experience in employment law and human resources, Cici brings credibility to the human resources function as a true organizational partner. 

She is a member of the Society of Human Resources Executive Network, the SHRM Voice of Work panel, the Chief HR Officer Council at the Conference Board, as well as an Advisory Board Member of the Women in Leadership Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She holds an MBA from the University of Central Arkansas as well as a JD, and an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of the Philippines. In Cici's spare time, she enjoys traveling with her family, reading, yoga, and enjoying the outdoors. She manages a busy household, made up of two young children, two huge dogs, and a cat, with her husband of 18 years.

12. Beth Alexander
Vice President of Development, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee

Beth Alexander is the Vice President of Development at Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. She is a tireless, results-driven leader with more than 25 years of leadership in sectors from non-profits to media to public companies. For more than 60 years, the locally operated non-profit organization Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. Goodwill's vision is that all people will have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential through the power of work.

A former contributing editor for the Nashville Scene, Alexander was an editor and publisher at Nfocus magazine for 8 years, increasing circulation by 50% and ad sales by 30% YOY for more than 4 consecutive years. A skilled editor and writer, she has led marketing and communications for a full-service financial institution, directed and executed internal and external communications; developed collateral materials for sales teams; and created internal and external campaign management, communications briefs, and messaging as needed for the founding CEO. 

A committed volunteer nationally and locally, she has served as president of the Leadership Nashville Alumni Association and 9 other non-profit boards. A national public speaker for voluntarism, and trainer in communications, group growth and dynamics, motivation, and fundraising, she designed and conducted training around the US in communications and motivation. She has led diversity training and development as an Association of Junior Leagues international board member and served on the boards of Family Service America and the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, advocating for children on local, regional, and national levels. Her community fundraising record consistently includes sold-out events with typical results 33% higher than the prior year. Alexander earned an undergraduate degree in marketing management from the ABA School of Bank Marketing.

15. Catherine Milone
Chief Development Officer, Junior Achievement USA

Catherine joined Junior Achievement USA in 2022, after eighteen years as president of the organization’s statewide operation in NJ. Reporting directly to the CEO and serving as Chief Development Officer, Catherine leads JA USA’s development strategies that support the organization’s transformational goals and operational objectives. 

Before JA USA, Catherine was president of JA New Jersey where she managed statewide operations impacting one million NJ youth during her tenure. Since 2004, Catherine and her team expanded JA NJ by 455% and have been awarded five national Peak Performance Team Awards and the coveted Charles R. Hook Award, JA USA’s most prestigious honor recognizing an area president and staff for their outstanding performance. 

Catherine serves as an independent director for the KearnyBank Foundation and is a member of the Board of Trustees for Focus NJ, Inc. Catherine was appointed to the NJ State Employment and Training Commission in 2016 and is Chair of their Youth Vision Council. Her acknowledgments include NJBIZ Best 50 Women in Business; NJBIA Leonard C. Johnson Award; African American Chamber of Commerce NJ 2022 Women Who Empower; YWCA Princeton Tribute to Women; and Muriel Siebert Financial Literacy Partnership Award. She is a graduate of Lead New Jersey, Class of 2011. Catherine earned her BS in business and marketing at Utica College of Syracuse University. 

View the complete list of awardees

17. Nina Longino
Executive Director, iMentor

Nina Longino is an Executive Director of iMentor. She leads all aspects of the iMentor 1:1 mentoring program in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), building on the team’s successes with their five CPS partner schools and navigating opportunities to grow and better serve the city. Nina came to iMentor Chicago in 2018 from Woodlawn Children’s Promise Community (WCPC), a South Side Chicago non-profit modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone. Nina spent eight years at WCPC, the last two as executive director.

Before coming to Chicago, Nina worked in higher education as the assistant dean for multicultural affairs at Fordham University. She is a graduate of Tufts University and is a past fellow of the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy.

19. Shari Krull
Chief Executive Officer, StreetWise Partners

Shari Krull is a champion of economic equity and opportunity advancement for under-served communities as well as a recognized organizational change agent within the non-profit space. She is currently the CEO of StreetWise Partners, an innovative mentoring program driving career success for over 650 adults each year. Over the past seven years, Shari has transformed the organization from a grassroots operation to a national movement, operating in multiple cities and engaging 2000+ volunteers each year. Before Streetwise, Shari was the executive director of Grace Institute where she led the transformation of a century-old organization into a market leader in workforce development.

Shari spent her early career supporting vulnerable families within the foster care and mental health systems. Shari served as an advocate for the District Attorney’s office in Brooklyn where she empowered survivors of domestic violence. In the early 2000s, Shari transitioned into the mentoring field, spending 11 years with Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers, where she held positions of program director, development director, and managing director.

Shari has a masters in social work from Columbia University. She has served as an Adjunct Professor for New York University and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the New York City Employment and Training Coalition. She is an advisor to The Ready Foundation as well.

Shari works in NYC and lives on Long Island with her two children, 5 fish, and their beloved bearded dragon.

20. Jennifer Harris
Senior Vice President of Philanthropy, National Park Foundation

As the Senior Vice President of philanthropy, Jennifer Harris oversees a team of more than 20 philanthropy experts, supporting NPF's campaign team, planned and annual giving efforts, donor relations, strategic services, and prospect research and portfolio management. Her team annually generates over $30M a year to support our national parks. Working with her team and other NPF colleagues, Jennifer focuses on strategic, systematic growth. Specializing in research-driven solutions for non-profit organizations throughout her career, she has a proven record of developing and harnessing strategic plans, community partnerships, board networks, strong teams, and relationships to drive significant fundraising outcomes.

Before the National Park Foundation, Jennifer was a senior vice president at Graham-Pelton, where she worked with national and global non-profits to drive fundraising outcomes and operational excellence. Jennifer also previously worked at Northwestern Memorial Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Northwestern Medicine. While there, she developed and launched a comprehensive community granting program. Jennifer also created a strategic plan and strategy, which helped secure the largest historic gift at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage. Jennifer has served in numerous advancement roles, including executive director of advancement at National Louis University (NLU), where she led the team to secure its most significant historical grants. Under her leadership at NLU, the organization more than tripled fundraising in four years. Jennifer is also the volunteer publisher and editorial director of JackLeg Press. She and her family are often out and about in DC. You might catch them hiking in Rock Creek Park or riding bikes around the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

22. Christian Nunes
National President, National Organization for Women

Christian Nunes became the National Organization for Women’s president in August 2020. She was previously appointed vice president by the board in May 2019. As the second African-American president in the organization’s history, the youngest person of color, and the youngest president in more than 40 years, Nunes is leading the organization through an intersectional lens, bringing a diverse coalition of grassroots activists to work against structural sexism and racism. Nunes is a former NOW board member and committee chair, as well as a licensed clinical social worker, consultant, and woman-minority business owner.  She is an active community organizer and public speaker, regularly featured at events such as the March for Black Women, and Women’s March Events, and rallies around the country in support of the Equal Rights Amendment and immigration rights.  Along with her activism for mental health, Nunes has more than 20 years of experience advocating for children’s and women’s issues.

Since assuming a leadership role at NOW, Nunes has launched key initiatives such as the Unlock the Future campaign, which demands humane treatment for detained immigrant families, in particular women and girls seeking refuge from sexual violence, assault, and poverty. She led the creation of a Bill of Rights for Immigrant Women and Girls, which has been signed by thousands of supporters and co-sponsors. She is also spearheading racial equity training for all levels of the organization, including NOW’s grassroots membership. Nunes is the founder of a behavioral health and consulting practice, where she assisted social service and behavioral health companies, and provided direct mental health services to individuals and families. Her expertise in mental health helps her to understand the direct experience of constituents and understand where policy and legislation are disconnected from the real experience of the people. “It helps me become a better activist and advocate, as well as understand the pieces that are often missing in policy and legislation,” Nunes says.

She received her undergraduate degree in social work (BSW) from Northern Arizona University, her MS degree from Columbia University, and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.

23. Shane Woods
Executive Director, Girlstart

Shane Woods is Girlstart’s Executive Director. Girlstart is an Austin, Texas-based non-profit organization celebrating 25 years of engaging girls in informal educational opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Despite making up nearly half of the US workforce and holding as many undergraduate degrees as men overall, women are still vastly underrepresented in the STEM workforce and among STEM degree holders. Through its comprehensive programming of After-school, Summer Camp, and Community STEM events, Girlstart provides a year-round, intensive suite of STEM education programs for thousands of K-12 girls each year.

She began her career as a middle school science teacher in the Fort Worth Independent School District. In her 17 years with the district, Shane was able to make her mark in every position she held, from department chair to leading the entire district as the K-12 science director overseeing curriculum and assessment development while supporting teachers in honing their skills through year-long professional learning opportunities. 

Most recently, Shane acted as the senior director of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas STEM Center of Excellence, which is a 92-acre living laboratory where kids of all ages can explore and develop their competence and confidence in science, technology, engineering, and math – all while cultivating essential skills such as confidence, resilience, leadership, risk-taking, and problem-solving. Shane has a BS in biology from Xavier University of New Orleans and an MS. Ed in middle-level science and mathematics from Walden University.

24. Isis Dallis
Executive Director, Climate Nexus

Isis Dallis is an accomplished brand strategist, communications professional, and executive leader with over 20 years of experience building teams, leading companies, and transforming organizational cultures. In her role as Executive Director of Climate Nexus, Isis brings her deep commitment to climate action, solutions, and justice, as well as a range of experience, working for a variety of large advertising agencies, well-known consumer brands, purpose-driven consultancies, and her non-profit. Throughout her career, her focus has been at the intersection of strategic communications, social impact, and organizational management, leveraging the power of narrative change and design thinking to drive cultural, behavioral, and systemic change.

Before joining Climate Nexus, Isis served as a managing partner for award-winning social impact consultancy and B Corporation Matter Unlimited, where Isis was responsible for growth, driving operational excellence, and building an empathetic and high-performing team culture. Under her leadership, the agency was recognized with multiple Anthem and Fast Company Innovation Awards, and in 2022, Matter was recognized as Inc. Magazine’s Best in Business. 

Isis has an exceptional talent for connecting cultural signals to business trends and offering valuable insights. Her thought leadership has been featured in renowned publications such as Fast Company and Quartz, where she provides thought-provoking analysis and commentary on the intersections of culture, business, and social impact. In addition, she is also a fierce advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace, and has been cited in various industry-leading publications, including The Business of Race. Isis holds dual degrees in sociology and African and African American studies, as well as a certificate in markets and management studies from Duke University.

27. Danielle Hilliker
President & CEO, Southeastern Michigan Health Association

Danielle Hilliker is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Southeastern Michigan Health Association, a non-profit organization. SEMHA was first known as the Southeastern Michigan Tuberculosis Detection Project to mainly focus on the area of tuberculosis control. In the beginning of 1972, the organization began expanding its reach by broadening services, partnerships, and programs with public health systems, to deliver health promotion and to create risk reduction activities. Further, to provide value-based contract management services to state and local health agencies, private foundations, and health programs serving residents of Michigan.

Hilliker is a social justice warrior and community change advocate, passionate about issuing societal change in the non-profit sector. Hilliker serves as the Chief Executive Officer leading the organization to expand by way of her expertise in strategic organizational development, capacity building, and fund development. Hilliker has consulted and led a variety of non-profits in various sectors, from PYXERA Global to the Capitol of the United States, as well as the Michigan Women’s Foundation. During her tenure, she was awarded as a fellow with the Cross-Generational Women Leaders in Washington DC, to partner with young and senior women leaders on key issues at the local, state, and national level.

Hilliker has served as a board member for Teen Hype, Community Development Advocates of Detroit, and on the D&I Council for Troy School District. She has immersed herself in the fight for systemic change, and she focuses on issues of social justice, equity, social determinants of health, and community development work. Hilliker holds a master of science from Spring Arbor University, concentrating in management organizational development, and is currently pursuing her PhD in public policy and administration focusing on international nongovernmental organizations.

View the complete list of awardees

28. Maryum Lewis
President & Chief Executive Officer, Status: Home

Maryum Lewis currently serves as the President & CEO of Status: Home, Inc. – formerly known as Jerusalem House. In this role, Lewis directs all operations, oversees staff, and strategizes fundraising activities for the organization, which is Atlanta’s oldest and largest HIV/AIDS permanent supportive housing provider. Status: Home is one of the 75 largest non-profits in Atlanta with a budget of $8.8M and a staff of close to 50. Each year, the organization houses close to 400 people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Maryum came to Status: Home in 2021 with over two decades of diverse non-profit leadership experience including executive, fundraising, organizational management, board leadership, volunteer management, and consulting. She earned a BA degree in English from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in non-profit leadership from Georgia State University and studied at Harvard Business School in 2023 in the Strategic Perspectives in Non-profit Management program. She is a past faculty member at the Georgia Center for Non-profits, a 2018 graduate of Leadership DeKalb, and 2019 Chair of National Philanthropy Day.

Maryum previously served on the board of the DeKalb Library Foundation, The Museum School of Avondale Estates, and the Community Advisory Board of the Georgia State University Prevention Research Council. In 2022 and 2023, she was selected as a Georgia Titan 100, one of Georgia’s Top CEOs & C-Level Executives. In addition, she is a proud member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2023. She currently serves on the board of directors for the National HIV/AIDS Housing Coalition. 

31. Melanie Davis
Executive Director & CEO, Physical and Health Education Canada

Melanie Davis is the Executive Director and CEO of Physical and Health Education Canada. Established in 1933, Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) champions healthy, active kids by promoting and advancing quality health and physical education opportunities and healthy learning environments. Supporting community champions with quality programs, professional development services, and community activation initiatives, PHE Canada inspires all to live healthy, physically active lives.

At PHE Canada, Melanie has been a transformative leader, advocating for educational advancement and building partnerships for collective impact all whilst re-building PHE Canada as a strong and sustainable organization. During Melanie’s tenure, PHE Canada has rebounded from a financial deficit and a committed, vibrant, diverse and awesome staff team has been built. During this time as well, Melanie has been awarded a NEOC Employer of Choice award and the University of Ottawa’s Employer of the Year award. 

 Melanie’s leadership and collaborative style through the global pandemic was a critical point for the physical and health education sector across Canada. Through a process of creative, rapid design and authentic leadership, Melanie empowered the education sector's ability to safely pivot to teaching at a distance and enabled a whole continuum of quality academic, physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and social learning activities despite the complex and dynamic reality of the pandemic. During this time, Melanies’ work garnered both national and international recognition and has led to a legacy of transformative programs and resources to support educators, school system leaders and ultimately supporting young people to live well.

32. Nancy K. Racette
Chief Operating Officer, DRiWaterstone Human Capital 

Nancy Racette is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of DRiWaterstone. Driven by the belief that every person can have a fundamental impact on the world, Nancy spent decades designing innovative fundraising and communications programs to fuel the growth of sustainable non-profit organizations. In 2001, she began providing executive search and development consulting to help non-profits across the country build their own capacity to grow, thrive, and excel. Nancy’s consulting work has helped numerous non-profit organizations design and fill powerful staff structures. Working with national organizations such as The American Association of Immunologists, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, and The Foundation Fighting Blindness, Nancy has advised Boards of Directors and CEOs on how to identify their most transformative initiatives and how to invest in staffing structures that advance them. 

Nancy’s advice has turned strategic plans into strategic hires for start-ups and established organizations engaging a new generation of stakeholders in imaginative ways. In addition to designing staff structures, Nancy has also led executive searches for more than 250 leaders who have reshaped critical non-profit operations. Nancy's strategic consulting and executive search draw on her decades of experience developing initiatives that reshaped fundraising for the American Red Cross and Girls Scouts. Her broad expertise spans cause marketing, disaster fundraising, major giving, and fundraising campaigns. and she continues to mentor and coach non-profit leaders today. 

Nancy has been an innovative volunteer in the non-profit sector. She served for 6 years on the Board of Directors at YWCA USA and remains on the Development Committee. She has been a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) - Washington D.C. Metro Area Chapter. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy and has chaired AFP’s Education Advisory Committee. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Ellington Fund for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Nancy is a graduate of Boston University’s School of Public Communications. She attended the Executive Management Program at Harvard University and held a Certified Fund Raising Executive credential from CFRE International for 24 years. 

33. Shannon Razsadin
President and Executive Director, Military Family Advisory Network

Shannon Razsadin is a non-profit executive, commentator, communications strategist, and spouse of a recently retired service member. As President of the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN), she is a champion and national spokesperson for service members, veterans, and their families. Razsadin is a subject matter expert on the military-civilian divide, family well-being and preparedness, financial readiness, food insecurity, housing, and more. Mrs. Razsadin is a regular contributor to AP, CBS Evening News, CNN, Fox, NBC, NPR, and other global-reaching media entities. She has delivered thought-leadership remarks to higher education, Fortune 500, research and policy, and military audiences. 

Razsadin currently serves as a member of the Department of Defense’s Military Family Readiness Council, a congressionally-mandated advisory committee that reports to the Secretary of Defense in order to review, evaluate, and monitor DoD’s military family readiness policies, programs, plans, and initiatives. She also holds several leadership positions with military- and veteran-service organization coalitions. 

In September 2022, Razsadin spoke on a panel at the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health — ensuring military and veteran families were included in the Biden-Harris Administration’s national strategy to end hunger by 2030. Prior to MFAN, Razsadin served as director for Reingold, an award-winning strategic communications and marketing firm, as well as program coordinator for The George Washington University. Razsadin received her BA from Merrimack College and her MA from George Washington University. She resides in Newport, RI, with her husband and two children.

35. Sophia M. Piliouras
Chief Operating Officer & Corporate Secretary, Minority Corporate Counsel Association

Sophia M. Piliouras is the Chief Operating Officer and Corporate Secretary of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), the preeminent advisor on diversity, equity, and inclusion to C-suites across corporate America. Piliouras’ longstanding commitment to racial and gender equity goes hand in hand with her belief that leaders become changemakers when they strive to always do better. By consistently advocating for sustainable DEI strategies and modeling effective allyship, she empowers today’s leaders to take action beyond the status quo. As both a seasoned attorney and an expert in managing successful organizational partnerships, Piliouras brings a wealth of insight to MCCA’s leadership team, where she directs programming and events, strategic partnerships, membership, and more. Since joining MCCA in 2016, she has served as senior counsel, director of education and research, and president of MCCA’s Advisory Practice.

Before joining MCCA, she served as VP and assistant general counsel at JP Morgan Chase, where she led teams in Auto Finance and Student Lending, Business Banking, and Asset Wealth Management, and as a litigator at Seyfarth Shaw LLP. In addition, she provided pro bono legal counsel to refugee and immigrant children through Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). Piliouras is a frequent presenter and guest lecturer on topics in diversity, law, and strategic planning. She is a Trustee of the Foundation for Advancement of Diversity in Intellectual Property Law. Piliouras holds a BA in international relations from the University of Wisconsin and an MS from Columbia University. She received her JD from New York Law School, where she served as the United Nations Editor for the New York Law School Journal of Human Rights.

37. Heather O'Steen
President & CEO, Professional Management Associates

Heather O’Steen, CAE is the President and Owner of Professional Management Associates (PMA). Heather’s expertise encompasses all facets of non-profit association management, and she has served in executive management roles to many non-profit associations. In her role as President and Owner of PMA, she provides executive oversight for 11 non-profit organizations which include state, national, and international organizations supported by a team of 20 staff members. PMA is an accredited Association Management Company (AMC) by the AMC Institute, which establishes rigorous, measurable performance practices that demonstrate that defined processes, controls, and systems are in place. 

Heather serves as the CEO of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and has been committed to growing their membership, leadership, vision, and programs for over 15 years. In this role, she provides strategic direction and governance support to volunteer leaders and ensures their strategic goals and objectives are achieved. She is responsible for the development of new programs, creating and nurturing partnerships, strengthening foundation practices, increasing brand recognition and reach, and implementing innovative initiatives. She also serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Feline Practitioner publication.

Heather earned the credential of Certified Association Executive (CAE), designated by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE); ASAE’s Certificate in Association Management; and FSAE’s Qualified Association Specialist (QAS). She has served in volunteer roles within the ASAE and AMC Institute and is currently serving on the Board of the Pet Nutrition Alliance and the Professional Development Committee of the Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE). She is the recipient of the 2022 Executive of the Year Award from the VMAE which recognizes outstanding contributions to the association executive profession and the very best in association management. Heather is also the proud mother of two young children and is an active volunteer leader in her community, including serving as a Girl Scout Leader.

38. Sherece West-Scantebury
President & CEO, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Sherece West is the President & CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, a private foundation that seeks to disrupt the systems that block Arkansans who are striving to get out of poverty. They are in relentless pursuit of educational, economic, social, ethnic, and racial equity. West is a leading 21st-century voice on the eradication of global poverty. From her early beginnings impacting policy as a lobbyist in NYC, to leading programs at some of the most prestigious foundations in the Southeastern United States, West has been unwavering in her quest to increase prosperity amongst marginalized groups and end poverty in her lifetime. West currently serves as the President and CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation in Little Rock, Arkansas where she has led the organization through reinvention and tremendous growth over the last decade.

Known for her leadership in the areas of community development, public policy, and disaster recovery, West is a transformational leader who is unafraid to ask the tough questions that challenge conventional thinking, action, and funding around impoverished communities. West graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a PhD in public policy, from the University of Michigan Institute of Public Policy Studies with a master’s in public policy, and from Bowie State University with an undergraduate in public administration. 

View the complete list of awardees

40. Shannon Mouton
Executive Director, Laurel Advocacy & Referral Services

Shannon Mouton is the Executive Director of Laurel Advocacy & Referral Services. Founded in 1987, Laurel Advocacy & Referral Services, Inc. (LARS) was established to provide emergency food and financial assistance to Laurel residents in crisis. Local congregation leaders and community members created LARS to serve as a central point of contact and source of support for the growing numbers of people who were coming to their doors for help.

For more than 25 years, Shannon Mouton has given her time and talents to various organizations throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area. Her work in the corporate, higher education, and non-profit sectors afforded her opportunities to build and strengthen communities, launch innovative programs, and bridge generational, economic, and racial divides. She has served on numerous non-profit boards, including Calvary Women’s Services, the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, the IN Series, and The George Washington Alumni Association. 

Most recently Shannon was chosen to serve on the Comptroller of Maryland's Financial Literacy Advisory Council. In 2022, she was hired as the first African-American CEO of Laurel Advocacy & Referral Services in the organization's 36-year history. Under her leadership, the organization's impact has more than doubled with a larger team, increased visibility, and greater community engagement. Shannon is a graduate of Mount Vernon College, now part of The George Washington University.

42. Iara Peng
Founder & CEO, JustFund 

Iara is the Founder and CEO of JustFund. She has worked in non-profits for over 20 years, building new programs and organizations within the sector and supporting emerging leaders. She launched JustFund.us, an innovative online portal that connects grantmakers directly to organizations to help move resources more quickly while facilitating greater trust, transparency, and accountability across funder communities. 

Early in her career, she worked to build the progressive leadership pipeline and started Young People For (YP4), a national progressive leadership development program that has identified and trained thousands of leaders across the country. She is also the founder of Prism, an independent and non-profit newsroom led by journalists of color, that tells stories from the ground up: to disrupt harmful narratives and to inform movements for justice. She also founded the Democratizing Philanthropy Project, which shifts power to chronically underfunded, historically excluded frontline organizations by helping them build long-term, reliable small donor revenue and a dynamic, engaged base. 

She holds a master's degree from Columbia University, where she studied public administration and non-profit management. She has served as a strategic consultant and is on the boards of dozens of non-profits. She is currently a board member of Democratizing Philanthropy, Donors of Color Network, and East Bay Community Foundation.

43. Amanda Meeson
Executive Director, Sterling House Community Center

Amanda Meeson is a non-profit leader dedicated to mission-driven work that catalyzes positive contributions for individuals, families, and to the broader community. She joined Sterling House Community Center in 2016 and the organization’s operating budget and impact has more than doubled during her tenure. Organizational growth under her leadership has included significant program growth and innovation, multiple renovations, facility acquisition and expansion, and critical infrastructure advancements.

Amanda has been working in youth and community development for more than 25 years and before Sterling House, she served as VP of Programming at The Leadership Program in NYC and presented on youth and family engagement, program quality, leadership, and staff development across the country. Amanda received the Fairfield County’s 40 under 40 Award and the Rising Star Award for the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. She was the past Board Chair of the Women’s Leadership Network and is a graduate of Leadership Greater Bridgeport. She is passionate about the power of community and is grateful for the opportunity to lead an organization that has fostered community connection, vitality, and service for more than 90 years.

44. Margaret Sanchez
VP of Development, YWCA of Greater Cleveland

In the bustling city of Cleveland, Ohio, Margaret D. Sanchez, Vice President of Development at the YWCA of Greater Cleveland, is making waves in the non-profit sector and beyond. A trailblazer and philanthropist, she has dedicated her career to empowering marginalized communities and enhancing the lives of individuals nationwide. From her impressive accolades to her commitment to social justice, Margaret's story deserves recognition as one of the Top 50 Women in Non-Profit. She was also recognized as One of 100 Latinos to know in Cleveland in 2023.

A life of excellence and achievement. Margaret's story is one of determination and perseverance, with a solid academic background from the University of Wisconsin, in sustainable management studies, and an entrepreneurial spirit. She founded MagnifyFund LLC. and has paved her own path in the non-profit world assessing over 150 non-profits. Holding prestigious positions at renowned organizations, including Hispanic Unity of Florida and the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, Margaret's expertise and leadership have been instrumental in advancing the causes she is passionate about. A champion in women's rights. At the heart of Margaret's work lies her unrelenting commitment to supporting the most vulnerable society and empowering women. She spearheads all fundraising initiatives in her role at the YWCA of Greater Cleveland.

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Broward County Proclamation recognized her selfless volunteerism. She received the Silver Medallion from the National Conference for Community and Justice, received the March of Dimes Women of Distinction Award, the Hispanic Women of Distinction Award, and the Local Hero Award by Bank of America. Margaret serves on the Mision Presidencial Latinoamericana board and the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Business Center's Board of Trustees. In her spare time is passionate about assisting the most vulnerable and enjoys cooking and exploring her new home state, Ohio. Margaret takes pride in her two children Natalia and Juan Carlos Sanchez IV.

46. Felicia Thompson
Senior Director of Marketing & Communications, Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council

Felicia N. Thompson is a trusted marketing and communications advisor with a 20+ year career leading strategies for iconic brands. Today, Felicia is Senior. Director of Marketing and Communications for Girl Scouts—Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC), which serves over 12,000 girls supported by 7,500 volunteers across central and northern Arizona and all of the Navajo Nation. She provides leadership, strategic direction, and vision to elevate the message and visibility of the organization while upholding its commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Racial Justice (DEIRJ), and Well-Being. 

Before joining Girl Scouts, Felicia worked for the city of Phoenix as a senior public information officer during the onset of the global pandemic. During her time there, she cultivated the vision of two Chief Information Officers responsible for the fifth largest city in America, and a technology department supporting 34 city departments and 1.7 million residents. Prior to her transition to local government, Felicia was the vice president & chief brand officer for the Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB). Within 15 years, she grew from a department of one to leading 24 marketing and communication professionals across six cities in Arizona and Southern California. 

Felicia is a board member for Achieving My Purpose, an organization that empowers women of color ages 18-30. She served on the Awakening Seed School Board for six years and was board chair during the last year and a half of her term. She is a founding member of Vistage International's Key Executive Group 730, where she spent eight years sharpening her leadership skills. Past board member experience also includes the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC Phoenix), the University of Arizona Black Alumni Club (Phoenix), and the University of Arizona Alumni Council. Felicia earned a BA in journalism from The University of Arizona, an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications from Rutgers Business School. She was named a Most Admired Leader by the Phoenix Business Journal in 2016 and a Celebration of Women honoree in 2019.

View the complete list of awardees