Celeste is known for her always present smile as well as her ability to build teams and empower collaborations. Celeste founded Days for Girls during a trip to Kenya in 2008, when she discovered through discussions with young women that menstrual hygiene was a huge challenge. With over 17 years experience in non-profit work, a reputation of building teams, and a strong personal interest in sewing and tailoring, Celeste put her creativity to use to find a solution... and then she listened to feedback of women around the globe that led to a uniquely appropriate design (27 versions later). Just seven years later, Days for Girls empowers women and girls in over 100 countries on six continents. Days for Girls has been featured in O Magazine, Forbes, and was recently named a Huffington Post ‘Next Ten’ organization positioned to change the world in the next decade. Celeste’s passion for this issue is infectious and she has helped bring international attention to an issue that has long been neglected. All with the support of her beloved husband Don and their 6 children and 13 grandchildren. Celeste is Washington State’s 2014 Mother of the Year and a recipient of the Soroptimist Ruby Award. She is continually grateful to be part of such a direct and effective key to empowering people and communities.
Leah is as pleasant as she is intelligent, and that's big. She brings a strong background in international program management, finance, and monitoring and evaluation to the team. She holds a BA from George Washington University, and is completing her MPH in Global Health at the University of Washington. Prior to joining Days for Girls, she lived in Jordan conducting research on women’s political participation under a Fulbright Grant. She has worked domestically and internationally for both large government development contractors and grassroots organizations. Prior to becoming COO, Leah was Days for Girls’ Development Director. Leah seeks to broaden both public and private sector partnerships for DfG, while furthering the organization’s goals of breaking barriers of embarrassment and stigma to improve health, education, and opportunity.
Meet Cecillia, our Financial Officer and Chapter Liaison. Before joining Days for Girls, Cesi was a banker with Wells Fargo. Cesi is an expert in detail management and multi-tasking. She began with Days for Girls by overseeing the 550+ global teams, managing it all thanks to her incredible organizational skills, her sunny disposition, and her strong IT and database management abilities. Cesi has since transitioned into the role of Chief Financial Officer, and continues to bring her high attention to detail to the position. She focuses on connecting, informing, answering questions and counseling to help the amazing volunteer teams and chapter directors of Days for Girls reach more girls and women around the globe. Hers is an important role and she is the strong, capable and kind woman who is equal to the task... and a delight to work with too!
Libby joined Days for Girls Uganda in July 2014 as the Uganda Country Director. She came with a vision to build on the amazing work the team had already accomplished and help take it to the next level. Libby has led Days for Girls’ efforts to help organizations launch DfG sewing enterprises both in and outside Uganda. Libby brings to the team extensive experience in monitoring and evaluation along with program planning and implementation. She holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Vermont and an MPH from the University of New England. Libby’s passions are promoting access to health education and gender empowerment, along with building strong teams and leadership skills among her colleagues. Libby provides oversight in helping other DfG teams adapt and replicate the Days for Girls Uganda model.
Sarah Webb graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2012 with her B.A. in Political Theory and Environmental Policy & Decision-Making. Sarah first fell in love with the world of international development during a Field School extension of an undergraduate course in Botswana during the summer of 2011, where she was studying the overlap between community-based natural resource management and women's empowerment. She has worked in international education as well as micro-enterprise development in both India and Ecuador. During the year that she spent in India, Sarah's eyes were opened to the challenges and obstacles faced by women and girls during menstruation, and she has been a passionate advocate for menstrual hygiene initiatives ever since. Sarah joined the Days for Girls team in 2015, and works as the Program Director of Asia & Latin America.
You're going to love Lora. We do! Office Manager and Distribution Coordinator, and with DfG, that is a huge undertaking on both counts. From coordinating volunteers, handling financial records to knowing where everyone is (there are a whole lot of volunteers with DfG, imagine!) to supervising sending off PUL, drawstring and more, Lora is the heart of the headquarters. She builds connections and discovers options for purchase values and vital parternships so that every dollar donated can stretch as far as possible to reach more girls and women. If you need to order, clarify, connect or learn about all things Days for Girls, Lora can help you. She is a comunications specialist, and served as a long-time program manager for international organizations like Boy Scouts of America. If you call in to the office, ask for Lora and say hello and tell her that you heard she was a hero.
This woman is a force for quality assurance so kits last well for girls. She advises on M&E and is meticulous with details in a way that is vital for all of DfG. Jenny uses her wealth of diverser sewing knowledge and organizational knowledge to answer any and all questions related to sewing kit compenents. She loves fabric of any kind and believes its easier to do things well from the start than to correct mistakes later. Jenny Co-directs the rapidly growing DfG Chapter in Los Angeles, CA. Contact her at email@example.com (Shout out to Miriam who volunteers with Amy on this team).
You know what you do when you hit over 200 emails a day to answer? Call Melissa. No, seriously. She is our IT communications guru and administrator. She also serves as the Director of Days for Girls Georgia and has been on numerous Days for Girls excursions distributing and training, as a volunteer. Melissa began as a volunteer with Days for Girls, and quickly proved her acumen as a powerful data systems manager. She has overseen Days for Girls’ transition to Salesforce, and addresses any technical challenges for the organization. Melissa is assisting Days for Girls in taking its monitoring and evaluation protocol to the next stage through mapping DfG distribution efforts throughout the world. In addition to her important role in overseeing data, she also fields hundreds of email inquiries every day, and also continues to sew and maintain an active role as a Chapter leader. cheers for Melissa! Need her?
Emily is our Material Girl... in a good way. She is the woman who fulfills your requests for PUL, labels and wholesale panties orders who unpacks, ooh's and ahh's over volunteer kit components sent into DfG headquarters. She also records financial contributions and incoming kit components and shares them on Facebook-- A truly vital role as that is one of the few ways we get to acknowledge the amazing contributions of volunteers. She fulfills global inventory queries.
Distribution: Also coordinating Distribution of thousands of kits are requested annually, and this talented woman manages the details. She is as fun and enthusiastic as she is meticulous, a combination that makes her a perfect point of contact for those seeking kits for girls and women worldwide. It's a tough job, and it takes a village, and Cesi's got it well handled.
In 2012, Gloria had a visit from her friend, who runs a children’s home, in Kitgum far-northern Uganda. The two got talking about the girls in the home and in particular their hygiene needs. The sad fact was that most could not afford sanitary products, and this deficiency created a vicious cycle of impoverishment. Gloria heard many sad stories of what happened when the girls had their period, and how eventually they simply didn’t go to school. The question occurred to Gloria: ‘‘What can I do?’’ The answer appeared in the form of the Days for Girls international. Gloria contacted Celeste Mergens, the founder of DfG in America, who asked if she would consider following up on inquiries they had from Australia. Gloria started a Chapter in Newcastle and is now coordinating inquiries for Australia. Gloria is continually grateful to be part of such a direct and effective key to empowering people and communities and bringing dignity and education to girls and women in the many countries.
Vida is a Rotarian and her passion for community service is decades strong. She and the two Diana's helped to found Days for Girls Canada. She went on to do the work to make DfG Canada a charity organization and today works tirelessly to work with Days for Girls Canadian teams and tell the world about DfG.
Bernice and Prince are loved by all who know them. Bernice is a fashion designer and owns her own sewing boutique. Prince is an IT professional. Together they make an unstoppable pair, dedicated to the work of Days for Girls. Bernice's story is moving and shows why she is so passionate about what we do. When you meet her, ask her to tell you about it. These two are ready to changes thousands of lives with the help of global DfG supporters.
This dynamic couple of entreprenuers are as delightful as they are intelligent. What a force for good!
Dr. Usha is committed to social impact for her beautiful homeland of Nepal. She has been active in health and social services for years and we are delighted to have her join us with Days for Girls.
Diana has been with Days for Girls Uganda from the beginning. From a small one-room start-up to an award-winning program. She is as nice to work with as she is efficient and passionate about women's issues.
Meet Jacquie. She is a successful entreprenuer, running her own award-winning kitchen design business. She is also one of the most good-natured people you would ever meet and also has served as our all important International Distribution Director for the past4 years. This photo is one of our favorites. Jacquie is explaining how to use kits. Lucky us to have Jacquie on the team! The photo is by the one and only Cheyenne Eliss.
Andy is the co-owner of Clay Management and past President of Goddard College Board of Trustees as well as several other prominent boards. A sought-after board trainer and nonprofit advocate, she is also the Director of Clay for Earth Productions, to name only a few of her important civic contributions. She has a master’s degree in nursing and brings that medical knowledge to our team as well. All that aside, she's smart, fun and a brilliant strategist and she's been with DfG from the beginning. Couldn't do it without you Andy!
Jennifer recently moved to Washington State from Ottawa, Canada and fell in love with what we are doing at Days for Girls. She is a CPA with over 25 years of experience in both the corporate and non-profit worlds. Her passions have always been about equalizing the playing field - and is committed to seeing every girl, everywhere have access to feminine hygiene.
Mary Jo is the co-owner of the Lynden Tribune and Print Company and for the last 30 years she has worked in marketing and sales for their family owned publishing company. After receiving her teaching certificate in education, she has been instrumental in creating several programs that promote literacy and academic achievement at their newspapers. She has a passion for children and education, so Days For Girls is an organization that she is excited to be involved with. She and her husband would love to travel to Africa to help distribute kits soon.
Dr. Karen Harris is a Florida native. She graduated from Vassar College, attended medical school at the University of Florida and completed her residency training in OB-GYN at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Dr. Harris was the first female president of the Florida OB-GYN Society and continues to work with the state legislature to promote women’s health issues. She is also committed to community service as a Days for Girls volunteer and a devoted Girl Scout leader, she teaches young girls how to become tomorrow’s leaders. On a sunny day, when she is not at her clinic or speaking you can find this avid gardener enjoying working in her yard.
Sarah completed her MPA concurrently with the UW College of Arts and Sciences in international studies. While in graduate school, her academic research focused on global gender issues, human trafficking, foreign relations, and international policy.
Also during graduate school, Sarah interned for the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo where she provided project support to the Public Affairs Section for educational and cultural events. She also worked with Willilams Works with some of world’s most influential philanthropists, corporations, and social innovators to tackle problems both global and local. She is passionate about the work of Days for Girls and recently visited the Days for Girls Uganda team.
Don was the first supporter of Days for Girls in the world and his support has never waivered. "Communities thrive when women receive the respect and support they need and deserve." He currently serves as travel and logistics coordinator for Days for Girls, and that's a big deal. A busy executive that takes time out to serve Days for Girls while sacrificing time with his best friend and wife of more than 30 years, Celeste Mergens. Ask anyone who knows him, you can bet that he's one of their favorite people. Days for Girls is truly gifted by his presence in support of our global teams. Thank you Don.