Mission

Empower and enable women and girls to make informed choices about their reproductive and sexual health.

Our Leadership

WCG’s senior leadership team & board members share an unwavering commitment to women’s reproductive health information and access. As a woman-led organization, WCG is dedicated to ensuring that women around the world, regardless of location or socio-economic status, have access to reproductive health solutions.

Meet the team

Shannon Bledsoe, Executive Director

Shannon Bledsoe is the Executive Director of WCG Cares. She is responsible for leading overall organizational growth and strategic direction, and overseeing the quality of WCG’s programming. Ms. Bledsoe brings 20 years of experience in international development, public health and reproductive rights to this role, leading programs and platforms for both large and small global non-profit organizations.  She has designed and managed initiatives supporting women’s reproductive health worldwide. She has an advanced degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia and a BA from the University of California, San Diego.

Wilberto Robles, Sr. Director, Global Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance

Wilberto Robles B.S., MCC, MTOPRA is a global regulatory expert with over eighteen years of experience in the pharmaceutical, medical device and cosmetic industries.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico and a Master’s Degree in Manufacturing Competitiveness of Pharmaceutical Products from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico.

His previous experience includes positions at APP Pharmaceuticals, Blu Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Wyeth.  There, he developed his professional experience in Regulatory Affairs and held different leadership positions supporting Process / Equipment Validations, Product Registrations, Project Management, Quality Assurance / Compliance and Quality Control.
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He is currently working at WCG Cares as the Senior Director, Global Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance, in which he expanded his scope and manage the registrations of reproductive health drug products and medical devices in Africa, Asia, EU, Latin America and US.

Mr. Robles has publications in the TOPRA International Journal for Professionals in Regulatory Affairs (Regulatory Rapporteur), the POLITECHNÊ journal, and SHPE (The Official Magazine of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers).  He is an active member of the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) and Member of The Organisation for Professionals in Regulatory Affairs (TOPRA).

Erica Chavin, Director of Finance

Erica joined WCG Cares in February 2018 as the Accounting Manager, then transitioned to the Director of Finance in October. She has over 15 years experience working in the non-profit industry; most recently, serving as the Director of Finance, Sponsored Research and Administration at The Scintillon Institute in San Diego. Previously, Erica was a Senior Grant and Contract Administrator for La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology and also spent several years as a Supervisor in the Office of Sponsored Programs at The Scripps Research Institute and a Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch.  In these roles, Erica was recognized for implementing solution-based strategies, improving processes and supporting business operations. Erica has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is an Enrolled Agent.

Kate Morrison, Program Manager

Kate has eight years of experience in clinical research, survey design, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, monitoring and evaluation, and working collaboratively and cross-culturally in low-resource environments. She joined WCG in 2014 to support the MAX program and currently is a Program Manager for a USAID-funded Grand Challenges project and new business development. Ms. Morrison received a Bachelor’s of Science in Physiology from UCLA and a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health & International Health from Boston University.

 

 

Courtney Stachowski, Program Manager

Courtney joined WCG Cares as a Program Manager in 2016 and currently works in the Regulatory Affairs department. Courtney has eight years of experience working in the field of public health in both clinical and academic research capacities focusing on sexual and reproductive health, infectious diseases, and health systems research. Courtney has a B.A. from Bates College in Sociology and an MPH from Emory University in International Health / Sexual and Reproductive Health and Population Studies.

Danielle Harris, Senior Program Manager

Danielle is a Senior Program Manager who joined WCG Cares as a Program Manager in April 2018, and manages a portfolio of projects piloting the introduction of new and improved contraceptive methods in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. Danielle has an extensive background in managing international and domestic research projects focusing on maternal and child health as well as HIV prevention and treatment. Danielle holds a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from Virginia Tech, an M.P.H. in Community Health Sciences and an M.A. in African Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Matthew DeVol, Finance Specialist

Matthew has over 30 years of experience in accounting and financial management, and has executive-level experience in 501(c)3 organizations. Prior to joining WCG Cares, Matthew worked as the Senior Director, Finance & Grants Administration for the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. He has worked with San Diego by Project Concern International, furthering his work with USAID-funded international organizations on maternal and child healthcare, sanitation, water, and other donor-supported programs, prior to moving into the non-profit biotech field. Matthew is a certified C.P.A.

Shawna Robbins, Executive Assistant

Shawna joined WCG Cares in November 2017 as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director but her position has evolved to supporting the Programs, Communications, Finance, Operations and Human Resources.  She has worked in executive level managerial support roles for over 25 years; throughout her career, she has also worked as a corporate trainer and coach which has helped her ability to communicate with individuals of all business levels. Shawna is an active member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP).

Jade Tshikosi, Regulatory Specialist

Jade joined WCG Cares as a Regulatory Specialist in January 2020. Jade holds a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology & Biochemistry, an Honors degree in Microbiology, and a Master’s degree in Nanoscience from University of Johannesburg. She has worked in the pharmaceutical industry since 2017 and has experience in product registration and product safety for post-registered products. Jade started her pharmaceutical career as a regulatory affairs trainee before transitioning to a diabetes patient support program pharmacovigilance trainee, and eventually to clinical trials.

Sylvia Cares

Sylvia Cares is a finance professional with over 20 years of progressive experience and responsibility, including 13+ years at a publicly traded Fortune 200 technology company, 6 years in forensic accounting and economics, and 3 years in buy-side M&A advisory services.  Ms. Cares currently serves as a Senior Finance Manager at Qualcomm with responsibility for budgeting and forecasting of over $1B in operating expenses. Key responsibilities include strategic decision support, performance metrics and financial analysis for a wide range of corporate functions including HR, Benefits, Qualcomm Health Center, Legal, Compliance, Corporate Social Responsibility and Government Affairs. Prior to her work at Qualcomm, Ms. Cares served as a Senior Consultant in forensic economics/accounting at +

LECG and Mack Barclay, and as a Senior Analyst specializing in strategic acquisition searches at Gateway Partners.

Ms. Cares received a Bachelor of Arts in Special Studies – International Relations from Franklin & Marshall College and a Masters of Pacific International Affairs with a concentration in International Management from University of California, San Diego.

 

Kelly Culwell, Board Secretary

Dr. Culwell is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist with over 16 years specializing in women’s health and contraceptive research. She has served as Evofem Biosciences’ Chief Medical Officer since April 2015. Prior to joining Evofem Biosciences, Dr. Culwell was the Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest and maintained an academic clinical practice as the Director of Family Planning and Associate Clinical Professor at University of California, Davis. Dr. Culwell previously served as a Medical Officer with the World Health Organization where she developed global guidelines for clinical practice and is widely published in peer reviewed journals.
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Dr. Culwell received a Bachelor of Science from California Lutheran University, a Medical Doctorate from the University of California, Davis and a Masters of Public Health from Northwestern University. Dr. Culwell completed her post-graduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of California San Diego and her Family Planning Fellowship at Northwestern University. Dr. Culwell maintains appointments as Volunteer Assistant Clinical Professor in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California, Davis and San Diego campuses. Dr. Culwell is qualified as a Diplomat from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. As of January 2019, Dr. Culwell is a Director of WCG Cares, a 501c3 working in sexual and reproductive health globally.

Upeka de Silva

Upeka has thirteen years of experience in international sexual and reproductive health and rights programmes. As part of her programme management work with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists she supported a wide range of sexual and reproductive health initiatives, from youth-friendly services to post-abortion contraception and fistula care. Ensuring that project activities demonstrated value for money; kept up with advances in the reproductive health field; and were ultimately empowering to those implementing and benefiting from the programmes were components of her work which she particularly enjoyed. +

Upeka has a special interest in projects that seek to address sensitive issues, challenge misconceptions and promote new thinking in relation to advancing reproductive choice.

In keeping with her passion for promoting person-centred care, Upeka now works on supporting individuals to make informed choices about treatment and care at the end of life. She has a background in law with an LLB from the University of Warwick, an LLM from the London School of Economics and a Master of Arts in Medical Ethics and Law from King’s College London.

Brian McKenna

Brian McKenna is a mission-driven leader with 25+ years of experience in strategic planning, organizational development, financial management and marketing in complex international environments. An empowering manager who excels at guiding others towards individual and mutual objectives. Appreciated by colleagues as a reliable, calming force. An adaptable, tenacious problem-solver experienced in change management.

After over a decade of service with Population Services International (PSI), Brian became the Deputy Director at Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) in June 2014. +

In this capacity, Brian co-manages the operations of the multi-center, multi-lingual, global Secretariat including management of Brussels headquarters office, leads global private sector and European partner engagements, supervises and guides technical staff responsible for implementing global and regional initiatives in Africa, Latin America and Asia.He also directed the global campaign to reduce contraceptive stockouts, “Take Stock,” from conceptualization to implementation, lead organization and planning of annual General Membership Meeting, which takes place in a different city each year and hosts 300+ participants from more than 50 countries.

Brian received his BA in History and Sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and MA in International Affairs and Economics from The Johns Hopkins University – Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Ben Plumley

Ben Plumley has a passion for building public-private partnerships to expand access to health. With 25 years of experience, including driving pharmaceutical product launches, issues management, treatment and prevention campaigns, he has established a wide global network of community and patient groups, corporations, foundations, non-profits, the United Nations, and the media.

Between 2010 and 2017, Ben was the CEO of the Global Health Technical Assistance and Policy Think Tank, Pangaea. As well as non-profits, +

he has extensive public and private sector experience, having been Global Public Health Manager at Chevron, Vice President of Access at Johnson & Johnson, Director of the Executive Office at UNAIDS, and the founding Executive Director of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS.

In 2018, Ben founded Hunuvat, a global health access strategy agency, to forge high-profile and impactful partnerships between the biomedical private sector, governments, communities and the UN;developing policies and advocacy strategies for corporations and non-profit organizations on access to infectious disease, cancer and auto-immune medicines strategies, universal healthcare (UHC), and low-cost health schemes for the poor. He builds partnerships to engage private sector support for sustained US investment in global health, and advises and fundraises for a global network of indigenous communities affected by infectious disease. Ben also host of A Shot In The Arm Podcast; a weekly podcast on global health and human rights to expand access to health for everyone, reaching over 20,000 listeners and viewers around the world.

Ben also has wide Board experience, including Secretary of the Californian Prevention Education Project in Oakland, ICASO, AIDS Care China and from 2010 to 2017, Board Member of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition.

Jill Sheffield, Board Chair

Jill Sheffield is the founder of Women Deliver, an international advocacy organization that convenes global leaders to galvanize action on maternal health and women’s empowerment. Most recently, Ms. Sheffield was one of few civil society representatives appointed to the UN Secretary General’s Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health. Ms. Sheffield is the Chair of the FIGO Working Group on Contraception, serves as a Senior External Adviser to the IPPF Governing Council, and is on the Board of PPFA/Global. She is also a consultant/senior adviser to Global Health Strategies on reproductive health and choices.

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Ms. Sheffield is also the founder of Family Care International (FCI), a distinguished non-governmental organization and winner of the 2008 United Nations Population Award for outstanding work in sexual and reproductive health and rights. Ms. Sheffield completed advanced degrees at Columbia University, Teachers College, where she was later recognized as a distinguished alumna for her international work in women’s health and education, and she also received the American Public Health Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. She was Director of International Programmes at the Carnegie Corporation, and founded FCI in 1987 in response to the call at the Women’s Decade Conference in Nairobi which identified the silent tragedy that one woman dies each minute from pregnancy related causes. Though she has played a central role in several key world conferences, Jill Sheffield believes her true education came in the late 1960s when she worked in Nairobi, Kenya’s Pumwani Hospital in the first family planning/reproductive health outpatient clinic opened in East Africa.

 

Paula Tavrow

Paula Tavrow, PhD, MSc, MALD is the Director of UCLA’s Bixby Program in Population and Reproductive Health and an Adjunct Professor in the Community Health Sciences Department at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She was also the founding co-director of the Center of Expertise in Women’s Health and Empowerment at the University of California’s Global Health Institute.  Her current research interests center on adolescent reproductive health, early marriage, coerced sex, intimate partner violence, and the quality of primary health care in East and Southern Africa.

Prior to coming to UCLA in 2002, Dr. Tavrow was the Deputy Research Director for the USAID-funded global Quality Assurance Project (1997-2001). +

She oversaw eleven operations research projects to improve the quality of rural health services in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Dr. Tavrow also has served as a women’s health advisor and researcher at the University of Malawi’s Centre for Social Research (1993-95), a USAID health officer who helped design Tanzania’s National AIDS Control Program and National Family Planning Program (1987-90), a USAID assistant food for peace officer who assisted Ogadeni refugees in Somalia (1984-86), and a project evaluator for nutrition activities in the Bandundu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (1984). She received her AB (magna cum laude) from Harvard-Radcliffe College, her MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and her MSc and PhD from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.