Executive Committee

Chair: Susan O’Malley is the Main Representative to the UN (NY) for the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW). She is also Communication Chair and editor of Action for Girls for the Working Group on Girls. She was co-chair of the Planning Committee for the NGO Forum 59 and co-organizer of the monthly NGO CSW/NY meetings based on the 12 areas of action of the Beijing Platform for Action, 2014-2015. In addition to serving as the elected Faculty Trustee and Chair of the 22-campus City University of New York (CUNY) Faculty Senate, Dr. O’Malley was a professor of English and Women’s Studies at CUNY (Kingsborough and the Graduate Center) for 36 years. She has published articles and books on early modern women’s literature, Shakespeare, higher education, disability and civil rights. She holds an AB from Smith College and a PhD from Tulane University. She is currently involved in Cities for CEDAW to get CEDAW ratified in NYC.

Treasurer: Erica Higbie is the UN Representative in New York for FAWCO (Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas), a global women’s organization founded in 1931 with over 12,000 members in more than 30 countries. Born in the US, she spent most of her adult life living in Australia, where she has dual-citizenship, and Germany. She completed a semester of her undergraduate degree in International Relations at the University of Zambia and has done volunteer work in Ghana and Cambodia. With graduate degrees in International Health and Business Administration, she worked for many years in healthcare delivery management and business development. Erica is currently the Co-chair of the Working Group on Girls Advocacy Committee, a Director on the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, Chair of the Women’s Political Empowerment Committee of the FAWCO Human Rights Task Force, and Preventing Child Mortality Tutor for People’s Open Access Education Initiative (Peoples-uni).

Ivy GabbertRecording Secretary: Ivy Gabbert is Program Coordinator for the Soka Gakkai International  (SGI) Office for UN Affairs in New York and has been engaged in SGI’s work in the fields of sustainable development, peace and disarmament, and human rights mainly through its nonformal education approach since joining in 2013.She has served on the NGO CSW/NY Executive Committee since 2014 and is Co-chair of the Young Professionals Subcommittee.  Prior to her current position, Ivy’s work has taken her to Venezuela, Boston, and Japan in the fields of education, study abroad, editing and translation. She has been involved in projects on issues such as the empowerment of women peacebuilders, child labor, and women’s leadership. Ivy holds an MA with a concentration in Sustainable Development from the School for International Training and received her AB from the University of Georgia in Japanese Language and Literature with a Spanish minor.

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Communications Secretary: Rosalee Keech represents the League of Women Voters of the United States as Chief Observer to the United Nations (UN) since 2011 and has developed multiple programs to increase women’s leadership and participation in democratic political processes, promoting democracy around the world, and preventing violence against all women and girls. Elected in June, 2014, she served on the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) and the Board of Trustees of the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) until June 2016. She formed the NGO Coalition for ILO’s Alliance 8.7 to stop the demand for forced labour and trafficking by working with UN agencies, member states, academia and the private sector. Additionally, she has developed a comprehensive strategy for preventing exploitation of women and children at major events. By working in conjunction with the UN, the strategy has been adopted and implemented by governments, both foreign and domestic. It was as a result of this that Ms. Keech currently serves as a member of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force and chair of its Outreach and Awareness Committee. Additionally she is a governor appointee to the NJ Board of Professional Planners and member of the Boards of Directors at the Jewish Home at Rockleigh. Ms. Keech is a retired Information Officer with more than 30 years of experience in developing and executing system strategies for the private sector. Ms. Keech graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Economics and Education and a MBA in Finance from New York University.

Member-at-LargeYvonne O’Neal represents Africa Development Interchange Network (ADIN) at the United Nations. She is the co-chair of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY) and is active in other NGO Committees. She is the secretary of New York City for CEDAW, working to bring a bill of rights to end all forms of discrimination against women. She is the founder and president of a startup NGO, Caribbean Health Initiatives. In the Episcopal Diocese of New York, Yvonne served as chair of the Global Mission Commission and of the Companion Diocese Committee. She has overseen the establishment of an endowment for the Diocese of Matlosane in South Africa, the Women’s Global Fund, which provides scholarships for women to make a difference in their communities, and the Carpenter’s Kids, a program to transform the lives of HIV/AIDS vulnerable children in Tanzania. Yvonne has published several articles. Yvonne has more than 25 years of experience as a financial consultant and holds various professional designations. Yvonne has a Master of Arts degree in psychology and a Bachelor of Science degree in natural sciences. She completed the Women’s Leadership Institute at Hartford Seminary and Education for Ministry from the School of Theology, The University of the South.


Member-at-LargeMary Ann Tarantula is currently the Chairman of the Zonta International United Nations Committee, wherein she is responsible for overseeing UN Committee members in New York, Geneva, Paris and Vienna. In addition to her new role with NGO/CSW/NY, Ms. Tarantula is a member of the Human Rights Committee (CoNGO), the Working Group on Girls, and is the Treasurer of the NGO Committee on UNICEF. She is also dedicated to helping plan the annual CSW events, having done so for both CSW 55 and CSW 56.


Member-at-LargeDr. Padmini Murthy is an OB/GYN and Certified Health Education Specialist who has practiced medicine in several countries and holds Master’s degrees in both Public Health and Management. She is currently an Associate Professor and the Global Health Program Director at New York Medical College School of Public Health. Additionally, Dr. Murthy is a Representative to the United Nations for the Medical Women International Association. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Sojourner Truth Pin and the Marie Catchatoor Oration Lecture. She was named Women of the Year for 2012-2013 by The National Association of Professional Women, USA. Her book, Women’s Global Health and Human Rights, was published in 2009.


Member-at-Large: Saphira Rameshfar is a Representative of the Baha’i International Community’s UN Office in New York. Prior to this, Saphira was at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs headquarters in New York working on capacity development policy. As an Australian, she worked for the Australian Federal Government Department of Agriculture on international trade negotiations and market strategy for Australian agricultural exports. Ms. Rameshfar dedicated three years to projects aimed at the empowerment of youth in Australia as well as in communities throughout the Asia Pacific region and North and South America. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Economics, Research Degree in Ecology, Postgraduate qualifications in Public Administration, and Governance as well as a Masters of International Law (Australian National University).

Jackie Weatherspoon, pictureMember-at-Large: Hon. Jackie K. Weatherspoon is the Northern New England Coordinator for US Women Connect a White House Initiative to access the progress of Women and Girls every five years according to the National Platform for Action protocols since, 1995. Jackie served six years in the NH House of Representatives. Jackie has worked for the US State Dept. during the Clinton Administration, served on three US Delegations with First Lady Hillary Clinton, the “Northern Initiative” in Iceland, Estonia and Lithuania. Jackie was in Beijing, China, 1995 representing UNA/USA as a reporter when First Lady Hillary Clinton gave her famous speech, “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights”. Jackie’s first piece of legislation was the UN CEDAW Resolution which passed both Houses: The UN Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Jackie has also worked for the United Nations as the Senior Election Officer and International Gender Expert to the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council Elections in Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania. Jackie has served on the UN Roster of Electoral Experts.  Jackie lives at Phillips Exeter Academy with her husband and is co-faculty advisor to the  PEA Democratic Club and has served as a Luminary Circle Member and Mentor with Step UP Women’s Network. Jackie has served on multiple boards including New Hampshire Public Radio and the Harvard Alumni Association as Co-Chair to the University Wide cluster. Lastly Jackie serves on the NH Democratic Party Executive Committee and was a super volunteer in NH for @Ready for Hillary.

Past Chair, Ex-OfficioSoon-Young Yoon (former Vice-Chair) is the UN representative for the International Alliance of Women and works as a consultant for the World Health Organization. She was one of the organizers of the NGO Forum during the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and was a columnist for the EarthTimes newspaper. Ms. Yoon currently serves as a board member of the International Advisory Council at the Harvard AIDS Initiative and of the International Foundation for Ewha Womans University. A former Fulbright Senior scholar, she holds an AB with honors in French literature and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. www.soon-young.com