(PRESS RELEASE) Michelle Dees
has joined the Center for Reproductive Rights as Chief Strategy and Operations
Officer. Dees most recently served as Vice President of Strategy and Operations
at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).
Dees brings more than 15
years of leadership experience in the nonprofit and private sector to the
Center. At the IAVI, she served as a partner to the CEO and senior leaders to
effectively implement change and nurture a geographically and programmatically
diverse talent pool.
As Chief Strategy and
Operations Officer, Dees will serve as member of the Center’s Executive Team
and lead the Center’s growth execution of its ambitious agenda.
“The Center for
Reproductive Rights stands at the forefront of the global effort to protect
women’s most essential freedoms,” said Michelle Dees, Chief Strategy
and Operations Officer at the Center. “I am honored to join an
organization with such an extraordinary track record of success and an
incredible team of professionals who are fighting for women and families every
“Michelle is an
important addition to the Center team at a critical moment in our history,”
said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Her
experience in global health will enable us to build on our aggressive
litigation and advocacy strategy to protect reproductive rights worldwide.”
During her tenure at IAVI,
Michelle Dees moved up through six different positions and guided
the organization through multiple strategic plans and unprecedented
growth. Dees led the development of implementation
plans to allocate resources in line with strategy,
aligning programs with strategic objectives, and created
a flexible model to support sustainable growth.
Dees was instrumental in the
creation of IAVI’s $10M Innovation Fund. She led the technical strategy
and authored the narrative for successful proposals with a broad
range of institutions, including United States Agency for International Development, Dutch Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Ministry of Finance Japan, and New York State and
Canadian Institutes for Health Research resulting in awards of over $175M.
Prior to joining IAVI in
2005, Dees worked in business development and marketing at a development-stage
pharmaceutical company, and in the venture capital group of a boutique
biotechnology investment firm. Before getting her MBA, she worked in Guyana,
where she was the Director of the Red Cross Societies Children’s Home. She
holds an honors bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and biotechnology from the
University of Waterloo (Canada) and an MBA from the University of Western
The Center for Reproductive
Rights’ game changing litigation and advocacy work, combined with its
unparalleled expertise in the use of constitutional, international, and
comparative human rights law, have transformed how reproductive rights are
understood by courts, governments, and human rights bodies. It has played a key
role in securing legal victories in the U.S., Latin America, Sub-Saharan
Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe on issues including access to life-saving
obstetrics care, contraception, safe abortion services, and comprehensive
sexuality information, as well as the prevention of forced sterilization, child
marriage, and female genital mutilation. It has brought groundbreaking cases
before national courts, U.N. Committees, and regional human rights bodies, and
has built the legal capacity of women’s rights advocates in over 60 countries.
It is headquartered in New York with offices in Washington, D.C., Bogota,
Colombia, Geneva, Switzerland, Kathmandu, Nepal, and Nairobi, Kenya.