International Leaders in Academia, Law, Public Health, and Finance join Center for Reproductive Rights Board

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(Press Release) The Center for Reproductive Rights, a global legal advocacy organization that fights to ensure reproductive rights are guaranteed in law as human rights, today announced five new members of the organization’s Board of Directors. 
The new board members -- distinguished leaders in academia, healthcare, international development, legal and financial services -- include Janet Levit, interim president at The University of Tulsa (Tulsa, OK); Michele Coleman Mayes, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for the New York Public Library (New York, NY); Joachim Osur, a reproductive and sexual health expert and a reproductive rights advocate (Nairobi, Kenya); Carole Presern, former Head of the Office of Board Affairs of the Global Fund (Geneva, Switzerland); and Louisa Ritter, President of asset management firm Pisces, Inc. (San Francisco, CA).


“As leaders of an international organization, our board members bear the responsibility of overseeing our work to protect reproductive rights in regions around the globe.  The collective expertise, dedication, and commitment of this new class is equal to the task of ensuring access when the essential nature of reproductive health care services are being questioned in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We have much work to do and the strength of our vital Board of Directors will enable us to carry that work forward,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.


Janet Levit is the Interim President at The University of Tulsa (TU), after serving as the University’s first woman Provost and first woman Dean of the TU College of Law, where she continues to teach. Ms. Levit’s academic interests include international human rights, international commercial law, and the impact of implicit biases on women in leadership roles. She received her JD and MA from Yale University and her AB from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University (magna cum laude).


Michele Coleman Mayes is Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for the New York Public Library and previously held the position of General Counsel for Allstate Insurance Company and Pitney Bowes Inc. Ms. Mayes served on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration under President Barack Obama is co-author of the book Courageous Counsel: Conversations with Women General Counsel in the Fortune 500.  Ms. Mayes earned a BA from the University of Michigan and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School.


Joachim Osur is the Technical Director at Amref Health Africa, a nonprofit that provides healthcare services and training in over 35 African countries. He is also the Dean of School of Medical Services at Amref International University. Previously, he was Director of the African Alliance Programs at Ipas, where he oversaw advocacy and reproductive health service needs in 14 African countries. Professor Osur also served two terms on the Kenya Attorney General’s Task Force for the Implementation of Sexual Offences Act He received his. Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the  University of Nairobi, a Master of Public Health and PhD in Reproductive Health  from Kenyatta University, and completed a Fellowship in Sexual Medicine from the European Union of Medical Specialists.


Carole Presern most recently worked as Head of the Office of Board Affairs of the Global Fund, an international organization that works in more than 100 countries to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria as epidemics. An expert in international development focused on human rights, particularly sexual and reproductive health and rights, Dr. Presern previously served as the Executive Director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) based at WHO, at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and before that as Counsellor at the UK Mission in Geneva. She also worked for many years for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Zimbabwe, Nepal and Pakistan. Originally trained as a midwife, Dr. Presern holds a degree in anthropology from University College London, a doctorate in public health policy from the University of London, and an advanced diploma in health systems management from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


Louisa Ritter is the President of Pisces, Inc., an asset management firm.  Previously, Ms. Ritter held roles at Goldman Sachs, including serving as Managing Director in the Executive Office and President of Goldman Sachs Gives, where she oversaw approximately $200 million in annual giving to 3,000 charities in over 40 countries. She was also COO of the West Region Investment Banking group and Chief of Staff of the Global Technology, Media and Telecomm Investment Banking group at Goldman Sachs. Previously, Ms. Ritter served in a variety of roles including Co-COO of the Global Corporate & Investment Banking group at Banc of America Securities (formerly Montgomery Securities). Ms. Ritter earned a BA from Yale College and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.