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Our Team

 

Catherine Townsend
Transition Director

Catherine oversees the management of the network’s day-to-day operations during the transition and recruitment processes for a new Executive Director. Catherine is a philanthropic leader with a passion for human rights who was among HRFN’s first employees and knows the network well. She currently works as an independent consultant and serves on the Board of Directors for the Disability Rights Fund and Women Enabled International. From 2006 until 2017, Catherine served as a senior program officer at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, managing disability rights and human rights defenders grantmaking with a focus on gender and intersectional identities. Prior to joining Wellspring, she worked at the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and coordinated programming for the International Human Rights Funders Group.

 

Rebecca Landy
Director of Engagement

Rebecca supports our members to connect, learn, and forge collaborations by overseeing our working groups and facilitating HRFN’s conferences, webinars, and other learning opportunities. She has over 12 years of experience in international human rights work. Her career began at NetAid where she worked on access to education for girls. Prior to joining HRFN, Rebecca was at the US Human Rights Network, where she led their international advocacy and government accountability work. She has also worked with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Center for International Human Rights at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Rebecca is a former High Court of Botswana Law Clerk and intern at the South African Parliament and Global Rights. Rebecca earned her JD from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she was an Urban Morgan Human Rights Fellow and served as the Assistant Managing Editor of Human Rights Quarterly. Rebecca feels lucky to live near beautiful Prospect Park in Brooklyn, where she enjoys going for long walks with her husband and new daughter. She likes reading fiction, practicing yoga, and the challenge of cooking with new vegetables from her CSA.

 

Rachel Thomas
Director of Research Initiatives

Rachel manages HRFN’s research initiatives, including the Advancing Human Rights initiative. Prior to joining HRFN, Rachel worked as a consultant providing technical assistance to foundations, supporting non-profits to plan and evaluate their work, and conducting research to inform and advance advocacy. Before this, Rachel spent nine years as a grantmaker with the Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program, where she managed a portfolio to improve the health and protect the human rights of sex workers and LGBTQI communities in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Eastern and Southern Africa. In this role, Rachel supported projects to build the capacity of local leaders and organizations, document human rights abuses, increase access to health services, establish legal aid programs, advance strategic litigation, foster police-community collaborations, and pursue law and policy reform.

Prior to her work with the Open Society Foundations, Rachel was a consultant with the World Bank’s Health, Nutrition, and Population Division in Washington, D.C., and Women’s Campaign International in Philadelphia. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan and holds a Master’s degree in international development from American University, with a concentration in public health. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, playing volleyball with her team, learning history, and exploring. She hates mushrooms.

 

Rebekah (Bex) Cockram
Program & Communications Associate

Rebekah supports the development and implementation of HRFN programs, which are designed to strengthen the human rights field through effective philanthropy. She leads organization-wide member communications, authors strategy and evaluation reports for the member engagement program, and co-organizes HRFN’s annual international human rights conference. Prior to HRFN, Rebekah interned for Amnesty International USA, the New York State Division of Human Rights, and Warm Heart Worldwide. She has published research on grassroots NGOs in Kenya that advocate for women’s environmental rights and she developed and taught an original course to undergraduate students on local agents of right-based justice in Chapel Hill, NC. Originally from south-west England, Rebekah has lived and worked in Thailand, Hong Kong, and the United States. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa as a Morehead-Cain Scholar from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in her spare time she enjoys hiking, watching football (soccer), and discovering new places to eat in NYC.

 

Camille Serrano
Membership & Operations Associate

Camille serves as the key liaison for HRFN’s global network of human rights funders and oversees HRFN’s day-to-day operations. Prior to joining HRFN, Camille worked as a Paralegal at the international law firm, Holland & Knight LLP in New York. At the firm, she also served as a Pro Bono Liaison, working on various projects including representing unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in deportation proceedings. Camille graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations with a focus in International Ethics, and a minor in Music. During her time at Mount Holyoke, Camille worked with MADRE to advance women’s human rights in UN processes and led education programs for at-risk youth in New York City, Cape Town, South Africa, and Capiz, Philippines. Camille is fluent in French, proficient in Spanish and conversational in Mandarin Chinese and Tagalog. In her free time, she enjoys playing the violin, practicing yoga, running, and traveling.