Haitian Ladies Network Steering Committee
“ We have ran statewide and national political campaigns, led nonprofit operations, advised and crafted global policy, lead international medical missions, managed million-dollar projects and, notably, we are former US presidential appointees, heads of record labels to Grammy award-winning artists.
Our experiences mirror that of the members of the network."
Haitian Ladies Network Steering Committee
Clara Benice is a multi-talented and award-winning creative professional with a passion for storytelling and a commitment to the nonprofit sector. As a Steering Committee Board member of the Haitian Ladies Network, she brings a unique blend of artistic vision, strategic thinking, and philanthropic dedication to the organization's mission. Drawing from her extensive experience in television and film, Clara brings a fresh and imaginative perspective to the Haitian Ladies Network.
Beyond her artistic accomplishments, Clara is passionately committed to social causes and has dedicated her talents to supporting nonprofit organizations. Clara also shares her expertise by mentoring aspiring artists and filmmakers, contributing to the development of the next generation of creative leaders. Clara holds three degrees from the Pennsylvania State University and continues to pursue ongoing education and training to stay at the forefront of her craft.
Ariel Dominique is a public engagement strategist and creative consultant born and raised in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. She has worked for grammy award-winning artists and producers and has led independent record labels. She was a fundraiser and Victory Trustee for President Obama's second presidential campaign, as well as former consultant, Minister Counselor for the Embassy of Haiti in D.C. She has curated events at the United States White House as well as the Embassy of Haiti.
In 2012, she attended her first Haitian Ladies Brunch and brought the idea to the Embassy of Haiti where she spearheaded the event on behalf of the institution for 5 consecutive years (2013-2017). She co-leads HLN's External and Cultural Affairs and Sponsorship Committee. She plays a pivotal role in connecting HLN to Haiti and to women based in the country.
Nashley Harrigan is a board certified Emergency Medicine Physician and Assistant Professor in New York City, New York. She was born and raised in Miami to parents from Jean-Rabel, Haiti. She received her medical degree from the University of Miami and completed her residency at Jacobi/Montefiore Hospital. Her passion is in global health, health equity and bridging the gap in health disparities. She has volunteered with multiple organizations including Hopital Universitaire de Mirebalais/Partners in Health in Haiti as a Recurrent Faculty Attending in Emergency Medicine. She attended her first Haitian Ladies Brunch in 2016. She is the newest steering committee member, joining in 2019 and serves on the communications and finance teams.
Nadine moved from Boston to the Washington, DC area in 2000 and soon thereafter began hosting an annual Haitian Ladies Brunch with friends in the area. In collaboration with Cleve Mesidor and other co-hostesses, she led the expansion from a Sunday brunch to a full weekend in 2016. Nadine credits the amazing sisterhood of co-founders who came together in 2017 to build the Haitian Ladies Network. Born in Port-au-Prince, with roots in Leogane and Les Cayes, Nadine grew up in Boston. She earned a B.A. from Harvard College and a M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University with a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. She has 20+ years of professional experience in management consulting, economic development in Africa, philanthropy, and has held senior leadership roles in the social sector in Washington DC, where she lives with her husband and two sons.
Rachel is an experienced public servant, who started her career in Nonprofits in Washington DC. She currently serves as a member of the Executive Team for the District of Columbia's Department of Human Services. Rachel’s first Brunch attendance was in 2010 and she joined the Brunch host committee in 2014 at the Embassy of Haiti. Rachel is one of the 10 founding members of the Haitian Ladies Network and now co-leads the Finance Committee. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Rachel moved to Washington DC with her family as a teenager. Rachel has a Bachelor's degree in Finance from James Madison University, a Master in Social Work from Howard University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of MD Smith School of Business.
Phara G. Rodrigue is a certification and accreditation professional with 20 years of experience with guiding exam development, growth, standards compliance, and strategy. Her first Haitian Ladies Brunch was in 2011. She officially joined the steering committee in 2017 and serves on the Program team. Before this, Phara had actively served the Haitian community in the DC Metropolitan region through various organization, including the Association of Haitian Professionals, the Haitian Catholic community, Eritaj Lakay, and the Roots publication.
Syncia Sabain is a clinical researcher and the chief of treatment and community service. She moved to Washington, DC in 2016 and attended her first Haitian Ladies Brunch at the Embassy of Haiti. It was at The Haitian Ladies Brunch in 2016 she met the Nadine Duplessy Kearns, founder of Haitian Ladies Network who invited her to join the Haitian Ladies Committee. Syncia serves on the logistics committee.
Elodie is an international operations professional and has led a range of transformation programs globally, with work spanning the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. She recently managed a cybersecurity program in Ukraine, where she was based until the start of the war, providing the Government of Ukraine with technical assistance. Elodie holds a Master of Arts in International Relations and Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs and French from the University of Virginia.
Elodie was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She moved to the Washington, DC area at the age of six, when her family was forced to flee the political instability in Haiti. She attended her first Haitian Ladies Brunch in 2013 and has supported HLN in various capacities since, including helping organize the annual Haitian Ladies Weekend. Elodie joined the HLN Steering Committee in 2023 and plays a key role in supporting operations.
Karen Andre has dedicated her life to public service and advocacy. In 2020 Karen joined the Biden Presidential Campaign as Senior Advisor for Florida & Senior Advisor for National Faith Outreach. She has also served as a Senior Advisor to Andrew Gillum, the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor of Florida. From 2014 to 2017, she served as a Presidential appointee in the Obama administration as the White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She has worked to organize Haitian and African-American communities nation-wide on immigration and social justice issues. She is a sought after, political strategist, speaker, host, lecturer and commentator.
Theola DeBose uses storytelling and technology to help professionals reach their goals. She is the Founder of JSkills, a technology platform that helps professionals launch new careers by reframing their skills. She was an award-winning journalist at The Washington Post, and a White-House appointed communications director in the Obama administration. Born and raised in New York City to parents from Port-au-Prince and La Vallée-de-Jacmel, she attended the first-ever Haitian Ladies Brunch. On the steering committee she brings her planning expertise to the logistics team.
Thamar Harrigan is an international trade attorney and former staffer of the Obama Administration and the Embassy of Haiti in Washington, DC. Her first Haitian Ladies Brunch was in 2012, when it was held at Smith Commons with about 50 women in attendance. She worked on the Brunch while at the Embassy, but officially joined the steering committee in 2016. Thamar serves the committee in many capacities, but is a member of the communications team.
Kysseline Jean-Mary Cherestal is an attorney with 20 years of experience in law and development. Kysseline's life passion lies in working alongside communities, particularly the marginalized, seeking to secure their rights to the resources upon which they depend. She was born in the US and raised in Haiti. Kysseline had long admired the Haitian Ladies brunch from afar, and attended for the first time in 2017. She also joined the Steering Committee that same year and now is co-leading the development and formalization of the governance framework of HLN. When she is not working or traveling, she is loving her husband, husband, family and friends, and otherwise seeking to do good in her global community
Fendy is an experienced Account Director at AKQA, a leading global design and innovation agency where she leads digital products and services with leading brands. As an advocate for user-centric products, Fendy is passionate about personalized solutions for users/audiences that simultaneously meet her clients' business goals. Fendy is also the founder of Culinaria, an early-stage mobile app and bootstrap startup. Culinaria is a searchable marketplace of experiences for foodies and culinary enthusiasts. The beta launch is in late 2021.
Fendy attended her first Haitian Ladies Brunch in 2012 and joined the host committee in 2016. Shortly thereafter, and following the official founding of the Haitian Ladies Network, Fendy transitioned into the steering committee. Serving until 2019, Fendy remains a loyal HLN advocate and provides occasional ad hoc support to her steering committee sisters.
Haitian Ladies Brunch Host Committee
2012-2016, Founder of Logos
Cleve Mesidor is founder of LOGOS, a blockchain startup. This year, she was a speaker at SXSW where she discussed blockchain for social impact. She spent over 15 years in Washington politics, working on Capitol Hill and serving as a Presidential Appointee in the Obama Administration. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Boston Foundation’s Haiti Development Institute. Her first Haitian Ladies Brunch was in 2010, but she started co-hosting with Nadine Kearns in 2012. In 2016, she led in organizing the first of its kind forum for Haitian-American women leaders at the White House to kick-off the inaugural Haitian Ladies Weekend.