HLN Steering Committee
We have run statewide and national political campaigns, led non-profit operations, advised and crafted global policy, and managed million- dollar projects. Notably, we are former Presidential Appointees, heads of record labels to Grammy award-winning artists and have helped curate art and culture at public institutions including the Embassy of Haiti. Our experiences mirror that of the members of the network.
Nadine Duplessy Kearns
D.C. Program Director, Meyer Foundation
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 that became the catalyst for building 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, and has held senior leadership roles in the social sector in Washington DC, where she lives with her husband and two sons.
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 is a tech entrepreneur and co-founder of the career change and communications startup GraySide Media Group. She is a former communications leader in the Obama administration, and a former Washington Post journalist. She attended the first-ever Haitian Ladies Brunch in 2005 when it was just a handful of women clustered around a local restaurant table. She has been excited to see the growth of Haitian women from all over coming together to create a full weekend of celebration. She joined the steering committee in 2017 and serves on the communications team.
Public Engagement Strategist
Ariel Dominique is a public engagement strategist and creative consultant born and raised in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. She worked for Grammy award-winning artist, Wyclef Jean's 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. 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 Affairs and Sponsorship Committee.
Phara Georges Rodrigue
Certification & Accreditation Professional
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.
Emergency Medicine Physician
Nashley Harrigan is a board certified Emergency Medicine Physician and Assistant Professor in New York City, New York. She received her medical degree from the University of Miami and completed her residency at Jacobi/Montefiore Hospital. Her passion is in global health 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.
International Trade Attorney
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 Chérestal
Attorney Land & Natural Resource Rights
Kysseline Jean-Mary Chérestal is an attorney, with international expertise in land and natural resource rights. When she is not traveling the world for work (Africa is her beloved continent), she is loving her husband and children, her friends and family, and her community, or otherwise reading a good book. Kysseline had long admired the Haitian Ladies brunch from afar, and attended for the first time in 2017. She later joined the steering committee as part of the logistics team, which is tasked with making the location, the food, and all of the logistics of the day possible.
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.
A D Rachel Pierre
International Nonprofit Executive
Rachel is an International Nonprofit Executive based in Washington DC. She currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Pathways to Housing DC and is also an adjunct professor at Catholic University. Her first Brunch was in 2010 and she joined the Brunch host committee in 2014 at the Embassy of Haiti. Rachel now co-leads the Program Committee of the Haitian Ladies Network.
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 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.
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 played a leadership role in organizing the inaugural Haitian Ladies Weekend, which included a forum at the White House.
Scrum Certified Product Manager
Fendy is a Scrum Certified Product Manager with a developing expertise in User Experience and Artificial Intelligence. Prior to transitioning into the tech world, Fendy led client relationships, marketing, communications, and business development for organizations across various industries. She experienced her first Haitian Ladies brunch in 2011 and joined the then host committee in 2012. In 2018, Fendy joined HLN’s steering committee and spearheaded the development and launch of HLN’s branding and online presence. She is based in North Bethesda, MD and is now a proud HLN Steering Committee Emerita.