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Women Changing the World: A Panel Discussion with NH Women Leaders

  • Monday, March 08, 2021
  • 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM


  • Please help the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire continue these programs throughout the year. Your support directly empowers the New Hampshire Community to engage in global understanding.

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Women Changing the World:

A Panel Discussion with New

Hampshire Women Leaders

March 8th is International Women's Day! Join the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire for our virtual celebration with a panel featuring three international non-profit leaders that call New Hampshire home. Tune in as Dr. Catherine Rielly of Rubia Handwork, Katherine Kolios of Rain for the Sahel and Sahara, and Blair Demers of Education for All Children talk about the meaningful work that their organizations do, and discuss their experiences as women leading non-profits in New Hampshire. This panel discussion will be moderated by WACNH Board Member, Maura Sullivan.

Following the opening remarks of the speakers, a moderated Question and Answer session will be held. All questions can be emailed to, posted in either of the YouTube or Facebook Live chats, or the messenger app on our website. Tune in to the Council website for this virtual event at and we hope to see you there!

When: Monday, March 8th from 6 - 7pm


About Blair Demers

Blair Demers is the U.S. Executive Director of Education for All Children (EFAC), an education-to-employment program for talented, disadvantaged Kenyan youth with offices in Portsmouth, NH and Nairobi, Kenya. In her role, Blair combines her passion for Africa with her deep commitment to creating opportunities for young people where none would otherwise exist. Blair began her career in the nonprofit sector at SMART, a San Francisco-based educational organization serving low-income, academically motivated middle school students. Blair’s tenure there spanned six years and included the positions of Program Director, Development Director and Executive Director. 

After moving to New Hampshire in 2007, Blair joined the board of the Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle and played an integral role in the organization’s growth as a grant-making body in New Hampshire. Serving as Chair of the Giving Circle from 2010-2012, Blair managed a strategic planning process with regard to the group’s membership, fundraising, grant-making, organizational structure, and sustainability. She also served as Vice Chair of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Regional Advisory Board and Chair of their Grants Committee from 2014-2020. Blair graduated from Princeton University in 1996 with a BA in History with Honors and a certificate in African Studies. In 2019, she earned her graduate degree in Nonprofit Management from Johns Hopkins. Blair lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with her husband, Jeff, and three teenaged daughters.

About Katherine Kolios

Katherine Kolios’s experience spans more than a decade working in education, sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, and malaria prevention. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of Rain for the Sahel and Sahara - a grassroots NGO that forges partnerships with rural and nomadic peoples in Niger to enable enduring and relevant livelihoods through access to education and opportunity. She joined RAIN in 2017 having lived, worked, and studied in Francophone communities throughout Africa, South America, and Europe.

Katherine has experience working in the field and in headquarters of organizations large and small. Currently, she leads RAIN’s strategic planning, serves as the liaison between Niger and U.S. operations, and ensures RAIN has the resources needed to implement programs effectively in tandem with community partners. She is a graduate of Brandeis University’s Health: Science, Society and Policy program.

About Catherine Rielly

Catherine Rielly has been president of Rubia Handwork since it received its 501c3 non-profit status in 2009. In 2013, Rachel Lehr passed the torch to her as Executive Director. Previously Dr. Rielly taught international community economic development for eight years at Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Community Economic Development where she was Professor and International Academic Program Chair.

A Political Economist, she has conducted research, training, and technical assistance for the past twenty-five years on women’s empowerment, public policy, economics, democratization and governance, for the following organizations: the Harvard Institute for International Development, UNIFEM, UNFPA, UNDP, the Asian Development Bank, USAID, the Governments of Mali, Zambia, and Uganda, and the Kennedy School of Government. Her research focuses on women’s economic empowerment and fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS through building women’s financial independence. As a Fulbright Scholar in Cameroon, she conducted doctoral research on women’s participation in informal savings and credit organizations and the gender-specific division of labor and income.

She received her Ph.D. and Master’s in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; and her B.A in History from Stanford University. Dr. Rielly has conducted comparative research and written journal articles on policy processes in over twenty countries.

About Maura Sullivan

Maura C. Sullivan is a former Marine Corps Officer and Iraq War Veteran who held various senior appointed positions in the Obama Administration, including Assistant Secretary for Public & Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and Special Assistant to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus at the Pentagon where she was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Award. In 2018, she was a candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, and recently served as New Hampshire Co-Chair of the Pete Buttigieg for America Campaign during the 2020 Presidential Primary and Co-Chair of both Veterans for Biden, New Hampshire and of the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s State Convention during the 2020 General Election. Prior to her service in the Obama Administration, Sullivan was an executive at PepsiCo where she held a number of general management roles throughout New England. Her service in the Marines includes tours in Fallujah, Iraq and southeast Asia.

Sullivan holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and MPA from Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a George Fellow and served as a teaching assistant for David Gergen. She holds a BA from Northwestern University, which she completed on a Marine Corps ROTC scholarship.

In 2010 President Obama appointed Sullivan as a Commissioner on The American Battle Monuments Commission, responsible for America’s overseas military cemeteries and memorials. Sullivan is the Co-Founder and Co-Chairperson Emeritus of the Harvard Center for Public Leadership Alumni Council. Sullivan is a Senior Fellow at New Politics and serves on the Board of Directors for the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire, is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a French-American Foundation Young Leader.

Ms. Sullivan lives with her husband Marc Sorel, a U.S. Navy Reserve officer, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

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