Staff Directory

Staff Directory

Andres Anton-Diaz , Development Officer for Individual Giving & Special Events

Andres Anton-Diaz joined OutRight Action International formerly known as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in 2014 after serving the University of Southern California's development team in various roles (including tele-fundraising manager and athletics development officer). During his time at USC, he oversaw and participated in several initiatives to upgrade the university's fundraising database, as well as a number of online, direct marketing, peer-to-peer, and frontline fundraising campaigns. As both an undergraduate and graduate student of USC's film production and nonprofit administration programs, he produced LGBT short films, served as an LGBT advocate for the Greek community, and won an LGBT entrepreneurship scholarship based on a concept for a nonprofit fundraising application.

+1 (212) 430-6020
Sarah Bennett, Operations Manager

Sarah Bennett joins OutRight Action International formerly known as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission with a passion for LGBT rights. Originally from Arizona, she earned her B.A. in Sociology and minored in LGBT studies and social justice at DePaul University in Chicago. She served for over two years in the Peace Corps in the African country, Namibia. There she worked as a teacher focusing on English, computer literacy and sex education. She later traveled in India and Southeast Asia prior to returning to the States. Prior to joining OutRight, Sarah worked at New York University, providing support for the faculty at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

+1 (212) 430-6033
Cristina (Ging) Cristobal, Project Coordinator for Asia and Pacific Islands

A lesbian feminist activist since 1997, Ging Cristobal joined the OutRight Action International  (formerly names as International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)) in 2008 as Project Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific. She was the main writer and researcher of the SOGIE report for the Philippines during the Philippines ICCPR review in 2012, as part of a 2-woman Asia program team, they produced the video documentary, “Courage Unfolds: LGBT Activism and the Yogyakarta Principles in Asia”, and have coordinated the research on violence on LBT persons with five partner countries in Asia. Ging has been a technical advisor of UNDP Being’s Asia regional project LGBT in Asia, and is acting Chairperson of the Quezon City Pride Council, instrumental in having the anti-discrimination ordinance passed in Quezon City.  Ging is one of the co-founder & member – ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, a coalition of LGBT groups in Southeast Asia advocating for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGIE) in the ASEAN. Work is focused on issues on police education on LGBTI rights, LGBT migrant workers in ASEAN and legislative advocacy work an ASEAN.

A member and former vice-chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Amnesty International – Philippines, prior to that, she was the Executive Director and one of the founders of the Lesbian Advocates Philippines (LeAP!), Inc. where she wrote and did the first research on sexual and reproductive health of lesbian in the Philippines titled, “Hidden Health: Exploring the Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs and Practices of Filipino Lesbians on Sexual and Reproductive Health” and as one of the documenter and writer of the documented discrimination cases of lesbian in the Philippines in the book titled, “Unmask: Documentation of Violence Against Lesbians in the Philippines.”

Ging has lobbied for laws to protect LGBT rights as one of the members and founders of the Lesbian and Gay Legislative Advocacy Network (LAGABLAB), a local network of LGBT organizations and individuals engaged in legislative advocacy and lobbying for laws recognizing LGBT rights, particularly the anti-discrimination bill that has been languishing in Philippines Congress for last 17 years. She was also one of the founders and active members of Task Force Pride, the local network engaged in organizing the annual LGBT Pride event in the Philippines, of the Asia Pacific Rainbow, a regional LGBT organization, and a former member and party list nominee of LADLAD, a national LGBT political organization for LGBT people in the Philippines.

A Buddhist by philosophy, 80’s music addict, dog lover, positivist, environmentalist, gardener, weekend catering driver, expert laundrywoman, a videoke junkie, a serial collector of things, a proud fashion wreck and obsessive compulsive, while promoting human rights for everyone, everywhere, all the time!

Ashton Giese, Development Associate

After serving in foreign affairs, politics and the private sector, Ashton Giese looks to expand awareness of the plight of LGBT people abroad. He advocated for LGBT rights at the US State Department, helped elect LGBT advocate, US Congressman Mark Pocan, and led cultural tours for LGBT travelers abroad. Ashton dates his work to support human rights to forming the first Amnesty International chapter in high school where he grew up outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He continued this advocacy through college at the George Washington University, work in Washington, DC and beyond. Alongside his advocacy work at OutRight Action International formerly known as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, he continues to publish a weekly news brief to inform LGBT travelers about travel insights as well as the lives of LGBT people abroad.

+1 (212) 430-6057
María Mercedes Gómez, Regional Program Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean

María Mercedes Gómez is a Colombian academic and human rights activist whose work has focused on exploring the challenges of understanding, preventing, and reducing violence based on sexual prejudices in the US and Latin America. María holds a Ph.D. in Political Science, as well as a M.A. in Gender Studies and Feminist Theory from the New School for Social Research. She taught for many years at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia as well as in universities in Canada. María has also served on the legal team and the Board of Directors of Proyecto Colombia Diversa, an NGO dedicated to promoting human rights of LGBTI communities in Colombia. Through her writings on violence based on prejudice and training workshops, María has promoted awareness of LGBTI violence among law professors, law enforcement agents, and representatives from the criminal justice system in Latin America.

Fitri Hendriyani, Grant Administrator and Project Officer

Fitri Hendriyani joined OutRight Action International, formerly known as, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission as Grant Administrator and Project Officer for Indonesia. Fitri has an extensive background working with international organizations as well as national organizations in Indonesia. She has broad experience managing grants and working as a financial officer. Fitri obtained her degree in Accounting with a focus on Managerial Accounting from the University of Lampung, Indonesia. Fitri’s experience with LGBT rights in Indonesia, or lack thereof, motivated her to become involved in obtaining equal rights for the LGBT community.

+62. 822-8119-4249
Karen Kraan, Interim Director of Programs

Karen Kraan is OutRight’s Interim Director of Programs. Karen has a 15+ year track record working with LGBTQI communities and organizations around the world, taking a health and human rights perspective. Working for Flowz, she has extensive expertise in managing change, people and processes, and supports organizations strategically, always taking a pragmatic perspective, and building on what is already there. Karen’s country experience includes Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Georgia, Moldova, the European Union, US, Ecuador, Mexico, and Indonesia, among others. Karen is an expert in organizational development and organizational change and also specializes in institutional fundraising, particularly managing large grant proposal application processes for international consortia.

+31 6 38317165
Shehnilla Mohamed, Regional Program Coordinator for Africa

Shehnilla Mohamed is the Regional Program Coordinator for Africa for OutRight Action International formerly known as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. During her over 25 years experience in media and development, Shehnilla has always maintained a strong focus on human rights including LGBTI rights violations. She previously worked as South Africa Director for Oxfam GB, Deputy Director of BBC Trust African Media Initiative based in Kenya, and Principal Advisor for the Hivos-IMS Program in Zimbabwe among others. She spent six years working in The Gulf as Bureau Chief, Northern Emirates for the daily, Gulf News. Shehnilla is presently completing her Masters and has a BA honors in Journalism and Media Studies. She is a certified work place coach and can speak English, Urdu, Shona and basic French.

+27 11 486 9366
M.J. Moneymaker, Digital Communications Manager

As the digital communications manager for OutRight Action International formerly known as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, M.J. Moneymaker managers the digital content and development of their online platforms. She also helps with tech advocacy for LGBTIQ people. She has a MFA in Creative Writing and a BA in TV/Film production. She previously worked at WITNESS as the Digital Production Sr. Coordinator; as the Production Supervisor for NYC LGBT Community Center's TV show; and on projects with St. Vincent’s Hospital - HIV Education Center, Our Scene TV, and Freeheld, the Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary Short Subject amongst others. She is a U.S. Navy veteran. She teaches at Downtown Community TV and Volunteer Management Group.

+1 (212) 430-6015
Grace Poore, Regional Program Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific Islands

Grace Poore, from Malaysia, is the Regional Program Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific Islands at the OutRight Action International formerly known as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. She oversees multi-country documentation and advocacy projects in Asia, conducts trainings on human rights documentation, and facilitates LBT engagement with UN mechanisms, specifically the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). She co-wrote the video, “Courage Unfolds” about LGBT activism in Asia and the Yogyakarta Principles. Her other two documentary films on domestic violence and surviving child sexual abuse have been viewed in eighteen countries. Ms. Poore holds a Masters degree from Syracuse University, Newhouse School of Communications. She is a frequent contributor to online journals such as the Huffington Post and The New Civil Rights Movement.

Lea Rios, Development Officer for Institutional Giving

Lea Rios joined OutRight Action International formerly known as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in June 2014 as a grant writer and development officer. She graduated from New York University in 2009 with a BA in American Studies, where she received the Clyde R. Taylor Award for Distinguished Work in African American and Africana Studies. During her time as an undergraduate, Lea Rios became involved in many NYC based and US focused LGBTQ, anti-poverty, and arts groups including Queers for Economic Justice, GLAAD, and the MIX Experimental Film Festival. After graduating in 2009, she worked as a fundraiser for Community Resource Exchange, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and the Boston Center for the Arts. Lea Rios grew up between Boston and the UK, and feels a strong sense of kinship to communities both within and outside of the US. In 2013, Lea Rios spent a year at Central Saint Martins college of art and design in London, studying Performance Design and Practice at the MA level. She is passionate about social justice for transgender people, for others who experience violence or discrimination as a result of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, and about promoting intersectionality within the global progressive movement.

Kevin Schumacher, Regional Program Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa

Kevin Schumacher is the Regional Program Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa. From 2006 to 2009, Kevin was the Communications' Coordinator when OutRight Action International was formerly known as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, monitoring LGBT rights violations in Iran and Iraq. He previously worked as the Fellowship of Reconciliation's Coordinator for Iran and Iraq. Kevin is bilingual in Persian (Farsi) and English, and has an advanced comprehension of Standard Arabic. He has an M.A. in International Relations from the National University, Teheran, Iran and an M.A in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame.

+1 (212) 430-6016
Maria Sjödin, Deputy Executive Director

Maria Sjödin joined OutRight Action International formerly known as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in 2014, as Director of Development and External Relations. From 2016 she is Deputy Executive Director. Between 2005-2014 she was the Executive Director of RFSL, Sweden’s largest and oldest LGBT organization. Maria led the expansion of RFSL’s international work from a single advocacy project to a number of projects with partner organizations in several countries and human rights and leadership training of hundreds of international LGBT activists. Maria served on the board of ILGA (the global membership organiation for LGBT organizations) between 2006-2014 and led the organizing of the largest ever ILGA World Conference hosted by RFSL in Stockholm in 2012.

Maria has led international leadership trainings of over 150 LGBTIQ activists, including topics such as strength-based coaching and appreciative inquiry.

Roberta Sklar, Communications Consultant

Roberta Sklar is a leading communications strategist and media relations’ specialist. A veteran of social justice media campaigns, she has worked to advance LGBT civil rights, sexual and reproductive health rights, and global female empowerment. Sklar is the former communications director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Empire State Pride Agenda. During her tenure, the Task Force re-established itself as a leading national voice for LGBT rights. At the Pride Agenda Sklar conducted media campaigns supporting the delivery of groundbreaking statewide nondiscrimination law, a hate crimes law, and NY’s first state funding for LGBT health and human services. As a consultant, she worked with NYC Anti-Violence Project, Freedom to Marry, the National Sexuality Resource Center, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Queers for Economic Justice, and others. Sklar developed and implemented global advocacy campaigns addressing the status of women and girls with the United Nations Population Fund, Family Care International, Saving Women’s Lives Project, Women ARISE, and the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society.

+1 (917) 704-6358
Jessica Stern, Executive Director

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of the OutRight Action International formerly known as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, specializes in gender, sexuality and human rights globally. As the first researcher on LGBT rights at Human Rights Watch and a Ralph Bunche Fellow at Amnesty International, she conducted fact-finding investigations and advocacy in relation to Iran, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. She has campaigned extensively for social and economic justice in the United States for the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, the Urban Justice Center and as a founding collective member of Bluestockings. A past board member of Queers for Economic Justice, she currently serves on the board of the International Bar Association’s Committee on LGBT Rights and the Law. Educated at the London School of Economics, she teaches at Columbia University.

+1 (917) 355-3262