The MiracleFeet team is made up of professionals with broad experience in public health, philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, physical therapy, social work, non-profit management, marketing, communications, and business. We work very closely together, driven by the shared desire to make a difference in the lives of children. Many members of our team have lived and worked internationally and have a strong understanding of what it takes to be effective in low resource settings.
Chesca first became interested in clubfoot while she was working at The University of Iowa. Drawn to the opportunity to have an impact on children’s lives in some of the countries she had grown up in, she joined a small group of parents and surgeons interested in creating an organization to address the issue of untreated clubfoot.
In 2010, she quit her job and dedicated herself full-time to getting MiracleFeet off the ground, working closely with the Board to develop and implement the current approach of partnering with local doctors. She became Executive Director of MiracleFeet in 2012 and has grown the organization to where it is today.
Chesca’s prior experience includes working with The University of Iowa, eToys, CitySearch, The Boston Consulting Group, Goldman Sachs, International Rescue Committee and CARE, and living in Ecuador, Pakistan, UK and the US. When not traveling, she loves spending time hiking, skiing, and cooking with her husband, Rudi, and their three children. She received an MBA from Stanford and a BA from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead Scholar.
An award-winning in-depth profile of Chesca’s life and the motivation behind her deep passion to rid the world of clubfoot disability appeared in the January/February issue of Carolina Alumni Review magazine. Read the story here.
After getting her BA in 1982, Marieke spent five years working in nursing in the Netherlands, followed by 20 years living in Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda with her husband, Michiel Steenbeek, and her two sons.
In Uganda, Marieke worked as a program manager in rehabilitation, orthopaedic, and plastic surgery. Many children with neglected clubfoot came into the center for surgery, and Marieke recalls the difficulty of the operations – for the child as well as the surgeon. After Prof Pirani visited the Ugandan program bringing information about the Ponseti Method, Marieke and her husband, Prof Pirani, and Dr. Norgrove Penny started the Uganda Clubfoot Project in 1999. Marieke became the national coordinator of this first-ever national clubfoot program with a public health approach. The program grew quickly with donated funds while Marieke also completed her graduate diploma in Health Systems Management at the Londen School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
In 2009, Marieke and Michiel went back to the Netherlands for more than 7 years, where Marieke worked as a research coordinator and specialist nurse for children with cleft lip and palate in the University Hospital of Groningen. Marieke has written and co-authored several published articles, and in 2010, she went to Haiti for emergency aid following the earthquake and performed missions work in Sierra Leone with a plastic surgery team.
Jennifer has spent her career involved in many varied aspects of physical rehabilitation. Starting as a community volunteer then moving into direct care as a physical therapist, Jennifer brings her broad expertise to MiracleFeet where she focuses on managing programs and community advocacy. Her experience includes serving in the Peace Corps in Cote d’ Ivoire providing community-based rehabilitation to underserved populations, being the physiotherapy coordinator in Angola for landmine victims, and managing a rehabilitation project in Niger with the country’s first Ponseti clinic. Jennifer received her Bachelors in Biology from State University of New York-Oswego and her Master of Physical Therapy at Western Carolina University.
Katy brings to MiracleFeet experience in public health programming and research. Her international health experience includes three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer working on community health projects in the Dominican Republic, work supporting research and evaluation projects in the realm of global reproductive and maternal health, and experience conducting research on child health in Kenya. She has also worked on multiple research projects and programming initiatives with underserved populations in New York City. Katy holds a Bachelor of Arts in public policy and global health from Duke University, and a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University.
Maria Cristina Mosende is a Registered Social Worker and a public health specialist. Currently based in her home city of Manila, Philippines, Maria Cristina has worked throughout Asia and the Pacific in various capacities, providing management and technical support to governments, civil society, and non-government organizations. She gathers more than fifteen years of international experience in program design and management, community development, civil society and stakeholder engagement, and monitoring and evaluation of public health and Global Fund projects. Her previous consultancy affiliations include the Technical Support Facility for Asia Pacific (TSF-AP), International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Axios International, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). She is a mother of two daughters (Jasmin and Victoria) and two sons (Paul and Christian).
Misbah joins MiracleFeet as a recent graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BS in Health Policy and Management. She is passionate about addressing health disparities on a global scale and has experience working abroad in Morocco as a volunteer, at UNC School of Medicine’s free health clinic, and at the Carolina Population Center.
Caroline comes to MiracleFeet with a background in the monitoring and evaluation of international development activities. She has provided managerial and technical support for evaluations of projects in public health, the water sector, public diplomacy, and civil society all over the world. She has lived and worked abroad in numerous countries including Jordan, Syria, and Hungary. Caroline holds a BA in Political Science from Davidson College.
Christie brings to MiracleFeet significant experience in global health, project management, and nonprofit administration as the Deputy Director of Programs. Her previous roles include development coordinator at The Rotary Foundation and executive director of the Ashraya Initiative for Children in Pune, India. Christie has conducted research in Haiti and Kenya and holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and a master’s degree in public health from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Christie resides in Carrboro, North Carolina.
Noé was born and grew up in Madagascar, Africa, where he received a B.S. in Accounting from Institut National des Sciences Comptables et Administration d’Entreprises, INSCAE. He also has a Master’s Degree in Management from the Université Paris XII, France. Noé previously worked at Illinois State University (ISU) where he taught a range of project management, monitoring and evaluation-oriented classes for Management Development International, an international professional development program. Prior to his relocation to the U.S., he worked in Madagascar for Population Services International, a Washington D.C-based global health organization. He also worked as a consultant for an independent market research firm operating in the Indian Ocean Islands. Noé now brings his expertise in project management and health programming to MiracleFeet, where he serves as the Assistant Program Manager for Francophone Africa region. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and playing with his two little children, running and reading books. He speaks Malagasy, French, and English.
Marie France was born and raised in Asuncion, Paraguay, lived in Bolivia for several years during childhood and is passionate about the region. She studied at the Catholic University Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion to obtain a degree in Political Science, focusing on government and civil society projects. Before working for Miraclefeet, Marie France worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay and in different public health projects at other nonprofit organizations based in Paraguay. She first started working on clubfoot as a Country Coordinator working with Fundacion Solidaridad, MiracleFeet’s partner in Paraguay, then became Program Manager for the region of Latin Ameria. Fluent in English and Spanish with experience in international affairs she in charge of overseeing six programs in six countries of the region and continuing the expansion and growth of programs by building strong relationships with regional and local organizations.
Dr. Oussama Zekri is MiracleFeet’s new Program Field Officer for West & Central Africa. Dr. Zekri is a young professional and Fulbright Alumnus with a passion for African affairs, international development, and public health issues. He has a track record of professional field experience in both developed and developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining MiracleFeet, he was a Senior Project Analyst at Dimagi Inc. for their West Africa business unit, based in Dakar Senegal. Dr. Zekri is from Tunisia, grew up in the Chad Republic, lived in Dakar, Senegal and had the opportunity to work in the region in countries such as Burkina Faso, Benin, Madagascar, and others on top of his extensive travels in many other African countries. Dr. Zekri has a DMD from the University of Monastir, Tunisia and an MHA (concentration in Health Services Policy and Management) from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. He will be based in Rabat, Morocco.
Katie has dedicated her career to fundraising for international health and development activities. Most recently, she was the Development Director for the UNC Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases. Prior to joining UNC, Katie worked with Oxfam America raising funds for their women’s programs, disaster relief, and agricultural initiatives. She started her career working for UNICEF, where she helped develop their first HIV-focused fundraising and education campaign. Later she worked with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative developing a science advocacy and communications plan. Katie earned her MA from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and her BA from Wake Forest University. When Katie is not running after her three kids, she enjoys running outside, practicing yoga, and cooking.
Andrea spent the first ten years of her career in higher education development at Duke University, UCLA, and the University of Southern California, where her work focused on establishing dynamic donor relations programs and creating opportunities for meaningful donor engagement. She received her BA in Technical and Scientific Communication from James Madison University, where she also studied writing and rhetoric. In her free time, Andrea enjoys reading, cooking, and discovering new restaurants with her husband.
Natalia has a background in youth development and has worked with justice-focused organizations both domestic and international for almost ten years. A native New Yorker, Natalia graduated from Catholic University in Washington, DC with a degree in politics with a concentration in peace studies. After CUA, she worked with DC middle schoolers, volunteered in Colombia, and worked on non-profit fundraising in Durham. In her free time Natalia loves exploring all the food and nature in the Tar Heel State.
Kylie’s professional background includes experience in product development and sales. Prior to MiracleFeet, she worked with an organization that developed an application to support providers of community-based mental health services. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard and a master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. Kylie is a lifelong hockey player and an avid reader.
Andrea is passionate about education and information access and is excited to be part of MiracleFeet’s work to increase access to clubfoot treatment. She spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bulgaria, teaching elementary English and music. Since her return to the U.S., Andrea has worked for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library, the Cleveland Institute of Music Robinson Music Library, and in LGBTQ advocacy. Andrea holds a B.M and M.M in piano performance from Youngstown State University and a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University.
As a former news producer who has made the switch to the PR-side, Jill Dykes has a unique mix of relationships, experience, and news judgment. A self-described “news-hound”, Jill majored in broadcast communications at Elon University and was promptly hired by NBC News world headquarters after graduation. During her five years with NBC, she traveled extensively to cover major breaking news and learned firsthand how to find a good news story. In 2002 Jill made the switch to PR and honed her skills at two highly reputable agencies before launching Jill Dykes PR in 2009. When not pitching her clients to major national and international news organizations, Jill can be found spending time with her husband and two daughters, ages 11 and 8.
Amanda spent the first 14 years of her career in sales, marketing, and operations roles. As a former executive with Accenture, she has worked closely with several Fortune 500 clients, including State Farm Insurance and Microsoft. As an adult born with bilateral clubfoot, Amanda was introduced to the exciting work being carried out by MiracleFeet after getting involved in the US clubfoot community. She now spends her days helping the MiracleFeet team transform the lives of children around the world. Amanda has a BA in Communication, and she received her MBA from Bradley University in 2011. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, maintaining her vegetable garden, and cooking.
Meredith has spent her entire career in the nonprofit sector, working for over a decade in local and national nonprofits focused largely on eliminating childhood poverty. Her work includes building and launching an after-school program in a high-poverty neighborhood in Washington, D.C., to directing corporate and foundation fundraising for Teach For America in eastern North Carolina. She is passionate about ensuring that children can lead full, productive lives and is dedicated to helping MiracleFeet improve the lives of children around the world. Meredith has a bachelor’s in public policy and MBA from Duke University. In her free time she enjoys reading about social justice and spending time with her daughter and husband.
Karyn is passionate about making health and wellbeing accessible to everyone and loves working behind the scenes to help great organizations have great impact. She has worked for both local and international nonprofits in project design and management, marketing and development, and monitoring and evaluation. She joins MiracleFeet after spending two years in Rwanda with the Peace Corps, coordinating community health training at a local health center. Karyn holds a BS in International Health from Georgetown University.
Anne’s experience includes working as a Credit Analyst and Small Business Loan Underwriter for Central Carolina Bank and serving as Treasurer and on the Finance Committee at her church. She has operated a business that addresses the financial management and bookkeeping needs of not-for-profit and for-profit companies. Anne received her BS in Business Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.