Board Members


Dr. Mitch Besser – Interim Chair, m2m U.S., Founder, m2m

An obstetrician and gynaecologist, Mitch’s career has been dedicated to the public health needs of women.  In 1999, he joined the University of Cape Town, assisting with the development of services for HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT).   It was through that work he recognised a need for an education and psychosocial support programme that would help PMTCT services achieve the best medical and social outcomes, founding m2m in 2001.  Among the many awards Mitch has received are the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and the Presidential Citizen’s Award.

Meet Mitch | Watch Mitch's Ted Talk

Derek Lubner – Chair, m2m South Africa

YouTubeDerek is the Marketing Director at Innovate Services Ltd, a school caterer operating in fifty schools and colleges in the U.K.  He has deep roots in South Africa, having gone to school in Johannesburg and served as a partner of All Brand No Flakes, a marketing and branding company based in Cape Town. In addition to his longstanding commitment to m2m, he serves on the boards of the Community Chest and the South African National Youth Orchestra, and runs his parents’ foundation, MAID (Make an Immediate Difference).

Carl Stewart – Chair, m2m U.K.

YouTubeA finance industry professional, Carl is currently the Global Head of Hedge Funds Coverage at HSBC in London. Previously, he served as Chief Operating Officer of the European Business of Och-Ziff Management Europe Limited, a U.S.-based asset management firm.  He also held the senior leadership positions at K2 Advisors Limited and Zurich Capital Markets’ business in Europe and Asia. For the first 14 years of his career, Carl worked at JP Morgan in a variety of roles in investment banking and capital markets.

Carolina Manhusen Schwab – Vice Chair, m2m U.K.

YouTubeCarolina is an economist with experience in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. She began her career at the Inter-American Development Bank, working on women’s development and microenterprise projects. She later joined Merrill Lynch Investment Banking where she was involved in Mergers & Acquisitions in the energy and power sectors. She also founded two businesses — a search firm and a social enterprise clothing line that employed vulnerable women in Argentina — and has volunteered with numerous organisations in Europe and South America. Of Swedish and Argentinian descent, Carolina speaks five languages and has two Masters degrees in Economics and in Development Studies.


The Reverend Canon Chris Ahrends – Anglican Church of Southern Africa

Chris is the Canon Missioner of the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, one of the Anglican Dioceses of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. He also runs a small consulting practice, Four Consulting, and is a Director of The U2U Foundation, a registered nonprofit organisation which offers a range of transformative courses, workshops, and retreats. Formerly, he served as Executive Director of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town, South Africa and, prior to that, he was Sub Dean at St. George’s Cathedral and Chaplain to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Laura Bartlett – Retired CFO/COO

YouTubeLaura is the retired CFO/COO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the nonprofit trade association for the US Advertising industry. She joined the 4A’s in 2008 from the global advertising network FCB, where she served as CFO for the New York office and later CFO of FCB Worldwide. During her 14 year tenure, Laura was involved in international acquisitions and overseas operations. Earlier, she spent 14 years in financial management at Johnson & Johnson. Laura is also a board director for the nonprofit Gilda’s Club NYC that provides free, comprehensive cancer support. She earned a BS in Accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson.

Paul Boskind, Ph.D. – Owner and CEO, Deer Oaks Behavioral Health Organization 

Paul is a psychologist, national LGBTQ activist, philanthropist, and Tony Award-winning Broadway producer. He founded Deer Oaks Behavioral Health Organization in 1992 as a sole-practitioner clinic. Today, the organisation is one of the largest employers of psychologists in the US, providing behavioral health services at nursing homes across the country, as well as Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services in the US and internationally. Paul serves on numerous organisations and boards, including the National Finance Committee of the Democratic National Committee, All Out international, the Victory Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the Human Rights Campaign boards.

Leslie Brunner – President, MiniLuxe

Leslie Brunner serves as the President of MiniLuxe, which is seeking to transform nail care by integrating technology, data analytics, and career pathing, while offering an elevated experience across hygiene, fashion, and quality. Before joining MiniLuxe, she was a Senior Vice President of People and Process at athenahealth, Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based services for electronic health record (EHR), practice management, and care coordination. Earlier in her career, Leslie held various roles in integrated delivery systems operations at Lovelace Health Systems. She obtained a BA from Colorado College and a Master’s Degree in Health Administration from Washington University.

Lynne Cornelissen – Medical Officer/Sub-Investigator, Stellenbosch University’s Family Clinical Research Unit

YouTubeLynne serves as a Medical Officer/Sub-Investigator at Stellenbosch University’s Family Clinical Research Unit (FAMCRU) based at Tygerberg Hospital, where she currently studies HIV and TB in pregnancy and cardiovascular prevention strategies in HIV. Prior to joining FAMCRU, Lynne spent five years at Khayelitsha District Hospital managing complex HIV and TB patients. A Cape Town native who is passionate about HIV medicine, Lynne received her medical degree from Stellenbosch University and a diploma in HIV management with distinction from the College of Medicine.

Claudio Descalzi – CEO, Eni    

Claudio has spent his whole career in Eni, joining the company in 1981 as Oil & Gas field petroleum engineer. He held a number of senior management positions that spanned the globe before being appointed CEO in 2014. Claudio was the first European in the field of Oil & Gas to receive the “Charles F. Rand Memorial Gold Medal 2012” award by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the American Institute of Mining Engineers. He is visiting Fellow of the University of Oxford, a member of the Global Board of Advisors of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the General Council and of the Advisory Board of Confindustria, and Director of Fondazione Teatro alla Scala.  

Dr. Tim Evans – Medical Director

YouTubeAs Medical Director of a private medical and well-being clinic in London, Tim is guided by his belief that “prevention is the medicine of the millennium.” Early in his career, he established primary health clinics in rural areas of Zimbabwe recovering from civil war. After acquiring post graduate qualifications in general practice, anaesthetics, obstetrics, and gynaecology, he established a private general practice for women and children in London, followed by the first fully integrated practice incorporating conventional, complementary, and alternative healthcare. He was appointed as Apothecary to HM The Queen and The Royal Households of London in 2003.

Colin Freund – CEO, MODRA Pharmaceuticals

Colin has over 20 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, with a primary focus in oncology. Prior to joining MODRA Pharmaceuticals, which specialises in oral chemotherapy, Colin was CEO of QUE Oncology, Inc., a company focused on cancer-related therapies. Colin also held senior business and corporate development roles at Transgene SA, Agennix Inc., and GPC Biotech AG, all of which were involved with developing novel oncology therapeutics. Earlier in his career, Colin was a project manager at the Boston Consulting Group in the healthcare and high technology practice areas. 

Colleen Hancock – Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer,

YouTubeColleen is Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of BabyCenter, the #1 parenting and pregnancy digital resource educating more than 45 million parents each month around the globe. She is a member of the Johnson & Johnson mHealth Strategic Team, focused on improving maternal, newborn, and child health, and a founding member of MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action) reaching over 3 million underserved mothers. Prior to joining BabyCenter, Colleen had 16 years experience in retail strategy and general management, overseeing profitable businesses including Neiman Marcus and Duty Free Shoppers (DFS) globally.

Diana Mabasa – Attorney

Diana is an admitted attorney, notary and conveyancer. She is the founder of Diana Mabasa Inc., a boutique law firm that is 100% black– and female-owned. She is passionate about social justice and gender equality, receiving the coveted 2015 LexisNexis Prize for Legal Practitioners for an article on harmful cultural practices causing gender inequalities in South Africa. Diana holds numerous degrees, including a BA, LLB and LLM from the University of the Witwatersrand . She is a member of the Law Society of South Africa, and has acted as a judge in the Gauteng Division of the High Court. Serving on m2m’s Board allows Diana to further her work towards the eradication of gender discrimination and encourage women to participate in leadership structures to bring about change.

Herschelle Milford – Organisational Development Consultant

Born and raised in rural Namaqualand, South Africa, Herschelle is passionate about development working in rural communities and community-based initiatives. She believes in the empowerment of people, women in particular, and the strength of partnerships and collaborations. After serving 18 years as the CEO of Surplus People Project, Herschelle stepped down in 2017 to work as a consultant and explore new opportunities in mentoring youth and platforms for sharing experience and knowledge. She has a Bachelor’s Degree and a Higher Diploma in Education from the University of the Western Cape. She has served on several NGO boards, including the South African San Institute and Biowatch.

Louise Palmer – Board Advisor

Louise is an advisor to CEO’s, Boards, and executive teams on leadership, vision, organisation design, change, and transformation. In 2001, Louise founded 7days, specialists in organisational effectiveness, which she sold in 2010 after building a successful business. Prior to founding 7days, Louise was Head of Change at British Airways and Thomson Travel Group, a Senior Consultant at Coopers & Lybrand, and a member of the executive team at Mothercare Plc. She was a Senior Partner and Head of Consumer UK for KornFerry Consulting. As well as being an independent advisor to Boards, CEO’s and Execs, she is also CEO of her own clothing business, Velvet Architect.

Terry D. Peigh – Senior Vice President, Managing Director, Interpublic Group (IPG)

Terry serves as a senior corporate executive overseeing the relationship with some of the largest clients at IPG, a global leader in modern marketing solutions. Prior to joining IPG, Terry held senior leadership positions at global advertising networks Foote Cone and Belding (FCB) Worldwide and True North Communications. Employing his international and marketing background, Terry devotes some of his outside time to various NGOs working in international social development, including advising on how best to use modern-day marketing principles to advance the acceptance of health practices in the developing world.

Meena Ravella – Advisor & Consultant

Meena has over 20 years of experience in the consumer internet, and currently advises several Silicon Valley companies. Meena most recently was the Vice President of Business Development for Shutterfly, whose mission is to help the world share life’s joy by helping people share their memories. 

Prior to Shutterfly, Meena headed up marketing partnerships for eBay, with a focus on the largest consumer websites, electronics manufacturers, and wireless carriers.  Prior to eBay, Meena worked at NBC Internet, Boston Consulting Group and JP Morgan Chase.

Kate Schachern – Partner, Rabin Martin

Kate is a Partner at Rabin Martin, a global health strategy firm, where she leads large-scale, global health and health access projects around the world. She has a decade of experience working with the private and public sector on programmes, strategy, communications, policy, and advocacy efforts to advance public health outcomes, with a special focus on improving access to HIV care and treatment across Africa. She holds a BA in Journalism from the George Washington University.

Charneill Sickle – Chartered Accountant

YouTubeA qualified chartered accountant, Charneill spent 10 years at Deloitte, where she was the lead audit partner for the public and nonprofit sectors in the Western Cape and served a wide range of clients, including mothers2mothers. Now a strategic financial consultant, Charneill’s expertise lies in the understanding of good governance and oversight, and the role of strong financial controls in enhancing the performance of nonprofits. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting from the University of Cape Town.

Non-voting Members

Frank Beadle de Palomo – President and Chief Executive Officer

Frank has over 26 years experience in the global health community that includes significant achievements in HIV prevention, domestic and global care, research, and advocacy.  Before joining m2m as CEO in 2012, Frank was Senior Vice President and Director of the Global Health, Population, and Nutrition Group at FHI 360. Previously, Frank was Senior Vice President and Director of the Academy for Educational Development (AED), where he re-established the organisation as a leader in global AIDS programmes. He also created and directed the National Council of La Raza ‘s Center for Health Promotion in the U.S.

Robin Allinson Smalley – Co-founder and Director, m2m U.S.

Robin enjoyed an award-winning career as a television producer/director/writer before realising that the legacy she wanted to leave had nothing to do with entertainment.  Turning her attention to the nonprofit world, she became the Executive Director of The Media Project, working to incorporate healthy messages around sexuality and reproductive health into television.  From there, she moved her family to South Africa, to become m2m’s first Executive Director. Now back in the U.S., she is responsible for U.S. fundraising, partnership development, advocacy, and global communications.

Officers of the Corporation

Chad D. Rathner – Secretary, m2m South Africa, Chief Operating Officer, m2m

Chad brings more than 18 years’ experience in the global health community and private sector. Before joining m2m as COO in 2014, Chad was the Deputy Country Director at FHI 360 Zambia as well as Chief of Party on USAID’s flagship HIV and AIDS Prevention programme in Zambia. In addition, from 2007-2010 Chad was the Academy for Educational Development (AED) Director of the Local Partners Capacity Building Program, a USAID funded Organization Development project. Chad’s new position with m2m utilises his expertise in developing solutions for a wide range of HIV and AIDS, family planning, maternal and child health, education, public/private partnership, and capacity building programmes.

Sarah Sheldon – Secretary, m2m US, Senior Grants and Compliance Manager, m2m

Sarah is a programme and grants management professional with over 13 years of experience in international health and development. Currently, she serves as the Senior Grants and Compliance Manager for m2m based in Cape Town. She is responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements of m2m’s donor and funder agreements and building the capacity of project management teams around compliance. She also plays a major role in organisational policy development and managing the governance of m2m’s local branches. Sarah previously worked with FHI 360, including as Regional Grants and Contracts Officer for West Africa based in Accra, Ghana from 2015 to 2017. 

Dan White – Interim Director of Finance and Administration

Dan has over 30 years of experience in accounting, financial management, and administrative operations for local, national, and international non-profit organisations. Before joining m2m as Interim Director of Finance and Administration in 2018, he was the Associate Director of Finance for 11 years in the Global Health, Population and Nutrition Group at FHI360.  Previously, from 1987-2002, he was the Director of Finance at Whitman Walker Clinic, a local non-profit organisation that provided a wide range of HIV/AIDS health and social services across the Washington, DC metropolitan area.