Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat, President and CEO Jennifer is the President and CEO of Washington Area Women’s Foundation, a public foundation dedicated to mobilizing the community to ensure that economically vulnerable women and girls in the Washington, DC metropolitan region have the resources they need to thrive. Jennifer joined the Women’s Foundation in 2008, providing strategic guidance while leading the program, development, and communications functions.
Jennifer has devoted her entire career to improving the lives of low-income and underserved women and girls. Prior to joining The Women’s Foundation, Jennifer served as the Director of Public Policy at the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, where she advocated on behalf of publicly funded family planning clinics and worked to improve access to family planning services for the low-income and uninsured. Before that, she spent 10 years at Women’s Policy, Inc., where she directed the organization’s policy research and analysis and worked extensively with the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. In 2013, her efforts were recognized by Capital One and the Washington Mystics when she was named a Community Champion. Jennifer currently sits on the Mayor’s State Early Childhood Development Coordinating Committee and is a 2014 Ford Foundation Public Voices Fellow.
Jennifer holds a master’s degree in international policy studies with a concentration in women in development from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of New Hampshire. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and two daughters.
Nicole Cozier, Chief of Strategic Operations Nicole leads internal operations for The Women’s Foundation and ensures cross-organizational implementation of the 2011 strategic plan. She also oversees the Foundation’s two giving circles: the Rainmakers Giving Circle and the African American Women’s Giving Circle. Additionally, she represents The Women’s Foundation on the grant collaborative team of the Partnership for Prince George’s County. Nicole joined the Foundation staff in 2008 as a philanthropic education officer. Nicole has 15 years of non-profit experience working on behalf of women and girls, half of which have been in the philanthropic sector. She began her philanthropic journey with Women & Philanthropy, a 30-year-old affinity group that worked to increase women’s leadership in the philanthropic sector and increase philanthropic dollars to women and girls. Prior to that, Nicole spent many years working the health care community in both advocacy and direct service. Nicole has served on the board of directors for Funders for LGBTQ Issues and the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Mautner Project. Nicole holds an MBA and MS from Temple University, as well as an honors bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto. A resident of the metro Washington area for 13 years, Nicole has also lived in Philadelphia, New Jersey, USVI, Canada and Barbados.
Donna Wiedeman, Executive Assistant to the President In addition to providing administrative support to the President and Board of Directors, Donna is responsible for the day-to-day financial management of The Foundation. Donna’s first “real job” as a Girl Scout camp counselor set the tone for a career in the nonprofit arena, working in such varied positions as a child-care worker at a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed children, a bus driver for slightly less troubled children, general manager for a puppet company, and administrator for a pet-therapy organization. She spent 15 years working for In Trust, Inc., an organization that works with trustees and key administrators to improve the governance of graduate theological schools in the U.S. and Canada. While there, she provided the administrative support that saw the organization grow from a project of the Lilly Endowment into a 501(c)3 membership organization with multi-faceted educational programs and a broad funding base. She came to The Women’s Foundation from Volunteer Alexandria where she was director of operations. Donna serves on the Finance Committee of BalletNova, formerly Arlington Center for Dance.
Virginie Carey, Director of Finance Virginie manages the accounting and finance of the Foundation, supporting the efforts of the programmatic and development teams. Before her employment with the Foundation, Virginie spent over 14 years building extensive experience in accounting and finance in the non-profit arena. In particular, she was the Budget & Finance Manager with ACDI/VOCA and a Senior Accountant with Counterpart International, two international development NGOs funded by USAID that addressed complex problems related to economic development, food security and nutrition, and effective governance and institutions capacity building. Virginie graduated from the George Washington University with an MBA in International Finance and from the Institut de Management International de Paris with a bachelor of science degree. Raised both in France and the United States, Virginie has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, Central Asia, and North Africa. She is an active member of her community through her involvement with her children’s school, including having served two terms as PTA vice president and as a chair of the PTA Finance and Audit Committee. Virginie lives in Virginia with her husband and two daughters.
Crystal Prater, Director of Communications Crystal leads development and implementation of strategic communications impacting all audiences of The Women’s Foundation. Having launched her career at two of the world’s top public relations firms, a foray into youth marketing led to several exciting years at America’s Promise Alliance. There she honed skills in media relations, communications planning, message and materials development, partnership management and product roll-outs. She later joined the Fannie Mae Foundation, where she managed internal communications efforts and supported major events, including the Help the Homeless Walkathon. Crystal went on to join The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission where she was an integral part of, and went on to lead, the team that launched the historic public affairs and community engagement initiative Envision Prince George’s. Prior to joining the Foundation she was Director of Communications & Community Affairs for the U.S. Department of Education awarded Promise Neighborhood Initiative in the nation’s capital.
Crystal is a life-long resident of Prince George’s County, MD. She was selected to the inaugural class of the University of Maryland at College Park Scholars Program in Public Leadership and graduated Cum Laude from Bowie State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications/Public Relations. She has received several honors including the 2013 co-hort of “Forty Under 40” and is chair of the Governance Committee for African Continuum Theatre Company.
Lauren Stillwell, Program Officer Lauren manages Stepping Stones, The Women’s Foundation’s economic security grantmaking initiative. Her portfolio includes workforce development, asset building, and early care and education. In this role, she manages the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative, and serves on the Steering Committee of the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative. Prior to joining The Women’s Foundation, Lauren managed grantmaking and donor engagement at The Community Foundation for Montgomery County, an affiliate of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. She has served on the steering committee of Nonprofit Montgomery, an affiliate of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington, working to increase the collective strength, visibility and influence of the nonprofit sector. She currently serves on the board of directors of Project Create, a nonprofit providing arts education opportunities for DC children and youth experiencing homelessness and poverty. Lauren holds a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from the College of the Holy Cross.
Claudia Williams, Research and Evaluation Program Officer Claudia coordinates a Foundation-wide program evaluation and research plan that supports and advances The Women’s Foundation’s strategic goals, and enhances the effectiveness of program strategy and grantmaking. Before joining The Women’s Foundation, Claudia served as a research analyst at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), where she conducted research related to the status of women in the United States, women’s economic security and work/family balance. With her research and testimony, Claudia helped numerous Paid Sick Days advocacy campaigns around the country make the case to pass legislation to ensure paid time off to recover from illness or to take care of a sick child or family member. In 2007, Claudia was awarded the Mariam K. Chamberlain Fellowship in Women and Public Policy and helped prepare the reports “Status of Girls in Minnesota” and “Women at Greater Risk of Economic Insecurity.” Prior to that, Claudia worked at the Program of Migration Affairs at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City monitoring research, trends, policy interventions and emerging issues related to Mexico-US immigration. Claudia holds a master’s degree in public policy with a concentration in women’s studies from the George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Universidad Iberoamericana. Claudia is active in supporting local sustainable agriculture, likes to cook and develop recipes from scratch, and to read about women’s global issues.
Farrell Barnes, Development Manager Farrell manages the Foundation’s philanthropic and donor programs as well as fundraising events and appeals. With over six years of development and special events experience, she most recently worked as the Director of Alumni Relations and Advancement Assistant at Norwood School in Bethesda and has also supported the development office at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School. Farrell is an active member of the Junior League of Washington and serves as Vice President of the Jete Society of The Washington Ballet. She graduated with a degree in strategic communications from Miami University in Ohio and is pursuing a certificate in event management from the George Washington School of Business.
Evita Almassi, Development Associate Evita Almassi supports the fundraising goals at the Women’s Foundation; helping plan development related events and activities while managing the donor database, and managing relationships with both new individual and institutional donors. With over 5 years of experience in the nonprofit realm her strengths are in donor relations with a focus on writing, editing, and moving messages with forward thinking organizations. Evita is a proud Seattle-lite born and raised. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work with an emphasis on public policy and administration and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington. Evita has previously worked with DC based organizations such as The Smithsonian Institution and The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. She has also worked for Seattle-based organizations including CollegeMapper, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, The City of Bellevue, and Easter Seals Washington. Evita is passionate about issues related to education and adamantly believes that one way to help break the poverty cycle is through the attainment of higher education, which is why is she is so proud to be a part of The Women’s Foundation. In her spare time, she continues to be actively involved CollegeMapper, a college counseling service, headquartered in Seattle, Washington that is dedicated to making college accessible to all kids.
Jessica Zetzman, Communications and Grants Manager Jessica has a cross-functional role at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, working both with the director of communications to educate supporters and to promote the Foundation via social media, and with the program officer to assist with all aspects of the grants management process. Jessica comes to the Foundation with an array of experience in both the non-profit and private sectors, including work at NeighborWorks America where she was a program specialist for the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) grants program. The issue of economic security for women first became a passion for Jessica when she began as a crisis hotline volunteer with the Genesis Women’s Shelter in her hometown of Dallas, Texas. She later worked extensively with women in Meheba Refugee Camp in Zambia as a project manager for several development projects including the Meheba Women’s Centre. She has also worked and studied in Cameroon, Tanzania, and China and holds a Bachelors of Commerce from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Sylvia Padilla, Office and Finance Assistant Sylvia serves as the first point of contact for The Women’s Foundation, greeting guests, managing office logistics and providing administrative and finance support to the staff. She comes to the Foundation with more than 15 years of clerical experience. Sylvia also enjoys fitness and healthy living and is a personal trainer, advising those who are interested in making healthy choices and fitness a part of their lifestyles. She has helped three clients lose over 100 pounds and specializes in weight loss, sports performance and women’s training. Sylvia was born and raised in Lima, Peru and attended Toulouse Lautrec, where she majored in graphic design. She had the opportunity to visit the United States in 1998, fell in love with American culture, and decided to make the US her permanent home. She has lived in North Carolina and Northern Virginia. She enjoys the outdoors, live music, reading, cooking, and riding the emotional rollercoaster that is life!