Staff

Our committed, passionate staff bring far-reaching, interdisciplinary expertise to a broad range of policy issues all with one common goal: to inform policy, inspire change, and improve the lives of women, families, and communities. IWPR’s staff members have training in economics, sociology, psychology, international development, theology, public policy, and women’s studies, enabling us to utilize multi-disciplinary approaches to research.

Executive Leadership

C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D.

Position: President & CEO
Categories: Executive Leadership

Recently named one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine, Dr. C. Nicole Mason is the president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). Having stepped into the role in November 2019, Dr. Mason is the youngest person currently leading one of the major inside-the-Beltway think tanks in Washington, D.C., and one of the few women of color to do so. She succeeded noted economist and MacArthur Fellow Heidi Hartmann, the Institute’s founding CEO.

As one of the nation’s foremost intersectional researchers and scholars, Dr. C. Nicole Mason brings a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. For the past two decades, Dr. Mason has spearheaded research on issues relating to economic security, poverty, women’s issues, and entitlement reforms; policy formation and political participation among women, communities of color; and racial equity. Prior to IWPR, Dr. Mason was the executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the nation’s only research and policy center focused on women of color at a nationally ranked school of public administration. She is also an inaugural Ascend Fellow at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.

At the start of the pandemic, she coined the term she-cession to describe the disproportionate impact of the employment and income losses on women. Dr. Mason is the author of Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America (St. Martin’s Press) and has written hundreds of articles on women, poverty, and economic security. Her writing and commentary have been featured in the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, NBC, CBS, the Washington Post, Marie Claire, the Progressive, ESSENCE, Bustle, BIG THINK, Miami Herald, Democracy Now, and numerous NPR affiliates, among others.

President & CEO

Dr. Robyn Watson Ellerbe

Position: Chief Strategy Officer
Categories: Executive Leadership

As the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) Chief Strategy Officer, Dr. Robyn Watson Ellerbe brings over 20 years of experience in leadership, management, and research to effectively formulate strategy and lead initiatives to achieve IWPR goals, advance the organization’s mission, and extend IWPR’s reach.

Dr. Watson Ellerbe is a seasoned scientist whose research has focused on addressing health disparities that disproportionately impact minority populations. She has experience recruiting minority participants for health promotion and disease prevention research and for workforce programs aimed at increasing minority participation in the public health and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Dr. Watson Ellerbe has served as the principal investigator for several private and government funded grants and contracts, including Hofmann-La Roche Pharmaceutical, Inc.; the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health; DC Department of Health; National Institute of Health, National Library of Medicine; and Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescences and School Health, to name a few.

Dr. Watson Ellerbe has held leadership positions at association and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining IWPR, Dr. Watson Ellerbe was the Vice President of Research for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), providing strategic direction to advance and promote research and knowledge that improves physical therapist practice. Before APTA, Dr. Watson Ellerbe was the Chief Operating Officer at the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation (UNCFSP), responsible for the overall strategy and operations of all the program areas of the organization.

For two decades, Dr. Watson Ellerbe has presented at national conferences, published in peer reviewed journals, and served on national advisory boards. She is currently, the Treasurer of the HealthHIV Board and recently completed a four-year term on the National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research, a Board that advises the directors of the NIH, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR). Dr. Watson Ellerbe received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, her master’s degree from San Francisco State University, and a doctorate in Health Services, Organization and Policy from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.

 

Chief Strategy Officer

Senior Leadership

Isaac M. Mintz

Position: Vice President of Finance and Administration
Categories: Senior Leadership

Isaac M. Mintz brings over 19 years of nonprofit experience to his role of Vice President of Finance and Administration for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Isaac oversees the finance and accounting functions to help support and execute the overall mission of IWPR.

Isaac’s career has been dedicated to social justice issues. He is an innovator in growth and expansion strategy and has proven his ability to challenge, change, and better existing processes, procedures, and systems.

Isaac received his B.S in Accounting and Information Systems from High Point University. He also has a Masters, cum laude, with a concentration in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Information Technology and Business Management.  Isaac has his CMA Certification and is a candidate for the Uniform CPA Examination.

In previous positions, Isaac has served as accounting manager, staff accountant, senior controller, and chief financial officer. In these various roles, he has gained the vital knowledge of how to grow any organization through strategic planning and financial management.

 

Isaac M. Mintz

Isaac M. Mintz brings over 19 years of nonprofit experience...

Vice President of Finance and Administration

Andrea Pagano-Reyes

Position: Vice President of Advancement and Philanthropic Engagement
Categories: Senior Leadership

Andrea M. Pagano-Reyes (she/hers) is the Vice President of Advancement and Philanthropic Engagement at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In this role, she provides direction and leadership to the CEO/President and organization with a focus on building a robust and diverse development program to support IWPR’s bold agenda for an equitable future. Andrea has more than 19 years of experience in fundraising, philanthropy, and gender-equity work. She has a demonstrated history of successfully raising financial support for a variety of nonprofits and political organizations.

Before joining IWPR, she served as vice president of development at RAINN, where she provided strategic leadership to the development team of nine professionals to foster RAINN’s donor relationships, manage major gifts, and grow and diversify financial resources to support survivors of sexual violence. Prior to RAINN, Andrea was the director of development for university programs at Penn State University, her alma mater, where she raised funds for scholarships for first-generation college students, the LGBTQA+ Student Resource Center, the Gender Equity Center, mental health services, and leadership programs for students. Prior to that, she worked for EMILY’s List as the organization’s eastern regional finance director, where she managed regional partnerships and donors to help elect women to office up and down the ticket. She also served as a major gifts officer for the Campaign for America’s Future, and spent a year living in Okinawa, Japan, as a special events coordinator for the Marine Corps Community Services.

Andrea grew up in Ohio and has resided in Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, and Okinawa, Japan. She now lives in Virginia with her husband, who is a former Marine, two fierce daughters, and two not-so-fierce cats.

Andrea graduated from Penn State University with undergraduate degrees in political science and women’s studies and from George Washington University with a Master’s degree concentrating in public policy and women’s studies.

Andrea Pagano-Reyes

Andrea M. Pagano-Reyes (she/hers) is the Vice President of Advancement...

Vice President of Advancement and Philanthropic Engagement

Kate Ryan

Position: Vice President of Policy and Strategic Initiatives
Categories: Senior Leadership

Kate Ryan joins the Institute for Women’s Policy Research as the Vice President of Policy and Strategic Initiatives. In this role, she guides IWPR’s advocacy and policy agenda and leads strategic initiatives and partnerships. As a member of the senior leadership team, she works to ensure that IWPR leverages its research for maximum impact at the state and national levels to accelerate change in the lives of girls, women, and families.

Kate’s career has been dedicated to advancing gender justice. Prior to joining IWPR, she was the Senior Director of Government Relations at NARAL Pro-Choice America where she led the development and implementation of successful legislative and advocacy strategies to advance reproductive freedom policy goals and defend against anti-choice attacks. In this role, she served as NARAL’s chief lobbyist and as a senior advisor on intersectional social justice issues, advocacy campaigns, and electoral goals. Previously, Kate led the medical drug and device safety program at the National Women’s Health Network, where she testified before the Food and Drug Administration regarding the safety and efficacy of medical products targeting women and worked with the National Institutes of Health on the inclusion of women, particularly women of color, in clinical trials. She also worked on healthcare, including the Affordable Care Act, and women’s rights issues for U.S. Representative Joe Sestak (D-PA).

Ms. Ryan earned her Master of Public Administration degree from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and her Bachelor of Arts in International Politics and French from New York University. During her graduate studies, Ms. Ryan worked with civil society organizations to advance women’s health and economic rights in the Middle East and North and West Africa.

Kate Ryan

Kate Ryan joins the Institute for Women’s Policy Research as...

Vice President of Policy and Strategic Initiatives

Office of the President

Benjamin Boykin

Position: Executive Assistant
Categories: Office of the President

Benjamin is an Executive Assistant supporting The Office of the President at The Institute for Women’s Policy Research. He come to IWPR with over 4 years of experience supporting C-level executives in the non-profit Industry and over 10 years of experience as a Financial Advisor. Benjamin studied at Augusta University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, hiking, and exploring new restaurants.

Benjamin Boykin

Benjamin is an Executive Assistant supporting The Office of the...

Executive Assistant

Operations

Toccaro Barkley

Position: Office Manager
Categories: Operations

Toccaro is the Office Manager at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. She has over six years of experience in the nonprofit industry. Prior to joining IWPR, Toccaro worked as an event planner for a national organization. In her role, she spent time planning and facilitating events across the United States while supporting C-level Executives as an executive assistant. Toccaro received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Maryland Global Campus. She is most passionate about health, fitness, and all things beauty. She is a certified spin instructor and outdoor cyclist.

Toccaro Barkley

Toccaro is the Office Manager at the Institute for Women’s...

Office Manager

Sophia Ladner

Position: Bookkeeper and Special Assistant to the COO
Categories: Operations

Sophia has 4+ years of experience in the nonprofit and operations fields. Prior to her time at IWPR, she was in the field of international education, where she worked as an Operations Coordinator for the Fulbright Program. Within this role, she assisted with scholarships, research grants, and student exchange programs, where she coordinated grant disbursement and scheduling across a variety of Fulbright sub-programs. She is passionate about working with scholars and researchers who pursue knowledge from a variety of world views, and the large-scale change that their work can bring. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at Smith College, with an additional major in the study of Women and Gender, where her studies focused on international perspectives of women’s issues, specifically experiences of LGBTQ parents in the Netherlands, with a separate focus on the migration of female domestic care workers as part of the Global Care Chain.

Sophia Ladner

Sophia has 4+ years of experience in the nonprofit and...

Bookkeeper and Special Assistant to the COO

Ryan Koch, M.S.

Position: Senior Director of Grants and Contracts
Categories: Operations

Ryan Koch joined IWPR in 2007 as the Development Director. He earned his MS in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin and as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech he majored in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. His area of study and interest has been and remains focused on issues of race, class and gender. Ryan comes to the IWPR after several years successfully writing grant proposals for the City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development and the Memphis Housing Authority. He spent most of his time working with the Housing Authority’s Humans Services programs and the City’s homeless Continuum of Care. Ryan is responsible for ensuring the Development Department runs smoothly and is excited about helping IWPR identify new funding opportunities and expanding its support.

Ryan Koch, M.S.

Ryan Koch joined IWPR in 2007 as the Development Director....

Senior Director of Grants and Contracts

Economic, Security, Mobility, and Equity (ESME)

Ariane Hegewisch, M.Phil.

Position: Senior Research Fellow
Categories: Economy, Security, Mobility, and Equity (ESME)

Ariane Hegewisch is Program Director of Employment and Earnings at IWPR and Scholar in Residence at American University; prior to that she spent two years at IWPR as a scholar-in-residence. She came to IWPR from the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings. She is responsible for IWPR’s research on workplace discrimination and is a specialist in comparative human resource management, with a focus on policies and legislative approaches to facilitate greater work life reconciliation and gender equality, in the US and internationally. Prior to coming to the USA she taught comparative European human resource management at Cranfield School of Management in the UK where she was a founding researcher of the Cranet Survey of International HRM, the largest independent survey of human resource management policies and practices, covering 25 countries worldwide. She started her career  in local economic development, developing strategies for greater gender equality in employment and training in  local government in the UK. She has published many papers and articles and co-edited several books, including ‘Women, work and inequality: The challenge of equal pay in a deregulated labour market”. She is German and has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and an MPhil in Development Studies from the IDS, Sussex.

Read Ariane’s publications

Ariane Hegewisch, M.Phil.

Ariane Hegewisch is Program Director of Employment and Earnings at...

Senior Research Fellow

Research and Action Hub

Federiga Bindi, Ph.D.

Position: Senior Fellow, Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative
Categories: Research and Action Hub

Dr. Federiga Bindi is a new Senior Fellow at IWPR. She is also a tenured Professor of Political Science and Jean Monnet Chair at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, where she founded and directed the “Jean Monnet EU Center of Excellence” (2004-2012). She is also a Non Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations. Professor Bindi, who has a PhD from the European University Institute, has been a Visiting Fellow in a number of prestigious international institutions, among which the Brookings Institution, the Institute d’Études Politiques in Paris, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, the University of Lisbon and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Professor Bindi served in a number of senior positions in government, among which Senior Advisor to the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs (2008-2011); Acting Director of International Affairs and Director of International Training of the Italian National School of Administration (2010-2012) and Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Brussels (2012-2014). She published seven volumes, among which The Foreign Policy of the European Union: Assessing Europe’s Role in the World (2010 & 2012); The Frontiers of Europe: A Transatlantic Problem? (2011); Italy and the EU (2011), Analyzing European Union Politics (2012).

Federiga is currently editing a book Women Leaders in Foreign Policy for Brookings Press.

At IWPR, Federiga directs the Foreign Policy Initiative promoting women leadership in foreign policy and a feminist foreign policy. The project, which is financially supported by the European Commission, follows a previous initiative Federiga created in Brussels, Women Leaders in International Relations. She also leads the THE STATE OF WOMEN: Mapping Women Leadership in the World project, with support from the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

Publications:

Women are mysteriously missing from D.C. think tanks’ foreign policy panels. Here’s the data.

Cracks in the IR Glass: The Evolving Relationship Between International Relations & Gender Equality

The End of the Pantsuit Nation and the Force of Subliminal Messages

Harassment in the Workplace: Why the US and the EU Must Act 

Women Leaders in (EU) Foreign Policy: will Mrs Be Better than Lady? 

Women Leaders in Foreign Policy: When Federica Mogherini Found Her Voice

Female Leaders in Misogynous Foreign Policy: An Example to Follow 

The State of Women in Post-Berlusconi Italy

Missing in Action: The Absence of Women Scholars on Foreign Policy Panels

Federiga Bindi, Ph.D.

Dr. Federiga Bindi is a new Senior Fellow at IWPR. She...

Senior Fellow, Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative

IWPR Fellows

Development

Beth Ramirez

Position: Associate Director, Advancement + Philanthropic Partnerships
Categories: Development

Beth Ramirez is a nonprofit professional with 8+ years’ experience developing robust fundraising campaigns for nonprofit organizations that focus on progressive issues such as reproductive rights, immigration reform, and sexual assault awareness. Her professional experience includes grant management, donor management, event planning, community organizing, and direct appeal communication.

Prior to joining IWPR, Beth worked for Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida where she developed a grants program that ensured Planned Parenthood patients in Florida and surrounding states continued to received access to essential reproductive health care and sexual health education.

Beth received her Masters degree in Public Administration from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia and where she also served as the Chair of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, which focused on building collaboration between graduating nonprofit professionals and local nonprofits.

Beth is a South Florida native (West Palm Beach, Fl) and  first generation American of Colombian and Dominican descent. Outside of work she enjoys browsing the NYT cooking page for new recipes, playing outside with her four year old son Avery, and crafting.

Beth Ramirez

Beth Ramirez is a nonprofit professional with 8+ years’ experience...

Associate Director, Advancement + Philanthropic Partnerships

Fiona Klotz

Position: Advancement Associate
Categories: Development

Fiona Klotz (she/her/hers) is the Advancement Associate at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In this role, she works cross-departmentally to ensure collaboration between the Advancement Team and Research, Policy, Communications and the Office of the President on all donor-related projects and programs.

Prior to IWPR, Fiona worked at George Mason University, where she co-founded, developed, and co-coordinated the Bonner Leadership Program. She also worked as a Student Mentor and Teaching Assistant for the two cohorts of students she recruited, mentored, taught, and worked alongside for 3 years. This program is ever expanding and will continue to uphold the legacy she and her colleagues have left behind.

Fiona received her BA in Social Justice and Human Rights from George Mason University in 2022 and was given multiple awards for her leadership, service, and innovation. She is passionate about Reproductive and Restorative Justice practices for policy advocacy, research, and educational transformation.

 

Fiona Klotz

Fiona Klotz (she/her/hers) is the Advancement Associate at the Institute...

Advancement Associate

Ksenia Dombo

Position: Associate Director of Advancement Programs & Philanthropic Impact
Categories: Development

Ksenia Dombo (she/her/hers) is the Associate Director of Advancement Programs & Philanthropic Impact at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In this role, she works to deepen donor relationships, engage and communicate with IWPR’s top supporters, and create meaningful fundraising campaigns and events.

Prior to IWPR, Ksenia worked at the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), where she created and led the charge on implementing the organization’s planned giving program. She also spearheaded RAINN’s first-ever capital campaign, Thrive Together, which raised more than $10 million over two years.

Ksenia received her MSW from the Catholic University of America in 2018, and received her BSW from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017. She was given multiple awards from her alma maters for her service, leadership, and independent study research

Ksenia Dombo

Ksenia Dombo (she/her/hers) is the Associate Director of Advancement Programs...

Associate Director of Advancement Programs & Philanthropic Impact

External Affairs and Communications

Carolina Espinoza

Position: Communications Associate
Categories: External Affairs and Communications

Carolina Espinoza Huitrón is the Communications Associate at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Carolina’s niche involves curating social media content and assisting with communications at IWPR. With two years of social media and communications experience within the non-profit sector, she is versed at identifying the key components of successful communication. While in college she was involved with her community through Latina Leaders of Kern County, Kern River Conservancy, and Women’s March of Bakersfield. As a first-generation college graduate from immigrant farm-working parents, she understands the importance of shaping policy to improve the lives of people from all backgrounds.

Carolina received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Public Relations from California State University, Bakersfield. She is passionate about leveraging the impact of creative visual solutions for policy advocacy and research.

Carolina Espinoza

Carolina Espinoza Huitrón is the Communications Associate at the Institute...

Communications Associate

Policy

Salma Elakbawy

Salma Elakbawy is a policy analyst at the Institute for...

Policy Analyst

Nina Besser

Nina (she/her) is IWPR’s Policy Director. In this role, she...

Policy Director