CWGL Team

CWGL Team

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  • Rebecca Nichols
  • Development Consultant

Ms. Nichols is a full-time consultant providing senior guidance on global and U.S. domestic non-profit, multi-lateral and philanthropic grant-making, fund-raising, and development around gender, health, and rights issues. She has advised organizations such as Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, for the Collaborative for Gender + Reproductive Equity, Episcopal Relief and Development, the Women's Refugee Commission, and UNFPA. A former full-time philanthropic professional, Ms. Nichols served as a program officer for the Ford Foundation and subsequently the Open Society Foundations. She was also the executive director for the Conference of NGOs. She has two master’s degrees, one in Latin American Studies and, more recently, in Global Public Health, both from NYU.

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  • Ardra Manasi
  • Campaign Manager, Global 16 Days Campaign

Ardra Manasi is a development practitioner based in New York City, with expertise in gender policy, migration, and technology for development. In 2017, Ardra served as a Policy Consultant with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), where she helped organize online consultations with UN Member States on an indicator to measure global migration. Prior to this, she has worked as an independent scholar and intern with UN entities such as the Office of Information and Communications Technology (OICT) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), where she studied UN Innovation Units and partnerships for smallholder farmers.


Her research and advocacy on gender since 2012 has involved working with diverse women’s groups in India and the US such as tea plantation workers, trafficked women, women's microfinance groups, and women in conflict. Alongside, she has helped develop digital and social media strategies for Plan International’s UN Liaison Office and UN Women, through partnerships with the New School University in New York.


Ardra holds a Master of Arts (MA) in International Affairs from the New School, New York City, and a Master of Arts (MA) in Development Studies from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, India. Her writings on global development have appeared in Agenda for International Development (A-id), The News Minute, Huffington Post, Madras Courier, Countering Violent Extremism Initiative, and elsewhere. The academic papers she co-authored on the impact of mobile phone technology on female sex workers’ livelihood in India have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Human Technology, Gender, Technology and Development, and Routledge International Handbook of Sex Industry Research. On Twitter, she is @ArdraManasi.

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  • Kandi Berryman
  • Senior Director, Finance and Administration

Ms. Kandi Berryman, Senior Director, Finance and Administration, come to us from the School of Arts and Sciences at the Rutgers Newark campus, where she was an administrator with the Department of Urban Education and the Global Urban Studies PhD program. She was also an administrator for the Rutgers University - Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration, Newark Schools Research Collaborative, and the Abbott Leadership Institute. She received a Master’s in Public Administration in 2014 and a Masters in Liberal Studies in 2017, from Rutgers University-Newark.

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  • Corena Gonzalez
  • Administrative Coordinator

Ms. Corena Gonzalez, our Administrative Coordinator served as an administrative assistant for Amring Pharmaceuticals Inc. Prior to her role at Amring, Corena worked in HR, as a customer success coordinator for Atrium Staffing and then became a recruiter for Peopleshare Inc. She received a B.A. degree in Journalism and Media Studies from Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

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  • Melissa Upreti
  • Senior Director, Program and Global Advocacy

Melissa Upreti is a human rights lawyer and women’s rights advocate who has spent nearly two decades advocating for the recognition and fulfillment of women’s rights through the use of national, regional, and international law and mechanisms. She has led fact-finding missions, undertaken strategic litigation, built the capacity of civil society organizations and provided technical support for law reform to governments in Asia.

Ms. Upreti started her career working for a feminist legal advocacy organization and The Asia Foundation in Nepal. Upon receiving her LL.M. from Columbia Law School in the United States, she joined the Center for Reproductive Rights where she was the founding attorney of the Asia program. Building on the success of a series of capacity building initiatives on strategic litigation in India and Nepal focusing on maternal mortality and access to safe abortion, she led the conceptualization and launch of the South Asia Reproductive Justice and Accountability Initiative which has resulted in precedent setting cases on contraceptive access and obstetric fistula in Asia. She actively facilitated and participated in the first CEDAW Special Inquiry in Asia in 2012 and was co-petitioner in the landmark case, Lakshmi Dhikta v. NepaI, which recognized access to abortion as a constitutionally protected right. She has worked closely with regional mechanisms to advance women's reproductive rights including the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to strengthen regional commitments to end child marriage and played a key role in bringing about the adoption of the Kathmandu Call for Action to End Child Marriage in South Asia in 2014. Ms. Upreti has written and lectured extensively about women’s reproductive rights and the importance of legal accountability. Her articles and other publications on women's reproductive rights and discriminatory practices such as child marriage have been used by activists to develop legal strategies and in courses on human rights. Some of her publications include the following

Toward Transformative Equality in Nepal: The Lakshmi Dhikta Decision, Book chapter published in Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014 (author); Abortion Law Reform in Nepal, International Journal of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, 2014 (author); Child Marriage in South Asia: Stop the Impunity, Center for Reproductive Rights, 2013 (research supervisor, contributor and editor); Maternal Mortality in India: Using International and Constitutional Law to Promote Accountability and Change, Center for Reproductive Rights, 2008 (co-author); The Global Gag Rule: An Antithesis to the Rights-Based Approach to Health, Health and Human Rights, An International Journal, Harvard School of Public Health, 2006 (co-author).

Ms. Upreti is a Fellow in the University of Toronto Law Faculty's International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program and currently Senior Director of Program and Global Advocacy at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University in the United States. At CWGL, she oversees and provides strategic guidance on the development and implementation of program initiatives and advocacy strategies. She is currently Vice Chair of the UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls, a Special Procedure established by the Human Rights Council.