Melissa Katz named chair of the WISER International Board

We are excited to announce that, as of the beginning of 2022, Melissa Katz, longtime WISER supporter and board member, has assumed the role of chair of the board of WISER International. Melissa inherits this role from Dr. Sherryl Broverman, WISER co-founder and Chair Emeritus, who will remain on the board as a member and will continue to chair the WISER NGO board, based in Kenya. You can read our official release here.

Melissa has spent a decade being a part of WISER’s story, beginning as an emcee at one of WISER’s first fundraising galas. She had heard of WISER through her long tenure at Johnson & Johnson, one of our major partners, but she recalls that first introduction to WISER in her supporter story (which you can read here):

“A WISER student, Mercy, and Principal Madam Dorcas came and spoke. Mercy had everyone in tears with her story. And Madam Dorcas just has this amazing way of commanding a group – in a room full of 200 people and major corporate executives, she had everyone engaged and responding as if they were in class. Soon after, [I learned about a] J&J volunteer trip to WISER and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. So in 2013, I traveled to WISER for the first time. And that was just the beginning!”

Indeed, Melissa has been to campus a total of four times, along with her family. She brings expertise and experience in the field of healthcare communications, and she understands the campus culture well: “I wish there was a way to bottle the feeling you get when you’re on WISER’s campus and share it with people when you leave. I think if everyone could have that feeling you get when you’ve been there, then I know others would care as much as I do…Being at WISER with these brave young women is a gift. It fills me with joy, hope and peace to see their shining smiles.”

On her transition to chairing the WISER International Board, Melissa shared that “this is a very exciting time for WISER as we head into the next phase of our mission. We will reach more girls at younger ages, engage more supporters interested in having a meaningful impact, and shore up the future of the organization as we set our sights on the next generations of girls in need. I can never express the depth of my gratitude for what Sherryl Broverman has created here–a place to come together to improve the world–for me, for my family and for these girls.”

Indeed, as Dr. Broverman transitions to a new role in the board structure, it’s impossible to effectively summarize the crucial role she has played in WISER, from its founding to the present. In her most recent visit to campus, after nearly two years, she shared the following reflection with WISER students: “Madame Grace [Murika] made a comment that, when I started WISER, I took a step. I took a step into a new place. And I want to tell you, that that was really scary…I didn’t know if it would work.”

Looking out at the expanse of girls, many of whom were small children when WISER was founded, whose lives have been changed by girls’ education in their community, she said proudly, “Now, it has worked!”

Dr. Broverman stated that she is “utterly delighted that Melissa will be the next chair of the US organization. Melissa understands and deeply respects the work being done by the NGO and team in Kenya and is committed to helping our programs achieve the highest possible outcomes for the girls we serve. Her keen mind, sterling communication skills, and good humor make her an excellent board chair. I look forward to working closely with her as we grow the two organizations. I can’t think of a better successor and partner as we enter a period of strategic growth.”

Neither can we. Join us in welcoming Melissa and Sherryl to their new roles in our WISER International leadership!

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