Board of Directors

Lynn O'Connell - Chair

Lynn O’Connell is a veteran nonprofit leader with more than 25 years working in the nonprofit sector as a staff person, a consultant, a trainer, and a volunteer. As a consultant, Lynn has worked with more than 50 community-based nonprofit organizations to initiate strategic planning; fundraising and grant writing; and board and organizational development initiatives. She has served 19 years as the executive director at Computer CORE and the Physician Assistant Foundation where she directed grant programs and launched a national health adherence project; now, she is looking forward to using her skills as an Interim Executive. Before her work with nonprofits, Lynn served 12 years as a Foreign Service Officer.
Lynn holds a Masters in Philanthropy from Indiana University, a Certificate in Executive Non-Profit Leadership from Duke University, and is a Fulbright Scholar. Lynn is also on the faculty teaching nonprofit courses at Catholic University, The Graduate School, and George Washington University.
Lynn joined Together Women Rise in 2008. For four years, she volunteered for the Education Committee, writing the book, film, and fair-trade recommendations related to each month’s grantee. In 2014, she joined the Grant Selection Committee, and in April 2017, she became Chair of the Grant Selection Committee. She has had the pleasure of being a member of four chapters over the years, and has also participated in a past Travel Program.

Barbara Collins - Co-Founder

Barbara Fintel Collins is co-founder of Together Women Rise, and the author of Love, Norm, a miraculous message of hope and the story of how her father made her believe she could change the world. Since the first chapter meeting in 2003, Barb has devoted her life to nurturing the Together Women Rise grassroots movement that multiplies the power of an individual to lead transformational social change. She believes that Together Women Rise’s simple model which nurtures community and democratizes philanthropy is resonating in a world calling for change.
A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in gerontology, Barb has devoted her career to the nonprofit sector, first opening the doors of Warm Hearth Village in Blacksburg, Virginia, then honing experience in alumni relations and resource development at William Mitchell College of Law and St. Norbert College. Then she discovered her passion for infusing innovation into nonprofit mission impact strategies, and for shaping thriving and sustainable organizations.
In 1989, a life altering trip to Tanzania lit a flame for investing in the futures of the remarkable women she met. Returning home, she realized there was no easy way to reach back across the ocean and get money into the hands of the women. That changed on January 21, 2003, at the very first chapter meeting of Together Women Rise, when in a moment of strategic serendipity, Barb’s passion and experience merged, giving oxygen to that flame.
Since that night, Together Women Rise has become the largest global giving circle movement dedicated to advancing gender equality and well-being for women and girls around the world. With over 470 chapters, and 35,000 activated global citizens, Together Women Rise has invested over $7 million in grants to organizations in more than 60 countries. These grants have directly impacted the lives of 250,000 women and girls and have created a powerful ripple effect into the lives of over one million people in their families and communities. Under her leadership, Together Women Rise has initiated partnerships with the Peace Corps, UNICEF, OXFAM and Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn Initiative. In May 2018, the United States Institute of Peace opened its door for Together Women Rise’s fifteenth anniversary celebration.
In 2014, Barb was named an Everyday Freedom Hero by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. She lives in Greenville, South Carolina, and in 2017 she was named a SHEro Phenomenal Philanthropist by SHEGreenville.
Barb has two grown daughters, Nora and Jeanette, and lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband, Greg, a husky named Annie, and Phoenix, the well-known feisty cat.

Jo DeBolt - Vice Chair

Jo recently retired after a long career as a nonprofit executive and consultant to nonprofit organizations and foundations. Most recently, she was a Partner in La PIana Consulting.
Prior to joining La Piana in 2005, she launched a public education initiative for the Pittsburgh Foundation, served as the director of the Tides Center offices in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., and was the founding executive director of a regional coalition of community economic development organizations. Jo serves on the board of the Jefferson Regional Foundation and is a long-time board member of the Human Services Center Corporation, regarded as the premier provider of out-of-school-time programs in the Pittsburgh area. Jo was a founding board member of the Allegheny County Library Association, served as a public-school trustee, and chaired a Congressional commission working with the National Park Service on efforts to preserve the history of steelmaking in Western Pennsylvania.
A native Pittsburgher, Jo has an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and a BS in Business from Duquesne University.


Caren Senter - Secretary

Caren Senter works at Upstate International, a non-profit in Greenville, SC whose mission is to foster the dynamic exchange of international cultures and ideas. She holds a B.A. from Amherst College, and both an M.A. (Philosophy) and a J.D. from Duke University. After practicing law for over 10 years in Connecticut and while raising her two children in Pennsylvania, Caren served on a number of local non-profit boards including a library, a fine arts organization, and a foundation that served the elderly, indigent population. Caren moved to Greenville in 2014. An avid tennis player and cyclist, she enjoys hiking, working out, and spending time with her two grown children. Caren joined Together Women Rise in 2014 and is a member of the SC, Greenville-7 chapter.Follow

Kathy Fitts - Treasurer

Kathy has been a member of Together Women Rise’s GA, Marietta-1 chapter since 2013. She joined the Finance Committee as an advisory member in 2016. In 2018, she was joined the Board of Directors as Treasurer.
Kathy has spent over 35 years as a financial executive in corporate America. In 2016, she transitioned to a consultant role. She specializes in financial and accounting projects supporting chief financial officers.
As a child of a career Army Officer, Kathy was born in Germany and has lived all over the U.S. including Hawaii. These culturally diverse life experiences formed her world view very early on. Her desire to work for better outcomes for women and girls led to her involvement with Together Women Rise.
She is an avid world traveler which works out well, since her two grown children have moved across the country to the west coast.

Dr. Shaniece Criss

Dr. Shaniece Criss is a health science faculty member at Furman University in Greenville, SC and a community-engaged qualitative researcher addressing health equity and health communication. She is an elected official on Travelers Rest City Council and serves on the board of directors for Prisma Health, Public Education Partners, and SC YMCA Youth in Government & Teen Achievers. She has been named a “ChangeMaker” by the Jefferson Awards Foundation.
Dr. Criss is a fellow of Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative, the Shi Center for Sustainability, the Shucker Leadership Institute, and the Collaborative for Community-Engaged Learning. During her Peace Corps service, she hosted a national health television show in Guyana, South America. Previously, she held positions at ICF International, Centers for Disease Control, and CNN. With a passion to implement effective public health interventions and policies, she earned her doctorate from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, her MPA from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a MPH from Emory University, and a BA in communication from Oglethorpe University.
Dr. Criss has been a member of Together Women Rise’s SC, Greenville-15 chapter since 2018.

Sarah Durry

Sarah Durry served as a chapter leader for Together Women Rise’s GA, Atlanta-1 chapter for five years. Her passion for gender equity is exemplified in her professional and personal life, as the majority of Sarah's career has been spent working with organizations whose mission is to serve women and girls. Sarah began her career in nonprofits working as Development Manager for Cool Girls Inc., where she raised funds for programming through grant writing and fundraising events. She has also worked with Women in Technology, bringing together multiple stakeholders to encourage women and girls to stay in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) disciplines. In addition to Together Women Rise, Sarah has been a dedicated volunteer with the Atlanta Chapter of One Billion Rising for several years. Sarah is currently pursuing a Masters in Development Practice degree at Emory University and is focusing on gender and health. She is a first generation Ethiopian-American who grew up in Atlanta, Yemen, and Kenya.Follow

Carrie Hessler-Radelet

Carrie Hessler-Radelet is the President & CEO of Project Concern International (PCI). PCI is a global development organization working with families and communities to enhance health, end hunger, overcome hardship and advance women and girls.
Prior to PCI, Carrie served as Director of the Peace Corps (2015-2017) and Deputy Director (2010-2015), leading America’s iconic international volunteer service organization with programs in over 65 countries. At the Peace Corps, she led historic reforms to modernize and strengthen the agency to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
Before being appointed to the Peace Corps by President Obama, Carrie worked as the Vice President and Director of the Washington D.C. office of John Snow, Inc. (JSI), overseeing the management of public health programs in 85 countries around the world. Her decades of global health work also included serving as the lead consultant on the first Five-Year Global HIV/AIDS Strategy for the President George W. Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), working with USAID in Indonesia on maternal and child health and HIV programming, founding the Special Olympics in The Gambia, and serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer with her husband in Western Samoa.
Carrie is passionate about empowering communities to discover their own sustainable, innovative solutions to poverty. She holds a Master of Science in Health Policy and Management from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from Boston University.

Tara LaRose

Tara has been a member of the Kalamazoo chapter since 2012 after she retired from her position as CEO and president of the ASU In 2012. She was an active member of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan ( ESOP) and developed the first board governance policies for the company.
She remained on the board after her retirement and served as Chair until 2016. She is honored to serve on the board of Together Women Rise.

Renee Losh

Renee Losh began her career as an elementary teacher, mainly of fifth through seventh graders, with an emphasis on reading, math, and social studies. She participated and taught one of the first Sex Education pilot programs to middle school students in Boston. Her tutoring interest began at that time and continues today.
As a corporate wife, Renee has moved many times. While in New York City, she worked for a stock broker and was a member of the Brooklyn Women's Exchange. She was a merchandiser as well as treasurer for a short time. In 1978, she returned to the Detroit area and received her Masters in Business from Oakland University in Rochester MI. Her thesis addressed the penal system in Michigan and recidivism, an interest that continues today.
Her life took a sudden turn in 1979 when she and her family moved to São Paulo, Brazil. After three very meaningful and educational years there, they moved to Mexico City where Renee worked for a British bookstore owner setting up, advertising, and selling English books to 46 bilingual private schools in the area.
When she moved back to Michigan in 1984, Renee became very involved with Birmingham, Bloomfield Families in Action, a local drug and alcohol abuse prevention group for parents. She was active in this group for ten years and president for two. A residential real estate license followed as well as her election to the board of directors of Oakland Family Services in Pontiac, Michigan.
As a result of her background and her extensive global travel, Renee believes that young women and girls' empowerment, self-actualization, and education are paramount for our future world. She has belonged to two Together Women Rise chapters since joining in 2013 and is still active in the AZ, Scottsdale-2 chapter where she currently resides. She and her husband, Mike, have two grown daughters and four grandchildren.

Melinda Silverstein

Melinda Silverstein is a member of Together Women Rise’s CA, Santa Cruz-2 chapter.
For over 30 years Melinda has devoted her career, with an emphasis in executive management and development, to helping people through working at non-for-profits. She received a B.A. in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and a Masters in Public Health from San Jose State University. She has been an executive manager using program management, strategic goal setting, and targeted fundraising to transform organizations and build sustainability. She has a long track record of managing resource development, major gift solicitation, and donor stewardship. Melinda recently retired after 18 years as the Executive Director of the Cabrillo College Foundation where the organization flourished even in tough economic times and was recognized as one of the model leaders in the Community College system. One of the cornerstone innovative programs of CCF is Women’s Educational Success (WES) -- a grant program to help women students who experience unexpected emergencies stay in school and graduate. The annual WES campaigns built a loyal, broad, and diverse donor group who provide substantial funding and are committed to making a difference in women’s lives.
Melinda also worked in development in the Health Sciences of UCSC, served as the Executive Director of United Way for Santa Cruz County, and was an adjunct faculty member of the Health Sciences Department at San Jose State University.
Melinda’s husband of 37 years is a tennis teacher and they live in Santa Cruz, California. Their twin grown daughters have chosen careers to work in non-profits to make the world a better place. Melinda is an avid hiker, book club member, and traveler, and is passionate about playing her viola in orchestras, chamber groups, and recently with a bluegrass group.

Betsy Teutsch

Betsy Teutsch, from Philadelphia, PA, learned about Together Women Rise as a Board Member of Shining Hope for Communities, a 2011 Together Women Rise Grantee. She spoke at three Delaware Valley Together Women Rise chapter dinners and came away so impressed she pitched the idea of starting a local chapter in her monthly Weavers Way Food Co-op column. To her amazement, three (now four) chapters launched. These four chapters continue to thrive, nurturing friendships and local solidarity as well as supporting global women and girls.
As a writer, Betsy is a Solutions-Focused Storyteller concentrating on greener living, sustainable low-tech, humanitarian engineering, and women’s empowerment. Her book, 100 Under $100: Tools for Empowering Global Women, features many Together Women Rise initiatives that exemplify integrated approaches for women to escape extreme poverty and bring their families and communities along with them.
Her second book is another compilation of effective tools, with the Postharvest Education Foundation, titled 100 Under $100: Tools for Reducing Postharvest Losses. Halving postharvest loss and waste, Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, offers female farmers (who make up over 50% of the Global South’s smallholder farmers) great opportunities to address both food insecurity and poverty.
Betsy, a grandmother of four, just welcomed identical twin grandsons who live in Philadelphia. Newly retired, she has a new gig: taking care of them one day each week. She is a native of Fargo, North Dakota.