About Us

Board of Directors

Cheikh Mbacke, Board Chair

Statistician/Demographer

With a Ph.D in Statistics/Demography, Cheikh Seydil Moctar Mbacke has shared his expertise with numerous organizations, including the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, and across multiple fields from international development to capacity building, management, and training. Cheikh’s role on the Board is to help guide Tostan’s monitoring, evaluation, and program development.

Kelly Hawke Baxter

Director, Tostan Canada

Kelly Hawke Baxter is a consultant and strategic advisor who has worked in the field of sustainable development and social change for over 20 years. She works with non-profit leaders and organizations to advise on social change strategy and governance. Kelly founded and led The Natural Step Canada, a Canadian non-profit organization, for 10 years, and now sits on their Board of Directors. Kelly is also Chair of the Board of Tostan Canada, a sister organization that raises funds and awareness for Tostan International. Kelly is also a guest lecturer, student mentor, and member of the Global Strategy and Leadership Expert Panel of the Desautel School of Management at McGill University.

Jan Christiansen

Chair and Co-founder, Tostan Denmark

With an extensive background in business, Jan Christiansen, who holds both a Masters in Engineering and a Graduate Diploma in Business Finance, is a self-described “Danish globetrotting serial entrepreneur.” Jan brings to the Tostan Board a global outlook, hands-on management knowledge, a family business perspective, and his experience leading and working with enterprises large and small, in both well-developed and more challenging environments. He also has a “knack for the good laughs that any great task requires to be accomplished successfully.” Jan’s business interests are diversified mainly in the fields of automotive distribution, solar power, trading and real estate and as a next step in life he recently co-founded and chairs Tostan Denmark.

Gail Kaneb

President of Breakthrough Strategies

Gail Kaneb is a change catalyst, working with individuals, groups, and corporations across North America to identify what they want to achieve, what the obstacles are, and how to surmount them. Gail brings this innovative knowledge and expertise to Tostan where she promotes organizational and fiscal development as Chair of the Board of Directors.

Jen Beaston Hedrick

Former Country Director, Peace Corps Rwanda

Jen Hedrick has a proven competence in financial and operational management with a long track record in analyzing, developing and successfully implementing complex business systems. She also has significant experience in strategic planning and leading innovative and impactful program implementation. Jen spent 6 years as COO of Tostan and continues to bring her vast practical knowledge to Tostan as its newest Board member.

Neil Ford

Spokesperson and Director of Communications, Commonwealth Secretariat

Over a career spanning 30 years, Neil has been an award-winning broadcast journalist in Canada, a grassroots activist in the developing world – designing partnership and governance strategies to give communities a voice in their own development, and a media and communication specialist in the UN system, currently with UNESCO. Neil provides strategic media and communications’ expertise to Tostan’s Board and also sits on Tostan’s Communications Advisory Group.

Molly Melching

Founder and Creative Director of Tostan

Since arriving in Senegal in 1974, Molly Melching has helped thousands of communities achieve transformative social change through her NGO, Tostan, and its groundbreaking educational programs. Her primary role on the Board of Directors is to represent the interests of Tostan’s participants and staff and to establish the vision and philosophies of the organization.

Anne Charlotte Ringquist

Director of Tostan Sweden

Long interested in African culture, Anne Charlotte Ringquist has spent significant time studying and living in Africa. During a stay in Senegal, Anne Charlotte was introduced to Tostan and was immediately taken with the organization’s methods. She returned home to found Tostan Sweden and has since assisted the Board with public relations, fundraising, and advocacy work in Scandinavia and Europe.

Thiaba Camara SY

Chief Operating Officer, AFIG Funds Group

A graduate of the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP), Thiaba is a Chartered Accountant with more than 32 years of experience spanning audit, due diligence and financial advisory for public institutions and blue-chip companies across sectors. She was the Managing partner of Deloitte Senegal, which she founded in 1990 before choosing to join Afig Funds, a prominent African Private Equity company, in October 2017. Thiaba is sharing with Tostan her background in finance and management, as well as her deep rooted knowledge of West Africa.