The Circle of Sisterhood Foundation’s success has been dependent on the contributions of many—volunteers, individual donors, campus sorority communities, alumnae organizations, families, friends, and the list goes on. We depend on the circle of influence of sorority women to accomplish this important work. When every sorority woman, and those with whom she is connected, contributes to the Circle of Sisterhood in a meaningful way, our efforts worldwide will be transformational for generations to come. And the world will know the wide-reaching power of women.
Click the images below to read more about our dedicated board members and staff team.
Board of Trustees
“I have seen first-hand the outcomes access to quality education provides. I had the opportunity to attend high-quality public schools and believe every young person deserves this same opportunity.”
Michelle Shimbergis passionate about equity in education for kids and teens in the U.S., and beyond, a calling that led her to join the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation Board of Trustees and share the CofS mission with the interfraternal world. Prior to volunteering for CofS, Michelle has served as a volunteer in public schools local to her hometown of Tampa, FL, for more than 25 years working directly alongside students and their families. She currently serves as Board Chairman of East Tampa Academy, a public charter school focused on providing high-quality educational opportunities for disadvantaged students.
Within her community, Michelle is involved in a number of education-related organizations that serve disadvantaged, at-risk, and homeless individuals. She is a board member for Starting Right, Now, Men of Vision, Inc., and is a mentor for several at-risk teenagers. She has also been a leader for Hillsborough County Public Schools for more than 20 years serving on the Citizen Advisory Committee.
Her experience as a dedicated member of and volunteer for Delta Delta Delta since her initiation into the Alpha Psi Chapter at The University of Florida has given Michelle the tools she needs to engage with collegiate women as a CofS volunteer. She graduated from UF with a degree in Business Administration and a specialization in computer science and served Tri Delta as a Field Consultant before starting her career in the banking industry. In 2000 Michelle brought her experience and committed fraternal service to the highest level when she was elected Collegiate Vice President for Tri Delta. She remained in this position until Tri Delta’s 2004 Convention in Orlando where she was elected Fraternity President. In 2008 after finishing her presidential term, Michelle became chairman of Tri Delta’s Leadership Development Committee, a role in which she served until 2012. She currently serves as a Trustee on Tri Delta’s Foundation.
Michelle’s impact as a Circle of Sisterhood volunteer has helped mold and shape CofS into the successful organization we see today. In addition to serving as Chair of the Circle of Sisterhood Board of Trustees since 2019, Michelle regularly speaks about the CofS mission at campuses in the Central Florida area to engage more collegiate women. Michelle and her husband Robert have three grown children, Taylor, Connor, and Jilan─and, when she’s not serving Circle of Sisterhood, Tri Delta, or public education, Michelle enjoys exercise, reading, travel, and paddle-boarding.
“Girls’ education is essential for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Its value is clear: keeping girls in school and helping them transition to secondary school delays marriage and the age of first birth and improves their long-term health, quality of life, and economic opportunity. Moreover, literacy and education provide benefits beyond individuals and help fight poverty, improve health, mitigate climate change and create prosperous futures for families, communities, and nations. I love that Circle of Sisterhood educates sorority members about the importance of girls’ education and the barriers that exist around the world, and provides them with a way they can help. It connects them with a very concrete solution where they can make a difference.”
Working with women FOR women to provide equal opportunities has been the fabric of Susan Markham’s life and career. She attended THE Ohio State University (OSU), where she joined the Rho Chapter of Alpha Phi International Fraternity and served as Panhellenic President. She considered sororities as collectively the largest women’s organization on campus with the most significant potential to successfully advocate for women’s issues on campus. Since then, her continued education and career have only grown her passion for women’s advocacy. After graduating with a bachelor of arts in political science and international studies from OSU, she earned a master of arts from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where her passion for turning the essential role of women in politics and development into an impactful career began.
Susan is now partner and co-founder of Smash Strategies, a strategic advisory firm that helps businesses, non-profit organizations, and philanthropists leverage their commitment to empowering girls and women. Before founding Smash, Susan served at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as the Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, where, among other work, she lead USAID’s efforts on Michelle Obama’s ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative. Her experience also includes leading the efforts of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in supporting women’s civil society organizations and movements around the world; and running the EMILY’s List Political Opportunity Program (POP) that recruited, trained, and supported women running for office at the state and local level.
Susan has spent more than 20 years in Washington, DC, where she currently lives with her family and two dogs. Throughout her career, Susan has collaborated with many of the biggest actors and stakeholders in elevating girls’ education and development initiatives throughout DC and New York.
“I was fortunate to be given opportunities for education and advancement. I had teachers, coaches, mentors, and family members cheering me on and supporting me in my efforts. Not everyone has that, but I believe they should!”
Nicki Meneley’s 21-year history of professional and volunteer work for nonprofits has been primarily for organizations specifically supporting girls and women. She enjoys building organizations and teams to further organizational missions, demonstrated not only by her passion for the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation but also by the undeniable impact she’s made on the interfraternal community throughout her career.
Nicki spent her undergraduate years at Purdue University, where she was initiated into the Alpha Beta Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega. She earned a bachelor of liberal arts, majoring in industrial-organizational psychology and minoring in supervision and sociology. After graduating from college and being on the road as a consultant for Alpha Chi Omega for two years, Nicki accepted a full-time staff position in Indianapolis and returned to school at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) for a certificate in event management. She also received a master’s of public affairs with a concentration in nonprofit management from IUPUI while later working for the Purdue Alumni Association.
In 2010 Nicki became the first Executive Director for the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and served in this role for five years before becoming the first Chief Executive Officer of the Fraternity Executives Association (FEA). She credits her interfraternal experiences and the member organizations she has served during her career as a driving force behind her passion as a Circle of Sisterhood Foundation volunteer as well.
“FEA member organizations inspire me to do my best work to support them. They are leading amazing fraternal organizations that impact their members and communities in positive ways every day.”
Nicki lives in Indianapolis with her husband, MJ, and twin sons PJ and Reas.
“As a woman born in the United States, I grew up in a society that REQUIRED me to go to school. Had I been born in South Sudan or Burkina Faso, for example, I would not have had the same opportunity for education, financial independence, and complete self-determination.”
Although education is a global human right, the unfortunate reality is accessibility to education depends entirely upon the country in which girls and women are born—this is what drives Nicole Hughes to support Circle of Sisterhood. Her involvement with CofS has enabled a greater understanding of the educational discrepancies between geographies and the urgency with which we must work to make sure all girls have access to quality education.
In her role as IBM’s North America sales lead for data science and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, Nicole works with Fortune 500 companies to modernize and transition workloads to the cloud. She is in a unique position to observe technology barriers that are additional education equity hurdles for girls and women in developing countries where access to the same global educational resources and job opportunities as developed nations are limited by little to no technology experience.
“I believe the democratization of coding and AI APIs will not only set the world free from the social media ‘dilemma’ we are currently in and generate opportunities for creation of new solutions, but it also presents opportunities for invention and entrepreneurship which can be obtained by turning an amazing idea into an application.”
Nicole studied communications with an emphasis in journalism at Washington State University where she joined Delta Delta Delta Fraternity’s Theta Nu Chapter. Upon graduation and the inevitable search for communications or marketing-related jobs, her writing skills ultimately caught interest in many different industries and got her foot in the door in unexpected places. Now after decades of a trailblazing career path that has coupled her passion for problem-solving with elevating women in an often male-dominated field, she lends her expertise and experience to volunteerism that creates similarly powerful opportunities for other women. As a Tri Delta alumna, she has served the fraternity’s three governance-focused boards—the Tri Delta Executive Board, Tri Delta Foundation, and Tri Delta Housing Board—and currently serves as the chair of her city’s Economic Development Commission.
“Education unleashes potential for earning, for self-determination, for an upward trajectory that can never be taken away. The work of CofS is inspiring
because it breaks down the barriers of cultural circumstances that affect education to create a future of growth and development for girls and women who otherwise may never have those opportunities.”
“Why be involved? I’ve had the privilege to travel the world as a woman. To see the disparities that exist for women when they are denied education and opportunity. Women suffer, children suffer, communities suffer. The world needs women to lead, love, and lift communities, and education is the number one equalizer to unlock a better future. Many sorority women have helped lead the way on women’s education and issues at home. And, while women in the U.S. still have a way to go, we owe it to our sisters around the world to lift as we climb. To create ladders out of poverty and violence through education.”
Amber Garrison Duncan’s connection to the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation goes back to its earliest days, assisting with creating assessment protocols to document the learning and impact of CofS Trek participants. She has been an invaluable resource for support and guidance ever since. Amber joined Alpha Gamma Delta Fraternity’s Epsilon Chi Chapter at Texas Woman’s University (TWU), where she first experienced the bond all sorority women have through education and empowering one another. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from TWU, Amber later earned a master’s degree from Texas A&M University and a doctorate from the University of Oregon.
As a current Strategy Director for Lumina Foundation, Amber’s career focuses on philanthropy in education. She also has 15 years of experience as a student affairs campus-based professional and has a wealth of valuable knowledge that directly supports the Cofs mission. Before joining the Lumina team in 2013, Amber served as Director of Student Affairs Assessment and Research at the University of Oregon; Director of Family Programs and Commencement at the University of Oregon; a First-Year Experience Instructor at Florida State University; an Intake and Investigations Coordinator at the University of Michigan; and as Assistant Director of Housing and Greek life at Hope College.
A commitment to service has driven Amber to share her time volunteering with a variety of organizations. Previously, Amber served in a variety of volunteer roles for Alpha Gamma Delta and ultimately served three years on International Council as the International Vice President- Collegians. She has also served as Board Chair of Oregon Women in Higher Education and currently serves on the Diversity Committee for Indianapolis School on Wheels and Board of Directors for Texas Woman’s University Foundation.
Amber brings to the CofS Board of Trustees a fantastic ability to set strategic vision and goals that translate into meaningful grantmaking and impact. The Lumina Foundation’s mission aligns closely with CofS, and Amber’s work focuses on making learning opportunities beyond high school available to all. Amber describes both her career and CofS Trustee role as work to “create the most good, for the most people, in the largest way possible.”
The CofS cause is especially poignant for Amber as a small-town girl from Texas who knows firsthand how education has transformed her life and created opportunity. Amber and her partner John live in Indianapolis and have three cats moonlighting as gladiators─Leonidas (Leo), Spartacus (Sparty), and Perseus (Percy), who are “Instagram hogs” to follow at @leospartyperceus.
“Being a strong proponent of equity, I know only too well how women are still not treated the same as their male counterparts. I also benefit greatly from the privilege I have had of continuing education and want the same for as many people out there as possible. I love the founding story of Circle of Sisterhood and how we can all play a part in making a difference in this world both domestically and abroad.”
Hannah Seoh’s passion for pursuing equity in all areas of socioeconomic well-being drives her commitment to the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation and her career. She worked at the New York City Department of Health from 2008-20 in various roles doing groundbreaking research, running large-scale programs for the 8 million residents of NYC and conducting strategic planning for the Center for Health Equity. She ultimately served as an Acting Assistant Commissioner and chief of staff to one of the largest Divisions in the agency overseeing chronic disease, primary care connections, neighborhood health, and equity efforts. Hannah recently started a new chapter of her career with the American Medical Association (AMA) team as Director of Health Equity Performance and Operations serving as chief of staff to the Chief Health Equity Officer. She has already worked to expand a Center for Health Equity team of five staff members to a team of 24 and oversees organizational transformation, communications, administrative, and operational functions of the Center.
Hannah is a founding member of the Beta Chapter of Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc., at the University of Cincinnati. She served the chapter as president andupon graduation joined the National Board where she was eventually elected President for 3 terms. While National President, she helped create the 501(c)(3) Delta Phi Lambda Foundation of which now has a scholarship established in her name. Hannah went on to attend The Ohio State University for an MPH in epidemiology and MS in biostatistics and is currently enrolled in the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, working on her Executive MBA. She planned to move from NYC to Chicago where the AMA headquarters is located, but COVID-19 had other plans and she’s currently living in the nation’s capital.
Before joining the CofS Board of Trustees, Hannah served as a volunteer on the development team in addition to various impactful volunteer positions for other interfraternal organizations. She served on the National Board of Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. including seven years as president, and served as chair of the National Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Panhellenic Association (NAPA). She has also held numerous volunteer roles in the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA), Northeast Greek Leadership Association (NGLA), Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values (AFLV), and the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).
“In March 2020, as the pandemic exploded (we were in Nicaragua when it happened), I was able to visit for the first time since I left. I always knew Nicaragua was poor, but I had no idea just how poor my homeland is. After seeing people live in shacks with tin roofs in the city (it was worse in rural areas), I knew the work Circle of Sisterhood did in Nicaragua was such a huge blessing and that this was a mission I would always support. Seeing the benefits of young girls learning and becoming independent is an amazing goal to aspire to and I want to do my part to continue in serving that purpose.”
Chris Medrano Graham was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and has seen firsthand the need that exists to help young women in developing nations gain access to education.
In 1979, her mother gathered resources to leave Nicaragua at the height of the Nicaraguan Revolution—although a dictatorship regime had been defeated, a repressive communist government took its place, and the war left their country in physical and economic ruin.
A two-time graduate of the University of Florida and working towards a Ph.D. in higher education from Indiana University, Chris’s career has been dedicated to student affairs and advising young men and women in fraternal organizations. She has worked with students and various Greek councils at the University of Arkansas, Indiana University, Florida International University, and the University of West Georgia. The “selflessness of students and my peers to give, serve, lead, and achieve academically” is what inspires Chris to continue working in the field wholeheartedly.
Chris is an alumna member of Gamma Eta Sorority, Inc., a fraternal organization founded at the University of Florida in 1995. Gamma Eta’s origins are rooted in the forward-thinking of 18 young Latina women who saw the need for an organization that would offer a support system to women of diverse backgrounds at UF. In 2006, Gamma Eta was admitted as a full member of the National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC) and now has seven chapters throughout Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, and Indiana, as well as a newly developing chapter at St. John’s University in Staten Island, New York.
Her position as a strong CofS advocate encouraging others to become global citizens working toward the advancement of girls’ and women’s education worldwide can be attributed to Chris’s lived experiences.
“Since I am a member of a culturally-based fraternal organization, I am able to reach out to individuals who are normally not familiar with CofS. And as a member of a historically marginalized community, I can bring awareness to the benefits of giving to and working with CofS at a different level that connects with the shared experiences of members of culturally-based organizations.”
Ginny Carroll founded the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation in 2010 after reading Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The book explores the stark contrast between the global importance of girls and women and the overwhelming barriers to education and opportunity that prevent this population from fulfilling its potential. Those barriers include sex trafficking and sexual violence, forced prostitution, child marriage, inequality in pay, gendercide, and maternal mortality, among other oppression worldwide.
“It changed my view of the world,” Ginny said of her immediate jump to action. “As I read about the brutality inflicted upon so many girls around the world, I was appalled. As a college-educated woman, these harsh realities are so alarming, yet at the same time seem so distant from my everyday experiences as a girl and my everyday experiences now.”
Knowing the unique position sorority women have as one of the largest networks of college-educated women in the world, Ginny leveraged connections within her own organization as well as other fraternities and sororities throughout the U.S. and impassioned others to become part of ending the global crisis in girls’ education. In just ten years, the Circle of Sisterhood has impacted 24 countries through grants to change-making organizations whose work contributes to breaking down educational barriers, as well as the funding of 15 school builds completed by college panhellenics and other volunteers alongside building partner BuildOn. And it is only the beginning of proving the sorority community’s ability to make a GLOBAL difference.
Ginny has been a strong proponent of the sorority experience and opportunities it provides to women since her initiation into the Epsilon Kappa Chapter of Alpha Xi Delta at Western Kentucky University. She traveled as a consultant for Alpha Xi Delta after graduation and spent the next 15 years working for the sorority, including five years as National Executive Director. She briefly worked for a software company in product development before establishing inGiNuity, her consulting business focused on building personal competence and improving team synergy through skill development workshops, board orientation, governance coaching, strategic conversations, and more. Ginny is a frequent keynote speaker for associations and college audiences throughout the country, and the tremendous value of her leadership within the interfraternal community is evidenced by several national awards for fostering positive change to advance the fraternal movement. These accolades include the Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors (AFA) Anson Award, Alpha Sigma Tau’s McCrory Award, Tri Delta’s Vision Award, and Phi Sigma Sigma’s Josette Kaufman Award.
“Reading Half the Sky lit a fire in me. And everything I’ve read since then says it’s not hopeless, that something I am lucky to already have can address many of the global issues affecting women—and that is EDUCATION. Millions of girls all over the world will never get a chance to go to school unless they get help. Women’s empowerment, education, and the sorority experience have always been essential to me. CofS is the intersection of that passion.”
“The need to uplift girls and women through education is what inspired me to get involved and why I have stayed involved. I have a background in elementary education and have seen first-hand the power of education. I personally am most inspired by the real-life success stories of the girls and women Circle of Sisterhood has helped over the last decade. The setbacks we now face regarding education equity for girls and women due to COVID-19 requires organizations like CofS to continue this important work more than ever.”
Annie Labo has been a part of the Circle of Sisterhood staff team since December 2012 and has been the lifeline of CofS growth and operations ever since. She works as a partner to CofS volunteers and donors in all areas including campus partnerships, communications and marketing, database and technology, sponsorships and fundraising, and the CofS grants program, and also provides crucial support to the Executive Director.
Originally from Michigan, Annie moved to Indiana in 2007 to earn her B.S. in Education from Indiana University. Before she could even attend school, Annie knew she wanted to be a teacher. As she began and continued through her own educational journey, she witnessed the many struggles women confront when attempting to create a life of their own. She also learned about the educational disadvantages girls and women face around the world and how those issues affect humanity on a global scale.
“These experiences and information further confirmed my desire to teach, but I also knew I wanted to make a bigger impact beyond what I could do within a classroom or school,” Annie said of bringing her educational background to the Circle of Sisterhood mission and becoming a member of the staff team. And as CofS staff and volunteers as well as others fighting for better and equal access to education have long agreed, Annie believes education is not a privilege, but a basic human right. “I enjoy knowing my role contributes to bringing quality education and independence-building opportunities to girls and women all over the world who have never had the chance to go to school.”
In addition to her own passion for education, Annie is a mother to two amazing daughters and has already begun to share that passion with her family’s next generation. “It is very important to me that my girls grow up in a world that is working toward educational equity for girls. The Circle of Sisterhood mission helps make that happen.”