Senior Leadership

Executive Management Team

Kathy Spahn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Helen Keller International, works closely with the Board of Trustees, global leaders in public health, staff members throughout HKI, partner organizations, and HKI supporters in carrying out her responsibilities. Prior to joining HKI, Ms. Spahn was President and Executive Director of Orbis, a global non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of blindness in the developing world.  At the time, the organization had four affiliate offices and five country programs, and a medical volunteer corps of 370. Prior to her work with Orbis, she was Executive Director of God’s Love We Deliver, a New York-based AIDS service organization dedicated to combating malnutrition and hunger among people living with HIV/AIDS. Ms. Spahn serves on the Boards of Directors of the Access to Nutrition Foundation (ATNF), InterAction and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and formerly served on the board of the Bernadotte Foundation for Children’s Eyecare. She is a founding board member of both the North America chapter of IAPB and the Association of Nutrition Services Agencies (ANSA), and a founding partner of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Disease Control. She also serves on the 2020 and Strategic Advisory Council of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and IFPRI’s Leadership Council Compact of 2025. She joined HKI in March 2005 and is located at headquarters in New York City.

Victoria Quinn, Senior Vice President of Programs, has oversight for all of HKI programs. She has more than 30 years of experience in Africa, Asia, and Latin America designing and managing complex and large-scale nutrition and maternal child health country and regional programs, including those involving agriculture and nutrition. Dr. Quinn’s areas of expertise include nutrition policy and surveillance, infant and young child feeding, micronutrients and women’s nutrition. She received her Bachelors and Masters in nutrition from U.C. Berkeley and Cornell University, respectively, and her Doctorate from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. From 1982-1991, she served as the Regional Coordinator of Cornell University’s collaborative program with UNICEF in Eastern and Southern Africa supporting country initiatives in nutritional surveillance and food and nutrition policy. Thereafter she worked as a consultant for UNICEF, WHO, WFP, the World Bank and the Dutch government on a variety of food and nutrition security issues related to Africa. From 1998 to 2006, Dr. Quinn served as the senior technical manager for the LINKAGES Project’s flagship infant and young child feeding programs in Bolivia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar and the Horn of Africa. She also co-directed AED’s Center for Nutrition from 2001-2006. In 2007, Dr. Quinn was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston. She is currently on the Technical Advisory Groups for Tufts’ Nutrition CRSP Program, Bread for the World, as well as serves as a member of the International Advisory Panel for GAIN’s Access to Nutrition Index study. Since 2007 she has chaired the Sub-working Group on ‘Integrating Breastfeeding with the Appropriate Marketing of Complementary Foods’ under the Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition Working Group. Dr. Quinn joined Helen Keller International in 2006 and is based in its Washington D.C. office.

Patricia Manyari, Chief Financial Officer, oversees all fiscal and fiduciary responsibilities of the organization. In her role, she ensures that HKI has strong financial and accounting systems in place in order to provide transparency, accountability and efficiency in all financial transactions of the organization. Ms. Manyari started at HKI in January 2012. She brings 23 years of experience in financial management of international non-profit organizations, implementing sound accounting practices and high financial standards, both in the field and at the headquarters level; and has extensive experience in compliance with various governmental regulations. She comes to HKI from the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) in Washington, D.C., where she served as Director of Finance for over six years, three of them in Bogota, Colombia. At PADF headquarters, Ms. Manyari managed the organization's annual budget of $55 million and monitored approximately forty projects in seven different countries in Latin America. Other prior experience includes serving as Deputy Chief Financial Officer at CHF International’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. for five years and as VP for Finance at PACT Inc.’s Washington headquarters for ten years, three of them in Peru.

 

Vice Presidents

Joe Amon, Vice President for Neglected Tropical Diseases, oversees HKI’s portfolio of work on parasitic and bacterial diseases including trachoma, onchocerciasis, intestinal worms, schistosomiasis and lymphatic filariasis. Prior to joining HKI in 2016, he was the Director of the Health and Human Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, where he conducted research and advocacy related to a wide range of issues including access to health care, disability rights, environmental health and palliative care. He has also worked as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a monitoring and evaluation officer with Family Health International (now FHI360). Joe holds a master's degree from Tulane University and a Ph.D. from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences focusing on parasitology and epidemiology. Joe is an adjunct Associate Professor and an Associate in the epidemiology departments of Columbia and Johns Hopkins Universities, respectively, and a lecturer in public and international affairs at Princeton University.  In 2012 he was a distinguished visiting lecturer at the Paris School of International Affairs of SciencesPo.  

Nancy Haselow, Vice President for Asia-Pacific, was previously HKI’s Director of Onchocerciasis Programs as well as Country Director for Cameroon. She has also served with HKI as Country Director in the Philippines, Niger and Cambodia, and Director of the Vitamin A Technical Assistance Program. Ms. Haselow has  over thirty years of public health and international development experience, twenty of which have focused on the development, implementation and evaluation of nutrition and eye health programs in Africa and Asia. Ms. Haselow has provided technical assistance to other organizations and national governments to carry out surveys, undertake program assessments and evaluations, and to find innovative strategies for vitamin A deficiency control, onchocerciasis control and other nutrition and eye health programs including pilot testing an international ChildSight® strategy in the Philippines and the integration of vitamin A supplementation into the community-directed treatment with ivermectin in Cameroon. She joined HKI in 1989, and is located in the Asia-Pacific Regional Offices in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

Nancy Haitch, Vice President for Development and Communications, has more than 25 years of development and nonprofit management experience.  Prior to joining Helen Keller International in February 2015, she was Vice President of Strategic Development for the International Rescue Committee, overseeing private sector revenue growth through direct response fundraising and marketing, strategic alliances, events, and celebrity engagement efforts. Nancy has also played a lead role in fundraising for an array of distinguished organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Brooklyn Public Library, and the Archives of American Art, a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution.  Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, she was a marketing and events specialist for educational publishing and consumer product companies, including Swatch Watch USA.  Nancy studied at Queen Mary, University of London, and received her B.A. in Russian Area Studies from Marist College.

Mette Kjaer Kinoti, Vice President for Africa, is responsible for driving the future direction and growth of the HKI’s Africa portfolio which includes more than 100 programs in 13 countries on the continent. She joined HKI in 2014 and has more than 30 years of international development experience. She currently serves as a member of the World Bank CSO Committee on Health, Population and Nutrition; and an advisor to the World Health Organization on International Health Partnerships. Prior to joining HKI, she served as Head of Program Management at AMREF, an international NGO headquartered in Africa focused on empowering communities and strengthening health systems there. With AMREF she led Business Plan development and all program implementation for the global AMREF organization, which includes seven African countries and 11 countries in Europe and North America. Kinoti has also worked as a Country Director for AMREF’s Kenya and Ethiopia offices.She is currently based in HKI’s Africa Regional Offices in Dakar, Senegal.

Rolf Klemm, Vice President of Nutrition, has more than 25 years of professional experience in international public health nutrition with expertise that spans nutrition efficacy and effectiveness research and program design, management and evaluation. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (Philippines, 1979-81), Indochinese Refugee Program Supervisor (1982-84), Program Manager and Country Director for Helen Keller International (Philippines, 1986-98), Senior Technical Advisor and Technical Director of USAID’s flagship A2Z micronutrient program (2009-11), and Hopkins faculty member and principal and/or co-investigator (1998-present) for studies in Asia (Nepal, Pakistan,Bangladesh, Philippines) and Sub-Saharan Africa (DRC, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia). He currently serves as Vice President for Nutrition with Helen Keller International and holds a faculty appointment at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Nicholas Kourgialis, Vice President for Eye Health, provides administrative and programmatic direction and oversight for HKI’s eye health programs worldwide. HKI’s eye health programs seek to eliminate avoidable blindness and visual impairment due to cataract, refractive error, trachoma and onchocerciasis and also to support integrative education and rehabilitation efforts for visually impaired children. Eye health programs are currently conducted in over eighteen countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Mr. Kourgialis joined HKI in December of 2003. He brings over thirteen years of related experience to his work at HKI, having spent his career specializing in public health and social service interventions addressing the needs of disadvantaged children. He is based at headquarters in New York City.

Ric Plaisance, Vice President for Information and Operations Systems, has worked with Helen Keller International since 2004. He is responsible for the development and management of systems that support the work of headquarter operations and HKI's international network of field offices. Previously, Mr. Plaisance served for ten years as the Executive Director for Settlement Health where he managed the operations and services of this community health center providing primary health care to the East Harlem community. In addition Mr. Plaisance created and led the NinthBridge program of EngenderHealth, providing information system consultation services to the international NGO community.

 

Helen Keller International-Europe, an affiliate organization of Helen Keller International

Alix de Nicolay, Managing Director of Helen Keller International Europe, reopened the Paris office in 1998 with the two-fold mission of raising funds and increasing visibility. She is responsible for positioning, developing and managing the Helen Keller International brand in Europe, which includes: identifying individual, corporate and foundation donors; establishing corporate and institutional partnerships; and writing and submitting proposals. She also manages European-funded programs, establishes media relations, organizes special events and works closely with the Paris Board of Trustees. Mrs. de Nicolay was formerly in charge of development for the French-American Foundation in New York. She has previously worked for several French and American companies, UNICEF’s Special Events Section, and the Department of Information at the United Nations Secretariat in New York. She joined HKI in December 1998 and is located at the Paris office.