GWI Board 2016- 2019


Geeta Desai – Women Graduates-USA

Geeta Desai is President of GWI based in Wappingers Falls, New York.  She has worked as an Organizational Development Consultant to private foundations for 29 years to help nonprofits with Program Development and Evaluation, Resource and Capacity Development, Human Resource Development, Management Training, Executive Coaching and Diversity Management. She has represented GWI at the United Nations where she worked with its functional commissions, agencies and funds to help women and girls create lives of sustainable independence. She is Past President of the American Association of University Women where she worked for gender equity for women and girls through local and national programs, particularly in the areas of access to education and employment.  Geeta also developed a series of leadership workshops, seminars and discussions on the subjects of diversity and inclusiveness that are currently being taught by a number of trainers.





Basak Ovacik – Turkish Association of University Women

Bio coming soon!


 Legal and Governance:

 Rae Duff – New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women

Rae Duff has had a 50 year involvement as an education professional including 13 years as Deputy Principal of St Catherine’s College in Wellington, New Zealand and a lecturing position at Victoria University of Wellington College of Education. 

She was the National President of the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women now called Graduate Women New Zealand (GWNZ) from 2003-2006 and was made a Member Emerita in 2012. Rae is currently  Vice President Governance of Graduate Women International (GWI).  She manages the Graduate Women Wellington Academic Dress Hire Service which raises over a ¼ million NZ dollars per year for education awards and scholarships for women and girls.

Rae joined the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) IN 2008 as the Education Convener and was elected to the Board in 2012 and subsequently became the National President in 2014.

She has attended International Council of Women and Graduate Women International  conferences and represented them both at the Commission on the Status of Women  (CSW) ln New York  for the past three years.

In the New Year’s Honours list in 2017, Rae was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for her services to education and women.

She has a passion for women’s human rights and empowerment, the education of girls and women and the importance of lifting their economic independence, participation and leadership skills at all levels of society. 

Rae is married to Stuart and they have two children and four grandchildren all currently living overseas.



Louise McLeod – Women Graduates – USA

Louise McLeod, GWI Marketing VP, has more than 30 years’ experience in the non-profit sector dealing with women’s issues at the local, national and international level.

Louise holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Toronto and a Graduate Diploma in Computer Science from Concordia University in Montreal. Louise has spent the last 20 years developing websites for non-profits specializing in web-based database applications and non-profit communications and has worked in the business-to-business marketing sector.

Louise’s particular interest is women’s issues at the international level particularly Human Rights, Human Trafficking in all its forms and Women, Peace and Security. She is a founding board member and immediate Past President of Women Graduates-USA and currently sits on the board of the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund where she serves on the Project Grants Committee, and the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition in Pennsylvania, USA.

Louise has three daughters and six grandchildren. She and her husband, Brian, live in Buckingham, PA.



Eileen Focke-Bakker – Graduate Women International Netherlands

Drs. Eileen Focke-Bakker is Vice President Membership and Co-Founder of GWI-NL based in Leiden, The Netherlands. She is a sociologist of non-western countries with a major in education. She has worked in many non-western countries helping to found new schools in these areas.  She has worked in various roles and across many sectors at Delft University of Technology (DUT). As Project Manager and Policy Advisor on Safety and Security Issues, she co-created the Dutch Approach to Safety and Security. She developed risks analysis and management methodologies including ICT solutions.  She held positions as Auditor at DUT performing operational audits and as Safety Quality Manager at HSE where she monitored performance and quality of the DUT organization on HSE. As Policy Officer for Diversity she developed and implemented policies to the advancement of women in science. She has coordinated various policy research projects to seek insight in mechanisms of gender diversity.



Katharina Strub – Swiss Association of University Women

Dr.  Katharina Strub was nominated by the board for the position of GWI Treasurer on February 17, 2017. Previously, she was approved as the Swiss assistant treasurer of GWI at the Cape Town General Assembly in August 2017. Katharina Strub has been a member of the Swiss Association of University Women and a board member of its Geneva branch.

Katharina Strub has obtained a master degree in Biochemistry at the University of Fribourg and a Ph D. of Molecular Biology at the University Zurich, Switzerland. She spent a few years at the University of California, San Francisco before returning with her husband and their two kids back to the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Until her retirement end of 2014, she directed her own research group and worked as a professor at the University of Geneva. She has been responsible for managing the different funding resources of her research group, which covered expenses such as salaries and consumables as well as services for research activities. She is also a board member of the Swiss Society for Molecular and Cellular Biosciences and of the Geneva branch of the Swiss Association of University Women and participates in managing the finances of these societies. To stand up for equal rights and promotions of women in Switzerland and worldwide has always been a very important issue for her.






Back to Our Leadership


GWI’s office is relocating to another Geneva location on 16 August.  For a few days, we will have limited access to our emails, telephone and website. We appreciate your understanding during this time of positive change. We will be back to normal working conditions on Monday, 21 August.


Thank you, GWI Staff.


Les bureaux de GWI seront en cours de déménagement a Geneve le 16 Août. Pendant quelques jours, nous aurons un accès limité à nous emails, téléphone et site web. Nous vous remercions d’avance pour votre compréhension pendant ce changement. Nous serons de retour à la normale le lundi 21 Août.


Merci, l’équipe GWI.