Meet Our Newer Board Members

Written by Lee S. Polansky, Senior Director of Executive Initiatives and Special Projects | Published: June 10, 2024

Over the past two years, six new members have joined the Population Connection Board of Directors. Get to know them a bit on the pages that follow!

We are fortunate to have 17 experts in various fields leading Population Connection at the highest level. These accomplished professionals work in health care, academia, law, non-profit leadership, and more. They have all volunteered their time to this organization because they believe in our mission to stabilize population at a sustainable level, through improved access to voluntary family planning education and services.

We look forward to updating the group photo below with a new one at this year’s annual meeting in June!

Seated, from left: Amy Dickson, Mary Beth Weinberger, Bob Pettapiece. Standing, from left: Bryce Hach, John Seager (President and CEO), Estelle Raboni, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Mark Hathaway, Aaron Allen, Kevin Whaley, Rodrigo Barillas. Missing: Melvine Ouyo

Seema Mohapatra, JD, MPH

M.D. Anderson Foundation Endowed Professor in Health Law, SMU Dedman School of Law

Seema’s expertise is in bioethics and health law, and she’s interested in health care writ large. She’s been published in some of the top law journals, including Emory Law Journal, Harvard Law and Policy Review, and Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics. She’s also been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Hastings Center Report, and her work has been featured in major publications including The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Bloomberg. Seema earned a JD from Northwestern University and an MPH with a concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University. In her free time, Seema enjoys traveling with her husband and two teenage daughters. She was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and now splits her time between Florida and Texas.

“I am excited to be a board member of Population Connection and support its efforts to advocate for reproductive freedom all over the world.”

selfie of Heather SmithHeather Smith, DMgt, MBA, MSM

Population, Health, and Nutrition Foreign Service Officer, USAID

Heather is the former Director of National Advocacy Programs at Population Connection. Her vast knowledge of reproductive health and rights was well known in the field in those days; if you had a question about sexual and reproductive health and rights, you knew whom to ask. Heather recently entered the U.S. Foreign Service as a Population, Health, and Nutrition Officer with USAID in Zambia. She’s had many years of experience living and working in different countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including as a PEPFAR Country Coordinator in Uganda and Kenya. Heather holds a Doctorate of Management (DMgt), an MBA, and an MSM in Procurement and Contract Management from the University of Maryland.

“Being back with Population Connection as a board member has been a great experience. I get to keep up with what’s going on at the micro level with the organization itself, and at the macro level with the shameful state of reproductive health and rights.”

Sachu Constantine, MPP

Executive Director, Vote Solar

Sachu has had a long career in clean energy and now leads Vote Solar, an advocacy organization working at the state level to make solar energy more accessible and affordable across the U.S. Sachu, who was on the Population Connection Board of Directors from 2000–2008, has worked for several nonprofits, including the Center for Sustainable Energy and the Alliance to Save Energy. He’s worked in government and the private sector as well, and has even taught math and science to elementary and high schoolers. Sachu received his Master’s in Public Policy from UC Berkeley. He and his wife live in Berkeley but are always on the look-out for chances to visit their grandchildren in Utah.

“We all know rapid population growth is a harmful and unsustainable crisis. Re-joining the Board of Directors gives me another chance to work on an issue as important today as it will be when my grandkids grow up.”

Aaron Dannenberg, JD, MBA

Managing Director and Head of Private Debt Solutions, Nomura Securities International

Aaron’s banking career includes prior positions at Houlihan Lokey and Citi. He also served as CFO at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, a 130-year-old community-based social services organization located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Aaron’s government experience includes serving as Special Counsel at the White House during the Clinton administration, and as the Director of the Office of Credit and Investment at USAID, where he ran global credit programs supporting small and medium businesses as part of the U.S. government’s development assistance effort. Aaron holds an MBA from Columbia University and a JD from Georgetown University. He was born and raised in New York City, where he lives with his wife and twin daughters.

“I was honored to be elected to the board of Population Connection, and I look forward to supporting our mission in any way I can.”

Bruce Fallick, PhD

Senior Vice President, Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Bruce has been a steadfast member of Population Connection since 1991, and was elected to our Board of Directors at the February 2024 meeting. Bruce taught economics at UCLA and Oberlin College, but for most of his career, he was an economist at the Federal Reserve Board. Bruce has produced an enviable list of publications on a range of issues, including U.S. labor and employment. He’s published chapters in edited books and journals including The Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Labor Economics, and Labour Economics. Bruce received a PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

“While I’m a new member of the board, I am a long-time member of Population Connection, and a strong supporter of its great education and advocacy work.”

Eleanor Unsworth, MS

Executive Director, WINGS Guatemala

Eleanor is our newest board member and a former colleague of our Board Secretary, Rodrigo Barillas. She has two decades of experience working in sexual and reproductive health and nonprofit leadership, and has spent most of her career at direct service health organizations, including Planned Parenthood of Illinois, the Charles River Community Health Center, Camino Seguro (Safe Passage), and WINGS, where she’s been for nearly eight years. She has worked in youth programming, patient counseling, and rights-based health care. Eleanor has lived in Guatemala for a decade and is a board member at the Guatemalan women’s health center Asociación Manos Abiertas, another of our Global Partners. She has a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University.

“I am eager to collaborate with fellow board members and the Population Connection team to promote reproductive rights, empower communities, and address the interconnected challenges of population growth, environmental sustainability, and social equity.”