Our Team

Our Team

Initiatives Inc. is a US-based women-owned small business. Our global staff are profiled below, by office location.

In addition, Jenny Huddart served as Initiatives’ Vice President until her passing in 2008. You can learn more about her legacy and how to donate to the Jenny Huddart Scholarship Fund here.

Joyce V. Lyons, RN, Ed.D.


Dr. Joyce Lyons is the President and founder of Initiatives Inc. Her education and experience in health care delivery, public health management and education was the starting point for Initiatives’ focus on developing human and system capacity for service delivery. Her interest and technical focus is the development of management and operational systems to improve and maintain high-quality health services, particularly organizational and human capacity development.

Dr. Lyons has written, edited and coauthored books, guidelines, training materials and standards to enhance the knowledge, understanding and practices of health care providers and health system managers. She has experience working in dozens of countries across the globe.


Nicole Dupré, M.A.

Director of Finance and Administration

As Initiatives’ Director of Finance and Administration, Nicole Dupré manages the business operations of the Boston office, including proposal preparation, budgeting, personnel administration, and contract and financial management. Ms. Dupré has served as Task Order Manager for many of Initiatives’ IQC Task Orders, and has provided technical assistance to projects including the development of an NGO management handbook and advising new PEPFAR grantees on organization policies and procedures related to US government funding compliance issues.


Priscila Martins

Project Assistant

As Project Assistant, Priscila Martins supports the administrative and financial aspects of Initiatives’ projects. She holds a law degree and a culinary arts diploma, and has extensive experience in administrative support to US government projects, including HR, operations, and project management. Ms. Martins has also worked as a tax specialist in both the US and Brazil, and is bilingual in English and Brazilian Portuguese.


Donna Bjerregaard, M.S.W., C.P.H.Q.

Senior Technical Advisor

Donna Bjerregaard, Initiatives’ Senior Technical Advisor, has 20 years’ experience providing technical support to NGOs and FBOs, government ministries, community organizations and international organizations to improve planning and performance, identify best practices, and create system approaches for performance improvement. Ms. Bjerregaard has extensive experience in curriculum design, quality improvement, community health worker assessment tools, organizational and program capacity assessments, training and community health promotion, and is the author of a number of training manuals, position papers and handbooks. She has lived and worked in India, Nigeria, and Jordan and provided technical assistance in Africa, Asia, and South America.


Rebecca Furth, Ph.D.

Senior Technical Advisor

Rebecca Furth is a Senior Technical Advisor with Initiatives, supporting Initiatives’ human resources management, organizational development, quality improvement and operations research activities. Dr. Furth has worked across Africa and in South Asia and has contributed to Initiatives’ health systems strengthening work for HIV, TB, and reproductive health programs. She holds a PhD in cultural anthropology, with a focus on African culture and social change. She has lived in Guinea and India and speaks Pular and French.


Holly Shepherd, M.Sc.

Senior Technical Advisor

Holly Shepherd is a Senior Technical Advisor with Initiatives, providing technical support to projects in capacity building, organizational development and advocacy. Ms. Shepherd has served as a technical adviser to national and local NGOs and community organizations in improving quality assurance measures and establishing strategic priorities for program expansion. She holds a MSc in Public Health for Development from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and has lived and worked in Uganda and Kenya and provided technical assistance throughout Africa.


Meredith Narayanan, MPH

Technical Advisor

Meredith Narayanan is a Technical Advisor with Initiatives, providing technical support in program planning, training materials, monitoring and evaluation, and donor reporting for Initiatives’ projects. Since earning her Master of Public Health from New York University, Ms. Narayanan has seven years of experience in managing sub-Saharan African, Latin American, and Indian portfolios for a variety of New York-based global health organizations. Ms. Narayanan has specific expertise in HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, vaccines, and public-private partnerships.



Sarah Murungi, M.A.

Senior Capacity Development Specialist

Sarah Murungi currently serves as the Senior Capacity Development Specialist for the Advocacy for Better Health project based in Kampala. In this role, she is responsible for the institutional capacity building of sub-grantees in the 35 districts served by the project. Ms. Murungi has a lead role in conducting organizational capacity assessments, supporting civil society organizations to develop capacity development plans, and providing technical assistance to address existing gaps in areas of governance, human resources management, organizational management and project performance management.

She previously worked for Initiatives on the Technical Assistance to New Partners Initiative (TA-NPI) project, where she supported ten non-governmental organization (NGO) partners in eight African countries, designing and delivering trainings for NGO boards and senior management teams to empower them to effectively manage their organizations.

Ms. Murungi is an organizational development specialist with over 15 years of experience managing and implementing projects focused on education, HIV and AIDS, reproductive health, human resources for health, and orphans and vulnerable children. She has strong skills in both organizational and technical capacity building for NGOs and government departments. Ms. Murungi has a Master’s degree in organizational leadership and management and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology.


Ruth Birabwa

Organizational Capacity Building Officer

Ruth Birabwa serves the Advocacy for Better Health team as the Organizational Capacity Building Officer. Ms. Birabwa has over 20 years of experience in capacity building, curricula development and monitoring and evaluation for a variety of health and education programs in East Africa. As Organizational Capacity Building Officer, Ms. Birabwa brings her extensive experience in capacity building to the Organizational Development team to organize, participate in and lead organizational capacity assessments as well as assist civil society partners to develop and implement improvement plans.

Before she joined the Advocacy or Better Health team, Ms. Birabwa provided subgrantee development and management support to PEPFAR/USAID projects in Uganda. She also conducted peer educator seminars, developed training materials and coordinated training activities with HIV/AIDS organizations in Uganda. Ms. Birabwa holds a Master’s degree in institutional management and Leadership, a Post Graduate Diploma in management and leadership and a Bachelor of Arts degree in social sciences


Doreen Ruta, M.A.

Organizational Development Officer

As the ABH Organizational Development Officer, Ms. Ruta provides capacity development technical assistance to community-based/civil society/non-governmental organizations implementing advocacy programs focused on health care and health services in Uganda. Ms. Ruta has over 16 years of experience working across health, education, and natural resources management sectors. She has provided technical expertise in gender mainstreaming, citizen engagement, and local governance and has a strong skill-set in gender research, development training, program management, and livelihood assessments.

Before Ms. Ruta joined the Advocacy for Better Health project as an Organizational Development Officer, she served as a consultant on a project facilitating organizational advocacy and capacity assessments, and also worked with a diverse group of stakeholders to mainstream gender into the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Uganda (2015-2025). Ms. Ruta has a Masters Degree in Women and Gender Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Public Administration.



Lillian Byers, M.D.S.

NGO/CBO Capacity Building Specialist

As the NGO/CBO Capacity Building Specialist with the Systems for Better Health project, Lillian Byers is responsible for leading activities to strengthen non-governmental and community-based organizations. She helps to improve the technical and organizational capacity in the provision of community-level services in family planning/reproductive health, maternal and child health, and nutrition. Ms. Byers’ position supports the project’s Grants under Contract component.

Ms. Byers is a development expert with more than 20 years of development experience, 15 of which were spent in the NGO sector. She has worked as a facilitator, trainer, tutor, and researcher, and her professional skills include capacity building, grant making and monitoring, institutional strengthening, and project management. Ms. Byers holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Education.


Weddy Silomba

Human Resources for Health Advisor

Weddy Silomba serves the Eradicate TB team as the Human Resources for Health Advisor, providing direct technical assistance for human resources for health planning and strengthening activities including training, performance appraisal systems and developing systems for tracking human resources contributing to tuberculosis control from both government and the private/NGO sections in Zambia. Mr. Silomba has extensive experience in program management, human resources and training management both for public and private sectors in Zambia for the past 25 years.

Before joining the Eradicate TB team, Mr. Silomba guided and monitored the implementation of a project for HIV/AIDS prevention and care, designing the grants disbursement strategy model and courses framework. He published on HIV/AIDS and development topics, focusing on community responses to HIV/AIDS at the Salvation Army, Chikankata Mission Hospital, and managed human resources initiatives by developing different strategies for implementation of policy guidelines for the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ). Mr. Silomba holds a Master’s degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Management and Training.