US Executive Board
Rachel a. cohen, phd
Founder, Executive Director
Rachel is a clinical psychologist who has been in practice for over 30 years. She founded Common Threads in Geneva Switzerland in 2012. Now based in New York, she is a consultant specializing in psychosocial support for survivors of trauma. She has designed recovery projects in the developing world, training local staff and implementing interventions in post conflict areas including Bosnia, South Sudan, Uganda, Ecuador and Nepal. She earned her doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1986, and a certificate in global mental health from the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma in 2010.
Mary briese matheron
Secretary, US Executive Board
Mary was the Associate Dean of Development at Yale Law School until 2017, where she led the team responsible for securing private support for core operations, campus expansion, transformational programs, and endowment. Prior to joining the YLS staff in March 2013, she was a consultant on leadership giving to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). From 1996 to 2011, she held a number of positions in the Development Office at Georgetown University Law Center, including Executive Director from 2003-2011. Her career in Development began at the Academy of Holy Names in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she was the Director of Development from 1985-1987. Mary also worked in Georgetown University’s Athletics Department from 1978-1983, serving as Head Women’s Basketball Coach from 1981 to 1983. She holds a B.S. in Kinesiological Sciences from the University of Maryland.
n. Lynn hiestand
President, US Executive Board
Lynn is a corporate lawyer and former partner of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP resident in Chicago and London. Lynn previously served as Iraqi Country Director for Heartland Alliance International, a human rights organization providing legal, social and mental health services to vulnerable populations, including survivors of GBC and SGBV, and continues to consult on human rights issues. She serves on the Board of Visitors of Georgetown University Law Center and on the Executive Board of JUSTICE, a law reform and human rights organization working to strengthen the justice system in the United Kingdom. She is also a trustee for Wellbeing of Women, a UK charitable organization investing in pioneering medical research to keep women well at each stage of life, and for Literature for All of Us, which helps disadvantaged individuals realize the transformative strength of their voices in by growing communities of readers and writers.
Treasurer, US Executive Board
Ann Blume is a community leader living in Seattle, Washington. She currently serves on Seattle University’s Board of Trustees and the College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Council. Ann also was on the SightLife Board, the University of Washington’s Center for Infant Mental Health and Development Council and Teens in Public Service Board. After graduating from Cornell University with a Biology and Nutrition degree in 1978, Ann moved to Washington D.C. where she helped implement the first generation of personal computers as a staff assistant to Senator Bob Packwood of Oregon. Ann met her husband, Bruce, while working in the U.S. Senate. In 1982, Bruce and Ann founded the Blume Company, a Seattle real estate development business which has helped transform Seattle’s South Lake Union, University, Eastlake and Fremont neighborhoods. The parents of five children, they share a passion for family, public policy, and philanthropy.
Geneva Executive Board
PRESIDENT, GVA EXECUTIVE BOARD
Sarah received her BSc (Hons) in Physiology and Zoology from the University of London. On graduating, she worked for the Australian Freedom From Hunger Campaign, and NGO focusing on community-based development in the Asia and the Pacific. During a field visit to Bihar, India, she was inspired to research the role of agribusiness in development. Her book, The Foodmakers, was published by Penguin in 1985 and serialized by the Australian Financial Review, which hired her as a staff writer. Sarah was subsequently posted to the Parliamentary press corps in Canberra and then to Bangkok where she covered politics, economics and business in South and Southeast Asia. From Thailand, she was recruited by a UK-based financial publisher as an editor in Hong Kong. After the Asian financial crisis in 1997, she co-founded an independent financial research and publishing company in Asia. Since 2009, Sarah has been researching trauma and trauma therapies. Sarah was a founding member of the Geneva Board of Common Threads.
Michele Klein-Solomon, J.D., MSFS
GENEVA EXECUTIVE BOARD
Michele Klein-Solomon is Senior Policy Adviser to the Director General of IOM. Prior to taking up this role she was IOM’s permanent observer to the United Nations in New York. She has also previously held the position of Director of the Migration Policy, Research and Communications Department in IOM Geneva. Prior to joining IOM, Ms. Klein-Solomon served as an Attorney Adviser with the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser. Ms. Klein-Solomon received her Juris Doctor and Masters of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) degrees, from the Georgetown University Law Center and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, in 1988, with honors including the Landegger Honors Certificate in International Business Diplomacy. She has published on the nexus between migration and asylum issues, on trade and migration issues, and on a range of migration-related subjects.
SECRETARY, GVA EXECUTIVE BOARD
Sia Kessi has been working in the solar energy industry for close to three years. Prior to that, Sia acquired over 20 years experience in the fields of digital communications, marketing and project management for businesses as diverse as mining, inspection and IT. She holds a BA (Hons) in Social Anthropology from the University of Sussex and has lived most of her life in Geneva, Switzerland, working mainly in the private sector and family-run enterprises. In 2008, Sia co-founded an association to fund community-based development projects in Tanzania. Sia has particular interest in healing remedies for PSTD, trans-generational trauma and depression. Sia has lived in the UK, the USA, Tanzania and Switzerland.
TREASURER, GVA EXECUTIVE BOARD
Paul trained as a clinical psychologist and worked for a number of years: first with adults with complex psychiatric histories and then in brain injury rehabilitation.
He subsequently moved to Geneva with his family and retrained as an artist. Part of his artistic practice involves the use of clay-making as a tool to develop an ecological, environmentally sensitive model of creative and psychological change. For the last two years he has conducted this research as a doctoral student at the University of Oxford, UK.
Nguyen-Toan Tran, MD, MSc, DrMed
GENEVA EXECUTIVE BOARD
Toan is a family physician with a passion for community and international health with more than twenty years of experience. He has worked in Asia, Africa and Latin America in collaboration with ministries, United Nations agencies, local and international NGOs, and academic institutions focusing on improving access to sexual and reproductive health and rights through advocacy, capacity development, program implementation and research.
Faculty and Staff
Cynthia Uccello, MA
BOSNIA PROJECT MANAGER
Cynthia is a Counselor and life coach with a private practice in Geneva, Switzerland working with adolescents and adults. She received an M.A. in Counseling from Webster University Geneva and holds the ACC-level accreditation from the International Coach Federation. She previously worked in sales/marketing roles in a multinational corporation, leaving the field in 2005 to pursue a path of purpose in the healing profession. She is the co-Chair of Project HOPE, a Geneva-based organization dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual violence, and the Treasurer of the Geneva-based Common Threads Association.
ART THERAPY CONSULTANT
Tally received her Master’s degree in Art Therapy from George Washington University (1981) and her Master’s in Clinical Social Work from the University of Maryland (1986). For the past 25+ years, she has maintained an active private practice in Art Therapy and Psychotherapy in Washington, DC and Alexandria, VA. Tally is also an Assistant Professor at George Washington University, where she is the Director of the GW University Art Therapy Clinic, a training clinic that provides art therapy to the community and specializes in trauma treatment. She lectures and presents workshops and trainings both nationally and internationally and is the author of several articles and publications focusing on experiential approaches for the treatment of trauma. Tally specializes in the treatment of mood, anxiety and complex trauma disorders, and is certified in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SPI), and Intensive Trauma Therapy (ITT). Additionally, Tally has advanced training in Somatic Imagery, Group Psychotherapy, Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, and Clinical Hypnosis. Tally is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISST-D) and chair of the Creative Arts Special Interest Group. Tally values all kinds of mixed media art making for creative expression and for managing stress.
Ivan Komproe, Phd
Dr. Komproe is a leading scholar and researcher in the field of global mental health. Since 1996 he has been the director of research and development at HealthNet TPO in Amsterdam. He is Chair of Collective Trauma at Utrecht University, associate Editor at BMC Psychiatry, and been Research Coordinator at the Psychotrauma Centre, South Netherlands. Dr. Komproe’s core areas of expertise are research (quantitative) methods, research designs, analyses of multi-site, large and complex data sets (e.g. longitudinal data, nested data) and the implementation of research findings in the development, adaptation and implementation of mental health and psychosocial care systems within low-income and conflict-affected settings. He has authored more than a hundred journal articles on these topics.
Catherine Butterly, MA
Catherine has trained in Family therapy, Play therapy and adult psycho therapy. She lives in the Geneva area and works as a psychotherapist, University teach and Clinical Internship Co-ordinator on the Master’s in Counseling at Webster University Geneva. Prior to this post, she lived and worked in Zimbabwe for 8 years. She has worked in a variety of contexts with people challenged by traumatic experiences and is very interested in how people process these experiences and how creative and artistic methods can be used in conjunction with other trauma treatments to promote healing. Catherine is also an avid quilter.
Lisa Raye Garlock, ATCS, LCPAT
ART THERAPY CONSULTANT
Lisa is a full-time faculty member in the graduate Art Therapy program at George Washington University. She has presented workshops and given lectures on art therapy topics in the U.S. and abroad. She is a credentialed art therapy supervisor (ATCS) and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Art Therapist (LCPAT). She has worked with adults, adolescents and children in hospitals, schools, community-based organizations and shelters. In addition Lisa is an accomplished artist, exhibiting work in a variety of media, with a current focus on arpilleras. She studied printmaking and textiles at Rochester Institute of Technology and earned a Masters degree in Art Therapy from Nazareth College of Rochester.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Mirsada coordinates all of our activities in Bosnia and is our liaison to four partner organizations in 3 Bosnian cities. She oversees M&E planning, data collection and entry, and interviewing of facilitators, as well as providing translation of materials, and interpretation for all meetings. In her prior work, Mirsada has served as a project assistant for the AIRE Centre and the Gender Centre in Bosnia, providing organizational support for research, financial oversight, conference planning, evaluation, media management and report writing. Mirsada holds a BA in Journalism and Communications and is working on her Masters degree in business communications and public relations.
Jackie is a graduate student of Psychology at the New School in New York, NY. She joined Common Threads’ administrative team in November of 2017. Jackie is the primary administrator for Common Threads project, as well as managing communications, social media, and assisting with grantwriting.