About

Our Board
Heather Ibrahim-Leathers

Heather Ibrahim-Leathers

Founder

Ms. Ibrahim-Leathers founded Global Fund for Widows following the passing of her grandmother in 2009. Since then, the Global Fund for Widows has raised over $1,000,000 for economic empowerment programs in Egypt, India, Tanzania, Nigeria, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic. With its focus on training and financing widows and female heads of households into building sustainable and inelastic micro-enterprises, the Global Fund for Widows has enabled more than 10,000 widows to become economically empowered and self-sustained. Ms. Ibrahim-Leathers has further ensured the sustainability and economic viability of each widow’s micro-enterprises by developing intricately interdependent value chains, affording purchasing power and high visibility into their income streams.

In addition to technical and economic programming, Ms. Ibrahim-Leathers is an active advocate for the rights of widows and child widows at the United Nations, presenting regularly including at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, at the Commission on the Status of Women in 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015 in New York. Ms. Ibrahim-Leathers has also presented on widows at the United Kingdom’s House of Lords.

Prior to her career in non-profit, Ms. Ibrahim-Leathers served as a Vice President, in Credit Suisse’s Leveraged Investment Group, where she was directly responsible for over $1 billion in high yield and leveraged loan assets. Prior to Credit Suisse, Ms. Ibrahim-Leathers worked at JPMorgan where she was an Emerging Markets Fixed Income analyst responsible for over $4 billion worth of debt issuance. Ms. Ibrahim-Leathers earned the coveted Institutional Investor Award in 1997 for her seminal research on Brazilian banks.

Ms. Ibrahim-Leathers co-authored Toddlers ON Technologyin 2013, a parental guide to explaining the benefits and risks of toddlers and their use of touch screen technology.

Ms. Ibrahim-Leathers earned her Bachelors in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Contact Heather

Jennifer Wu

Jennifer Wu

Director

Jennifer joined the Global Fund for Widows in 2012 as a board member and is responsible for the Fund’s social media strategy. With over 20 years of work experience in financial services and strategic consulting, she has held numerous positions at global institutions across United States, Europe and Asia.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Sandy Debbas

Sandy Debbas

Sandy Debbas serves as Underwriting Counsel forTitleVest where she focusses primarily on New York Commercial transactions. She is also responsible for overseeing the 1031 Exchange division at TitleVest.

Sandy began her career working as an insurance defense attorney for New York City law firms where she litigated insurance coverage matters.

In September 2012, Sandy joined IAG Title Insurance Agency, a joint venture partly owned by TitleVest. At IAG she served as underwriting counsel and Director of Operations. During her time with IAG, Sandy worked on several high profile transactions such as the Dream Hotel and 425 Park Avenue. She later transitioned to Underwriting Counsel at TitleVest. TitleVest was acquired by First American shortly thereafter.

Sandy is currently a member of the New York State Bar Association and New Jersey Bar Association.  She also serves on the board of Global Fund for Widows, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women to overcome poverty by helping widows achieve financial stability.

Sandy holds a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University- Honor’s College and a juris doctor degree from Touro Law School.

Reem Masseih

Reem Masseih

Reem is a former corporate Human Resources consultant with over 14 years of experience in Change Management and Organizational Effectiveness and Design.

For the first eight years of her career she worked for global bank, ABN Amro as their North America Change and Communications Specialist and traveled across the globe supporting program implementations and HR operations in Mumbai and Amsterdam.  In 2009, Reem joined Health Care Services Corporation (HCSC), an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, as their Corporate Change Management and Communications Lead. In this role, she primarily worked to spearhead the company’s implementation of the mandates of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) as it related to the employee population.

Reem retired from her corporate career in 2014 to raise her three boys and began an virtual, social commerce business. Her business today has hundreds of independent consultants across the US, Canada and Australia.

In March 2018, Reem attended the 62nd annual UN Commission on the Status of Women where she witnessed first hand the atrocities that occur to women in the event of their widowhood across developing nations. She is committed to raising awareness for the empowerment of widows and female heads of households across the world.

Pierre Debbas

Pierre Debbas

Pierre E. Debbas is a partner and founding member of the Romer Debbas firm. Pierre has extensive experience in the areas of real estate and general business law.  His practice focuses on the purchase and sale of commercial and residential real estate in New York City, commercial leasing, real estate related financing matters, representation of cooperative and condominium boards, foreign investors and small businesses. Over the course of his career, Pierre has been involved in thousands of real estate transactions with an aggregate value of over a billion dollars.

Pierre is frequently quoted in a variety of national and regional media including the New York Times , the Wall Street Journal and is a frequent commentator on Bloomberg TV.  He is regularly a featured lecturer at several of the city’s largest real estate brokerage firms.  In addition, Pierre is certified by the New York Department of State to teach continuing education courses on the topics of residential and commercial real estate.

In 2014, at age 34, Pierre was named in Super Lawyers which lists the top 5% of all lawyers in their respective practice areas as nominated by their peers and he has continued to be selected for this honor every year since.  Prior to that, in 2013 Pierre was named in the Rising Stars section of Super Lawyers. Rising Stars lists the top 2.5% of lawyers under the age of 40 in their practice area. In addition, Pierre has been named in New York Magazine’s Leaders in the Law as one of the top attorneys in NYC.

Farhang Mehregani

Farhang Mehregani

Mr. Mehregani is a Founding Partner of Silver Ridge Asset Management, responsible for Risk, Marketing, Silver Mine development, Recruiting and Business Development.  Prior to Silver Ridge AM, Mr. Mehregani spent the majority of his career at Citi where he most recently ran the CEEMEA Equities business from 2008 until 2011. During this time, he took the business from seventh ranked to a market leading position.  Mr. Mehregani was head of Trading Risk & Capital Allocation for Citi’s Global Equities Division from 2004 until 2008, and oversaw Risk & Capital Allocation across the business. Whilst in this role, he invested & managed a $1 billion hedge fund portfolio and helped build out proprietary trading units in Europe & Asia. Mr. Mehregani holds a BS from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. 

Elena Yoon

Elena Yoon

Elena is the Head of Global Markets at Haitong International Securities’ in New York, overseeing the US institutional equities and equity capital market efforts for the firm. With over 20 years of experience in institutional equities, spanning the US and Asia, Elena is responsible for all sales activities for Haitong New York’s Institutional Equities, bringing together advisory and trading expertise. Her areas of interest extend to digital solutions, research and advisory services and marketing. Elena has passionately supported Global Fund for Widows for several years and made it official this year by joining as a board member. She is also on the board of Faith in Financial Services with the Grace & Mercy Foundation that works to integrate faith in the work place, and is an active member of Hope for New York, an organization that mobilizes volunteers and financial resources to support non-profit organization serving the poor and marginalized in NYC. 

Prior to joining Haitong, Elena served in equity sales roles at Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, ABN Amro and was a research analyst at JP Morgan Investment Management. Elena has an MBA in Finance from Stern School of Business, New York University and a BA in Economics and Political Science from Smith College.