Carlos SANVEE (Togo) is Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs. He took up the role in January 2019.
He first joined World YMCA in January 1999 as Executive for Finance & Administration, a position he held until 2007. He then worked as General Secretary of the Africa Alliance of YMCAs from 2007 until 2018. From 2011 to 2018, he was also acting as a part-time Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the World YMCAs.
During the 19th YMCA World Council in Chiang Mai, Thailand in July 2018, Carlos became the first African to be elected Secretary General of World YMCA.
He holds a first degree in Physics and Chemistry from Université du Bénin in Togo, and a “Diplôme des Hautes études de pratiques sociales (DHEPS)” from Université Lyon Lumière II, France.
Gloria SHIMULI ANYIKA (Kenya) is Programme Manager at the World Alliance of YMCAs. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, she took up the role in January 2021.
She was previously a Resident Advisor at the Young African Leaders Initiative for East and Central Africa (2016-2019). Gloria is an Africa YMCA Subject to Citizen (S2C) Ambassador from the 2012 cohort, and was a YMCA Change Agent from the first cohort in 2012.
She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Conservation and Natural Resources Management from the University of Nairobi.
Duncan CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) is the Governance Manager at the World Alliance of YMCAs. Based in Minnesota, USA, he took up the role in August 2020.
He is a YMCA professional with extensive administrative experience, serving at local, national and regional levels. After graduating from Chittagong University majoring in Accounting, in 1985 he joined Chittagong YMCA as its General Secretary. In 1998 he was promoted as the National General Secretary of Bangladesh YMCA in Dhaka, after which from 2012 to 2020 he served in Hong Kong at the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs, as Executive Secretary for Programmes. He also has experience in implementing climate change projects.
Sandra COMBET (France) is an executive assistant at the World Alliance of YMCAs. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, she took up the role in September 2019.
She was previously a Business Operations Specialist and Events Manager at the World Economic Forum (2006-2017). She held several roles as Executive and Personal Assistant at Avent in London, UK (2001-2003); at Capital One in London, UK (2000); at IATA in Geneva (2005); and at the Diplomatic Mission of Taiwan in Geneva (1994-97).
Kathleen ELSIG (US, Switzerland) is Director of Global Partnerships at the World Alliance of YMCAs. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, she took up the role in January 2022.
She has 20 years of international experience raising funds and building shared value partnerships with global and local non-profits, businesses, UN agencies, philanthropic organisations, academic institutions, and communities. She has held senior leadership roles, including for the Global Apprenticeship Network, WWF, Switzerland's Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. She is also a senior associate with the Partnering Initiative, where she has supported international foundations and philanthropic organisations pivot to a partnering approach with grantees.
With experience working in Europe, Africa, Asia, Central Asia, and North America, she has a Masters Degree in European Political Affairs, diplomas in nonprofit management and fundraising, and has studied widely in corporate sustainability.
Claude-Alain DANTHE (Switzerland) is the Head of Digital Strategy at the World Alliance of YMCAs. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, he took up the role in May 1984.
He specializes in information technology, digital implementation, and also runs the World YMCA archives. He has taken part in five YMCA World Councils, and worked with seven different Secretaries General. He holds a degree in information science from the University of Geneva.
Mykyta KRUSHELNYTSKI (Ukraine) is Operations Manager at the World Alliance of YMCAs. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, he took up the role in February 2019.
Mykyta holds a degree in Linguistics from Kiev State University, and an MSc in International Finance from the Geneva Business School.
Alexandra MEISSL (France, UK & Switzerland) is an Accountant at the World Alliance of YMCAs. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, she took up the role in September 2014.
John PHILLIPS (UK) is Director of Communications at the World Alliance of YMCAs. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, he took up the role in September 2020.
He was previously strategic communications adviser at the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre in Geneva, having held the same role at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IFRC, in Geneva since 2017.
He was Director of Communications at the African Development Bank, AfDB, (2013-2017) and at the European Agency for Reconstruction in the Balkans (2001-2004), and has been in advisory roles for the Secretary General of the IFRC, two AfDB Presidents, two Commonwealth Secretaries General (2006-2011), a UK Secretary of State for International Development (2004-2005), and the EU’s first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (2011-2012).
Maria Cristina SALDARRIAGA (Peru) is Programme Manager at the World Alliance of YMCAs. Based in Lima, Peru, she took up the role in May 2019.
She was a Programme Assistant at the World Alliance from January 2015 until December 2018. She was the Coordinator of the Children’s area of YMCA Peru in 2014, and is a YMCA Change Agent from the 2012 Cohort.
She has a degree in Education.
Răzvan-Victor SASSU (Romania) is Policy and Advocacy Manager at the World Alliance of YMCAs. Based in Bucharest, Romania, he took up the role in February 2019.
He is also the CEO of the Bucharest branch of YMCA Romania (Young Initiative Association), as well as the Treasurer of YMCA Romania. He also serves as Vice-President of the VOLUM Federation in Romania, the largest federation in the country.
He specialised in organisational management and economics, with a Master’s Degree in the Knowledge-based Economy and Entrepreneurial Management.
Nathalie THOMAS (UK) is Programme Manager at the World Alliance of YMCAs for the ‘Global Youth Mobilisation for Generation Disrupted’ project. Based in London, UK, she took up the role in January 2021.
She was previously Senior Youth Livelihoods Coordinator at Y Care International, supporting YMCA partners to strengthen the design, delivery and impact of youth livelihoods (employment and enterprise) programmes. She led the global Community of Impact in Youth Employment launched by World YMCA in 2019.
Before joining Y Care International, Nathalie was Planning & Reporting Officer at the Humanitarian Leadership Academy in London. Prior to that she was based in the Caribbean for 6 years; firstly in Haiti with MERLIN before joining the Red Cross in Barbados, and latterly the United Nations Development Programme working across portfolios in poverty and governance, sustainable solutions, disaster prevention, recovery and resilience.
She has an MSc in International Public Policy from University College London.
Suzanne WATSON (UK) is Director of Finance and Administration at the World Alliance of YMCAs. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, she joined the organisation in February 2005.
She studied Business and Financial Management, and has an MBA as well as a Swiss Diploma in French Language and Civilisation. She first worked in International Equestrian Event Management, and then moved on to a career in Shipping Logistics and International Trade Finance. After an 8-year break from work to have children, she joined the YMCA in 2005 as Administrative Assistant, Finance & Administration.