Our Team


Clare Lockhart Title
Clare Lockhart

Clare Lockhart

Co-founder & Director

Clare Lockhart is the Director of the Institute for State Effectiveness (ISE), which works on pathways for economic development, peace and security within countries and across regions, including in post-disaster and peace-building contexts, with a focus on citizen priorities. She is also a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where she teaches classes on governance, citizenship, and post-crisis reconstruction. Clare is the co-author, along with Ashraf Ghani, of the book Fixing Failed States and is currently writing two follow up books. She regularly contributes to analysis and publications on issues of security, peacebuilding, and development. Clare served in Afghanistan as an adviser to the United Nations during the Bonn Process in 2001 and to the Afghan Government and then NATO between 2002 and 2012, supporting the establishment of governance institutions, countrywide development programs, including the National Solidarity Program, and regional cooperation programs. She was named by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Global Thinkers” of 2009 and 2010 and was nominated as a Young Global Leader in 2011 by the World Economic Forum. Clare serves on the boards of the Asia Foundation and the Alliance for Peacebuilding.

Pat Austria Ramsey Title
Pat Austria Ramsey

Pat Austria Ramsey

Director, Country Practice and Innovation

Pat Austria leads ISE’s Data and Digital Team. Pat has previously worked at the World Bank, Development Gateway, U.N. World Food Programme, and AidData. She holds a Bachelors’s in Business Administration from William & Mary and a Masters’s in Global Affairs from Yale University.

Edward Calvesbert Title
Edward Calvesbert

Edward Calvesbert

Expert - Public Finance and Economic Development

Edward Calvesbert has over 15 years of experience driving transformational initiatives in advisory and senior management roles in the private, public, and non-for-profit sectors. Edward has advised companies and governments in financial turnaround and recovery strategies and has held senior management roles in global technology companies, high-tech startups, and publicly traded financial institutions. He was the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce of the Government of Puerto Rico where he participated in various municipal finance issuances and public-private partnership transactions and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Invest Puerto Rico. Edward holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, an MS in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, and a BSE in the same field from the University of Pennsylvania.

Parker Essick Title
Parker Essick

Parker Essick

Public Finance and Analytics, Senior Officer

Parker is an analyst supporting the development of new ISE tools and diagnostics while contributing to ISE’s public financial management and data & digital advisory services. His analytical work has focused on fiscal policy evaluation, gender equity reporting in development assistance and trends in the use of domestic revenues to finance the Sustainable Development Goals. He served as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Rwanda and holds an M.S. in Global Human Development from Georgetown University.

Max Gwynn Title
Max Gwynn

Max Gwynn

Economics and Infrastructure Lead

Max advises on economic development strategy for ISE’s Country Programs division, particularly on the Afghanistan Support Program. He has previous experience as a senior foreign investment analyst and economic development adviser in the Australian government. Max holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons.) and Bachelor of Political Science from the Australian National University.

Saša Hezir Title
Saša Hezir

Saša Hezir

Insight and Analysis Deputy Director

Saša is the deputy director and head of research at ISE and leads programs on Successful Transitions and Transformations, peace-building studies, Asia Regional Connectivity (ARC), operational tools and methods, and coordinates the State of the State Initiative. She worked previously on international security issues at the Institute for the Study of War, the United Nations Peace Building Support Office, and at the UK Mission to the UN. She holds a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Kristopher Kaliher Title
Kristopher Kaliher

Kristopher Kaliher

Research and Communications Officer

Kris supports publications, research, and strategic communications work for both ISE’s think tank and Country Programs divisions. He has previous experience in Middle East conflict analysis and peacebuilding. Kris holds an M.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University and an undergraduate degree from Butler University.

Alex Kulis Title
Alex Kulis

Alex Kulis

Office Administrator

Alex is responsible for coordinating across all ISE programs, including Country Programs; Insight and Analysis; Educate, Engage, and Train; Data and Digital; and the Afghanistan Support Program. She has a background in administrative support and office management.

Mary Ellen Manfull Title
Mary Ellen Manfull

Mary Ellen Manfull

Administration Director

Mary Ellen has been with ISE for over 10 years, supporting the Co-Founder and Director. She oversees all day-to-day operational functions and oversees the organization’s administrative and financial procedures.

Lauren McCollough Title
Lauren McCollough

Lauren McCollough

Operations and Communications Director

Lauren McCollough is director of communications at ISE. She brings more than 15 years of communications experience, setting strategic agendas and shaping narratives for global organizations and national institutions. Prior to joining ISE, Lauren has advised multiple governments and worked at organizations including Al Jazeera, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference, the Crimes of War Project, and the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands. Lauren has been a reporter, producer, and videographer for various news outlets and a professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Amy McPherson Title
Amy McPherson

Amy McPherson

Financial Manager

Amy is the Founder and Managing Partner of Advisors for Change and acts as ISE’s Financial Manager. She loves working with folks on the front lines of nonprofits and to help build capacity in organizations so they can focus on their mission feeling empowered and supported by their financial information. Amy has almost 25 years of nonprofit finance experience and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Nelly Mecklenburg Title
Nelly Mecklenburg

Nelly Mecklenburg

Community and Social Development Program Manager

Nelly works across ISE’s country programs, leading its community-driven development portfolio and building out new country initiatives on development and social policy reform. She is also co-authoring ISE’s Re-examining the Terms of Aid paper. Nelly holds an M.A. in Global Affairs from Yale University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago.

Alex Park Title
Alex Park

Alex Park

External Advisor

Alex has 40 years’ experience working with more than 25 governments around the world to plan, implement and manage change programs. He provides support and advice to management and staff on governance, organizational development, toolkits and methods as well as directing several current field operations.

Tristan Pierce Title
Tristan Pierce

Tristan Pierce

Financial Advisor

Tristan is a Partner at Advisors for Change, where he supports ISE’s financial systems and accounting. Tristan approaches nonprofit leaders with the appreciation that the mission is demanding and effects positive change in ways that cannot be measured by a financial bottom line. With that in mind, he helps leaders focus on financial management as a core function to achieve and increase impact. Tristan holds an MA in Arts Management from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

Sabrina Schamroth Title
Sabrina Schamroth

Sabrina Schamroth

Research Assistant

Sabrina is a research assistant at ISE, with a focus on Afghanistan. She has previous experience doing research on fragile states in the Middle East and North Africa. Sabrina holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Arab Studies from Davidson College.

Alan Solow Title
Alan Solow

Alan Solow

External Advisor

Alan Solow is an experienced public affairs consultant, counselor, and civic leader, and is the founder of Grover Strategies, where he works closely with clients to understand their challenges before suggesting and implementing strategies. Solow has been involved in politics and campaign work for decades. He served as a National Co-Chair of the 2012 Obama- Biden campaign and was a charter member of the 2008 and 2012 Obama Finance Committees. He acted as an outside advisor to President Obama on Middle East issues, working with the senior West Wing staff and National Security team as well as many members of the House and Senate. Solow also served as the Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and has been the Board Chair or President of the Jewish Community Centers Association of North America, Jewish Community Relations Council of Chicago, Jewish Community Centers of Metropolitan Chicago, Jewish Council for Youth Services, and Interfaith Youth Core. Solow is a 1976 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, summa cum laude with highest distinction in Political Science, and graduated from Harvard Law School cum laude where he was President of the Harvard Law School Forum.

Marika Theros Title
Marika Theros

Marika Theros

Director and Senior Advisor, Afghanistan and Central Asia Program,

Marika is a Senior Fellow at ISE and leads the Institute’s leadership and engagement programming, as well as the State of the State initiative. Marika has designed a number of research and dialogue processes in Afghanistan, the Gulf, Lebanon, Europe, and the Balkans related to human rights, security, and justice.  Marika is a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics where she is also a policy fellow working on local peace agreements for their Conflict and Research Programme.

Anthony Volk Title
Anthony Volk

Anthony Volk

Research Assistant – Regional Connectivity and Infrastructure

Anthony is a research assistant for ISE, focused primarily on the organization’s Asian Regional Connectivity project. He holds an B.A. in government and East Asian studies from Harvard University, and has past experience in East Asian domestic politics and foreign relations.

Martina Zapf Title
Martina Zapf

Martina Zapf

Humanitarian, Development, Peace and Conflict Lead

Martina works across ISE’s country programs, leading its peace and justice portfolio and developing new initiatives. She previously worked with Interpeace on a range of peacebuilding programs and built an initiative focused on reforming how international development and humanitarian actors support peace in fragile contexts. She has also worked on sub-national governance and rural development programming with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in Afghanistan and Chad. Martina holds an M.A. in International Peace and Security from King’s College, a B.A. in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Konstanz and an MSc in Applied Psychology from the University of Liverpool.