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.

Alan Solow Title
Alan Solow

Alan Solow

Senior Strategy 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.

Aleks Sladojevic Title
Aleks Sladojevic

Aleks Sladojevic

Program Officer

Aleks is an Australian-qualified lawyer with experience in international arbitration, refugee law, and peace programming. She provides research and program support to ISE’s country programs. Aleks holds a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws from the Australian National University.

Alex Park Title
Alex Park

Alex Park

Director of Operations

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.

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.

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.

Brendan Kilpatrick Title
Brendan Kilpatrick

Brendan Kilpatrick

Expert – Public Policy and Finance

Brendan works as a policy advisor for ISE`s efforts on public financial management and institutional reform. He has a particular focus on promoting effective policy measures from formulation right through grassroots implementation. Brendan has previous experience in working with African governments on developing private sector initiatives to drive inclusive economic growth, and has worked in the financial sector in Europe, North America, and Africa. Brendan holds a BComm and MSc Finance from University College Dublin, and a master’s in public policy from the University of Oxford`s Blavatnik School of Government.

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.

Ghulam Rasoul Rasouli Title
Ghulam Rasoul Rasouli

Ghulam Rasoul Rasouli

Expert - Social and Participatory Development

Ghulam Rasoul Rasouli has more than 24 years of experience working in development, with over 11 years working in the senior management and leading the National Solidarity Program (NSP) and the Citizens’ Charter, Afghanistan’s flagship community-driven development (CDD) program focused on building self-reliance of rural communities.

Gracia Angulo Duncan Title
Gracia Angulo Duncan

Gracia Angulo Duncan

Program Officer

Gracia works on ISE’s country programs and educate, engage, and train initiatives. She has regional experience in Latin America and the Caribbean and focuses on issues of state and institutional capacity building, public policy, and governance. Gracia holds an M.A. in Global Affairs from Yale University’s Jackson Institute and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University.

Jessica Mackenzie Title
Jessica Mackenzie

Jessica Mackenzie

Country Programs Director

Jessica manages ISE’s Country Programs and Practice division. She has 17 years’ experience working in international development, specializing in governance, post-conflict reconstruction program delivery, and reform planning, with expertise in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. She has published on evaluation methods, global mental health funding, and evidence-based policy making.  Prior to joining ISE, Jessica worked as a Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute and for the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

Kelsey Times Title
Kelsey Times

Kelsey Times

Program and Operations Assistant

Kelsey provides program and administrative support to ISE’s Director of Administration and Deputy Director. She manages logistics for workshops and events and is responsible for coordinating the on-boarding for new team members. Kelsey holds an undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and an MA from Johns Hopkins University.

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.

Lauren McCollough Title
Lauren McCollough

Lauren McCollough

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.

Marika Theros Title
Marika Theros

Marika Theros

Senior Fellow and Director of Leadership & Engagement

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.

Mary Ellen Manfull Title
Mary Ellen Manfull

Mary Ellen Manfull

Director of Administration

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.

Max Gwynn Title
Max Gwynn

Max Gwynn

Economic and Strategic Infrastructure Specialist

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.

Nelly Mecklenburg Title
Nelly Mecklenburg

Nelly Mecklenburg

Program Officer

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.

Pat Austria Ramsey Title
Pat Austria Ramsey

Pat Austria Ramsey

Program Officer – Data & Digital

Pat Austria is a Program Officer at ISE, leading the Data and Digital Team. Pat has previously worked at the World Bank, Development Gateway, UN World Food Programme, and AidData. She holds a Bachelors in Business Administration from William & Mary and a Masters in Global Affairs from Yale University.

Robin Nichols  Title
Robin Nichols

Robin Nichols

Programs Manager, Corporate Operations

Robin is responsible for providing program design, management, and implementation support for ISE Country Programs. She has a background in large-scale change management and institutional transformation as a management consultant with the U.S. federal government, as well as experience with local community development in Managua, Nicaragua. Robin holds a Master’s of Public Policy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science from the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering.

Saša Hezir Title
Saša Hezir

Saša Hezir

Deputy Director

Saša is the Deputy Director 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.

Sofia Carrondo Title
Sofia Carrondo

Sofia Carrondo

Expert – Governance and Justice

Sofia Carrondo has a legal background and master’s degree in international private law and international relations. She works in the fields of governance, political transition, reintegration, protection of civilians and access to justice. She has substantive experience in recovery, the transition between humanitarian response and development, and policy and program development and management. Her experience also includes the re-establishment of local governance and stabilization, including linkages between civilian and military actions. Sofia has worked in a variety locations, including East Africa, South Asia, the Caucasus, and the Balkans, and is fluent in English, French, Spanish and proficient in German.

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.

Yohan Iddawela Title
Yohan Iddawela

Yohan Iddawela

Development Economist

Yohan Iddawela is a development economist. His PhD is in Economic Geography from the London School of Economics, where his research is focused on modelling sub-national government quality in African regions. He has previously consulted/worked for the World Bank, the OECD, and the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He is also passionate about social entrepreneurship and has founded three social enterprises.