Jana V. Pinto
Jana has a 20-year background that combines journalism, media, psychiatric research and working with multicultural traumatised populations due to war and other humanitarian emergencies across five continents. Her interest in utilising biomarkers of psychiatric disorders to measure treatment efficacy started early during her undergraduate studies, conducting a clinical trial at a HIV health center in East Boston to investigate the impact of therapy models in the immune system, followed by a RA position at the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical school upon graduation. Sequentially, Jana joined the humanitarian sector for the following ten years, while pursuing specialised clinical trauma certification programs at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in Boston, the Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma in Jerusalem, alongside numerous specialised trainings with leaders in the field of traumatic stress. Alongside her extensive experience working with war survivors in Africa, she has also designed and implemented trauma programs across Burma/ Myanmar for orphans of internal conflict, and provided strategical consulting for trauma-related projects in South America, Middle East and USA. Jana holds a Masters degree in Neuroscience from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), University of Queensland, and is currently a final year doctoral candidate at the Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, both in Australia where she currently resides.
Chief Operations Officer (COO)
Cyrana Gallay holds a Master of Science (MS) in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience from the University of Texas Dallas, and is currently a research assistant at the Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience - Thompson Institute in Australia. She graduated in 2012 from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in International Relations and French. Having worked extensively with refugee populations and ex-child soldiers through humanitarian relief organizations, and while living in the Buduburum Refugee Camp, in Ghana, she became interested in the neural processes that underlie traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Her research interests include neuroplasticity and cognitive reserve as a buffer for symptom onset, and how an accumulation of neural insults may render the brain more susceptible to cognitive decline, affective changes and other disorders, in the absence of overt neurological symptomology.
Uganda Country Director
Judith holds a bachelors degree in Business from Makerere University in Uganda, and extensive experience working in humanitarian emergency relief alongside the Government of Uganda during the current South Sudanese refugee crisis. Her experience includes processing biometric and information management, supervision, people management, capacity building and facilitation, reporting and documentation, counselling, community mobilisation, among others. At SYNC, Judith is responsible for overseeing the organization's legal status in Uganda, forming local partnerships in emergency response locations, supervise operations, field staff, and educational events.
Field Programs Manager, Liberia
Isaac is our project administrator in Liberia. He holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the Valley View University, Ghana, and is currently preparing to pursue his master’s degree in Business Administration with a focus in management. During his studies, Isaac was the Organising secretary of the Students Representative Council of the university in 2015, while also working with ‘Our seeds tomorrow’ an NGO based in Atlanta, USA. In 2016, Isaac worked for the University of Liberia in the ICT Department and made a positive impact to the University.
Community Health Worker, Liberia
Kaba actively contributes to the development and cultural adaptation of curriculums for SYNC while also facilitating our clinical projects. He identified the need to provide psychoeducation for nurses and doctors, and took the initiative to design and direct our hospital project in 2012-2013. Currently, he is a senior student at A.M.E. Zion University pursuing a bachelors degree in Social Science with a minor in Criminal Justice. Kaba's professional experience includes Street Child of Liberia where he identified vulnerable children, provided street counseling services, and wrote reports. He also worked as a project coordinator during the Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia, delivering safety supplies to Ebola affected homes, assisting with relocations, psychosocial support, and awareness workshops.
Board of Directors
Jana V. Pinto, President
Rachael Witton, Secretary
Rafael Morgado, Treasurer
Cyrana Gallay, Trustee
Senior Strategy & Policy Advisor
Aimé Saba has worked in the field of international development, humanitarian assistance, peacebuilding and peacekeeping for more than 15 years. He recently served as a civilian peacekeeper with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in Monrovia and French news producer, editor and broadcaster at the UN Radio Station (UNMIL Radio) and has served on the Iraq desk of the Department of Political Affairs at the UN Secretariat HQ in New York. Aimé holds a MA in Conflict Resolution (Bradford, UK) and a BA (Hons) in Political Science and International Relations from the Australian National University. He recently completed a course (taught by Professor Jeffrey Sachs) on Sustainable Development Goals through the UN System Staff College and is an accredited Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist. Aimé is currently part of the Australia Civilian Corps (ACC) Cadre with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, a deployable pool of experts in humanitarian emergencies, stabilisation and recovery programmes in post-disaster areas. Aimé brings to the team a good understanding of post-disaster contexts and a rich development planning, design, and implementation experience. He coordinates the International Strategy and Influence Team, advising on a range of issues directly relevant to the work of SYNC such as Application of Do No Harm Principles in all our projects, advising on stakeholder engagement and management, advising on aspects of sustainability and ethics of local ownership and advising on operational risks, to ensure SYNC's policies, programmes and business operations are effectively met, while keeping an eye to the future and advising on growth opportunities for the organization.
Ana Beatriz Penariol
Director of Communications
Ana Beatriz brings a strong background in business and finance to enhance communication strategies at SYNC. Her professional experience includes working for large banking institutions in South America, Itaú Private Bank and Banco Itaú, monitoring the development of investment strategies, timeframes, quality standards, as well as management of products, portfolios, and operational reports, among other responsibilities. Ana Beatriz holds a degree in Economy from São Paulo Catholic University (PUC/SP) and qualifications in Documentary Film Production from La Casa del Cine in Barcelona. Alongside strategising low-cost advocacy and awareness campaigns, she will be utilising her film skills to document the impact and importance of scientific research in the lives of trauma survivors around the world.
Clare Diane Harris
Clare is a medical doctor in her third postgraduate year with degrees in Health Sciences/Medicine and Surgery, and postgraduate mathematics specialization. She is currently taking time off from full-time clinical work, having been awarded a scholarship to study an MPhil in neuroscience at the Queensland Brain Institute, the University of Queensland. Clare brings to SYNC a passion for neuroscience and for evidence-based charity work.
Community Health Worker, Liberia
William is passionate about merging education and mental health. He provides clinical work and along with Kupe, he is a chair member at the Liberian Coalition of Mental Health Services, representing SYNC in the local government. During the Liberian Civil War, he worked on the ADRA-UNHCR and Red Cross frontline as a refugee school principal in both Ghana and Ivory Coast refugee camps. At SYNC, he introduced a literacy program to our former child soldier and combatant outreach project. His experience working with refugee children has guided much of our youth resiliency projects in early years and now research.
Community Health Worker, Liberia
Garmai is a senior bachelor’s degree candidate in sociology and business management from the University of Liberia. She has over ten years experience working with vulnerable populations through both non-profit and governmental organizations and holds a certificate in peace building & training. As a team leader for Street Child, Garmai provided psychosocial support for program beneficiaries, supervised social workers, and conducted client interviews. Garmai draws upon her skills in project coordination and development to provide ground support in Liberia, leading Sankofa Project groups. Garmai is an excellent group facilitator and has been elemental in adapting trauma rehabilitation curriculum for ‘SYNC’s clinical trials.
Dehson is driven young professional currently in technical school pursuing a career in IT and also working for Tecno Mobile. He joined our team in 2016 in preparation to launching the Sankofa project. His responsibilities at SYNC at include training and assisting the Liberian staff to use our Apps and digital platforms, troubleshooting, and assuring that all communication between teams runs smoothly during operations. We aim to sponsor Dehson through university, provide him leadership opportunities at SYNC and resources to inspire and equip him to create strategies that will continuously enhance our impact via technology.
2016-2017 Interns and Volunteers
Sophia has been working with SYNC since July 2016. She is currently collaborating on the Sankofa project to deliver SYNC's eResilience protocol to the first 500 beneficiaries, collect and analyse the data on the efficacy of this treatment. Sophia is a Bachelor of Commerce and Science Student at the University of Sydney, Account Manager at Stretch (a Sydney based start-up that provides safe car rides for kids) and President of The University of Sydney Effective Altruism Society. She is passionate about improving the world as much as she can. She is excited to have the opportunity to work on such a promising area with such inspiring people.
Chelsea Joined the SYNC team in 2017 as an intern. She is currently studying psychology and aims to pursue a career in international development with a specific focus on trauma and post-conflict psychology. She is currently assisting not the Sankofa project and brings to the team a passion for evidence-based practice, social justice, and humanitarian development.
Victoire joined the team in 2017 as an intern from Sydney University. Studying psychology and business she is bringing her passion for both disciplines to help fundraising for SYNC and increase awareness of our organisation. She also helps coordinating the Sankofa Project data collection/analysis and progress report.
Ollie joined the team in 2017 as a visiting project administrator. His experience in the charity digital sector will help in the implementation of the app being specifically made for the Sanfoka project. Ollie also has experience working with refugees and asylum seekers in Israel and has worked to bring Israeli and Palestinian youth together. He has a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies and has a passion for international development in Africa.