Plan International’s Leadership Team

Debbie Simpson, Interim Chief Executive Officer

Debbie Simpson, Interim CEO

Debbie Simpson’s career has been marked by her passions for diversity, change and growth. Winner of Consulting Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2018 Women Leaders in Consulting, Debbie has been recognised for her role in Boston Consulting Group (BCG)’s continued excellence. She worked for this $10 billion business for 20 years including being a member of the BCG executive committee for 12 years, serving as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and as the Head of Global Functions before retiring in June 2021. Debbie was a critical leader in driving BCG’s continued growth and development as a leading management consultancy and its evolution into a digital leader in the marketplace. She has also been recognised for her prior contributions to PwC, where she was a Partner.

Debbie helped BCG grow tenfold over her career and deepen its global footprint, now with more than 20,000 partners and staff located in over 90 cities and more than 50 countries. She received the President’s Award at BCG in 2016 for her instrumental role in building the Digital Ventures Unit.

Debbie also brings experience on for-profit and not-for-profit Boards, where she has assumed leadership roles on audit and finance committees as well as supporting compensation, strategy and development efforts. She currently sits on the Board of Ceres (an American NGO in the climate space, working on policy and investor issues) and Cross Country Consulting (a small for-profit consulting company specialising in CFO consulting).

Debbie received her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Duke University and her master’s degree in business from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management.

Carmen Elena Alemán, Interim Regional Director Region of the Americas

Carmen Elena Alemán, Regional Director Region of the Americas

Carmen Elena leads the Regional Hub in the Region of the Americas. She began her career at Plan 17 years ago and has held many different positions. She started as a grants administrator, then became grants and communications manager, deputy country director and country director for Plan El Salvador. During her journey with Plan, Carmen Elena has taken on various acting roles in the region, such as Resource Mobilisation Manager in the Dominican Republic and Country Director in Nicaragua, demonstrating her versatility and commitment to the organisation’s goals in different contexts and challenges.For almost two years, she has held the position of Director of the Central America and Caribbean Subregion, where she has shown great leadership and  innovativeness. She has also supported and led the development of a number of high-impact initiatives for the region, including advancing shared services for Central America. She has also been part of various global initiatives linked with our funding model.

In addition to her distinguished career, Carmen Elena is the proud mother of two children, aged 3 and 11. She is committed to finding a balance between her personal and professional life and strives to be a role model both at home and in her professional environment.

Before joining Plan, she worked in El Salvador as a research and programme specialist for the Social Investment Fund for Local Development. Carmen Elena Alemán holds a degree in Economics from the Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas” in El Salvador and a Masters in International Development Cooperation from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.

Alasan Senghore, Regional Director West and Central Africa

Alasan leads the Regional Hub in the West and Central Africa Region.

Alasan is former Secretary General of the Gambia Red Cross Society. Prior to this position, he served as Permanent Observer and Head of Delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to the United Nations in New York.

He also served as Regional Director of Africa for the IFRC, based in Nairobi, from October 2009 to April 2016. He managed the IFRC’s humanitarian activities covering 49 Sub-Saharan African countries. His experience included the management and coordination of international Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies’ support to African National Societies in their preparedness and response including the food insecurity operations in the Sahel, the horn of Africa and Southern Africa.

He has a track record of successfully managing Red Cross interventions in health emergencies and epidemics and humanitarian responses in support of displaced persons.  In addition to his vast experience and knowledge in managing and leading complex emergencies, Alasan is well versed in leadership development and civil society capacity development,  supporting Country Offices  and local partners in advancing localisation.

Born in The Gambia, Alasan speaks English and French. He holds a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) in Leadership and Sustainability in Business from the University of Cumbria, UK. 

Bhagyashri Dengle, Regional Director Asia-Pacific

Bhagyashri Dengle, Regional Director Asia-Pacific

Bhagyashri leads the Regional Hub in the Asia Pacific Region. Within the Asia-Pacific Region, she has created a culture of working toward a common purpose and delivering better together. This has included creating an expanded Regional Leadership Team that includes National Directors. 

Bhagyashri has also driven forward transformation within the region, redefining its value proposition and strategy. 

The Regional Hub, with Bhagyashri’s leadership, has stepped into a new role providing thought leadership across Asia-Pacific – launching the Girls Leadership Index was a key first step – and Country Offices have come together to focus on ending Child Early and Forced Marriage by 2030. 

Bhagyashri loves Plan International. She has been associated with Plan International for more than 30 years. Plan International has shaped her as a professional and a person. She is deeply proud of its people and global impact for girls. Before taking up her current role, Bhagyashri was the Executive Director of Plan India, a position she held since 2004. She significantly grew Plan India’s reach, scale and impact for girls. Prior to joining Plan India, she steered a National level advocacy initiative which included more than 500 organisations and an action network of young people from across India to influence the national health policy to successfully include youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health and rights services.

Bhagyashri started her career as a social worker for the Community Aid and Sponsorship Programme (CASP), working in some on the most under-privileged communities in Delhi’s largest slums. While at CASP Bhagyashri created India’s first ever Child Parliament and helped implement large scale programmes on child safeguarding, sexual and reproductive health and rights and women’s entrepreneurship development. She became joint Executive Director of CASP before joining Plan International.  

Roger Yates, Regional Director Middle East, Eastern and Southern Africa

Roger Yates, Regional Director Middle East, Eastern and Southern Africa

Roger leads the Regional Hub in the Middle East, Eastern and Southern Africa Region. Within the Middle East, Eastern and Southern Africa, which Roger has led since 2018, he has created an innovative and highly robust quarterly reflection process that has shifted a static “look at the numbers” approach to be deep and rounded discussion of countries’ and the region’s performance. Roger has also driven a work culture across the region of joining up programme expertise with influencing whilst building and maintaining strong connections across countries. 

This includes supporting the development of one of the region’s 2 centres of excellence – the Plan International Centre of Excellence in Refugee Programmes and Durable Solutions. He also managed the incorporation of the Middle East into the region he leads, something that has brought the organisation new learnings and experiences in shared services, working without sponsorship funding and working in more diverse contexts. 

Roger joined Plan International over 10 years ago because he wanted to be part of an organisation that was changing itself for the better and he stayed because Plan International has created a clear focus and values-based approach driven by a core purpose of his own life and work – advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. He started in Plan International as a one-person team tasked to develop our work on Disaster Risk Management, now a core part of the organisation. 

Prior to Plan International he worked for local and international NGO’s, the UN and governments of developed and developing countries mostly across East and Southern Africa. Roger is a qualified engineer and started his career as a volunteer with a local NGO in Botswana in the 1980s working on a project providing solar desalinisation of water for remote communities in the Kalahari.

Kaumudi Bohms, Chief Information Officer

Kaumudi Bohms, Chief Information Officer.

As Chief Information Officer, Kaumudi, known as Ko, oversees strategy and implementation for a global IT portfolio, ranging from cyber security, application management to data systems and business insights. Transforming the quality and availability of information and evidence about our work’s impact are fundamental to achieving our strategic vision for girls.

Ko has over 20 years’ experience in the retail, financial services and ecommerce industries, including leading sizable IT delivery organisations and digital transformation programmes across Europe and Africa.  

Ko is driven by delivering value and ensuring that IT is an enabler and partner in achieving business strategy and objectives.  Amongst other achievements, she played an instrumental role in leading and managing a South African based IT organisation that developed and maintained one of the of the leading UK investment platforms; and also in leading the digital transformation programme for one of the largest financial services providers in South Africa with an offshore partner to deliver significant business savings.  

She is a passionate leader who believes that our greatest assets are our people and as a leader feels strongly about motivating people to realise their full potential both for their own benefit and that of the organisation.    

Maria Comerford, Director Governance and Executive 

Maria Comerford, Director Governance and Executive.

As Director Governance and Executive, Maria plays a leadership role in strengthening accountability and cohesion within our organisation as it seeks to deliver on its purpose to advance children’s rights and equality for girls. 

Maria leads 3 core teams that deliver risk management, governance, secretariat, executive and member support services to Plan International’s global leaders by ensuring effective alignment of resources, systems and people to develop a client-oriented culture that works to support and enhance our collective ability to deliver impact. 

Since joining Plan International 12 years ago, Maria has embedded enterprise-wide risk management across the organisation advancing an open and accountable culture. She has also helped strengthen global crisis management for Plan International and worked closely as a strategic adviser to the global leadership team across all business units and countries where we work. 

Maria has over 20 years’ experience in international development and the not-for-profit sector. Before this she worked in health and with women’s civil society organisations and also ran a successful women’s carpentry and furniture making business. Maria is strongly committed to values-based leadership and is excited to work for and be part of a feminist organisation.

Sagar Dave,  Director Global Assurance 

Sagar Dave

As Director of Global Assurance, Sagar leads Plan International’s internal audit and counter-fraud services. Sagar’s team provide independent and objective assurance to Plan’s International Board and senior management that the key risks faced by the organisation are identified and appropriately managed.  

Since joining in 2018, Sagar has looked to strengthen the Plan International’s approach to assurance through the development and implementation of a holistic and integrated framework that brings together the different sources of assurance within the organisation. 

Sagar is motivated to help Plan International further its mission to advance the rights children and girls by improving Global Assurance services to better support country offices and those who deliver positive impact to the lives of children and girls. 

With nearly 30 years’ experience in audit and assurance, Sagar has spent 25 of these in the charity sector with organisations that include the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Wellcome Trust and OXFAM. 

Lawrence Ncube, Chief People Officer 

Lawrence Ncube, Chief People Officer.

As Chief People Officer, Lawrence is dedicated to creating and enhancing both: a high-performing, values-driven, and inclusive organisation; and safe, equitable and inclusive working environment in which employees enjoy a fulfilling career, one in which they know that they are contributing to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls around the world.

To achieve this, Lawrence will drive a compelling Employee Value Proposition built on an integrated, purpose-designed suite of services and capabilities, including Talent Acquisition & Retention, Learning & Development, Performance Management & Accountability, Staff Care & Wellbeing, and Total Rewards.

In his role, Lawrence is motivated by the incredible privilege and opportunity to continue helping transform the lives of millions of vulnerable children, especially girls, in the places where Plan International works. He is excited to build on the foundations already established in P&C to develop a responsive, organisation-wide P&C community that enables the next phase of Plan International’s journey as an organisation.  Lawrence is honoured to serve in this role and recognises the enormous responsibility the work of P&C carries.

Lawrence’s career spans the for-profit and the INGO sectors and includes successful stints in Standard Bank, World Vision International, and Concern Worldwide. A consummate Human Resources professional with strong experience in effectively managing regional and global functions, Lawrence has led specialised global functions such as Total Rewards, Employee Engagement, and Human Resources Information Systems, with operating experience in managing the general Human Resources function as well. He holds an Honours degree in Sociology from the University of Zimbabwe and a Master of Business Leadership degree from the University of South Africa.

Damien Queally, Global Director, Programmes and Operations  

Damien Queally, Global Director, Programmes and Operations.

As Global Director, Programmes and Operations, Damien strives to make Plan International the world’s go-to organisation for girls’ rights through high quality programme delivery. His focus is to build on the organisation’s experience to-date and ensure the organisation at all levels has the insights and information needed to allow for timely and relevant interventions to advance our mission. 

In his role, Damien is eager is further promote and implement a more gendered approach to Disaster Risk Management, while simultaneously strengthening Plan International’s dual mandate in both development and humanitarian work – enhancing our vision of being the go-to agency for girls in crisis.  

He looks forward to collaborating with different parts of the organisation to remove barriers that negatively impact or constrain our work and address any challenges which impede successful, quality project and programme delivery. Damien will ensure that Plan International meets the expectations of our programme participants, donors and partners to deliver efficient and effective interventions to advance child rights and equality for girls.   

Damien has a wealth of experience at global, regional and country office level. He has been working in the sector since 2001, starting as a volunteer with local agencies in India and Uganda, and then moving to an Irish aid agency for five years, working primarily in the DRC and Darfur. Damien has been with Plan International for 12 years working at director level, firstly with Plan International Ireland, then in West & Central Africa, followed by the Global Hub, with a few stints in between seconded to country offices. 

Maike Röttger, Global Director, Membership Services

Face, Head, Person

As Global Director of Membership Services, Maike is driving forward our global strategic priority of being globally connected and locally led in the over 80 countries that form our federation. Working with our National Organisations, Country Offices and Regional Hubs, her department supports governance and implementation approaches that promote decolonisation. That includes aligning with the Pledge for Change commitments to shift more power, decision-making and money to the places worst affected by crisis and poverty.

Maike focusses with her team on membership development and growth and is responsible for stronger coordination and alignment of members to leverage strength and increase efficiencies. With this she is helping ensure our global presence and reach enable us to deliver our global strategy, All Girls Standing Strong. She drives strong engagement and close collaboration between colleagues throughout our organisation to achieve our strategic goals.

Maike has extensive experience in international development cooperation and humanitarian aid, with a particular focus on children’s, girl’s and women’s rights. She previously served for 10 years as CEO of Plan International Germany and has also been chair and co-chair of our National Directors Team. She was seconded as Interim COO to our Global Hub.

For six years she has served on the board of Germany’s national NGO umbrella organisation, VENRO. Before taking her current role, she was managing director of the refugee sea rescue organization SOS Humanity in Berlin. Maike began her professional career as a journalist at the Hamburger Abendblatt.

Kathleen Sherwin, Chief Strategy and Engagement Officer

Kathleen Sherwin, Chief Strategy and Engagement Officer

As Plan International’s inaugural Chief Strategy and Engagement Officer, Kathleen leads our effort to let the world know who we are, to engage and connect people and partners to generate strategic and collaborative partnerships supporting the delivery of our global strategy to 2027, All Girls Standing Strong. 

Kathleen’s priority is to influence and increase Plan International’s impact, profile and sustainability through our brand, external communications, marketing and influencing. And in achieving this work, bringing together, and aligning digital and innovation, strategy, communications, brand, partnerships and resource development, monitoring, evaluation, research and learning, and our UN, EU, AU advocacy offices. 

Kathleen’s priorities also include leading hosted initiatives and strategic projects such as the Global Girls Foundation, global fundraising and social finance and continuing to support key initiatives such as EM2030 and the Adolescent Girls Investment Plan (AGIP). 

Kathleen brings a deep commitment to feminist leadership principles to her role. She ensures that the successful delivery of our global strategy includes the sharing of power, honouring the partners we work with globally and locally, and co-creation with children and girls at every step. 

Kathleen has over 20 years of experience in advocacy. She served as Women Deliver’s interim President & Chief Executive Officer for two years and previously served as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Advisor, joining the organisation in 2017.
Before joining Women Deliver, Kathleen worked independently with global advocacy, non-profit, and political organisations and held senior management roles at organisations such as Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  Kathleen began her career in US politics. 

Celine Thibaut, Chief Financial Officer

Celine Thibaut, Chief Financial Officer

As Plan International’s Chief Financial Officer, Celine is committed to ensuring Plan maximises its impact for the children we serve through protecting and leveraging the organisation’s financial resources.

Her priority is to drive operational excellence in our finance function and to embed data-driven strategic decision-making to meet the imperatives of Plan International’s strategy. To that effect, Celine looks forward to working with many different parts of our global organisation, with a focus on building mutual understanding and strengthening collaboration.

Previously, Celine was Plan International’s Director of Strategic Finance, leading the development of our strategic finance function. She was responsible for enhancing our organisational capability in financial planning and analysis, project, grants and sponsorship finance and financial business partnering.

Celine brings over 20 years’ experience in corporate finance, both in the private and non-profit sectors, and significant expertise in the international development and humanitarian sector in particular. Before Joining us in September 2021, Celine held the position of Regional Finance Director for the British Council, based in Singapore, where she was responsible for all aspects of strategic and operational finance across East Asia and for delivery of the finance strategy and sustainable regional growth.  From 2012 to 2015 Celine was with Save the Children as the Finance Manager for East and South Asia.  Her experience working regionally in diverse locations will be invaluable as we focus on strengthening our financial functions globally.   

Learn about Plan International’s global strategy