Delegates to the 61st Commission on the Status of Women

Read bios of the 22 women from around the world working with United Methodist Women at this annual United Nations Event

Delegates to the 61st Commission on the Status of Women

Shannon Priddy: United States of America

Shannon Priddy is the Individual Giving and Annual Fund Manager at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. She graduated from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. She is originally from northern Illinois. After college she became a flight attendant for Delta Airlines in Boston. She retired in 2005 and started graduate school at Harvard University while working in retail management. Shannon left Boston in 2008 to transition into the Peace Corps, where she served in Armenia from 2009–2011. She worked for a nongovernmental organization that specialized in women's resources, setting up organizational structures and building capacity for them to grow. Upon her return to the United States, she moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the position of Development Coordinator for the Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation, of which she is a member. She has worked for Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. since 2014.

Shannon is a woman of God. She grew up in The United Methodist Church. Her mother has always been active in United Methodist Women. As a child she was taught to work for what is right and just in the world. It was at her mother's invitation that she became involved in United Methodist Women through the transformative education now called Mission u. The opportunities she has been afforded through United Methodist Women opened her eyes to injustice, but also opened her heart to faith, hope and love in action.

Saydia Gulrukh Kamal: Bangladesh

Saydia Gulrukh Kamal is a writer and anthropologist, who has been a women's and worker's rights activist for nearly two decades. Along with her friends and comrades, she is currently organizing to bring those responsible for the industrial killing caused by the Tazreen fire (2012) and the collapse of the Rana Plaza building (2013), both in the outskirts of Bangladesh, to justice.

Saydia's other recent activist engagement is to document the plight of Bangladeshi women migrant workers in the Middle East. She advocates against gender discrimination and sexual harassment in garment factories and mobilizes support for a sector-wide enactment of sexual harassment policy in Bangladesh. She also regularly contributes to a feminist blog named thotkata. She has recently completed her doctoral degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sophorn Yang: Cambodia

A leading Cambodian labor leader, Sophorn Yang is a powerful voice for the 10 thousand members of the Cambodia Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU) and for low-wage Cambodian workers overall. After entering a factory as a worker at a young age, she rose to become President of CATU at the age of thirty. At CATU, she played a leading role in national protests that resulted in the doubling of the minimum wage from 2012 to 2015. She continues to play a leading role in national campaigns to win a fair wage and to protect workers' fundamental rights in the face of a newly restrictive trade union law.

Along with five other national labor leaders, Sophorn continues to face frivolous criminal charges resulting from a complaint filed by factory owners in January 2014. The employers filed these charges days after Cambodian security forces violently put down a major strike, killing five garment workers, injuring 40, and imprisoning 23. Human Rights Watch has called for these "trumped-up," "politically motivated" charges to be dropped, and has noted with regard to this case that the courts serve the interests of the ruling party. Sophorn has continued her work despite a court supervision order severely curtailing her right to free speech and free association and despite repeated incidents of police violence. Sophorn has spoken in Asia, Europe and the United States regarding the struggle of women workers in Cambodia.

Flory Loise Atieno: Kenya

Flory Loise Atieno, is a mother, a widow and a grandmother, the firstborn among 10 siblings, nine from her stepmothers and a sister from her mother. When she was six, Flory's mother left with her baby sister due to differences with her father. Life became so unbearable that at one point Flory had scabies all over her body and was separated from other kids due to its communicable nature. During her bath time, medicine was mixed in water and a long scrubbing brush used to open up the infected areas for the medicine to reach the sores.

In school she was an average performer, but she was a mobilizer throughout high school. Later in life, she fortunately got a scholarship and did a diploma course in Community Development.

Despite a lifetime of often falling short of her own true potential, she has always held on to a quote by Kathryn Kulman, "Doing small things with a lot of love." Flory is blessed to experience joy in her work with women, children and youth from disadvantaged families living in the poor urban settlements of Nairobi. She empowers households economically through income generation and food security. She facilitated the innovative revolving fund Kubatu as an effective tool in reducing a lack of funds and a sense of hopelessness among deprived families.

Alzira Sebastiano Isaac Machauene: Mozambique

Alzira Machauene works with women who are undermined by the culture and customs of their society, with no rights in decision-making processes on issues that affect their lives. Alzira works to bring awareness about the equal rights of men and women, teaching that God created men and women in His image without discrimination. She empowers impoverished women, working toward sustainable development to improve their lives and through projects such as sewing, cooking and adult literacy.

As of the year 2013, she works with women as the Executive Secretary for The United Methodist Church Annual Conference. In addition to that, she works as a teacher at the Gondola Theological Center of the UMC.

Alzira was born in Inhambane Province of Mozambique. She is a graduate of Ricatla United College with training in theology. She also holds a master's degree in religious studies from Africa University.

Asheen Pervaiz: Pakistan

Asheen Pervaiz works to empower women against discrimination and educate and promote the individual woman's self-worth and the overall well-being of all women. She has helped to facilitate projects with the underprivileged in impoverished neighborhoods in various cities of Pakistan through raising awareness about domestic, physical and psychological abuse; sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive health; as well as job training and job opportunities. Her project, which started with 100 women and quickly grew to 3,000, helps to create a sense of self-worth among women through economic empowerment, by supplementing family income through education.

Asheen holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Kinnaird College for Women. It is through her volunteer experiences at a young age that she became involved and passionate about working for social change.

Aiko Eugenio: Philippines

Aiko Eugenio's motto is "Sometimes the road may seem rocky and bumpy, but I could still proudly say that everything pays off, for in the end you will see and realize that every experience is an important piece in your holistic development."

She is employed by Grace Christian College, where she serves as a substitute teacher and works with administrators, teachers, students and parents in fulfilling the vision of the school. She is passionate about people. She wants to help thosewho struggle in different areas of life and she hopes this will be her ministry for the remainder of her life.

Aiko is currently a graduate student at Miriam College, pursuing a master's degree in family studies with a major in gerontology. She wants to understand the proper behavior and dynamics of the family so she can be more effective in helping the individual in society. She has observed people with imbalanced personalities because their families were unable to offer care and love properly, thus affecting their behaviors within society.

Secondly, she wants to help the elderly, because in the Philippines there are few programs for this population. Many are abandoned by their families, living on the streets or are alone. Aiko, is looking forward to becoming an ambassador someday, not only for the Philippines but to the world.

Zhanna Kim: Russia

Zhanna was born in the Soviet country of Uzbekistan. Zhanna's family had four children, three boys and one girl. They lived in the city Nukus, but Zhanna's father spent most of his time in the fields trying to save the Aral Sea. Her parents wanted their children to study in a Moscow institute, so in 1986, Zhanna graduated from the Moscow Institute of Railway Engineers as an accountant.

Zhanna's family moved from Uzbekistan to Moscow in 2003. Zhanna was baptized in Amu Darya (the Uzbek River) before leaving for Moscow. It was so difficult to gather in small church groups in Uzbekistan because of the State's legal restrictions. When the family moved to Moscow, Zhanna started to look for a home church.

As of 2004, Zhanna has been working as Chief Accountant in the bishop's office of The United Methodist Church in Moscow. She had the privilege to work with the previous two bishops, Rudiger Minor and Hans Vaxby. As of July 2009, Zhanna became the Area Finance Representative of the General Board of Global Ministries in addition to her position as accountant. Zhanna has also served as the coordinator of United Methodist Women in the Central Russia Conference. She helped to facilitate conferences, camps, meetings and trainings.

This year Zhanna is finishing a book about her father, his struggles, wishes and dreams. Last year Zhanna did trainings at two youth events, and this year will attend the Eurasia Women's Conference, with Vision & Mission & Goals for Christian leaders, where each participant is invited to determine who they are in Christ and how they can serve and set SMART goals to reach their vision. Zhanna's dream is to develop a youth movement in the Eurasia area. Zhanna is currently involved in youth ministry in Moscow and leads a small group via Skype.

Regina Chefu: Zimbabwe

Regina Chefu is a change driver who is hardworking, strong-willed, diligent and passionate about the empowerment of women and the girl child, as well as people development. She provides training and development.

Regina co-founded a club that provides education and development for 300 women, training them in customer service and job training. This work, along with other initiatives, helps in the socio-economic empowerment of women and the girl child in Harare.

She enjoys the challenge of working within a busy and demanding environment. She is self-motivated with a very high level of commitment in any task she undertakes and relishes the opportunity of learning new skills and methods of working.

Regina possesses brilliant leadership qualities; she is capable of working as a team player and equally confident working alone under her own initiative. She performs well under pressure and is quick to learn new skills. She possesses an excellent level of spoken and written English and also basic Portuguese.

Mari Ikeda: Japan

Mari Ikeda was born in Kanagawa, Japan. Here interest in Christianity was sparked due to several experiences during her high school days. Her close friend committed suicide and she was introduced to the writings of author Ayako Miura. As she approached graduation day, she was introduced to The United Methodist Church through a friend, and one year later she decided to become a follower of Jesus Christ.

She completed her bachelor's degree in Canada, and after graduation, she returned to Japan to work for a nongovernmental organization (NGO) in the field of international development. After two years of work with this organization, including one year working in Vietnam, she felt the call to full-time ministry to share God's love.

Mari studied at Tokyo Union Theological Seminary and graduated in March 2014. She is now employed as an assistant pastor of a United Methodist Church while working as a part-time counselor at a welfare shelter run by a secular organization.

Clara Ester: United States

Clara J. Ester, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, is a graduate of LeMoyne-Owen College. She moved to Mobile, Alabama, in 1970 for a job at Dumas Wesley Community Center, where she worked as a Neighborhood Organizer, Program Director, and Associate Director before retiring from her role as Executive Director on December 31, 2006.

Clara is a member of Toulminville-Warren Street United Methodist Church, where she has served in numerous capacities. She currently serves as the Mobile district lay leader and on the conference episcopacy committee, the board of laity, the core team and the nominating committee. Clara is vice president of the national board of directors of United Methodist Women.

She was commissioned as a deaconess in 1986. Clara has one son, Reginald Ester.

Gloria Tan: United States, Originally from Singapore

Gloria Tan is Executive Director of Gum Moon Women's Residence and the Asian Women's Resource Center (AWRC), a nonprofit organization in mission with United Methodist Women national office. Originally from Singapore, Gloria came to the United States for her college education. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a business administration degree. Since 1986, Gloria has managed a vital communitybased organization providing affordable housing for low-income survivors of domestic violence and comprehensive family support services to immigrant families with children 12 and under. Gloria has been instrumental in the establishment of two satellite centers for Gum Moon and the AWRC in two different San Francisco neighborhoods; the Asian Family Support Project in Richmond and Sunset. Gum Moon provides services to over 2,500 individuals annually. The agency employs a staff of more than 25 with an annual budget of approximately $1.3 million.

Gloria has served on the advisory boards for several nonprofits and is a member of the San Francisco Chinatown Lions Club. She is a member of several community coalitions, including the API Budget Coalition and the API Health Parity Coalition. Gloria has been honored with the Anthem Blue Cross Community Champion and Unsung Heroes Award. She has also received an award from the Chinese Consolidated Women's Association.

Amelia Gibbon: United States

Amelia Gibbon is the former Executive Director of the Friendly Center, Inc., located in Toledo, Ohio. The Friendly Center is a National Mission Institution of United Methodist Women. Ms. Gibbon has served in leadership roles for various local and global nonprofits including the United Way and Girl Scouts of the USA. Innovative Programming in underserved communities is her trademark in the nonprofit industry. Gibbon has spent a considerable amount of her time developing young leaders and working tirelessly to cultivate collaborative relationships among grassroots organizations in her community.

As one who believes that everyone comes from a home that is located in a neighborhood that is located in a community, the needs of "community" are the driving force of Gibbon's work in her community. She believes that a leader is another word for a servant … which is why, through her leadership, she has served her community from varying vantage points and with differing levels of complexity.

Gibbon has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toledo. She serves on several local nonprofit and governmental boards in the City of Toledo. As a member of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Sigma Gamma Rho, Inc., and a TEDX presenter, Gibbon drives local issues upward for national attention and resolution.

"After 20-plus years in the nonprofit world, I have reached the conclusion that change must occur from the grass top and grass roots simultaneously in order to be effective. I believe that impact from the bottom up reaches individuals and families in the most meaningful way. As a leader, I am purposed to be a catalyst for change in my community.

Daryl Junes-Joe: United States

Daryl Junes Joe is a director on the national board of United Methodist Women. Mrs. Joe is a Native American woman from the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, New Mexico. She is married with two daughters, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She retired from her role as a prosecutor with the Navajo Nation government, where she worked with law enforcement, social services programs and federal law enforcement in her 40-year employment.

Daryl worked extensively on domestic violence and child abuse and neglect cases. She is a member of the Shiprock United Methodist Church where she previously chaired the church council, and was a choir member and served as the Language Coordinator in her New Mexico Conference. She is a board member of the United Methodist Mission Institution called New Beginnings, a domestic violence shelter providing transitional services for families. She also served on the Four Corners Native American Ministry Board.

Daryl volunteers as a victim advocate for sexual assault victims. She also serves as the chairperson on the Governance Committee of the United Methodist Women national board of directors and a UMW representative on the General Council on the Status and Role of Women and Acts of Repentance Committee. Daryl shares her excitement and energy in serving the Lord and engaging youth to become leaders and BE BOLD.

Cynthia Rives: United States

Cynthia Rives serves on the national board of directors of United Methodist Women. Born in Tucumcari, New Mexico, Cynthia lived in the state for thirty years before moving to Arizona and then on to Texas where she has lived for the last 34 years. Cynthia is married with a son and a daughter and three grandchildren. A certified teacher in the state of Texas, Cynthia has devoted her time to working with United Methodist Women as they advocate for women, children and youth. She is a former President of the Central Texas Conference UMW, previous Chair of the UMW Texas Legislative Event-Planning Committee and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Texas Impact, a justice advocacy group based in Austin, Texas. She founded the Tarleton State University UMW group and sponsored it from 1999–2016. Cynthia was the 2015 recipient of the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church Morris DeLaney Walker Award, given annually to an outstanding lay person who demonstrates distinguished service to the local church, community and conference.

Cynthia is the outgoing UMW President and Chair of the mission team at Stephenville First United Methodist Church. Last year she served on the board of directors at both the Tarleton Wesley Foundation and the Glen Lake Camp and Retreat Center.

She has led mission teams across the United States, including Sager Brown, Cookson Hills, Lydia Patterson, and internationally to Jamaica, Mexico, Kenya and Cuba.

Cindy Saufferer: United States

Cindy Saufferer currently serves United Methodist Women as secretary for the board of directors. Her work as a UMW director includes the Planning and Assessment Committee, Charter for Racial Justice Committee and the Acts of Repentance Working Group. She also serves as a director on the General Board of Global Ministries, Emma Norton Services and Gathering House Ministries. Closer to home, Cindy serves on the Vietnam Partnership Steering Committee, Mission Promotion Team and Native American Ministry Action Team for the Minnesota Annual Conference. Her current work takes her to countries like Sierra Leone and Vietnam, where she enjoys listening, learning and being in community with sisters and brothers of those lands.

Cindy lives in Morristown, Minnesota, and is a member of the Blooming Grove United Methodist Church. When she is not traveling, you can find her playing with grandchildren and working with her husband, Brad, on the family dairy.

Deborah Williams: United States

Deborah Williams is a member of the Program Advisory Group of United Methodist Women. She is a former board director of United Methodist Women and is an inaugural member of the Act of Repentance Working Group and the Charter for Racial Justice Support Team.

As a member of the Act of Repentance Working Group, Deborah has provided training to the governing board of United Methodist Women in Eliminating Institutional Racism. She lives in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Estella Wallace: United States

Doing what is right and just, whenever she can, however she can, and as much as she could, have been her mantra as long as she can remember. As a young child, she knew when a situation "wasn't fair" and she acted according to her age. As an adult, she chose to be a lifelong educator, working with all ages and often focusing on at-risk youth and the developmentally disabled. As a United Methodist Women board director. she uses those skills and teaching techniques to listen, teach, encourage, analyze, act, and lead.

Estella is quoted saying "We are now in a world where women are recognized for their accomplishments, gifts and graces more than ever. This momentum begets change and more recognition. Technology has allowed us to connect, but the ability to bring women together from all over the world to discuss, plan and share ideas creates power. Women need to collaborate on ideas and success stories. We all share trials and triumphs and here is also a place to celebrate."

Sary Bothchakrya: Cambodia/ Interpreter

Sary Bothchakrya ("Chakrya") is an attorney and longtime advocate for the rights of Cambodian workers. After beginning her career working against human trafficking, she joined the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC), a leading nongovernmental organization pressing for respect for workers' fundamental rights.

Chakrya was among the founding staff of the new organization CENTRAL (Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights), established in 2015 to empower Cambodian working people and to demand transparent and accountable governance for labor and human rights. Chakrya and her colleagues at CENTRAL have provided legal support to more than 3,500 union leaders illegally dismissed from work and more than 100 union leaders criminalized for their union activities, as well as engaging in advocacy and providing trainings to workers pressing for change in the country and in their workplace.

Alicia Grey: United States

Alicia Grey is a Hospice chaplain and a prayer counselor. She holds a master's degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in California and from Northwestern University in Illinois as well as a bachelor's degree from Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She is currently pursuing a master of divinity degree.

Grey was a missionary in Paraguay, where she taught English and served in many areas, including hospital, prison, intercessory prayer and worship ministries. Prior to moving to South America, she was a journalist for The Star-Ledger in New Jersey. She is a member of Christ United Methodist Church in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Millie Grey: United States

Millie Grey is the former president of Greater New Jersey Conference United Methodist Women and member of the United Methodist Women Program Advisory Group. She has served as president and vice president of the Raritan Valley District United Methodist Women and is currently serving as assistant dean of the Greater New Jersey Mission u. She has been a member of Christ United Methodist Church in Piscataway for more than 40 years, where she has served as superintendent of Sunday school, as a senior high school Sunday teacher and as chairperson of the youth leadership team and senior high youth leader. She is currently co-president of her local United Methodist Women and is a certified lay servant.

Grey is a retired school counselor and a licensed professional counselor. She volunteers as a careers counselor in a ministry with unemployed individuals in her church. She is also a volunteer municipal mediator in Somerset County's Dispute Resolution program.

Grey and her husband, Seymour, celebrated 50 years of marriage this past June. They have two adult children. Daughter, Alicia, has served as a missionary in Paraguay for the past five years. She returned to the United States and is pursuing a master of divinity degree at the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Jason, Grey's son, lives in New York City after graduating from New York University with a bachelor's degree in cinema studies where he works in film and video production.

Ingrid Peters: United States

Ingrid Peters is an advocate for the well-being of all people, specifically for women and children. She says that the principle of Micah 6:8 is one of the guiding forces of her life.

She is a member of United Methodist Women at Vanderveer Park United Methodist Church in Brooklyn, New York, and a past vice president of her local unit. Peters is currently the president of the Long Island West District United Methodist Women of the New York Conference. In this role, she is able to bring awareness to the many mission initiatives that help women improve their lives and the lives of their families.

In her spare time, she enjoys mentoring young women, reading novels and writing about everyday life experiences. Peters currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, a place she has called home since emigrating from Trinidad, West Indies.

Posted or updated: 3/9/2017 12:00:00 AM