Our Board

Rubia Board of Directors and Staff

Executive Director

Catherine Rielly, Ph. D.

Professor Catherine Rielly has taught international community economic development for the past eight years at Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Community Economic Development where she was International Academic Program Chair. A Political Economist, she has conducted research, training, and technical assistance for the past twenty-five years on women’s empowerment, public policy, economics, democratization and governance, for the following organizations:  the Harvard Institute for International Development, UNIFEM, UNFPA, UNDP, the Asian Development Bank, USAID, the Governments of Mali, Zambia, and Uganda, and the Kennedy School of Government. Her research focuses on women’s economic empowerment and fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS through building women’s financial independence. As a Fulbright Scholar in Cameroon, she conducted doctoral research on women’s participation in informal savings and credit organizations and the gender-specific division of labor and income. She received her Ph.D. and Master’s in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; and her B.A in History from Stanford University.  Dr. Rielly has conducted comparative research and written journal articles on policy processes in over twenty countries.


Vice President

Jennifer Fluri, Ph. D.

Jennifer Fluri is Assistant Professor of Geography and Women's and Gender Studies at Dartmouth College.  Her specific research focus is on gender and women’s agency and leadership in Afghanistan and the impacts of international economic and geopolitical intervention on gender relations and the everyday lives of the Afghan people.   She has conducted fieldwork in Afghanistan and with Afghans living as refugees in Pakistan.  Her broader research interests include examining gender, space and identity as it intersects with religion, politics, and culture in South Asia and the Middle East.


David A. Boughton, CPA


David A. Boughton has been a Certified Public Accountant in New Hampshire since 1991. He has worked in public, government, not-for-profit and management accounting for two decades. He currently serves as Assistant Controller for Hodges Development Corporation, a closely held property management firm in Concord, NH, where his primary duties include budgeting and financial reporting for mobile home park cooperatives throughout New Hampshire. He also maintains a small home-based accounting business preparing tax returns and financial statements for individuals, small businesses, and non-profits.

He is also active in his community, having served on Boards of Directors for a film festival, an independent movie theatre, a farmers market, an organization for childhood abuse survivors, and a state accountants’ association, among others.  Prior to his accounting career he taught science in a junior high school in northern Vermont and remedial reading in a high school in New Hampshire.  He holds degrees from the University of New Hampshire and New Hampshire College (now Southern New Hampshire University).

Members at Large

Dr. Mary Rose Scozzafava

Dr. Mary Rose Scozzafava is a partner at Wilmer Hale in Boston. Her practice focuses on helping clients identify and protect their intellectual property with an emphasis on strategically building their patent portfolios and intellectual property litigation. She is an experienced attorney who has represented a variety of technology clients, particularly those in the alternative energy and medical fields. Over the course of her career, she has advised on all aspects of intellectual property and has represented clients in patent litigation in Federal Courts and before the International Trade Commission. She is a partner in the firm's Intellectual Property and Litigation/Controversy Departments, and a member of the Intellectual Property Litigation and Nanotechnology Practice Groups. She joined the firm in 2001. 

 With respect to patent advice and prosecution, Dr. Scozzafava has extensive experience in client counseling and patent prosecution in technical areas such as solar cells, energy storage, renewable fuels, chemistry (including pharmaceutical formulations, polymers and coatings), pharmaceuticals and materials science (including self-assembled materials, microfluidics, superconducting materials). Dr. Scozzafava has experience with patent litigation in the International Trade Commission (ITC) and in the Federal Courts, involving various aspects, electronic devices, semiconductor fabrications and pharmaceuticals. She has represented clients such as Proctor & Gamble and Intel in a variety of jurisdictions.  Prior to joining the legal profession, Dr. Scozzafava held a research position in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



Zala Ahmed 

Zala Ahmad is co-founder of Humanitarian Organization for Local Development (HOLD). She has over ten years’ professional experience working for such organizations as UNESCO, a variety of USAID contractors, and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education. Ms. Ahmad’s areas of expertise are economic development, gender and education. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored Ms. Ahmad’s work for girls’ education during the 10th anniversary celebration of the US-Afghan Women’s Council in 2012. Ms. Ahmad has a B.A. in Social Development Studies from Iqra University, Pakistan and a M.A. in International Economics and Finance from the International Business School (IBS) at Brandeis University, where she studied as a Fulbright scholar.Kimberly McLaughlin




Kimberly McLaughlin

A native of New York, Kimberly relocated to Yarmouth, Maine in 1997.  She is the executive director of a consumer advocacy organization where she draws from more than twenty-five years of financial and technical risk analysis experience to bring economic justice to families through financial literacy and foreclosure mitigation work.  Kimberly contributed to Maine legislation that provided consumer protection reforms in the lending industry and during the foreclosure process.  She co-authored a research paper on the subprime mortgage market published by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 2008, and is recognized as an expert on the mortgage industry.  She serves on the Board of the World Affairs Council of Maine and was a delegate to the 2011 World Affairs Councils of America Leadership Mission to Azerbaijan.  Kimberly holds a M.S. in Community Economic Development with an International Concentration and aspires to apply her passion for economic justice and international affairs to work with direct impacts on developing nations.  Kimberly has two grown sons and two granddaughters.

Brenda Bhatti 

Brenda Bhatti is a businesswoman and environmental scientist with a broad and diverse background.  With her Bachelor’s in Zoology/Wildlife Biology and a Master’s in Environmental Sciences, she has worked over 15 years in land use, land conservation, environmental permitting, wildilfe studies, and commercial and residential property developments.  She has served two years as an Adjunct Professor at Antioch New England Graduate School teaching Wetlands Science.  She minored in Spanish and recently taught at the elementary level for four years (K-5).  An  entrepreneur, she  has owned several businesses, both individually and in conjunction with her husband of 20 years, a former Pakistani native.  In addition to currently operating her own successful Business Development company focused on winning federal contracts for her clients, Brenda’s latest “side” endeavor with her husband’s support is ownership of a national hair salon franchise.

As an American Muslim of 23 years, Brenda has a unique perspective that she brings to the Board in terms of women’s issues, religious influences on policies, and international politics.Brenda has served on other Boards, Commissions, and Committees, including the NH Association of Natural Resource Scientists (NHANRS), Monadnock at Home (MaH) Development Committee, and formerly chairing her local Conservation Commission for nearly seven years.  With her interests in technical writing, drama, and inspiring youth, she is working with the local high school to develop a debate club/team.

Susan Foster 

Susan Foster brings over 25 years of clinical, research, and program evaluation experience to her consulting practice. Her research and consulting focuses on community-based initiatives intended to create systems change.  She has designed and conducted numerous evaluations of the development and implementation of collaborative structures intended to integrate diverse service systems and to influence policy change. Ms. Foster has also written papers and articles for publication on primary care and mental health, school mental health, and evidence-based practices and co-occurring disorders in chronic homelessness. Her research career builds on years of clinical social work experience in primary care, substance use, and HIV/AIDS.

Ms. Foster currently provides consultation to non-profit organizations, national research firms, and foundations in the areas of research, evaluation, and strategic planning.  Ms. Foster received her Master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health from Columbia University in 1986, and she is a licensed clinical social worker.


Rachel Lehr

Award winning artist and scholar Rachel Lehr’s academic training in linguistics and Persian, at Barnard College and University of Chicago, took her traveling across Central Asia during the 1970s-80s.  While studying and living in Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan, Rachel developed a deep interest in the culture and arts of the region, and in the lives of its women and children.  In 2000 Rachel reestablished contact with a community of Afghans then living as refugees in Pakistan. Following her first trip to Pakistan, Rachel helped found Rubia, and now serves as Rubia's Executive Director in the United States. Rachel's work and research focuses on the domestic spheres occupied by rural Afghan women, capturing the rhythm and vitality of life in women's private spaces.  Her scholarship has concentrated on dialects of Persian spoken in Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. She is currently completing her doctorate in linguistics at University of Chicago, writing a descriptive grammar of Pashai, an endangered language spoken in Darrai Nur, a rural mountain community in eastern Afghanistan.

Sewing Confidence Director

Thandi Sibusisiwe Tshabango-Soko 

Professor Thandi Sibusiswe Tshabango–Soko is the Director of Sewing Confidence, a program that has promoted the empowerment and literacy  of refugee and immigrant women in Manchester, NH since 2009.  Professor Tshabangu–Soko teaches psychology and global public health at New Hampshire Technical Institute (NHTI). She is a public health professional with over 20 years experience   developing innovative programs addressing the needs of diverse communities from Kwa-Zulu Natal to Manchester New Hampshire.  A passionate advocate for empowerment of underserved communities, she has designed and published an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program for pre-literate and non-literate adult African refugees.  Professor Thandi has a Bachelors in Social work from the University of Zimbabwe and three Master’s degrees:  a Master’s in Public Health from University of Alabama at Birmingham; a Master’s in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University, and a Master’s in Community Mental Health from SNHU. She is currently completing her doctorate in Health Professions Education at Simmons College and has co-authored journal articles that highlight social and health issues affecting the immigrant and refugee community, especially youth, in New Hampshire.