IYF is fortunate to have 115 remarkable staff working each day to empower the world’s young people to become healthy, productive, and engaged citizens. Their collective qualifications and can-do spirit create a whole that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
Serving the world’s youth requires an insider’s touch. IYF’s staff includes ambitious young professionals eager to make a tangible difference in the lives of countless others.
Many IYF staff members have advanced academic degrees as well as extensive on-the-ground experience managing programs around the world. Their high level of expertise in youth development helps make IYF a global leader in the field.
Youth development is a multi-sector concern. At IYF, we actively seek out the perspectives and experiences of leaders from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds who have much to contribute to our goals.
In addition to their years of service to IYF, many staff members have dedicated their entire careers to the goals and principles that we stand for and promote. Their longevity of purpose helps to ensure the vital work of youth development has the greatest possible impact.
Meet Samuel Suraphel
Samuel Suraphel is part of IYF’s ever-growing cohort of young change agents whose passion and fresh ideas lift our spirit of innovation to new heights. Born in Ethiopia, Samuel’s background in web design and mobile development reflects his generation’s tech-savvy nature and entrepreneurial flair.
He applies his many talents to BRIDGEit—IYF’s initiative that uses mobile technology to transmit educational video content to underserved primary schools in Tanzania. He’s also an advisor on technology-related programs and internal systems and supports at IYF.
- Joined IYF: 2010; current position: Program Manager for BRIDGEit in Africa
- Background: Launched the first geo-heritage iPhone application for African-American history and culture
- Education: Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech, Master’s in Business Administration from Darden School of Business (University of Virginia)
- In his own words: “I graduated college during the dot-com era and was excited about working in a business or starting one up that combined my intersecting interests in entrepreneurship, technology, and African culture. At IYF, I am able to pursue all of my interests and apply all of my skill sets—with the added plus of improving the educational prospects of at-risk youth.”
Meet Susan Pezzullo
An expert in preparing youth for the 21st century workforce, Susan Pezzullo is a sought-after leader in the youth development field. Her history of empowering others started long before she earned her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her Master’s in Planning from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Raised in Latin America and fluent in Spanish, Susan coordinated literacy classes for slum dwellers in Guatemala while a high school student. She has since applied her expertise in international development to projects throughout Latin America, as well as parts of Central Europe, Asia, and Africa.
- Joined IYF: 1996; current position: Director for Latin America and Caribbean programs
- Background: Peace Corps, USAID, Inter-American Foundation
- Current responsibilities: As Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, among her many responsibilities, leads entra21— IYF’s award-winning $45 million youth employability program in Latin America and the Caribbean
- In her own words: “Growing up in Latin America was key to what I’m doing now. I saw poverty everywhere and sensed people feeling powerless, and I wanted to do something that had meaning beyond myself. I understood even in high school that there are solutions to these problems. We can make a difference.”
Meet Awais Sufi
Before his calling to the NGO world, Awais Sufi clerked for a US District Court judge and then joined a prominent law firm in Washington DC, with a concentration in corporate and securities law. His pro bono work for international development institutions at the firm, however, prompted a dramatic career change: He began to focus his efforts on helping to provide jobs and training to youth across the Middle East and Asia.
Awais, a Pakistani-American, brought his understanding of legal and development issues to IYF, where he now oversees the global Youth:Work program. Thanks to his knowledge and background in the Middle East and the Muslim world, IYF has significantly expanded youth employability programs into Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, and Morocco.
- Joined IYF: 2005; current position: Vice President of Programs
- Background: Corporate and securities law
- Education: Juris Doctorate, University of Texas School of Law
- In his own words: “My growing interest in international development issues, combined with the terrorist attacks of 9/11, made me realize it was time to leave the law firm and help address the many development challenges that I knew existed, particularly in the Muslim world.”
Meet Zeny Domingo
Educator, training specialist, television producer—for more than 40 years, Zenaida Domingo has worn many hats while improving the prospects of underserved students in the Philippines and beyond. Her forte: boosting education through innovation.
In 2007, Zeny added her vast experience to IYF’s Education & Livelihood Skills Alliance (ELSA)—a major education and employment initiative in the Philippines. She also helped introduce text2teach, which leverages new technology to improve learning and teaching in impoverished Philippine schools. Under Zeny’s direction, ELSA is now a US$18 million program improving elementary education, building new classrooms, strengthening school leadership, and raising teaching standards.
- Joined IYF: 2004; current position: Program Director of ELSA
- Education: Master’s degree in Educational Media from Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
- Background: Worked in the Philippines Department of Education and other government agencies as ITC specialist for more than 30 years; later managed education & innovation projects for USAID, UNESCO, and the World Bank at SEAMEO INNOTECH.
- In her own words: “As a classroom teacher in the Philippines in the 1960s and 70s, I noticed my students showed more interest in lessons that used colorful visuals and media-assisted instruction. Now, many years later, I am still inspired to see teachers in poor, rural schools using our technology tools to improve learning in their English, science, and math classes.”