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Center for Reproductive Rights Announces Michelle Dees as Chief Strategy and Operations Officer

(PRESS RELEASE) Michelle Dees has joined the Center for Reproductive Rights as Chief Strategy and Operations Officer. Dees most recently served as Vice President of Strategy and Operations at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).

Dees brings more than 15 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit and private sector to the Center. At the IAVI, she served as a partner to the CEO and senior leaders to effectively implement change and nurture a geographically and programmatically diverse talent pool.  

As Chief Strategy and Operations Officer, Dees will serve as member of the Center’s Executive Team and lead the Center’s growth execution of its ambitious agenda.

The Center for Reproductive Rights stands at the forefront of the global effort to protect women’s most essential freedoms,” said Michelle Dees, Chief Strategy and Operations Officer at the Center. “I am honored to join an organization with such an extraordinary track record of success and an incredible team of professionals who are fighting for women and families every single day.

Michelle is an important addition to the Center team at a critical moment in our history,” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Her experience in global health will enable us to build on our aggressive litigation and advocacy strategy to protect reproductive rights worldwide.

During her tenure at IAVI, Michelle Dees moved up through six different positions and guided the organization through multiple strategic plans and unprecedented growth. Dees led the development of implementation plans to allocate resources in line with strategy, aligning programs with strategic objectives, and created a flexible model to support sustainable growth. 

Dees was instrumental in the creation of IAVI’s $10M Innovation Fund. She led the technical strategy and authored the narrative for successful proposals with a broad range of institutions, including United States Agency for International Development, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance Japan, and New York State and Canadian Institutes for Health Research resulting in awards of over $175M. 

Prior to joining IAVI in 2005, Dees worked in business development and marketing at a development-stage pharmaceutical company, and in the venture capital group of a boutique biotechnology investment firm. Before getting her MBA, she worked in Guyana, where she was the Director of the Red Cross Societies Children’s Home. She holds an honors bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and biotechnology from the University of Waterloo (Canada) and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario.  

The Center for Reproductive Rights’ game changing litigation and advocacy work, combined with its unparalleled expertise in the use of constitutional, international, and comparative human rights law, have transformed how reproductive rights are understood by courts, governments, and human rights bodies. It has played a key role in securing legal victories in the U.S., Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe on issues including access to life-saving obstetrics care, contraception, safe abortion services, and comprehensive sexuality information, as well as the prevention of forced sterilization, child marriage, and female genital mutilation. It has brought groundbreaking cases before national courts, U.N. Committees, and regional human rights bodies, and has built the legal capacity of women’s rights advocates in over 60 countries. It is headquartered in New York with offices in Washington, D.C.; Bogota, Colombia; Geneva, Switzerland; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Nairobi, Kenya.

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