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Staff – Headquarters

William Ryerson, PresidentWilliam Ryerson

Population Media Center’s founder and President, William Ryerson has a 42-year history of working in the field of reproductive health, including 25 years of experience adapting the Sabido methodology for behavior change communications to various cultural settings worldwide. He has also been involved in the design of research to measure the effects of such projects in a number of countries, one of which has led to a series of publications regarding a serialized radio drama in Tanzania and its effects on HIV/AIDS avoidance and family planning use. Since 2008, he has also served as CEO of the Population Institute, which works in partnership with Population Media Center. He received a B.A. in Biology (Magna Cum Laude) from Amherst College and an M.Phil. in Biology from Yale University (with specialization in Ecology and Evolution). Before founding Population Media Center, he served as Director of the Population Institute’s Youth and Student Division, Development Director of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, Associate Director of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Executive Vice President of Population Communications International. Mr. Ryerson is listed in several editions of Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the East. In 2006, he was awarded the Nafis Sadik Prize for Courage from the Rotarian Action Group on Population and Development. Most recently, in 2011 he was nominated for the “Courage in Leadership” award as part of the Green Mountain Environmental Leadership Awards for PMC’s work in addressing population growth related to environmental sustainability.

Kriss Barker, PhD., MPH, Vice President for International ProgramsKriss Barker, PhD., MPH
Vice President for International Programs

PMC’s Vice President for International Programs, Kriss Barker has over 20 years of experience in health development, specifically in information, education and communication (IEC), behavior change communication (BCC), operations research (OR), and monitoring and evaluation. In her time at PMC, Dr. Barker has assisted production teams around the world to develop entertainment-education serial dramas. She has trained numerous media and health communication professionals in the Sabido methodology for behavior change communication using the mass media. She oversees management of PMC programs in over 20 countries worldwide, and lectures on social change scriptwriting at the University of Cape Town. Dr. Barker has authored several papers on the Sabido methodology, including manuscripts, journal articles and chapters in edited textbooks. She is considered an expert on application of the Sabido methodology for behavior change. She holds a B.A. in Human Biology with Honors from Stanford University, an M.P.H. from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, with a specialization in International Health and Family Planning, and a Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Joseph J. Bish, Population Outreach Manager
Joseph J. Bish
Population Outreach Manager

Joe Bish holds a Masters of Science in Environmental Advocacy and Organizing from Antioch University New England in Keene NH. He has worked in environmentally themed non-profit administration settings in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont on issues ranging from ocean conservation to alternatives to nuclear power.

Lillie K. Bleau
Office Manager

Lillie received a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management from the University of Vermont in 2005. She has over seven years’ experience in a variety of administrative roles in non-profit and corporate fields. Outside of work, she enjoys occasional involvement with community theatre and independent film projects. She lives with her husband and son in Essex Junction.

Scott Connolly, Ed.D., MPH, Research Director
Scott Connolly, Ed.D., MPH
Research Director

Dr. Connolly has been actively engaged in the design, production, and evaluation of media-based public health programs for the past 18 years. Prior to joining PMC, he served as Senior Communications Professional and Research Investigator at the Office of Health Promotion Research, College of Medicine, University of Vermont. He holds an M.P.H. in Behavior Science and Health Communication from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and an Ed.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Vermont.

Fatou Jah, Ph.D., M.P.S., M.S., Research Associate
Fatou Jah, Ph.D., M.P.S., M.S.
Research Associate

In the past twelve years Dr. Jah has extensively conducted policy-oriented research to evaluate the impact of population and educational policies and programs on reproductive health and socio-economic outcomes, focusing on women, girls and adolescents in developing countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa. As Manager of a Population and Reproductive Health Education Program at the tertiary level, she has 7 years of hands-on experience in the implementation and monitoring of reproductive health programs, serving on national Population Technical Advisory Committees and Tripartite Bodies, and collaborating with other implementing institutions. Before joining PMC, Dr. Jah worked as a Post-Doctorate Researcher in the Department of Development Sociology, Cornell University, for one year. She has a Ph.D. in Demography and Development Sociology, with minor concentrations in Research Methods and Teaching, Learning and Policy, and a master’s degree in International Development/Population, both from Cornell University. Earlier, she obtained a master’s degree in Food Science from University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada and underwent professional trainings in the Netherlands and Kenya in the Management of Maternal/Child Nutrition Programs and Population and Family Life Education Programs, respectively.

William J. Rider, CPA, Vice President of Finance
William J. Rider, CPA
Vice President of Finance

PMC’s VP-Finance, Bill Rider has 26 years of experience in non-profit finance and accounting. Bill’s prior work experiences include five years with a regional public accounting firm, and fourteen years in various financial management positions with Vermont’s largest health system, including Controller and Budget Director. He received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Vermont and is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant.

Wendi Stein, Senior Program Associate
Wendi Stein
Senior Program AssociateWendi started at PMC in 2007 as a Program Assistant providing administrative and information management support to the program department. She has participated in PMC’s qualitative research studies and training workshops for writers overseas. As Senior Program Associate, she is the PMC coordinator for the BREAKAWAY project, an electronic game and toolkit addressing the issue of violence against women and girls and HQ project manager for our program in Papua New Guinea. Ms. Stein has a long history of working for mission-driven organizations, including community foundations and those in the areas of higher education, the arts, and sustainable forestry. She received her B.A. in Theatre Arts from Brandeis University.
Stephanie Tholand, Program Development Associate
Stephanie Tholand
Program Development Associate

Stephanie Tholand is a graduate of the Development Project Management Institute, a program of the Monterey Institute for International Studies. She holds a Masters in Public Administration with a focus in non-profit management from San Francisco State University, and a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Studio Arts from Wake Forest University. Prior to joining PMC, she worked in administration and donor development at American Jewish World Service. As a Pro Corps Volunteer with the Foundation for Sustainable Development, she lived and worked in Kenya for six months, advising a local organization on internal management strategies. She founded the Bay Area International Development Group, and relocated from San Francisco to Vermont in 2012 to join the PMC team.

missieMissie Thurston
Director of Marketing and Communications

Missie has more than ten years of marketing and communications experience. Prior to PMC, she led the communications division of the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice in Seattle, WA as the Marketing and Communications Manager. Although she’s a native Vermonter, she and her husband spent a little more than six years living in Seattle. Prior to Seattle, she co-produced a multi-media program broadcast daily throughout Vermont. The Vermont Book Of Days told a different story for each day of the year on television, radio, newspaper, the web, and included a 224-page, full-color book of stories.

Paul Ugalde, Director of Development
Paul Ugalde
Director of Development

PMC’s Director of Development, Mr. Ugalde has over 15 years of experience as a non-profit fundraiser. He has raised money for organizations in health care, arts advocacy, public television and higher education. While running the Major Gifts program for Vermont Public Television, he also appeared on-air during pledge drives and provided the voice for two feature-length documentaries. He worked in commercial broadcast before turning to the non-profit sector.


2010/2011 Annual Report

In 2010-2011, PMC had projects in Brazil, Burkina Faso, Caribbean, Ethiopia, Mexico, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, the United States, Vietnam and a worldwide electronic game.

2010/2011 Annual Report (PDF, 5.5 MB)

Soap Operas for Social Change to Prevent HIV/AIDS

This training guide is designed to be used by journalists and media personnel to plan and execute the production and broadcast of Sabido-style entertainment-education serial dramas for HIV/AIDS prevention, especially among women and girls.

Using the Media to Achieve Reproductive Health and Gender Equity

In 2005, as a companion piece to the training guide, PMC developed a manual documenting best practices in the application of the Sabido methodology of behavior change via entertainment-education.

Read more about these guides and download »