Victoria Baird, founder of Meridian Group International, Inc., is a marketing and communications specialist with over 40 years of experience in the private and public sectors designing, implementing and evaluating marketing, health and development programs throughout the United States, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Ms. Baird began her career working with major U.S. corporations in commercial marketing and communications programs. As Director of Marketing for Estee Lauder International, she oversaw programs in 22 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Ms. Baird’s experience in packaged-goods marketing, new product development and advertising comes from senior positions with Ted Bates International, Grey Advertising, and J. Walter Thompson. Her clients included Colgate-Palmolive Company, Revlon International, Lever Brothers and Pan American World Airways. In 1984, Ms. Baird moved into global development and health. For 10 years, Ms. Baird was Director/Deputy Director for the United States Agency for International Development’s largest reproductive health social marketing contract (the Somarc Project), where she was managed marketing, communication and research activities for programs in 31 countries. In 1997, Ms. Baird founded Meridian, which specializes in forming innovative health and workplace programs in partnership with the private sector.
David Wofford is the VP for Public-Private Partnerships and had helped lead Meridian’s engagement with corporate and civil society partners. He currently implements the RAISE Health Initiative, which improves the health of women and men factory and agriculture workers in developing countries through changes in global and corporate policies and workplace practices. RAISE Health is a major activity under the USAID-funded Evidence Project, managed by the Population Council. At RAISE, he has negotiated partnerships to advance worker health with such organizations as Business for Social Responsibility, Levi Strauss & Co., Bayer Pharmaceuticals, HRA Pharma and the ILO’s Better Work programme as well as developed collaborations with the UN Global Compact and the UN Foundation. Previously, David worked at the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, where he provided strategic and communications support on the Doing Business report and the launch of its revised Social and Environmental Performance Standards. He has also served in senior positions in the U.S. Government, including the White House and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, an agency that supports investments by American companies in developing countries.
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Ms. Cindi Cisek is a Senior Manager at Meridian Group International with more than 25 years of experience in social marketing, communications and public-private partnerships. Ms. Cisek has worked in over 25 countries worked with all social marketing models, and most recently worked closely with USAID’s global partnership with Bayer HealthCare on their 2nd Tier marketing model. She has been a thought-leader on sustainability and private sector engagement. During the last ten years, Ms. Cisek has also focused increasingly on public-private partnerships and has developed and negotiated partnerships with major multinationals, including Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Kimberly Clark. She has led Meridian’s country-level work focuses on worker health and employer-based initiatives, including Guatemala, India, Uganda, Tanzania, and Bangladesh.
Suzanne Brockman, RN is a public health professional with over fifteen years experience in quality improvement, clinical operations, and program management. Suzanne has supported many NGOs and USAID projects on international health issues, as a Technical Advisor and Program Manager. In her hometown of Baltimore, Suzanne served as Assistant Medical Director for a large community health system, and ran a statewide pharmacy assistance program. Suzanne holds degrees from Georgetown, Johns Hopkins and Case Western Reserve. She is a Registered Nurse and has been an instructor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She has worked on the RAISE Health Initiative for Workers, Companies and Communities since 2012.
Olivia Burzynska-Hernandez currently supports the RAISE Health Initiative, a USAID funded project which helps improve the health of factory and farm workers in developing countries, particularly through changes in global and corporate policies and workplace practices. Before joining Meridian, Olivia spent four years working for the Coalition of Services Industries (CSI), an international trade association that advocates on behalf of its membership on the importance of services and international services trade. At CSI Olivia worked on incorporating language in international trade agreements that reflected current international business practices, most notably the use of digital trade across borders. Olivia is a Fulbright alum, where she taught English in Borneo, Malaysia in 2017. She holds a B.A. from the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon and a M.A. from the Elliott School of International Relations at George Washington University.
Pedrito dela Cruz
Ped has more than 15 years of experience bridging health with different sectors in the Philippines and other countries in the region. He has worked with various health NGOs in the Philippines and served in government as a confidential aide to two Secretaries of Health, during which he also held simultaneous assignments as Cabinet Officer for Regional Development for the Cordillera Administrative Region and as Assistant Corporate Secretary to the Board of Trustees of Specialty Hospitals. Prior experience also includes working with the Asian Development Bank, and at WHO-WPRO as a consultant for the accelerated implementation of non-communicable disease programs. Before joining Meridian, he was working with local NGOs involved in disaster risk reduction and environmental health.
Ped has a BA in Psychology (minor in economics and philosophy) from Trinity College of Quezon City, an MA in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines, and has completed Master’s coursework in urban and regional planning.