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Meet Our Goodwill Ambassadors

Amanda McPherson

Meet Amanda

Amanda McPherson Shafton is a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) practicing in the Eastern United States. She provides well woman and pregnancy care to women of all ages. Amanda became involved with VGI a few years ago when working as a nurse with VGI's founder - Aisha Saidy as the two of them bonded over their passion to provide individualized, holistic, and quality healthcare to all women. As a midwife, Amanda believes in supporting women throughout their lifespan and teaching them to care for themselves and their families. Amanda is looking forward to helping VGI carry out their mission both from the US and hands on in The Gambia.


Meet Marlene

Marlene Burgos-Stewart is a Director of Nursing in a long-term care and rehabilitation facility in Northern Illinois.  She is a student at Edgewood College- Madison, WI where she is working on her master’s degree in nursing with a concentration in healthcare administration and management. She is married to her husband, Rodney, and is the mother of two daughters- Annmarie & Cheyenne and one son- Rodney Jr. She has one grandson- Michael and lives in Southern Wisconsin with her family. Marlene strongly believes in quality healthcare for all people and is passionate about education and empowerment for women and girls. She had the great fortune to professionally connect with VGI's Founder - Aisha Saidy while working in Madison where they soon learned that they shared similar passions.  Marlene is very honored to be part of The Village Girl Initiative as a Good Will Ambassador to help spread education and awareness for the call to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and enrich the lives of rural women and village girls in The Gambia (West Africa) through VGI.


Meet Joyce

A deep passion for helping others drove Joyce Lewis to become a nurse. She entered the healthcare profession more than 20 years ago as an Assistant Nurse Manager with Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster, OH, and the same passion drives her to this day as a Corporate Regulatory Specialist with Trinity Health in the Mount Carmel Healthcare Systems.  A gifted manager, negotiator and visionary leader, her primary focus continues to be on improving patient outcomes and patient experience while grooming transformational leaders for the future.

Born and raised in central Ohio, Joyce has served numerous roles within the nursing profession and hospital management generally.  Earlier in her career, she served as Assistant Nurse Manager, Staff Nurse, Education Coordinator, and OB-GYN Coordinator with Fairfield Medical Center; Staff Nurse with Kenwood Jewish Hospital (Cincinnati); Assistant Nurse Manager with Grant Medical Center, and Clinical Manager/Administrator with River View Surgery Center and the Pavilion Surgery Center.

More recently, before joining Trinity Health, she was the Chief Nursing Officer for Select Special Hospitals, with responsibility for a freestanding 105-bed Long-term Acute Care hospital as well as a 20 bed Long-term Acute Care hospital.  Her leadership expertise and critical care nursing skills led the organization to the prestigious recognition as Pulmonary Centers of Excellence.
Today, Joyce is responsible for the regulatory compliance of 4 acute care surgical departments, 3 joint ventures and 32 outpatient laboratories within the Trinity-Mount Carmel Healthcare Systems.

Joyce is also passionate about helping others within the larger community, for instance volunteering with free clinics, the church youth league and serving as a 4H youth advisor.  She has been recognized for her leadership by the National Association of Professional Women, and she is a recipient of the Caldwell Butler Highest Achievement Award for improving patient through-put throughout the organization.  She has also received a Patriotic Employer Award from the Office of the Ohio Secretary of Defense, and the Young Business Woman of the Year Award from the Fairfield County Business Women’s Association.

Joyce is an ACLS and BLS Instructor as well as a Registered Nurse, First Assist (RNFA), which she received from Columbus State Community College (Columbus, OH).  She holds her MS and BS degree in Nursing from Chamberlain College of Nursing (Chicago), graduating summa cum laude and magna cum Laude, respectively; and she received her Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) from Otterbein University (Westerville, OH), graduating magna cum laude.

Joyce Lewis is a member of the Association of Operating Room Nurses (AORN), Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, National Association of Professional Women, Ohio Nurses Association, and Ohio Nurses Executive Association.  Joyce is proudly serving as a goodwill ambassador of The Village Girl Initiative, continuing her passion to have a positive impact on the lives of young girls and women living in the rural villages of Gambia (West Africa). She strongly believes that professional women of the world have a responsibility to change the future opportunities for those women who are less fortunate.


Meet Fatou

Fatou Fatty is currently the coordinator of Revere Community School (RCS) at the Revere High School. She has more than 25 years of experience working with low-income immigrant and refugee women and their families in Revere and Greater Boston Area. Her expertise is in community and social justice organizing, program coordination, fundraising and fund management, case management and advocacy for violence against women, economic development, and participatory adult education.

Fatou is the founder and former director of Women Encouraging Empowerment Inc., a non-profit organization in Revere working with immigrants and refugee women and their families.. Before founding WEE Inc., Fatou worked for Cooperative Economics for Women (CEW) a Boston based non-profit organization for 9 years in various capacities from trainer to program organizer and Associate Director. She served five years on the funding panel and as a board of directors at the Haymarket People’s Fund, and on the allocation committee for Boston Women’s Fund, where she aided in funding different community projects throughout the state of Massachusetts. Fatou has a Master’s degree from Brandies University and diplomas in Women and Economic Development. Fatou has served and continue to serve on many task force, board and committees in Revere and Boston such as the Network for Immigrants and African Americans in Solidarity, Revere on the Move Steering Committee, Women Encouraging Empowerment board of Directors advisory council member of the City of Revere Office of New Revere Residents etc.

Fatou is passionate and dedicated to improving the lives of women and fighting for the underprivileged, more of a reason why she joined The Village Girl Initiative team in order to Give Back and Change the Hearts and Lives of rural women and village girls of her native country -The Gambia.