Meet the Women, Business and the Law team

Women, Business and the Law reports are researched and written by a team of experienced lawyers and experts. The current team is listed in alphabetical order below.

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Norman Loayza

Norman Loayza is Director of the Global Indicators Group at the World Bank. Previously, he was a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group and managed the Asia hub of the Research Group, based in Malaysia. He was director of the World Development Report 2014, Risk and Opportunity: Managing Risk for Development. His research has dealt with various areas of economic and social development, including macroeconomic management, economic growth, microeconomic flexibility, private and public saving, financial depth and stability, natural disasters, and crime and violence. His advisory experience at the World Bank has also ranged across different topics in various regions and countries. A few examples include business environment and economic performance in Latin America; informal and formal labor markets in the Middle East and Northern Africa; public infrastructure gaps in Pakistan and Egypt; savings for macroeconomic stability and growth in Sri Lanka, Georgia, and Egypt; and pro-poor growth in Indonesia and Peru. On external service from the World Bank, he was a Senior Economist at the Central Bank of Chile (1999-2000), where he advised on financial and monetary policy. Norman has edited 10 books and published dozens of papers in professional journals and edited volumes. A Peruvian national, he holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University (1994).

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Tea Trumbic

Tea Trumbic is the Program Manager of the Women, Business and the Law project in the World Bank’s Development Economics vice-presidency, where she leads a dynamic team to produce data and analysis on laws and regulations that impact women’s economic opportunities in 190 economies. She joined the World Bank in 2006, working on the Doing Business project on business taxation and credit information regulations. She has also developed indicators focusing on agribusiness regulations where her work focused on access to markets and how regulations affect rural women. Before joining the World Bank, Tea worked at the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Croatia and the International Monetary Fund. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics.

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Nelsy Affoum

Nelsy Affoum joined the Women, Business and the Law team in May 2020 and supports the Violence Against Women survey team. Prior to WBL, she worked as a Project Associate at MSI, where she managed and coordinated USAID projects in Mali and the DRC. She also worked for the UNESCO Senegal office where she developed Gender Equity Capacity Statements summarizing causes of gender disparities in SMT classes. She holds a M.A. in International Economic Policy with a focus on Development Economics from the George Washington University and a B.A. in International Relations/Pre-Law from Queens University of Charlotte. She is a native French speaker from Côte d'Ivoire.

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Nisha Arekapudi

Nisha Arekapudi leads research on access to justice for the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law project. Before joining the World Bank, Nisha worked as a Senior Research Associate for the Public International Law & Policy Group, and as a law clerk at the US Departments of State and Justice. Nisha is a member of the New York State Bar and graduated cum laude with a JD/MA from American University’s Washington College of Law and School of International Service. She speaks Spanish.

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Carolina Azcuña

Carolina Azcuña is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, where she received her master’s in public policy. Prior to joining the World Bank, she worked as a research assistant, investigating international gender responsive budgeting initiatives as well as immigrant women’s educational opportunities and perspectives in the United States. Before returning to school, she worked in youth development and education in Montgomery County, Maryland. Although born in the Rockville area, she comes from a Colombian and Bolivian family and is a native Spanish speaker. She is also proficient in French and spent a semester studying at La Sorbonne in Paris, France. Carolina is passionate about language development and learning new things along the way.

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Julia Braunmiller

Julia Constanze Braunmiller is a Private Sector Development Specialist with the Women, Business and the Law project. She leads the project’s family law topic and manages the corresponding indicators on women’s mobility, property rights, and entrepreneurship. Her expertise also covers financial inclusion and the rights of women with disabilities. Before joining the team in 2015, she taught international human rights courses and directed legal reform programs at the Johns Hopkins University on combating human trafficking and promoting clinical legal education throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Julia holds an M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a law degree from Germany. She speaks German, Italian, French, and Dutch.

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Eduardo Calderón

Eduardo Calderón is a human rights and development specialist. He has experience at the Pan-American Health Organization, where he worked on issues concerning the right to health and other related human rights and the World Bank Group, where he focused on non-discrimination, equality, and economic inclusion of minorities. He is from Guatemala, where he taught international law and human rights. He speaks Spanish and English and is conversational in Portuguese. Eduardo obtained an LLM in International and Comparative Law from The George Washington University Law School and a Master of International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, where he specialized on Latin American Studies and International Development.

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Alexis Cheney

Alexis Cheney is currently a second year MA (International Affairs) candidate at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She is concentrating in human rights and humanitarian policy with a specialization in media. She is concurrently pursuing a MA (International Public Management) at Sciences Po in Paris, France. Alexis completed a Bachelor’s (English and French Literature, International Studies concentration) at Connecticut College. Originally from Massachusetts, Alexis worked in Paris between 2018 and 2020. She is interested in women’s economic empowerment in developed and developing countries alike. Alexis teaches English every week to a female entrepreneur living in Armenia. Alexis enjoys running on trails, singing, and baking. She speaks French and hopes to learn Spanish.

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Rebecca Ego

Rebecca Ego joined Women, Business and the Law in November 2021. She works as a legal expert for Expertise France - Groupe AFD, and worked for the IMF's legal department in Summer 2021. Rebecca holds a LLM degree from the George Washington University Law School, after completing her Law degree in Beirut, Lebanon. She is interested in advancing women's economic and political participation in the MENA region. She is fluent in Arabic, French and English.

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Marina Elefante

Marina Elefante joined the Women, Business and the Law project in 2015. Her current research focuses on childcare policies and indicator development. Previously, she drafted legal aid legislation for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and led human trafficking legal reform programs at The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She graduated cum laude from the University of Naples Law School and holds an M.A. in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from the University of Siena, Italy, and an LL.M. with distinction in International Legal Studies from Georgetown University Law Center.

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Mahmoud Elsaman

Mahmoud Elsaman joined the Women, Business and the Law team in October 2020. Previously, he worked for the Egyptian judiciary, the International Development Law Organization in Italy, and Ibrachy and Dermarkar Law Firm in Egypt. Mahmoud holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (with honors degree) from Cairo University Faculty of Law in Egypt. He holds an LL.M degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in International and Comparative Law, and an LL.M degree in Rule of Law for Development from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Currently, Mahmoud is pursuing his SJD (Ph.D.) degree at Central European University in Austria. He is a native Arabic speaker.

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Emilia Galiano

Emilia Galiano joined the Women, Business and the Law team as a Private Sector Development Specialist in January 2021. She has a background in International Relations and International Political Economy, with a Master's Degree from John Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies. Prior to joining, she led a team of community engagement and facilitation professionals at the World Bank Group, working on mainstreaming and strengthening the more than 300 Communities of Practice across the organization, as a way to connect development practitioners with the practical and localized knowledge they need to be most effective. She is fluent in Italian, German, and Spanish.

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Marie Hyland

Marie Hyland joined the Women, Business and the Law team as an economist in October 2019. She joined the World Bank in 2016. Marie holds a PhD in economics from Trinity College Dublin. As part of her PhD studies, Marie spent time at the University of Maryland as a Fulbright scholar. As a member of the Women, Business and the Law team, Marie’s work focuses on the economic impacts of legal gender reform.

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Consuelo Jurado Tan

Consuelo J. Tan is a World Bank retiree and has been a part of the Women, Business and the Law team since October 2019. She supports the team with administrative as well as budget matters. She also provides logistical support to the entire team. She was formerly an Executive Assistant at the IFC, supporting the office of the EVP and Managing Director from 1999-2005. She also worked as a Program Analyst for the IFC’s Access to Finance unit from 2005-2010.

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Viktoria Khaitina

Viktoria Khaitina joined Women, Business and the Law in January 2017. She researches and analyzes data related to property laws and laws protecting women from violence. She previously worked with the Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development team at the Legal Vice Presidency. Before joining the World Bank, Viktoria worked at an international law firm, where she advised businesses on investment, finance, and trade matters. Viktoria holds degrees from the Belarusian State University (LL.B (Hons), LL.M (Hons) in International Business Law), Certificate in Public Administration from the Swedish Institute of Public Administration and American University Washington College of Law (H.H. Fellowship Program). She is a native Belarusian and Russian speaker.

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Jungwon Kim

Jungwon Kim is currently an M.A. candidate in International Economic Policy at Sciences Po, Paris School of International Affairs. Her research interests lie in promoting financial inclusion in developing countries with a focus on women’s economic empowerment. Prior to joining the Women, Business and the Law team, she worked as a research intern at the Center for Transnational Migration and Social Inclusion in Seoul National University, where she investigated the impact of COVID-19 on childcare to provide policy analysis. Jungwon received her BA in Economics and Sociology from Sciences Po. She is a native Korean speaker, fluent in Japanese, and proficient in French.

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Claudia Lenny Corminales

Claudia Lenny Corminales joined Women, Business and the Law in 2016. She conducts research and analysis on laws and regulations constraining women’s legal capacity, freedom of movement and access to finance. She previously worked as staff member of the Permanent Mission of Bolivia to the Organization of American States (OAS) and as a staff member of the Embassy of Costa Rica. Claudia holds an LL.M in International Legal Studies and Certificate in International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution from Georgetown University Law Center and a law degree from Universidad Católica, Bolivia. She is a native Spanish speaker, fluent in English, and proficient in Portuguese and French.

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Shantel Marekera

Shantel Marekera graduated with a degree in Jurisprudence/Law from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. She holds an undergraduate and a master’s degree in Justice Studies from Barrett the Honors College at Arizona State University. Prior to joining WBL, she served as a member of UN Women’s Beijing+25 Youth Task Force and Action Coalition Working Group. She was recognized by UN Women as a leader for Generation Equality and a National Gender Youth Activist. She is an avid social justice advocate who has closely worked with a number of civil society organizations including Just Associates (JASS), MenEngage and Restless Development. Shantel was awarded the 4th Annual Youth Activist Changemaker Award by Gucci and Chime for Change for her advocacy work with the United Nations and Little Dreamers Foundation.

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Natália Mazoni

Natália Mazoni is a Private Sector Specialist with the Women, Business and the Law project. She leads the project’s labor law research and manages the corresponding topics on workplace, pay, parenthood and pension. She joined the World Bank Group in February 2016. Before joining the World Bank Group, she developed business strategies at EY Brazil and practiced at a law firm in Belo Horizonte. She holds a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in International Legal Studies from American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC, and a law degree from Faculdades Milton Campos in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She is a member of the Brazilian Bar. Originally from Brazil, she speaks Portuguese and Spanish and is conversant in French.

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Olena Mykhalchenko

Olena Mykhalchenko joined the Women, Business and the Law team in May 2020. She conducts research and analysis related to labor laws and reforms. She has done extensive work in the field of labor law, gender equality and non-discrimination in new technologies, and has more than eight years of experience in nonprofit, public, and private sectors. Her prior experiences include working with the Portulans Institute, International Bar Association, International Law Commission, and United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. She earned her B.A. and LL.M in Law at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukraine), and an LL.M at the George Washington University Law School as a Fulbright and Thomas Buergenthal scholarships awardee. She speaks English, Ukrainian, and Russian.

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Hannelore Niesten

Hannelore Niesten joined the Women, Business and the Law team in July 2021. Hannelore worked on legal and tax projects with several other World Bank units (Poverty and Equity, Governance, Digital Development and Subnational Doing Business). Before joining the WBL team, Hannelore practiced tax law at a Brussels based law firm for several years and was a Fulbright Scholar at Georgetown Law School and the University of Florida specializing in tax law. Hannelore holds a PhD in Law from Maastricht University, an LLM in Business and Finance law from George Washington University, Advanced Masters in Tax Law and Notary Law from the Catholic University of Louvain, and Masters in Globalization and Law and European Law from Maastricht University. Hannelore speaks Dutch, English, and French.

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Isabel Santagostino Recavarren

Isabel Santagostino is a Private Sector Development Specialist with the Women, Business and the Law project. She currently leads research on violence against women and the indicators on domestic violence and sexual harassment. Before joining the World Bank Group, she worked at the Inter-American Commission of Women and at the Office of the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States. Ms. Santagostino is a member of the New York State Bar, holds an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from American University Washington College of Law and a law degree from Bocconi University, Italy. Isabel is fluent in Italian, French and Spanish.

Alena Sakhonchik photo

Alena Sakhonchik

Alena Sakhonchik is a Private Sector Specialist at the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law project, where her current research focuses on regulatory and policy gaps around availability, affordability and quality of childcare services. Alena’s work also covers overall data and indicator development strategies. Prior to joining the World Bank Group in 2014, Alena worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Hudson Institute and the PBN Company – one of the leading international strategic communications firms specializing in Russia, Ukraine, and broader post-Soviet space. She has published in peer-reviewed journals, including Applied Economics Letters and Women’s Studies International Forum. Alena holds a M.A. in International Economic Relations from American University.

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Liang Shen

Liang Shen joined the Women, Business and the Law team in September 2020. She holds a Master of Science in Economics from Bocconi University and a Master of Public Administration from State University of New York at Albany. Liang is passionate about addressing gender disparity issues at the workplace and other socioeconomic problems facing women and the marginalized. Before joining the WBL team, Liang has conducted economic and policy analysis at the New York State government. She speaks Chinese (Mandarin) and is learning Italian.

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Nayantara Vohra

Nayantara Vohra joined the Women, Business and the Law team in June 2021. She conducts research relating to violence against women laws and reforms. Nayantara holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Delhi, India. Before joining WBL, Nayantara practiced law in India for over four years. She also worked for the World Bank’s Data and Evidence for Judicial Reform (DE JURE) program. She speaks Hindi and Bengali.

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Lara Wanna

Lara Wanna joined the Women, Business and the Law team in January 2021 and supports the childcare indicator. Prior to WBL, she worked with the Subnational Doing Business project in the UAE and worked as an internal legal consultant in D.C. Lara is a Beirut Bar licensed attorney with over six years of experience working in corporate and civil law in the MENA region. She has advised and represented government and private sector stakeholders, worked on drafting legal policies and regulations for Expo Dubai 2020 and policy implementation for the UN Refugee Nations in Lebanon. Lara is a member of the New York State Bar. She holds a Master of Law Degree from The Lebanese University and an L.L.M Degree from The George Washington University specializing in business and finance Law. She is fluent in Arabic.

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Siyi Wang

Siyi Wang joined the Women, Business and the Law team in June 2019. Prior to joining the World Bank, she worked for the Financial Institutions Group of the International Finance Corporation and worked on China’s financial inclusion program. Siyi holds a Master in Public Policy from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, and another Master in Simultaneous Interpretation from Beijing Foreign Studies University’s Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation. She speaks Chinese.

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Yasmin Zand

Yasmin Zand is the Contributor Manager for the Global Indicators Group, which includes Women Business and the Law and Doing Business. She joined the World Bank Group in 2009, first working on media and communications for the Doing Business report and subsequently researching credit information. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, she was the Deputy Field Director at The Mellman Group, a research-based strategy firm in Washington, DC. She also worked on the 2004 United States presidential political campaign. She holds bachelor's degrees in Business Administration and Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from INSEAD. She speaks Farsi and is conversant in French.

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Fahima Ali

Fahima Ali

Fahima Ali is currently a rising second year MA (International Affairs) candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Fahima completed a Bachelor’s (Sociology) at Columbia University. Originally from Somaliland, she founded Hiil Movement, an initiative whose mission is to help Somali women in all aspects of their lives by creating and strengthening their collective power.

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Mariam Anaïs Gnakra

Mariam Anaïs Gnakra is a recent graduate from the George Washington University Law School with a Master of Laws (LL.M) in International Human Rights. She holds her first law degree in European and Comparative Law from the University of Montpellier. Before joining the Women, Business, and the Law Team, Mariam supported the Legal Vice Presidency of the World Bank in preparing a report documenting legal experiences related to Covid-19. She focused her contribution on the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable groups, essentially women and people of African descent. Originally from Cote d'Ivoire, Mariam is interested in women's economic empowerment and wartime sexual crimes. She aspires to contribute to the existing literature on accountability for sexual and gender-based crimes and advocate for women and girls bearing the unequal burden of war. Mariam is a gifted and self-taught hairstylist specializing in wigs and extensions. She speaks French, English, and Spanish.

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Héloïse Groussard

Héloïse Groussard is currently a second-year Master of International Administration at Panthéon-Assas University. She is interested in economic development and especially in the impact of women's rights in the economy. Héloïse was an intern at a shelter for women experiencing abuse in São Paulo during her student exchange in Brazil at the Faculty of Law of the University of São Paulo (USP). Next, she joined the law firm MG Gestões (PGMBM), which was created to give legal assistance to the victims of major environmental disasters in Brazil. During this time, she worked mostly with a gynecological violence case. She just finished an internship at the Pan American Health Organization in the Office for Equity, Gender, and Cultural Diversity. Out of work Héloïse has been dancing since her childhood, a discipline that enables her to discover other cultures. She speaks French, English, Portuguese, and has working knowledge of Spanish.

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Caroline Perrin

Caroline is currently a second-year PhD student at the University of Strasbourg under the supervision of Prof. Laurent Weill. Her research interests focus on the effects of gendered laws on female financial inclusion. Originally from France, she worked as a junior economist in Ivory Coast in 2018. She is an active member of the French think tank BSI Economics and enjoys running and horse-riding. She speaks French and English and is learning Spanish.

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Camelia Saranciuc

Camelia Saranciuc is currently a graduate student at HEC Lausanne (Switzerland), pursuing a Master of Science in Management with an orientation in Business Analytics. She was born and raised in Chisinau, Moldova, and has an extensive international background. Previously she has earned a Bachelor in Economics and Management from the University of Strasbourg (France). During her undergraduate years, Camelia has also lived in Sydney, and worked as an intern at the Australian Shareholders’ Association, having helped to initiate a campaign for promoting gender equality in the financial industry. Camelia has strong humanistic convictions and is highly concerned about global problems such as underdevelopment, poverty, social inequality and climate change. She speaks English, French, Romanian and Russian and is conversational in German.