Our Team

The Convergence staff is made up of the following individuals (Click on each person’s name to see their bio):


Robert Fersh

Rob Fersh is the President and Founder of Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, a non-profit organization founded in 2009 to promote consensus solutions to issues of domestic and international importance. Immediately prior, Rob served as the United States country director for Search for Common Ground, an international conflict resolution organization. While at SFCG, he directed national policy consensus projects on health care coverage for the uninsured and U.S.-Muslim relations.

In the 1986-98 period, Rob served as president of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), a leading NGO working to alleviate hunger in the United States. Rob also served on the staffs of three Congressional committees, working for U.S. Representative Leon Panetta and for Senators Patrick Leahy and Edmund Muskie. While a Congressional staff member and at FRAC, he was deeply involved in shepherding passage of bipartisan legislation to reduce hunger in the United States.

Rob has held additional positions in the federal executive branch and non-profit sector. He was a 1994 recipient of the Prudential Foundation Prize for Non-Profit Leadership. Rob holds a law degree from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, where he has served as a guest lecturer and co-instructor of a course on collaborative decision making and public policy. He is married, has four children, and one grandchild.

Media Highlights

Our Voices Matter: Lorelle Media 
Finding Common Ground in the Belly of the Beast The Peace Building Podcast

Convergence’s Values and Approach

You can contact Rob via email at rob@convergencepolicy.org

Amanda Broun

Amanda Broun joined Convergence Center for Policy Resolution in 2017 as Executive Vice President.

Prior to joining Convergence, Amanda was Vice President of Programs and Practice at Independent Sector (IS), a national membership organization of nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs. There, she led efforts to strengthen leadership, accountability, and effectiveness in nonprofit organizations of all sizes and missions.

Prior to IS, Amanda was Senior Vice President at Public Education Network (PEN), a network of community-based nonprofit advocacy organizations seeking to improve public education in high poverty school districts across the country. There, she led and supported efforts to broaden the focus of PEN members from school-based programs to influencing school district policy and public engagement in support of disadvantaged students.

Prior to joining PEN, Amanda served as Chief Education Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources where she worked on federal legislation addressing the needs of students who were from low-income families, English language learners, homeless, at-risk of dropping out of school, or disabled, as well as initiatives to support teachers, early childhood education, and technology-based learning.

Amanda received her J.D. from New York University School of Law and B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University. She is currently on the faculty of Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies where she teaches in the nonprofit management program.

You can contact Amanda via email at amanda@convergencepolicy.org

Dusie Hoagland Cassata

As Director of Finance and Development, Dusie’s role is to support, organize, and strategize the implementation of Convergence’s fundraising activities, to manage Convergence’s finances, and to oversee operations. Before growing into this role, Dusie worked on the U.S.-Pakistan Leaders Forum, a project that continues to be near and dear to her. Dusie’s interest in Muslim relations began while studying at Brown University, where she wrote an undergraduate thesis on the subject of immigration in France following the “veil affair.” After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and French civilization with honors, she began teaching English in the suburbs of Paris during the 2005 riots there. She became closely acquainted with the tensions and grievances among primarily Muslim youth and French society at large.

Drawing on a desire to expose inequalities like those she witnessed as a teacher, Dusie earned a master’s degree in human rights from University College London’s School of Public Policy. She wrote her dissertation on discrimination against Muslim youth in France. Dusie served as a junior policy officer at 4Children, a British children’s charity, before returning to the U.S. to pursue a career in international public policy. Prior to joining Convergence as a fellow in March 2010, Mademoiselle Hoagland taught French at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C.

You can contact Dusie via email at dusie@convergencepolicy.org

Jag Griffiths

Jag is the Executive Assistant to the President and Executive Vice-President of Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from Marymount University. Prior to joining Convergence, Jag spent a few years as a program assistant at the World Bank, supporting education projects in the Latin America & Caribbean region. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, writing, reading and spending time with his two dogs.

You can contact Jag via email at jag@convergencepolicy.org

Caryn Hederman

Caryn Hederman is an Ohio-based consultant on health care policy, emphasizing public and private health care financing.

She directed Convergence’s successful Long Term Care Financing Collaborative in Washington, D.C., which convened national experts and stakeholders from diverse ideological and philosophical perspectives to create a policy path forward for financing long-term care. The Collaborative’s recommendations continue to frame this important issue for thought leaders and members of Congress.

Ms. Hederman served from 2006 through 2013 as an independent consultant to The Heritage Foundation, where she managed state-based health policy efforts.

She has served on the boards of directors of nonprofit health organizations, including Ohio’s nonprofit mutual health insurer, InHealth Mutual, and the Health Systems Agency of Northern Virginia, which was established under Virginia law to plan for development of health care facilities and services.

Prior to consulting, Ms. Hederman practiced with a top law firm in Washington, D.C., where she provided legal counsel, regulatory representation, Congressional advocacy and strategic planning for a broad range of health care providers and insurers, biodefense and nanotechnology companies.

She previously worked in science and technology transfer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce. Ms. Hederman serves as the President of the U.S. Friends of World Maritime University, Inc., which supports the maritime education and training initiatives of the U.N.-founded World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden.

Originally from Spokane, Washington, Caryn earned her law degree from The University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, and her bachelor of arts degree from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.

You can contact Caryn via email at caryn@convergencepolicy.org

Isabel Hinestrosa

Isabel Hinestrosa is the Associate for the Future of Health Project at Convergence. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Public Health Microbiology and Emerging Infectious Diseases at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. Isabel’s passion for all things health-related led her to work at the American Society for Microbiology and at the National Breast Cancer Coalition prior to joining Convergence. In her spare time, Isabel enjoys traveling to visit her family and spending time with her dog, Amy.

Susan Behrend Jerison

Susan Jerison is the Director of Communications for Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. She is responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s communications and marketing strategies. Susan previously served as the director of marketing and communications for Jewish Women International. Susan built the communications department, helping JWI expand its visibility and reach new constituencies.

Susan also served as the vice-president for governance at Hillel International, responsible for managing the board of directors and running the office of the President. She also created and ran several national training programs for students, Hillel staff and board leadership. At the beginning of her career, she worked in the Philadelphia Jewish community, did constituent services for a member of Congress, and gave tours of Independence Hall as a National Park Service ranger.

Susan has a masters in public administration from Temple University and B.A. from Drew University. She is married with two children.

You can contact Susan via email at sjerison@convergencepolicy.org 

Russell Krumnow

Russell Krumnow is the Director of the Economic Mobility and Poverty Project. He comes to Convergence with more than a decade of experience in strategy, advocacy, coalition-building and communications focused on advancing issues like economic opportunity, education, and civic engagement.Previously, he helped build and lead Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan campaign focused on closing the opportunity divide in America. As the campaign’s Managing Director, he led strategy development, engaged a network of hundreds of coalition partners, worked on successful policy advocacy efforts, served as a spokesperson to many media outlets, and regularly presented the Opportunity Index to diverse audiences as a tool to drive positive change in communities.

Prior to joining Opportunity Nation, Russell designed professional and leadership development programs with a consulting firm. Additionally, with the non-profit Partnership for Public Service, he built a national outreach campaign aimed at inspiring college students to seek out public service careers. Before that, he planned and implemented student civic education programs serving thousands of students annually with the National Young Leaders Conference and wrote curriculum for a voter education effort during the 2008 presidential campaign. He has organized on state and national political campaigns.

Russell is a graduate of Baylor University and earned a Master of Arts in political science at the University of Mississippi.

You can contact Russell via email at russell@convergencepolicy.org

Stephanie McGencey

Dr. Stephanie McGencey is the Director of the Reentry Ready Project at Convergence. She brings over 24 years of experience leading transformative programs and organizations that serve youth, women, and other underserved populations. She believes that sustainable and effective social change efforts are collaborative, engaging and creative. Her career choices all reflect a deep passion and commitment to making a difference to the overall health and well-being of women, children, youth, families and communities.Prior to joining Convergence, Dr. McGencey worked in the philanthropic sector helping to inform investments in transformative initiatives for vulnerable populations. As Senior Director, Private Philanthropy at the Council on Foundations she led the organization’s management excellence learning agenda for family, operating and independent foundations. Prior to joining the Council, she provided executive leadership at Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families (GCYF). Here she led the organization’s efforts to engage foundations in public policy and advocacy on a host of children, youth and family issues. She also forged key alliances between philanthropic leaders, elected officials, national organization partners, and researchers to address member needs.

Prior to her work in the philanthropic sector, she served in leadership positions at two national associations. As the Deputy Director, Training and Technical Assistance, National Community Anti-Drug Coalition Institute, for Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) she was responsible for all of CADCA’s training, technical assistance, and research initiatives.

Prior to joining CADCA, Dr. McGencey was the Director of Prevention Services for the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc. (NASADAD). This experience enabled her to develop a keen understanding of State systems which has shaped her views on how State agencies can support community leadership. Stephanie has additional experience leading national technical assistance delivery systems and serving as a master trainer/facilitator.

Dr. McGencey holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Science from San Francisco State University, a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior/Health Education from the University of Michigan, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Health Services from Walden University.

You can contact Stephanie via email at stephanie@convergencepolicy.org

Sharona Shuster

Sharona Shuster is the Associate Director, Development and Impact for Convergence, where she combines her passion for engaging diverse individuals and organizations in support of social change and her love of organizational development and learning. She brings to this work over a decade of professional experience in various areas of social transformation and innovation, including education, gender equality, and global public health.

Before her current role, Sharona was the Deputy Director of Convergence’s Education Reimagined initiative, where she worked extensively to strengthen fundraising, outreach, and evaluation for that effort. Prior to joining Convergence, Sharona worked as an independent consultant for a variety of organizations, including Ashoka, the world’s leading association of social entrepreneurs, where she led grantwriting and research initiatives to develop and strengthen global innovative maternal and infant health programs. Sharona also spent several years as the Representative for the Advancement of Women for the Baha’is of the United States, where she worked in collaboration with dozens of NGOs to strengthen U.S. policy and legislation pertaining to women and children’s global human rights.

Sharona has a Master’s degree in Education, with a concentration in Human Development and Psychology, Risk and Prevention, from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Psychology and Philosophy from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two children and enjoys art, singing, gardening, and spending time in nature.

You can contact Sharona via email at sharona@convergencepolicy.org

Angela Travers

Angela is the Development Manager for the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. She brings more than a decade of experience working as a philanthropic advisor for high net worth families, a facilitator for multi-generational family offices and administering private, family foundations. Previously, she was the Individual Giving Manager with Young Invincibles, the nation’s leading Millennial research and advocacy group, working to amplify the voices of young adults in the political process and expand their economic opportunity. While there she managed the individual giving and family foundation portfolios of a coalition focused on identifying, developing, and scaling data-driven strategies for increasing college student voter engagement. Prior to her work with Young Invincibles, Angela has overseen the philanthropic activities of high net-worth families for over 15 years. As the administrative arm of a small DC-based organization, Angela engaged shareholders and liaised between foundation and financial components in order to align interests and values. She also worked to bridge the inter-generational gap in her office through meaningful dialogue and an understanding of both family and individual goals. Angela holds a BS in Psychology with a Minor in Women’s Studies from Florida International University and an MBA from the University of Maryland.

You can contact Angela via email at angela@convergencepolicy.org

Vicki Veenker

Vicki is an attorney and mediator whose practice has intersected with the healthcare industry for thirty years. With a background in biochemistry, Vicki represented Stanford University Medical School and biotech innovators in patent matters while a partner at Shearman & Sterling and Fish & Neave (now Ropes & Gray). She is a longtime board member and former President of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley which operates Health Legal Services and the Mental Health Advocacy Project, providing direct services to underserved communities.

Vicki has been appointed to mediation panels for the International Trade Commission and the United States District Court in Northern California. She began her career at the Kettering Foundation where she focused on facilitation of public discussion of policy issues through the National Issues Forum of the Domestic Policy Association. In 2016, Vicki was a candidate for the California State Assembly, learning firsthand of the need for public policy consensus building. She finished second out of a field of eight candidates.

Vicki served as an adjunct professor at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law and at Santa Clara University. In 2002, Vicki was named one of California’s top 20 lawyers under 40 by California Law Business and has been named a leading IP practitioner numerous times by legal industry publications. She earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law & Technology, and a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in Political Science, both from Indiana University.

Vicki has a life-long interest in public health, having had the good fortune to grow up in the home of a professor who founded the health education program at Purdue University.

You can contact Vicki Veenker via email at vicki@convergencepolicy.org

Sara Willi

Sara Willi is the Operations Manager for Convergence. She graduated with a degree in Peace Studies from the College of St. Benedict/St. Johns University in Minnesota. She studied abroad in post-apartheid South Africa and was a University of Minnesota Human Rights Fellow in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Sara previously worked at the Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC) and with Search for Common Ground where she witnessed the power of people working together. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and son.

You can contact Sara via email at sara@convergencepolicy.org

Tal Yaari

Tal is the Communications Associate for the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. She graduated with a bachelors degree in Communications from the State University of New York at Geneseo, where she specialized in Media Advertising. Tal’s interest in visual communications began when she studied graphic design abroad in Bath, England. Prior to Convergence, she worked as a marketing coordinator for a local business in Arlington and as a graphic designer for a couture stationary company. A native of Long Island, Tal spends as much time as possible near the water.

You can contact Tal via email at tal@convergencepolicy.org