About Us

UN Women USA Gulf Coast

The Gulf Coast Chapter of UN Women USA works to support UN Women in its mission towards gender equality and the empowerment of women. We do three things:

  • Educate about gender issues worldwide 
  • Advocate on behalf of gender equity here and globally
  • Fundraise to support the valuable programs of UN Women

The Gulf Coast Chapter, founded in 1993 and based in Sarasota, Fla., is one of the largest U.S. Chapters. Through the volunteer work of our dedicated members, sponsors, and supporters, we raise community awareness about critical issues and funds for UN Women. We create a broad range of educational and engaging events to fill this mission, such as:

  • our yearly Through Women's Eyes International Film Festival, which, after more than 20 years, is probably our best known event. Our festival, which is currently virtual, educates audiences about equality and supports the work of female film directors, writers, and producers who are vastly underrepresented in mainstream film and media.
  • our annual Walk to End Violence, during which we engage with individual and teams all over the US -- and the world -- to bring attention to the unique problem of violence against women and girls;
  • virtual programs, like our 2021 "Climate Change is a Women's Issue" presentation with expert speakers and exciting visuals;
  • and partnerships with local community organizations.

Board of Directors and Advisory Council

Get to know our working Board and Advisory Council members.

Cathy Berna, Membership Director

…was raised in Europe and holds a BA and MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and an MSc in Environmental Physiology from Arizona State University. Cathy  worked in health care administration for 9 years then moved to Florida where she raised her family and worked part-time in education. She volunteered with the Girl Scouts and for 10 years trained over 800 girls a year in Product Sales aka cookies! Cathy continues to work on behalf of girls and women, both locally and globally, and truly enjoys meeting all our wonderful members.   

Kim Cartlidge

Kim Cartlidge is passionate about encouraging and empowering women to grow, lead and pursue their own happiness, and she’s an advocate for social and political equality. She is a communications professional with a background in journalism, PR and corporate marketing communications with a degree in political science from Florida State University. As a former board member of the League of Women Voters of Sarasota County, Kim promoted LWV consensus positions, organized candidate forums and produced voter guides. At UN Women Gulf Coast, she has focused on marketing, publicity and fundraising for annual events, and she was recognized with a CAE Volunteer of the Year Award for her work to promote gender equality.

Susann Chalhub, Treasurer

…brings to her position over 25 years of accounting experience working with various nonprofits and small businesses.  Born and raised in Georgia, Susann earned her accounting degree from the University of Georgia.  She and her family moved to Sarasota in 2013.  Susann enjoys traveling and spending time with family.

E Scott Osborne, President

…has lived and worked in seven countries on four continents, working in international development, law, and education. She speaks regularly on activism and the global gender gap; right now she is working on a book about the lives of women and girls in India. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and MPA from Princeton University and a JD from New York University School of Law. Scott was a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa and is an avid amateur athlete.

Chris Serio Martin, Communications Director

…calls herself a warrior for positive change, especially in her work as a journalist. Her passion is using words and art to cultivate understanding and advocacy. Chris received a BA from Northwestern University and an MS from the University of Illinois. She serves as Secretary of the UN Women USA National Board. Chris loves to travel and explore the world, sometimes alone and sometimes with her husband Todd and their two sons.

Debbie Vale, Film Festival Director

…worked in the film and entertainment industry and then fell in love with teaching. She has taught elementary school for over 30 years and in 2019 was nominated by her school as Teacher of the Year. She also trains teachers in the Montessori method of education.  Debbie is originally from New York and lived in Southern California before moving to Sarasota and she still loves to travel. Her enthusiasm for our Through Women's Eyes International Film Festival helps bring the best films made by, for, and about women to our audiences every year.

MaryAnn Vitiello, Outreach

..has devoted her nursing career  addressing issues  impacting  the health and well being of women and children globally. She holds a BSN from City University in New York, and MSN in Community Health Nursing from Thomas Jefferson University. MaryAnn holds certification as a   Nurse Practitioner and a Community Health Clinical Nurse Specialist. In her  role as the  Senior Nursing Advisor for The Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), MaryAnn worked  extensively  in 15 countries addressing the prevention of HIV perinatal transmission, which remains her primary  research interest. MaryAnn was a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa and is a documentary  photographer.

Mary Braxton-Joseph, Advisory Council

Mary is an Emmy-award winning journalist and media consultant who has worked in both the United States and South Africa. She has won numerous awards for editorial excellence and television programming. Mary currently serves on the Board of the Asolo Repertory Theatre as Chair of the Illumination Advisory Committee which promotes post-show conversations on race, gender, and cultural intersection. For her efforts to bring people together, she was named a 2019 Unity Award Winner by Sarasota Magazine. She also serves on the Board of WUSF Public Media and screens films for the “Through Women’s Eyes” Film Festival sponsored by the Gulf Coast Chapter of UN Women. A longtime women’s rights advocate, Mary was elected Chair of the Board of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida in July 2021.

Cooper Levey-Baker, Advisory Council

Cooper has written about food, politics, civic issues, the arts, and music in Southwest Florida for 15 years. His work has won multiple awards from the Florida Magazine Association and the Florida Society of Professional Journalists, as well as an honorable mention from the Julia Child Foundation.

Tom Walker, Advisory Council

Tom has worked with WSLR/Fogartyville for many years. He was on the board for seven years and still continues as the co-host of the Peace & Justice Report (Wednesdays at 9am). He is President of the Florida Consumer Action Network, on the board of Suncoast Waterkeeper, hosts monthly meetings of the Nation Group of Sarasota/Bradenton, and moderates weekly meetings of the Sarasota Great Books group. He's also a Democratic precinct captain and member of both the Sarasota-Charlotte Democratic Progressive Caucus and Progressive Sarasota, originally a Bernie Sanders group. His hobbies are Japanese calligraphy, improv comedy, and travel.

Terry Brackett, Advisory Council

Terry is a retired energy attorney from Washington, DC.  She has been active in a number of non-profits -- locally and nationally, including UN Women - USA, Coalition to End Gun Violence, WUSF, Sarasota Library Foundation. Protect Our Defenders and the Asolo Theatre Company.  Her passion is in the area of civil rights and civil liberties, with an emphasis on how those areas impact women both in their professional and their daily lives.

Dr. Mona Jain, Advisory Council

Dr. Mona Jain is the retired Director of Family Health Services for Manatee County Head Start, a Fulbright and National Science Foundation Scholar, and Medical Doctor who has also been a teacher and administrator in American, British, and Indian systems of education since 1961. Dr. Jain has demonstrated long-term achievements within education, medicine, and the community, earning recognition from the Manatee County school district, which dedicated the Dr. Mona Jain Middle School on August 8, 2019, in Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton). Recognition of Dr. Jain is not limited to the United States. During a visit to her home country of India, she was granted a private audience with international humanitarian, Mother Teresa, and Dr. Jain was one of only 20 women in the nation honored with the Community Service Award from the American Medical Women’s Association. Other recognitions include: the 2001 University of South Florida Distinguished Alumnus Award, USF College of Education Dean’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Distinguished Professional Achievement Award from the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Alumni Chapter, Jewish Women and Family Services Women of Valor Award, American Association of University Women’s Women of Achievement Award, United Negro College Fund Distinguished Career in Education Award, United Community Center Minnie Rogers Community Service and Spirit Award, and life membership in Delta Kappa Gamma, and Phi Delta Kappa. Dr. Jain was a centennial honor initiate of Kappa Delta Sorority and was the 2007 Order of the Pearl recipient for outstanding leadership and prominence at the national, state, and local level.