Senior Staff

Boston Office

Judy Bigby, M.D.Judy Bigby, M.D.
Executive Director

Judy is a nationally recognized health policy expert who brings over 30 years’ experience in health care delivery systems reforms, community health program implementation and evaluation, and strategies to achieve health equity. She has been involved with South Africa Partners as a member of the board of advisors and the board of directors for more than 15 years. She has also provided consultation on South Africa Partners’ programs, including the Albertina Sisulu Executive Leadership Program in Health. Appointed by Governor Deval Patrick, Judy served as Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 2007 to 2012. Prior to her appointment as Secretary, she served as the Director of Community Health Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston working with community-based organizations, providers, public health departments to improve population health and address disparities in health with a focus on low-income and minority women. In 2011, President Obama appointed her as one of the inaugural members of the advisory group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health of the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council. She holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and a M.D. from Harvard Medical School

Carol Jackson Cashion, M.A., M.Ed.Carol Jackson Cashion, M.A., M.Ed.
Education Program Director

An educator by training, Carol learned first-hand about educational challenges in South Africa during a year spent living in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape with her family, where her children attended government schools and she worked both as a classroom teacher of young adult students trying to bridge the gap between high school and university and with preschool teachers in low-resource Early Childhood centers. Since joining South Africa Partners in 2012, Carol’s primary focus has been the development of new partnerships and the piloting of innovative approaches to support Early Childhood Development in the Eastern Cape and beyond. Carol holds an undergraduate degree in History and Literature from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, and both a M.A. and M.Ed. from the University of Virginia.

Janice French, M.B.A.Janice French, M.B.A.
Financial Manager

Janice joined South Africa Partners in 2014 bringing 20 years of international nonprofit finance and operations experience at a senior level. Her previous career in health care as a Physical Therapist has allowed her to have a unique perspective in working with South Africa Partners and other charities involved in health care issues around the world. A graduate of the University of Connecticut where she earned a B.S. in Physical Therapy, Janice also holds an M.B.A from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a concentration in Accounting and Finance.

Kirsten O’BrienKirsten O’Brien
Director of Development

Originally from South Africa, Kirsten has had a foot in both the U.S. and her home country for the majority of her professional life. She has worked across various sectors in each country. Prior to joining South Africa Partners, she served in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Office of Research Strategy and Development, growing and diversifying research funding for the School and helping to lay the groundwork for the University’s new Data Science Initiative. She also worked closely with the School’s senior leadership to manage donor engagement strategies and activities relating to the Board of Dean’s Advisors, Campaign Committee, and Leadership Council. She completed her undergraduate business studies at the University of KwaZulu Natal and the University of South Africa, and graduate courses in business and international relations at Harvard. Kirsten has always been passionate about working towards a better South Africa for all. She is honored to have the opportunity to do this on a daily basis through South Africa Partners.

South Africa Offices

Anthony Diesel, R.N., M.B.A.Anthony Diesel, R.N., M.B.A.
Country Director, Johannesburg Office

Tony has over 30 years work experience in the South African health sector. He qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1985 and has completed numerous courses to supplement that initial qualification, amongst others a B.A. Curationis in Administration and Education, a H.R. Diploma and an M.B.A. He worked for the Democratic Nursing Organization of South Africa (DENOSA) as provincial manager for the Eastern Cape for 10 years from 1991 – 2001, where he led the organization in that province through the period of change that was required to be part of the “new South Africa”. He has been working in the HIV environment from the early 2000’s. Tony joined South Africa Partners in 2010.

Michele LabuschagneMichele Labuschagne
Financial Controller, East London Office

Michele matriculated in 1989 in the North West Province of South Africa. She started her working career in the small town of Klerksdorp as a junior bookkeeper and moved to her home town in Kwazulu Natal five years later to start her career in accounting for a small accounting firm. Over the next 15 years her experience has taken her from working for various small and medium enterprises as a consultant and trainer of accounting and payroll systems, to system implementation and new business set-up. Michele joined South Africa Partners as a fulltime staff member in 2010.

Thembi Ngubane-Zungu, R.N., M.P.H.Thembi Ngubane-Zungu, R.N., M.P.H.
Deputy Country Director, Port Elizabeth Office

Thembi completed a Diploma in Nursing (General, Community, Midwifery) and psychiatry in 1990 and worked at King Edward VII hospital in Durban, specializing in clinical and critical care nursing. In 2001 Thembi joined the NGO sector to enhance her public health knowledge. She has 17 years of valuable experience in the area of HIV, partnership development, program management and advocacy working with government departments, national and global advocacy initiatives focusing on the rights of people living with HIV. She joined South Africa Partners in 2004 as a Field Director in the Eastern Cape, supporting development and implementation of South Africa Partners’ initiatives with the aim of building relationships and changing the lives of the disadvantages communities. Thembi graduated through the University of Western Cape with a Certificate in Public Health (2007) and a Master of Public Health (2013).

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