Rick Leach serves as president and CEO of World Food Program USA (WFP USA), a nonprofit organization that builds support in the United States to end global hunger by engaging individuals and organizations, shaping public policy and generating resources for WFP and other hunger relief operations. WFP USA educates Members of Congress, the administration, and other government officials about international hunger issues and specific policies that could improve U.S. government efforts to address global hunger. WFP USA also advocates for sufficient funding to ensure that U.S. Government programs are reaching as many people as possible who are in need around the world. Leach established WFP USA (formerly Friends of the World Food Program) in 1997 and led the organization until 2004. He returned to lead the organization in 2010.
From 2006–2008, Leach developed the plan for the World Health Organization to halt the production and trade in counterfeit drugs. In furtherance of this effort, an international task force comprised of national drug regulatory agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, law enforcement authorities and other key stakeholders was established. Leach also developed an initiative to help ensure that essential health technologies are incorporated within the health systems of developing countries. This involved extensive consultations with representatives of member states and adoption of a resolution in support of the initiative by the World Health Assembly.
From 2003–2005, Leach launched and directed a global campaign in collaboration with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the World Health Organization, and the American Cancer Society. The initiative sought to identify and build support for the public policies that would help protect children from tobacco use. This involved identifying the political leaders who had jurisdiction over this issue within the targeted nations (which cumulatively represented more than 75 percent of the world’s population), engaging the civil society advocates within these countries, and involving these political leaders and advocates in a process to define and reach agreement on the specific policies. This effort culminated in an international conference where leaders from over 30 countries adopted the specific policies to address tobacco use within their respective nations. These policies formed the basis of the International Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which has now been ratified by the majority of the world’s nations.
Leach helped the Alliance for Representative Democracy expand its national campaign to ensure that civic education is included within the curriculum of all public schools in the United States. He provided strategic advice to the campaign and produced four annual Congressional Conferences on Civic Education. The conferences were hosted by the leadership of the U.S. Congress and included delegations from all 50 states. As a result of the conferences, coalitions were established within each state consisting of state legislators, senior education officials, business leaders and members of state judiciaries. These coalitions continue to lead the campaign in their states.
From 1996–1997, Leach helped the World Wildlife Fund establish a global campaign to unify the organization’s operations throughout the world. He planned and launched the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Campaign that brought the organization’s 25 country offices together around a common plan of action to address over-fishing, deforestation and other specific environmental threats. The Living Planet Campaign successfully mobilized consumers, businesses, and governments to take action to address these threats. For example, at the launch of the Campaign, Unilever (the world’s largest buyer of frozen fish) announced that they would only purchase fish that had been caught according to defined standards and Assi Domain (the world’s largest private forest owner) announced that they would harvest timber according to specific standards that ensured sustainability of forest resources. A version of the Campaign continues to operate today.
In 1993, Leach was appointed by the Clinton Administration, to create and direct the federal government’s childhood immunization campaign at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The campaign was established to help address the low immunization coverage rates of children between birth and two years of age. The campaign fostered collaboration among federal agencies and between federal agencies and state authorities; established and mobilized public-private coalitions in all states; and led a national communications effort. By 1996, the campaign operation helped to increase the nation’s childhood immunization rate from 50 percent to 80 percent. In 1996, Leach transformed the campaign operation into a branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
From 1991–1993, Leach served as the foreign policy advisor to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Hunger. In that capacity, he helped shape Congressional policy on international development and humanitarian issues and served as a member of the U.S. delegation to several international conferences convened by the United Nations.
Leach also assisted the Inter-American Development Bank expand its micro-enterprise lending program, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) build support for the 1990 World Summit for Children, and the Organization of American States commemorate its 50th Anniversary. He helped produce numerous benefit concerts and rallies including Earth Day 1990 and 2000, the Mayor’s March on Washington, and other events.
Leach practiced corporate and maritime law from 1986 to 1990. He served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Reform of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. He has published articles on international human rights and micro-enterprise development and served as a correspondent on Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Internet Reporter. He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Lung Association for the District of Columbia from 2004–2006 and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.
Shannon Hiskey joined WFP USA in July 2011. Shannon directs the office operations, provides high-level administrative support to the CEO, and is the lead for managing relations and coordinating activities with the organization’s board of directors.
Prior to WFP USA, she worked at Keel Point Advisors, a wealth management and advisory firm, as marketing and support team supervisor. At Keel Point, Shannon managed the firm’s business development initiatives and events, design and use of sales and marketing collateral, and supervised the front and back office administrative staff.
Prior to Keel Point, Shannon worked at PineRock Productions, a corporate communications event firm as supervisor, sales and marketing and administration. At PineRock, her experience communicating with C-level Fortune 500 executives, managing sales and administrative staff and budgets, and monitoring new business opportunities, helped prepare her to serve as liaison to WFP USA’s board members and key supporters while managing the organization’s operations.
Shannon holds a B.A. in English-Writing/Communications from George Mason University. Her work history also includes experience as editor at the Association for University Programs in Health Administration and as communications associate at Karsten Manufacturing/PING Golf.
Alma Jane Shepard joined World Food Program USA as vice president for development in August 2011. She is responsible for directing all fundraising efforts of World Food Program USA.
Alma Jane brings more than 30 years of institutional advancement experience and insight in the areas of corporate and foundation giving, capital campaign management, direct marketing, donor research and solicitation, image and event management, publication and video production, and fundraising team leadership.
A Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) since 1993, Alma Jane has held a series of senior-level development positions, notably those of senior vice President of institutional advancement for the National World War II Museum in New Orleans and manager of major gifts for the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
As a reflection of her commitment to professional excellence, Alma Jane is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and has regularly engaged in mentorship for this and several other fundraising operations, including the People-to-People Fundraising Delegation to China, Team Resources, Wired Women, and Frontline Leadership.
Additionally, Alma Jane has been recognized as the recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements of her achievements, including Silver and Bronze Telly Awards as executive producer of three WWII Museum campaign videos, top honors at the 19th annual Teddy Awards for campaign displays, and as Cambridge Who’s Who 2008 Professional of the Year in Philanthropy and Education. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.