About Us


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Thea T Bader, MSW, LICSW

Thea T. Bader, MSW, LICSW, graduated from Simmons College School of Social Work in 1983 and has dedicated over 33 years in the social work field making a difference in the lives of people in the U.S. and in countries throughout the world.   Working in the U.S. as a private practitioner as well as in the nonprofit sector, she has experience with a variety of issues such as homelessness, child sexual abuse, the elderly, and difficulties related to parenting. Ms. Bader’s passion for volunteering internationally led her to Tanzania, Peru, Cambodia, and South Africa for collaboration with in-country NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to help with people affected by community violence, profound poverty, violence against women, and child trafficking to name a few. Ms. Bader’s main objective was to leave the country with sustainable programming to benefit the people of those countries for years to come.

In 2012, Ms. Bader pursued a Master Certificate in Global Mental Health from Harvard University, Department of Psychiatry specializing in Refugee Trauma.   From this platform, she along with a team of professionals developed and implemented “Training the Trainer” programs for professional and para-professional social workers in their home countries. Training modules were developed for all levels of an organization from the “on the front lines” social worker to the highest level of management. In addition, as a clinical supervisor for the Joint Government of Cambodia/UNICEF Orphan Reunification Project, she consulted with the on-site project manager in Battambang, Cambodia helping to reunite children residing in orphanages with their families.

Ms. Bader’s vision for International Social Work Solutions, Inc. is to give social workers everywhere the opportunity to continue the crucial work of looking for ways of improving the lives of people in need.

Mary Connolly, MBA, MA

Mary has over 20 years of marketing and business development experience in professional services firms and she is currently the Director of Business Development for Isaacson, Miller, a premier executive search firm that recruits senior leaders for some of the country’s top foundations, colleges, and universities, as well as other mission-driven organizations. Her area of expertise includes the planning and execution of integrated marketing and communication plans and branding. Mary has an MBA from the University of Maryland, an MA in political science from the University of Rhode Island, and a BA in international relations from Webster University in The Netherlands. She has volunteered for numerous organizations including Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, United South End Settlements, the Pine Street Inn, and Washington Animal Rescue League.

Ellen Donovan, MSc

Ellen Donovan has been engaged in causes to improve communities and lives since her undergraduate days. Her twenty-five-year career in non-profit fundraising combines interests in public health, access to education, and youth empowerment, and has taken her across the United States, from Boston to California. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Scranton and a Master of Science in Communications Management from Simmons College in Boston. Ellen is an active member of Zonta Schenectady, an organization that seeks to empower and elevate women and girls across the globe. She volunteers for citizen engagement projects whenever possible and resides in Schenectady New York.

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Nancy Karp, MSW

A veteran volunteer since the fourth grade, Nancy Karp has worked directly with a variety of populations as well as for a number of issue-driven organizations. She has served on several Boards including The Dana Hall School and the American Jewish Congress, New England Region. Currently, she serves on advisory boards at the Boston University School of Social Work, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, and Community Servings.

After receiving her MSW from BU, Nancy worked for the Department of Social Services of MA, working with families and supervising social work interns. Later, until her retirement, she worked at Jewish Vocational Service providing services to Refugees and low-income adult learners. Currently retired, Nancy enjoys traveling around the world and painting and crafting.

Caroline Kinyanjui, MSc

Kenyan born and Fluent in three languages, her areas of expertise include effective relationship-building to create long-lasting associations, problem-solving, and an ability to execute on key organizational projects.

She received her Master of International Business from Hult International Business School in Cambridge Massachusetts. In addition, also holds an Associates and Bachelor of Management from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. During this time was a member of the Global Citizen Program which connected international students with local mentors, as well as had the opportunity to study in The Netherlands and took on the role of a mentee.

Caroline currently resides in North Providence enjoys traveling and being a part of an organization that offers service work that connects to global issues.

Kelsey Lima, LCSW

Kelsey Lima, LCSW is a social worker specializing in adoption. Ms. Lima has experience working with Refugee families with complex medical and behavioral health needs and individuals with developmental disabilities in the adult foster care system. Ms. Lima received Bachelor’s Degrees in Geography and Social Work in addition to a UN-recognized certificate in tourism sustainability and development from Salem State University. In 2018, she published an honors thesis on the relationship between violence against Indigenous women and natural resource exploitation in the U.S. Ms. Lima received an MSW from Boston University and holds advanced post-graduate certifications in CBT and the Multi-Contextual Treatment of Trauma from BU and Simmons University.

During her undergraduate career, Ms. Lima enjoyed volunteering as an education caseworker for adults learning English as a second language, mentoring international students, and serving as a student representative on the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Massachusetts Chapter board. Currently, she volunteers at her church, mentors new social workers, co-facilitates her employer’s trauma-informed leadership team, and serves on the city of Melrose’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. In 2021, Ms. Lima accepted an Outstanding Social Worker Alumni Award from Salem State University for her practice and contribution to the field. In 2016, Ms. Lima participated in a service-learning trip to Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, a residential community in Rwanda for orphaned teenagers.  Ms. Lima remembers how difficult it was as a young, working student to obtain financial means to conduct social services abroad. She hopes to bring awareness of ISWS to other social workers interested in international social work.

Donnacha Kennedy, MBA

Donnacha has over 20 years of international corporate finance experience at global Financial Services firms, including State Street Corporation and Brown Brothers & Harriman. His areas of expertise include strategy and planning, financial management, transformation, and operations. He holds an MBA from the Carroll Graduate School of Management at Boston College, Massachusetts, and a BSc in Management from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.  Donnacha has previously volunteered with the United Way and the Institute for Non-Profit Practice and currently lives in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Hannah Taverna, MSW, LCSW

Hannah Taverna, MSW, LCSW, is a former ISWS recipient who traveled to Guatemala City to conduct a comprehensive community needs assessment. Ms. Taverna is currently studying for her Ph.D. at the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at UMass Boston. Ms. Taverna received both her Bachelor’s and Masters of Social Work from Bridgewater State University, during which time she volunteered as an Americorps member at an adult homeless shelter, led a group of students on a service trip to work with undocumented migrant farm-workers, traveled to Cambodia to install water filtration systems in rural villages, and studied social work in Belize. With her passion for service, Ms. Taverna was awarded the Spirit of Service award, Most Impactful Service award, S. Elizabeth Pope award, was the 2014 Commencement Speaker at Bridgewater State University, Graduate School of Social Work Scholarship awardee, and was twice awarded the 300 Hours of Service award from Americorps. Ms. Taverna is currently a social worker at the Department of Children and Families, working in partnership with families and communities to keep children safe from abuse and neglect. Prior to this position, she ran the High School Plus program at School on Wheels of Massachusetts, where she developed and launched a college mentor program for high school and college students impacted by homelessness.

Alexandra “Xan” Weber, MSW

Alexandra “Xan” Weber has worked with refugees and immigrants in New England for over 12 years. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and the Chief Institutional Advancement Officer at the International Institute of New England, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts,

Over the past several years, Xan has focused on strengthening and expanding direct support services to immigrants, and building partnerships with organizations, employers, funders, and communities to support the welcome of newcomers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Xan has a passion and vision for inclusive communities and deep experience in program design, strategy, and implementation; continuous quality improvement; and non-profit resource development.

Prior to IINE, Xan provided behavioral health services and worked in family and children’s direct care and crisis support in Iowa, Tennessee, and Massachusetts.

Xan holds degrees from Georgetown University and the University of Iowa, where she received her Master’s in Social Work, and certificates from the Institute of Nonprofit Practice, Family Therapy Training Program in Boston, and the Clinical Program in Trauma at Simmons University. Xan lives with her husband, two children, and poorly-behaved dogs in Jamaica Plain, MA.