URC President Earl Gast meets with team members of the Kènèya Nièta project in Mali. Photo credit: URC

Our Leadership

Earl Gast


With 30 years of experience in government and private industry, Earl is a talented professional with proven expertise in the public and private sector leading strategic, results-driven programming.

Prior to joining URC, Earl served as Executive Vice President for Programs at Creative Associates, leading the implementation of all programs across more than 30 countries. He previously served as Senior International Advisor for the global law firm, Covington & Burling, LLP, where he advised many of the largest U.S. and international companies on their investment strategies.

Before that, Earl spent more than two decades with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Confirmed by the U.S. Senate in April 2012, he was sworn in as the Assistant Administrator (AA) for the Agency’s Africa Bureau overseeing a $7 billion portfolio that provided assistance to more than 40 countries, including USAID’s largest health portfolio.

Maureen Shauket

Chief Operating Officer / Chief Compliance Officer

Global development leader Maureen Shauket comes to URC from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) where she served as Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL). Prior to joining PPL, Maureen represented USAID as the Senior Development Advisor at the U.S. Africa Command in Germany. There she provided expertise on development, stabilization, and humanitarian assistance and helped shape the Department of Defense’s plan for Africa.

As a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Maureen achieved the rank of Career Minister. She carries the distinction of being the first woman to be designated USAID’s Chief Acquisition Officer and Procurement Executive. Maureen is the recipient of two Presidential Meritorious Awards, a Department of Defense Chairman’s Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Award, and USAID’s Ethics Award.

Hadi Annous

Chief Financial Officer

Hadi began his international development career almost 20 years ago working as an administrator for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. Since then he has overseen finance and accounting functions for both for-profit and not-for-profit USAID implementing organizations, including the pricing and oversight of over $1 billion in awards. His experience ranges from work with large-scale USAID contractors to recently graduated SBA small businesses. Hadi has led the restructuring of finance and accounting departments ensuring responsive and compliant fiscal policies. He has conducted numerous trainings on U.S. government financial rules and regulations.

As CFO at URC, Hadi oversees the Finance and Accounting Department, the Contracts and Pricing teams, and the Information Technology Department. Likewise, given his extensive experience in business growth and diversification strategies, Hadi plays a leading role in strategic planning for the company.

Hadi received a MBA from Johns Hopkins University and a BA in International Relations from Syracuse University. He speaks Arabic fluently.

Carlos Cuéllar

Executive Vice President

Carlos started his career with the Ministry of Health of Bolivia as an Epidemiologist with the National Center for Tropical Disease Control, and later as a Rural District Medical Officer. He is Co-founder and former Executive Director of PROSALUD — the single largest and fully sustainable primary health care NGO network in Bolivia — providing high-quality and affordable health care to low- and middle-income families.

Most recently, Carlos was with Abt Associates as Vice President and Senior Fellow. He provided technical and strategic leadership to current projects and new business initiatives on health systems strengthening, health service delivery, health care quality, integration of HIV programs, public-private partnerships, private provider networks, and program/NGO sustainability.

While at Abt he served in Jordan as Chief of Party for the Primary Health Care Initiatives, the Health Systems Strengthening, and the Communication, Advocacy and Policy projects. He was also Chief of Party for the Maternal & Child Centers of Excellence Project in the Dominican Republic, which was credited with reducing maternal deaths by 49.2 percent in 10 target hospitals between 2010 and 2011 and sustained thereafter. He later served as Portfolio Manager of the Clinical HIV/AIDS Services Strengthening Project in Mozambique.

Inna Sacci

Senior Vice President, Asia-Middle East-Europe-North Africa Region

An educator by training and a creator at heart, Inna has over 25 years of international development experience in West Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Inna started her career at EngenderHealth and then spent nearly 15 years in Armenia, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Ukraine as country director and chief-of-party, managing complex programs for URC, Save the Children, IntraHealth, and Management Sciences for Health.

Inna has led multi-disciplinary teams of public health professionals, communications experts, health workers, pharmacists, researchers, engineers, agronomists, and grants managers. Under her tutelage, country teams in Armenia, the Philippines, and Cambodia won national awards and/or were recognized by development partners and governments for innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions in health and nutrition.

Inna brings a commitment to excellence, technical expertise in family planning; reproductive health; maternal, newborn, child health and nutrition; social and behavior change; supply chain; and hands-on experience implementing USAID-funded projects making tangible impacts in the lives of people worldwide.

Catherine Thompson

Senior Vice President, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean Region

With 30 years of public health experience, more than half of which was spent overseas (including in Malawi, Nepal, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), Catherine has served in leadership roles with many of our esteemed partners.

Catherine couples a strong technical acumen in infectious disease, family planning, maternal and child health with proven programmatic, business development, and leadership skills. She is known for using her talent in communication and coordination with diverse networks to strengthen global health initiatives.

Catherine received her Master of Public Health in International Health from Columbia University in the City of New York and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from New York University.

Robin Goebel

Vice President, Human Resources

With over 20 years of human resources experience, fifteen plus of those in global HR, Robin most recently worked at Dexis Consulting Group, where she served as Vice President of Human Resources. Before joining Dexis, Robin served as Human Resources Director for Chemonics International. She has extensive experience leading organizational transformations and has managed the unique staffing, legal, and operational demands of global international development organizations, including AMIDEAST and CHF International (now Global Communities).

Robin is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she teaches classes in human resources and change management and serves as a mentor for students pursuing careers in human resources. She received her MS from Johns Hopkins University in Organizational Development and her BA from Pennsylvania State University in Speech Communications.

Yousri Hanna

Vice President, Contracts, Grants Administration, and Cost and Pricing

Yousri joined URC in 2017. He has more than 25 years of experience working in contracts and assistance with USAID, U.S. State Department, and U.S. Department of Defense-funded development programs.

Before joining URC, he served as Director of Contracts for the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan region in DAI’s U.S. Government Business Unit. Prior to that, he was DAI’s Country Director for Contracts and Procurement in Afghanistan. Before that, Yousri worked with Deloitte Consulting as a Contracts Manager supporting its program in Afghanistan. He retired from USAID as a Senior Acquisition and Assistance Specialist after serving in Iraq’s and Egypt’s Missions.

Yousri holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce and a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from Cairo University.

Marni Laverentz

Vice President, Program Implementation

Marni joined URC in 2008 as a Country Program M&E Advisor. She has since steadily gained experience and responsibility at URC, culminating in her promotion to Vice President in March 2023. In her role as Vice President, Marni supervises URC-implemented projects in Africa.  

Marni has more than 25 years of experience in global health, starting as a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso. In 2012, she became Deputy Chief of Party (COP) for URC’s Promoting Malaria Prevention and Treatment (ProMPT) Project in Ghana, kicking off several years of leadership of URC-implemented projects in Ghana. This includes serving as Chief of Party of the USAID Systems for Health Project.

Marni’s project leadership experience, as well as her management of URC’s Africa portfolio, has made her a skilled leader of USAID and other U.S. government-funded projects. She is known for her excellent technical oversight of projects, as well as her collaborative, empowering management style. Marni received an MPH and Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in International Health Systems from The Johns Hopkins University. She received her BS in Health Science and Health Education from Truman State University.

Maria Alejandra Peláez

Vice President, Global Operations

Maria Alejandra began her career in international development as an operations specialist with Creative Associates International, climbing the ranks to become the Director for the Office of Programs and Operations. In this position she advised the Chief Operating Officer and other senior leaders on issues related to strategy and business management; worked with the board of directors on matters related to strategic planning, organizational development, and corporate restructuring; and led priority cross-divisional projects and systems initiatives focused on enabling efficiency, improving performance, and managing risk.

Originally from Colombia, Maria Alejandra has lived in Venezuela, Mexico, and the United States and is fully bilingual in Spanish and English. She holds a BA in International Affairs and Political Science from George Washington University and an MBA with concentrations in Management Consulting and Marketing from Rice University. She is Project Management Professional (PMP) certified.