Officers & Directors

Krista Krieger

Chair of the Board & Executive Director

Krista received her undergraduate degree in business administration from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and qualified as a Certified Public Accountant when she moved to New York City in 1993. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and two children and is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Empowers Africa. She has made over 7 short documentaries over the last several years, some winning awards at various film festivals. She is a former Senior Tax Manager for Ernst & Young LLP, former Chair of the Board of Trustees of Africa Foundation (USA), former trustee of Africa Foundation (SA) and the African Wildlife Foundation. Krista has traveled extensively throughout Africa and was honored with The African Diaspora Award for “The Friend of Africa” by Applause Africa magazine on December 8th, 2012. Krista was honored at the Voss Foundation’s Third Annual Women Helping Women event in the Hamptons on August 7th, 2017.

Nadia Derelieva

Chief Financial Officer

Nadia comes to Empowers Africa with 15+ years of business experience building operational infrastructures for fast-growth startups, multi-nationals, and prominent nonprofit organizations where she has worked to streamline processes, establish controls and instill compliance. She received her Master of Administrative Sciences from Fairleigh Dickinson University and her Master of Science in Applied Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering from Budapest Technical University. Nadia has also completed a Business Management Program at the Japan International Cooperation Agency as well as Microsoft Office Expert Level Certifications.

Nadia speaks English, Hungarian, Bulgarian and Russian. Her hobbies include: swimming, archaeology, collecting antiques and traveling. Among her favorite places to travel are: South Africa, Peru, Argentina, the Galapagos Islands, Japan and Europe.

Paula Franklin

Special Projects

Paula Franklin has been working with Empowers Africa since 2015 when she was brought in to set up Empowers Africa’s now robust fiscal sponsorship program. She has served as Executive Director since 2018. Her passion for the continent began on her first trip to Phinda Private Game Reserve in 2007 when she joined a rhino-darting expedition that was part of andBeyond’s Black Rhino Project. She subsequently secured a Conde Nast World Savers Award for that project on behalf of andBeyond.

Paula’s background is in tourism focusing on the intersection of luxury and conservation. Paula has traveled extensively in sub-Saharan Africa to Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. Her numerous trips to Africa have brought her to some of the most remote camps and lodges, as well as to dedicated philanthropic projects such as lodge-funded schools, community gardens, women’s business collectives and animal conservation initiatives.

Paula is a graduate of Howard University and currently lives in the New York City area with her husband and two daughters.

Lauren Adelman

Director of Communications and Events

Lauren joined Empowers Africa in April 2020. Her background is with organic and sustainable textiles working primarily with fair trade manufacturing and not-for-profit organizations. She has traveled extensively throughout India over that past decade creating, maintaining and fostering lasting relationships within this realm. Lauren has a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Rhode Island. She has recently relocated back to New York City after living on Kaua’i, Hawaii for the past 11 years.



Liz Kelly

Treasurer & Secretary

Graduate of Princeton University, cum laude, and of Harvard University School of Business Administration. Liz spent her career in financial services in New York City before moving to Florida to be a full-time mother. She spent over 15 years in Investment Banking at such firms as Salomon Brothers, Scully Brothers & Foss, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers. She retired in 2004 from Bear Stearns Merchant Banking (now Irving Place Capital) as Managing Director, Deal Sourcing. Liz has traveled to Kenya and Tanzania and is an Africa enthusiast. She is a former Advisory Committee member of Africa Foundation (USA).

Martha McGuinness

Marketing Director

Martha is graduate of Barnard College/Columbia University. Upon graduation, she began a career in journalism serving as Assistant Fashion Editor at The New York Times followed by positions at Seventeen Magazine, Marie Claire and Town & Country. Her career then took her in front of the camera where she served as a fashion/lifestyle correspondent for MSNBC, NBC News New York and CBS This Morning. She left publishing to take a position as Director of P.R. for Victoria’s Secret. After several years in media, Martha left to start Martha McGuinness Tennis, a line of luxury women’s tennis apparel. Martha has been active in a variety of charitable organizations. She consulted for the Wildlife Conservation Society on numerous projects and served as Co-President of the New York City Junior Council of Save the Children. She has traveled to Haiti several times volunteering at the Children’s Nutrition Center for Hôpital Sacré Coeur. Martha has traveled extensively throughout Ethiopia and Tanzania and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in the fall of 2016.

Sharon Shemtov

Strategic Partnerships

Sharon received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona. She has worked in the fashion industry for the last 15+ years and has been involved in various local non-profit organizations including Save the Children, Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels. Most recently, Sharon traveled to Israel to volunteer with Greenpeace, an experience which reaffirmed her commitment to making a positive difference in the world. She is most passionate about efforts to protect wildlife and harbors a particular interest in the plight of rhinos and elephants. Sharon looks forward to working with Empowers Africa to achieve wildlife conservation and human empowerment goals.