WIIS West Team



Lila has been the president of WIIS West since June of 2018.  Previous to this role, she established the first successful chapter location of WIIS at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, where she received her MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies with a specialization in Financial Crimes Management. Lila holds a BFA from DePaul University and has had two internships with the US Department of State at the embassies in Lagos/Abuja, Nigeria and Belgrade, Serbia. 



Director of Professional Development

Brianna is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) and currently works as a Compliance Officer in the private sector, focusing on compliance policy. She has also previously worked as an anti-money laundering investigator, where she investigated banking transactions for patterns of unusual activity. Prior to joining WIIS West, she obtained her Master's in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies with a specialization in Financial Crime Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS). During her time as MIIS, she was a Teaching Assistant for courses in the Financial Crime Management program. She received her Bachelor's from University of California, Berkeley in Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing on International Relations and National Security.  She has previously lived in Morocco and Austria but calls California home and enjoys baking and podcasting in her spare time.


Director of University Relations

Brandon is a Behavioral Research Scientist at Northrop Grumman. In his role, Brandon works with PERSEREC, the DoD's Personnel Security Division.


In his free time, Brandon enjoys deconstructing toxic masculinity while slaying gender normativity. Brandon believes that Bitcoin is the future and will convince you if you think otherwise.


Follow Brandon @NuclearBitcoin on Twitter for his opinions and cat pictures.


Marketing & Advertising Consultant

Originally from California, Mary received her undergraduate degree (BA in International Affairs and Political Science) from Northeastern University. She studied French language and culture in France and post-conflict reconstruction in the Balkan states, before expanding her global studies to the Netherlands with the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence Against Children. There, she conducted research on the relationships between trafficking and technology to provide independent policy recommendations. Last summer, Mary also worked at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland conducting research with the Unconventional Weapons and Technology Unit on CBRNE terrorism and examining nuclear sabotage and radiological terrorism scenarios. Most recently, she worked at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) conducting research on South Asian nuclear policy, missile defense, and military strategy.

Currently, Mary is finishing her MA program (Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey (MIIS). Formerly the president of WIIS@MIIS, she focuses on counterterrorism policy, transnational crime, proliferation financing, export controls and sanctions compliance, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRNE) terrorism.


Operations Consultant

Taylor currently serves as a Community Development Manager for the consulting firm Elevoro, where she pursues her professional passion of bringing organizations together to combine knowledge and resources in order to create a more potent and sustainable social impact in various sectors. She credits her passion for social impact, cultural and societal analysis, and travel to her time as a student ambassador in the federal program People to People. Her experience in this program was the first time she traveled abroad, and she came back obsessed with exploring the globe and improving lives through policy.

After earning her BA at the age of 19, Taylor became an educator, taught for a year in the United States, and then moved to Thailand. Her burgeoning passion for exploring the globe and improving lives through policy developed further as she lived in a very small, rural, and economically disadvantaged community. The blatant inequity of resources and opportunity that she found regarding her students and fellow educators - both domestically and abroad - is what led her to graduate from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) with a Master's degree in International Policy and Development, and an accompanying specialization in Program and Policy Research and Evaluation. 

Taylor’s professional pursuits have included ventures ranging from serving as a content specialist and contributing author with Inder Comar (the first lawyer to successfully bring a case to court against the former Bush administration for illegally entering into a war with Iraq), to serving in an operational capacity for the organization Rhize (a coalition which works with nonviolent civil resistance movements with the goal of creating sustained, strategic and impactful action that changes the status quo). When she is not working to bring do-gooders together or building the infrastructure of WIIS West, she is creating content for the website that she swears will be launched sometime "soon". If not procrastinating that last task, she can be found drinking over-priced coffee in every sun-dappled cafe she can find, planning her next big traveling adventure (13 countries so far!), and/or laughing uproariously with her close friends and family.




Advisory Board Chairperson

Lisa A. Berkley served as WIIS West President for five years and is the director and founder of the Institute of Inner Economy™.  She is an international speaker who provides advisory services, educational workshops, and programs within the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.  Ms. Berkley sits on the Housing Resource Center of Monterey County and the Democratic Women of Monterey County boards. Ms. Berkley also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Planning Commission of her home city, Marina, California. She is a member of the International Leadership Association and the  International Society of Political Psychology.

Ms. Berkley’s work as a peace facilitator and activist stems from more than 25 years of experience in Alternative Medicine and Education, Massage Therapy and Healing, Stress Management, and Interpersonal Conflict Resolution.  Dedicated to furthering peace and security in the world, she integrates psychological understanding, emotional, spiritual, somatic, cultural, and creative intelligences into the public, private and not-for-profit sectors of society. She co-founded and directed an NGO that pioneered peace-building education and training programs in Israel/Palestine and has developed groundbreaking programs for the development of self-awareness and personal empowerment in the midst of conflict. Her work has been written about in a number of Israeli/Palestinian, U.K. and U.S. publications with worldwide distribution. She has also co-authored the book chapter “Female Leadership for Peace and Human Security: A Case Study of Israel/Palestine," which can be found in Women and Leadership Around the World, Vol. III (Information Age Publishing, 2015).

Ms. Berkley’s educational background includes a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Economics (1992, New York University), an M.A. in International Policy Studies specializing in Transitional Justice and Counter-Terrorism (2008, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey), and an M.A. in Leadership and Change (2015, Antioch University). Among her other credentials are certifications from the highly respected Lauder School of Government (Israel) and the (U.S.) Naval Postgraduate School. She is currently earning her Ph.D. in Leadership and Change at Antioch University (expected 2018) where her research focuses on building compassionate and healthy living cities.  

Lisa’s native language is English, she is fluent in French and Italian, has a basic level of spoken and written Hebrew, and is presently learning Spanish and Arabic.

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Advisory Board

Katherine (Kathy) Gockel is the president of Construe Marketing, an international and nonprofit consulting company helping clients achieve their marketing and fundraising objectives. She specializes in account/donor management, operations and marketing strategy – research, analysis, brand positioning and creative implementation. In addition to founding Construe, Kathy held positions in the corporate, government and nonprofit sectors working for organizations such as AT&T, Lucent, Ernst & Young Consulting, the Department of Defense’s National Defense University, Partnership for a Secure America and International Crisis Group.

Her breadth of experience and graduate degrees in business administration and international relations enable her to provide clients with unique insights into how marketing, operations and fundraising approaches need to adapt across sectors in U.S. and international markets. Her client list includes Carnegie Corporation, Women in International Security (WIIS), the Center for Teaching International Relations, the Rift Valley Institute (Kenya), PhotoSat (Canada) and the National Nanotechnology Initiative. She is a member of the United Nations-USA Denver, the Posner Center for International Development and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) Colorado Advisory Board.

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Advisory Board

Jolynn Shoemaker is a recognized international policy and women's leadership expert with more than 15 years of experience in foreign policy and national security.  She is an independent consultant to a variety of non-profit organizations engaged in policy-relevant research, advocacy, and training.  She is also a Non-Resident Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

She has been a leading voice for more than a decade on women, peace, and security and women’s participation in the international affairs field. For more than seven years, she served as Executive Director of Women in International Security (WIIS) in Washington DC. 

Previously, she led a number of research and advocacy initiatives for an operating foundation dedicated to increasing women’s participation in all stages of peace processes.  She has conceptualized and successfully implemented hundreds of innovative programs, cross-sector partnerships, and outreach efforts for non-profit organizations and educational institutions.  Ms. Shoemaker has significant experience working with government, multilateral, and non-governmental stakeholders to improve human rights, good governance, rule of law, and sustainable international peace and security in developing and conflict-affected countries.  

Ms. Shoemaker has served in policy and legal positions in the U.S. Government. She worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, focusing on the Balkans region.  She also served as an attorney in the General Counsel’s Office for International Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and in the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, where she was responsible for monitoring human rights and asylum issues in Africa. She holds a J.D. and an M.A. (Security Studies) from Georgetown University and a B.A. from University of California, San Diego. She has published extensively on women and gender in international peace and security and in the workplace, and has provided commentary in various print and broadcast media outlets.

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Advisory Board

Dr. Robert Zuber is the director of UN-based Global Action to Prevent War and the Project for a UN Emergency Peace Service. He also serves as consultant, advisor or board member to a wide variety of non-profit, policy and educational organizations, including Green Map System, Our Humanity in the Balance, and the Paris-based human rights organization FIACAT.

Based in Harlem and educated at Yale and Columbia, he has written and spoken extensively on diverse human security issues and has organized workshops and conferences in over 25 countries on topics from small arms proliferation and civilian protection to women's participation in peace processes and peacekeeping reform.