Women of IFES: Q&A with Katherine Ellena

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Ellena moderates a panel during IFES' 2016 U.S. Election Program.

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is at the forefront of innovative and inclusive work to provide citizens around the world with the fundamental human right to have a say in how they are governed. IFES’ leadership in the field is comprised of a cadre of women professionals with firsthand experience administering elections in every region of the world. This Q&A is part of the “Women of IFES” series, featuring stories throughout the month of March on the contributions of female IFES staff around the world and marking both Women’s History Month in the United States and International Women's Day on March 8.

IFES Legal Advisor Katherine Ellena is responsible for providing strategic leadership and technical assistance to IFES’ work on legal and regulatory frameworks for elections, election dispute resolution and electoral integrity. Ellena serves as the technical lead for IFES’ Legal Framework group and contributes to research initiatives and the development of tools and resources for IFES’ legal service line, as well as applied research initiatives in areas such as electoral leadership and cybersecurity in elections. Here, she reflects on her experiences in the field, discusses the importance of legal reform and review in elections and provides advice for young professionals interested in international development.