Skip to main content

Rhia Ventures

Our mission is to advance reproductive and maternal health equity by intentionally leveraging capital to center the needs, experiences, and perspectives of historically marginalized people in decision-making.

This multibillion dollar market has tremendous potential for public health impact, but it has been built on flawed systems that perpetuate unjust outcomes for women of color, low-income women, and others directly affected by systemic inequities. Our work is to transform this market. 

Operating in a novel impact space, we seek opportunities to move investment toward reproductive and maternal health in a way that does not perpetuate harm and that will yield measurable, sustainable improvements in health outcomes.

Our Core Activities

  • Venture capital investment with an impact lens in early- and growth-stage companies that have the potential to transform the reproductive and maternal health care market through RH Capital, a Rhia Ventures fund
  • Ecosystem building that supports reproductive and maternal health entrepreneurs and investors with building and growing in a way that incorporates an equity lens and culture of impact measurement and management through the HEART framework
  • Corporate engagement and advocacy to advance corporate, state, and federal policies that center the reproductive and maternal health needs of people who have been historically marginalized


  • Narrative change that amplifies the reproductive and maternal health stories and lived experiences of people who have been historically marginalized, and that challenges harmful, dominant societal messages and norms through PS Blossom
  • Professional advising that accelerates ownership and deployment of, and access to, capital to improve the material conditions of historically marginalized people through The Racial Equity Asset Lab (The REAL)


Rhia Ventures uses 4 core strategies:
  • Leveraging capital to advance reproductive and maternal health equity
  • Advancing federal and state policies that align with principles of reproductive justice, equity, and bodily autonomy
  • Elevating narratives and solutions at the intersections of reproductive justice and capital
    that center those who have been historically marginalized
  • Operationalizing our commitment to becoming an equity-focused organization
These pillars of our work enable us to:
  • Encourage investment in the areas of the market that need it most
  • Fund public goods and services that grow the market in equitable, profitable, and sustainable ways
  • Engage and highlight stakeholders of color
  • Strengthen social norms to support quality maternal and reproductive health coverage and treatment of women in US workplaces

Our Team

It takes vision, persistence, and courage partnered with skill, experience, and advocacy to do this work. Thankfully, we know some people who fit the job description. Get to know our team below.

Shelley Alpern
Associate Vice President of Corporate Engagement

Associate Vice President of Corporate Engagement

Shelley brings over two decades’ experience leading and participating in shareholder advocacy campaigns on a wide range of environmental and social issues, which resulted in numerous negotiated agreements to advance more progressive corporate policies and practices. Prior to Rhia Ventures, she worked for the leading sustainability firms Clean Yield Asset Management, Trillium Asset Management, and Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit. Her work in advancing LGBT rights was recognized by several organizations including Fortune and The Advocate, and she received the SRI Service Award in 2005 for “outstanding contributions to the socially responsible investment community.” She was also the recipient of the first-ever Rachel Carson Award from the Silent Spring Institute, which researches environmental links to breast cancer. Shelley has always been amazed at the positive influence that actively engaged shareholders can have on companies. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.

Erika Seth Davies

Jessica Feeley
Associate Director of Communications

Associate Director of Communications

Jessica Feeley is the Associate Director of Communications at Rhia Ventures. Her background is in advocacy, non-profit communications, development, and client services. She was on staff with the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation for 24 years, most recently as Director of Communications and Editor of the Dystonia Dialogue.

She serves on the board of directors of We Rock Chicago climbing club and on the executive committee of the NAACP Camden County Branch (Georgia). She is a founding team member of the Camden Black Business Project and past president of the Humane Society of Camden County, Inc.

Jessica obtained a bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College.

Melissa Garcia
Vice President of Operations

Vice President of Operations

Melissa Garcia is currently the vice president of operations at Rhia Ventures. Melissa has more than 20 years of experience working with organizational and community-based teams in the areas of financial management, people and culture, data and systems, and collaborative leadership. Prior to Rhia Ventures, Melissa served as the Senior Director of Operations and Finance at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice. She worked as the Director of the Catalyst Program, a community leadership and environmental justice-centered program administered by Partnerships for Parks/City Parks Foundation. Melissa worked in higher education while at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service with the Women of Color Policy Network, as a policy advocate, researcher, and program administrator. Melissa also worked in municipal administration, serving as the Chief of Administrative Services for New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation, managing the personnel, budget, and workforce development teams for Manhattan.

Melissa volunteers on NPO boards for Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls and La Colmena in NYC. Melissa also continually focuses on her leadership growth and journey via participation is programs such as the Coro NY Immigrant Civic Leadership Program (2014), Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Heart of Black Leadership Pilot Program (2021) and Art of Leadership (2016), and the Center for Creative Leadership’s Looking Glass Leadership Program (2021). Melissa received an MBA from Rutgers University in 2014, an MPA from New York University in 2003, and her BA from Columbia University in 1995.

Sarah Glaudemans
Executive Assistant

Executive Assistant

Sarah has 5 years of experience supporting executives in a non-profit setting and is the Executive Assistant to the CEO Erika Seth Davies. In this role, she provides administrative, operational, and logistical support. Prior to joining Rhia Ventures, Sarah was the Giving Strategies Assistant at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, where she supported the Executive Vice President, the Senior Director of Racial Equity Initiatives, and the Giving Strategies Team to best assist clients and bring their philanthropic wishes to life. Sarah received her B.A. in Art History and Arts Administration from Goucher College.

Keisha A. Leverette
Vice President of Development & Communications

Vice President of Development & Communications

Keisha joined Rhia Ventures as Vice President of Development & Communications in March 2022. She has more than 15 years of fundraising experience in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Keisha most recently served as Campaign Director at Spelman, where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of a $250 million comprehensive campaign that raised more than $305 million in five years.

Previously, Keisha served as the Director of Development and Donor Services at the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) where she oversaw the Foundation’s annual fundraising goals and its work with private foundations, corporations, individual donors, and families. Before that, Keisha was BCF’s Campaign Director. In that role, she was responsible for the overall organization and management of the Foundation’s successful $100 million endowment campaign.

Keisha was an Executive Director at CCS Fundraising, where she served as a consultant for clients on fundraising and directed campaigns in various sectors, including associations, the arts, education, healthcare, and human services. She also served as a Major Gifts Officer at the NAACP.  Keisha was a member of the ABFE (Association for Black Foundation Executives) Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program, CF Leads Equity Network, and the Knight Foundation Community Information Lab.

Caitlin O'Connor
Senior Program Associate

Senior Program Associate

Caitlin O’Connor is the Senior Program Associate for Reproductive and Maternal Health, helping organizations to expand their capacity to ensure better maternal and reproductive health outcomes for all. Before joining Rhia, Caitlin previously served as the Title X Program Manager for UCLA OB/GYN, organizing all clinical health education and outreach efforts for patients and community partners. Providing direct service delivery in a busy family planning clinic cemented Caitlin’s values in providing care that is patient-centered, equitable, and centered in tenets of Reproductive Justice.

During her time as Title X Program Manager, Caitlin developed best practices trainings for Family Planning care, including PrEP administration in an OB/GYN Setting, Patient-Centered Contraception Counseling, and Operationalizing Reproductive Justice: Medical Racism in American Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Caitlin received her Master’s in Public Health at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, where she served as both Co-President and Social Media Chairperson of the UCLA Reproductive Health Interest Group. Before that, Caitlin served in the US Peace Corps as a Community Health Volunteer in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), a small, rural Sub-Saharan nation in Southern Africa.

Sonia Sarkar
Acting Director of Ecosystem Building

Acting Director of Ecosystem Building

Sonia Sarkar has worked at the intersection of health, community economic development, and social justice movement-building for 15+ years. She is the founder of Healing Capital, an initiative that advises community-based and systems change organizations on health systems transformation through a racial and economic equity lens, including: the Healthcare Anchor Network, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Shift Health Accelerator, Center for Health Progress, and several health-focused payors, funders, and impact investors.

She previously served as Chief Policy and Engagement Officer for the Baltimore City Health Department, overseeing a portfolio that included the development of the city’s “Healthy Baltimore 2020” strategic plan, community engagement and mobilization, city/state/federal-level policy, funding strategy, and multi-stakeholder partnerships to address social determinants. Prior, she was Director of Provider Solutions at AVIA, a health system-led innovation accelerator, where she worked directly with hospital executive leadership to identify and incentivize innovations in patient care. She began her career with Health Leads, a national social enterprise instrumental in shifting the healthcare system to address patients’ basic resource needs as a standard part of quality care.

Sonia was a Harvard Medical School InciteHealth Fellow, an AcademyHealth/Kresge Foundation Population Health Scholar, a Senior Fellow with the Millennial Policy Initiative’s Healthcare Commission, and a Social Entrepreneur in Residence and Lecturer at Brown University. In 2017, she was named one of forty Culture of Health Leaders by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundatio.

She holds BA degrees in public health and international studies from Johns Hopkins University, and an MPH and DrPH from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where she was a Fellow at the Center for a Livable Future. She is also a published author and poet.

Fund Team

RH Capital

RH Capital, a Rhia Ventures fund, is an impact-first, venture capital fund that invests in early-stage startups promising to revolutionize women’s health and improve health equity in the US.

Elizabeth Bailey
Managing Director

Managing Director

Elizabeth Bailey is Managing Director and founding team member at RH Capital. Throughout her career, Elizabeth has been a passionate advocate of the power of business – from startups to multinationals – to drive social change. Elizabeth has over 15 years of experience in venture capital and supporting early-stage technology companies. Prior to joining RH Capital, Elizabeth served as the Founding Director of the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she built a global program to accelerate medtech innovation and catalyze new health startups. 

She began her career in venture capital as a Partner at one of the first impact investment funds, Commons Capital, where she managed healthcare and education portfolios. Elizabeth holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School and a BA from Brown University.

Stasia Obremskey
Managing Director

Managing Director

Stasia Obremskey is Managing Director and founding team member at RH Capital. She believes the world is a better place when you educate women and give them the tools to mange their unique health care needs, this has inspire her work in women’s health  After working professionally for over twenty-five years as a trusted advisor to  non-profit organizations and start-up companies, and establishing herself as an impact investor in women’s reproductive health, she joined Rhia Ventures at its inception in 2018. Stasia holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. 

Throughout her professional journey, she has offered financial and strategic planning services to organizations based in both the United States and Asia. She began her  career as a management consultant with Bain & Company, and prior to that, she worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley & Co.  She has extensive experience as a member of several nonprofit boards where she has held a number of leadership positions. Stasia holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. 

Alice Zheng

Alice Zheng

Alice is a Principal at RH Capital, responsible for leading investments in innovative women’s health companies across the life sciences, digital health and consumer health. Alice has been a women’s health enthusiast throughout her career spanning global health, clinical medicine, and the private sector. Alice was previously a women’s health practice leader and management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where she served biopharma, diagnostics, global public health, and private equity clients across R&D and commercial strategy topics.

Earlier in her career, Alice’s passion to improve lives for the underserved led her to work in East Africa and Asia in reproductive health and family planning with EngenderHealth, Marie Stopes International, and other nonprofits. As a clinician, she focused on women’s health globally and published articles examining healthcare in low-income countries. Alice holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and MD and MPH from the University of Michigan, where she was a Dean’s Merit Scholar. Alice is a frequent speaker on FemTech and women’s health innovation and is a steering committee member for multiple women’s health innovation forums.

Sandie Eltringham
Technical Advisor

Technical Advisor


Ruth Shaber, MD
Board Chair

Board Chair

Ruth Shaber, MD founded and serves as President of the Tara Health Foundation, which uses its philanthropic capital to advance health and economic outcomes for women. She is the co-author of The XX Edge: Unlocking Higher Returns and Lower Risk and is now leading the Diverse Investing Collective, with the goal of increasing the numbers of women and people of color in the U.S. investment industry and the amount of assets they manage. Ruth is also the co-founder and board chair of Rhia Ventures. Ruth had a robust career as an Obstetrician and Gynecologist with a focus on systems change at Kaiser Permanente from 1990 to 2012.

Rodney Foxworth
Board Member

Board Member

Rodney Foxworth is a mission-driven entrepreneur, executive, and investor with deep and diverse networks across economic development, impact investing, philanthropy, and venture capital. He’s advised, founded, operated, and funded multiple entrepreneurial endeavors and is currently Co-Founder of Worthmore, an impact investing and venture development firm.

Most recently, Rodney served as CEO of Common Future, a nonprofit social enterprise. Under his leadership, Common Future developed a new brand identity, quadrupled the size of its staff and budget, acquired two organizations, and launched an impact investment vehicle. Previously, Rodney was founder and CEO of Invested Impact, a consultancy and intermediary that facilitated millions of dollars in philanthropic and impact investment capital into community economic development projects and social entrepreneurs of color.

A Skoll Awardee for Social Innovation and an inaugural Ford Global Fellow, Rodney serves on the boards of Nonprofit Finance Fund, Race Forward, Rhia Ventures,, and SOCAP Global.

Debbie Santos
Board Member

Board Member

Debbie Santos is the Vice President, Finance at the Skoll Foundation. The Skoll Foundation catalyzes transformational social change by investing in, connecting, and championing social entrepreneurs and other social innovators who together advance bold and equitable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. As VP of Finance, Debbie has primary responsibility for the Foundation’s financial matters and oversees the grants management, legal, accounting and finance functions. Debbie has spent most of her career helping organizations optimize across finance and operations to advance their mission.

Janet Yearwood, CFA, MBA
Board Member

Board Member

Janet Yearwood is an asset management and financial services professional. Her most recent role was as a full-time consultant to the Office of the CEO of New York Life Investment Management. Prior to that, she was the interim chief of staff to the CEO of MacKay Shields. Her past experience includes five years as a client portfolio manager at J.P. Morgan Asset Management in U.S. Equities. Before joining JPMAM, she was interim Associate Vice Chancellor at NYU Shanghai. Ms. Yearwood spent two years at Pzena Investment Management as a director of client service and seven years prior to that as an equity analyst and sector portfolio manager at TIAA-CREF. She began her career at Salomon Brothers in municipal finance and spent five years at Merrill Lynch in the fixed income securities department.

Janet holds a B.A. in literature from Harvard College and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. She is a CFA charter holder.