Shelby Quast became Director in 2015, after having led the organization’s policy advocacy efforts since 2010. Based in Washington, D.C., Shelby works with international organizations, NGOs, and the U.S government to advance human rights for women and girls and to inform U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Prior to joining Equality Now, Shelby worked with the International Legal Assistance Consortium, which she co-founded in 2001, on global post-conflict legal reform. She also co-founded the Partners for Gender Justice, a network of United Nations (UN) agencies, member states, and civil society organizations. She has worked internationally for over three decades in a broad range of disciplines and, earlier in her career, practiced law at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C. She participates in numerous coalitions and working groups, including the Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security; Anti-Trafficking Advocates Network; Girls Not Brides USA; International Violence Against Women Act; and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls. Shelby speaks widely on human rights and authored numerous reports on Gender Justice for the UN and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. She is a recipient of the Fulbright award and has taught at the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America (CUA), American University, Jagiellonian University in Poland and the Indian Institute of Management in Lucknow. Shelby holds a J.D. from Columbus School of Law at CUA and a B.A. in International Business from the University of Oregon.
For Shelby, effective laws are essential to protecting people's rights and can accelerate social change. But laws do not implement themselves; they are tools in the hands of the people and legal system. Shelby’s sheros are the women and girls who everyday do so much with so little and refuse to accept the status quo. And, her two shero daughters inspire her daily.
Her favorite quote is by Kobi Yamada: “Sometimes you just have to take the leap, and build your wings on the way down.” When Shelby is not at the UN or on Capitol Hill advocating for women’s and girls’ rights, she enjoys rock climbing, kayaking, exploring other cultures and making pizza with her family.
Follow Shelby on Twitter: @ShelbyRQuast