Stephanie Schmidt comes to The Ground Truth Project after fifteen years serving in various financial leadership roles at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) including as RFE/RL's Director of Financial Planning and Analysis, Assistant Treasurer and twice serving as Acting Chief Financial Officer. Stephanie was based in Prague for several years before transferring to Washington, DC. During her tenure, she managed RFE/RL's budget and financial operations through challenges related to both expansion and contraction. She handled cash flow and budget challenges caused by U.S. government shutdowns, sequestration, and the sudden, forcible closures of RFE/RL operations in Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Kabul, Moscow, and Ukraine, which occurred as part of clampdowns on press freedoms or in the wake of domestic and international conflict. She also played a key role in managing RFE/RL’s recent period of growth during with the addition of significant new programming for Russia and its periphery. Through those experiences, Stephanie developed a keen ability to adjust to rapidly changing political and operating environments.
Before joining RFE/RL, Stephanie worked at various international NGOs, including National Democratic Institute for International Affairs where she managed democracy-strengthening programs in Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. From 1999 to 2001, Stephanie served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kosice, Slovakia, where she worked with minority rights NGOs and Roma populations and became fluent in Slovak. Stephanie holds a B.A. in International Studies from American University, cum laude, and a M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. As part of her education, Stephanie studied Russian, Czech and Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian languages, which has allowed her to get by in almost any country that speaks a Slavic language.
Stephanie brings with her to The Ground Truth Project a demonstrated lifelong commitment to advancing human rights and democracy both at home and abroad, a solid understanding of media organization operations, a mission and strategy-first mindset, and the practical tools to grow a financial unit that will support an evolving organization. Although she has travelled the world much of the past two decades, when she is home, Stephanie is a sphynx cat enthusiast and pours herself into pottery, gardening and spending time with family and friends. Stephanie is thrilled to be joining The Ground Truth Project, not only to have the opportunity to contribute to the organization’s noble mission, but also because she is looking forward to being able to openly show her support for the Red Sox.