Children’s Defense Fund Names Kathleen M. Flynn Chief Operating Officer, Promotes Sheri A. Brady to Vice President & Chief Program Officer 

Flynn joins CDF from the National Fair Housing Alliance where she also served that organization in the same role. Brady transitions from her role as Vice President of Strategy & Program. 


John Henry,, CDF Media Relations Manager, @johnhenrydc, 708-646-7679 

Washington, DC — Children’s Defense Fund has announced two executive leadership changes. 

Following a nationwide search, Kathleen M. Flynn has been named Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Children’s Defense Fund. She will support Children’s Defense Fund President and Chief Executive Officer Starsky Wilson in the development and coordination of multi-year operational, financial, and human capital plans for the organization. In addition to directing and coordinating operations activities, Flynn will also provide volunteer management of Children’s Defense Fund’s Board of Directors Finance Committee.  

Flynn holds more than two decades of experience in non-profit operational management. She comes to Children’s Defense Fund from the National Fair Housing Alliance, where she also held the role of COO. Prior to that, she acted as COO for the New Venture Fund and Senior Director of Managed Organizations for Arabella Advisors. Earlier in her career, Flynn worked leading administration at the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center in Charleston, South Carolina. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Georgetown University and a master’s in library science from the University of Maryland, College Park.  

Sheri A. Brady has also been promoted to the role of Vice President and Chief Program Officer for Children’s Defense Fund. She served the organization as Vice President for Strategy and Program for the last three years. Brady helped lead the organization’s efforts to develop its first integrated theory of change and conceptualize a comprehensive evaluation approach to build capacity for a movement for child well-being.  

Brady will work alongside Flynn to serve as officers with fiduciary responsibility and accountability for elements of governance at Children’s Defense Fund. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Wheaton College in Massachusetts and a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley.  

Children’s Defense Fund President and Chief Executive Officer Starsky Wilson said the executive staff announcements will better position the organization in its efforts to achieve its mission: 

“Kathleen and Sheri are remarkable servant leaders with demonstrated impact for children and families throughout their careers in the social sector and philanthropy. As partners in executive leadership, they will deepen Children’s Defense Fund’s capacity to build a movement for child well-being for a third generation of America’s young people. For 50 years, CDF has been blessed to welcome talented, skilled, and committed champions for children and youth. I am grateful for this tradition and excited to partner with Sheri and Kathleen to advance our work to build community so young people grow up with dignity, hope, and joy.” 

Children’s Defense Fund Chief Operating Officer Kathleen Flynn: 

“I am thrilled to join Children’s Defense Fund and support the important work its staff and volunteers do every day to improve the well-being of children and young people in America. For the last 50 years, Children’s Defense Fund has demonstrated unwavering dedication to that effort. With my background in child advocacy, I am honored to know I will have the opportunity to contribute to that critical mission.” 

Children’s Defense Fund Vice President and Chief Program Officer Sheri A. Brady: 

“I have enjoyed working with the talented and committed staff of Children’s Defense Fund for the last three years. I know our movement building efforts along with our efforts to establish new bodies of work in early childhood development and narrative change have already made significant impact. In my new role, I am excited to see what all our team will accomplish next.” 

Instagram- @childdefender1973  




About Children’s Defense Fund 

Founded in 1973, Children’s Defense Fund envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. The only national, multi-issue advocacy organization working at the intersection of child well-being and racial justice, CDF advances the well-being of America’s most diverse generation, the 74 million children and youth under the age of 18 and 30 million young adults under the age of 25. CDF’s grassroots movements in marginalized communities build power for child-centered public policy, informed by racial equity and the lived experience of children and youth. Its renowned CDF Freedom Schools® program is conducted in nearly 100 cities across 30 states and territories. Learn more at

This photo shows a head and shoulders view of Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson.

Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson

Kathleen M. Flynn

Sheri Brady

Sheri A. Brady