Leadership

Bay Fang, President

As President, Bay provides Radio Free Asia with leadership, vision, and mission-based strategic and operational direction. She first came to RFA as Managing Director for East Asia, overseeing the management and editorial content of RFA’s five East Asian language services. She went on to become RFA’s Executive Editor, supervising coverage across all of Asia. Prior to RFA, she began her 20-plus year career in journalism as the Beijing Bureau Chief for US News and World Report, where she won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for her story "China's Stolen Wives." She went on to cover the wars in Afghanistan (2001-2002) and Iraq (2003-2004) for US News, and then became the Diplomatic Correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Also before coming to RFA, Bay previously served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, overseeing public diplomacy and public affairs for Europe and Eurasia. Bay earned her undergraduate degree at Harvard University and was a visiting fellow at Oxford University and a Fulbright scholar in Hong Kong. She trained as a French chef at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and holds a brown belt in kung fu.

Rohit Mahajan, Chief Communications Officer

Rohit Mahajan serves as RFA’s Chief Communications Officer. He leads media and Congressional relations, while overseeing messaging, branding, public speaking events, and internal and public-facing corporate communications. During his 10+ year tenure at RFA, Rohit has served in progressive communications roles and was an early strategic advisor to the Open Technology Fund, a digital freedom funder incubated at the company before becoming its own private entity. He has been interviewed by and quoted in the Wall Street Journal, BBC, Washington Post, CNN, and Reuters, among other outlets. He has also served as Acting Secretary to RFA’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining RFA, Rohit spent five years on Capitol Hill, working in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. He most recently served as a Press Secretary for a Subcommittee Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. During his tenure, Rohit focused on advancing members’ legislative priorities in the media on foreign policy, food security, technology, and climate issues.  Rohit began his career in newspapers, writing for and editing sections of an award-winning community newspaper chain in the greater Chicago metropolitan area. He has a Master of Arts degree in English from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Beloit College. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his family.

Kataryna DeLisle, General Counsel and Secretary

As General Counsel, Kataryna Delisle manages the overall legal affairs relating to the company’s governance, employment, global operations, and contracts, in addition to serving as Secretary to RFA’s Board of Directors.  Prior to joining RFA in May 2022, Kataryna worked for National Geographic Partners and National Geographic Society, where she held a number of positions including Assistant Chief Counsel, Assistant Chief Compliance Officer, Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel. From 2008 to 2015 Kataryna served as the Assistant General Counsel for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the independent federal agency later renamed the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM). There she was the lead counsel for Voice of America (VOA) and Radio and TV Martí (OCB). She began her professional career as a video journalist at CNN. She earned her Juris Doctor at American University, Washington College of Law and her Bachelor of Science in Journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She was born in Poland and is a mother of two.

Gijsbrecht deLeede, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

As Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer to RFA’s board, Gijsbrecht de Leede manages the overall financial affairs of the organization.  Gijs brings almost two decades of experience overseeing and managing financial departments of multi-million dollar nonprofits and media corporations. Prior to joining RFA, Gijs was the CFO of Children’s Defense Fund. Before that, he worked as a Controller at Experience Works Inc., where he managed a $100 million U.S. Department of Labor Senior Community Service Employment program. He previously has held senior financial positions at Atlantic Media and National Geographic Society. Gijs earned his CPA in the state of Maryland and his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

Deborah Chamberlin, Chief People Officer

As Chief People Officer, Deborah Chamberlin will oversee the organization’s Human Resources department which supports the overall strategic direction of the organization and also supports operations and initiatives that support employees, specifically in the areas of talent management, employee relations, talent acquisition, benefits, employee relations, compensation and compliance. Deborah joined RFA in April 2023, bringing 20 years of human resources and recruitment experience at global nonprofits and in the private sector. Prior to joining RFA, Deborah served as Director of Talent Acquisition at FHI 360 where she managed a team responsible for full cycle recruiting for over 500 US-based and international positions annually. Among other previous roles, Deborah held senior-level positions at international nonprofits including SRI Executive Search & Strategy, Management Sciences for Health and Development Alternatives, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at the University of Washington.

John Penovich, Chief Technology Officer

As Chief Technology Officer, John Penovich leads RFA’s Technical Operations Division. He is responsible for directing and implementing the organization’s technology strategy in partnership with RFA’s senior management to advance RFA’s journalistic mission.  During his 25-year tenure with RFA, John has provided innovative broadcast audio, video, and digital solutions to RFA’s technology and engineering needs both in Washington, DC and internationally.   Prior to becoming CTO in 2020, John spearheaded RFA’s overseas bureau technical operations and expansion in Dharamsala, India, led and completed Axia audio over IP console system installs in Asia, including Bangkok (the very first Axia system in Asia), Seoul, and Hong Kong, and led and completed RFA technical studio and office relocations in Seoul, Bangkok and Taipei. John works closely with the USAGM, and has worked with industry leaders such as the Telos Alliance to provide studio solutions to U.S. broadcasters including WETA, NPR, WAMU Washington DC (88.5FM), WCBS NYC (101.1FM), Newseum Washington DC, and Sirius Radio NYC.  John is an active member of the  Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) and long-time supporter of the Strathmore Artist in Residence program. He is also an active musician, engineer, and producer in the D.C. music scene with three WAMMIE nominations and one win. John earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology from Vanderbilt University. He is a native Washingtonian and resides in Silver Spring with his family.

Betsy Henderson, Chief Strategy Officer

As Radio Free Asia’s Chief Strategy Officer, Betsy Henderson oversees research, training, and evaluation and provides strategic insights to RFA’s president. In this role, Betsy ensures the quality and effectiveness of RFA’s programming and online content in serving its chief mission of bringing fact-based journalism to audiences in RFA’s markets. Betsy tracks media trends in target markets and works on strategic initiatives to enhance RFA’s impact. Most recently, she has worked with internal editorial and technical stakeholders to build an RFA Digital Asset Management team and launch a new system for cataloging and retrieving archival audio, video and images. Betsy was RFA’s founding Director of Audience Research, establishing RFA’s capacity to monitor its impact and gather audience feedback in Asia’s most repressive societies. In  additionto conducting representative surveys and qualitative studies, Betsy developed unprecedented research programs for North Korea and Tibetan and Uyghur regions within the People’s Republic of China. Since 2003, Betsy has overseen RFA’s journalism training and program evaluation, and now also is responsible for digital analytics, internal goal setting, and performance tracking. A former Associated Press reporter, Betsy lived and worked in southern China and in Taiwan and speaks Mandarin fluently. Her graduate studies at Columbia and University of Michigan focused on journalism, Chinese politics, and research methodology.

Matthew Pennington, Senior Managing Editor

As Senior Managing Editor, Matthew Pennington leads daily newsroom operations and oversees RFA’s investigative unit and English language news. Previously, he served as RFA’s Managing Editor of Southeast Asia. Matthew joined RFA in December 2018, after a 19-year career with The Associated Press as a reporter and editor. He began his career in Southeast Asia as a U.N. volunteer in Laos, raising awareness about the problem of unexploded ordnance left over from the Vietnam War. He subsequently worked as a correspondent for Agence France-Presse and then the AP, covering Thailand, Burma, Laos and Cambodia. He reported on the Asian financial crisis in Thailand, student protests and Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest in Burma, and the demise of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. He then spent five years based in Islamabad, where he became AP bureau chief for Pakistan and Afghanistan. He led the team that won the Society of Professional Journalists award for breaking news for coverage of the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Matthew transferred to AP’s Washington, D.C., bureau in 2011, writing on U.S. policy toward Asia. He was born and educated in England and holds a BA in Ancient History from the University of Bristol and an MA in Political Philosophy from the University of York.