Juma Said Ally Juma has worked extensively in relief, environmental, conservation, and community development in his home country, Tanzania. He worked for CARE International for six years before moving to the US. Juma currently works as a contracts Manager for a global health organization in Pennsylvania. Juma has a B.S. in Business Administration from Spalding University, and an MBA in Management from Eastern University. He firmly believes in the magnificent potential of the people of his home country and brings his unique understanding to the work of Nurturing Minds.
Marion Ballard Marion is currently active in multiple Washington D.C area organizations, including the Executive Committee of Montgomery Women, board member of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington and Levine School of Music. Upon graduating from Smith College with a degree in Mathematics, Marion participated in Operation Crossroads Africa, a precursor of the Peace Corps. Marion was involved in the founding of DataPlus, Inc., a software development firm that assisted nonprofits with fundraising software. Today, she holds two Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Mathematics, from American University and the University of Pennsylvania, respectively.
Clarke Blynn Clarke has a B.S from Cornell University in the School of Hotel Administration. For 27 years, he has built and managed hotels in and around Philadelphia. He devotes much of his free time to volunteering in local organizations. After visiting Tanzania in 2001, he was able to draw on past experiences and fully understand that the key to positive future global development is education. As Chair of the Business Committee, Clarke offers his leadership, development, construction, and financial expertise to the ongoing project of SEGA Girls’ School.
Lascelles Chen – Representative from the SEGA Board originally from Jamaica, has lived in East Africa for the past 25 years. With 20 years of experience in management and policy advising in the banking and micro-finance sector, Mr. Chen founded the Magadu Entrepreneurship and Business Training Institute (MEBTI) in Morogoro, and currently serves as the Executive Director. MEBTI provides training in business planning and management to a wide range of individuals and groups, such as farmers, secondary school and university students, and independent business people. Mr. Chen is also the founding member of the MFmobile project establishment team, which is seeking to bring the micro-finance mobile technology and internet communications technology applications to the market in Tanzania and other African countries. Originally a teacher by profession, Mr. Chen brings a wealth of experience relevant for SEGA’s continued development.
Elizabeth (Betsy) Crawford Betsy Crawford is a pediatric physical therapist in New York City, and taught in general and special education classrooms. She became interested in cross-cultural education while attaining a double masters degree at Bank Street College of Education. She also visited schools in Africa when she was a flight attendant for Pan American Airlines. For the past few years she has been involved in organizing fundraising events for SEGA and sponsoring several students. Her commitment to SEGA’s mission was reinforced after spending time with the students on campus.
Annie de Cossy, Vice Chair Annie is the founding Principal of Opus Advisors, LLC, a management consulting firm that works primarily with nonprofit organizations. Annie’s career spans over 25 years of experience in nonprofit development and management, specializing in strategic planning, assessments, feasibility studies, campaign counsel and major gift work. She has provided her clients with strategic direction in governance, management, fund development, communications and long range planning. Annie has led numerous organizations through strategic planning, focusing on best practices in fundraising, board/committee development, governance and brought clarity, innovation and progressive thinking to the work. Her passion for education, and empowering girls to overcome adversity through educational pursuit, has been a lifelong commitment. Annie lives in Rye, NH and enjoys travel, outdoor activities, and spending time with family whenever possible. She is a graduate of Simmons College.
Polly Dolan, Co-Founder Polly holds a Master’s degree in International Administration, and has been living and working in Eastern and Southern Africa since 1996. From 1998-2002, Polly coordinated community development and environmental conservation projects for CARE in Tanzania; and since that time she has continued to work in health, education and vulnerable children programming areas as an independent consultant. Polly believes that educating girls is a cornerstone to overcoming poverty and social injustice in Tanzania. Polly resides in Tanzania and also serves on the SEGA board. Read Polly’s statement on Education of Women
Tracey Dolan, Co-Founder Tracey has used her Masters Degree in Adult Education in a variety of administrative and teaching positions over the last 20 years. Tracey brings to the board her life experiences, skills, and insights to support Tanzanian girls who desire to pursue service to their communities and beyond.
Nancy Ebb, Nancy is a lawyer and clinical social worker. Nancy has worked to advance the interests of low-income women and children throughout her professional life. She began as a legal aid lawyer and spent twenty years at the Children’s Defense Fund, a child advocacy organization in Washington, DC. Nancy returned to school in 1999 to earn her MSW. She joined Aspire Counseling, a non-profit mental health agency, in 2001 and became Co-Director in 2004. As Co-Director, she learned the joys – and challenges! – of leading a non-profit and working to preserve its future. Nancy retired as Aspire’s Co-Director in 2017, and continues to work there two days a week seeing clients. Nancy and her husband Gary are guarantors at MCE Social Capital, an impact investing non-profit that uses a guarantor model to generate economic opportunity for low-income women in over thirty countries. They belong to the Global Philanthropists Circle, an organization committed to fostering international social and economic change. Nancy earned her BA at Harvard University, her JD at University of California at Berkeley, and her MSW at Catholic University of America. She and her husband consider their two sons their finest work products.
Sherri Floros, Treasurer Sherri has over 25 years of professional experience in finance and operations. She spent 17 years at Boston Ventures Management, a large private equity firm, seven years consulting for a small venture capital firm and the last two years as the Director or Finance and Operations at OC&C Strategy Consultants. She earned her undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Bentley University. In February 2013, Sherri joined six other Nurturing Minds supporters to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, and raised approximately $55K for the SEGA Girls School.
Susan Hannah Susan holds an M.A. and M.Phil.in Anthropology from Columbia University and has been involved in international development and conservation for the past 30 years. She spent two years in Kenya for her doctoral research, examining the “broker” role of non-profit organizations involved in income-generation and water projects, especially as they related to women; served as Director, International Support at Wildlife Conservation Society and NE Executive Director, at CARE. Susan is an inveterate global traveler with a 20-year career at Pan Am that fueled her lifelong affair with Africa. Susan strongly believes that the way forward for any country is through education, training, and economic opportunity for all.
Heidi Van Rensselaer Kane Heidi holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Westmont College. She brings a wealth of experience in marketing, advertising, and design, having run the creative department of a large retail company. Heidi is passionate about educating girls in poverty, and having them discover the voices they need to change their own lives, and the world around them. Her calling is to aid and lift up widows and orphans internationally. Heidi has been moved by her work with impoverished communities in Mexico and Haiti, where she completed missions, and helped to build a Christian Summer camp in France. She and her husband are also dedicated supporters of World Vision.
Rod Kirsch served as Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations at The Pennsylvania State University for nearly 21 years from February 1996 until October 2016, overseeing an advancement team of 380 staff on Penn State’s 24 campuses. Rare in length of tenure and record of accomplishment at one institution, Kirsch led Penn State from start to finish through two seven-year billion-dollar plus comprehensive campaigns. During Kirsch’s tenure, Penn State’s endowment sextupled, its annual donor base increased from 125,000 to 193,000, and the Penn State Alumni Association grew to 177,000 members, the largest of any dues-paying university association in the country. Over his 34 year career in university fundraising, he has also served Indiana University, the University of California at Berkeley and Drake University, overseeing more than $5 billion of philanthropy in executive positions. For 15 years he was a faculty member of the Big Ten Fundraisers Institute and served as Dean of the Institute from 2012-2014. Kirsch is a native of North Dakota, having grown up on a cattle ranch, and earned his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Dakota, where he graduated summa cum laude with Phi Beta Kappa honors. He also earned a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Indiana University in Bloomington. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the School of Education at Indiana University. In 2014, Penn State University and the Penn State Alumni Association named Rod an Honorary Alumnus. In 2016, he was granted emeritus status at Penn State and also honored as Penn State’s Renaissance Man of the Year. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania with his wife, Mitch, Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College. Rod and Mitch have two daughters, Kelsey, a Penn State alumna and Mackenzie, a senior at Penn State.
Angela McManus, Secretary Angela is a former Regional Food Manager for Starbucks Coffee Company, she held senior-level retail positions at Starbucks from 1993 – 2009. She has also held senior retail positions at La Petite Boulangerie, Watermark and The Nature Company. She is a founding committee member of the Starbucks Grants for Giving Program which supported programs designed to build better futures for youth and families in Northern California. Also a Director of The Lacewing Foundation, a small non-profit that is an international organization dedicated to improving health and education for women and children. She currently volunteers at The Crossroads, a San Francisco non-profit that reaches out to homeless youth and young adults at their point of need, and works with them to build healthy and fulfilling lives; Habitat for Humanity in Marin County, and at other non-profits in the San Francisco Bay Area through One Brick, as time allows. Angela earned a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and a California teaching credential at San Francisco State University. After college she taught high school (Forms 1-4) for 3 ½ years in Sydney, Australia.
Jane Nyamunga Jane was born and raised in Tanzania where she attended primary and secondary school before moving to the US to pursue her undergraduate studies. During her high school career she attended one of the top model secondary school for girls in the country and was heavily involved in student government activities. She currently works as an Information Technology professional at a mutual fund investment company and is an active participant in several company led initiatives to promote leadership success in women. Jane is also involved with GETT (Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology) a local organization focusing on exposing high school and middle school students to careers in STEM fields. In addition, she is passionate about helping aspiring entrepreneurs in Tanzania by consulting with small businesses looking for opportunities to import American products into the local market. Jane has a B.S. in Business Administration from Widener University, M.S in Information Systems and an MBA in Entrepreneurship and New Ventures from Penn State.
Clare Reilly Clare has a BA in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in the public health and non-profit sector for over 20 years, serving in many leadership capacities, including Executive Director of The Women’s Lunch Place, a shelter for poor and homeless women. She has spent her career serving vulnerable populations, in particular, women and children. She has a strong interest in the education of girls in the developing world, and in 2015 became an advisor to Nurturing Minds. In addition, Clare is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for victims of child abuse and neglect in Suffolk County, MA. Her spare time is spent in her jewelry studio. She lives with her family in Boston, MA.
Eben Russell Eben is the founder and president of Russell Pacific (www.russellpacific.com), a solar electric distribution business and RPCS (www.rpcs.com), a solar tracker design build construction company. Born in coastal Massachusetts, Eben is a lifelong sailboat racer, attended high school at Choate Rosemary Hall (Wallingford, CT), college at the College of Charleston (Charleston, SC) and now resides with his wife, Avery and newborn daughter, Naomi, in Carmel, CA.
Lynda Spence Lynda has led a diverse professional life, first in publishing and then in the travel industry, founding her own travel company in 1982. After selling her company a decade later, Lynda still works as an independent travel consultant, creating custom trips for individuals and small groups. Throughout her life, she has been active as a volunteer with a number of groups ranging from the Junior League, to North Beach Citizens, a San Francisco organization serving the needs of at-risk community members. Lynda is an avid traveler, visiting the farthest-flung corners of our earth, where her deep commitment to the equality of women was solidified. She believes that education and economic independence are keys to closing the equality gap, particularly in lesser developed nations.
Kendall Webb, Chair Kendall has been largely instrumental in the development of online charitable giving, working on the founding team of More.com and serving as the principal founder of JustGive.org, created in 1998. As a Harvard undergraduate, she also helped launch the WorldTeach program and later volunteered in Uganda. For the past 10 years, she has been an expert voice in Internet giving, offering her expertise to many organizations and companies that are incorporating charitable giving programs.
Nina is the Chief Advancement Officer, AVP & Assistant Dean of Temple University School of Medicine. Track record of strategically scaling organizations for fiscal sustainability. Facilitate collaboration among diverse groups for business success and committed to common goals in mission driven organizations. Creative, entrepreneurial with 25 years’ experience in fundraising, business development, network building, operations and strategic planning.
Ashlie Busone Ashlie holds a BA in Community Development and ESOL Education (English for Speakers of Other Languages), which she pursued in part because of her love for teaching English at SEGA. When she was 13, Ashlie founded a small not-for-profit organization called Hippies for Hope, which sold tie-dyed shirts to benefit youth empowerment projects around the world. She partnered with Nurturing Minds to help support the initial English program at SEGA. After graduating from High School, Ashlie spent a summer at SEGA, and returned two years later for another summer of teaching and learning. In 2013, she attended the Form 4 Graduation and was asked to help coordinate the Service Learning Program because of her commitment to recruiting and retaining qualified and passionate volunteers to work with the inspiring SEGA Students. Currently, Ashlie teaches ESOL at an Adult Community Learning Center in Lynn, MA.
Ishara Casellas Connors Ishara manages the National Study for Learning Voting and Engagement. She works to create resources for campuses interested in learning about their students’ voting and political learning. Previously, Ishara worked as the Director of Future Ready, building a public campaign that engaged K-12, higher education, and community stakeholders to support college and career readiness across Massachusetts. Ishara worked with SEGA Girls School for 9 months, while there, she worked with SEGA’s first class of graduates to identify continuing education opportunities and supported student program planning and organizational development. She holds a BA from Clark University and a MA in Higher & Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Catherine Flint Catherine graduated from Connecticut College with a double major in International Relations and French, focusing specifically on economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. For the last eight years she has been living in NYC, working on strategic brand partnerships and advertising sales for media and technology companies. Catherine attended an all girls middle and high school in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where she gained an appreciation for the importance and benefits of single sex education. Catherine first got involved with Nurturing Minds in 2014, and has since been managing Nurturing Minds’ Instagram account and helping with fundraising efforts in New York.
April Gilbert April holds an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a Ph.D. in Business Administration (Organizational Behavior) from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Her career has included nonprofit management and consulting as well as business education, having taught women MBA’s for nine years at the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College. April is passionate about women and girls’ economic empowerment. She volunteered at the SEGA Girls School for six months in 2012-2013 and, while there, worked as an organizational and business consultant researching several ideas for school-run businesses as a contribution to self-sustainability. April joined the Nurturing Minds board in 2014 and chairs the Sustainability Committee.
Abdulwahid Mazrui Abdulwahid is a Kiswahili instructor at Indiana University. He comes from Zanzibar, Tanzania. He completed his secondary school and college in Tanzania, graduating from the University of Dar-Es-Salaam in 1991 with a BA in Education, majoring in Linguistics. He holds a Master’s Degree in Linguistics from Indiana University, and is currently working for his Ph.D in Linguistics at Indiana University, researching language Planning and Policy in Tanzania.He is a native speaker of Swahili, and also speaks Spanish and Arabic, and has taught both Kiswahili and English in Tanzania. He is currently living with his family in Canada, and is interested in adding his expertise and experience to the Academic Support Committee, and to the SEGA Girls Schools plans to develop an English as a Second Language Program.
Rukia Marijani Mchumo Rukia was born and raised in Tanzania where she attained her primary, secondary and A level education before moving to the USA to attend college. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Lincoln University of Pennsylvania and immediately after enrolled at Florida A&M University where she attained her Ph.D in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Rukia currently works as a Pharmacologist at the United States Food and Drug Administration. Rukia loves to help and inspire youngsters, especially girls. While in Graduate school, she led a successful fundraiser for Kasisa girls in Mwanza, Tanzania who lacked personal hygiene supplies that caused them to miss school. Rukia is passionate about education and will always lend a hand whenever and wherever she can make a difference.
Brooke McInnes Brooke retired after teaching in the Philadelphia School System for over forty years. She now holds a part-time teaching position and enjoys taking horticulture classes. In the fall of 2015, Brooke spent three wonderful weeks workign with the pre-form girls at SEGA. She is very pleased at the opportunity to continue working with SEGA and fine-tuning the English Fluency program for future visition groups. Brooke and her Husband, Dick Ranck, live in Wayne Pennsylvania and have two daughters and one granddaughter.
Chelu Mfalila Being open, creative and insightful allow Chelu to have a unique perspective; qualities enhanced by her global experience. Born in Tanzania, Chelu grew up in Mwanza, Arusha and Harare, Zimbabwe with heavy influences from trailblazing and uniquely graceful women in her family. They taught her by their actions that women are the cornerstone and thread that binds families and help communities thrive with education being key to their success. Chelu is a writer and statistical scientist with significant experience in the design and analysis of biomedical and observational studies. Her primary interest is in improving health and overall well-being in communities within the US and globally. A critical part of her work is in translating data of varied complexity into actionable words relevant in the treatment and prevention of primarily infectious disease. Her collaborative experience include work in Medicine, Public Health and Economics. Educating young minds and encouraging girls to explore the arts, science and math careers through mentoring are close to her heart. Chelu holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics (Minor in Mathematics) from Towson University and Masters of Science in Biostatistics from the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health.
Amanda Opinsky Amanda was born and raised in London, England where she attended an all-girls high school and then took a two-year French/English bilingual intensive secretarial course. With three out of four of her grandparents being American, she has family on both sides of the Atlantic and has lived in New York City for thirty-six years. She came to New York working for a British investment bank where her organizational skills, developed in London, proved to be useful. A career move took place when she fell in love with 19th century American landscape painting and, after taking a variety of art history courses, entered the art world and worked for two galleries before joining Christies. She became interested in SEGA following a trip to Tanzania in 2013 and has sponsored a student for the last two years. She recognizes the vital importance of good education for girls in our world and hopes that she could bring to SEGA her ability to relate to people from very diverse backgrounds and to use her experience in a practical way to help.
Maury Peterson Maury has spent nearly ten years working and living abroad for organizations in Mauritius, Switzerland, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, and also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone. More recently, she has served as the Vice President of Grand Circle Foundation, leading the worldwide giving and service programs that supported the development of more than 100 rural schools around the world. Maury’s experience of African culture and developing schools, along with an introduction to her extensive network, are proving very useful for the Nurturing Minds Board.
Charlie Richards Following graduation from Yale Law School, Charlie taught law at what was then the University of East Africa in Dar es Salaam at the time when Tanzania was the only independent country among Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, and the University of East Africa constituted an attempt to have a university system for the three British colonies. After a year in Africa, Charlie returned to his home town of Delaware and became a member of, and eventually President and CEO of Richards, Layton & Finger, the largest law firm in Delaware. While there, his practice emphasized corporate law, and he was particularly active in mergers and acquisitions, both in terms of advising boards of directors and litigating such matters. He retired from the firm in 2008. Since his return to Delaware, Charlie has made many trips to Africa, including Botswana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, South Africa and three times to Tanzania. Charlie is married, with three grown children and five grandchildren.
Caroline Sanders Caroline has a BA in Psychology and has always had a strong passion for international aid and education. Consequently Caroline has spent significant time abroad teaching in Thailand, leading international service trips for adolescents and studying in Tanzania. Caroline currently works as a Marketing Specialist for an international experiential travel company. In 2013 Caroline happily connected with Nurturing Minds and has been combining her interests for girls’ education, Tanzania and marketing ever since; Caroline writes Nurturing Minds’ weekly blog and manages various social media outlets.
Leigh Stewart Leigh, originally from Philadelphia and raised in a family who frequently visited Africa, has resided in DC for the past 35 years throughout her marketing/sales career and several years as executive director of the Association of Federal Investigators. She has headed up several community activist initiatives in DC, volunteered over the years with Washington Antique Show, My Sister’s Place, Tudor Place, Board of her Condo Association, Alumni Board for her university etc. etc. and numerous other organizations. Leigh has been working within the Nurturing Minds DC chapter for the past 4 years helping to coordinate DC fundraisers. Leigh sponsors a student and visited SEGA in 2014.
Anne Wells A global social entrepreneur, Anne is Founder and Executive Director of UNITE The World With Africa. This social organization connects Americans and Tanzanians to advance grassroots women’s health, education and microfinance initiatives throughout Tanzania. She leads global service tours and facilitates multidisciplinary life skills, healthcare and business development workshops in collaboration with her NGO partners throughout East Africa. Anne attended the University of California at Berkley’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1995/6, and is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with nearly 20 years of experience working with a variety of corporations and not-for-profits. Anne has visited and led a First Aid workshop at the SEGA Girls School, and raised a microloan fund through UNITE to support the SEGA students’ business club ventures.
Hannah Wilson Hannah Wilson is originally from Skillman, New Jersey, where she attended an all-girls’ school for middle and high school. She graduated from Princeton University in 2011 with a B.A. in Politics and a Certificate in Theater. After undergrad, she worked for five years in regulatory compliance and strategy consuling in the finance and technology sectors. She is currently pursuing dual Master’s degrees at Emory University in Atlanta in Business and Public Health. She spent this past summer as a Patient Outreach Manager at MedZed, LLC, a healthcare startup. In her spare time she enjoys music, yoga and her two terrible twin cats.
Sherley Young Sherley holds an M.S in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She brings experience in a wide range of careers to the Nurturing Minds board; including a history teacher and the founder and executive director of two health clinics for women. Sherley has been active on over 10 boards in the Philadelphia area that focus mainly on education and health care/family planning. She has also led over 10 build trips for Habitat for Humanity International, many of which have been to Africa. Sherley is passionate about Africa and believes that educating girls is the best way to help communities.