BOARD OF DIRECTORS & INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
International Advisory Council
Dr. Hawa Abdi
Dr. Hawa Abdi is a Nobel Peace prize nominee, Somali human rights activist, doctor and founder of The Hawa Abdi Foundation. "Mama Hawa” opened one of the first NGOs in Somalia to provide health care, education and aid empowerment for the women of Somalia. She has two daughters, Deqa and Amina, both doctors, who grew up feeding the refugees who had fled the fighting in Mogadishu and were living on their mother’s land. They both later became doctors to help her continue her work. U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called Dr Abdi “a perfect example of the kind of woman who inspires me”. In 2010, Glamour magazine named Dr. Abdi and her two daughters "Women of the Year," dubbing them the "Saints of Somalia".
Eric Schwartz, dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, has a 25-year career in senior public service positions in government, at the United Nations and in the philanthropic and non-governmental communities. From 2009 through 2012, he was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, having been nominated by President Obama. Schwartz's other high-ranking positions include serving as the Department of State’s principal humanitarian official, managing State Department policy and programs for U.S. refugee admissions and U.S. international assistance worldwide; director of the Connect U.S. Fund; the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery; lead expert for the Mitchell-Gingrich Task Force on UN Reform; and the second-ranking official at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as Senior Director and Special Assistant to the President for Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs.
US Board of Directors:
Kelly Souders (Chair) has worked in the film and television industry for over a decade. As an Executive Producer on the series Smallville, she assisted with managing a crew of 200 plus, analyzes budgets and works as a liaison between studio, network and series.
Ann Laatsch (Secretary) is the Managing Attorney for Disability Services at Community Advocates, Inc., where she practices in the areas of Social Security Disability, public benefits, and health care. She was previously a Staff Attorney at Legal Action of Wisconsin, providing representation and advocacy to seniors on issues related to elder abuse, domestic violence, financial exploitation, and state and federal benefit programs. She is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Association of Women Lawyers, and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives.
Phyllis Nolan (Treasurer) is an independent marketing consultant with more than 30 years experience in P&L management, including company president and corporate business unit general manager. Her experience includes setting overall strategic direction, product development, offshore product sourcing, marketing and retail concept development and implementation. Phyllis also served on the Kansas Board of Regents for five years, presiding as chair for one of those years. Currently, she is a board member of the Department of Orthomolecular Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center.
Talyn Good is the Co-Founder of Heshima Kenya and served as Co-Executive Director for Operations from 2008 to 2011 in Nairobi, laying the program foundation and partnerships with UNHCR, US Department of State, and vital community actors in Nairobi. Before Heshima Kenya, Talyn worked with the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program. In the US she developed, implemented and directed the Immigration and Refugee Social Service programs at a community based non-profit organization in Kansas City, Missouri.
Lee Sanderson worked in fundraising and event management for a broad range of nonprofits in New York for over 5 years before moving to rural Kenya to work as a counselor at The Baraka School. Lee remained in Kenya to work with the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program in Nairobi. She holds a BA in Political Science and in International Affairs from James Madison University and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town. Lee currently works in investor relations at the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Iraq.
Steve Hansch has conducted field work implementing and developing disaster response programs in Ethiopia, Sudan, Kosovo, Rwanda, Azerbaijan and Somalia, working with NGOs like the International Rescue Committee, CARE, and Relief International. Steven served as Program Director of the NGO consortium, Food Aid Management and as Senior Program Officer at the Refugee Policy Group. He also teaches courses in humanitarian aid at various universities, including American University, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and John Hopkins School of Public Health.
Kenyan Board of Directors: