Hope Taft is President of The Tandana Foundation's Board of Trustees. She has committed most of her life to volunteerism, not only working with Tandana but also with young people in alcohol and drug prevention programs and on various environmental and native plant projects. As the first lady of Ohio, she helped to create the Heritage Garden at the Governor's residence. Hope has seen the positive changes that Tandana has made in her role as a board member as well as as a participant in Tandana's Volunteer Vacations. When she is not busy with her many community efforts, Hope likes to work in her garden and enjoys helping keep the Little Miami River watershed in good condition.
Jennifer Schlosser, Secretary
Jennifer Schlosser serves as both Secretary and Treasurer of the Tandana Foundation's Board of Trustees and has been a member since Tandana was founded. She likes being involved with an organization that has a personal impact on a diverse group of people. Jennifer works as the Communications Manager at Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) in Cleveland and has other communications experience that she uses to advance Tandana's mission. Jennifer loves to travel and her other passions include photography, music, theater, and food. She lives with her husband and young son in Lakewood, Ohio and holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Otterbein University.
Terry Offenberger got involved with Tandana after hearing a presentation on the foundation at a Rotary Club meeting. He was drawn to Tandana because of its grassroots approach. Terry is a Certified Public Accountant and a shareholder at Hammerman, Graf, Hughes & Company, Inc., a certified public accounting firm. Terry has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Dayton and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. With this financial background, Terry has been a huge asset to Tandana. Terry also serves His Hope Teen Challenge as Treasurer, The Greenhouse Miamisburg Church as Treasurer, and as a Leadership Team Member, and is part of the church's music ministry. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing the guitar, and fishing. Terry lives with his wife and two daughters in Clearcreek Township, Ohio.
Since she grew up and lives in a small rural farming community in Ohio, Alta has a special connection with the agrarian population Tandana works with. It's rewarding for her to be involved with an organization that is making positive changes in the lives of others, which she witnessed firsthand on a Tandana Gardening Volunteer Vacation in Ecuador. She is retired but brings to the board a vast amount of knowledge gained from 16 years in human resources, sales and marketing, and customer service. Alta served as a secretary in the Department of Agriculture at Ohio State University, worked for a U. S. Congressman, and owned Oxbow Business Consulting. She has a bachelor's degree in Business from Northern Kentucky University. Alta enjoys doing vintage fashion shows for local organizations in her spare time.
Catherine is proud to have been on Tandana's board since its inception and has been amazed to watch the organization grow and accomplish its goals. She has taught high school English at The Wellington School in Columbus, Ohio since 1995. She has also been the school newspaper advisor and served on numerous committees that focus on diversity. Catherine is married to Cabot and has a young daughter, Carina. She loves to read and enjoys watching science-fiction TV shows. She also plays the guitar, sings, and has written a handful of songs.
After he and his wife Kit traveled to Ecuador with Tandana on a gardening volunteer vacation, Dick Duval was hooked on the foundationand found it only natural to join the Board of Trustees. He believes in Tandana's mission and wants to give back. His years in the real estate business have made him a good team player and team builder. Dick, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, purchases and rehabs old houses and manufacturing properties. His hobbies include golfing, gardening, sketching, painting watercolors, and spending time with his seven grandchildren.
Peter Garver brings the wealth of experience he has gained from working in the nonprofit field to Tandana's board. As Finance Director at the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, Peter prepares all financial reports. He previously worked for several other nonprofit organizations, such as Peter the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op, where he managed volunteers and taught bicycle education to adults. Peter admires Tandana's mission "to promote respect and responsibility toward one's self, all people, and the Earth," believing that we are ultimately all neighbors who should look out for each other. He enjoys walking, playing music, and visiting places he's never been to before. Peter lives in Cleveland with his wife and two cats.
From 2010-2011 Beau joined Tandana as a long-term volunteer in Quichinche, Ecuador. Beau, his wife Amy, and their three children spent the year learning about Ecuadorian culture and forming cross-cultural friendships. They decided to commit themselves to a service-oriented lifestyle, and in 2011 Beau joined the Tandana board. He now teaches law at the University of Hong Kong's business school, and his wife Amy works part-time as the director of education outreach for a local NGO. In his free time, Beau likes to go exploring and spend time with his family. His background in law and clear thinking provide an enormous benefit to the organization.
Susan is a retired physical therapist and physical rehabilitation manager from Columbus, Ohio. In 2010, shortly after she retired, Susan went on Tandana's Volunteer Vacation to Mali. After this trip, she was completely hooked on the Tandana experience and returned to Mali the following two years. After directly experiencing the impact Tandana's volunteer work had on the villagers in Mali, she was eager to join the board in 2013. Working side-by-side with the villagers on community projects has given Susan's life more meaning. She and her husband enjoy traveling, spending time with friends and family, and going to sporting events and ballet performances. She considers being a grandma to 4 young ones her current career.
Rick O'Hara has had a long and illustrious career as an educator. He is currently the president of John Carroll School in Baltimore and previously worked as Headmaster and principal of other independent schools. Rick appreciates the lasting significance that Tandana's work can have on the lives of others. He is excited about helping to shape Tandana's future so that the organization continues to grow and increases its resources. Rick and his wife Jane have three children, Caitlin, Christopher, and Meg. His numerous hobbies include playing the keyboard in a "classic rock" band, playing a variety of sports, trying out new restaurants, spending time at the beach, and traveling.
Lindsey Smith Lindsey first began working with Tandana in 2008, when she lived with a host family in Ecuador as an intern. Since then she has continued to travel to Ecuador to visit her host family and serve as a program coordinator for Health Care Volunteer Vacations. She joined Tandana's board in 2014. Lindsey has 16 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including work as development director for Wasatch Community Gardens and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Lindsey earned a bachelor's degree in Women's Studies and Environmental Studies with a minor in Spanish from Bowdoin College, and she holds a TEFL certification. She lives with her family in Salt Lake City, Utah and enjoys hiking, skiing, and gardening. She is teaching her young son Spanish and looks forward to the day when he gets to meet her family and friends in Ecuador.
Jill has been on Tandana's board since the very beginning. She and her husband Chris were able to witness personally the impact Tandana has on the lives of others when they went to Ecuador on a Health Care Volunteer Vacation. This trip was unlike any other volunteer vacation Jill had ever taken. She felt like she was traveling with her friends and they were visiting family. She was completely amazed to see the relationships Tandana's staff have formed and how these relationships are at the heart of all their trips. Jill lives in Columbus, Ohio and works part-time as a law clerk for a federal judge. She has recently taken up sewing, which she enjoys when her two children give her time.
Ash Varma, M.D.
Ash was born in India and spent two years in Europe before moving to the US, where he completed his residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, followed by a fellowship in Open Heart Anesthesiology in Columbus, Ohio. He worked as an Assistant Professor at Ohio State University before moving into private practice at Mount Carmel Hospital in Columbus. Giving back to the community has always been an important part of Ash's life. During his time in Columbus, he supported two charter schools as well as various museums and fine arts organizations. Ash has been a supporter of Tandana from the beginning. Given his medical expertise, Ash has contributed not only to the board, but also to Tandana's Health Care Volunteer Vacations. Always on the move, Ash now lives in California.
Julie Anderson, PA Julie has been a family-practice Physician Assistant for 14 years, for both Livingston Healthcare in Livingston, Montana and Norton Sound Health Corporation in Nome, Alaska. Before that, Julie worked as a registered nurse for 30 years. Julie has been involved with The Tandana Foundation and its health care programs in Ecuador since the first Health Care Volunteer Vacation in 2007. In addition to her work with Tandana, Julie shares her time and talents with a number of medical missions around the globe including projects in Alaska and Haiti. Julie has a degree from the Medical School at the University of North Dakota and is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
Kelly McCosh, PA-C Kelly is passionate about providing high-quality and compassionate care as a Physician Assistant. Kelly first volunteered with Tandana in 2008 and has gone on many Health Care Volunteer Vacations since. Through her work with Tandana she realizes each individual has the ability to make an impact in this world. Kelly, who lives in Lewiston Maine, works for Central Maine Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. She has a bachelor's degree in Health Sciences from The University of Sciences and a master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Kelly is a member of the American Association of Physician Assistants as well as Physician Assistants for Global Health.
Kate McGovern, M.D. Kate inherited her love of traveling to Ecuador with Tandana from her father Dr. Mark McGovern. Kate has gone on several Health Care Volunteer Vacations, and on one trip, she was humbled and almost brought to tears by the appreciation of an elderly patient. This appreciation crossed language, cultural, and generational barriers. Kate is a pediatrician living in Cincinnati, Ohio, and she practices at Anderson Hills Pediatrics, Inc. Kate has a bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from Ohio University and a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She is a fellow and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Mark McGovern, M.D. Mark brings to this committee the knowledge he has gained from over 40 years of practicing pediatric medicine. He went on his first health care volunteer vacation in 2007 and since then he has gone on a trip with Tandana every year. His experiences in Ecuador have been both life-changing and amazing. Before retiring in 2013, he was a professor at the University of Cincinnati and worked at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Mark has a bachelor's degree from St. Peter's College and a Doctorate of Medicine from Creighton University College of Medicine. He is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Risk Management Committee
Lander Cooney Lander has had life transforming experiences in Ecuador. After college, she lived and volunteered on a nature preserve outside Misahuallí, and since then, she has returned to Ecuador numerous times. In 2007 Lander helped coordinate Tandana's first Health Care Volunteer Vacation, and she has also served on the Board of Trustees. Lander is now the Executive Director of Community Health Partners, a nonprofit that provides medical and dental care to patients in southwestern Montana regardless of ability to pay. She previously worked for the Traveling School and Deer Hill Expeditions. Lander has a bachelor's degree in Biology from the Colorado College and a Master's degree in Science Education from Montana State University.
Paul was born in South Africa, moved to the US as a child, and has sought out travel and adventure ever since. Paul brings over 18 years of expertise in experiential education, leadership development, risk management, and team building, especially in remote and challenging environments. He's worked with a variety of organizations such as Avid 4 Adventure, the Cottonwood Institute, Where There Be Dragons, and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Paul also instructs first responder courses with the Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI). He has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Michigan and a Master's degree in School Counseling from the University of Northern Colorado.
Claire Hirschmann When Claire was 13, she went with her parents on a 5-month tour around Europe. She brought her math textbook along, but for the rest of her subjects, the road was her classroom. Through this adventure, Claire came to believe that learning and life should be inextricable. Claire has earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University and a master’s degree in School Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She worked for the Traveling School as a teacher and as the Academic Program Director, and she has led educational trips through 4 continents. Claire is the co-founder of The Field Academy, a traveling high school program that focuses on creating transformative, place-based, and community-driven educational experiences for students and educators across the US. As if this were not enough, Claire is currently attending medical school.
Shannon calls Bozeman, Montana her home but extensive traveling has made her a citizen of the world. She has been involved with Tandana from the organization’s early stages and was instrumental in developing the Mali Volunteer Vacation Program. Shannon has also contributed greatly to Tandana's work in Ecuador. Shannon is an Adjunct Professor at Montana State University. She previously worked for The Traveling School as a teacher, Academic Program Director, and a Visiting Senior Educator, where her many responsibilities included creating emergency and evaluation plans. She also served as the president of TTS's Board of Directors. Shannon has a bachelor's degree in Biology from Humboldt State University, a master's degree in History From Montana State University, and a master's degree in Creative Writing from Naropa University.
Paul Dreyer (see above)
Lizzie Falconer Lizzie never feels more alive than when she is speaking Spanish and working in cross-cultural situations. Lizzie started with Tandana as a Volunteer Coordinator Intern and returned as a group coordinator. She is currently working in Ecuador for Catholic Relief Services. Lizzie previously worked for the Lakeside School's Global Service Learning (GSL) program. While working for GSL, Lizzie led student trips to rural communities in South America where she was responsible for the students' safety and crisis management. She has a bachelor's degree in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Oregon. She is planning to get a Master's degree in Public Affairs and International Education Management at the Monteray Institute of International Studies.
Shannon Ongaro (see above)
Danika Robison Danika has served as Tandana’s Volunteer Coordinator Intern and has also been the Lead Coordinator for many Tandana programs. She currently works for The Traveling School, where she teaches history, Spanish, and global studies. Danika loves seeing her students' lives enriched by the experiences they have abroad. Through a partnership she developed with REACH, a youth development program, Danika brings underserved youth from California to participate in Tandana programs in Ecuador. Danika has a bachelor's degree in International Affairs and Government from Skidmore College. Her hilarious sense of humor and readiness to handle any situation make her a sought-after leader and she brings proven experience and insight to the Program Committee.
Anna Taft, Founding Director After graduating from high school in Ohio, Anna spent four months in Panecillo, Ecuador, where she taught at a local elementary school and built the connections that inspired her to start The Tandana Foundation. She attended Whitman College, earning a bachelor's degree with honors in politics and a minor in environmental studies. Then, she worked for The Traveling School, teaching Spanish, history and literature to high-school students in the Andes and New Zealand. Anna also spent 8 summers leading teenagers in wilderness and community service for Deer Hill Expeditions. Anna founded Tandana to increase opportunities for intercultural sharing in experiential education programs. She appreciates the power of intercultural friendships to change our views of the world and help us better understand what it is to live as a human being on this Earth. Since its inception, she has led the foundation, developing relationships, guiding projects, creating volunteer programs, managing staff, fundraising, and overseeing the innumerable details required for its success.
Aaron DiMartino, MSc, Operations Director
Although he became Tandana's Operations Director in September 2016, Aaron has been a member of the foundation's family for a long time. In 2012, after spending two years in Ecuador as a Peace Corps Volunteer, he joined Tandana's Ecuadorian team for a year as a Program Coordinator and long-term volunteer. After leaving Ecuador, he joined Tandana's Advisory Council program committee. As Operations Director, he is responsible for managing staff, developing Tandana's volunteer programs, keeping track of progress, generating reports, participating in financial planning, and fundraising for the foundation. Previously, Aaron worked in the youth development and experiential education fields. He has aB.S. in Expeditionary Studies from SUNY Plattsburgh and a M.S. in Recreation Park & Tourism Administration from Western Illinois University. Aaron is originally from upstate New York, currently resides in Florida, and in his downtime enjoys bird watching.
Shelley Kawamura, Volunteer Program Administrator
Shelley has always been fascinated with cultures that are different than her own. She is amazed by the fact that no matter how different cultures may seem individuals are bound together by their similarities. Shelley shares her enthusiasm for different cultures and travel with Tandana volunteers in her position as Administrator of Volunteer Programs. She is responsible for working with volunteer vacation participants and volunteer groups on their travel logistics to ensure they have successful and transformative experiences with Tandana. Prior to working for Tandana, Shelley held several positions at SAGE Global Education. Shelley has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a master's degree in Sustainability Management from Colorado State University. In her freetime, Shelley enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, creating new things out of existing materials and reading nonfiction books. She lives in Windsor, Colorado with her husband and 18-year-old son.
Molly Klarman, Program Assistant
Molly began working for Tandana in 2010 as an intern in Ecuador, coordinating several programs including the Health Care Volunteer Vacations and several Group Service Projects. She has also been taking care of administrative details for Tandana since the spring of 2011. Originally from the Boston area, Molly is now in Haiti working for the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation at a rural hospital, where she helps in the foundation's efforts to offer access to quality, affordable health care, educational opportunities and community development programs. She previously worked for a conservation organization in Belize and on a conservation project in Costa Rica. When she has downtime, Molly’s favorite thing to do is to take long hikes which end at a swimming spot.
Susan Koller, Public Relations Specialist
Susan has been doing pro bono public relations work for Tandana since 2009, expertly getting the news out with press releases, blog entries, and updates to Tandana supporters. Susan previously worked for the Checker Book Publishing Group as Publicity Director, and she has volunteered for both the Access Center for Independent Living and Breakthrough Cincinnati. Susan has a bachelor's degree in mass communication and a master's degree in public administration from Wright State University. She volunteers for Tandana because she can use her writing skills to advance the foundation's mission of cross-cultural experiences and relationships. She learned the value of such experiences first-hand while growing up in Saudi Arabia. Susan lives in Dayton, Ohio, and she enjoys reading and going for walks with her service dog Chia.
Viktoria Kroeger, CPA
Originally from a small town outside of Moscow, Viktoria thought she was just visiting when she came to the US at the age of 22. She now calls Cincinnati, Ohio, home. She graduated from the Russian Economic Academy of Plekhanov in Moscow with an accounting and audit degree, and then obtained her CPA license in the US. Viktoria is currently working as a Senior Auditor at Sheldon Reder, CPAs and previously worked for Andrew Littner LLC as an entry-level accountant. Viktoria enjoys doing pro bono accounting work for Tandana and watching the organization grow and expand its reach. When not working, Viktoria enjoys spending time with her husband and two young sons. She also likes traveling, reading, and volunteering in her community.
Marilyn Peterson, Financial Coordinator
Marilyn became Tandana's Financial Coordinator in May 2016. As Financial Coordinator, she is responsible for the foundation's accounting operations. Her duties include preparing financial reports, maintaining a system of accounting records, reconciling accounts, overseeing accounting procedures and processing payroll. Marilyn brings a lot of professional and educational experience to her position. She has her own accounting/bookkeeping business, Peterson Bookkeeping & Consulting, which she has owned for the past 12 years. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Ohio University. Her hobbies include spending time with family, doing Jazzercise, going to the beach, reading, gardening, and walking her dog. Marilyn, who grew up in Athens, Ohio has lived in Springboro, Ohio for the past 26 years. She is married and has two grown daughters.
Herman Snel has lived in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and North America but he has chosen Ecuador as his home. Before joining Tandana, he had a diverse professional career, which included conducting academic research in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala, working for a large international development agency in South Africa, and collaborating with numerous grassroots and indigenous organizations near Ecuador's northern frontier. He has also studied international development, agroecology and anthropology. His passion for Ecuador, its people, its cultures, and its communities is apparent to anyone who meets him and brings dynamic energy to the Tandana team. When not immersed in the communities, Herman enjoys gardening, playing music with his band, spending time with daughter, and being in nature.
Vicente Pazmiño, Logistics Manager Vicente Pazmino has lived in Panecillo, Ecuador his entire life, and he has dedicated much of his time and energy to bettering his community. Along with his father, Vicente was instrumental in the installation of the Panecillo Regional Potable Water System, which serves five communities. He first met Anna Taft in 1998, when his family hosted her during her first volunteer experience. Vicente has worked with Tandana from the outset, assisting with coordinating service projects, placing volunteers, and making arrangements for scholarship recipients. Thanks to Vicente's strong community relationships, he excels as Logistics Manager, and his dedication to helping others and the integrity of his work are great assets to Tandana. Vicente and his wife, Cecilia Sierra, have four daughters and five grandchildren.
Verónica Pazmiño, Scholarships Coordinator
Verónica Pazmiño is an empathetic Scholarships Coordinator because she has dealt with the same issues scholarship students face. Veronica grew up in Panecillo, Ecuador and developed a love for English, which she got to practice when Anna Taft lived with her family in 1998. Veronica went on to work as an English teacher while continuing her education at the Polytechnic Army University. In 2008, Veró began interpreting for Tandana's health care volunteers and since then has supported Tandana in innumerable ways. Verónica enjoys helping community members with projects, sharing her customs and traditions with the volunteers, and learning more English. Veronica lives in Otavalo with her husband and two children.
Virginia Sanchez, Patient Follow-up Coordinator Virginia's knowledge of Ecuador's health system, gained from 15 years as a financial controller for the Ministry of Public Health, is invaluable in her position as Patient Follow up Coordinator. One of the reasons Virginia chose to work for Tandana is because her position allows her to help individuals in rural communities obtain access to medical care. Her favorite part of her job is seeing the smiles on patients' faces after they have finished all their treatments. Virginia has an impressive professional history. In addition to working for the Ministry of Public Health, she managed a pharmacy in Ecuador. Virginia is from Cotacachi, Ecuador, where sh enjoys reading, cooking, walking, and spending time with her young grandson.
Margarita Fuerez, Program Assistant
In 2007, Margarita received a scholarship from Tandana that helped her finish high school. A few years later, she became Tandana's first university scholarship recipient (studying Accounting and Auditing at the UNIANDES University) and pioneered the community service requirement of Tandana's scholarship program. Margarita began working with Tandana's Electronic Medical Record System in September 2015, and once that work was complete, she has continued to use her sharp mind and cheerful disposition to keep Tandana's programs in Ecuador running smoothly. She likes working for Tandana because it gives her the opportunity to learn new things. Before working for Tandana, Margarita worked at a childcare center and helped her uncle make crafts. She lives with her father and older sister in Panecillo.
Program Coordinators A diverse group of experiential education professionals work on a short-term basis to lead the volunteer programs. They plan and lead the program activities, oversee safety, coordinate logistics, facilitate discussions, provide orientation and support to volunteers, and also make sure everyone has fun. Knowledgeable about the area and activities, they serve as guides and cultural liaisons, providing a meaningful volunteer experience. See here for bios of some of our Program Coordinators.
Moussa Tembiné, Program Manager
Moussa came to Tandana with over 10 years of experience in development with a wide variety of NGOs, including Action Mopti, Amprode Sahel, and PRBP (Projet de Rehabilitation des Barrages et Pistes). He has an academic background in both agronomy and community development, and he is a Superior Agricultural Technician with the Malian Ministry of Agriculture. Having grown up in the village of Kansongho in Dogon Country, Moussa brings deep familiarity with the languages, culture, customs, and social organization of the region. Moussa's enthusiasm for helping villages reach their goals, his skills in project design, and his dedication to providing continual support to the committees overseeing projects Tandana sponsors make this vital work possible.
Housseyni Pamateck, Local Supervisor
Housseyni comes from the village of Sal-Dimi and has a degree in Geographical Development from the University of Social Sciences and Management in Bamako (USSG). Housseyni served as an intern for Tandana for two years, working with several Mali Volunteer Vacation groups and completing follow-up work on various projects. Housseyni also conducted research on the impact of Tandana's work in different villages during his internship, before taking on the role of Local Supervisor. He has a deep appreciation for the impact Tandana's work has had in his village and many others, and he also understands the importance of getting feedback from villagers. He hopes his conscientiousness and dedication will increase Tandana's success in Mali.
Ada Kanambaye, Community Liaison, Literacy Program
After learning basic literacy skills in the 2013-2014 session of Tandana’s Tommo So Literacy Program, Ada progressed in her knowledge enough to become an instructor. Since then, she has been a Literacy Instructor, teaching women in other villages how to read and write in their native language. Ada was also chosen by the assembly of women of Sal-Dimi to be manager of the village cotton bank, where she puts to use her literacy and numeracy skills, ensuring that the books of the cotton bank are kept accurately. As Community Liaison, Ada talks with women beneficiaries of the Literacy, Savings for Change, and Association Leadership programs to understand their needs, goals, and ideas for improving the programs.
Moussa Tembiné, Savings for Change Trainer Moussa Tembiné is from the village of Ondogou-Da and achieved an eighth-grade education. He worked in the office of the mayor of the Ondogou Township before joining Tandana as the Savings for Change Trainer for Ondogou Township. He is proud of his work with Tandana, helping women form savings groups, provide credit to one another, and become more self-sufficient.
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