DIRECTORS / ADVISORS / STAFF
BOARD OF DIRECTORS & ADVISORS
         

Leslie Baer, MAOD
Executive Director, Founder (1992)

More than 20 years experience in community development focused on health, education, sustainable development; promoting traditional weaving arts, medicines and midwifery. Ms. Baer is an author, award-winning documentary film maker and co-creator of a nationally syndicated radio series. Her past professional posts have included VP of Marketing for the Natural History Museum of L.A. County and member of the exec. teams of Harvey Mudd College and Whittier College. She most recently spent 10 years on the leadership team of a prominent land trust. Ms. Baer served with an Order of Mother Teresa from 1988-1993, providing training and emergency services to underserved and homeless individuals. She holds an M.A. in Organizational Development.


Cliff Hague
Advisor, Sustainable Community Development (2007)

With a nearly a three-decade career in entrepreneurial businesses and business development, Mr. Hague now lends his talents to the strategic positioning and sustainable growth of nonprofits in the fields of conservation and integrated community development. His expertise includes business and new product development and marketing, systems analysis, the biomedical industry, land management, and venture investment philanthropy. He has been a director on numerous non-profit boards in the past, and is currently a director on the San Diego Zoo Global's governing board, along with serving on several other for profit and nonprofit boards in California. Mr. Hague has been involved with Xela AID since 2007.

         

Luis Enrique de León
Executive Director, Guatemala (1992)
Director, Xela AID June Russel-Glennon Clinic 

Mr. De León has led Xela AID's initiatives in Guatemala since 1993. He has more than 25 years experience as a health care professional as both a health educator and as a surgical and emergency room nurse. For more than two decades, he has led medical missions into some of Guatemala's most underserved communities. He retired from the General Hospital of Quetzaltenango with highest honors, and after more than 25 years of service. Mr. De León is, additionally, a licensed social worker with nearly 20 years experience in sustainable community development working in the Guatemalan highlands. He was Director of a private orphanage from 1983-1993. He is Xela AID's in-country medical director, and continues to oversee all Xela AID programs in Guatemala, including its thriving programs in literacy, leadership development, and small business development, and clean environment initiatives.



Karen Yoshino, Ph.D

Advisor, Assessment and Continuous Improvement

More than 22 years of experience in outcomes assessment, accreditation review, and diversity management for colleges and universities. Dr. Yoshino has served on numerous accreditation teams in public and private institutions and contributed to educational policy at the national level. Her professional roles have included Exec. Director for the SAT at The College Board, Director of Institutional Assessment at Occidental College, and as an Exec. Administrator at Harvey Mudd College. She holds a Ph.d. in Education from the Claremont Graduate University, was a visiting scholar at New York University, is an accreditation team member for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and chairs the Board Academic Affairs Committee at LaRoche College. Dr. Yoshino currently provides consulting services to academic institutions in outcomes assessment and educational planning and improvement.


         


M.L. (Mel) Dinkel, P.E., MBA

CFO, COO and Treasurer
Director, Sustainability Initiatives (2005)

Mr. Dinkel is a turnaround specialist with a track record of developing winning teams to improve profitability, reduce inefficiencies and build strong relationships with stakeholders. His areas of expertise include strategic business planning, operations management, project management and process improvement. Posts have included V.P. of Operations and Strategic Planning for General Electric where he served more than 20 years and was responsible for profitability for operations in the Western U.S. and nationwide strategic customers. Mr. Dinkel managed a budget in excess of $200 million annually, a staff of more than 250 people, and hundreds of projects of up to $20 million. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, and is a Registered Professional Engineer. He served as Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer for 10 years for a prominent land trust, and is currently Interim CEO of the Claremont University Consortium.

Franklin Long, MD, MPH/TM
Director, Medical Projects (2008)

With 18 medical missions around the world on four different continents, Dr. Long has utilized his special knowledge of tropical diseases to the benefit of rural populations in developing countries. He has worked in multiple family practice clinics and hospitals, has been the director for emergency medical services in the United States, and has applied these experiences to helping those who most need it. He has shared this knowledge with dozens of others through lectures to volunteer lay medical workers and with other doctors and nurses. He is currently writing a simple and to-the-point book for the masses on health and nutrition in order to share his knowledge of how to best care for our own bodies and live healthy, vibrant lives.
         

Carlos de la Rosa, Ph.D

Director, Environmental Initiatives (2007)

With over 30 years of environmental management and research experience, Dr. de la Rosa brings with him a broad perspective and multiple tools and approaches for dealing with sustainable development issues in developing countries, including design and management potable water supplies, integrated waste management systems, appropriate technologies and biodiversity conservation. He has worked in Central America as environmental management advisor and biodiversity specialist for the US Agency for International Development, the Organization of American States, and various other non-profit organizations in the region. He is also an experienced environmental educator, scientist, writer and photographer. He is currently Director of the La Selva Field Station in Costa Rica.


Sue Rikalo
Board Member; Chair, Economic Development Committee (2012)
Sue is an entrepreneur who has owned and operated five successful businesses during the past 35 years. She has served as Chair of the Board of her city's Chamber of Commerce, as a City Council Member, as a Planning Commissioner, and as a Director on the Board of a prominent museum. Her significant life experience and skills inform her role on Xela AID's Board, as this committee works to empower constituents through building small businesses. Xela AID seed funds have launched various small small businesses. Sue is a firm believer in empowering self reliance through micro-loans, giving constituents the opportunity to "better their lives through the power of entrepreneurship." At the core of her interest and current focus, is building the entrepreneurial capacity of Xela AID's youth group, Leaders of the Future.
         

Kathy Logan

Board Member; Founder, Tesoros del Corazn Fair Trade Weaving Cooperative; Member, Economic Development Committee (2008)
Kathy has more than 20 years experience lending her time and talents in non-profit development to organizations serving her communities. She has served on on Boards including the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Westmont Art Council, Marymount School, Dos Pueblos High School Engineering Academy, and the National Charity League. She currently serves as Director/Special Events and Marketing for the Wildling Museum. Her professional experience includes work in consumer products sales and marketing. With Xela AID, Kathy is Chair of the Development Committee, and the U.S.-based Director and founder of the Fair Trade Weaving Cooperative Tesoros del Corazn. She has been involved with Xela AID since 2008.




  Colleen Dodds
Advisor, In-Country Operations (1993)

A lifelong educator, Ms. Dodds co-founded Xela AID's PEX Educational Scholarship program in 1993 having sponsored two of its earliest graduates. She has consulted on the development of Xela AID over the years, and her support launched the organization's literacy program in the mid-1990s. She continues to advise project leadership, travel with the organization, and co-lead optometry projects.

     


         
         
VOLUNTEER STAFF (U.S.)
         

Kathryn Tuma
Accounting Manager (1992)

Since Xela AID's inception, has provided accounting and other administrative support.


Michelle A. Richmond and Gary Richmond

Web Development Team (2011)

Designed and Developed Xela AID's website launched in 2011 and continue to provide support and enhancements.

         

Mandy Bennett
Newsletter Editor (2011)

A PhD student in history at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California, Mandy is deeply involved in social justice issues, as well as environmental issues and environmental justice. She has her MA in history with an emphasis in environmental history. She also has an MDiv, with emphasis in theology, is currently on track for ordained ministry, and is studying to become a certified spiritual director. Issues of poverty, literacy, and spiritual formation are of particular importance to her.

Amy Logan
Program Coordinator (2013)

A recent graduate from Chapman University's Dodge College of Film & Media Arts, Amy received her degree in Public Relations & Advertising with experience in marketing, social media, fashion merchandise, and social entrepreneurship. Alongside her mother and Xela AID's Board member, Kathy Logan, she currently runs a business that benefits and empowers Xela AID's Fair Trade Weaving Cooperative, Tesoros del Corazn. She also works as a marketing and sales ambassador for a socially conscious world boutique that carries only products with a give back model. Amy has been involved with Xela AID since 2008 and plans to pursue her dream career in social entrepreneurship while continuing to volunteer on the Xela AID team.
         
         
STAFF (Guatemala)
         

Catarina Gomez Lopez
"Guardian" of Xela AID's Clinic (2004)

A single mother of 8, Ms. Gomez cares for the Clinic grounds, including cleaning, light maintenance, ordering supplies, and providing security. As is customary at many facilities in Guatemala, she lives on the premises. She has held this post since the Clinic opened.

Virginia Carolina Herrera
Doctor and Surgeon (2005)

Dr. Herrera graduated from the University of San Carlos, Guatemala, and completed post graduate work with a specialty in gynecology. Five days each week, Dr. Herrera sees patients at Xela AID's June Russel-Glennon Clinic, with much of her focus on pre- and post-natal care, and preventative health education.
         

Katherine Sanchez
Coordinator/Photographer, PEX Program (2006)

Ms. Sanchez worked as a management trainer and organizational consultant for more than 25 years, including large corporations, private non-profits and government agencies. After a rewarding career, she changed career fields and became a professional photographer. Her work has been shown in galleries in New Mexico and California, and is featured throughout the Xela AID website. Over the last 10 years, she has devoted most of her time to volunteer positions with such groups as Best Friends, and Animal Balance. In 2006, she visited Guatemala as a participant in a Xela AID Volunteer Vacation, and has been the official PEX photographer since. In 2009, she began assisting Pat Maxwell, PEX Director, with scholarship distributions. She is currently living in Guatemala where she volunteers as a teacher at the San Martin School and is the local coordinator for Xela AID's PEX program.

Juana Lopez Gomez
Teacher, Coordinator of Xela Aid's Study Center (2008)

Ms. Lopez Gomez tutors children of the San Martin Chiquito area three hours each weekday afternoon. Her groups average 25 students daily, and include many of the village's children of greatest need to whom nutritious snacks are provided. Located in Xela AID's June Russel-Glennon Clinic, the Study Center transforms the building's second floor into a stimulating center of learning activity.
         

Maria Luciana Perez Lopez
Coordinator, Weaving Cooperative (2010)
Local Coordinator, Emergency Relief (2010)
Entrepreneur, Various Business Start-ups (2009)

Ms. Perez Lopez is the coordinator of Xela AID's Tesoros del Corazon Weaving Cooperative, formed in 2011. Under her leadership, women prepare weavings that can be sold to locally and marketed in the United States. She also works closely with PEX students who are at risk, and in 2010, with funding supplied by a Xela AID PEX sponsor, began caring for a 14-year-old PEX student and her four siblings who had been abandoned by their parents. Additionally, Ms. Perez Lopez runs a small business processing sausages for sale, and raising chickens to sell eggs - both funded through a micro-loan from Xela AID.

Alicia Lucia de Leon Lopez
Teacher, PEX Tutor, Coordinator of Adult Literacy (2011)

Ms. de Leon Lopez is a teacher in Xela AID's Study Center with roles as both a tutor for children in Xela AID's PEX program who are in need of extra attention, and as the Coordinator of Xela AID's Adult Literacy Program in which cohort groups complete a 6-month program.

 


Sofia Everilda Gomez Perez 
Computer Laboratory Coordinator (2014)

Sofia Everilda Gomez Perez is the Computer Lab Coordinator for the Xela AID Computer Lab. She will assist with maintaining the lab as well as teaching computer classes of up to ten students at a time. Sofia is part of the Xela AID's Leader in Action Program and is the top performing student in all of San Martin Chiquito area of more than 5,000 students. She is currently studying law and dreams of becoming a lawyer and working on social justice and women's rights.