Sue Rikalo (since 2012)

Chair, Board of Directors and Governance Committee

Coach and Advocate, Small Business and Leadership Development

Ms. Rikalo 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 she works to empower constituents through building small businesses and leadership skills. Ms. Rikalo is a firm believer in 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.

Leslie Baer Dinkel, MAOD
(since 1992)

Chair, Development Committee

Staff Role: Executive Director

Ms. Baer Dinkel has more than 20 years experience in community development focused on health, education, job creation, promoting traditional weaving arts, medicines and midwifery. Her past professional posts have included Chief of Communications and Marketing for a leading land trust (10 years), VP of Marketing for the Natural History Museum of L.A. County, and a member of the executive teams of Harvey Mudd College and Whittier College. She is an author, award-winning documentary film maker and co-creator of the nationally syndicated radio series’ Earthwatch, FutureWatch and Isla Earth. Ms. Baer Dinkel served with an Order of Mother Teresa from 1988-1993, working with volunteers to provide emergency services to underserved and homeless individuals. She has been honored by the United States Congress and Senate. She holds an M.A. in Organizational Development.

Luis Enrique de Leon (since 1993)
Staff Role: Director, Xela AID Guatemala

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 a health educator and surgical and emergency room nurse. He retired from the General Hospital of Quetzaltenango with highest honors after more than 25 years of service. Mr. De León is, additionally, a licensed social worker with more than 20 years experience in sustainable community development. He was Founder and Director of a private orphanage from 1983-1993. He is Xela AID's in-country Program Director, overseeing all Xela AID programs in Guatemala. These include education programs, literacy, leadership development, small business development, clean environment and emergency response initiatives. He has led medical missions to some of Guatemala's most underserved communities.

M.L. (Mel) Dinkel, P.E., MBA
(since 2005)

Chair, Finance Committee

Coach and Advocate, Sustainable Operations

Staff Role: CFO, COO and Treasurer

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 former CEO of the Claremont University Consortium. He is currently an operations consultant for the Center for Plant Conservation at San Diego Zoo Global, and lives in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Franklin Long, MD, MPH/TM (since 2008)

Coach and Advocate, Medical Operations

Having completed many dozens of medical missions 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 worked as an emergency medical service provider, and has applied these experiences to helping those who most need it. He has shared this in-depth understanding of tropical diseases and disease prevention and treatment broadly through lectures to volunteer lay medical workers and with other doctors and nurses. In his current post, he is practicing family medicine on Catalina Island and in the Hawaiian Islands. He is additionally engaged in writing book for a mass, lay audience on health and nutrition so that readers can easily determine best strategies to care for themselves and to live healthy, vibrant lives. Dr. Long lives in Sacramento, Calif.

Kathy Logan (since 2008)

Co-Founder, Tesoros del Corazón Fair Trade Weaving Cooperative

Coach and Advocate, Weaving Cooperative Business Planning

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 Boards including the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Westmont Art Council, Marymount School, Dos Pueblos High School Engineering Academy, the National Charity League, and the Wilding Museum. Her professional experience includes work in consumer products sales and marketing. Ms. Burt is co-founder with her daughter Amy Logan of Xela AID’s Fair Trade Weaving Cooperative Tesoros del Corazón. She has been involved with Xela AID since 2008, and lives with her Australian shepherds and alpaca in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Dr. Steve Kent (since 2014)
Chair, Medical Operations Committee

Coach and Advocate, Medical Mission and Clinic

Dr. Steve Kent has worked for more than 30 years as an interventional cardiologist, including performing emergency treatment for heart attacks and pacemaker implantation. He is a passionate advocate for people developing and enjoying a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Kent attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and served in the Strategic Air Command when he traveled throughout the world. His travels endeared him to diverse cultures and made him aware of the serious challenges faced by people in the developing world. Dr. Kent is dedicated to Xela AID's mission and to using his skills to help ensure that rural, underserved communities can enjoy a healthier and happier quality of life. He is additionally passionate about sports, and has coached youth basketball, soccer, baseball and football. He and his wife, Dr. Nancy Rikalo, live in Santa Barbara, California.

Sherry Robin (since 2014)
Coach and Advocate: Literacy Program, San Martín Tots Preschool, Mental Health Program

After receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology from the University of Southern California at Berkeley, Ms. Robins continued her education by securing a teaching credential in the methods developed by the late renowned Italian educator Maria Montessori. She taught using the Montessori method for a number of years in Mexico and the United States. She later earned a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), and worked at several California Regional Centers where, among other responsibilities, Ms. Robin served as an intermediary between parents of developmentally disabled children and adults and service providers. Under the auspices of the Santa Barbara County District Attorney, Ms. Robin later created a truancy intervention program that strived with success to keep children involved in their studies. Ms. Robin later resumed her career in counseling, working with the organization CALM (Child Abuse Listening and Mediation) where she has worked as a psychotherapist for the past decade. In her professional career, Ms. Robin has strived to help parents and children have successful, happy, and fulfilling lives. This is consistent with what she so generously brings to the communities served by Xela AID. 

John G. Douglass, Ph.D. (since 2015)

Lead, Xela AID “Discovering the Maya” Exhibit, integral to the “The Mayan Experience@Xela AID” (under development)

Dr. Douglass began his career conducting archeological research in Honduras in the early 1990s, and through that experience, first visited Guatemala. He received his doctorate in Latin American archaeology from the University of Pittsburgh. In 2012 he returned to Guatemala with his wife, Jill Onken, as a Xela AID participant. Dr. Douglass is excited to apply his skills and experience to benefit the communities Xela AID serves. He currently conducts and oversees archaeological research in the U.S. Southwest and California as the Director of Corporate Research for Statistical Research, Inc., and is serving, or has served, on the Board of Directors of the Register of Professional Archaeologists, the Society for American Archaeology, and the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society. He and Jill and their dog Luci, live in Tucson, Arizona.

Hon. Judge Leon Kaplan (since 2015)
Coach and Advocate, Legal Issues; Mental Health Program

The Honorable Leon Kaplan (since 2015) - The Honorable Leon Kaplan retired in 2008 after 27 years as a judge of the Los Angeles Superior court, presiding over juvenile, criminal, and civil courts. Prior to that, Judge Kaplan was a Board Member of the the California Youth Authority. Immediately after law school, he was the volunteer attorney for Volunteers IService TAmerica, founded in 1965 as a national service program to fight poverty in America (now VISTA AmeriCorps). Judge Kaplan was a Fellow under the prestigious Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship Program established in 1967 by the University of Pennsylvana to attract talented young lawyers to the field of poverty law. He served on a USAID task force to evaluate the success of a criminal courts reform effort by the Guatemalan Ministry of Justice and USAID. He is currently a resident of Los Angeles, and a native of Chile. 

Amy Logan (since 2015)
Coach and Advocate, Work Study Scholarship Program
; Co-Founder, Tesoros del Corazon Weaving Cooperative

Staff Role: Director, WSS U.S. Program Office

Ms. Logan is a graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Flim and Media Arts. She received her degree in Public Relations and Advertising with experience in marketing, social media, fashion merchandise, and social entrepreneurship. Ms. Logan is the President of JOJI Bags, a social enterprise that benefits and empowers the women of Xela AID's Fair Trade Weaving Cooperative, Tesoros del Corazon, which she co-founded with her mother, Kathy Burt. Ms. Logan is the Director of the U.S.-arm of Xela AID’s highly successful Work Study Scholarship program which has graduated more than 300 critically underserved Mayan children from high school and thus far 15 from college. In 2015, seven more WSS program children were accepted into college programs, including four young women.  

Jill Onken, Ph.D
(since 2016) 
Coach and Advocate, Environmental/Clean Water Program 
Dr. Jill Onken is an earth scientist with more than 30 years experience working in environmental consulting and conducting research in the U.S. She has a doctorate in Geosciences from the University of Arizona. Her undergraduate training was in Anthropology, and she has a longstanding fascination with the interplay between culture and the natural environment. Jill grew up on a Midwest farm, and she sees many parallels to rural life in Guatemala. She believes that access to potable water is a basic human right and is eager to help guide the Clean Water Program, including exploring new cost-effective ways to harvest and store water. She is also interested in using her knowledge about natural hazards and sustainable subsitence agriculture to benefit the San Martin community. Jill and her husband John Douglass live in Tucson, Arizona, but enjoy periodic sojourns to the cooler and wetter Guatemalan climates to participate in Xela AID volunteer trips. 

Bailey Smith (since 2016)
Chair, Education Committee; Coach and Advocate Literacy Program

Bailey has worked in higher education for 15 years and has a background in job training and alternative high school teaching. She has a Master’s Degree in Multicultural Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, but says she is most proud of her hard-won Certificate in Legal Interpretation and Translation. She took her first volunteer trip with Xela Aid in 2013, and with Board Member Sherry Robin, co-founded Xela AID’s now highly successful Literacy Program currently serving adult women. She is excited to use her background to assist Xela AID’s various education programs in becoming increasingly integrated and to evolve current measures of success to be increasingly meaningful within the local cultural context.


Cliff Hague (since 2007)
Advisor, Sustainable Community
Development and Board Best Practices

With 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. Mr. Hague has been a director on numerous non-profit boards in the past, and is currently a director on San Diego Zoo Global's governing board, along with serving on several other for-profit and nonprofit boards in California.


Karen Yoshino, Ph.D (since 2004)
Advisor, Assessment and Continuous Improvement

Dr. Yoshino has three decades of experience in outcomes assessment, accreditation review, and diversity management for colleges and universities. She 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 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.

Jackie McDougall (since 2014)
Advisor, Institutional Advancement

Ms. McDougall has more than three decades of experience in non-profit management and funds development. She most recently serviced as Vice President for Development at the Crystal Cove Alliance, where she directed membership, major gifts and grants programs and the spectacular gala held each fall on the bluffs at Crystal Cove State Park. Prior to that, served for eight years as the Chief Development Officer for one of California's largest land trusts. Earlier, she was Senior Director of Development at U.C. Irvine College of Medicine. Born in England, Ms. McDougall earned a Bachelor's Degree in pharmacy from London University and a Master's of Business Administration from Henley School of Management in the United Kingdom. She worked in various marketing roles in the U.K. and Belgium before relocating to California. She currently consults for Crystal Cove and the Center for Plant Conservation.


Leslie Baer Dinkel, Executive Director
U.S. Operations & Liaison to Guatemalan Operations

M.L. (Mel) Dinkel, P.E., MBA
CFO, COO and Treasurer
U.S. Operations

Arlene Corral, Program Associate
U.S. Operations

Savannah Brooke, Social Media Manager U.S. Operations

Amy Logan, Director
WSS Program U.S. Operations


Luis Enrique de León
Director, Xela AID Guatemala

Lucrecia "Lucky" González
Sub-Director, Guatemala

Yuly Hoffins Elis
Mental Health Professional, Xela AID Clinic

Dra. Karla Ivonne Rivera Santizo
Medical Doctor 

Maria Luciana Perez Lopez
Coordinator, Tesoros del Corazón Weaving Cooperative; Coordinator, Welcome Center
Alicia Lucia de Leon Lopez
Coordinator, Adult Literacy 

Edwin Cam Mijangos

Elmer Gomez Avilio Mazariegos

Coordinator, Leaders of the Future
Coordinator, Clean Water Program

Estrella Beatriz Vásquez Vásquez
Health Educator, Xela AID Clinic 

Juana Lopez Gomez
Teacher, Coordinator, Xela Aid Study Center

Luis Miguel López Vásquez
Special Projects 

Marisela Suy de Guzmón and Jairo Guzmón
Guardianes, Xela AID Headquarters, Guatemala

Sofia Everilda Gomez Perez
Coordinator, Computer Laboratory Coordinator