Our Board
Board of Directors
James Duckworth
President
Emily Martin
Vice President
Heike Sommer
Treasurer
Aanchal Tiwari
Secretary
Abhaya Shrestha
Andrew Namanny
Bhumika Piya
Brent Bishop
Cheryl Jensen
Karin Lapping
Nicole Seawell
Advisory Council
Jim Nowak
Co-Founder
Bill Liske
Buck Elliot
Caroline Fisher, PhD
Matt Glerum
Matthew Weatherly-White
Peter Nichols, Esq.
Robin Houston
Ted Kerasote
Thomas Newmeyer
Tom Fritz
UK Trustees
Paul Mulholland
Chair
Ed Douglas
Anna Kotenko
Rupak Maharajan

Board Member Bios

Board of Directors

James Duckworth, Board President

After graduating from Boston University in 1986 with a degree in Chemistry, James started his career as a dental research lab technician. Soon after, he transitioned to a small startup and spent the next 20 years working at various businesses as a Product and Program Manager for scientific software products. In 2007 he moved into a role in the Thermo Fisher Scientific Corporate Customer Experience team developing and deploying a global program to drive measurable and sustainable business process improvements. In 2013 he permanently left that career track when his family moved to Singapore. There he was a volunteer member of the Executive Committee for the local USA Girl Scouts Overseas chapter (serving as Secretary and Webmaster) and applied his skills to the nonprofit arena to significantly grow enrollment and upgrade the program offerings. Now living in the Boston area with his wife and two daughters, James is effectively retired but continues to spend time volunteering with local organizations.

Emily Martin, Vice President

Emily’s affection for Nepal began during her study abroad in Nepal, India and Tibet in 1996. After graduating from Skidmore College, she pursued her love of travel with a trip around the world and then a stint as a Travel Consultant and in Business Development at Away.com during the early dot.com craze. She returned to school to earn her teaching credentials in elementary education and spent several years in the classroom before evolving into her most important teaching job as “mom”. Emily is the Co-Founder of Children for Change, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering young people to become empathetic change-makers who make a positive impact in their world.  As a Director at C4C, Emily manages marketing, communications, and operations as well as their broad community volunteer efforts.

Heike Sommer, Treasurer

Heike earned her BA in Marketing from Fairfield University. While applying for jobs after University, Heike was placed at Save the Children by a temp agency she was working for. It was her introduction to international development and the beginning of a 21-year career with the organization. Heike supported Save the Children’s emergency programs, including the devastating Nepal earthquake in 2015. She was instrumental in the organization’s uptake of continuous improvement, and later moved into their global financial management. Heike now volunteers with organizations in her community in Connecticut. 

Aanchal Tiwari, Secretary

Aanchal (she/her) is a geopolitical risk and international security professional. She currently partners with cross-functional teams and business leaders at Google, where her insights on emerging political and security risks inform decision-making and long-term planning. Aanchal received a MA in International Law and International Relations from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia, and a dual-BA in International Relations and Global Studies from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She has a passion for exploration across all facets of life—whether through travel, finding new mountains to explore, or getting lost in a book. Aanchal was born and raised in Pokhara, Nepal, and currently resides in Durango, Colorado, where she enjoys the indigenous history of the area and tacos, but looks forward to her next trip back to the Himalayas.

Abhaya Shrestha

Abhaya began his professional career in investment banking at Morgan Stanley before joining the private equity investment firm Behrman Capital in the late 1990s. He has spent more than 20 years investing in and serving as a director of numerous privately held companies including Matrix OneSource, WIL Research Labs, Woodcraft Industries, Friedrich Air Conditioning Co., Best Lighting and Alliance Physical Therapy Partners. Abhaya is currently the founder and Managing Director of the investment firm Lantern Hill Partners. He received a BA in Economics and Computer Science from Amherst College and has been involved with a number of nonprofit organizations. He grew up in Nepal and currently lives near New York City with his wife and two children.

Andrew Nammany

Andrew leads a team at Medtronic, bringing artificial intelligence for cancer diagnosis to market. Andrew’s passion for international development began while teaching in the township of Capricorn, South Africa, in 2016. Trekking through Nepal in 2022, he fell in love with the people and communities he met along the way. Andrew was previously in major gift fundraising for the University of Iowa, his alma mater. A mountain enthusiast at heart, he finds peace in the outdoors — skiing, cycling, trekking, golfing, and yoga. Andrew has a passion for music, commuting to Nashville regularly where he supports up and coming musicians. Andrew believes in leading with love in all pursuits. He resides in Boulder, Colorado. 

Bhumika Piya

Bhumika is a sociologist by training and an international development practitioner by passion. She currently works at Water For People as a Regional Program Officer and supports country programs with strategic and operational planning, monitoring, evaluation, and research, and fundraising. Her areas of expertise include global health, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), climate migration, and gender. She has worked in research and program management roles in a variety of social impact spaces, including academia, nonprofit, and think tank, in South Asia and the United States. Bhumika was born and raised in Nepal and has a PhD in Sociology from Vanderbilt University.

Brent Bishop

An accomplished climber, environmentalist and businessman, Brent first reached the summit of Mt. Everest in 1994, and again in 2002, with the National Geographic Mt. Everest Expedition that marked the fiftieth anniversary of the mountain’s first ascent. In 1994, Brent co-founded the Sagarmatha Environmental Expedition (SEE), an organization committed to removing trash from the slopes of Mt. Everest. Brent’s business experience ranges from consulting with Fortune 500 companies to early stage, start-up ventures. His climbing and work as a guide has taken him throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Antarctic.

Cheryl Jensen

Cheryl Jensen is the Founder of Vail Veterans Program (VVP). Established in 2004, VVP started as an adaptive winter ski program for a small group of wounded warriors. Over the years, Cheryl grew the organization to host a variety of therapeutic programs serving nearly 3,500 injured military service members and their families and raising over $17M. Cheryl is also the Founder of Sharing Warmth Around the Globe, a program of the National Ski Areas Association, that provides gently used ski resort uniforms to cold weather developing countries for people in need. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ernie Bender Volunteer of the Year from the Vail Valley Foundation, Outstanding Public Service Medal from the Secretary of Defense, Women’s Outstanding Work Award from Women’s Foundation of Colorado, Outstanding Civilian Servant from the Chief of Staff of the Army, Chairman’s Award from the Vail Valley Partnership, and, most recently, the Women in Industry award from the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. Cheryl lives in Vail, Colorado with her husband, Bill. Cheryl also serves on the board of the Vail Valley Foundation.

Karin Lapping

Karin is an international public health nutritionist whose career trajectory was set after spending a semester studying in Nepal in 1994. Karin has held a variety of leadership positions in her field, most recently joining Gates Ventures, the Executive Office of Bill Gates, on the Health and Life Sciences team as Nutrition Topic Lead. Previously, Karin worked for over 20 years for nonprofit organizations Save the Children and FHI 360. Karin has lived in Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, and Nepal, and has worked in over 30 other countries. Her professional and academic focus has been on the prevention of chronic malnutrition. Karin holds a BA in Religious Studies, an MPH in Infectious Disease, and a PhD in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition.  Karin lives in Denver, Colorado with her family and has deep roots in Maine.

Nicole Seawell

Nicole is a Motivation and Communication Expert, a sought-after Team Strategist and Dynamics Coach, and founder of Sailor’s Sweet Life, LLC. Nicole is the thinking partner that a team needs to navigate thorny issues, communicate more effectively, and optimize outcomes. She practices the conscious and agile leadership style that she helps her clients learn, and holds an Industrial and Labor Relations honors degree from Cornell University and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Nicole is also the president of the Beaird Family Foundation.

Advisory Council

Jim Nowak

Since 1998, Jim's leadership has taken the dZi Foundation from a grassroots organization initially formed to fund a safe house for girls in Kathmandu to a thriving nonprofit that serves over 45,000 individuals in Nepal. For twenty-five years, Jim led dZi’s fundraising and managed staff in the Ridgway office. dZi's growth is a direct result of his knowledge, passion, and compassion for the communities that dZi serves.

Buck Elliot

Buck brings a strong organizational background to dZi, as former board chair of the Walking Mountains Science Center, an environmental learning center in the Vail Valley. He was a founding director of the Vail Leadership Institute—a leadership development organization focused on inside-first principlesand also a founding director of the 10th Mountain Division Hut System in Colorado. Buck started a family-owned business, Paragon Guides, in 1978 and lives in Edwards, Colorado, where he and his wife Holly raised their three children.  

Bill Liske

Bill has been climbing, trekking, and guiding in Nepal since 1974. He has been on the dZi Foundation US Board of Directors or Advisory Board since its inception. Bill was integral in launching dZi Foundation UK and has served as a Trustee for dZi UK since the charity started in 2012. He lives in Ridgway, Colorado. 

Caroline Fisher, Ph.D.

Caroline serves as president of Fisher Consulting Group, a firm specializing in organizational effectiveness, group alignment, organizational direction setting, and corporate culture development. Her clients span a range of sectors, including public, private, and not-for-profit. Caroline holds a master's degree in organizational development and management as well as a doctorate in organizational psychology.

Matt Glerum

Matt has more than twenty-five years of experience in the consumer-direct and multi-channel retail sectors and is currently CEO of Zoom Systems. His broad experience includes strategic planning and partnership development, integrated digital and print media marketing, apparel design and sourcing, as well as wholesale program development. He joined Zoom Systems after leading the successful turnaround of TravelSmith Outfitters as its president. Prior to that, he served as senior vice president of Garnet Hill, where he led marketing, business development and ecommerce.

Matthew Weatherley-White

Matthew is a co-founder and managing director of Caprock, a privately owned investment advisor, with a focus on transparency, objectivity, and creating positive social and environmental value. He has been described as “the Philosopher King of Impact Investing,” a nod to both his Buddhist practice and his important role as one of the early pioneers of socially responsible investments. He is a frequent commentator, speaker, and blogger who has advised governments and top business leaders across the globe. Matthew is a lifelong athlete, climber, and adventurer. He is a founding board member and has served as the chairman of the Lee Pesky Learning Center in Boise, Idaho.

Peter Nichols

A long-time friend of dZi co-founders Jim Nowak and Kim Reynolds, Peter has served as dZi’s General Counsel since 2019. His long affair with Nepal began with an expedition to Manaslu in 1989 and continued through various climbs, including Cho Oyu and Ama Dablam. Peter is a practicing attorney specializing in water, environmental, and land and water conservation law and lives in Carbondale, Colorado.

Robin Houston, MD MPH

Robin has worked in international public health and epidemiology for the past twenty years, following clinical practice in rural settings. He has focused on maternal and child health, nutrition, infectious diseases, and community-based approaches, with an emphasis on monitoring and evaluation and program design. He resided in Nepal from 1983 to 1989 and has done consultancy work in Zambia. He has worked extensively in both Africa and Asia, and is currently involved with several ongoing projects.

Ted Kerasote

Ted sold his first freelance magazine piece to a national magazine at the age of seventeen and since then has published hundreds of articles and photographs in magazines as diverse at The New York Times, Audubon, Outside, Sports Afield, and National Geographic Traveler. He is the author of seven books, including the longtime bestseller Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog and Out There: In The Wild in a Wired Age, which won the National Outdoor Book Award. He has traveled to the Himalaya many times, most often to Nepal, writing about its people as well as the environmental and political challenges they face. He lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Thomas Newmeyer

Thomas co-owns Jacobs & Company, an investment advisory business in downtown San Francisco and enjoys commuting by bicycle daily. Thomas became involved with dZi through his participation in the Trois Etapes cycling race in France. He serves his local community as a trustee of the Sausalito Marin City School District, and lives in Sausalito with his family.

Tom Fritz

Tom has been a champion of dZi’s work since 1998. Tom leveraged his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University to build a career in consumer products marketing and management, working for a diverse set of companies including Clorox, Nestle, Yes! Entertainment, Marmot, and Workrite Ergonomics. Towards the end of Tom’s career, he founded Fritz Insight Group and provided consulting services to a diverse set of outdoor and adventure travel companies. Tom met the founders of dZi on his first day as VP Global Marketing with Marmot at the Outdoor Retailer show in 1998, a few months after dZi was founded. Since that point in time, he provided dZi with corporate sponsorship for 18 years and volunteerism for 24+ years. Tom has served on dZi’s Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Council, and Gratitude Committee over the years. He is now retired and planning plenty of North American travel with his wife, Joan.

UK Trustees

Paul Mulholland, Board Chair

Paul is the Senior Legal Council to Vitol, a leading private energy firm. Paul has extensive experience in private sector management, and first experienced dZi’s work during a donor visit to Nepal. Since that trip, Paul has become a dedicated fundraiser and advocate for our work globally.

Ed Douglas

Ed is a writer and award-winning journalist with a passion for the wilder corners of the natural world. In addition to authoring over a dozen books, he is the editor of the Alpine Journal and a board member of the British Mountaineering Council.

Anna Kotenko

Anna is a writer with a passion for travel. She is writing a magical realism fiction series, based in Nepal, and regularly writes for international development organizations, multilaterals, and non-profits. She has over a decade’s experience working in advocacy, strategy, and policy, having previously led the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation’s nutrition advocacy portfolio in Bangladesh, which included managing large-scale behavior change programs and influencing government policy. She has an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies and a BA in English Literature from the University of York. Now living in London, Anna also teaches industry-level storytelling techniques to children aged eight to fourteen. 

Rupak Maharajan

Rupak worked at dZi Foundation in Nepal for six years. He holds Masters' in Rural Development and has worked in community, youth, and educational development for over a decade. Rupak is also passionate about Nepalese culture and history, and is currently pursuing a degree in Adventure and Outdoor Education in Finland. He has served on the dZi UK board since August 2021.