Board of Directors

Brent Bishop, Board Chair

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.

Matt Glerum, Vice Chair

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, Treasurer

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.

Yvonne Marsh, Secretary

Yvonne has spent her career in private equity, corporate finance, restructuring and mergers, and acquisitions. She has completed more than sixty transactions and served on over twenty for-profit and-not-for-profit boards. She has been a senior partner at Liberty Partners and general partner at Joseph, Littlejohn and Levy, a senior managing director a Chase Manhattan and investment banker at Drexel Burnham Lambert and Merrill Lynch. Yvonne graduated with honors from Williams College and Harvard Business School and HBS WOB 2019 class. Yvonne is currently the Treasurer of PEN America, chair of the compensation committee and on the executive committee and audit committees, as well as the treasurer and chair of the finance committee and on the audit committee on the board of The Fay School.

James Duckworth

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.

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.

Emily Martin

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 during the early 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. 

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.

Karsang Sherpa

Karsang is a senior vice president at Tralee Capital Partners, a Private Equity Real Estate Investment Company based in Denver, Colorado. Karsang is originally from Khumjung, Solukhumbu in Nepal and graduated from Cambridge University in 1993 with a B.A. in Architecture. While at Cambridge, he received the Flagship Award, the most prestigious award offered by the British Government to International Students. He then earned a Masters Degree in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and worked for Venturi and Scott Brown Associates before earning an MBA from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. Karsang currently lives in Denver with his wife and two daughters.

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.

Erik Weihenmayer

Erik is one of the most accomplished and celebrated athletes in the world. In 2001, he became the first and still the only blind person to climb Mount Everest, and in 2008 he completed his quest to climb all of the Seven Summits. In 2014, he kayaked the entire 277 miles of the Grand Canyon, considered one of the most formidable whitewater challenges in the world. Erik is the author of the best-selling memoir, Touch the Top of the World, as well as The Adversity Advantage, which shows readers how to turn everyday struggles into everyday greatness. Focusing his efforts on empowering people who have been traditionally swept to the sidelines of life, he founded an organization called No Barriers. It helps people with challenges tap into the human spirit and break through barriers.

dZi Foundation Advisory Board

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 principles—and 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.

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.

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.

Bill Keller

Bill has spent the last thirty-three years professionally involved in global financial markets, managing assets for small corporations and high-net-worth individuals. Bill is a full-time resident of Sausalito, California. He previously served as chairman of the Sausalito City Council and is currently chairman of the Planning Commission.

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.

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.

Lois Ziemann

Lois is retired from the US Forest Service where she crafted stories and images to help people develop connections to our public lands - connections that could lead to understanding, support, and involvement. She hopes to provide similar support to the dZi Foundation's work as they create a kinship between Nepal communities and those of us on the other side of the planet.

dZi Foundation 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.

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.

dZi Foundation Council

Members of the dZi Council play a supporting and advisory role to the dZi Board and the organization, but are less involved in the overall management and oversight than Board and Advisory Board Members.

Darvin Ayre
Robert Balmaseda
Tom Fritz
Peter Hackett, MD
Ace Kvale
Hilaree Nelson
Scott Penzerella
Mark Udall, Former US Senator

dZi Senior Staff

Wende Valentine,
Executive Director

A powerful advocate for social and economic equity, Wende brings 20 years of rich field experience with a variety of international nonprofit organizations to her role as the Executive Director. Wende leads dZi’s program planning and implementation, fundraising, team development, public relations, and financial management – all while fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. She holds an M.A. in International Development and her work, study, and travels have taken her to 55 countries around the globe.

Jim Nowak,
President, Co-Founder & Executive Director

Since 1998, Jim's leadership has taken the dZi Foundation from a grassroots organization initially formed to fund a safehouse for girls in Kathmandu to a thriving nonprofit that serves over 44,000 individuals in Nepal. For the last twenty years, Jim has 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.