Bonnie Ellison – Ama Ghar Children’s Home, Kathmandu, Nepal (Country Director)
Bonnie took an early retirement to follow in her father’s footsteps of giving back to the people of Nepal by working with groups that make a difference. Her father, O.T. Ellison, was one of the first Americans to arrive in Nepal in 1956. She is planning on spending the rest of her life there. As Managing Director of a house of 48 children, she is always busy! In addition to her supervisory duties, she works on the development of a strategic plan for the future, reports to the Government of Nepal, and manages the transition of the Ama Ghar children from elementary school to higher education or vocational training to a self-supporting career.
Suyesh Karki – Ernst & Young, Salt Lake City, UT (Chairman)
Suyesh Karki is a Manager in Ernst & Young’s Advisory/Consulting Services in Salt Lake City, Utah. This role includes managing engagements relating to compliance with technology, security, and privacy standards. In 2006, Suyesh graduated with a B.S. in Information Systems from Brigham Young University in Utah and in 2008, Suyesh earned an M.S. in Accounting from University of Notre Dame, Indiana. He is a Certified Information Security and Information Privacy professional. Suyesh is passionate about giving back to his community, especially contributing to the growth of the underprivileged children in his home country of Nepal. He hopes to build relationships with the Ama Ghar children at a personal level and strives to create a positive impact on the lives of these children by supporting their intellectual and physical growth. He believes that an educated society holds the keys to any kind of sustainable development in Nepal and is excited to have an opportunity to contribute towards achieving it.
Sarah Pinkin – Sonoma, CA (Secretary)
Sarah is uniquely qualified to serve on the Ama Foundation Board, as she lived overseas from ages 13-20 and has a very clear picture of what the Ama Ghar childrens’ lives are like and how critical it is to raise funds for them. She lived in Macau for 3 years, Taiwan for 6 months, then traveled around the world for a year. She visited Nepal with her family when she was 14 and grew up learning about Nepal, going to Nepalese family gatherings and even had a Nepalese nanny for a year. Ms. Pinkin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and French from Colorado State University as well as an Associates degree in Culinary Arts from the California Culinary Academy. She lived and cooked in San Francisco for five years, then worked at restaurants in Sonoma for five more years. Currently she is focused on being a housewife and wrangling her two kids, Sawyer (2-1/2) and Olivia (4).
Yasmijn Adhikari – Former Global Securities Lending Group, BlackRock, Inc. – San Francisco, CA (Treasurer)
Yasmijn Adhikari resides in San Francisco with her husband and two sons. She first traveled to Nepal in 2004 for her wedding (her husband is Nepali) and immediately fell in love with the people and culture. Since then, Yasmijn has traveled to Nepal numerous times. The most recent trip was in 2012 where she spend 3 months in Nepal taking Nepali Language classes and volunteering at a local pre-school her son was attending. Yasmijn started her career in New York City working in asset management for JPMorgan. She has over 8 years of experience in the hedge fund services and alternative investment management industry. Yasmijn currently works for BlackRock, one of the largest asset managers in the world, in their Global Securities Lending group. Yasmijn has a degree in Finance and International Business from Florida State University. She has lived in the Netherlands, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and is an avid traveler. She believes that her global upbringing, passion for kids and education, and financial background puts her in a unique position to help the Ama Foundation.
Rob Sanders – Owner, Rob Sanders Online – San Francisco, CA
Rob brings a wealth of energy and experience to the world of online marketing. He currently works with a diverse group of companies across multiple industries providing creative and technical solutions for online growth. This role includes overseeing their search engine marketing and optimization efforts while providing guidance on new online marketing channels such as social networking, blogs and video.Before receiving his undergraduate degree in Communications at the University of Central Florida, Rob was honorably discharged from the U.S. military after serving four years abroad. He also received his Project Management Certification and earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of San Francisco. He volunteers his time for a number of organizations including Junior Achievement, and the San Francisco Aids Foundation.
Fred Doar – Artist, Planet Freddo, Mill Valley, CA
Fred has maintained a studio in Sausalito, California, for the past 11 years. His work “I Stand for What is Right,” a painting of John Doar stopping a riot in Jackson, Mississippi, is on display at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. In addition, he has started a company called Planet Freddo, which offers quality silk ties that display his art work – a percentage of the profits from Planet Freddo go to Ama Ghar. Prior to his art career, Mr. Doar was the CEO of Grace Baking Company, a highly regarded bread bakery in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mr. Doar joined the company in 1992 and spearheaded the growth of the business locally and nationally. Grace Baking won numerous awards during this time including best bakery, best break and best small business. The business was sold to a Canadian company in 2002 and Mr. Doar left in 2003 to pursue his art career. He is a graduate of Princeton University, a member of the Marin County High School Hall of Fame, a recipient of the George Sugarman Award for Heroism, served on the Mill Valley Business Task Force, (1989) and on the Marin Catholic Board of Regents from 2007-2010.
Jane Ellison- Interior Designer, San Rafael, CA
Jane specializes in creating harmony at all levels. Combining Feng Shui and Green design principles with an extensive knowledge of light, color, and furnishing, she creates spaces that are fresh, classic and considered She brings calm and focus to what can often be an overwhelming experience. With over 16 years of experience and exposure in national interior design publications, Jane has built a loyal following of clients with her exclusive network of artisanal resources, eye for quality, and total professionalism. A graduate of Academy of Art University, she is a certified Feng Shui consultant, a Green Design specialist, and an Allied Member of the American Society of Interior Designers. A former nurse and mother of four children, Jane found her first visit to Ama Ghar with her children was life changing and eye opening. She feels fortunate and wants to give back by helping underprivileged children, working with an organization that truly makes a difference. Jane also volunteers for the Pristine Mind Foundation, a San Francisco Bay Area Buddhist meditation group.
Poonam Mudvari – Bethesda, MD
Poonam was born and raised in Kathmandu. She left for the US to pursue higher eduction and is settled in DC metro area. She has a background in management and marketing. After having left Nepal at young age, she wants to give back to Nepal by empowering children. Poonam believes children are the hope for future. In addition each child deserves a loving home and a chance for a better future.
Sarah Nikles – Geneva, Switzerland
Sarah Nikles is 39 years old and lives in Geneva, Switzerland with her husband, Alain and her small daughter. She is an accountant for a US company, working with Greece, France and Germany, and she’s in charge of all the billing activities around the globe. Sarah first heard about the Ama Foundation in 2008 from her friend Serap Jamgbu Sherpa. One of her wishes was to come to Nepal to spend time with children, and one year later, in October 2009, she pushed open the door of Ama Ghar for the first time, and fell in love – Ama Ghar is now one of the most important things in Sarah’s life. In January 2013, she and Alain, along with six friends who came to Ama Ghar, created Ama Ghar Suisse in order to be closer to the Swiss people who donate each year. According to Sarah, “Switzerland is a very small country, but Swiss people are very generous. We hope that we will give more money to Ama Ghar this year.”
Mary Piasta-Valluzzo, Piasta Valluzzo Law Group – Sonoma, California
Mary Piasta-Valluzzo is a California based lawyer and mom. She has spent much of her life advocating for children in one way or another, starting with her six younger brothers and sisters. Before law school, she worked in California government with former First Lady Sharon Davis. During law school, she went on to work with Berkeley based Human Rights Advocates, drafting policy papers and ultimately lobbying (successfully) at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She is a founding partner of Piasta Valluzzo Law Group LLP, a Sonoma Valley based law firm serving the advocacy and transactional needs of families and businesses. She has written numerous parenting articles as a contributing columnist to the local paper and she also writes a parenting blog. She is involved in children’s issues locally as Commissioner for the City of Sonoma, where she is charged with being the voice of local youth, and internationally with the Ama Foundation. She and her husband feel blessed to call Sonoma Valley their home, where they live with their two rambunctious sons, pet pug and two parakeets.