U.S.A. & Brazil Board of Directors and Staff
Orphans Africa (OA) is a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt charitable organization that began in 2007 with the coming together of three ordinary people whose desire was to build peace between nations by providing assistance to those who are most vulnerable.
The OA Board in the U.S.A. and Brazil are all volunteers and do this work solely to benefit those they serve. OA has one full-time employee in the Tacoma, WA office. They all envision a world without poverty in which all persons have the freedom and opportunities to pursue happiness and maximize their potential.
Carl Gann, Co-Founder, President
Carl Gann is a co-founder of Orphans Africa with his wife, Michele Torrey, and friend, Liza De Guzman. He began donating his spare time in 2007 to help the orphans and widows in Tanzania. This resulted in the creation of Orphans Africa in 2007. Carl has a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Missouri and a Master’s degree in Religion from Graceland University. Carl continues his work as a rehabilitation counselor in the Tacoma and Seattle, Washington area. He is an ordained minister with Community of Christ.
Elizabeth (Liza) De Guzman, Co-Founder
At eleven years old, Liza moved from the Philippines to a small farm town in Iowa. She remembers the hard life living in a third world country and continues to support her relatives with necessities, funds, and tuition. From an early age, her family lectured Liza on the importance of an education. Liza graduated with a bachelor degree in nursing and has worked in the field for almost 30 years with pediatric/neonatal and adult critical experiences. Liza also received her Master in Pastoral Study from Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry. Her passions are traveling around the world and making a difference in the lives of people.
Michele Torrey, Co-Founder
Michele Torrey is a co-founder of Orphans Africa, along with her husband Carl Gann and friend Liza De Guzman. Ever since she can remember, Michele has wanted to help the children of Africa. Having lived for ten years overseas and traveled to over thirty countries, Michele understands the challenges and rewards of working in partnership with other cultures. She is the author of twelve books for children and young adults, is a professional speaker and presenter, holds a B.S. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Washington, an M.A. in Religion from Graceland University, and is an ordained minister with Community of Christ.
Dave Skoor, Vice-President
Dave joined the OA Board in September 2011 while on-site in Tanzania as an OA volunteer. It was Dave’s desire to venture “outside his comfort zone” and answer the heartfelt call to service beyond himself that led to both the trip to Tanzania and the acceptance of the board position. Dave has worked for the Boeing Company for 33 years and is employed as a Senior Operations Analyst. He and his wife, Leslie, live in Everett, WA. with two greyhounds and one cat. They have three sons and five grandchildren. Dave has a bachelors degree in Industrial Technology Education from the University of Washington and is an ordained minister with Community of Christ.
Leslie Ryan, Treasurer
Leslie Ryan came to OA as a volunteer in September 2011. Her volunteering came after having a discussion with her 14-year-old son, Nicholas. Nick was upset that Leslie would not buy him yet another game. She responded by saying that he had no idea how lucky he was and that there were children in Africa that didn’t even have electricity. From that moment Leslie knew that she needed to educate Nick on how truly fortunate he was. Vowing to take Nick to Africa someday, Leslie went first to get an understanding of some of the difficulties that come with traveling to a third world country. Leslie lives in Portland, Oregon, and has worked in the nonprofit field for a number of years as a senior accountant.
Greg Jackson, Board Member
Gregory Jackson came to OA as a volunteer on the auction committee and joined the board in April 2014. Greg brings his legal expertise to the organization. He holds a Juris Degree from the University of Puget Sound School of Law and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Puget Sound. Greg has worked as a Seattle Assistant City Attorney, a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Greg prosecuted hundreds of felony offenders. He was a member of the trial team in the first prosecution in the country to utilize canine DNA. Greg also handled criminal appeals. He joined the Torts Division of the State Attorney General’s Office defending the State, its agencies and employees. Greg focused on employment law, civil rights claims, law enforcement claims, correctional and parole claims, and highway claims. He worked for an insurance defense firm and became in-house counsel for a local insurer before becoming a partner in Freimund, Jackson & Tardif.
Chad Musgrove, Board Member
When not working to help educate orphans, you can find Chad on a local mountain hiking up and skiing down. In the warm summer months he’ll most likely be spotted flying down a hill on one of his bikes, or racing in a triathlon. Staying active, adventurous, and eating well are part of Chad’s lifestyle and contribute to his ability to run around Tanzania’s soccer fields with the Orphans.
Becky Pendleton Reid, Board Member
Becky Pendleton Reid joined the OA board in April 2014 bringing with her financial, business and fundraising skills. She is the president of The Cereghino Group, Corporate Investor Relations and has provided strategic IR counsel to over 30 client companies. She has written and produced numerous presentations for IPO roadshows and for presentation to the New York Society of Security Analysts. Ms. Reid has 15 years of securities industry experience, including 6 years with Shearson Lehman and Merrill Lynch. Prior to her work as a stockbroker, she was Asst. Manager of Public Relations for Baskin Robbins Intl. where she was responsible for national publicity, media events, new product promotion and consumer relations. Ms. Reid holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Washington and Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA.
Pablo Rodriguez, Board Member
After a successful career as an IT professional, Pablo first volunteered as a science teacher with OA in Tanzania in 2009, a time when the Mwaji Secondary School was struggling for existence due to government restrictions. Through his resourcefulness and sheer determination, Pablo was able to help the school reopen, giving the children and the community hope. Pablo continues to volunteer for OA, not only in Tanzania, but from his home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, consulting with the Board of Directors on project and organizational development and management. Together with his wife, Monica, Pablo works intensively to extend OA’s network into Latin America, spreading Orphans Africa’s vision and inspiring people to help OA projects. Pablo originated the Orphans Africa Mountain Biking Team which competes in various races around the world while raising funds for our orphan projects.
Susi Wight, Board Member
Susi Wight joined the OA board in December 2013 after a volunteer trip to Tanzania earlier that year, as well as her active volunteer role on the annual auction committee. Susi brings her educational background to Orphans Africa in order to uphold higher standards at the OA schools. Susi has been in the field of education for over 37 years. During that time she has served as consultant to special education programs, developed and managed educational programs for juvenile offenders, and established and managed a “last hope” school for troubled high school students in a public school system. She has trained educators on motivational systems for academic and social skill building in students, and led workshops on a variety of education topics. She has two Masters Degrees, in Special Education and Organizational Development. She, along with her husband Dean, have two daughters and three grandchildren. She is an ordained Elder in the Community of Christ. She and Dean live in Bellingham, WA.
Monica Arruda, International Consultant
Monica first volunteered for Orphans Africa in 2011, spending three weeks in Tanzania as the official photographer. But Monica’s contribution soon expanded beyond photographs as her creative and insightful spirit brought a fresh perspective to Orphans Africa. Monica continues to act as a consultant for OA concerning project and organizational development and management. With a professional background in banking, Monica lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with her husband, Pablo Rodriguez, an OA Board Member.
Carol Stickney, Volunteer
Sarah Leach, Administrative Manager
Sarah Leach is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina and received her B.A. in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill. Following graduation, Sarah traveled to Bagamoyo, Tanzania, where she volunteered for six weeks in a pre-primary school, an AIDS clinic and an orphanage. The experience left her with the desire to do more and to one day return to Africa to make a larger impact.
After completing her Masters degree in Nonprofit Studies from Arizona State University, Sarah was hired as Orphans Africa’s Administrative Manager. She took the job, a dream come true, and has already proven herself an invaluable part of the OA team.
Sarah now works remotely in Georgia for Orphans Africa. She is excited to be a part of OA! She traveled to the three projects sites in the Fall of 2014; she finally returned to the place that changed her outlook on life and the world. She looks forward to having the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of orphans and their surrounding communities as well as continuing the growth of OA and its reputation.