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 part-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 and Secretary

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 retired from the Boeing Company as a Senior Operations Analyst. He and his wife, Leslie, live in Everett, WA. 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.

Becky Pendleton Reid, Treasurer

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 pro, 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 projects 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.

Janet Francis, Board Member

Janet is a professional real estate agent who lives in Washington. Janet is active in fundraising for Orphans Africa. Janet serves as the Chair of the Benefit Dinner and Auction for Orphans Africa. Her energy and hard work really benefits the orphans.

Ric Mattson, Board Member

Ric Mattson (AKA Ric Hansen) worked as an on -air personality and in station management in Seattle Radio for over 25 years. He founded (in 1992) and currently manages a nationwide mobile DJ company that specializes in creating promotional party events for partner radio stations. Ric also manages a nationwide website (The School Dance Network) that helps school administrators and DJs create fun, age appropriate dance events. He has been a volunteer board member for Orphans Africa for the past 5 years and specializes in assisting in fund raising, marketing and public relations.

Amanda Bley, Board Member

Amanda is a recent addition to the OA board, having joined in July 2017. She is eager to begin her work with OA and brings her enthusiasm and passion for helping wherever needed. A long-time Olympia resident, Amanda will be assisting OA by planning various fundraising opportunities in the South Sound. When not working on the OA board, Amanda is an associate at the law firm of Freimund, Jackson & Tardif, which specializes in civil defense of personal injury cases brought against municipal and school district clients. In her free time, Amanda enjoys reading, eating, boating, and just about anything competitive – running, softball, turning otherwise mundane activities into areas of sport. She lives with her boyfriend and their two poorly-trained small dogs.

Carol Stickney, Volunteer

Tacoma OA Volunteer Carol Stickney has brightened up our office on a weekly basis for several years! She provides valuable administrative assistance in the office.

Brenda Akers, Volunteer Newsletter Editor

Brenda Akers is our new volunteer editing our OA newsletter along with Liza de Guzman. Brenda grew up in Brazil and traveled throughout South America and Canada. While living in Brazil, she saw and remembered the effect of poverty in the lives of people. Brenda hopes for peace and shares OA’s vision to have a world without poverty. She brings her creativity, eye for color and love of culture to her hobbies & volunteer work.

Stephanie Miller, Administrative Assistant

Stephanie Miller is the Admin. Assistant for Orphans Africa. She is a resident of Tacoma, Washington and a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Minor in Business. Stephanie began working at Orphans Africa in late May of 2016 and considers it like a gift to work for such a great cause with so many great people. She works in the office and supports all of the Orphans Africa projects and Board Members.


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.

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