The Board

Mark Russo, Chair of the Board
Mark is a Senior Vice President – Investments at UBS Financial Services in Seattle, Washington. He is married to Rebecca Russo who was also instrumental in founding Dwankhozi Hope. The Russo’s have three young and vibrant children and they are very involved at Bethany Presbyterian Church on Queen Anne. Mark was born and raised in Central Illinois, enjoys outdoor activities such as basketball, tennis and water sports and is also a life long Chicago Bears fan.

Gena Morgan, Vice Chair of the Board
Gena is a Senior Program Manager at King County Public Health, managing a regional health improvement collaborative called Accountable Communities of Health. Her career has spanned the private and non-profit sectors and she loves to leverage the best of each to create change for social good. Gena enjoys working cross-culturally, and has traveled in 5 continents for both business and pleasure. Her first trip to Zambia was in 2010 and she doesn’t know why she waited that long! A Seattle native, Gena enjoys exploring the great outdoors with her husband and young son.

Matt MacLean, Board Secretary
Matt is a Recruiter at PATH in Seattle, Washington. He is married to Beth MacLean, who is also involved in Dwankhozi. They have two young children and are also heavily involved in their local church, Bethany Presbyterian in Queen Anne. He was born and raised in Chicago and is a University of Illinois Alum. He has a passion for sports and is a diehard Chicago and Illini sports fan.

Steven Judd, CPA, Treasurer
Steven is a shareholder with the professional accounting services firm, Finney, Neill & Company, PS in Seattle, Washington. He was born in Portland, Oregon, and moved to Tanzania with his family when he was two years old.  Steven spent most of his pre-college years living in Tanzania and Kenya where he observed, through his parents life-long volunteer work, the transformative power of education and social justice. He moved to Seattle in 1985 and earned his B.A. in Accounting from Seattle Pacific University.  Steven and his wife, Carolyn, have two active teenage sons.  His family has traveled to Kenya and Namibia several times to participate in various volunteer and educational programs.

Laurie Nelson, MIT, Executive Director
Laurie holds a Masters in Teaching degree from Seattle University and a B.A. in Education from Seattle Pacific University. Laurie started her career as a Teacher and spent time in South Africa teaching English, Art, and vocational classes. In more recent years, her focus has turned toward various educational and non-profit organizations. She worked for a time with the microfinance organization Opportunity International. In addition to serving as Executive Director of Dwankhozi Hope, she also works at a Financial Services Bank helping clients plan and manage their own charitable giving.  Laurie and her husband, Greg, have two teenage children.

Executive Team

Moses Masala, Projects Manager – in Zambia
Moses is a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Zambia. Over the years he has worked for a number of public and private institutions but currently runs his own small engineering firm in Lusaka. He is a catholic, married with five children. An avid reader, he has been known to ‘devour’ novels overnight whenever chances allow. He tries to share his passion for reading with the younger generation.

Beth MacLean, RN, Director of Programs
Beth is a registered nurse and received her BSN from Wheaton College and Rush University in Illinois. She served as a nurse for eight years in the United States Army, resigning her commission as a Captain. She currently works in an orthopedic outpatient surgery center in Kirkland, Washington. She and her husband Matt have two children and love all things Seattle.

Nick Baumgartner, Director of Marketing and Communications
Nick is the Grant Writer at Wellspring Family Services, a nonprofit in South Seattle with a long history of service to families in King County. He graduated from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA in 2011. His passion for service has found a nice balance between working locally for Wellspring as well as globally for Dwankhozi Hope. Born and raised in Seattle, he is happy to be back living in the city again.

Donna Verhasselt, Director of Long Term Planning
Donna is a Senior Associate at Point B – a management consulting firm in Seattle, Washington. She has a B.S. in Environment Engineering. Donna visited the Dwankhozi community in 2013 to help launch a World Reader e-reader program and fell in love with all things Zambia. She is excited to continue connecting her daughter’s elementary school with this community in Africa to help create a world classroom. She and her husband, Tom, hope to take their girls to meet these inspiring children and adults someday soon!

Other Contributors We Love

Renee Ward, Education Lead

Mike Kim, MD., Medical Team

Missy Lein, Medical Team

Crystal Olmsted, Communications Team

Brad MacLean, PMP, IT Director

Sandy Rowe, RN, Medical Team/Fundraising Team

Jerry Rowe, Fundraising Team

JR Robbins, MD, Medical Advisor

John Vlahavas, Jeff Chou, Andy Clark, Rakesh Khana and Chris Kenessey, Solar Committee