Our US Board of Directors
Peg Romanik, Board Member
Peg is currently the head career attorney for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service at the Department of the Interior. In this position, she works with attorneys and program specialists for the NPS and FWS in many capacities, including working with state and local governments to advance conservation goals. Her area of expertise is the Endangered Species Act and in that capacity she has spent decades working to have a “cooperative conservation” relationship with varied interest groups – from the Farm Bureau to environmental NGO’s to industry. She has learned from these experiences the value of engaging people at the grass roots level and working through local leadership to promote a common goal. Peg’s daughter Genevieve served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia in a remote village (Chikakala in Mpika). Peg visited Chikakala and was astonished by two things. First, the level of poverty and hardship and, second, by how similar that life must be to what her great great grandparents experienced as subsistence farmers. This experience and her own experience of growing up in rural poverty, made it so evident how education is the key to rising above those situations. Peg received her Bachelor’s degree from Michigan University and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Inutu Liam, Board Member
Inutu currently works as a Dispute Analyst at Fiserv and is also a Co-Founder at Tradenis Corporation- a company she and her sisters 2020. Her expertise is in Data Analysis and Customer Support. She was born and raised in Zambia and moved to the United States in 2004. Omaha, Nebraska has been her home since then. She is passionate about girls, especially those who are underprivileged and unable to realize their potential due to economic constraints. She is always searching for viable ways to facilitate a better livelihood for the disadvantaged wherever she can. She became a mother in her teenage years, and that experience sparked a fire in her to educate girls. Some intelligent girls and boys need a chance and someone to believe in them.
“I think culture and education should go hand in hand to see progression. I believe, in a country like Zambia, women, and girls need education for the barriers that exist to shatter. I was drawn to Bakashana by its focus on providing education, looking at the entire scope of a community, and ensuring all, including young boys and girls, get set for success. The only way to ensure success is when there is wholeness. Bakashana does that! It will be an honor to be a part of a kindred group that is changing the world.”
When she is not working, she writes fiction and spends time with her little village in Omaha- her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. Stu the pup, her young sister, and her niece.
Kari Pennise-Hummer, Board Member
Kari has a varied professional background in life coaching with an emphasis on ensuring her clients’ personal development, motivation and self-awareness as a road to their successes. Through her creative dance courses, she promotedindividual self-esteem and confidence for her clients. Kari has studied at the University of Windsor in Canada as well as taken the numerous courses of study with Tony Robbins. She owned and operated her own business in tax preparation for small businesses and currently works in marketing and client relations for Etna- Commonwealth. Kari and her husband Dan have 6 children between them and have sponsored two of Bakashana’s young women in recognition that education paves the way for women to become independent contributors for their families and community.
Emily Sherman, Board Member
Emily is a mother, athlete, Capricorn, loyal friend, and longtime supporter of Bakashana, having worked closely with Claire when she returned to Zambia in 2011-2012, and having financially supported the organization for the past 3 years. She currently works at Soccer Without Borders (SWB), an international nonprofit that uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change globally. The organization was founded in 2006, and Emily has been working with them since 2018.
After three years serving as Director of Soccer Without Borders Maryland, Emily became SWB’s Managing Director of Finance & Operations in 2021. Prior to working for SWB, Emily demonstrated a deep commitment to public service in Baltimore, working for Baltimore City Schools and as Chief of Staff for former City Councilmember Jim Kraft. Prior to her time in Baltimore, Emily was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia. Emily completed her undergraduate work at Colgate University, and earned a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she was selected as a Shriver Peaceworker Fellow. Emily has a certificate in nonprofit accounting (CNAP) and is a certified trainer in Restorative Practices.
Cathy Bengson, Board Member
Cathy is currently enjoying being a wife, mother and grandmother. She retired from church resourcing that took her to the states of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Her work has been with nonprofit groups for over 25 years, including development work for a coalition of camps. Bakashana is a perfect match for her passion for assisting others and peace and justice issues. Currently Cathy is volunteering for a food pantry and a children’s ministry program at her church, Cathy and her husband of 49 years love to travel and have had the privilege of recently visiting Ireland, France, and Hawaii. Cathy says “I am so very proud of Claire and Justin and their work and I am happy to be a part of that.”
Sue Deuber, Vice Chair
Sue serves as program advisor as well as a member of the board of directors. Sue has six years of experience working with women’s education in sub-Saharan Africa. Starting with her work directing HIV programs in Tanzania in 2006, her interest in education in Africa, especially that of educating young women has been a passion she has actively pursued while working as well as a Principal for three different schools in her home in Hawaii. She now owns a consulting firm based in Hawaii which champions the charter school movement and works with policy-makers, administrators, parents and teachers to improve the quality of schools throughout the US. Sue has extensive experience in program design, curriculum development, training and fundraising, and holds a Masters Degree in Education.
Sherry Hostetter, Board Chair
Sherry has been a dynamic and successful leader in marketing, business strategy, merger/acquisitions and customer negotiations for the energy and education industries. She held top management positions within two major energy companies – Constellation Energy and Rochester Gas and Electric. Her commitment to community service includes Lioness Club of Central Square, NY, former President for the Board of Directors for YWCA of Monroe County and Chairperson for Monroe County Airport Authority. Sherry was the 1984 recipient for the Presidential Volunteer Award from President Ronald Regan for her community work with youth and the Alzeheimers Association. Recently retired, Sherry currently serves on the Board of Directors for HB Smith Company and is a member of Sweet Adelines International. She holds a BS in Education and a Master’s in Business Administration.
Sven Haarhoff, Board Member
During the past 35 years, Sven has enjoyed careers in journalism, public relations and philanthropy. He most recently served as director of philanthropy for The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i, a leading conservation organization working to make a positive impact in more than 72 countries. For 10 years, he was responsible for all aspects of fundraising and development work for the Hawai’i Chapter. Prior to that, he served as director of development for The San Juan Preservation Trust, a land trust serving the San Juan Islands of Washington state. Before launching his fundraising career, Sven worked in marketing communications for technology companies, including Mentor Graphics, a leading Portland, Oregon-based electronic design automation company. As a journalist, Sven worked in Portland, Oregon as a television magazine program producer and at CNN in Atlanta as a writer, reporter, producer, and international assignment editor. Sven lives in Portland, Oregon.