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.
Jamie Beers, Board Member
Jamie Beers is a fundraising professional with more than 14 years of experience in the non-profit industry. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Hofstra University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Prior to joining the world of higher education, Jamie worked for six years at U.S. Trust, a private bank in New York City. Since then, she has worked in the Division of Advancement at SUNY Brockport serving in various roles including Associate Director of Annual Giving, Major Gifts Officer, Director of Giving and currently Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship. Jamie also serves as secretary on the Board of Directors for the Brockport Blizzards Soccer Club. She resides in Brockport, NY.
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.
Barbara Power, Board Member
A communications and development professional, Barbara Power is currently working at the College of Brockport in NY to strengthen college donor contributions and has established a foundation for the College for the campaign contributions. Barbara is also active in her community and is President-elect for the Penfield Rotary, and a trustee for the Penfield Library. A gifted writer, the bulk of Barbara’s career has been spent working with colleges including a stint at the University of Chicago where she was responsible for alumnae relationships, and writing and editing magazine articles on the school, alumnae and managing the web content. Her expertise and love for fund raising and championing education makes her an excellent fit for the US Bakashana board.
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.”
Jenna Metz, Board Member
Jenna graduated from University of Texas San Antonio with a BA in Sociology. She served as a health education volunteer with Peace Corps Zambia from 2011-2013 in the village of Munkonge, about 65km north of Kasama. During her service, Jenna focused on HIV/AIDS education, fundraising for the construction of a secondary school, and formation of community groups for women and girls, like GLOW (Girls Leading Our World). Jenna has over ten years experience in non profit development and currently works as the Individual Giving and Campaign Coordinator for the Pikes Peak Library District. Jenna lives in Colorado with her husband, also a Zambia RPCV, and daughter.
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.