Board and Advisory Committee


Co-Founders and Founding Board Members

Louis J. Calli, Jr, MD

Ann Marie Thomson, PhD


Board Members

GBA is governed by a Board of Directors which meets monthly via conference call. The board gathers annually for a face to face meeting. A Steering Committee which consists of board members who live in Bloomington, IN meets on a weekly basis. The GBA board is composed of a diverse group of individuals. Though they have various professional backgrounds, our board of directors shares a belief in education, community service, and a commitment to giving back to the Congolese people.

  • Beth Yoder, MEd- Chair of the Board Beth Yoder is a current social studies educator at Lincoln High School in Vincennes, IN.  Her husband and she adopted their daughter from Congo in 2012 and now are committed to ensuring that more Congolese children have adequate resources to pursue their goals and dreams in life.  Beth obtained a Master of Education degree from the University of Missouri- St. Louis and contributes her educational expertise to assist Giving Back to Africa’s curriculum development.
  • Maria Brown, MMFT- Vice Chair Like fellow board member Beth Yoder, Maria Brown and her husband also adopted one of their children from Congo and have become inspired to provide a better foundation for vulnerable children in their child’s home country.  When Maria first met Giving Back to Africa founder Ann Marie Thomson, Maria knew that she wanted to support the organization and has now decided to provide her skills and knowledge to the group as a board member.  Maria has obtained a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy degree from Indiana Wesleyan University and worked for a few years as a counselor before taking on her new important role as a stay-at-home mom.
  • Leslie Gerrish, MPA- Secretary Leslie is very familiar with Giving Back to Africa because she assisted Ann Marie while a student in IU-Bloomington SPEA’s Nonprofit Management program.  During her time at IU, she also participated in SPEA’s ACCT program and completed a summer internship in Kenya focusing on environmental education.  She still lives in Bloomington and planned the 2014 Gala.  Leslie works as an account manager for the Wellington Group.
  • Becky Brown, CPA – Treasurer  Becky Brown is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) at Brown & Associates and is a native of Spencer, IN.  Becky’s many years of financial and accounting experience are extremely useful for managing Giving Back to Africa’s finances.  She has traveled to Congo and her experience there influenced her desire to serve on the GBA Governing Board.
  • Linnea Stifler, MEd, MDiv- Program Committee Chair Linnea Stifler is a sister to Ann Marie Thomson and has a Bachelor Degree in Human Development and Early Childhood Education, a Master Degree in Education, and a Master of Divinity Degree. Teaching has been her life work: early childhood education, adult education, religious education, and work in the public schools. Linnea is the chair of the Giving Back to Africa Program Committee and works primarily with Dr. Jerry Kindomba and Garth Pollack in the development of process curricula for the PAID school.
  • Margaret Bransford, MBA Margaret Bransford is the current Associate Director of Undergraduate Student Services at IU-Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business where she primarily works on developing the school’s international program strategy.  As a business consultant, Margaret will be a great asset to Giving Back to Africa’s board.  Margaret also has spent some time in Uganda when working for an Irish nonprofit called Traidlinks that focused on responsible business practices in Africa.
  • Katie Butwin, JD Katie is a licensed attorney currently teaching in the Legal Studies Program at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana.  She is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and DePaul University College of Law. She is mother to an eight-year old son, Jack.
  • Louis J. Calli, Jr., MD Jim is a founding member of GBA and he served as the board president for five and a half years. He is a cardiologist in Bloomington, IN.  Jim is married to board secretary Ann Marie Thomson and has traveled with her to Congo on one occasion.
  • Monica DiOrio, BA Monica is an AmeriCorps VISTA member currently serving a one-year term at the Indiana Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs. Her focus is on capacity building through grant evaluation and measurement efficiency. She graduated from the University of Missouri with degrees in Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies, as well as a certificate in Multi-Cultural Studies.
  • Kerry Greenlee, BA Kerry has a B.A. in Film Production from Columbia College in Chicago and has worked with HBO and Tribeca Film.  She also co-created and wrote a television series that appeared on the Discovery Network.  Kerry has long admired passionate difference-makers in small organizations and is happy to serve on Giving Back to Africa’s board.
  • Aaron Lerch, BS Aaron and his wife adopted their youngest daughter from DR Congo in 2012, which is when their lives became knit together with the Congolese people. Aaron is a graduate of Taylor University and is a software engineer in Indianapolis. He has been learning Lingala, one of the languages spoken in the Congo, for over a year. But most importantly he loves children and believes that investing in children, as people with a voice, is the best possible way to create lasting positive social change.
  • Leticia Nkonya, PhD Born and raised in Tanzania, Leticia is familiar with many of the issues that Giving Back to Africa’s students in Mpasa II face.  Leticia currently works as an independent researcher and has published many works concerning water governance in sub-Saharan Africa.  Leticia also has a PhD in Sociology from Kansas State University and currently lives in Virginia.
  • Alyson Sattler, BA  Alyson is another recent addition to the Giving Back to Africa board.  She has worked with Capital Group for several years as their Corporate Giving Programs Manager and oversees company donations to over 2000 nonprofit charities.  She has experience as a board member on two other boards and graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology from Vassar College.  Alyson spent a short time in the Congo and is very passionate about education.
  • Barbara Soria, MLIR Barb has held various leadership roles in different organizations, primarily in areas related to human resources and organizational effectiveness.  She currently works at the Capital Group and resides in Indianapolis.  Barb is involved in other non-profits focused on education and this interest, coupled with her travels to Congo, have driven her passion around Giving Back to Africa and the  long-term sustainable change its approach supports and empowers Congolese youth to achieve.
  • Jamey Sullivan, AAMS, WMS Jamey is a native of Paoli, IN and is excited to join Giving Back to Africa’s board.  Jamey first became acquainted with Giving Back to Africa when his wife and he met Ann Marie while visiting Kinshasa to finalize the adoption of two of their sons.  Jamey graduated from Indiana University-Southeast with a BA in Education.  Currently, Jamey works as Senior Vice President of Investments for Raymond James and is a valuable asset for Giving Back to Africa’s financial planning.

Advisory Committee

  • Andrea Lewis Affeltranger, MPA  Andrea is associate director for programs at Independent Sector, a national leadership forum for charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs, in Washington D.C. She graduated from Indiana University with an MPA in Nonprofit Management and Comparative and International Affairs.
  • Arthur-Kalala Katalayi, MA Born and raised in France, educated in the UK, and the US, Arthur-Kalala is originally from the Kasai-Orientale province of the DRC. He holds a Master’s Degree from Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. He serves as senior advisor & global ambassador for GBA.
  • Eyamba G. Bokamba, PhD  Eyamba is from the Equateur Province in the DRC. He is currently a linguistics professor and the director of Program of African Languages at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Martin Moore  A former high school teacher, Marty Moore is executive director of the Benevolent Friends of African Charities, which supports orphanages, school and community center construction, anti-AIDS programs, food programs and more. He was instrumental in founding, and continues to advise, the Indiana University-Kenya Partnership.
  • Matthew S. Carr, Esq Matt is a partner with Krieg DeVault law firm in Indianapolis, IN
  • Mrim Boutla, PhD  Half-Swiss and half-Moroccan, Mrim was born and raised in Lausanne (Switzerland).  Mrim earned her Bsc in Psychology from the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), and her MA and Ph.D. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Rochester.  Mrim is the founder of PurposeU, LLC, a social enterprise that aims at helping professionals articulate their career purpose and build careers that successfully blend financial return with social impact and environmental responsibility.
  • Osita Afoaku, PhD Osita is currently the director of outreach in the African Studies Program and a professor of public policy at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington, IN.
  • Richard Peterson, PhD Rick was raised in the DRC and is the brother of Ann Marie Thomson. Currently, he is an Associate Professor at the University of New England and holds both a MS and Ph.D. from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison.
  • Robert C. Peterson  Bob is a retired missionary who worked as an educator in the DRC for 38 years.