Leadership

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Elli Wachtman

Founder, Chairperson, US Executive Director

Studying for her master's in international development and certificate in social innovation for global impact, Elli Wachtman is deeply devoted to restructuring the social systems which define our world. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, her commitment has taken her across the globe. Though, her work can be seen most prominently in Kitengela, Kenya. As the founder and executive director of Sikhona Rescue Centre, Elli leads teams in the US and in Kenya to better serve survivors of gender-based violence in Kenya. She prides her experience helping establish the Bonner Leader Program at her alma mater, Capital University, as utterly formative in the success of this international nonprofit - success that has lent itself to her appointment to the WBJ Top 25 Under 25 Innovators, Class of 2021.

American Board of Directors

American Board of Directors

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Sharron Ogutu Jakmides

Treasurer

Sharron Ogutu Jakmides, CPA, is currently the Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. She is originally from Nairobi, Kenya and moved to Columbus to attend Capital University, where she received her BA in Accounting. She has worked in a variety of audit and finance roles in public accounting (Ernst & Young) and in the private sector. She speaks English, Swahili, and Luo, and her interests include running, yoga, and travel.

American Board of Directors

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John Jakmides

Secretary

John Thomas Jakmides, JD, CPA, currently works in the tax department for American Electric Power. He grew up in northeast Ohio and has lived in Columbus for over twelve years. John graduated from Capital University (BA International Studies and French) and received his JD from Capital University Law School and his Master of Accounting from Ohio State University. He speaks English, French, and Spanish and his interests include travel, finance, and public policy.

American Board of Directors

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Steve Kretzer

Board Member

Steve has been with Industry Insights since 1990 and is a co-owner and the head of the Member Needs/Customer Satisfaction Surveys department, a capacity in which he is responsible for the design and implementation of this department's various research efforts. In addition to his involvement in managing the operations of the company, he has also conducted or overseen over 400 survey projects, and the results of these projects have been cited in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, Consumer Reports and numerous association journals. Steve received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business from The Ohio State University.

American Board of Directors

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Sara Niekirk

Board Member

Sara Neikirk is a retired social worker in Columbus, Ohio. After 16 years managing a community social service resource center, she established an intergenerational child/adult day care center serving homeless kids. She organized the Interfaith Hospitality Network enabling over 100 faith groups to provide shelter and services to homeless families, and supervised a YWCA shelter for women struggling with homelessness and mental illness. Sara helped establish the local Habitat for Humanity and served as it first Board President. For ten years she led an organization focused on matching community resources with inner city children to encourage school attendance. Currently she is President of the Board of a community school featuring experiential learning and is active with affordable housing groups and an inner city church. Sara has had three short, but wonderful, trips to various African countries. 

Kenyan Board of Directors

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Kenyan Board of Directors

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Lucy Githambo

Treasurer

Lucy Githambo is a local businesswoman, dedicated to achieving gender equality within the community in which she works. In the 11 years that she has lived in Kitengela, Lucy has worked with the National Volunteer Service, co-founded Gihon Women’s Empowerment Centre, helped establish Mama Respond (a local NGO dedicated to supporting children with special needs and their families) and now, supports Sikhona Rescue Centre as treasurer. With a critical eye for numbers and an unparalleled passion for her community, Lucy is a great asset to our Kenyan Board of Directors.

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Kenyan Board of Directors

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Agnes Gitonga

Secretary, Kenya Executive Director

As co-founder and director of Gihon Women Centre, Agnes has worked with women and children for more than 15 years. She has spent the last six of those years serving survivors of HIV and gender-based violence in Kitengela. Agnes is among very few women who have chosen to be a voice to the voiceless women and children who suffer in silence. She has also worked with girls affected by female genital mutilation (FGM) and continues to help the victims heal as well as get the communities. Her passion for justice and innate leadership ability only further shine in her Church community and at Rehoboth Learning Centre, where she teaches. After registration, Agnes will serve as our Kenyan Executive Director and lead our operations on the ground.

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Kenyan Board of Directors

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Cyrus Wangari

Board Member

Cyrus Kariuki is a logistics clerk at Savannah cement in Kitengela, Kenya. He is passionate about community service and has volunteered in several community development initiates in the neighboring area. Foremost, he is determined to break the cycle of gender-based violence and child abuse which is mostly perpetrated by men in our community. Cyrus aims to model a healthy male perspective and involvement in achieving gender equality.   

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Kenyan Board of Directors

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Jane Gitonga

Board Member

Jane Gitonga is an ordained Reverend and devoted educator. She has worked with women and children for over 20 years and is the founder and director of Rehoboth Learning Centre. Furthermore, she has preached in churches across central Kenya, but she has spent the last ten years serving the refugee community in Kitengela. Jane's extensive local knowledge as well as her ability to represent Rehoboth Learning Centre are instrumental in our organization's leadership.