African Library Project
Board Cropped

Our Leadership
Board of Directors

Isabelle Mussard, Chief Executive Officer

Isabelle MussardIsabelle Mussard’s passion for the mission of the African Library Project stems from the role books played in her life as a first generation college student and the year she spent in West Africa studying and visiting family. Prior to coming to ALP, Isabelle served as the Children and Youth Development Policy Director for six years at an Oakland nonprofit where she oversaw all aspects of the Juvenile Justice and Career Workforce Development Programs, including a multi-year U.S. Department of Labor grant. She has also worked as a homeless advocate, a public school teacher, the program manager of a youth court, and the director of two non-profits. She received her B.A. from UC Santa Cruz, her M.A. in Non-Profit Management from the School for International Training, and her J.D. from U.C. Hastings where she was a Tony Patino Leadership and Service Fellow. (ALP Board 2016-present)

Chris Bradshaw, Founder

Chris Leadership PageChris Bradshaw was inspired to help start libraries in Africa after being told on a pony trekking trip in Lesotho that the country had just one library. Her interest in Africa began during her junior year in college when she studied at Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone and traveled throughout western and central Africa. An ardent traveler, she has now traveled, lived or worked in 65 countries on five continents including 23 African countries. Her background includes ten years as a YMCA executive directing camps and conference centers in Indiana, California and North Carolina and home-schooling her two children, Ben and Mariah. Over the years, she has worked with nonprofits serving the homeless, children of war torn countries, a soup kitchen, and home schooling education and support services. She has a B.A. in Sociology from Denison University with minors in African Studies and Studio Art. (ALP Board 2005-present)

Lucretia Shaw, Board Chair

Lucretia1Lucretia happened upon the African Library Project website while searching for service projects for her young children. A year later she had a chance encounter with ALP board members at The Board Match in San Francisco and fell in love with the organization. Lucretia's passion for inspiring youth to take action and make change in the world aligns with ALP's model of improving literacy and self-empowerment through education. Lucretia hopes to leverage her expertise in project management and building and mobilizing successful teams to help expand ALP's reach. Lucretia has many years experience in marketing, analytics, and business intelligence, most recently at Charles Schwab. She is currently launching her new social venture teaching computer programming to children. She earned her B.S. in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University. (ALP Board 2016 – present)

Christine Helwick, Recording Secretary

Christine HelwickChristine became interested in education in Africa while on a bicycling trip in South Africa and Botswana and through her daughter’s HIV/AIDS work in Tanzania. She has had a long career in higher education law, at the University of California and also served as General Counsel for the California State University system for 16 years. She believes in the importance of education, particularly early education, to lift communities up. She is also enthused about recycling books that have been outgrown. Christine is semi-retired and works part-time for higher education clients at Hirschfeld Kraemer in San Francisco. She serves on the board of the Center for the Collaborative Classroom, a nonprofit organization that develops K- 6 curriculum with social and emotional learning embedded in the teaching materials. She is a graduate of Stanford University, earned a Master's degree in Teaching from Northwestern University, and a JD from Hastings College of the Law. (ALP Board 2014 - present)

Dalana Brand, Treasurer

DalanaBrandDalana Brand cares deeply about youth literacy and the continuing development of the people of Africa. Dalana is a seasoned corporate executive with significant global leadership experience in various industries. Dalana Brand is currently Vice president, Global Total Rewards for Electronic Arts (EA) where she manages a global team and is accountable for designing innovative reward solutions that engage employees and help advance the business strategy of the company. Brand’s other corporate experiences include Whirlpool Corporation, Yazaki North America, Comerica Inc., Boeing, Willis Towers Watson, and Ford Motor Company. Brand has also served as an adjunct professor and is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR), a certified Compensation Professional (CCP), and a certified Global Remuneration Professional (GRP). Dalana is a frequent contributor for industry articles and speaker at various professional associations on human capital and leadership topics. She received her BA in Finance from Michigan State University and her MBA from the Eli Broad School of Graduate Management at Michigan State University with a dual concentration in Finance and Human Resource Management. (ALP Board 2017 - Present)

Laura Hill, Co-Treasurer

Laura HillLaura Hill has had a lifelong passion for libraries and readers. She was drawn to ALP's ecosystem of US book drives partnered with specific African communities hungry for books. She specifically sought out a volunteer opportunity that would allow her to connect real volunteers to real results - ALPs all-volunteer model connects communities in the US with specific rural communities in Africa hoping to build a library. Laura is Co-Treasurer and Technology Director and still helps out as a book-drive coordinator as needed. Laura has many years experience in the high-tech industry with positions in research, marketing, engineering, global operations and planning, and IT. She has an M.S. in Physics from M.I.T. and an MLIS degree from SJSU. (ALP Board 2011-present)

Sharna Fey, Board Member

Sharna FeySharna Fey fell in love with Africa on her first trip to Tanzania in 2008 where she volunteered in an orphanage. The experience of passing out a dictionary and having kids look over each others’ shoulders to read the dictionary stayed with her until she arrived at ALP’s Harambee event in 2010. Sharna knew ALP was for her and quickly became the highest bidder for a trip to Swaziland and a chance to see ALP’s work first hand. She eagerly got involved with the Summit and got to know ALP’s partners through co-facilitating the Summit. Sharna’s social activism was born through her work with Girls For A Change where she has trained adult women volunteers to work with girls between the ages of 12-18 to create a social change project in their community. Sharna is an executive coach, leadership consultant and speaker based in San Francisco. She is a graduate of Washington State University with a BA in Hotel and Restaurant Administration, a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute Co-Active Coach Training Program and Co-Active Leadership Program, and a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. (ALP Board 2013-present)

Julie Freeman, Board Member

JulieFreemanA lifetime book lover and reader with an interest in Africa, Julie is impressed with the tangible way that ALP touches the lives of children through the libraries it has helped to create. Julie has worked as a communicator and a non-profit executive. In her last full-time role as staff President of the International Association of Business Communicators, Julie was lucky to travel to Tanzania and sub-Saharan Africa a number of times. Now Julie works on occasional consulting assignments, which gives her time for volunteering and reading with her grandchildren. She joined the ALP board so that children in Africa can have access to books and the worlds that they can open to readers. She earned her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her M.B.A. from the College of William and Mary. (ALP Board 2016 – present)

Lauren Mikulski, Board Member

LaurenMikulskiLauren Mikulski has had a lifelong passion for Africa, beginning with her work in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Over the last 18 years Lauren has been dedicated to helping expand access to healthcare and medical technology in Sub-Saharan Africa. She first lived in Africa during her Ugandan study abroad program and then again in Kenya for her work in Global Health. During her time in developing countries she has seen the immense impact access to books have on young children. A passionate traveler, she has now traveled, lived or worked in 75+ countries on six continents including 20 African countries. Lauren hopes to leverage her expertise in strategy, marketing, and building successful grassroots programs to expand ALP's network in Africa. Over the years, she has volunteered with nonprofits focused in health, homelessness, orphans, domestic abuse, hunger, and social services. She is also currently a board member at the Felton Institute. Lauren holds an MBA degree from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. (ALP Board 2017 – Present)

Stasi Baranoff, Board Member

StasiBaranoffStasi has spent the majority of her professional life working in economic development in emerging economies, from India to Rwanda, in microfinance and business development. Her most recent role took her to Rwanda, where she spent nearly three years managing an NGO focused on bringing women coffee farmers into the international coffee supply chain, selling their high quality coffee on the specialty market. Upon returning to the Bay Area, where she grew up, she sought connection to Sub-Saharan Africa and discovered the African Library Project. Having spent most of the past 7 years abroad, Stasi has seen the impact education can have on access and agency for young people, and is excited to contribute her field experience to the Board. Stasi holds an MA in International Relations from King’s College in London, and a BA in Global Studies from UCLA. (ALP Board 2017 - Present)

Margaret Elvekrog, Board Member

MargaretElvekrogMargaret learned about ALP at The Board Match and was immediately drawn to its mission: not only do students in Africa get access to much-needed books and the opportunities that literacy opens, but Americans get exposure to and a better understanding of countries and cultures in Africa. As a big fan of both books and Africa, ALP seemed like the perfect match for Margaret. She loves traveling and learning about other cultures, and has had the privilege of visiting and exploring Mozambique and Tanzania. She earned her B.S. from Viterbo University and her Ph.D. from Columbia University, both in chemistry. Between these degrees, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Sweden. Margaret’s career has stretched from basic research to biotech and pharmaceutical product commercialization strategy consulting. She is a consultant at Charles River Associates. (ALP Board 2017 – Present)

Karen Levesque, Board Member

KarenLevesqueKaren Levesque was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal in her 20s, living in a remote village where most of the people were preliterate. Upon returning to the US, she studied education policy in graduate school and currently leads RTI International’s Center for P12 Education, focusing on research and technical assistance on early childhood through high school and transition to college. Dr. Levesque brings her expertise in the use of data and research for program improvement to the African Library Project, where she will help build capacity to measure the impact that ALP is having as well as the most critical factors contributing to that impact. (ALP Board 2017-present)

Volunteers

In addition to our Board of Directors, we rely on hands-on volunteers who are deeply involved in planning, organizing and implementing our core activities.

Ellen Curry, Book Drive Organizer Recruiter

ellen curry

Ellen has volunteered for ALP since 2013. She communicates with 30 or 60 book drive organizers at a time to coordinate filling one container with libraries bound for one of the countries where we work, and she is also an active member of the fundraising committee. When she is not busy with ALP, she has her hands full with her four year old son.

 

 

 

Deborah Freedman Lustig

DeborahDeborah Freedman Lustig is a cultural anthropologist whose research has focused on gender and education in the United States and Kenya, where she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2004-5. As a high school teacher in Kenya in 1988, she started a library in her school because she saw the "book hunger" in Africa.  She is currently Assistant Director at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues at UC Berkeley. She also volunteers as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care and serves on the board of Six Seconds--The Emotional Intelligence Network.  She has a BA in economics from UC Berkeley and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. (ALP Board 2010-2017)

Carolyn Barnette

CarolynBarnette

Carolyn Barnette was drawn to the African Library Project by its ability to touch lives through one of her favorite things - reading! She was previously a container manager at ALP, helping to connect book drives in the U.S. to libraries in Swaziland and Malawi, and now she serves as ALP's co-treasurer. Carolyn has a background in financial analysis and currently works as a portfolio consultant at BlackRock. She graduated with a dual bachelor's degree in economics and government from Claremont McKenna College and also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Financial Planner designations. (Board Member 2017)

Kathleen Long

Kathleen LongKathleen Long began her involvement with ALP as a book drive organizer in 2008. Initially, she was interested in finding worthwhile social projects where she and her son could contribute together.  As a self-avowed bookworm, ALP offered the perfect opportunity to be involved with the books that meant so much to her during childhood and to pass along social compassion to her son. Kathleen is also involved in Vision Literacy’s tutoring program, where she teaches basic reading and writing skills to inmates at Elmwood Correctional Facility.  Kathleen mentors professional women through involvement in Women Unlimited and participates in a variety of other charitable causes as a fundraiser and volunteer.  Kathleen also mentors startups looking to improve their human systems and sales and support processes.  She works in Palo Alto as a Sales and Customer Support Executive for Bill.com, a leading business payments network.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and General Studies from the University of Nevada Reno. (ALP Board 2014 - 2017)

Carolyn Gannon

bio gannonCarolyn Gannon is ALP’s Malawi liaison and has volunteered for ALP since 2007.  Following 30+ years in the high-tech world, where she held engineering vice-president and director positions at technology companies such as Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Join Systems, and others, Carolyn retired to become a volunteer in education and mentoring areas. Carolyn was formerly president of the board of volunteers at Bechtel International Center, Stanford University, and for eight years was a trustee of Bennington College in Vermont.  She is a founding member of the Donor Circle for Africa at Silicon Valley Community Foundation and has also been a volunteer for Child Advocates, Hidden Villa, and TheatreWorks.  (ALP Board 2007-2013)

Cathy Lampman, Book Drive Committee Chair

cathy lampman
Cathy is a former elementary school teacher with a BA and a teaching credential from UC Santa Barbara. On multiple visits to Africa, she saw rural schools with few or no books. Through ALP, Cathy is proud to be part of a team that gives the gift of reading by putting books into the hands of African children. In addition to her work with ALP, volunteer work at her church and her family, which includes five grandchildren, keep Cathy very busy.



 

 

Alice Valentine, Container Manager

alice valentine
Alice Valentine loves children, books, education, Africa and recycling so volunteering for ALP is a perfect match! She has had the privilege to travel to many developing countries and through various organizations has helped to provide teachers with training and materials and children with books and the resources to go to school. A graduate of George Washington University with a B.A. in Political Science and a former elementary school teacher with a credential from San Jose State University, she is happy to bring her skills and enthusiasm for learning and books to ALP as a Container Manager. She loves ALP’s model as it provides volunteers a way to make a difference through giving their time and talents, not just through donating money as most organizations only provide. 

Erika Papakipos, Intake Coordinator

Erika PapakiposErika Papakipos is an elementary school teacher with a background in Evolutionary Biology and a lifelong continent-crush on Africa. She holds a BA in Physical Anthropology from UC Santa Barbara and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Notre Dame de Namur. She considers her research work with siamangs and gibbons in college to have been excellent preparation for both parenthood and teaching kindergarten. She joined the African Library Project because it is a group of dedicated and passionate individuals doing real, concrete good in improving literacy and education across the continent she loves so much. She loves ALP’s African partnership model of respectful cooperation and the distributed, grassroots nature of the book drives which means that American volunteers benefit as much from the process as the African recipients do. 

Amy Jo Carson, Lesotho Liaison

bio carson
Amy Jo has been working in humanitarian aid, global health and community development work, both domestically and abroad for approximately 30 years. The majority of this work has been done in a variety of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care initiatives as a field operator, as well as with the American Red Cross as a director of emergency services and a disaster mental health manager. Throughout this same time period, she has been flying part time as an international flight attendant with American Airlines. Her connection to the African Library Project began while serving as a U.S.Peace Corps Community Health and Economic Development volunteer in the Kingdom of Lesotho from 2010-2012. As an additional project during her service, she partnered with the Ministry of Education as the field coordinator for the African Library Project and helped to establish 65 community school libraries in Lesotho. Her passion and commitment to ALP continued upon her return to the USA, where she continues to organize book drives with her family in Austin, Texas. Her ties to Lesotho and her work in the HIV/AIDS field have brought her back to the country every year. Amy Jo is both a mental health and public health professional, and received her BA in Sociology at Hunter College and both a Master of Science in Clinical Social Work and a Master of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City.  

Board Emeritus

Lisako Bridgewater

Lisako BridgewaterLisako Bridgewater began her involvement with ALP as a volunteer in 2009. From her experience traveling to over 40 countries on 5 continents, she discovered her deep passion to help those in developing countries. In 2008 she left her corporate job at eBay Inc., and headed to Africa. By plane, boat, and bus, she trekked across the continent, visiting and living in 11 countries. When she returned to the US, she wanted to continue being involved with the wonderful people she met, so she joined ALP. She currently is on the Human Capital team at Omidyar Network. (ALP Board 2012- 2015)

FJ Cava

FJ Cava

FJ Cava, a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Gabon, has over twenty years of experience in designing, developing and delivering high quality/high impact learning products. He has worked with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, and Inveneo. These positions, along with an MBA from San Francisco State University, have provided highly transferable skills in conceptual planning, monitoring & evaluation and capacity development to work in a wide range of settings. Find out more about him at www.cavaconsulting.biz (ALP Board 2013-2016)

Penny Chu

Penny Chu

Penny Chu has strong family ties to Africa, after having spent her childhood growing up in Ghana, with relatives living in Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Togo, and Nigeria. She is currently Director of Quantitative Marketing at Google, performing data analytics and research of Google’s consumers and advertisers. Prior to Google, she was a technology investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston, and Director of Business Operations at Jotspot (a startup acquired by Google). She has an MBA from Harvard Business School and dual Bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Economics from Stanford University. (ALP Board 2013-2016)

Mira Foster

Mira FosterMira Foster joined the board in 2010 and knows firsthand about the impact of libraries and literacy on African students. As a US Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia from 1999 through 2001, she was a school librarian as well as an English teacher. Mira has studied in Ghana, taught in China, has a BA in International Studies from Vassar College and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. She is currently a librarian at San Francisco State University with subject specialties in international relations, international business, political science, and public administration. (ALP Board 2010-2013)

Gail Moody-Byrd

Gail Moody-ByrdGail Moody-Byrd has been interested in development in Africa since a 1993 project with the World Bank, which explored commercial opportunities in five African countries. Gail is currently employed by SAP, the largest provider of business software, as the Senior Director of Marketing for SAP Community Network. In her role she drives adoption of and engagement in SAP’s highly-regarded online community of over 2 million customers, partners and SAP experts, using social media. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from Spelman College. (ALP Board 2012–2015)

Alison Polkinhornealison polkinhorne

Alison Polkinhorne connects strongly with ALP’s ability to inspire activism in young Americans. After a career spent mostly in the high-tech start-ups of Silicon Valley, she is keenly aware of what can be accomplished by very small groups of very focused people and now spends her time volunteering for groups working for social equity and justice. She has a BA from UC Santa Cruz and an MA from Stanford in Modern Thought and Literature. (ALP Board 2011-2014)

Mehul RawalMehul Rawal

Mehul Rawal's interest in Africa stems from his family roots in East Africa and a desire to improve lives in less developed countries. Mehul was drawn to ALP’s grassroots model to help communities in Africa and create an awareness and connection with volunteers in the US.  As an avid recycler, Mehul is energized by the chance to help redirect books that would otherwise go unused or end up in landfills. He is a graduate of UC Davis with a BS in Managerial Economics.  (ALP Board 2009-2012) 

photo of Jennifer Seidler

Jennifer Seidler

Jennifer Seidler has long been an active volunteer for organizations to promote learning and education, and for several years ran a chess program in inner-city schools in San Francisco. Jennifer is a Director at Commonfund, a nonprofit which focuses on institutional investment management. She holds a MS in Financial Analysis and an MBA with an emphasis in International Business from University of San Francisco and a BS in Economics from Santa Clara University. (ALP Board 2012–2016)

Meredith Miller VostrejsMeredith Vostrejs

While living in Swaziland, Meredith worked to support national HIV/AIDS care and treatment and increase women and children's access to care. Meredith appreciates ALP's focus on volunteerism, having herself worked with the US Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.  Meredith has a M.A. from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. in Politics from UC Santa Cruz.  (ALP Board 2010-2012)