Board of Directors

The Board of Directors and Advisory Board provide oversight for EBZEF’s strategic direction and ensure that its programs are well-managed and consistent with the organization’s mission. The Board is organized by committees on which non-directors may serve. Committees include: Executive, Finance, Education, Grant, Fundraising, Library, Technology, and Intercultural Advisory Committee. Directors serve as volunteers without compensation.

EBZEF is fortunate to have numerous volunteers who contribute to the organizations’ success. In addition to THE PROTEA Editor and Webmaster, many additional volunteers contribute their time, talent and energy to the organization in a variety of ways, including organizing fundraising events.

Linda Bowers, Executive Director Linda Bowers, Executive Director

Linda is a retired Associate Professor of English from Willamette University where she taught Shakespeare, poetry, the literature of the Holy Grail, and courses in Japanese culture for over 20 years. As Executive Director of EBZEF she sees herself as a steward of her daughter Beth's vision of world peace and understanding. She is "mama" to over 300 Zambian daughters. Linda and Gerry live on a 25-acre farm south of Salem with Beth's flying Zambian cat Blake, a huge white dog named Perseus, koi, a flock of peafowl, and many wild birds, fish, and other woodland creatures.

Karen Chittick, Secretary, Library/Grant-writing Committees Karen Chittick, Secretary, Library/Grant-writing Committees

Karen Chittick has served as Secretary of the EBZEF Board since 2007. She knew Beth and has supported EBZEF since its inception. Karen has worked in the American Studies program (ASP) at Tokyo International University of America (TIUA) since 1993. TIUA administers the ASP for students at Tokyo International University in Japan. She is the Associate Director of Academic Administration. The best part of her job is getting to know the students. Karen has two adult children and one adorable grandson. Her hobbies include gardening, sewing, and home projects.

Gerard Bowers, Executive Committee Gerard Bowers, Interim Treasurer

Gerard Bowers is a retired Professor of English from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where he taught writing and literature for over 35 years. His academic focus is on modern and contemporary English and American poetry. Born and educated on the east coast, he earned his degrees from the City College of New York and Harvard University. In 1971 he married Linda, moved to Oregon, and raised two daughters--Jennifer and Elizabeth. Aside from his abiding commitment to EBZEF, Gerry's interests include fly fishing, running, gardening and landscaping, as well as studying tai chi, yoga, and Japanese/Chinese culture.

Fordson Kafweku, Intercultural Advisory CommitteeFordson Kafweku, Intercultural Advisory Committee

Like Beth's Girls, Fordson Kafweku was born in the Northwestern Province of Zambia and is a member of the Lunda people. He has worked for World Vision Zambia for over 12 years now, and is currently their Operations Director, based in Lusaka, Zambia. Fordson has a BSc in Tropical Agriculture from Larenstein University of Professional Education in the Netherlands and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). He lives in Lusaka with his wife Prisca and their three daughters, Lubuto, Nkisu, and Womba.

Dan Irvine, Intercultural Advisory CommitteeDan Irvine, Intercultural Advisory Committee

Dan Irvine currently works as the Operations Director for World Vision International's Global Health Centre. His responsibilities include strategy development, operational management and capacity building for WV's health sector programming in over 65 countries. He also teaches a graduate course in Development and Peace Operation for the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. With 20 years of international development experience, most of which was spent in Africa, Dan brings a multi-sector, community-development emphasis to his work. Dan was employed by Peace Corps and worked with Beth while she was a volunteer. He was instrumental in working with Linda and Gerry to define the EBZEF program to honor Beth's memory in a way to promote her vision for world peace and help those in the Lumwana West village that she loved.

Advisory Board

Michal Wert, Executive/Finance/Technology CommitteesMichal Wert, Executive/Finance/Technology Committees

Michal Wert is the sister of Linda Bowers and Beth's auntie. She has been a strong supporter of EBZEF from the beginning, helping to organize EBZEF as a non-profit business and providing on-going strategy and support for the program. Her son Eric is a realist artist and painted the EBZEF protea in honor of his cousin Beth. Michal has over 35 years' experience in environmental and public policy management. She is retired from her firm, MW Consulting, where she worked on Oregon public policy and transportation planning issues for over ten years.

Angela Wanak, Education CommitteeAngela Wanak, Education Committee

Angela Wanak earned her JD and MBA at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, in May 2009. Angela joined EBZEF because she believes everyone should have the right to an education and a chance to pursue their dreams. Angela seeks to be an advocate for women and children and a leader in the abolitionist movement fighting against modern-day forms of slavery: trafficking in persons and the exploitation of human beings. She is an enthusiastic gardner, creative plant-based cook, and passionate about preserving our planet for future generations. Angela is married to Jeremy and together they are raising two little girls who they hope will someday become women of courage and compassion.

Jeani Bragg, Grant Writing/Library Committees Jeani Bragg, Director of Vocational Discernment & Leadership Development, Career Services, Willamette University

Jeani Bragg has over 20 years experience in the field of intercultural communication, teaching, training, and giving workshops and seminars. She holds a BA in International Relations and German from the University of Minnesota and a MS in Rhetoric and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University. Jeani is currently the Associate Director of the Lilly Project at Willamette University. She also leads workshops in the areas of communication and conflict resolution and does personal and professional coaching. She previously worked with Tokyo International University of America and as a faculty member of the Oregon Intercultural Management Institute. Jeani believes that everyone deserves an education. A one-time supervisor and mentor to Beth, Jeani works to help make Beth's vision a reality.

Bob Kister, Fundraising Committee, Advisory Board Member

Bob has served EBZEF since 2009 as an ad hoc advisor, a research intern, Master of Ceremonies at Zambia Night events, and a Fundraising Committee member. His work background is in higher education administration and computer database management. He holds a degree from Marylhurst University in Organizational Communications, with concentrations in Public Relations and Professional Writing. He has a deep-seated interest in helping non-profits communicate more effectively, and brings expertise in research, website development, social media and strategic planning. Bob lives with his wife, Liesa, another long-time EBZEF volunteer, in a century-old farmhouse in Mt. Angel, Oregon.

THE PROTEA Editor

Cassandra Farrin, NewsletterCassandra Farrin, THE PROTEA Editor

Cassandra has collaborated with Linda Bowers to design and edit THE PROTEA since 2008. An adoptive parent and US-UK Fulbright scholar, she values strengthening intercultural and interfaith relationships locally and globally, especially by sharing stories that change the way we see one another. She currently serves as the Associate Publisher and Director of Marketing for Westar Institute and Polebridge Press.

Webmaster

Cassandra Farrin, NewsletterLorenzo Tlacaelel, Web Guru

Lorenzo believes strongly that the education and empowerment of women is essential for strengthening community and healing society all over the world. Lorenzo was a student of Gerry's at Willamette University in 2000, and started volunteering with EBZEF in 2008 as "web-media technician" for the EBZEF Board Meetings. While improving the EBZEF website, he also documents the Zapotec languages of southern Mexico and pursues a graduate degree in Theorectical Linguistics at San José State University.

Web Design, Social Media

JLB ConsultingJennifer Leigh Bowers, Web Design, Social Media

Jennifer is passionate about helping to express her sister's (Elizabeth Bowers) dream to "give back." She is currently studying Computer Information Science at Chemeketa Community College and has a growing business JLBConsulting. She has a B.S. in Psychology from PSU and a minor in Business Administration. Jennifer intends to cultivate the variety of ways computer technology today enhances social work and the well-being of society as a whole.  


Social Media Volunteer

Valerie Watson, VolunteerAngie Grohn, Social Media Volunteer

A graduate of Willamette University, Angie Grohn is still a firm believer that “not unto ourselves alone are we born.” Having taken some her favorite courses from both Linda and Gerry Bowers, and learning later of Beth’s vision and EBZEF’s inception, Angie was inspired by the EBZEF spirit. “There are so many educational opportunities available in the U.S. that we often forget others from different countries and struggling communities don’t have that same access or hope, especially girls. I’m excited to contribute what I can to help change that.” As an EBZEF volunteer, Angie helps share and post educational and inspirational articles on LinkedIn, including to the EBZEF LinkedIn Group. Though a lover of music and writing, she manages to enjoy working in accounting, and also volunteers at a local Boys and Girls Club, most recently as a STEM mentor.  Over the last several years, she’s been known to weave scary tales and positive children’s stories too, and has had some poetry and short fiction published online. Her hope is that a small piece of her contributions will help link the jigsaw puzzle of seemingly divergent communities together, and allow girls to emerge with stronger visions and voices. Threading the fingers of just two hands can give someone that life-changing lift.

Volunteer Office Assistant

Valerie Watson, VolunteerValerie Watson, Administrative Assistant

Valerie Watson has three grown children and two beautiful grand daughters ages 2 1/2 and 2 weeks. She has worked at Willamette University for 16 years and currently works for the Graduate School of Management. She enjoys the outdoors, hanging out on her daughter's farm loving on the horses and various other critters, and loves to bake pies!