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Our Mission - Boards
Board of Directors
Keely McGeehan, Executive Director & Chair
Keely McGeehan is a technology consultant, professional project manager, and avid photographer with a tremendous love for Africa and its nomadic people. Keely travels to Africa annually, spending time camping with nomadic tribes in the desert regions of Niger, Mali, and Namibia. Her love of the nomads is seen in the photos and portraits she has taken along the way.

Keely is also the founder and leader of Sahara Management Solutions, Inc., established in 2002. Founded to assist non-profit

healthcare organizations implement electronic healthcare records, Sahara Management Solutions is assisting healthcare agencies move toward the President’s Health Information Technology Plan and
their vision. Keely has over 20 years of experience in software technology and business operations, and is known for her results oriented approach. Sahara services clients in the private, non-profit and government sectors.

Prior to founding Sahara Management Solutions, Keely was a Senior Vice President of Operations at PacketVideo Corporation, Vice President of Broadband Internet and Digital Telephone Services for AT&T Broadband, and held leadership positions with Candle Corporation, Century Communications, and Xerox Corporation.

Keely holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Mathematics, as well as certifications from the USC Marshall School of Business in Advanced Telecommunications Management, and from Smith College in Executive Management.

Edward Gavaldon
Ed Gavaldon, currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Don Bosco Tech High School has more than thirty years experience in the technology industry. Prior to Bosco, Ed was CEO of Peerless Systems, a venture backed software company which he took public. Ed is the recipient of the “CEO of the Year” award from the Software Council of Southern California and the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award. As a Vice President with the Xerox Corporation, Ed managed worldwide marketing and engineering organizations and held numerous senior executive positions. Active on a number of boards in technology and education, he also holds a MBA from USC, a bachelor degree in Economics from UCLA, and has completed the Stanford University Senior Executive program. Ed Gavaldon brings significant business, governance, and financial expertise to the Sahara Solutions Foundation. We greatly appreciate his contributions.

Advisory Board
Fatimata Abdoulaye
The daughter of Tuareg parents from a small village in northern Mali and born and raised in Mali herself, Fatimata Abdoulaye has joined NomadHope as a volunteer Project Coordinator to connect communities in need with the NomadHope resources.

Fatimata was one of three Malian students who were sponsored on a full scholarship to the United States 1998. Three years later, Fatimata graduated cum laude from Pine Crest Preparatory School in South Florida and today holds a B.A. in Physics from Mount Holyoke College, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts. While attending Mount Holyoke College, Fatimata Abdoulaye co-founded and co-chaired the Women in Engineering Students Society, was active on the board of the African and Caribbean Association, and a project leader for the Community Service Board. Fatimata also interned in Cape Town for African Scrubs, creating employment opportunities for women supporting AIDS and Tuberculosis patients, as well as with the Treasury Department ECOBANK Group in Mali.

Fatima completed JPMorgan Chase’s Finance Leadership Program and currently works in New York in their division of Corporate Treasury.

Leslie Clark
Leslie Clark is the founder of the Nomad Foundation which has been addressing issues of water, food, health, work, education, and cultural preservation among the nomadic groups in the Sahara for 14 years. She is an artist and owner of the Nomad Gallery in Ojai, California which sells her paintings of nomads and their arts. She also takes humanitarian tours to visit Niger, the projects of the foundation and the Sahara desert. Leslie’s extensive experience with the Tuareg and Wodaabe of Niger is a tremendous asset to NomadHope.org.

Katie Frankle
Katie Frankle is Sr. Director of Client Services at Crown Peak Technology, a web content management company. Prior to Crown Peak, Katie was Director of Production at McElroy Advertising. Katie has produced interactive projects for 12 years for clients such as 21st Century, Nestlé, Universal Studios, Fox Family Worldwide, MSN and more. She has a passion for the interactive medium and is proud to lend her expertise to a project that helps nomadic families enhance their way of life. Katie lives in Los Angeles, Calif. with her husband, daughter, step-son and a rambunctious Jack Russell terrier.

Charles Gay, PHD
Dr. Gay began his career in 1975 designing solar power system components for communications satellites at Spectrolab, Inc. and later joined ARCO Solar, where he established the research and development program and led the commercialization of single crystal silicon and thin film technologies. In 1990, Dr. Gay became president and chief operating officer of Siemens Solar Industries and from 1994 to 1997, he served as Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the world’s leading laboratory for energy efficiency and renewable energy research and technology. In 1997, Dr. Gay served as president and chief executive officer of ASE Americas, Inc., and in 2001 became chairman of the advisory board at SunPower Corporation.

Dr. Gay has a doctorate degree in physical chemistry from the University of California, Riverside. He holds numerous patents for solar cell and module construction and is the recipient of the Gold Medal for Achievement from the World Renewable Energy Congress.

Bob Gold
Bob founded and manages Bob Gold & Associates, the country’s premiere cable industry-focused boutique public relations and marketing services agency whose successes and industry impact are widely recognized. With over 25 years of experience in public relations and marketing, Bob Gold has launched a dozen cable networks, re-branded many others, created campaigns for net-based start-ups, helped raise millions of dollars for charities, taught public relations to hundreds of students, and helped numerous businesses with their strategic business plans.

Bob provides NomadHope with invaluable marketing and fund raising consultation and support.

Renae Hwang
Renae Hwang has over twenty years of experience in technology and business development at companies including Microsoft, IBM and EarthLink Networks. She works with companies to identify business opportunities, perform due diligence and provide strategic guidance. She holds a BS in Computer Science from the Ohio State University and an MBA from USC. She first traveled to Africa on her honeymoon and fell in love with the people and the continent.

Bob Kasai
Bob Kasai is Director of Marketing for Time Warner Cable Business Class. In this role, Mr. Kasai is responsible for marketing and branding for Los Angeles and San Diego. He has over 19 years of experience and accomplishment in all phases of Sales and Marketing for major technology providers including ATT Broadband, Candle Corp., Xerox. Bob also provides marketing consulting services to small and medium size business throughout Southern California. He volunteers his creative and technical expertise to the Booster Club and Lacrosse Teams at Palos Verdes High School where his two sons are students.

Bob programmed the NomadHope.org website and continues to provide marketing guidance to our organization.

Gigi McMillan
Gigi McMillan is Co-Founder and Executive Director of We Can, Pediatric Brain Tumor Network. We Can offers information and support to families whose children have brain tumors. Programs include support group meetings, Parent Education Nights, Teen Groups, Sibling Workshops, Family Camp and one-on-one mentoring by trained volunteers. Gigi is a Community Member and Subject Representative for UCLA Medical Centers Institutional Review Boards and a Patient Advocate for the NCI’s Pediatric Central IRB. She also sits on the Sub-Part A Sub-Committee for SACHRP. She is the mother of four lovely children, one of whom is a brain tumor survivor. Gigi brings NomadHope her expertise in running a successful non-profit organization, helping hundreds of families across the Unites States.

Walt Ratterman
Walt Ratterman as Chief Executive Officer and Founder of SunEnergy Power International works to provide solar energy to difficult and remote areas of the world. Walt has extensive, hands-on solar PV experience includes rural installations in Nicaragua, the Galapagos Islands, southern Ecuador, Peru, India, Burma, Thailand, and Rwanda with NGO organizations such as Solar Energy International and Knightsbridge International, as well as residential and commercial PV installations in the eastern U.S. A Commissioner of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Walt has participated in humanitarian relief efforts in developing nations such as Afghanistan, southern Philippines, and Cambodia.

Walt was Senior Vice President of projects with Foley Electric, Inc. (one of America’s largest electrical contractors) for fifteen years. He subsequently founded TRC Electrical Construction Services, a commercial electrical contracting firm installing solar PV systems in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Walt was one of the first PV installers to pass the rigorous North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification exam. He has a Master of Science degree in Renewable Energy from Murdoch University in Australia, and extensive international renewable energy design and installation experience.

Walt provides NomadHope and our engineering partners with technical advice for our solar project assessments and implementations, helping us to assure each project is a success.

Malena Ruth
Malena Ruth is the President and Co-founder of the African Millennium Foundation. The AMF is a strategic non-profit and non-governmental organization committed to the social and economic empowerment of the people of Africa, especially women. Ruth, who was born in Mozambique and who now resides in Los Angeles, has worked for the United Nations Fund for Women as a researcher for women's issues and their rights in Africa.

Ms. Ruth's commitment to poverty alleviation in Africa led to the partnership with the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering writing programs. Ms. Ruth holds a bachelors degree in Economics from the University Eduardo Mndlane in Mozambique.

Sidi-Amar Taoua
Sidi-Amar, a Tuareg born in Gani near the city of Ingal (where our first Community Center will be built), has extensive knowledge of the Saharan region in Niger and is known by friends for his love of the Tuareg people and his hopes for their future. Sidi-Amar’s close contacts and intimate knowledge of the nomadic people and their challenges provides valuable expertise to Nomad Hope’s project planning and implementation efforts.

Photo Credits: Linda Shen, Marge Robinson & Keely McGeehan
Music by Tidawt of Niger
Site Implementation by Bob Kasai
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Copyright 2007, Sahara Solutions Foundation, Inc.
a 501(c)3 organization