Semilla Nueva is overseen by a Board of Directors comprised of experts in agronomy, business, and international development.
Mike has spent several years working in technical communication and professional services leadership. He currently co-owns and serves as Managing Director for Markley, LLC, a fund-development consulting business, and is a Lecturer of Technical Communication at Boise State University. He is also an active volunteer for Rotary International. Mike is grateful for the opportunity to play a small role in advancing the great work of Semilla Nueva as a member of the board, and has visited the projects in Guatemala once.
Jerry Brady is president of The Post Company, a family and employee-owned newspaper company in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Jerry has a strong background in international affairs and development, practicing international trade law in Washington, D.C, serving as assistant to Idaho Senator Frank Church, and holding leadership positions in the Peace Corps for five years. Jerry co-founded ACCION International, a world leader in micro-financing for entrepreneurs in the Third World.
Michele grew up in NJ, received her BS in Business at University of Idaho and MBA at BSU. She has worked in the financial sector for a variety of business sectors including high tech, construction and Head Start, a local non-profit. Michele’s passion is international development work. As a former Peace Corp volunteer in Kenya, she focused on small business development for farmers and the informal sectors. For the past five years Michele has worked on US AID farmer to farmer programs in Ghana, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan with the primary focus on small business development. Her and her husband are addicted travelers, taking advantage of every opportunity to explore the corners of the world. Thank you; I look forward to the opportunity to work with Semilla Nueva!
Mike worked for 38 years administering nonprofit organizations serving troubled youth. From 1981 to 2010, Mike worked for the Idaho Youth Ranch, a large multi-service agency, where he served as their President from 1992 until his retirement. Mike and his wife Annie have a real fondness for Latin America, spending every winter in Southern Mexico, not far from Semilla Nueva’s communities. Mike is an active Rotarian and holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology.
Maureen O’Toole is Founder of the STEM AC Foundation and a champion for education. She combines her education and professional experience to connect
education with industry and individuals to fund life-shaping STEM experiences and opportunities across Idaho. Maureen served in leadership roles in the US Army for 26 years, participating in the regular Army, Army Reserves, and the National Guard. As an Idaho public school teacher and a private music teacher, she helped hundreds of young people create positive, powerful lives. While CEO of Girl Scouts of Silver Sage, she reconnected people, communities and businesses to this historic out-of-school education and leadership program. Maureen and husband Marty share 24 years together and three fantastic adult children.
Since moving to Idaho from Wisconsin in 2007, Mary has been actively engaged as a board member for several non-profits. It was through serving as her Rotary club’s Guest Speaker Coordinator, that she was introduced to Semilla Nueva in 2011. Never one to pass on an adventure, she traveled to Guatemala with her husband to witness the successes, people and science of SN in 2015. Mary holds a BA in Middle School Education with a minor in Spanish, and a Master’s degree in Science Education. In 2017 Mary was one of the recipients for Idaho’s Women of the Year award. She has been a Big Sister mentor since 2002, and served as SW Idaho’s Big Sister Mentor of the Year in 2011. Mary was her Rotary club’s President in 2012, and earned Rotary’s highest honor, the Service Above Self award, twice. After teaching for eight years in the Midwest, Mary switched gears to sales where she currently sells metal to fabricators and end-users across Southern Idaho. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering, endurance cycling, hiking with her 3 Labradors, and sharing adventures with her husband, Don. Mary’s excited to spread the technologies, methodologies and successes of Semilla Nueva with the communities of Guatemala and beyond.
Mike first became aware of Semilla Nueva in November 2011 through his association with Rotary International where he served as president of his local Rotary Club in Idaho. Mike continues to serve as one of the main contacts between SN and Rotary, helping to secure SN’s first significant grant from Rotary in 2012. He worked in various program management positions at Hewlett Packard for 23 years before retiring in late 2013, and has since returned to the working world as the Director of Materials and Strategic Sourcing for Smoke Guard, Inc. Mike has been to Guatemala to visit Semilla Nueva’s projects four times.
Michael has a wide breadth of experience facilitating, leading, and executing demanding technical projects, holding a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University. Michael first learned of Semilla Nueva in 2013 during a 30 day trip to Guatemala. During his time with Semilla Nueva he participated in the testing and redesign of human-powered sesame and corn planters for the no-till soil program. Joining the board in December 2015, Michael is excited to help guide the future growth and positive impact of Semilla Nueva.
Ron is an Idaho native, who grew up in Meridian and attended Meridian High School. He earned a BA in Business with an emphasis in Finance at the University of Oregon in 2005. After college he joined the family business, Van Auker Companies, in Meridian, which is a construction and real estate development company that his father founded in Caldwell in the 1960s. Ron has held many positions at the company, and is currently responsible for the day-to-day management of the business. Ron serves as a member of the Boise State University College of Business of Economics Advisory Council.