Nepali Community in Bay Area, NYF’s Board of Directors
Introducing NYF’s Nepali community in the Bay Area, our amazing Board of Directors! We work to support the people of Nepal from the San Francisco Bay Area. Ask us how we can help you find your Nepali community in the Bay Area.
Olga Murray (Founder, Honorary President) is a very important person on NYF’s Board of Directors is known as “Olga Mom” to thousands of Nepali children, founder and honorary president Olga Murray is living proof that getting older doesn’t mean slowing down. Born in 1925 in Transylvania, Olga came with her parents and siblings to the U.S. when she was six year old. After graduation from Columbia University, she earned a law degree from George Washington University, where she was one of a handful of female students. Olga worked her way through law school as a researcher and writer for famed muckraking columnist Drew Pearson. With her law degree in hand, she found that few law firms would hire a woman. So Olga knocked on the door of the California Supreme Court, where she became a research attorney for Chief Justice Phil Gibson. When he retired, Olga joined the law staff of the newly-appointed Justice Stanley Mosk. During her 37-year tenure at the Court, Olga helped to write important decisions in the areas of civil rights, women’s rights, and environmental policy. She retired from the law in 1992 to launch yet another career—helping impoverished children in Nepal. Olga spends half the year in Sausalito, California, raising funds for NYF and enjoying the Nepali community in the Bay Area, and the other six months in Nepal overseeing NYF projects.
For more about Olga’s memoir, Olga’s Promise: One Woman’s Commitment to the Children of Nepal. Email Olga Murray.
Christopher T. Heffelfinger (Interim Chair/Chair Elect/Secretary) formally joined NYF’s board of directors in September 2014 but he is no stranger to the organization. Chris is a partner on senior status in the San Francisco law office of Berman Tabacco, where his practice emphasizes securities and antitrust litigation. Chris has also served as a board member for Legal Aid at Work from 2010 to the present where he served as Chair of Development & as a member of the Executive Committee from 2015-20. He also served as a board member from 2013-2018 of the Mountain Play Association, and as Board Chair in his final year. His father, Tot Heffelfinger, served as one of the founding members of NYF’s board in 1990. Chris lives with his wife Amanda in San Rafael while maintaining a home office in Sausalito. He has a son James who upon completing commissioned service in the U.S. Navy is set to complete his MBA at business school, & a step-daughter Alexandra who is pursuing an acting career. Chris enjoys hiking, playing the piano, & the company of good friends & family.
Stuart H. Harden (Treasurer) has over 50 years of accounting experience, including 30 years as a forensic accountant and expert witness. He is currently a partner in the forensic accounting and financial consulting firm of Hemming Morse, LLP. He has extensive experience as an auditor and consultant to nonprofit organizations, which he hopes will prove helpful to NYF. Stu is a former member of the Emerging Issues Task force of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the Auditing Standards Board and the Accounting Standards Executive Committee, as well as numerous other professional groups. He is a Certified Public Accountant in California and New York, Certified in Financial Forensics by the American Institute of CPAs, and a Certified Fraud Examiner. Stu and his wife Diana were raised in Kansas but have resided in California for 40 years. He and Diana have two adult sons and three grandchildren.
Greg Rosston (Director) has been involved with NYF since its beginning. His father, Jack, was one of the original board members who was traveling with Olga on the infamous trek when she broke her leg. Greg and his wife traveled to Nepal in 1991 to trek and to visit Olga and the kids she was helping. Greg is the Gordon Cain Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and Director of the Public Policy program at Stanford University. As Deputy Chief Economist at the Federal Communications Commission, Greg worked on the implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and helped design and implement the first ever spectrum auctions in the United States. He also serves as an advisory board member for Sustainable Conservation and Chair of the board of the Stanford Federal Credit Union.
Tanya Bodde (Director) joined NYF’s Board of Directors in February 2017. Retired from the Foreign Service, Tanya spent more than 15 years in South Asia, primarily Nepal, where she served as President of what was then American Women of Nepal from 1994 to 1997.
Born in Michigan, Tanya grew up in a military family and traveled the world. She married Peter Bodde, a career diplomat, more than 40 years ago. Peter served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy in Nepal from 1994 to 1997 and as US ambassador to Nepal from 2012 to 2015 (including the difficult period following the April 2015 earthquakes).
Tanya and her husband have two children, three grandchildren and a Nepali-born Labrador and reside in Baltimore, Maryland. Tanya feels a strong affinity for the people of Nepal since first moving there in 1982, and is pleased to be continuing her service through volunteering for the NYF Board.
Gina Parker (Director) joined NYF’s Board of Directors in December 2016. A longtime NYF supporter, Gina has extensive knowledge of Nepal including a sabbatical year which she took in 2002 to work in NYF’s first ever center for malnourished children in Katmandu. Gina and her husband, Simon Russell, co-founded NYF UK in 2013. Formerly, they worked closely with NYF through their non-profit charity, Children of the Himalayas.
Gina balances the demands of motherhood with being a Senior Partner of a wealth management organization in London. She also spends a lot of time working on NYF’s UK fundraising. Gina is particularly focused on creating a closer collaboration with global charities of the organization. She feels privileged to be able to work with the people of Nepal and to help them improve the health and wellbeing of their children.
Nick Prior (Director) was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Educated at University College Dublin, Nick emigrated to the United States in 1989 with his wife, Jane. Based in San Francisco, Nick is an audit Partner with Ernst & Young and has over 26 years of audit and business advisory experience coordinating and serving global clients. Nick is a solutions-oriented decision maker with excellent communication skills and the ability to identify keys issues. Through his extensive international experience Nick understands many cultures and varying approaches to solving issues. Nick’s experience includes seven years working in Russia and China focused on advising clients regarding mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances and joint ventures. Nick currently works with large multi-national corporations and numerous start-up companies bringing solutions tailored to their divergent needs. Nick serves on a number of not-for-profit boards and enjoys golf, biking and skiing. He has been married for over 25 years and has one daughter, Alex.
Ron Rosano (Director) has been involved with the Nepal Youth Foundation since 1995, beginning with sponsorship of a child at K House, one of NYF’s children’s homes. He’s very proud to serve on NYF’s Board of Directors and is still be regularly in touch with that child, who is now married, is a wonderful wife and mother, and has a successful career. Ron has continued to sponsor other NYF students, and has visited Nepal twice, spending time in Kathmandu, Nagarkot, Chitwan National Park, and Lukla and beyond, including an Everest Base Camp trek. He brings to the board 35+ years of experience owning and operating a small business, and has proficiency across all business functions. Ron also brings much expertise as a youth leader, including long term service as a coach and leader of youth in multiple sports, and as a scout leader in Marin County, California. Ron is passionate about inspiring kids to reach their full potential, and is particularly passionate about public and community outreach related to space and astronomy, having organized and led educational events around the world with thousands of students and adults in a variety of programs since 1995.
Angela D. Pal (Director) was introduced to Nepal Youth Foundation, Olgapuri and the Nutritional Rehabilitation Hospital on her first trip to Nepal in 2018 for a medical mission. Her immediate thoughts were about how happy the children were, and how it seemed like a large family. She was immediately drawn to the openness and empathy of the Nepali children with each other and visitors. She observed firsthand the impact of the foundation on the children of Nepal, and the power of OlgaDidi’s vision and perseverance.
Angela has been in healthcare for over 23 years as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner. She is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and director of the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. Angela lives in Colorado with her husband, Jay, and their twin daughters, Aliana and Isabella. They enjoy the outdoors of Colorado and travelling internationally.
David Browne (Director) has been interested in mountaineering and the Himalaya since he was a child. He and his wife Caroline first visited Nepal in 1981 for a month-long trek to Everest Base Camp and were drawn to the culture and the people they met. They have returned many times to Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim and have enjoyed visiting and supporting NYF facilities in Nepal.
David is retired from a career in civil engineering, working in environmental studies and utility design. He worked at the Environmental Protection Agency and a large national consulting firm. He then started a small engineering consulting company and operated it for 30 years.
He served for many years as a director and officer on several non-profit boards including a private middle school, an affordable housing organization, and continues as a director of a family charitable foundation. He volunteered for numerous public service committees and efforts including design of a water system for an orphanage in the Himalaya region of northeast India.
David and Caroline live on Bainbridge Island, Washington and have two daughters, both teachers, and two young granddaughters.
Som Paneru, President, joined Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) in 1995 as a program assistant. In 2012, he was elected president, succeeding NYF founder Olga Murray. Som’s creative and imaginative leadership style, his thorough understanding of Nepal’s cultural, economic and social issues, and his unruffled, positive nature have been instrumental in broadening the organization’s extraordinary impact on the lives of the children of Nepal. As president, Som oversees all NYF projects, ensures good governance, and manages fundraising worldwide, including the establishment and support of various NYF global chapters.
The son of a farmer from the legendary Ghorka District, Som is a product of NYF’s scholarship program. He studied math and science at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. After graduation he taught school in poor Nepali villages. Som later earned a master’s degree, with distinction, in International Child Welfare from the University of East Anglia in the U.K.
During his tenure at NYF, Som has initiated several innovative programs, including the immensely successful Indentured Daughters campaign to end the Kamlari system of indentured servitude. Som brings passion, energy and intelligence to resolving complex social problems with low-cost solutions and in developing an exit strategy to ensure their sustainability. Som joined NYF’s Board of Directors because he had “a lot to pay back” to the organization that helped him receive an education. Twenty years later, his “giving back” continues to play a pivotal role in the formation of one of the world’s most respected and successful humanitarian endeavors. Reach Som at som@NepalYouthFoundation.org
Eric Talbert, U.S. Executive Director, comes to NYF’s Board of Directors with over 15 years of nonprofit communications and development experience, particularly in the areas of international aid, global health, and human rights. His efforts have raised millions through collaborative projects with partners and individual donors working to make the world a better place. Eric’s work has been highlighted by 60 Minutes, the NBC Nightly News, Forbes, TIME, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and more. He is a proud board member of The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability.
As NYF’s U.S. Executive Director, Eric leads U.S. fundraising and outreach efforts, creating and fostering impactful partnerships to support our valuable programming in Nepal. His thoughtful leadership and creative approaches to fundraising and communications are critical to our success.
Reach Eric at: eric@NepalYouthFoundation.org
Stacy Chen first traveled to Nepal in 2013 and promptly fell in love with the Himalayas and the warmth, resourcefulness, and generosity of the people she met in Nepal. She was excited to learn of NYF and the great impact of its work providing opportunities to those most in need in Nepal. Stacy has been a member of the Advisory Board since June 2017. She serves as Associate General Counsel for Intellectual Property litigation at Facebook, Inc., where she also serves on the Pro Bono Committee.
Andrea McTamaney Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Andrea has spent the past 24 years traveling the globe with her husband and three young children—having resided in Tokyo (4 times), London, Hong Kong, New York City, Colorado, and Hawaii. Now based in San Francisco, she is active in philanthropy, community connections and serves on boards and committees including Common Sense Media and the Joyful Heart Foundation. She met Olga in Nepal in 2007 and was committed to supporting NYF. She likes to run marathons (20 as of now) meditate, and help people find joy, deep meaning, and heart connections whilst trying to live an authentic life.
Elizabeth Share has been an active volunteer and donor to NYF and has provided wise counsel for more than a decade. She has been helping donors and nonprofits increase the impact of their work in communities worldwide for more than 25 years. Among those she has worked with are The Isabel Allende Foundation, The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, The Chez Panisse Foundation, Grace Family Foundation, and City Car Share. Prior to founding her own consulting practice, Elizabeth served for 10 years as the vice president of the Autodesk Foundation, a corporate foundation associated with Autodesk, Inc. From 1996 to 2002, Elizabeth served as a board member of CompassPoint, the premier technical assistance provider to San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley nonprofits. Elizabeth now divides her time between her consulting practice, Wise Giving, and The Center for Investigative Reporting, where she serves as the Senior Director of Foundation Relations.
Haydi Sowerwine worked for IDEO in Palo Alto, a leading product design firm, while raising five children-a blended family-with her husband David. In 1991, Haydi & David moved to Nepal, where David worked with USAID. After the time with USAID they decided to stay in Nepal & came up with the idea for their future company, EcoSystems (www.ecosystemsnepal.com), which they formed in 1996. Their first product was an appropriate technology bridge for the rural areas of Nepal – 38 bridges were built. The Sowerwine’s innovative designs have won numerous awards, including the San Jose Tech Museum award in 2003 for their bridges, and a grant from the World Bank for a human powered generator and electricity distribution system. Haydi was active in a number of organizations in Nepal which helped women and children. After moving back to their home in California in 2005, Haydi and David formed a non-profit called VillageTech Solution. The organization – which works mostly in Nepal – creates technology that betters lives in developing countries. Haydi has had a long relationship with NYF. Early in their stay in Nepal she heard about J House from a friend, went for a visit, and from that day forward she and David have been enthusiastic supporters. David served as ‘Father Christmas’ for the children for many years and Haydi helped create the first NYF database. They couple love to tell about the wonderful work NYF does. Haydi served on the Board of Directors from 2006 to 2018, and we are pleased to have her continued advice and counsel as a member of Advisory Board.
Marcus Cotton grew up in a traditional, Buckinghamshire farming village in England. He began his career in insurance at Lloyds of London, but soon moved to Nepal to pursue his conservation interests. He was working to protect the environment in Nepal with sustainable community development at the same time our very own Olga Murray was establishing NYF. Marcus is now the owner of Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, a sustainable hotel in Nepal focused on lifting the community around it while offering guests a rich experience in the country’s trekking capital. His long history of working within the culture offers NYF a valuable trove of knowledge and connection. We’re honored to have him join us on the advisory board.
Want to learn how Nepal Youth Foundation supports impoverished children, families and communities in Nepal? Check out our Programs page. Read our latest newsletters, and join NYF’s email list here or be the change and donate to NYF today.