Chelsea Dillon, Board Chair
A world traveler and small business owner, she has devoted time to volunteer organizations around the world. Chelsea lives in Aspen, CO, where she worked in public relations and marketing before building a successful event planning and marketing company. Chelsea recently started up Gold Leaf Event Design and Productions, specializing in planning wedding, corporate, social and fundraising events. Chelsea lived in Brazil and is proficient in Portuguese. She is very passionate about exploring other cultures and believes that education is the key to making our world a better place. Chelsea was on the Aspen Young Professionals Association board and currently on the Buddy Program’s Leadership Development Board.

Kendall Cafritz, Board Co-Chair and Treasurer
In her early 20’s, while Kendall was living and working in Paris she had a conversation with a high-powered Muslim woman who debunked the Western myth that women in the Muslim world were or are disempowered. She expressed that women all around the world live in compromised conditions and that the problems of women in the Muslim world are universal to all women. She explained that when women have access to education, they are empowered to do anything. That conversation changed Kendall’s life and her world view by imparting that education is a powerful tool to achieve freedom, that cross cultural understanding itself is integral to solving the world’s problems, and that misunderstandings and language barriers inhibit global peace. Kendall has passion–  for education and cross cultural understanding and  for peace. She endeavors to enrich the lives of women in the Muslim world and, thus, relations between countries. Kendall’s involvement with Marshall Direct Fund allows her to open the lines of communication between Pakistan and the western world and to establish an appreciation and understanding of Pakistan and its culture while helping women become strong and independent entrepreneurs through education.

Emma Bauer, Development Committee Chair
Emma Bauer, a recent transplant to Aspen from Austin, Texas, comes to us from a community organizing position on a statewide campaign and is currently the Marketing and Development Associate with Theatre Aspen. Prior to her political experience, Emma worked in sales for a Fortune 50 company, and for various leading nonprofits as a special events coordinator, volunteer program manager, resource development coordinator, and in PR and marketing. She has worked on diverse fundraising campaigns, and is excited to capitalize on the momentum of Marshall Direct Fund’s resource development strategies to further invest in the human capital that will effect sustainable change in communities abroad and at home. Emma attended Rice University and graduated with a degree in Sociology and a concentration in English. She is a SCUBA Instructor, sand volleyball fanatic, aspiring author, and is proud to be applying her skills to the socio-economic empowerment of women and their families.

Wendy Groover, Development Committee
Wendy has a BS in Business/Marketing Education from Auburn University. She has over 18 years of experience in business development, advisory and Chairperson roles for not-for-profit organizations in South Carolina, Florida and Colorado. For the past seven years Wendy has advised Challenge Aspen (“CA”), an 18 year old nationally renowned disabilities program and its sister organization, Challenge America, a program specific to the recreational and life ‘needs’ of disabled military veterans and their families. For several years Ms. Groover also acted as Chairperson for the Annual Vince Gill / Amy Grant fund raising gala for both Challenge Aspen and Challenge America. Wendy continues as a year round advisor for key promotions, fund raising and growth opportunities. Wendy believes in the power of educating women in Pakistan to achieve a positive future. She believes academics and life skills are the best weapon for facilitating progress and growth.

Alexandra Hughes, Development Committee
Alexandra moved to Aspen five years ago from New York City where she was born and raised. She attended Bowdoin College where she studied Art History and Education and recently earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Bank Street College of Education in New York. Growing up in New York City opened her eyes at a young age to a great deal of diversity and differing customs of other cultures. Due to the positive influence of her own educational experience, she chose teaching as her career path and is the Second Grade teacher at Aspen Country Day School. She is passionate about women’s education (having attended an all-girl’s school for thirteen years) as well as global education and awareness. As a teacher she tries to instill these values in her students.

Leah Fielding, Marketing Chair
Leah moved to Colorado after graduating from Boston-based Northeastern University in 2009, where she majored in journalism and minored in art and political science. Now living in Aspen, Leah works as content manager at and freelance writes on the side. Recently spearheading MDF’s new website design and launch, she’s using her web design, SEO, content marketing and writing skills to good use. Leah is proud to volunteer her skills towards an incredible cause.

Barbara Platts, Marketing Committee
Barbara moved to Aspen two years ago after graduating from college in Boston. She has worked in journalism as well as public relations and marketing since moving to town. She has currently taken on the dual roles of associate editor and marketing coordinator at Aspen Magazine. Plus she writes a “Millennials” column for the Aspen Times Weekly. Having come to Aspen since she was a little girl, Barbara is very happy to be able to reside in this beautiful community full time now. Always eager to learn about new places and cultures, she is honored to be able to spend her time on the board of the Marshall Direct Fund.

Dawnette Smith, Development Committee
An entrepreneur and socially conscious citizen, Dawnette has worked in the real estate and property management industry for 10 years. She was made partner of Stirling Homes which has recently merged with another local real estate company to form Stirling Peak. Dawnette has also explored development opportunities in growing markets, obtained approvals for a residential development and is currently planning a wastewater treatment facility in her home state of North Dakota. Dawnette enjoys giving back in her community and is committed to doing more on a global level. She sat on the board for Roaring Fork Habitat for Humanity for several years and is still involved in the family selection process to place families in homes. Dawnette is reliable, enjoys taking on challenges, and is very hard working. She will be joining MDF Founder, Silbi Stainton in Pakistan to see the organization’s activities on the ground in Spring of 2013.

Sana Ali, Development Committee
Ms. Ali has her Bachelor’s degree from the City University of New York, where she studied Political Science.   She is currently a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where she is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies and International Economics.  Ms. Ali has previously served as an aide to Ambassador Husain Haqqani and Ambassador Sherry Rehman at the Embassy of Pakistan, in Washington, DC, maintaining a strong focus on internal and regional security issues.  Ms. Ali also contributes regularly to Pakistan’s leading progressive newspaper, The Daily Times.

Mr. Mubashar Mizra, Pakistani Representative
Mr. Mirza is a Fellow Chartered Accountant with fifteen years of total cumulative work experience. At present, he serves as Vice President of Strategic Planning and Investment at MCB Bank Limited, in Lahore, Pakistan. He also consults with the World Bank. Mr. Mirza has served private and public organizations in areas of assurance, risk management, investigations, merger, acquisitions, and investment/business/project analysis. He formulates policies and procedures covering operational guidelines for organizations including those pertaining to accounting, internal controls, investment, procurement, compensation management, and human resources. His work also includes finalizing the complete set of financial statements, tax planning/return, strategic future business plans with budgets, and cost reduction techniques. Mr. Mirza holds a Bachelor of Commerce (First Division) from the University of Punjab, in Lahore, Pakistan.

Shehrbano Taseer, Pakistani Representative
Ms. Taseer has her Bachelor’s degree from Smith College and is a freelance journalist based out of Lahore, Pakistan. Her articles appear in numerous publications and frequently in Newsweek.  She is the daughter of the late Governor of Punjab.   She is personally committed to helping the people of Pakistan help themselves by supporting education and economic opportunities for the poor.  She is also a strong proponent of improved, long-term relations between the United States and Pakistan.  She is also a great role model for the hundreds of young girls in MDF schools.

Click here if you would like to apply to become a Marshall Direct Fund board member!

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