Her international is governed by a volunteer board of Directors in Kelowna, BC, Canada
Kevin Edgecombe – President
Ann Haymond Hill – Vice President
Sylvie Forget – Treasurer/Secretary, Director of Donor Engagement
Francine Walker - Director of Product Design
Mandy Glinsbockel - Director at Large, Volunteer Co-ordinator
Heather Oishi - Director at Large
Maureen Cousins - Director at Large
Carolyn Walsh - Director at Large
Jen Zielinski - Director at Large
Candace Chisholm - Director at Large
Michelle Bonneau – Founder
Linda Edgecombe - Her International Promoter & Scarf Sales
Leslie Lawrence - Scarf Sales
Kate Phelps & Tamara McLellan, Co-Executive Directors
Cierra Bray & Karen Velazquez, Fundraising Directors
Karen Hughes, Operations Director
Alyx Walsh, Donor Administration
Lindsey Hollemeyer, Grants Intern
In addition to the above, Her International is honoured to have a fantastic team of volunteers!
-- Team Profiles --
Kevin Edgecombe, President
Kevin’s passion for Her International started during a visit to Nepal in 2009 where he and his wife Linda travelled to Kathmandu and the Dang region where they met many of our sponsored girls and mothers. This was the first of 5 trips in recent years where Kevin has led volunteer groups on various build projects such as Classrooms for a Cause, Unako House and also Earthquake Relief. Kevin’s focus with the charity has been one of profile development, awareness and fundraising.
Kevin is passionate about Nepal and its people and has made many friends in the country, he is always looking forward to his next return trip to this beautiful place.
Kevin is Owner and President of Edgecombe Builders Group in Kelowna BC and is also on the Board of UDI Okanagan.
Ann Haymond Hill, Vice President
Once Ann retired from the School District as a specialty teacher, critical incidence coordinator and counsellor, there was a stronger urge to volunteer whatever skills she has that would benefit the girls and women of Nepal as well as those here in our local area.
As a member of a Her International trip to Nepal in 2013 to help with the build of a school completion and the foundation of Unako House gave a wonderful personal introduction to the culture and the people of Nepal. However, a request to teach English and assist with Her International/CP work in January 2016 was a true introduction to the daily lives and needs of the people in this domain. Ann saw firsthand the successes and positive differences Her/CP’s programs make.
Ann believes that with many hands, willing minds and cooperative energy of volunteers and funders Her International can continue to reach those through the various programs of Her/CP. She is happy to be a small part of that group in whatever way I can helping women and girls in Kelowna, in Nepal and beyond.
Sylvie Forget, Treasurer/Secretary, DIRECTOR OF DONOR ENGAGEMENT
Sylvie has been teaching at the francophone school in Kelowna for 8 years. She is currently on maternity leave taking care of her little girl. Originally from Ontario, she loves the outdoors, travelling and being active. While on a backpacking trip around the world in 2012, she got involved with Her International when she visited Nepal. After doing a trek to Base Camp of Mount Everest, Sylvie volunteered two weeks in the Her office in Kathmandu. She learned a lot about the work Her does there and the condition of the Tharu people in Dang. She fell in love with the people, the country and the culture. She felt like she had unfinished business in Nepal since she hadn’t had a chance to visit Dang and vowed to visit again. She was fortunate enough to go back and do a classroom build and the start of Unako House in 2013, bringing with her six grade 12 students.
To Sylvie, Her International is a chance to give back to people that taught her what being generous, grateful and compassionate is. She believes that everyone should have a chance to be educated and be treated as an equal. Being part of the Board of Directors gives her a chance to make a difference and stay in touch with these wonderful people who share similar values, both in Canada and in Nepal.
Heather Oishi, Director at Large
Heather Oishi has worked in various schools in the Central Okanagan for the past seventeen years and has volunteered all of her adult life. She has served the community with Big Sisters, several school PACs, Girl Guides of Canada and the YMCA. She decided to go beyond local borders because she has seen that the education available to young women in Nepal is in stark contrast to what our children get here in Canada. Heather believes that access to education is the key to empowerment and with the knowledge they gain, the students in Her International's programs will improve their lives and those of their families.
Francine Walker, Director of Product Design
Francine Walker is an artisan Goldsmith and jewellery designer who lives in Kelowna, British Columbia. Her and her husband have been returning to Nepal ever since their first volunteer teaching trip in 2001, and they have maintained close ties ever since.
Francine joined the Her International Board of Directors in 2016.
Mandy Glinsbockel, Director at Large & volunteer co-ordinator
Mandy is an award winning documentary photographer whose work focuses upon stories of women and girls' education and empowerment. Prior to relocating to Kelowna and joining the Board of Directors of Her International in 2017, she spent 6 months in Nepal, where her photographic work in post-earthquake displacement camps focused upon bringing awareness and aid to women and families who lost their homes in the 2015 earthquake. Her lifelong passion for human rights and using the camera as a tool for awareness and advocacy has led her to work in Kenya, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal with clients such as UNICEF, the Foundation for Sustainable Development, and anti-trafficking organization Aura Freedom International. Her images have appeared in Girls Not Brides, Photo District News and Okanagan Life Magazine.
With an ongoing dedication to service in her local and global community, Mandy has been a longtime volunteer for multiple causes. She is currently the Volunteer Coordinator for Her International and a regular volunteer for HOPE Outreach, a Kelowna based organization committed to providing support to homeless and sexually exploited women.
Kate Phelps, Co-Executive Director
Kate’s passion for international development began in high school when she and some friends founded a youth organization to protect children in Canada from sexual exploitation. Together they raised awareness and a petition with 55,000 signatures that was presented to parliament to encourage improved legislation. Kate went on to the United Nations to attend conferences to advocate for improved protection and rights for children.
That spark that was lit as a teenager, grew into the flame that has fueled Kate’s passion for supporting women and children in Canada and around the world. Kate began her professional career as a banker and office manager. She then leveraged her business knowledge to the development sector where she has worked and served worldwide in a number of capacities including as president of a women’s organization in Indonesia, Oman’s Country Director for the U.S. State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), media consultant for Fulbright Austria, and Vice-President for Her International.
Kate graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Middle Eastern Studies & Arabic. She completed a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Illinois Chicago, and a diploma in Public Administration / International Development from the University of York.
Kate is the Co-Executive Director of Her International, where she works to generate grassroots solutions to empower women and girls in our own backyard in Canada, as well as in Nepal.
Tamara McLellan, Co-Executive Director
Tamara has been falling in love with causes and companies since 2005. If you give her anytime at all, she'll tell you about "the moment her life changed" in Ottawa when she saw John Wood (author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World) speak at a conference. Since that moment she has traveled to and volunteered in Africa, India and Central America.
She spent the early years of her career learning about marketing, social media, and communications in a wide variety of businesses and became the Vice President of a small marketing agency at 23. After volunteering in the bankenvelds of Africa, a slum in India, and the fields of El Salvador, she realized a true passion for International Development. She holds a Business Management degree and most recently completed an International Development diploma through UBC. She also completed 300 hours of yoga and meditation training while on mat leave with her 1 year old son, Onyx and teaches female empowerment in all aspects of her work.
A serial volunteer for the ten years, Tamara found her permanent home at Her International in 2017. She is the other co-Executive Director of this unique NGO, working everyday in Kelowna towards empowering sustainability and self reliance in women and children both locally in Canada and abroad in Nepal.
CIERRA BRAY, Development DIRECTOR
Cierra Bray is thrilled to be on the Her International Team as a Development Director. She’s an entrepreneur, travelling blogger and passionate woman on a mission to collaboratively impact and change the world. With 5+ years in marketing, communications and event planning, Cierra started her own business in 2016 to help other organizations thrive. This gave her a chance to work with a variety of non-profits. She was awarded the Visionary Prize by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario for pitching around education and entrepreneurship. Cierra also represented Canada at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance Summit in Argentina to discuss policies in the education system worldwide and has done many talks in schools about the power of education and opportunity.
“To me, education is essential to life. It means health, confidence, connection, support and opportunity. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to use my skill set to share the importance of Her International and why education is so vital for girls and women worldwide.”
KAREN VeLaZQUEZ, development DIRECTOR
As a Latin American immigrant, Karen is an avid supporter of empowering women and girls. She developed a desire to help others from a young age, after witnessing her extended family members trapped in the cycle of poverty.
She discovered her passion for fundraising and networking while organizing a Salvation Army fundraiser for the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Since then, she has actively volunteered and fundraised to support social causes. In late 2018, she founded a team for the BC Ride to Conquer Cancer. Karen actively recruited riders, community support, and corporate sponsors. Her tenacious spirit was infectious and by mid-2019 her team had grown to 19 riders and raised $60,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation with some of the riders raising awareness for childhood cancer.
Her desire to understand social constructs and global affairs led her to pursue education in Canada, Mexico, and Spain. While studying her undergrad Communications degree, Karen volunteered in a pilot project with the Royal Roads University Students Association and Status of Women Canada. The initiative was to create a safe campus through student awareness of Gender Based Violence and peer support services. Karen developed a program manual for volunteers which included policies and procedures, protocols, and program foundations. The manual was incorporated into the Students Against Violence campus initiative, setting a precedence for years to come.
Karen holds a Masters in International Relations and has professional experience in communications, project and event management. When she’s not working or volunteering, she’s either reading, running, cycling, or playing with her dog Harley.
KAREN HUGHES, OPERATIONS Director
Karen is the glue that holds Her International together. For the past seven years she has worked with all aspects of the organization from managing volunteers, to coordinating events, to overseeing finances, and liasing with the board and all of our donors.
alyx walsh, DONOR ADMINISTRATOR
Alyx Walsh lives and works in the Okanagan as an Interior Designer. Her great passions are the outdoors, traveling and having the opportunity to immerse herself in the different cultures of the world.
Alyx Walsh first learned about Her International through her mother, Carolyn - who traveled to Nepal to volunteer with Her in 2015. When the opportunity to work with Her became available, she jumped at the chance to be part of such a phenomenal and driven organization. She is a strong supporter of education, for through education we gain knowledge, and learn our strengths in bettering ourselves and the community around us. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to thrive.