Board of Directors
DIG has assembled a strong team of directors with extensive non- profit and private sector experience. Each individual brings multiple expertise to DIG assisting our success in fundraising, agriculture, non-profit management, financial security, and long-term vision. Beyond their technical expertise each individual has taken an active role in empowering the human spirit of others.
DIG’s board members not only help us with our US based operations but are active in the field getting to know the communities we touch by lending a hand to those in need. Our board has established a personal connection and commitment to the communities we serve.
Greg Bogdan - Board Chair
Greg Bogdan has over 20+ years of experience as a research scientist and public health professional. Greg was first Research Director and then Administrative Director of Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, he has practical experience in managing finances, auditing for regulatory and grant compliance, reviewing legal agreements, establishing and cultivating strategic partnerships, applying for government grants, participating in public relations, developing marketing and communication strategies, and developing future leaders through coaching and mentoring. Greg transformed RMPDC from a small public health entity with a limited scope of services to an internationally recognized service provider to governments and corporations in the areas of public health, healthcare, and consumer product/drug safety with >$30M annual revenues and 200 employees. Greg currently works and lives in Denver.
Beth Pann - Board Vice Chair
Beth Pann is Vice President, Corporate Partnerships at Points of Light Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia. With more than 20 years in the nonprofit sector, Beth has extensive experience in fundraising, business development and communications, strategic and sustainability planning, and donor cultivation and stewardship. Throughout her career, her passion has centered on making meaningful connections for individuals and organizations. Prior to joining Points of Light, she served as Vice President of the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), an international honors organization founded by Claes Nobel, senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes. She has also held leadership development positions with Usher’s New Look Foundation, the Woodruff Arts Center, parent company to the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and High Museum of Art, as well as The Bridge, a residential center and school for severely abused teens, in Atlanta, Georgia. Her career in the nonprofit sector began with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Choral Arts Society of Washington in Washington, D.C. A lifelong volunteer, Beth serves on the Board of Directors of Development in Gardening, the Advisory Board of No Bully, and is volunteering to support New England Patriots Wide Receiver Malcolm Mitchell launch his literacy initiative, Share the Magic Foundation. She graduated from Denison University with a degree in Art History.
Dennis Heskel - Board Treasurer
Dennis Heskel has retired from a 25 year career in finance. Most recently, he was Head of Hedge Fund Research and a Managing Director at LYXOR Asset Management, where he helped oversee evaluation and monitoring of the company’s hedge fund investments globally. His other finance roles were in both the private and in the academic sectors and involved portfolio management, asset and portfolio allocation, and teaching and advising multi-national organizations, Central Banks, Ministries of Finance, and private sector banks and insurance companies on the use of derivative instruments, asset allocation and use of Capital Markets, and more recently, investments into hedge funds. Dennis has also been involved with social justice oriented non-profits that focus on food justice and availability and ones that concentrate on educational opportunity. He has always had a love of gardening and besides his own planting, oversees several community gardens in the Chicago area. Dennis has a PhD and MA from Harvard University; a MBA from the University of Chicago; and, a MA and BA from the University of Pennsylvania.
David Touster - Board Secretary
David Touster is a graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York City, where he began his career as a graphic designer working for Condé Nast Publications, The InterContinental Hotels Corporation, and Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast’s vastly innovative Pushpin Studios, before moving to Los Angeles. Over the last thirty years, he has pursued a number of successful ventures as a production designer, visual artist, and interior design consultant. His distinctive visual style can be seen in restaurants and clubs around Los Angeles, numerous non-profit and corporate events, and gallery shows. He has been a long time volunteer, including at Project Angel Food in Los Angeles, which provides daily meals for people homebound or disabled by HIV/AIDS, as well as on numerous political campaigns. David has hosted DIG’s annual Los Angeles fund-raising events and, in June of 2011 visited DIG’s projects in Zambia. Sometimes he secretly wishes he’d become a chef.
Over a career span of thirty-five years, Paulette Nichols provides strategic planning and program policy advice to international organizations engaged in the delivery of development aid and humanitarian assistance. Working first for Non Governmental Organizations (Operation Crossroads Africa, American Friends Service Committee, USA for Africa and Africare), she has recently retired from over twenty years of service with UNICEF assigned to English, French and Portuguese-speaking countries coordinating health, education, water, and capacity development programs. She managed the global program policy and procedures unit during the last 5 years of tenure with UNICEF. Since retirement from UNICEF, she has consulted with UN and NGO organizations and presently holds a Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation position with the Secretariat of OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) in St. Lucia. Paulette is a mother, grandmother and avid gardener.
Alan Silverman works as an independent consultant in international development issues, focusing on capacity building and facilitating global meetings and retreats. Most of his assignments are for the UN system, including UNAIDS, UNICEF and UNFPA. He worked for 8 years for UNAIDS as a Senior Learning Strategy Advisor building capacity for the UN staff to respond to AIDS, both in the context of supporting national responses to the epidemic and HIV in the UN workplace. Prior to joining UNAIDS, he worked for over 20 years for UNICEF including being based in Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Kenya. He has undertaken assignments in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean. Alan received his master’s degree in Social Planning and Program Development from the University of Texas at Austin. Alan has an incredible depth of knowledge in the international development sector through his work with the UN and also has had the grassroots experience of his Peace Corps volunteer experience in Senegal. Even though Alan is often working around the globe he considers New York City his home.
Dr. Esther Ngumbi is a researcher with the Entomology Department at Auburn University. She is a native of Kwale County, Kenya. Esther is very passionate about issues of hunger, gender, education, youth activism, and sustainability. She is a strong advocate for all efforts aimed at ending hunger in our lifetime. She is a Food Security Fellow with Aspen Institute New Voices and has authored over 30 opinion pieces in outlets ranging from scientific American to Time Magazine, CNN, NPR, Reuters, This is Africa, World Policy Blog, The Conversation and Los Angeles Times. She is a Commitment Mentor for Agriculture with Clinton Global University Initiative. Esther is a motivational speaker and has given talks in several places including: Kansas State, Texas Tech, University of Idaho, North Carolina State University. Esther is a dedicated servant for the people as seen in the long list of programs she has established including Spring Break Kenya -an organization that is galvanizing young Kenyan students into service, and Oyeska Greens-a startup company that is revolutionizing agriculture at the Kenyan. She and her parents established the Dr. Ndumi Faulu Academy in Kenya to ensure that every child has a solid chance at getting a quality education. Esther’s passion, life of service, achievements and contributions have been celebrated around the world and captured in numerous news features including, Auburn University Star Newspaper, Standard Newspaper and Huntsville Alabama Times. Esther serves in the Board of numerous organizations including Soils4Climate, Angaza Kenya and Paths Education. She was the recipient of the first to be awarded 2017 Emerging Sustainability Leader Award and has been awarded other competitive awards including American Association of University Women and Schlumberger Foundation International Fellowship. She was a finalist for the President Clinton Global Hunger Leadership Award and was named by One World Action as one of the 100 powerful women who change the world.
Cheryl Dahle is an entrepreneur and journalist who works at the intersection of business and social change. Along with a team of designers, scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs, she creates and tests new ways to solve large-scale, systemic problems. Dahle is founder and CEO of Flip Labs, a transition design firm. The company’s first foray into systems work was tackling the global problem of overfishing through its Future of Fish initiative. The project became a non-profit innovation hub that supports the collective impact of entrepreneurs whose ideas help end overfishing. Future of Fish was one of two national finalists in the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, which recognizes insightful systemic approaches to ending the world’s most complex problems. Prior to founding Future of Fish and Flip Labs, Dahle was a director at Ashoka, where she distilled knowledge from the organization’s network of 2,500 fellows to provide strategic insight to foundations and corporations. Before her work with non-profits, she was part of an incubation and start-up team to launch an online environmental magazine, for which she helped secure $12 million in venture funding. Dahle spent more than a decade writing about social entrepreneurship and business for publications including Fast Company, The New York Times and CIO. Dahle also founded and led Fast Company magazine’s Social Capitalist project, an award for top social entrepreneurs. For her work with Future of Fish, Dahle was named a national “Eco-Innovator” by USA Today. She was also a Change Agent in Residence with Bainbridge Graduate Institute and is the board chair of Criterion Institute.
Debbie Gachuhi has over 40 years of experience working in capacity building, technical advisory work in communication for behavior and social change (CBSC), facilitation, training, curriculum and materials development, in HIV and AIDS, Family Planning, Gender Issues, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Child Survival and Development, nutrition and applied socio-economic research and program monitoring and evaluation in more than 16 African countries in East and Southern Africa and south east Asia. Between 2006-2015, Debbie worked as the Senior Regional Communication Advisor for the Center for Communication Programs in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University. Throughout her career, Debbie has been passionate about building sustainable capacity. She helped to establish a network of regional centers of excellence in 8 universities in East and Southern Africa to develop capacity in strategic communication for health and development by institutionalizing both short and long term training at certificate, diploma and degree level. One of Debbie’s most recent accomplishments before Semi-Retirement has been the design and development of the maternal newborn and child health communication strategy for the Ministry of Health, Republic of Zambia.
DIG’s Advisory Board Members
Pape Amadou Gaye
Pape Amadou Gaye is president and CEO of IntraHealth International. A native of Senegal, he has three decades of leadership in international health with extensive field experience in Africa. Prior to his appointment as IntraHealth's CEO in 2004, Mr. Gaye led the organization's regional office for West, Central, and North Africa. His career includes work with the US Peace Corps, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Committee, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dedicated to improving the well-being of the most vulnerable people around the globe, Mr. Gaye believes partnership is essential: he promotes collaborative partnerships among diverse organizations and governments to meet the enormous health challenges faced by developing countries.
Beth Dannhauser has an extensive history in charitable work, she has served on the board of many notable organizations including the Boys and Girls Harbor in East Harlem, The Tribute WTC Visitor Center. She is a nurse and certified infant massage teacher. She co-founded Original Swiss Aromatics/Body Day, a wholesale company supplying pharmaceutical quality aromatherapy oils to health spas, massage therapists and skin care specialists. She is the founder and President of Compassionate Touch LLC . In 1996 Dannhauser developed a holistic treatment for critically ill hospital bound patients. She has introduced the program to Mt. Sinai Hospital , North General Hospital, Cabrini Medical Center and St. Vincent's Hospital. At the present time Dannhauser is a Consultant to the NY Visiting Nurse Service - Hospice. She has been involved in a hands on way with DIG and brought students from the Boys and Girls Harbor in Harlem to Senegal on a volunteer DIG work trip. Beth and her husband Steve reside in NYC.
Papa Salif Sow
Papa Salif Sow is an Infectious Diseases’ Professor currently serving as HIV Senior Program Officer at the Global Health Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. He is specifically working on the ARV-based Prevention and Treatment implementation initiative for resource-limited countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Salif was the President of the African Network for AIDS Physicians (ANEPA, 2005-2013) and the Coordinator of the Regional Centre for Research and Training in Fann’s University Teaching Hospital (Dakar, Senegal). Before that he was nominated Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases of the University of Dakar in 2002. Salif's work with DIG's Co-Founders Steve Bolinger and Sarah Koch at Fann National Hospital was the seed for DIG.
Bradley Carlson is a real estate developer, investor and community activist with wide-ranging experience in business, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Bradley is a founding board member of Development in Gardening (DIG). He is a managing partner of Fortis Development Group, a firm that specializes in creative infill projects in emerging urban neighborhoods. Their latest project, 250 Wynwood, is a boutique mixed-use building located in Miami's burgeoning Wynwood Arts District. He previously served as board president of Stonewall Community Foundation, New York City's LGBTQ public charity, and currently serves as a board member of the National LGBTQ Task Force, the nation's oldest omnibus gay civil rights organization. He has worked as a program officer for The New York Community Trust, the country's third largest community foundation, where he developed new funding initiatives and helped budget approximately $100 million in annual giving. Bradley holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, a B.S. in journalism and psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has completed programs in finance and private wealth management at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
Bill is Senior Vice President, Technology and Studio Finance for Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. in Los Angeles. Previously Bill held various audit and assurance, tax, and systems consulting roles at Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCooprs in Halifax, Vancouver, and Seattle. With over 25 years’ experience in strategy, operations planning, business process improvement, systems consulting, and finance and accounting, Bill specializes in assisting organizations of all sizes to maximize and make the most effective use of resources to achieve their service goals. A native of Nova Scotia, Bill holds undergraduate degrees in Economics and French from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax; has studied at l’Université catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France; and is a Chartered Professional Accountant (British Columbia). Bill is passionate about the health, societal, and environmental benefits of a sustaining and sustainable approach to food and nutrition.
Bill Watts is an attorney with Sutherland Asbill and Brennan in Washington, DC. Before Sutherland, Bill served as the Director of Regulatory Affairs and Chief Compliance Officer for an investment advisory firm and as a Staff Attorney with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement. Bill earned a BA in Political Science and his Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a member of the American Bar Association as well as the District of Columbia and North Carolina Bar Associations. Bill, his wife, Erin, and their rambunctious toddler Isaac live in Washington, DC. Bill and Erin volunteered at DIG’s site on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.
David Maddy studied overseas during high school developing both a love of travel & the zeal to explore our diverse world. He earned a B.A. in Psychology at the University of Kansas in 1992. David directed his passion for environmentalism by working with Home Depot Company for 10 years on their Green Team focusing on energy efficiency and environmentally friendly alternatives. David volunteers for several non-profit organizations in San Diego and just earned his B.S. in Nursing. David has been with DIG since its inception and has used his passion for the environment, nutrition, Africa and gardening to assist DIG.
Ken Merlo works for Town Hall Capital, LLC, a financial services firm and in the financial services industry, since 2003 and is now a Chief Compliance Officer. Ken capitalizes on extensive legal compliance, fundraising, and marketing expertise in securing capital for hedge funds and private equity funds. Ken serves as an in-house general counsel and compliance officer. Ken has served as the Executive Director of the Chances for Children foundation, where he assumed sole responsibility for overseeing all day-to-day operations, including program and development work. The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, chaired this foundation. Ken was the President and CEO of Consulting for Architects, a job placement and recruiting firm. He served as a Board Member for DIG from 2007-2015 and with the NYC non-profit the Association for Rehabilitative Case Management & Housingsince 2003 for the . He is the proud father of a New York City undergraduate and together they travel extensively to developing countries throughout Africa and Asia.
Bill Westwood is a Senior Partner in Korn/Ferry International’s Leadership and Talent Consulting group, based in the Firm’s Chicago office. He has directed a number of large, executive-level assessment engagements for prominent clients of the Firm. Previously, he was the Director of Global Leadership and Organization Development for the Communications Enterprise within Motorola. Bill brings an expertise in organization design, leadership assessment and succession planning. He is a native of Montana and a competitive age group distance runner.
John Patrick Hayden
John Patrick Hayden is an organic farmer and market gardener who owns and operates The Farm Between in Jeffersonville, VT. John has over 30 years professional experience in sustainable agriculture and integrated pest management as an educator, researcher, extension agent, consultant, and practicing organic farmer. John is also a lecturer in the Ecological Agriculture Program at the University of Vermont. John’s interest in development work began with a Peace Corps assignment in Mali, West Africa where he trained agricultural extension agents in pest management techniques for market gardens. He has consulted in Guinea, India, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. John also serves on the Board of Directors of NOFA-VT (Northeast Organic Farmers Association). He and his wife Nancy are founding directors of the nonprofit Seeds of Self Reliance.
Terry Slaughter founded the internationally known marketing and branding firm The Slaughter Group and has parleyed his success into creating the The Simon Cyrene Foundation. Through this foundation Terry is helping DIG tell the story of our projects and how they are affecting people around the world. Terry’s home base is in Birmingham, AL where he is very active in the Presbyterian church and other philanthropic activities.