OUR TEAM

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Paul Frank (Executive Director) co-founded SIL LEAD and brings 30 years of experience working with language issues in developing country contexts. Prior to leading SIL LEAD, Paul was the Director of International Relations and Vice President for Academic Affairs for SIL International. For 17 years, he implemented and led language development fieldwork in Colombia for SIL. Paul has also served as a board member for SIL International for three years. He holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania.  Paul is also SIL LEAD's Bloom Master Trainer and is responsible for certifying Bloom Trainers.


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Josh Barkey (Communications Consultant) joined the SIL LEAD team in January 2018. After a decade in Canadian Industrial Reforestation, Josh spent four years a high school art teacher, then moved on to a career in the arts, becoming an award-winning writer of novels, short stories, and motion picture screenplays. A childhood spent in Peru, South America instilled in him a passion for helping marginalized peoples lift themselves out of poverty, so he's excited to be working with the SIL LEAD team to make that happen.


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Valori Maresco (Accountant) joined SIL LEAD in June 2015. Accounting is her second career. She recently finished her formal studies and is currently in the process of preparing to take the CPA exam. Before coming to SIL LEAD, Valori worked for 6 years as the Women’s Ministry Director of a large church and continued her multi-year non-paid career of home-schooling her five sons.


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Rajib Jones Mitra (Program Manager) Jones grew up in Bangladesh and earned his BA and MSc degrees in Environmental Sciences. He started his career working for a USAID-funded environmental project in Bangladesh. Later he joined SIL Bangladesh and served as a Program Manager for a mother tongue based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) program for eight minority languages. He has over six years of experience in international development project planning and management. He also has experience managing partnerships and negotiating with multi-government funded agencies for international development programs. Jones currently manages SIL LEAD's MLE programs in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nepal, and Senegal and liaises with SIL LEAD’s project partners. He enjoys working with the diverse team at SIL LEAD and, in his free time, spending time with his daughter.


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Clare O'Leary (Director of Community-Based Programs) co-founded SIL LEAD and brings over thirty years of experience in linguistics and education to her current role. Clare earned a PhD in sociolinguistics from Georgetown University in 1988 and from 2006 to 2016 served as the Associate Executive Director for SIL International. There she oversaw, managed, and supported ten Area Directors as they coordinated and lead language-based development work in Africa, Asia, Euracia, Pacific, and the Americas. From 2010 to early 2017, Clare served on the Board of Directors for SIL LEAD, and joined the organization in her current capacity in May 2017. She keeps a toe in the pedagogical waters by volunteering as an ESL teacher with a community of students from all over the world.

 


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Henk Prenger (Business Development Consultant) consults SIL LEAD in the area of business development. He has 30 years of experience in international programs, in both the for-profit and nonprofit world. During the last 15 years, Henk worked with SIL International in the greater Middle East/West Asia area as a development manager and Regional Director, overseeing over 100 language development projects. Henk also serves on the board of LEAD Education and holds a Doctor of Missiology degree from Biola University and an MBA from Oklahoma City University.

 


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Jeanne Thum (Chief Financial Officer) served as Chief Financial Officer with SIL in Papua New Guinea from 2007-2014. After returning to the U.S, Jeanne began working as Director of Funding for SIL International and part-time as CFO of SIL LEAD. Before joining SIL, she was CFO of a Columbia Road Health Services in Washington, DC for two years. Prior to that position she served for 13 years in a variety of financial and administrative positions with the Institute of International Education. Jeanne holds an M.A. in International Education from American University.


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Robert Waliaula (Africa Partnership Coordinator) assists SIL LEAD by looking for new partners in Africa and relating to and maintaining existing partnerships with other organizations. He is also involved in business development work within the African context and also serves the SIL East Congo group on a part-time basis as the project funding coordinator. Prior to joining SIL LEAD on a half-time basis, he worked for 6 years as the SIL Africa institutional funding coordinator. In that capacity his main role was to advocate for institutional funding and helped build the institutional funding capacity of SIL entities in Africa. Roberts’ strengths are in project management, M&E, partnership development, and advocacy. He holds an MBA degree from Jomo Kenyatta University, Kenya.


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Christof Weber (Director of Operations) spent most of his youth in Latin America and earned BA (Political Science) and MA (Latin American Studies) degrees from UCLA. He went on to become a Senior Vice President and Economist at the Trust Company of the West. After 10 years in the finance industry, he shifted gears and entered into pastoral ministry having earned an MA at Fuller Theological Seminary. Chris served on staff at a church in New York and then pastored a church in Virginia. It is not surprising that Chris enjoys wearing several hats at SIL LEAD.  In addition to Operations, Human Resources, and Communications responsibilities, Chris manages SIL LEAD's involvement in the Enabling Writers program, the DRC ACCELERE! program, and various smaller projects.