Paul Frank (Executive Director) cofounded 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 as 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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Fraser Bennett (Assistant to the Director) loves his mixed role of project management and language software training and support for SIL LEAD. Fraser previously spent 28 years in various roles in SIL International, most recently 12 years as SIL's Global Training Director. Fraser's passion for SIL LEAD's mission grows out of one of his first jobs, which included creating a custom computer font at the request of teachers in a refugee community, so that they could create primary education materials using their own language and unique script. Fraser holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Michelle Emelio (Accounting Assistant) earned a B.S. in Business Administration - Management at Missouri Western State University. After a few years working as a financial analyst and bookkeeper for defense contracting companies in the DC area, she turned her focus towards education, homeschooling her four daughters and co-founding a homeschool institute that served over 100 families. She recently began offering bookkeeping services again and joined SIL LEAD in January 2018.

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Valori Maresco (Controller) 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.


Clare O'Leary (Director of Community-Based Programs) cofounded 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 and supported ten Area Directors as they lead language-based development work in Africa, Asia, Eurasia, the Pacific, and the Americas. From 2010 to early 2017, Clare served on the SIL LEAD Board of Directors, and joined the organization in her current capacity in May 2017. Click here for more of Clare's story.

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Kristy Smith (Business Development Consultant) consults SIL LEAD in the area of business development. Prior to joining SIL LEAD, she spent the past 6 years as an Education Advisor and Literacy Specialist at World Vision International and Save the Children. Her work spans countries in Africa, SE Asia, and Latin America with a focus on teacher training in low-resource contexts. Kristy was a Fulbright Scholar to Portugal and conducted research for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Her first career was teaching in high-need public schools in California for over a decade. Kristy holds advanced degrees in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts, and in Education from Chapman University.

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Robert Waliaula (Africa Partnership Coordinator) assists SIL LEAD by looking for new partners in Africa and managing existing partnerships. He is also involved in business development within Africa and also serves the SIL East Congo group on a part-time basis as the project funding coordinator. Prior to joining SIL LEAD, he worked for 6 years as the institutional funding coordinator for SIL Africa as an advocate for institutional funding and to help build the institutional funding capacity of SIL entities. Roberts’ strengths are in project management, M&E, partnership development, and advocacy. He holds an MBA from Jomo Kenyatta University, Kenya.

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Christof Weber (Associate Director) 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 spent 10 years in pastoral ministry having earned an MA at Fuller Theological Seminary. He oversees Accounting, Communications, Human Resources, and Operations and currently manages our Afghanistan ACR, Nepal EGRP, Philippines ABC+, and Senegal LPT projects (and previously, our Book Boost, Enabling Writers, DRC ACCELERE!, Ghana Learning, Madagascar Education, Guatemala Lifelong Learning, and Bloom-related projects).