2019-2020 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ouelessebougou Alliance is successful, in part, because of the dedication of our Board of Directors. These prominent community leaders all serve on a volunteer basis and offer a wide range of talents and assets to support the Alliance.
Danene Torgerson, Board Chair
Project Manager, Elite Hardscapes
member since 2005
Danene has been with the Alliance for a while now and her love of Malians continues to grow. She often says, “I’m homesick for Ouelessebougou!” and considers it her home away from home. She has served on our health committee and traveled a few times with doctors to help Malians with eye care. Danene is native to Utah and remembers when the Alliance was first organized, back in the 80’s. When she isn’t spending her time with the Alliance, Danene works in landscape construction. She also serves as a team leader for Days for Girls in Draper.
Carl Dempsey, Chair Elect
Chief Revenue Officer, Wedding Line
member since 2016
Carl Dempsey started working in the field of international development in2008. He has held positions with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the American Red Cross and Pact. Managing community-based programs implementing health projects, capacity building of local organizations and disaster response, he has been able to work in countries across Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Carl has a BA in Linguistics from BYU and an MPA in Non Profit Management from George Mason University. After years in the Washington, D.C. area, he relocated to Utah in 2015. He has a wife and three sons and works as a Chief Revenue Officer based in Lehi, UT.
Jonathan Dudley, Treasurer
Senior Manager, Tanner LLC
member since 2016
Jonathan has over 17 years of experience in the accounting industry (4 of which were with a Big 4 firm). He has extensive experience handling the financial statement audits and accounting needs of companies and executives within many different industries, including software development, nutraceutical, non-profit, manufacturing, technology, services, and real estate. He has served as the engagement manager for a number of publicly traded and privately held enterprises. He worked in industry for over 3 years, including as a controller for a publicly traded software company and an internship with a private equity group in Zurich, Switzerland. Jonathan graduated with an M.B.A. from Weber State University and the University of Utah with his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. He is member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants. He lives in Holladay with his wife and three children.
Addie Fuhriman, Programs
Psychologist, Former Dean of Graduate Students, Brigham Young University
member since 1988
Prior to her doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota, Addie taught English at Jordan High and BYU High and, subsequently, advised Student Life programs at BYU. For 24 years, she was at the University of Utah, as a psychologist in the University Counseling Center and professor and chair in the Department of Educational Psychology. Her research focus was in counseling psychology, specifically, group psychotherapy. Addie spent the last nine years of her career at Brigham Young University as Dean of Graduate Studies and, lastly, as Assistant to the President. At a personal level, Addie considers Mali her country and Ouelessebougou her home, such that are blessed by noble people who understand the depth of ‘hope’. She served as Board chair in 1988-90 and 1996-98 and has participated in some 10 expeditions that focused on health, education, or staff development. Addie resides in Draper with Sharon Staples and Pebbles (a chocolate lab), both of whom have an affinity for our Malian friends.
Richard Loomis, Fundraising
Retired Premier Agent, Prudential Financial
member since 2010
Richard recently retired from Prudential after 43 years as a Financial Advisor. Prudential has honored Richard with several Presidential Citations for his outstanding service to his clients. In addition to serving on the Alliance’s board, he is on the Advisory Board for KUER Radio and on the Board of Friends Meeting House Fund, a committee for the Friends General Conference in Philadelphia. He has been an active member of the Bonneville Exchange Club for over 23 years where he has served as their President. Professionally, he has been an active member of Salt Lake Estate Planning Council and a Life and Qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table. His industry credentials include CLU, ChFC, AEP, and CMFC. Richard was married to his wife, Connie, for 48 years before she passed away in 2012. He is proud of his four children, 12 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Talatou Abdoulaye Maiga, Ph.D.
Ombuds & Coordinator of Conflict Resolution, Utah Valley University
member since 2011
Talatou is originally from Mali, West Africa and now lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and two sons. Talatou earned his PhD in Education, Culture and Society & Conflict Resolution and Mediation at the University of Utah. He currently works as the Ombuds and Coordinator of Conflict Resolution at Utah Valley University. Talatou says his tenure as a board member has offered him the privilege to witness and take part to extremely helpful projects that this organization has been carrying out in Ouelessebougou. He knows how the work OA is doing has been helpful to Malians because he grew up, attended school and taught in a few schools in Mali before coming to the US for his graduate studies. During his research activities, he communicated with school authorities and communities in Mali who have all only said good things about the OA’s work. For these reasons he says he is proud to be an OA board member and he look forwards to continuing to support the Alliance’s work.
Vice President of Digital Marketing, Avalaunch Media
member since 2019
Luke Alley is the Vice President of Strategy at Avalaunch Media, a full-service digital marketing agency, and an adjunct professor at BYU, where he teaches digital marketing. He has a BS in Marketing from BYU-Idaho and a MBA from the University of Utah. His biggest accomplishment is his marriage of 11 years to Mary and the 4 kids (Max, Emma, David and Jack) that joined them along the way.
Audit Associate, Tanner LLC
member since 2018
Bakary was born and raised in Bamako, Mali. He moved to the U.S. after high school to continue his college education. He obtained an undergraduate degree in Accounting and an MBA from Utah Valley University. He is a CPA and has been working with Tanner LLC. since 2017. Before his full-time position with Tanner, he had a chance to do an internship with them which exposed him to the financial accounting world. He likes lifting weights, and is always ready to play soccer whenever he has the chance.
Co-Founder/Lead Broker, Yalecrest Mortgage
member since 2019
Kara graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English and Music. She has been involved with the Ouelessebougou Alliance almost from its beginning, watching and appreciating the impact it has made on the people of Mali. Kara was a member of the International Development program at BYU and later helped implement health programs in the Phillippines, where she served as a missionary for eighteen months. She has worked with the Mabuhay Foundation and Enterprise Mentors International, offering assistance with health and micro-credit needs. Kara later lived and traveled in the Phillipines for two months to lay the groundwork for the Academy of Creating Enterprise (ACE), an international program for training entrepreneurs in third world countries. She belongs to the National Association of Professional Women, teaches piano, and has owned and operated several businesses. Kara lives in Salt Lake City with her husband, Dave, and is the mother of six children.
Founder, Africa Thryves
Managing Partner, Advanced Apparel
Retired African Affairs Political & Military Expert, United States Air Force
member since 2018
Paul retired from the United States Air Force where he served as an African Affairs Political & Military Expert from 2009 – 2018. He worked as senior military advisor in Mali to the Secretary of Defense and US Ambassador. His love for the Malian people and desire to develop business skills in order to support job creation led him to start Africa Thryves, which focuses on creating and coaching small business owners in West Africa. Paul is currently working towards earning his Executive MBA at Brigham Young University. Paul has served in a variety of locations from California to Florida, Europe and Africa, but now resides in Sandy with his wife and family.
Head of Brand Growth & Global Insights, Qualtrics
member since 2017
Mike is Head of Global Insights at experience management firm, Qualtrics. He oversees strategic business development, thought leadership and research, global corporate communications, corporate social responsibility, analyst relations, and sponsorships. Previously, Mike helped establish the employee experience business at Qualtrics. Mike co-founded 5 For The Fight with Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith, which is focused on raising funds for cancer research. Mike earned an MBA at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and an MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where he also taught public speaking and communications workshops at the graduate level. He received his BA from Brigham Young University. Mike is the former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Evergreen Development Foundation and worked as a law clerk on the 2012 Romney for President campaign. He has also served in a variety of positions focusing on healthcare access in the developing world.
Robyn J. Mock
Business Owner, Moss Rock Arts & Design
Co-Founder, Help Nurtures Hope
Editor, Be the Beautiful Life
member since 2017
Robyn is Executive Director of the non-profit organization Help Nurtures Hope which provides youth leaders and mentors local and global service opportunities. She is also the editor of the “Be the Beautiful Life” blog. Even before studying the cultures, philosophies, and people of the world and graduating with degrees in English and Humanities from Brigham Young University, Robyn has always desired to help others discover the value and unique abilities they individually offer the rest of the world. She says serving on the board of the Ouelessebougou Alliance grants her an opportunity to bridge cultures and to partner with the Malian people to find and learn together sustainable solutions to issues and obstacles as well as to celebrate progress and achievements. Robyn lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and is the mother of six children.
Dr. Paul Olson, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Utah Valley Eye Center
member since 2014
Paul grew up in Berkeley, CA and Salt Lake City and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelors and Medical Degree. He completed his Ophthalmology Residency in New Orleans at the LSU Eye Center. Following his fellowship, he joined a private practice in Newport Beach, CA. For the last 31 years, he has been in private practice at Utah Valley Eye Center in Provo. Paul has performed refractive surgery since its inception and was the first surgeon to perform INTAC surgery in Utah. He is also one of the founding members of the Physicians Laser Center in Salt Lake City. He has been to Mali seven times and served as OA Board Chair from 2016-2018. Paul is married to Camille Fronk Olson and has two children and four grandchildren.
member since 2018
Heidi Poelman received her degrees in communication from Brigham Young University (BA) and Wake Forest University (MA). She is the published author of several books for children and families. She has volunteered as a Communications Consultant for HELP International. She started working with Ouelessebougou Alliance as a way to connect her children’s elementary school with the Malian culture. The school partnership program has been a great success, with cultural days, art exchanges, and multiple successful fundraisers for needed items in Ouelessebougou. Heidi joined the OA board in 2019 and is looking forward to continued efforts connecting school children in Utah with children in Mali. Heidi lives in Sandy with her husband and four children.