Luke Renner – Founder & President
Luke is a professional storyteller and has worked for more than a decade as a media professional for clients such as Universal, FOX, SPEED, A&E, and more. Luke has filled the director’s chair at venues the likes of Carnegie Hall, Red Rocks Amphitheater, and the world renowned Sydney Opera House and has worked alongside numerous recording artists including Bill & Gloria Gaither, Paul Simon, Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Michael W. Smith, and Andraé Crouch. His work has won numerous awards and been seen around the planet on various television networks.
Luke’s experience, both personally and professionally, would prove to be the catalyst for the creation of Fireside International. After traveling back and forth to Haiti for nearly twenty years, in June of 2009, Luke, his wife Adrian, and their three children moved to Haiti to live and serve full time. Two years later, Luke and his family have returned to the United States with a better understanding of how to leverage the resources and expertise of Fireside International to make the greatest impact in the lives of those they serve.
Through close partnerships with Haitians, organizations, and professionals across a wide range of expertise, Luke works to facilitate the best possible conditions for success in each of Fireside’s projects, both at home and abroad.
Mitch Tull – Vice President
Mitch Tull is a licensed pharmacist and a marketing guy from Tull, Arkansas. He has been employed for many years at Eli Lilly and Company and is currently the Senior Director of the Lilly Marketing Institute where he is responsible for directing the training of all Lilly marketers, the building of marketing capabilities, and consulting across Lilly’s portfolio of brands. Outside of Lilly, Mitch has been recognized for his expertise in marketing and is a trustee of the Marketing Science Institute, a global network of marketing leaders, and a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Medical Marketing. In the corporate world, Mitch is a respected storyteller.
Mitch became an active participant with Fireside International after witnessing the work of the organization firsthand through multiple trips to Haiti, hearing the personal stories of those living in poverty, and seeing the practical results of the organization’s commitment to sustainability. In his role as Vice-President of Fireside, Mitch leverages his many years of corporate expertise toward the creation of sustainability for Fireside’s ongoing initiatives.
Ancil Renner – Secretary & Foreign Ambassador
Ancil Renner could be said to be the original storyteller behind Fireside International. A pastor of more than 30 years, Ancil has consistently seen stories transform lives in powerful ways.
As Luke’s father, Ancil is responsible for exposing his son to Haiti at the age of 14. From there, Ancil took Luke to other parts of the world, including Russia and Belize, and regularly challenged him to think outside of the box in the face of challenging circumstances.
Ancil is an avid and beloved storyteller, having told stories to thousands of people around the world. On top of his love for the life-altering power of Story, Ancil is Fireside International’s foreign ambassador. In this role, Ancil serves as an intentional liaison between Fireside’s board and the people that Fireside serves in the field.
STORYTELLING & CREATIVE ADVISORY COUNCIL
Cory Edwards made his feature film debut with Hoodwinked, but he has already had a long career as a filmmaker. Involved in almost every creative area of the business for over twenty years, he has served as writer, director, producer, actor, animator, art director, and editor. Since his childhood “Super 8mm” days, Cory has been making movies. He shot everything from adventure serials to superhero comedies, complete with storyboards, miniatures, animation, and pyrotechnics. From grade school to college, Cory would turn any class project into a film or video project, sometimes winning national contests. He interned at an animation studio in Ohio during his collegiate summers. After college, Cory worked at a Tulsa production company, directing music videos and commercials.
After founding Blue Yonder Films in 1995, Cory produced and acted in his brother’s feature debut, Chillicothe, an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. Soon after, Cory and his brother Todd pitched a Red Riding Hood crime story to a private investor, and Hoodwinked was born. Made totally outside of the studio system and for a tenth of the cost, the film was picked up by moguls Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Cory worked with the voice talents of Glenn Close, Anne Hathaway, Chazz Palminteri and Jim Belushi, and voiced the coffee-addicted squirrel, “Twitchy” himself. He also wrote two of the songs for the soundtrack. Hoodwinked was one of the top grossing movies during its theatrical release in spring of 2006, and has since grossed over 150 million dollars worldwide.
Since Hoodwinked’s success, Cory has developed projects for producers like John Davis (the Predator franchise, Chronicle), Paul Schiff (Rushmore), John Shestack (Air Force One) and Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Taken). Most notably, he recently developed Fraggle Rock: The Movie for the Jim Henson Company.
Cory Edwards resides in Los Angeles, where he continues to write and direct feature films. Among his recent projects are the animated web series Krogzilla Gets A Job, Hoodwinked Too: Hood Vs. Evil, and Roger Cosmonkey, the world’s first Twitter Series. He is currently attached to direct Frog and Toad for the Jim Henson Company and Wish, an independent animated fantasy.
Buddy Greene brings a wide variety of southern Americana influences to his music to create a unique musical hybrid of country, bluegrass, folk, gospel and traditional blues. In addition to his solid reputation as a singer-songwriter and guitarist, Buddy has established himself as one of Nashville’s finest harmonica stylists. His live concerts are equal parts hymn sing, jam session, church house revival, and journey through his own musical history.
Growing up in Macon, GA, amid its antebellum mansions, sultry summers, southern cooking and deep-south music culture, Buddy spent his childhood learning folk songs on the ukulele and soon advanced to acoustic guitar, immersing himself in popular music mainstays of the time such as Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Motown. Their infectious beat and familiar nods to roots music fueled Buddy’s intense interest in the deeper historical origins of country, bluegrass and rhythm and blues music that is represented in his music today.
In 1991, Buddy collaborated with Mark Lowry to write Mary, Did You Know?, which quickly became a modern-day Christmas standard, with recordings by superstars such as Kenny Rogers & Wynonna, Kathy Mattea, Christopher Parkening & Kathleen Battle, Natalie Cole, Reba McEntire, Clay Aiken, Gary Chapman, and countless others. Other songs penned by Buddy and recorded by other artists include He Is (Ashley Cleveland), Fall Down Children (The Whites) and Recovering Pharisee (Del McCoury).
For his 2002 release, “RUFUS”, Buddy invited an all-star cast of players and singers for an in-studio pickin’ party. Bluegrass, blues, old-time Gospel, even The Beatles, all got into the mix. Buddy recalls, ” I just wanted to have fun with some really talented friends, play a bunch of old and new songs I never get tired of playing, and remember why I ever wanted to be a musician in the first place.” “RUFUS” was named one of the Top 10 Bluegrass recordings of 2002 by the Chicago Tribune.
Since the release of “RUFUS”, Buddy has been able to expand his audience with appearances at music clubs, such as The Bluebird Café and The Station Inn in Nashville, and at music festivals, such as the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, and MerleFest in North Carolina. For the past 7 years (2003–2009), the legendary Doc Watson, has personally invited Buddy to perform at this prestigious event.
In 2003 Buddy released Hymns & Prayer Songs, an acoustic, eclectic celebration of the music of the church. Instead of the traditional piano and organ setting, you’ll hear updated arrangements on instruments such as acoustic guitar, mandolin, upright bass, and, of course, harmonica.
A Few More Years was released in the fall of 2009. As a result of his father’s death, the death of other close friends, and his mother’s journey through Alzheimer’s, he says “music has been a great gift to me during this time as I’ve recalled, discovered, and uncovered songs that have helped carry the gospel to my aching heart. This collection represents just some of those gospel carriers that have worked to sustain me and my loved ones through this difficult season”.
Buddy and his wife, Vicki, live in Brentwood, TN and have two daughters. They are founding members of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN.
EDUCATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
Dr. Lynn Staley
Chief Educational Advisor – USA
Dr. Lynn Staley is a Professor of Early Childhood Education, in the department of Elementary Education, at Ball State University. She is particularly interested in issues related to international advocacy for children and families. Her current teacher education project, in conjunction with the Association for Childhood Education International, fosters Education for Global Citizenship in the elementary classroom.
As a representative of the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI), Dr. Staley held consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, and UNICEF from 2002-2006 and served as chair of UNICEF’s NGO Working Group on Education.
Dr. Staley was also invited by UNICEF to attend the Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development (CGECCD), UNESCO headquarters in Paris (2005), as a representative of ACEI and the Organization Mondiale pour l’Education Prescolaire (OMEP). Created in 1984, the CGECCD is an international, inter-agency consortium dedicated to improving the condition of young children around the world. It is a network of collaborative partnerships between international agencies (i.e., UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization), foundations (i.e., Aga Kahn, Bernard van Leer, Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller), and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for the purpose of promoting research, raising global awareness, and improving programs for young children. Approximately 52 early childhood scholars and other advocates were invited from nearly every region of the world.
Dr. Staley was also invited to attend the 1st Special Session on Children, sponsored by the United Nations General Assembly (2002).
As an invitee to the Zurich Symposium (1999), sponsored by ACEI and OMEP, Staley was a contributing author for a landmark document outlining international criteria for quality early childhood programming. In 2002, this document was used as the foundation for the ACEI Global Guidelines Self- Assessment Tool, which is now published in over seven languages and can be found at www.acei.org.
Staley has studied early childhood programs in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and visited the International Montessori Center in Perugia, Italy. She has taken undergraduate and graduate students to study abroad in Worcester, England, and Soissons, France.
She has earned the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers award (2005), the Outstanding Service Award from BSU Teachers College (2004), the Certificate of Special United States Congressional Recognition (2002), and the Outstanding Teaching Award from BSU Teachers College (2001).
Lunise Cerin, M.Sc.
Chief Educational Advisor – Haiti
Cerin is an economic development expert with twenty-two years of experience working with USAID and other international donors in program evaluation, donor coordination assessments, program management, and governance. Cerin presently works with the Haitian Ministry of Education and previously served for 5 years as the director of FONHEP (Fondation Haïtienne de l’Enseignement Privé), one of the most prominent Haitian organizations in the private educational sector, where she now serves as the President of the board. Cerin has extensive experience in teacher training, design, development, and implementation of interactive radio instructional content, elaboration and administration of tests, development and implementation of summer programs for children, parental committee training, and the reinforcement of school associations. With extensive experience in education and microfinance within both the public and private sectors in Haiti, Cerin is very familiar with rural and urban contexts. She is fluent in Haitian Kreyòl, French, and English and reads and writes Spanish well.
BUSINESS & RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
Philippe R. Armand
Business Development Advisor – Haiti
Philippe is chairman and CEO of GROUPE DYNAMIC INC., which includes 12 established businesses ranging from a 200 vehicle Hertz Rental Car franchise to a prominent travel agency with multiple locations. He is a leading business figure in the Haitian business community and served as President of the American Chamber of Commerce of Haiti (AMCHAM) from 2003-2005. He currently serves as President of the AmCham-Haiti Foundation, the social arm of the American Chamber of Commerce in Haiti, as Vice- President of the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and as Vice-President of the Board Governors of Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America at the US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, (AACCLA). Philippe is also a special advisor to Haiti Partners on the Social Enterprise for Advancing Quality Education project.
Technology Development & Resource Advisor – USA
Dave Ferguson led the founding of Ball State’s Center for Media Design, a research and development institute focused on digital media applications in society. Under Dave’s leadership, the Center for Media Design and campus partners have developed, since 2003, in excess of 500 research and development projects by staff, faculty, students and digital media industry leaders. The Center has been the recipient and administrative unit for over $45 million in grants and other revenue. These efforts also contribute to graduate and undergraduate programs in interdisciplinary digital media studies. CMD has become a catalyst on campus for real-world applications that has helped enable recognition such as student Academy Awards, the Intel Wireless Campus of the year award, the MIRA Award for Education Contribution to Technology, and numerous other recognitions.
As the head of the new Office of Emerging Media Initiatives at Ball State, Dave is leading a comprehensive effort to reshape how universities work across internal boundaries and with industry and government to develop new educational and commercial models that take advantage of the power of emerging media. Dave has been a part of the university faculty and administration for more than 20 years. He was recognized as Outstanding Administrator of the Year at Ball State for 2010. Off campus, he is currently President of the International Digital Media and Arts Association. His earlier background in Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning provided deep grounding in interdisciplinary design, computer visualization, and strategic planning applications.
Rod is a native of Richmond, Indiana, now residing in Yakima, Washington. During college, Rod was honored with the Tau Sigma Delta Art award, numerous scholarships, and was elected to the Tau Sigma Delta, Honor Society in Architecture and Allied Arts. After college he worked for several years in the Seattle area with the Bumgardner Architects Partnership. Three of Rod’s projects were given architectural design awards by the Seattle Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Later he spent a year in Europe traveling and working in Rome as an architect on projects in northern Italy and Germany. Rod opened his own office in Yakima in 1972. The firm continues to grow and is now known as KDF Architecture, LLC.
For an Architect, the highest accolades are reserved for design itself. Rod brings to the arena of design an inquiring, creative mind; a deep respect and understanding of human needs and frailty; and an inventive sense of form and structure. The numerous awards he has won over the years speak to his continued success as an architect and designer. Clients return to KDF knowing they can rely on his vision, expertise and ever-expanding knowledge to create innovative and inviting spaces. His inspiring and readily-identified sketches enhance the clients’ understanding of what their project can be.
Because of a desire to serve others in developing countries, education and healthcare architecture are a strong interest for Rod. Healthcare has grown to become the company’s primary focus. More than 70% of KDF projects are for hospital or clinic clients and are located throughout Washington and Oregon.
Rod has personally designed and consulted for structures around the world, including Haiti, Uganda, and Ethiopia (where Luke first met Rod). His expertise in the design of educational facilities, coupled with his experience building internationally, have perfectly positioned Rod as lead architect for the CIMT.
John Motloch PhD, ASLA, AIA LEED-AP
Sustainable Systems & Practices Advisor – USA
John Motloch PhD, ASLA, AIA LEED-AP is Professor of Landscape Architecture at Ball State University (BSU), where he directs the Land Design Institute (LDI), is permanent Resource Person to the Council on the Environment (COTE), and is recipient of two COTE Green Initiative Awards. In 2008, he was a Visiting Scholar at the IC2 Institute for Innovation Creativity and Capital at UT-Austin. He holds professional licenses in architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design; and a B-Arch (UT-Austin), MLA (University of Pennsylvania), and Phd (University of Pretoria, South Africa). His PhD work in sustainability resulted in national awards or recognition in architecture, landscape architecture, and human science research.
Dr. Motloch directs the Land Design Institutes Sustainability for the Americas Initiative, including three FIPSE-funded consortia: U.S.-Brazil Sustainability Consortium (funded 2003-8); North American Sustainability, Housing and Community Consortium (funded 2004-9); and U.S.-Brazil Universities of the Future Consortium (funded 2008-12).
For 25+ years, Dr. Motloch has been Research Fellow at the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems (CMPBS), a sustainable development education, research and demonstration non-profit in Austin, Texas. He is also interim Director of the Eco-economic Development Initiative of Hands of the Community (HOC) HOC is a tax-exempt community based organization in Austin, TX, focusing on projects that accelerate the emergence of sustainability in three areas: 1) regional economic and workforce development; 2) sustainable eco-economic development; and 3) critical social solutions using existing technologies. He also directs the Community Development Initiative of Social Web Strategies.
Dr. Motloch has keynoted international and national sustainable development, professional and/or student conferences. He was an invited participant in the International Energy Agency “Toward Sustainable Buildings- Workshop Defining Collaborative R&D Needs” that developed the research agenda to help transform building-sector markets in the 24 IEA member countries to sustainable residential and non-residential buildings. He has been P.I., Co-PI or collaborator on numerous sustainability and environmental projects including higher education, sustainability and futures-oriented consortia; regenerative design and community development projects; energy- and water- efficient planning and design projects; bioclimatic design and river corridor studies; and technology-based environmental methods research.
Dr. Motloch authored Introduction to Landscape Design (1st edit. in English; 2nd edition in English and Basic Chinese); and co-authored Site Reconnaissance and Engineering (with H. Landphair). His book contributions include chapters (authored or co-authored) in Connecting People, Ideas, and Resources Across Communities (2005), the Catalogue of the II National Technologies Contest for Social Interest Housing, Mexico (1994), Squatting in the Hottentot-holland Basin: Perspectives on a South African Social Issue (1992), Certification Handbook, Texas Association of Landscape Contractors (1990), and Yearbook of Landscape Architecture: The Energy Issue (1987, VNR, NY). He has authored or co-authored numerous articles and conference papers in the areas of regenerative design, sustainable development, eco-economic development, and the sustainability economy.
Architectural Integration Advisor – USA
Scott Truex is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Planning in the College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) at Ball State University. He also serves as the Director of the Community Based Projects (CBP) Program and founder of CAP’s Indianapolis Center. His areas of teaching and research focus on Community Design and Development, Public Participation in Design and Planning, Community Visioning, Sustainable Design Practices and Affordable Housing Solutions. These activities are not limited to the United States as he is engaged in applied research projects internationally. Scott serves as Vice President of Boltcutters Ministry International (BMI), a faith based intermediary for Christian Community Development Organizations. He is the Director of Planning and Development for International Development Initiatives (IDI) the community development arm of BMI, currently working on projects in Africa, Central and South America. IDI assisted in the deployment of 250 homes in El Salvador as part of an emergency relief effort to provide transitional shelter in communities impacted by the earthquake in 2001. These efforts were part of a broader Community development effort initiated with the El Salvadorian communities here in the US through their “hometown associations”. IDI’s sustainable communities initiative integrates holistic community development principles with regenerative systems and green technologies. This effort is focused on “Creation systems” to provide solutions to economic, health, education and environment/shelter problems.
Professor Truex was the founder of the Ball State University Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, serving as the faculty advisor from 1987 to 2001. The student chapter was responsible for initiating seven homes in Muncie and sponsoring and building one home in Sumter, South Carolina as part of Hurricane Hugo relief efforts. Additionally, Scott served HFH nationally by developing Habitat’s AmeriCorps program and serving as the training director for the program for the first six years of the program, which involved working over 300 AmeriCorps volunteers in over 15 US cities with Habitat Urban Affiliates.
Mr. Truex has both his Bachelor of Architecture and his Master of Architecture Degrees from Ball State University. He has recently received awards for his commitment and service to the design and planning profession from CAP’s Alumni Society and the American Institute of Architecture, Indiana Chapter.
Scott is also an Associate Fellow at the Sagamore Institute for Policy in Indianapolis where his report “Research Insights on Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts” is published.
Recently, Scott directed “A Greener Nappanee” study; Ball State University funded project as a result of being selected a 2009 fellow for The Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. This project entitled “Coffee, Community and Climate Change” engaged BSU students throughout the summer with Nappanee residents. The project developed the first “Nappanee Green Summit” that assembled speakers and advocates of green jobs and sustainability.
Sylove Jean – Haiti
Sylove Jean is the administrator of The Learning Village and the The Caribbean Institute of Media Technologies. Immediately following the earthquake of January 12, 2010, Sylove was featured on several news outlets (CNN, MSNBC, and more) as one of the very first voices to report out of Haiti. Following her reporting, Sylove served her fellow countrymen through the practical administration of first aid application and additional reporting.
In November of 2009, Sylove was hired as the lead actor in a 30-minute Kreyòl-language film, filmed entirely on location on the island of La Gonave, Haiti. In addition to her work in front of the camera, Sylove made significant contributions behind the scenes, including scriptwriting and post production. The film is scheduled to be released within Haiti sometime in 2011.
Subsequently, Sylove traveled to the United States to speak about her experience with technology , to spread the word about Fireside’s projects, and to meet with Fireside’s Stateside partners. Sylove is especially interested in the advancement of Haitian women and children and can be found serving both groups outsde of her formal responsibilities with Fireside.
In addition to her professional responsibilities administering projects for Fireside International, Sylove is herself a student of the CIMT, actively developing her own storytelling skills and adding value to her own portfolio. Sylove can be seen and heard as the voice behind many of the educational videos produced by Fireside International and is herself actively involved in administering research and training using those tools. Sylove is fluent in Haitian Kreyòl, French, and English.
Lindor Wildor – Haiti
Lindor is a long time friend and colleague of Fireside International, having served as a direct contributor to The Learning Village initiative through the administration of testing and community-based educational projects. In addition to these monitored projects, Lindor is always going out of his way to facilitate the work of Fireside International and has consistently shown his dedication to our work. Additionally, Lindor has years of experience working in an administrative and supporting role with Kids Alive, another Indiana-based non-profit working in the North of Haiti.
In 2009, Lindor (a student of the CIMT) participated in the filming of a 30-minute Kreyòl-language film, filmed entirely on location on the island of La Gonave, Haiti. Working exclusively behind the scenes, Lindor provided invaluable production assistance in several key filmmaking roles, proving his worth as an up-and-coming filmmaker.
In addition to his non-profit experience, Lindor is a successful small business owner and entrepreneur in the North of Haiti. Lindor is fluent in Haitian Kreyòl, French, and English, occasionally working as a professional translator. In this capacity, Lindor has translated for many people, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Lindor’s charming personality and sense of humor make him a refreshing addition to our team.
NON-PROFIT ADVISORY COUNCIL
Co-director, Haiti Partners
Kent Annan is co-founder of Haiti Partners and an author. He began working in Haiti in 2003 and has authored two powerfully honest books, Following Jesus through the Eye of the Needle and Aftershock (InterVarsity Press). Each taps into the difficult questions that life raises. In addition to his books, Annan has written for national journals and magazines. Annan started Beyond Borders’ Living Words Christian Education program. After living in Haiti for two and a half years, he now travels there regularly from Florida. Annan worked for almost three years with refugee ministries in Western Europe, Albania, and Kosovo. He holds a bachelor’s in business from Palm Beach Atlantic University and a master of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. Kent is married to Shelly, who is associate pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Vero Beach. They have a young daughter and son. More about Kent’s writing at www.kentannan.com.
Co-director, Haiti Partners
John Engle is a co-founder of Haiti Partners. John also co-founded Beyond Borders and its Haiti-based partner organization, Limyè Lavi Foundation, in 1993. He first moved to Haiti in 1991 to work with Tony Campolo’s organization (EAPE) in support of education for Haiti’s children and adults. John moved to Vero Beach in 2007 to establish with Kent Annan, Haiti Partners’ Florida office but moved back to Haiti with his family after the January earthquake. Although he has been coordinating the building of Learning Centers and other earthquake response projects since January, his focus during the last two decades has been on participatory leadership and discussion-based education in Haiti. He has been a consultant with organizations including World Bank, Amnesty International, and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He and his wife Merline, who is a native of Haiti, have two children.
Jacky was born and grew up in Mirebalais (Plateau Central, Haiti) until the age of 24 when he relocated to the United States. He has always been passionate about helping Haiti, and in April of 2006, he decided along with some old classmates to established FATEM as a way to give back to their homeland. In short order, FATEM has made impressive advancements. In February of 2010, the first regional office was opened in Mirebalais with a staff of 8. FATEM provides a daily meal to more than 3,000 children, is developing two unique educational facilities that are committed to utilizing both traditional and technology-based educational methods, is directly partnered with 14 rural schools, and has provided training to more than 100 teachers (in cooperation with DePaul University – Chicago). FATEM continues to seek advancement opportunities for the Haitian people that are truly sustainable.
HAITIAN ADVISORY COUNCIL
Guerda Lexima – Haiti
Guerda is an expert on childrenʼs rights in Haiti and spent eight years researching Haitian street children. She serves as co-director of Limye Lavi Foundation, where she coordinates a campaign to end child servitude. She also serves on the boards of Restavek Foundation (Cincinnati) and Womenʼs Group (Haiti). Guerda holds a bachelorʼs degree in economics from Institute for Advanced Commercial and International Studies and a bachelorʼs degree in special education and clinical psychology from the Universite dʼEtat dʼHaiti, both in Port-au-Prince. In addition to her personal and professional expertise, Guerda is a trusted friend and advisor.
Eric Graham – Haiti
Eric is a consummate professional and a man of impeccable character. After working for more than 20 years as the property and material manager for the Canadian Embassy in Haiti, he retired to embrace a life of service to his fellow countrymen. In his masterful way, Eric leads by example, challenging old systems through simple service and mutual respect. Standing in contrast to the age-old style of leadership-through-force, Eric’s soft and silent leadership style yields a power that defies words. To watch him work is to watch a living work of art. On any given day, he can be seen managing both complex and simplistic challenges with equal care given to both. His style is evident in the projects he pursues. In addition to undertaking many practical but vital projects (like the installation of a simple solar panel for a family on La Gonave), Eric can be seen photographing Haiti through the lens of his Nikon camera, or letting Haitian children run around and do the same. Eric has worked alongside Fireside International on several occasions and has repeatedly challenged us to be better, reach further, and do more for each and every person that we come across. For this reason, he is a trusted advisor and a deeply cherished friend.
Guy Morelus – Haiti
Guy Morelus is Coordinator of Cite Soleil Community School and founder/co-director of SPARE, an educational sponsorship program that supports Haitian youth in their educational pursuits. Guy grew up in Cite Soleil but lived in Miami from 1992 to 2001 where he attended Miami Dade Community College. He is currently attending Seminaire Theologique D’Andre in Port Au Prince, Haiti. Since 2009, Guy has been a close friend and trusted colleague. Through his focused and firm leadership style and his soft spirit, Guy has shown us what it means to lead by example in one of the toughest places on earth. Through his experience in Cite Soleil, Guy provides insights into education in places where the challenges of educating extend far beyond the walls of the school. In addition to the practical help that he has already shown to Fireside International (especially following the earthquake in 2010), we are incredibly impressed by Guy’s dedication to service in the face of adversity. Because of all of this, we are honored to have Guy advise our ongoing work.
France Frederic – USA
France grew up in Port-au-Prince, the child of parents from Jeremie and Ouanaminthe. She attended L’ecole du Sacre-Coeur and later graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Industrial and Management Engineering. She’s worked and contributed to various industries, including manufacturing, distribution, retail, and hospitality. Her hobbies include reading, writing, playing the piano, and performing. Although she’s always been in touch with Haiti’s current events, the January 12 earthquake, which affected her family, has left her with the initiative to do more for Haiti and its future generation.
Yvel Guelcé – USA
Yvel was born in Cabaret, Haiti, where he lived until the age of 11. After moving to the Unites States with his family, Yvel was raised in Long Island, New York and worked to advance his education. Yvel currently works full-time as Director of IT Operations at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) based in Indianapolis, Indiana. He leads a team of IT professionals to provide administrative direction and support for daily operational activities of the IT Department. In his role, Guelcé works closely with people on both sides of the information aisle, providing connectivity solutions that serve to both support the IMA’s creative staff and keep information flowing across the network. In that sense, Guelcé understands the needs of both the creative and technical aspects of technology-based informational projects. Merging personal history with professional experience, Yvel combines cultural and technical considerations into a unique perspective that is especially relevant to our work. In addition to his professional work, Yvel is happily married, has a wonderful son, and considers his family to be the most important priority of his life.
Ilio Durandis – USA
Ilio Durandis is the Founder of Haiti 2015. Ilio holds a Masters Degree in Molecular Biology, and a Bachelor in Biological Sciences and minor in Political Science. Ilio has held different positions working as a research analyst in the bio pharmaceutical industry, and has volunteered in different social organizations. In 2001, Ilio founded Zanmi to help other young Haitians in Massachusetts reach all their potential. He is now the interim Secretary of MACCHA (Massachusetts Coalition of Haitian Hometown Association), and a columnist for the Haitian Times, an English based newspaper in New York serving the Haitian diaspora in the United States. Ilio believes that one of his missions in life is to be a part of anything that promotes the sustainable development and welfare of Haiti and its people.
*This council continues to grow in direct relation to our projects.
**Council members are not directly responsible for the work of Fireside International, its employees, or affiliates. By agreeing to offer guidance, these council members do not necessarily support the beliefs, actions, or methods finally applied by Fireside International, its employees, or affiliates.
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