Officers
Brendan Callahan
Co-Founder & President
Brendan co-founded Achieve in Africa and manages the organization’s projects and general operations. Brendan first went on a relief trip to Tanzania in the summer of 2007 when he witnessed the lack of educational infrastructure in the country firsthand. He was inspired by the children’s enthusiasm for learning, despite the distressed state and lack of schools. Noticing the need across the country and limited help available, Brendan and Alyssa Snow (Callahan), co-founded Achieve in Africa in September 2008 to help improve education in rural areas of Africa that are most in need. Brendan received a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from The Broad Center, a Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University. In 2015, Brendan joined The Broad Residency in Urban Education, a leadership development program that provides residents with the training to successfully switch careers from the private sector into education management. Brendan works with Green Dot Public Schools, a Charter Management Organization serving over 11,000 students and 22 public schools in California.
Alyssa Callahan
Co-Founder & Vice President
Alyssa co-founded Achieve in Africa and manages donor relations and communications. Alyssa is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and recently received a Master in Nutrition. Alyssa was a Senior Account Executive for MSL Washington D.C., where she was a member of the Public Affairs team and focuses on health policy. Alyssa is originally from Merrimack, New Hampshire and graduated from Boston University’s College of Communication with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication and concentrations in Public Relations and Psychology. Prior to graduation from BU, Alyssa interned for the Boston Regional Office of the Peace Corps.
Alex Marti
Project Director
Alex Marti was born in Ngorongoro, Tanzania, and was brought up along with his eight siblings by his mother and step father. His family moved to Olasiti Village when he was a child, and he attended Olasiti Primary School Level 1 when he was 11 years old. Alex recalls that the classrooms had nearly 200 children per class, and there was a severe lack of classrooms and desks. It was during this time that Alex began to dream of becoming a leader of his village or government so that he could build more primary and secondary schools for children in the area. Alex graduated from primary school at age 17, and then worked for one year and every holiday for the next several years as a mechanical assistant to raise funds to go to secondary school. Since there were no secondary schools in the area, Alex walked 13 kilometers (8 miles) one way to school each day for a total of 26 kilometers (16 miles) per day. After four years, Alex was unable to proceed any further with his education because of a lack of funds. Alex then became a driver and professional guide in the Tanzania National Parks, where he continues to work today. Alex has never lost his drive to become a leader in his village, and so in 2004, he won the election in his community to become the Village Chairman. In this volunteer position, he led the twenty-five member local government, who are also elected by the village.
Donna Callahan
Admin. Manager & Secretary
Donna has held her position since AIA’s inception, focusing on administrative and compliance issues. She well remembers the first trip to Tanzania by AIA members where they arranged for classroom rebuilding at the primary school. She traveled to Olasiti Primary School in summer 2011 and helped with painting and construction. Along the way, she met wonderful students, parents, and educators in Tanzania. Donna is an R.N. and holds a Master of Public Health from UCLA.
Matt Dunaj
Treasurer
Matt Dunaj is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), with a degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Business Economics with emphasis in Accounting, and Psychology. Matt worked at KPMG, a public accounting firm, in New York City for 5 years before returning to California and taking his current position as the Director of Accounting at Earth Island, a natural foods manufacturer in Los Angeles.
Board of Directors
Bill Callahan
Founding Board Member
Bill is a Senior Scientist in the Drug Product Development Department at Amgen, where he was responsible for the formulation of N-Plate, which is now a lyophilized drug product and currently sold as a treatment for ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia). Bill has worked at Amgen since 1990 and also worked on PDGF (Platelet Derived Growth Factor) and BDNF (Brain Derived Growth Factor). Previously, Bill worked at Person and Covey, Inc. and developed topical dermatological skin care products. Bill has a Master of Chemistry and dual Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry from California State University, Northridge.
Mark Wiesel
Founding Board Member
As the Vice President of H&W Independent Solutions, Mark has over 35 years experience in management development, business management, and project development in both commercial and not-for-profit arenas. H&W provides consulting, training and systems improvement services to agencies that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He is a highly effective facilitator for improving organizational structure and communications to enhance quality of care and daily operations. Mark’s experience in developing and delivering training curricula includes front-line staff development, management and supervisory skills, non-profit board development, leadership training, system and self-advocacy, and other topics for staff and volunteers. He has been active in disability issues as both a volunteer and professional for over 30 years, and is proud to serve on the board or Achieve in Africa and support the expansion of education opportunities in Afica. Mark received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Stanford University.
Warren Wuerthner
Board Member
Warren is a Customer Development Manager for L’Oreal. He joined AIA because of his belief that education empowers people to improve their station in life. Prior to L’Oreal, Warren worked in business intelligence, sales leadership, and business development at PepsiCo. He received his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration focusing in Finance and Management Information Systems from Boston University. He is an Ironman triathlete, an avid motorcyclist, and a bonsai enthusiast. Always looking for opportunities to develop, Warren is currently pursuing an MBA at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Nathan Yee
Board Member
Nathan is a Project Manager at Southern California Edison. Previously, he was a Business Process Consultant at P3 and an Account Executive for Verizon Wireless, where he focused on business to business sales. Nathan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and certified Scrum Master (CSC). In other volunteer roles with Achieve in Africa, Nathan served as the Fundraising Director, and has been a member of AIA’s growth team since 2008. Nathan graduated from the University of California at Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and an emphasis on East Asian Political Economy. He is currently pursuing a Master in Business Administration from the same school. He has an extensive background in customer and business relations, as well as volunteer work and fundraising experience from his participation in Alpha Phi Omega, a fraternity advocating philanthropy, and his duties as an Eagle Scout.
Support Team
Gabriela Ramirez
Graphic Designer
Currently working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Multimedia with an emphasis in Graphic Design, Gabriela is a proud undergraduate student at California Lutheran University. She voluntarily tutors children K-5, and is always compelled to use her skills to help those that need it most. Traveling to impoverished areas in Mexico has shown her the need for positive change around the world, and has strengthened her desire to help those in need. Gabriela believes that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.
Ricardo Rivera
Financial Advisor
Ric is a Consultant with CSC and was previously a Contract Specialist for the U.S. Government working in Washington, D.C. Ric also worked for a South Texas Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firm providing taxation, auditing and accounting consulting services. Ric is a decorated Naval Supply Corps Officer and has served for four years as a U.S. Navy financial and logistics expert. Ric received a Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University. Originally from South Texas, he graduated from The University of Texas-Pan American with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a concentration in Accounting.
Tom Rockford
Books for Bricks Program Manager
While attending Boston University, Thomas had the chance to visit Tanzania with Brendan Callahan on a relief trip in 2007. Amazed at how dedicated and how hard the Tanzanian people work, Thomas was moved and always vowed to give back to the people he visited. Excited to be apart of Achieve in Africa, Thomas hopes to do just that. Graduating with a Bachelor’s in Music Business and Management from Berklee College of Music, Thomas has gained experience working in the Entertainment, and the Music Instrument Retail industries, specifically helping to launch online platforms such as BandsInTown.com, and further driving sales for Guitar Center, Inc. Thomas also is a part owner for his own sound company HV Sound, located in the NY metro area.
Collin Sasse
Website Administrator
Compelled to put his skills to good use and support this cause, Collin developed and launched the first version of Achieve in Africa’s website in 2008, and has played an active role coordinating development and web enhancements for the organization since. Collin is a graduate of California State University, Northridge, with a degree in Liberal Studies and a concentration in Education. Collin holds a teaching credential in the State of California. His favorite quote: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” -Theodore Geisel
R. Brian Snow, Esq.
Legal Advisor
Attorney R. Brian Snow has practiced law for thirty-five years and is admitted in the jurisdictions of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. Besides serving as AIA’s General Counsel, Attorney Snow serves in the BSA Daniel Webster Council as Assistant Council Commissioner -Field Service [COO]; a certified football official with the NHFOA and as an IDC Staff Scuba Instructor with the PADI. During his legal career, Attorney Snow has served in a number of public positions: 8 years as a District Court Judge; Chairman, NH Juvenile Parole Board; Chairman, Appellate Division, NH Dept. of Emp. Sec. and Director of Crime Prevention & Public Information with the NH Dept. of Safety.
Ryan Urban
Video Producer
A native of Los Angeles, Ryan currently works in television and film production. He received his Bachelor of Science in Film Production in 2009 from Boston University, where he gained experience in producing and editing short films. While there, he also began working on Achieve in Africa’s first videos and hasn’t stopped since. Ryan is proud to be a member of Achieve in Africa and looks forward to creating many more videos in our continuing effort to help children in Africa.