Joan Hall, Secretary, is a Tucson resident of eight years. She is a microfinance consultant and has worked all over the world. She served on nonprofit boards since 2010, including her neighborhood association board. She joined the Iskashitaa board in 2014. She is committed to improving the lives of the refugees with whom Iskashitaa works, and to making Iskashitaa a more sustainable organization with greater outreach so as to benefit more refugees.
Bereketab Mehari is a graduate student at the University of Arizona Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He is originally from Eritrea and has lived in Tucson since 2011. A pharmacist by training, he previously worked in teaching, community pharmacy, drug regulation and drug management systems. He has also participated in the development of a clinical trial guideline, maternal commodity assurance and tobacco control programs in Eritrea. As a member of the Iskashitaa board, Bereket is very interested in the role of the organization in creating a welcoming environment for refugees and an opportunity for cultural exchange.
Norm Weber was born in St. Louis Mo., attended Elmhurst College then the University of Missouri to receive his M.D. He then earned Master’s in Public Health. Norm served in the U.S. Army in the late 1960s, and helped start one of the first Pediatric Nurse Practitioner programs. He served in private practice in Tucson, AZ and Olympia, Washington until his retirement in the 1990s. Norm is married, has nine grandchildren and is a member of St. Francis in the Foothills, UMC. He has served on other Boards, including Tucson Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the Interfaith Coalition for Homeless and Childbirth Education. He is a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He is pleased and honored to serve on the Iskashitaa Board as Iskashitaa’s mission coincides with his life’s work.
Robbie Dick was born in the Roaring Twenties in Ely, Nevada, a mining town in the northeastern Nevada high desert. She earned a degree in chemistry with a minor in math from Occidental College and worked as a chemist for a while. Then Robbie discovered she could work as a waitress and travel! So she did! First to National Parks all over and then to South America on a steamer. After marrying and having kids she and her family travelled to camp in Mexico and Europe. She has always contributed to the social activism of the Methodist Church most significantly, she and her husband were very active in the Citizen Diplomacy work at St. Francis. This involved fifteen trips to the Soviet Union to encourage dialog in an attempt to end the cold war. They have visited over twenty countries on several continents since 1995. In her lifetime of travel Robbie found that people may look different, eat different foods, and speak different languages, but are all basically the same wonderful human beings. That is why she feels passionate about Iskashitaa’s important effort, to interact with refugees and learn from them, as they learn from us. And she feels she has lived through too many wars. She wisely believes that if we get to know each other, we have a better chance for peace.
Shanna Benson is a Tucson native and first became involved with Iskashitaa in the summer of 2006, when she joined Iskashitaa as a planning and marketing intern. She has extensive experience in general management, sales, and accounting/finance in the service sector in both Tucson, AZ and San Diego, CA. Shanna graduated with her MBA from the University of Arizona Eller College in 2007. She is the Business Manager at Thompson Law Group, P.C., a local law firm that specializes in serving as general counsel for small businesses and representing debtors in bankruptcy. Shanna is married and has two sons. She is honored to serve on Iskashitaa’s board as it demonstrates some of the values closest to her heart: cooperation, communication, understanding, and (training to promote) self-reliance.
Roberta Elliott is an activist, journalist and photographer. Since retiring three years ago from a lifetime of professional work in the Jewish community - the majority of which was at HIAS, the Jewish refugee agency - she has devoted herself to volunteer work, primarily with refugees both here and abroad. She is madly in love with Tucson, where she is a full-time winter resident and comes as frequently as possible throughout the year. In NJ, where she spends the rest of the year, she is the lead on the welcome team for a family of refugees that arrived from Syria in May. She is particularly pleased to be on the board of Iskashitaa, because she thinks it’s merging of food justice and refugee work is a brilliant business model.
Micheal Oster has a background in real estate and economics. He is interested in creating economic opportunities for refugees through innovative, community-based businesses. His grandmother was a refugee who was resettled in America after World War II, and Iskashitaa’s mission has a special meaning for him. He is committed to building a welcoming and supportive environment for future generations.
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