U.S.A Board Of Directors

Meet the Board of Elimu - U.S.A

Cindy Rodriguez (Chairperson and Founder of Elimu-USA)

Lives in Los Angeles California with her husband Steves and their two children. Her career has always focused on children including a strong background in technology edutainment and curriculum development. She began as a teacher and grew into a leadership, working as Vice Principal for both elementary and middle schools. She has two MAs in Curriculum and Instruction and Education Leadership. She recently developed the Elimu Girls concept to promote Elimu’s Sewing Project which helps girls from rural Kenya to escape detrimental practices like child-bride marriages and female genital mutilation by extending their learning after primary school and training them in tailoring and dressmaking as well as helping them start their own sewing businesses by providing a brand new sewing machine upon graduation. Cindy has visited Kenya two now where she enjoyed engaging with the sewing students and hearing the stories of their struggles and triumphs first hand. In her free time, Cindy enjoys baking, cooking, travel, running and being an active mom.

Nina Chung (Secretary/Treasurer)

She is also founder and president of Elimu (Canada). She divides her time between Kenya and Canada. She leads the Kenyan team in collaboration with the CEO and manages the liaison with the Canadian board of directors. She is responsible for Kenyan and international outreach for funding, resource and partnership development. She left a successful business to her partner in Ottawa, Canada in 2004 to volunteer in Kenya. During that time, she began assisting children with education and entrepreneurship training and established Elimu to make her projects sustainable. Nina has over 30 years’ experience in project management, partnership development, international marketing and business strategy planning. She worked over 14 years marketing international travel and cultural exchange programs and services to youth and student markets. In 1996, she started a successful marketing consulting firm in Ottawa, Canada. She has conducted market research and implemented communications programs for culturally diverse consumer markets. She has lived and worked in a variety of cultural environments. Nina holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

Shannon Ashford (Board Member)

Born and raised in Southern California, she describes herself as too curious for my own good. Her favorite colour is yellow and she will gladly make pancakes for anyone who asks! She learned to sew as a girl from a neighbor. She would wake up early to make myself an outfit to wear to school and eventually even made prom dresses for her friends in high school. She sews because it makes her happy. She started Tomfoolery.la to create problem-solving designs and make people’s lives better.
She designs jumpsuits because she believes they are the perfect manifestation of the energy and adventure of a tomboy packaged as a classy lady.

Courtney Stuart-Alban (Advisory Board Member)

With more than 14 years’ experience as an attorney in Los Angeles, her litigation practice focuses on copyright, trademark, technology law and policy, e-commerce and unfair competition. She has represented clients ranging from small business owners to fortune 500 companies. Courtney has served on the advisory board for the Western Center for Law and Poverty and is involved in various local charities.
In her free time, she enjoys photography, travel, music, literature, yoga and most of all spending as much time with her husband and two children.

Gisele Gauthier (Advisory Board Member)

She has over 30 years experience in a variety of fields including affordable housing real estate development, events management and catering, business administration and technology. She is an experienced grant writer and project manager with particular interest in process and detail. She has served on several non-profit boards including a local nonprofit serving children with autism and as president of the board of trustees for her church. Gisele earned a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College in International Political Economy with a particular focus of poverty and women’s issues. She enjoys travelling around the world and lives on Cape Cod with her husband, Peter and two cats, Maya Angelou and Angus (Gus) Young.