Our Board

Thouni Senekayone Thouni currently serves as a Co-Founder and Operations Manager for Events for Good, an organization that organizes charitable sporting events across multiple countries. As a Lao-American woman, Thouni is passionate about strengthening development and economic stability in Laos, which she aims to do through her work. Prior to founding Events for Good, Thouni worked at VFI for eight years on communications and events management. Dr. Keith McDade Keith combines his work experience in a range of sustainability-related professions with an education and career in building more sustainable communities. He holds several appointments at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Asheville, NC, including working as an Associate Professor of Sustainability Studies, a Director of the MS program in Sustainability Studies, and a Co-Director of the Reese Institute for the Conservation of Natural Resources. His knowledge has been informed by work in The Gambia, Laos, and the Federated States of Micronesia along with the U.S. states of Oregon, California, Michigan, Vermont, and North Carolina. Steven Coleman Steven currently serves as Chief Operations Officer for Sculpture Hospitality Asia, a firm that aids 20+ countries across Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa in growing their food and beverage hospitality sectors. Steven’s work aims to increase economic benefits to these countries while ensuring sustainability of the agricultural process. He has particular expertise working in the Philippines, and he also serves as Board Member with Citygate Investments Limited and the Coral Triangle Conservancy, Inc.
Photography by Samantha Nieman and VFI staff © Village Focus International 2017

Board Advisory Committee

Lisa Schaefer Tammy Medard Paige Okun Gary Camp
Steven Okun Dr. Gerald Fry Robert Allen, Jr. Michael Victor
Jeffrey Phillips As Policy Director of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, Jeffrey oversees Sunnylands’ activities that fall within the Trust's primary areas of focus, including US-China relations, global cooperation and strengthening democratic institutions. Jeffrey previously worked at the International Republican Institute (IRI), a nonprofit dedicated to advancing democracy and good governance around the world, where he directed IRI’s China programs and other activities in Asia. Through IRI, Jeffrey collaborated with VFI, leading to an invitation to join our Board. Robert Tizard, Chair Robert Tizard grew up between Canada, Ireland and Texas. He moved to Laos in the mid-nineties to study the country’s impressive and poorly known biodiversity. His work in the forest greatly raised his appreciation and understanding of the hardships encountered by the many Lao people dependent on the forest. This interest led to him joining VFI soon after their inception. He currently works in Myanmar as a senior adviser to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Rick Reece, Ex Officio Rick is the Executive Director of VFI and has lived and worked in Laos since late 1998. After directing World Education for two years, Rick — together with several Lao colleagues — created VFI in 2000. The original VFI team wanted to focus on the issues facing Lao people at the village level, and the programmatic focus of VFI in the present is a reflection of that founding spirit. Under Rick’s leadership, VFI has earned a reputation as an organization that genuinely promotes and supports Lao leaders, something that he and the Lao leadership team are very proud of.

The Board Advisory Committee drives the strategic vision of VFI’s executive director and the Board of Directors. They

also assist with fundraising and donor outreach and provide expertise and technical assistance where needed.

© Village Focus International 2017 Photos by Samantha Nieman and VFI staff

Our Board

Board Advisory Committee

Lisa Schaefer Tammy Medard Paige Okun Gary Camp
Steven Okun Dr. Gerald Fry Robert Allen, Jr. Michael Victor
Robert Tizard, Chair Robert Tizard grew up between Canada, Ireland and Texas. He moved to Laos in the mid-nineties to study the country’s impressive and poorly known biodiversity. His work in the forest greatly raised his appreciation and understanding of the hardships encountered by the many Lao people dependent on the forest. This interest led to him joining VFI soon after their inception. He currently works in Myanmar as a senior adviser to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Thouni Senekayone Thouni currently serves as a Co-Founder and Operations Manager for Events for Good, an organization that organizes charitable sporting events across multiple countries. As a Lao-American woman, Thouni is passionate about strengthening development and economic stability in Laos, which she aims to do through her work. Prior to founding Events for Good, Thouni worked at VFI for eight years on communications and events management. Jeffrey Phillips As Policy Director of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, Jeffrey oversees Sunnylands’ activities that fall within the Trust's primary areas of focus, including US-China relations, global cooperation and strengthening democratic institutions. Jeffrey previously worked at the International Republican Institute (IRI), a nonprofit dedicated to advancing democracy and good governance around the world, where he directed IRI’s China programs and other activities in Asia. Through IRI, Jeffrey collaborated with VFI, leading to an invitation to join our Board. Dr. Keith McDade Keith combines his work experience in a range of sustainability-related professions with an education and career in building more sustainable communities. He holds several appointments at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Asheville, NC, including working as an Associate Professor of Sustainability Studies, a Director of the MS program in Sustainability Studies, and a Co-Director of the Reese Institute for the Conservation of Natural Resources. His knowledge has been informed by work in The Gambia, Laos, and the Federated States of Micronesia along with the U.S. states of Oregon, California, Michigan, Vermont, and North Carolina. Steven Coleman Steven currently serves as Chief Operations Officer for Sculpture Hospitality Asia, a firm that aids 20+ countries across Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa in growing their food and beverage hospitality sectors. Steven’s work aims to increase economic benefits to these countries while ensuring sustainability of the agricultural process. He has particular expertise working in the Philippines, and he also serves as Board Member with Citygate Investments Limited and the Coral Triangle Conservancy, Inc. Rick Reece, Ex Officio Rick is the Executive Director of VFI and has lived and worked in Laos since late 1998. After directing World Education for two years, Rick — together with several Lao colleagues — created VFI in 2000. The original VFI team wanted to focus on the issues facing Lao people at the village level, and the programmatic focus of VFI in the present is a reflection of that founding spirit.  Under Rick’s leadership, VFI has earned a reputation as an organization that genuinely promotes and supports Lao leaders, something that he and the Lao leadership team are very proud of.

The Board Advisory Committee drives the strategic vision of VFI’s executive director and

the Board of Directors. They also assist with fundraising and donor outreach and provide

expertise and technical assistance where needed.

© Village Focus International 2017 Photos by Samantha Nieman and VFI staff

Our Board

Thouni Senekayone Thouni currently serves as a Co-Founder and Operations Manager for Events for Good, an organization that organizes charitable sporting events across multiple countries. As a Lao-American woman, Thouni is passionate about strengthening development and economic stability in Laos, which she aims to do through her work. Prior to founding Events for Good, Thouni worked at VFI for eight years on communications and events management.

Board Advisory

Committee

Lisa Schaefer Tammy Medard Paige Okun Steven Okun Dr. Gerald Fry Robert Allen, Jr. Michael Victor Gary Camp

The Board Advisory Committee drives the

strategic vision of VFI’s executive director and

the Board of Directors. They also assist with

fundraising and donor outreach and provide

expertise and technical assistance where

needed.

Rob Tizard, Chair Robert Tizard grew up between Canada, Ireland and Texas. He moved to Laos in the mid-nineties to study the country’s impressive and poorly known biodiversity. His work in the forest greatly raised his appreciation and understanding of the hardships encountered by the many Lao people dependent on the forest. This interest led to him joining VFI soon after their inception. He currently works in Myanmar as a senior adviser to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Jeffrey Phillips As Policy Director of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, Jeffrey oversees Sunnylands’ activities that fall within the Trust's primary areas of focus, including US-China relations, global cooperation and strengthening democratic institutions. Jeffrey previously worked at the International Republican Institute (IRI), a nonprofit dedicated to advancing democracy and good governance around the world, where he directed IRI’s China programs and other activities in Asia. Through IRI, Jeffrey collaborated with VFI, leading to an invitation to join our Board. Dr. Keith McDade Keith combines his work experience in a range of sustainability-related professions with an education and career in building more sustainable communities. He holds several appointments at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Asheville, NC, including working as an Associate Professor of Sustainability Studies, a Director of the MS program in Sustainability Studies, and a Co-Director of the Reese Institute for the Conservation of Natural Resources. His knowledge has been informed by work in The Gambia, Laos, and the Federated States of Micronesia along with the U.S. states of Oregon, California, Michigan, Vermont, and North Carolina. Steven Coleman Steven currently serves as Chief Operations Officer for Sculpture Hospitality Asia, a firm that aids 20+ countries across Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa in growing their food and beverage hospitality sectors. Steven’s work aims to increase economic benefits to these countries while ensuring sustainability of the agricultural process. He has particular expertise working in the Philippines, and he also serves as Board Member with Citygate Investments Limited and the Coral Triangle Conservancy, Inc. Rick Reece, Ex Officio Rick is the Executive Director of VFI and has lived and worked in Laos since late 1998. After heading World Education for two years, Rick — along with several Lao colleagues — created VFI in 2000. The original team wanted to focus on the issues facing Lao people at the village level, and the programmatic focus of VFI remains a reflection of that founding spirit.  Under Rick’s leadership, VFI has earned a reputation as an organization that genuinely promotes and supports Lao leaders, something he and the rest of our team are very proud of.