Joanna graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Sociology. She has been interested in cultural exchange programs since high school, when she founded a chapter of the American Field Service. After college, she worked for 2 years as a staff member at AFS headquarters in New York. She worked as a social welfare case worker and became a real estate broker after moving to Massachusetts. She is the founder of the Bridge Gallery, Newburyport and a prize winning artist.
Joanna worked as a volunteer teacher with the American Friends Service Committee in East Harlem, New York. She tutored a group of 14 year old Hispanic boys. One of them became a college graduate and life-long friend. She was a volunteer ESL teacher in the Chinese community in Boston for 2 years. She has been a volunteer teacher in the ESL program sponsored by the Merrimac Valley Library Consortium working with a Dominican family for the past 15 years.
Joanna joined GNBA in 1994 and became its second president. She has hosted visiting Kenyans and introduced them to the Newburyport community, its schools, social and political institutions. She is especially especially interested in strengthening the leadership roles of Kenyan women.
Aaron recently graduated from Boston University with a major in Linguistics where he spent a brief period of time studying Bantu Languages. He has experience working with computers, as a web developer for Mugar Library @ Boston University and for Marin Voices and Views, a local access TV show. He also has multiple years experience working with children as a counselor at Camp Doodles, a day camp. He has travelled to Turkey, Georgia, Cyprus, Israel, and Jordan, has never been to Kenya before, but now that he has become a part of the GNBA's involvement with the area, he is excited to go.
Ted is the senior member of the team. He attended M.I.T. where he co-authored a paper in Atmospheric Chemistry and co-founded Computer Displays, Inc. as an undergraduate. He has managed a Massachusetts municipal water and electric utility and served as the Chief of Staff to the Mayors of Amesbury and Haverhill, MA. He has had principal roles in redeveloping a waste water treatment plant, constructing a 2MGD water tank, and rebuilding a dam. He has been involved in budget development for $45 million and $147 million municipal budgets. Ted was the Chairman of Merrimack Valley Regional Transportation Authority where he advocated for transit as a key component in urban redevelopment. He played a central role in the development of a multi-level parking facility in downtown Haverhill, and in the investment of $90 million in low and moderate income housing in downtown. Ted has continued to provide occasional financial and real estate consulting services to the City.Ted has been an officer and Director of GNBA for 17 years. He currently serves as Secretary for the Corporation. He has developed partnerships funded by the U.S. State Department to provide rural leadership training and HIV/AIDS cross cultural training. He was a part of the team which organized an international conference, a U.S. Africa Sister Cities Conference, in Nairobi in 1999. This conference, the first after the U.S. Embassy tragedy, brought participants to Nairobi from the U.S. as well as from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. It demonstrated the confidence of the international community in the City as a site for international gatherings. This is Ted’s fourth visit to Kenya and represents the revitalization of e-learning effort that he initiated with students from Clark University in 2009.