Board of Directors
Cindy Berkland, Obstetrics APRN President & Founder
Cindy is the founder and president of Friends of Naivasha. She partnered with her husband Rich and Igal Elfezouty after she spent time as a volunteer at the Sub-County Hospital in Naivasha in 2004. Cindy was dismayed at the conditions and equipment in the existing maternity ward and sought to create a women's health center dedicated to providing free prenatal care, safe birthing and an effective neonatal ICU. With the successful completion of the women's center in 2013, Cindy continues to lead Friends of Naivasha's efforts to improve medical care for the women and infants of Nakuru County.
Lisa Tracey, RN Vice-President
As a donor and a volunteer Lisa has been involved in Friends of Naivasha since 2010. A visit to Naivasha during construction of the Women’s Center in 2012 left her inspired to do more officially joined the board of directors in 2014 as Vice President. Lisa lives in Omaha and has a distinguished career as a Registered Nurse. Her experience and passion make her a valuable asset to the organization.
Rich Berkland Treasurer & Founder
Rich founded Friends of Naivasha with Cindy and Igal in 2004 and has served on the board of directors since its inception in 2007. He has served as Treasurer in 2015. As Vice-President of Market Development for Valmont Industries, Rich has traveled extensively in Africa and has assisted in the development of modern irrigation systems in developing areas for over 25 years. He is married to Cindy Berkland and he has helped her build the relationships that made the Women’s Center a reality.
Amber Wagner-Connolly,DNP Secretary
Amber joined board of directors in 2014 and recently took over as Secretary. She is passionate about women’s health issues around the globe. As a Professor of Nursing at Clarkson College in Omaha she contributes to our efforts to promote academic partnerships and global outreach
Christopher Cheuvront Operations Advisor
Christopher began volunteering for Friends of Naivasha in 2014 and joined the board after a visit to the Women’s Center in 2015. With his experience in nonprofit development and health marketing he serves the organization in many ways including fundraising, external communications, web site development, and graphic design.
Martha Goedert, PH-D Medical Advisor
Martha is the Medical Advisor for Friends of Naivasha. She has a storied career practicing and teaching midwifery. She is driven to provide universal access to safe, affordable deliveries across the globe. She is involved in community service projects with the Peace Corps in Western Africa, Midwives for Haiti in the Caribbean and CompHealth with sites in underserved communities throughout the United States. In addition to serving as medical advisor, Martha is currently the project manager for Helping Babies Breath.
C.K. Duryea Philanthropic Advisor
C.K. became involved with Friends of Naivasha since 2008 and has played an integral role in fundraising. With over fourteen years of experience in charitable planning, CK is currently the Senior Director of Development at Children International. She is certificated as a Charter Adviser in Philanthropy.
Ben Hoy Marketing Advisor
Ben joined Friends of Naivasha in 2011. Currently he is Director of Marketing at ITT. Ben is passionate about universal access to modern birthing facilities. He visited the Women’s Health Center during construction in 2012 and again in 2016.
Dr. Kari Simonsen, MD Academic Advisor
Kari joined Friends of Naivasha in 2014 and serves as Academic Advisor. She is an Associate Professor Pediatric Infectious Disease at the Nebraska Medicine in Omaha. She supervised two Pediatric Fellows from Nebraska Medicine in Naivasha to assist with the education of Medical Officer Interns in the NICU at the Women’s Center in March of 2015.
Lisa Strasheim, APRN Medical Advisor
Lisa is the Executive Director of the Women & Children’s Health Program at CHI in Omaha, Nebraska. She is a longtime advocate for maternal and infant care with years of clinical experience and knowledge of best practices that makes her a vital part of the program development.
Igal Elfezouty Co-Founder
Igal co-founded Friends of Naivasha in collaboration with Rich and Cindy in 2004. As a US businessman with interests in Kenya, he is a partner in Panda Flowers Ltd, one of the Fairtrade Certified Flower Farms in Naivasha. The Flower Farms draw a large migrant population of women workers and Igal was essential in building support from his and other Fair Trade Flower Farms in Kenya. Based in Memphis, TN, Igal spends a great deal of time at his home in Naivasha and is recognized as a community leader for his numerous philanthropic projects including the Naivasha Children’s Shelter.
Bernhard Fassal, MD Technical Advisor
Bernhard has advised FON since 2014. He was born in Austria where he completed medical school and a residency in Family Medicine. Subsequently he worked internationally, met his wife Barbara and moved to Utah where he completed a residency in Pediatrics. In 2004 he joined the faculty at the University Of Utah Division Of Inpatient Medicine while continuing his involvement in various maternal-child health projects in Nepal and Tibet.
Ruth Margalit, MD Global Health Advisor
Ruti founded the Service Learning Academy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and has years of experience with global health projects to reduce disparities. Her knowledge and experience have been integral to FON’s success. Currently she is working on a program to train nurses in the rural medical dispensaries in Naivasha.
James Wattuman Project Manager James runs the day-to-day operations of Friends of Naivasha in Kenya. He began during the construction of the Women’s Health Center in 2011 and started as Operations Project Manager once the center opened in 2013. He is the liaison between the Leadership Teams in Naivasha and Omaha. He is responsible for general business operations and fundraising for the Women’s Center.
Jennifer Aylestock Myhre, MD, ABP Pediatrician
Jennifer and her husband Scott are missionary physicians from the United States who volunteer full time at the Women's Center and serve on the Helping Babies Breathe training team. They come to us after spending 5 years at Kljabe Hospital near Naviasha and 17 years in a rural mission setting in Western Uganda. Jennifer and Scott are dedicated to improving access to high quality obstetrics and pediatric care for women in Nakuru County.
Dr. Scott David Myhre, MD, ABFM Family Medicine
Scott and his wife Jennifer are missionary physicians from the United States who volunteer full time at the Women's Center and serve on the Helping Babies Breathe training team. They come to us after spending 5 years at Kljabe Hospital near Naviasha and 17 years in a rural mission setting in Western Uganda. Jennifer and Scott are dedicated to improving access to high quality obstetrics and pediatric care for women in Nakuru County.