|Cindy Douglass, Founder and Executive Director
Cindy lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband Drew and their two boys. She has been a teacher for the last fourteen years and is very active in her local church. Ethiopia has found a special place in her heart that was developed through multiple mission trips working with the people in Addis Ababa. It was during one of these trips that she met a group of amazing girls who shared a very similar life story as herself and where God began to lay the plans for something great. After much prayer and complete obedience to God, Addis Jemari was established. It is her desire that she, along with other local community leaders, will walk alongside of these girls, allowing them to understand there is purpose in their lives and that they are valuable and loved. “Let us love one another, for love comes from God.” 1 John 4:7
|Suzanne Shoaf Ward, Founder and Chief Operating Officer
Suzanne Shoaf Ward was born and raised in Raleigh, NC where she still lives with her husband, Wes and two children, Taylor and Will. She is a freelance communications and public relations specialist and has more than 16 years of experience in this field. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also very involved in her local church, particularly on the missions committee and in the children’s ministry program. It was during a mission trip to Ethiopia in 2014 that she felt God calling her to help long-term in orphan care in the city of Addis Ababa. She is humbled to be a part of Addis Jemari and is excited to watch the girls grow and flourish under this program.
|Semere Fekadu, Program Director
Semere was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He graduated from Mizan-Tepi University with a BA degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology. Semere is currently working on obtaining his Master’s degree from Addis Ababa University in Urban and Industrial Sociology, where he is close to submitting his thesis. Semere comes to us with much experience as he has previously worked as a social worker, program director and as a part-time Sociology instructor at several colleges. In those roles, he has gained much knowledge in working with orphaned and vulnerable children, as well as working with their families. He oversaw and supervised many projects, out of which two are very similar to our vision and mission here at Addis Jemari.
His involvement in working with orphaned and vulnerable children and in family empowerment related programs is not fortuitous, but is because these issues are close to his heart. His previous experience will allow the added advantage of overseeing Addis Jemari in the best possible way and give great insight into allowing Addis Jemari to be successful in meeting the needs of the girls in our programs.
He is honored to be a part of the Addis Jemari team, and is excited for the future as we seek to make a difference in the lives of young girls and the community in which they live.
Sophia Chanyalew Kassa, Program Specialist
Board of Directors
|Lynne Bedini Lewis, Chairman of the Board
Lynne received her BA from Smith College and spent a decade as a marketing manager and sales team leader for a large insurance company. Actively looking to make a difference, Lynne served in different capacities on numerous charitable boards and committees, including serving as past PTA President and President of the Junior Woman’s Club of Raleigh, as well as Co-Chaired the Great Day of Service involving more than 600 members for several years at Edenton Street United Methodist Church. Married for more than twenty years, Lynne is the mom of four kids.
|Michael Resar (Mikey), Board Member
Mikey grew up in the Raleigh area. He has been married for 15 years to his wife, Susan and they have three wonderful girls. Mikey has 16 years of experience in the real estate industry. Mikey said this of why he became a board member for Addis Jemari, “Growing up in the church and going on mission trips have all ways been a part of my life. Having the experience of showing God’s love through helping others is an experience like no other. Raising three girls, I want to pass along that love of helping and empowering others through God’s grace. Partnering with Addis Jemari for the last few years has allowed our family to help empower young women. I am now honored and blessed to be part of the Addis Jemari Board of Directors.”
|Clark Rinehart, Board Member
Clark is originally from Miami, Florida and graduated from the University of Miami (GO ‘CANES!) in 2009 with a BS in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Economics. After undergrad, he made a bit of a vocational pivot and enrolled in Duke Divinity School’s Master of Divinity program (MDiv ’12). Since Clark’s time in seminary, he served Grace Community Church in North Raleigh (now called Grace Raleigh) in a number of different capacities and was ordained in June 2014.
Clark joined the Addis Jemari board because he’s always believed that his greatest responsibility while he has breath in his lungs is to invest in people with his time and resources. Clark believes AJ is exactly the kind of organization that invests, in a robust way, in the next generation of leaders, educators and businesswomen in Ethiopia.
Clark said, “Regardless of where these women have been in their lives, AJ sees their innate dignity, affirms it and empower them to chase after their dreams. And, most importantly, love is at the core of what drives AJ. I’m honored to be on AJ’s board and look forward to sharing more and more stories of lives that are changed because of the good work that our community of supporters/friends/staff will be engaged in over the next few years.”
|Dana Roberts, Board Member
Dana has called Raleigh, North Carolina home for more than 22 years. She has been married to Stephen for 20 years and they have two wonderful sons, Jack and Connor. Stephen and Dana built their family through an extraordinary adoption journey, having adopted both of their sons domestically as infants. Dana and Stephen met at Clemson University, where she holds a degree in Accounting. She is a CPA and is currently the Finance Director of the North Carolina School Boards Association, a non-profit organization that provides services to public school districts across the state.Dana has traveled to Ethiopia on mission trips and has been uplifted by the spirit and joy of the children she has met along the way. However, meeting many teenage girls that will soon find themselves without a stable home, whose fate is unknown and future is uncertain, has affected her deeply. She’s proud and honored to serve on the Addis Jemari Board of Directors and is excited to see where God leads this incredible journey.
| Tara Owens Shuler, Board Secretary
Tara lives in Creedmoor, NC with her husband, Barton. Tara is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health. Tara currently works in the Public Health field and has focused the majority of her 23-year career working with maternal and child health programs. Tara is a Lamaze certified childbirth educator and have taught classes at Rex Healthcare on a part-time basis for the past 20 years. As a Lamaze teacher and trainer, Tara has used her passion to train nurses and NGO workers in Nairobi, Kenya and Kuwait City, Kuwait. Tara currently serves on the NC Perinatal Association (NCPA) Board of Directors and co-directs the Lamaze Childbirth Educator training program through NCPA. Tara is a member of The Summit Church. When not working or teaching, Tara enjoys reading, gardening and traveling with her husband.When asked why she said yes to being a new AJ board member, Tara said, “As a public health educator, I joined the Addis Jemari Board because their mission and vision aligns with the core principles of public health. In 2017, I traveled with Addis Jemari to serve in Ethiopia and I witnessed Addis Jemari investing in the Ethiopian workforce and economy, as well as implementing a program that has population health implications for generations to come by providing access to education; development of life skills, financial management, and social skills for young girls.I vividly remember a conversation I had with Cindy and she indicated that a goal of Addis Jemari was to invest financial resources into the economy whenever a mission team travels to Ethiopia. At the time, Cindy has no way of knowing how excited I got because she sounded like a public health colleague and our goal in public health is to support communities in allocating resources that will assist them in best meeting their needs. By investing finances into the Ethiopian economy, we were assisting small business owners and employers to employ workers.
As a believer, I joined Addis Jemari because I believe that AJ has an authentic mission of service to not only Addis Jemari program staff and young girls, but to other partner organizations in Addis Ababa. During my time in Addis Ababa, our team made a difference in the short amount of time we were in the country. It was evident that we blessed women, men and children in Addis through our giving, but I believe we made a greater impact by exhibiting God’s love through our service.”