CREATE! is a tax exempt nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status. We are unaffiliated with any governmental or religious organizations.

The founders of CREATE! bring decades of experience in humanitarian assistance, appropriate technology, social services, education, training, business, nonprofit management and fundraising to our nonsectarian, nongovernmental organization. We share a passionate commitment to the mission of CREATE! and to working with rural village populations in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in the developing world to alleviate the impact of global warming on their lives and livelihoods.

US Staff Senegal Field Team Board of Directors

Barry R. Wheeler — Founder and Board Member
Barry is the dynamic force behind CREATE! and its impassioned and inspiring leader. He has spent the past 25 years working to alleviate suffering and provide basic human needs for poor rural villagers, displaced persons and refugees in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. He finds in CREATE! the culmination of his life's work and the opportunity to share with others what he has learned about building the capacity of people to solve their own problems.

After serving in the Peace Corps for six years as an Appropriate Technology volunteer, trainer and technical advisor in Togo, West Africa, Barry earned a Master’s degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University, focusing on project planning and management, local capacity building and sustainable community rural development in developing countries.

He has served as Country Director for the American Refugee Committee International programs in Uganda/Sudan and in Rwanda; as a consultant for UNICEF and UNHCR; and as a team leader and training coordinator in local capacity building, renewable and appropriate technology and sustainable rural development. Barry has designed and taught graduate and undergraduate courses in international community development, sustainable development and project planning at the University of Oregon.

Louise Ruhr — Executive Director and Board Member
Louise enjoys her day to day involvement in the operations of CREATE! including field programs, fundraising and administration. She brings a wealth of experience in strategic planning, marketing, advertising and communications as well as a passion for the mission of CREATE!

Louise comes to CREATE! with more than 30 years of experience as a manager, leader and executive in for-profit as well as nonprofit organizations. Having decided to follow a new path of voluntarism and humanitarian work, Louise discovered her true vocation when she began working with refugees living in camps in Rwanda helping to form, train and support cooperative groups and voluntary saving and lending associations within the camp community.

From 2001-2008 Louise served the American Refugee Committee as a Board member, volunteer and fundraiser. From 2005-2010 she served as a field volunteer and as Program and Operations Manager for ARC’s country program serving refugees in Rwanda. Louise has a BA from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Ron Taylor — Founding Board Member
Ron describes himself as a "structural engineer with an MBA, building contractor, business owner, entrepreneur, Canadian." Having retired from a 35+ year career in the construction business, he was looking for an opportunity to use his ideas, energy, effort and experiences to help make a better life for some very poor people, somewhere in the world.

In CREATE! Ron has found just such an opportunity. He has spread the word among colleagues, family and friends and has inspired them and us with his enthusiasm and generosity.

Ron has traveled to Rwanda and Senegal to see firsthand what is possible when appropriate technologies are applied in a participatory fashion through sensitization, mobilization, training and teamwork among the poorest of the poor, and in the most challenging of environments. This experience has made him a believer in CREATE! and one of our most ardent supporters.

Dr. Susan Briggs — Board Member
Dr. Susan Briggs is a General and Trauma Surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Briggs completed her surgical training at MGH and her Masters in International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Briggs has been active nationally and internationally in trauma and disaster relief activities with the United States Government and non-governmental agencies such as Project Hope and the American Refugee Committee. Currently, she is Director of the International Trauma and Disaster Institute at MGH, as well as the Supervising Medical Officer of the Department of Health and Human Services Specialty Medical Teams, including the Medical Surgical Response Teams.

Ambassador Joyce E. Leader — Board Member
Joyce Leader is an Africa Specialist and retired diplomat who capped her career in the United States Foreign Service as Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea in West Africa. She was Deputy Director of the Office of West African Affairs and served in Burkina Faso and Nigeria. She was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassy in Rwanda when the genocide broke out in 1994. A decade later, she represented the U.S. in multiple attempts to resolve recurring threats to peace and human rights in the Great Lakes regions of Africa.

Since retiring from the Foreign Service in 2003, Ambassador Leader has directed a graduate seminar on Development in Africa for Syracuse University, been a consultant to the Brookings Institution's Project on Internal Displacement and is a Senior Associate at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University.

Fred D. Raley — Board Member
Fred Raley is chairman of SpawGlass, a 100 percent employee-owned construction company headquartered in Texas. Before stepping into an executive leadership role, Fred worked in the construction field as a superintendent and project manager, supervising and managing large construction projects.

Fred participates actively in construction industry and community organizations, serving as a loaned executive for United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County in 2011 and 2012, past president of the Associated Builders and Contractors South Texas Chapter, past chair of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and past president of the Construction Industry Advisory Council (CIAC) at Texas A&M University.

Fred graduated from the University of Houston in 1972 and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University in 2000.

Mary-Kay Miller — Board Member
Mary-Kay Miller’s initial interest in Senegal was literary and cultural; she studied in Senegal and was especially drawn to Senegalese women authors, Aminata Sow Fall and Mariam Ba. During a visit to CREATE!’s field sites in Senegal in 2012 with fellow Board member, Dr. Susan Briggs, Mary-Kay was deeply impressed by CREATE!’s work in rural villages and noted: “When given access to appropriate training, Senegalese women from rural villages make ground-breaking advances in local, sustainable food production.” As a result, Mary-Kay is delighted by the opportunity to join the CREATE! Board and contribute to the ground-breaking work that CREATE! is doing in Senegal.

Mary-Kay has been a French language, writing and literature instructor at several Universities since 1987 and is currently teaching French and Continental European Literature at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts. She has a BA in French Literature from Mt. Holyoke College, and an MA and PhD in French Literature from Yale.

In her free time, Mary-Kay enjoys traveling with family and friends, reading French literature, and gardening.

Camille Staley — Board Member
Camille Staley is a Client Service Specialist and Personal Banker at Pacific Continental Bank in Eugene, Oregon. She has a passion for sustainability, renewable energy, and global equity. For three years, Camille volunteered with The Learning Lab in Boise, Idaho, teaching English to refugees and immigrants from around the world.

Camille has a BA in Political Science, with a focus on American Government and Public Policy, from the University of Idaho. Prior to moving to Eugene, Camille worked as a Communications Assistant for Idaho State Representative Hy Kloc. Camille also volunteers with Meals on Wheels and the School Garden Project in Eugene.

Emily Edwards — Board Member
Emily Edwards is a graduate student in the Master of Nonprofit Management program at University of Oregon. Her research focuses on women’s empowerment and international community development. As a Graduate Teaching Fellow, Emily has helped to teach several undergraduate courses. She is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She is serving on CREATE!’s Board of Directors as part of the Scholars on Board Program, sponsored by the University of Oregon and Pacific Continental Bank.

Emily has a BA in Political Science, with a focus on International Relations, from the University of Hawai’i. Her goal is to work either internationally or domestically with nonprofit organizations that utilize participatory approaches to development.

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