Warm Heart Worldwide Board of Directors

Dr. Dana Brown, President

Professor Brown holds a BA in Political Science from Rutgers University, an M.Phil. in Russian and East European Studies from Oxford University and a PhD in Political Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Professor Dana Brown is the Dean of the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

In addition to experience working in academic institutions, Dana has also worked in business and with new start-ups, including Amazon.com in its early years. She has helped to establish a number of active learning initiatives for entrepreneurs and has a particular interest in social entrepreneurship and its impact on local economic development.

Warm Heart is a big part of Dana’s life. She has visited Warm Heart multiple times, is a sponsor and donor, and has worked with Warm Heart on several educational initiatives.

Jason Highberger, Vice-President

Educational Background: BBA, Langston University; MBA, Trident University International

Professional Background: Jason has over 20 years with establishing and operating businesses across various industries, including energy, cleantech, food services and wellness. Held senior positions ranging from founder to operational officer. Spent several years at management consulting firms. An active Board Director for early childhood business in Singapore. For past two years, volunteering for Warm Heart.

Joan Van der Veen, Secretary

Joan Van der Veen, Secretary

Educational Background: BFA Bachelor of Fine Arts in Marketing and Advertising Design from the University of Kansas, Lawrence; ASP Accredited Home Staging Professional


Professional Background: Joan has a wide range of experience and capabilities spanning professional activities including real estate, design and creative marketing and art director. Additionally, Joan continues to support a wide range of community service groups including but not limited to West Amwell Township Environmental commission, Planning Board and Fire Company Auxiliary.

Her personal mission is enhancing lives through caring and consistent service. Finally, Joan has been a positive and steady supporter of Warm Heart throughout the years. Joan receives and manages the US based mail, donations and other critical administrative tasks.

Evelind Schecter, Treasurer

Evelind (B.A. Yale, M.B.A. Columbia) left her position as Director of Specialized Business Support Services at Merck and Company, Inc. to become Director of Finance at Warm Heart Thailand.

Born in Japan, and raised in Japan, Hong Kong and the Soviet Union, she has also had a long career in international business and consulting.

With over twenty-five years of experience with business management, she brings Warm Heart her extensive knowledge of human resources, operations and technology.

Dr. D. Michael Shafer, Former President (July 2008 – April, 2020)

Dr. Shafer (B.A. Yale, Ph.D. Harvard), Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Rutgers University, is published widely in foreign policy and international political economy, and has taught at universities around the world.

Dr. Shafer is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a 21st Century Fellow. With funding from, inter alia, the Department of State and European Union, he has managed higher education reform initiatives in the Baltic states, Central and Eastern Europe, and Lebanon.

Dr. Shafer is the founder of Global PACT, an international community development and civic engagement training program. With funding from Ford, Open Society Institute, Prudential and the United States Institute of Peace, he ran Global PACT programs in Brazil, Cambodia, Croatia, South Africa and Thailand. Since 2008 he has devoted himself entirely to Warm Heart.

Tara De Worsop, MBA, Board Member

Tara graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Cultural Anthropology in 2008. She then spent one year working with Warm Heart on a Center for Global Security and Democracy Fellowship.

She returned to the US to continue working on Marketing and Sales for the Warm Heart Microenterprise Initiative and then as U.S. Director.

In 2011, she joined the Japan ICU Foundation and served as Program Director.

Today, Tara is Director of Development & Communications at Children of Promise, NYC (CPNYC).

Tara is also a member of the Connections Council for an international South African nonprofit called Infinite Family, an MBA candidate at NYU’s Stern School of Business and a freelance illustrator.

Tanvi Savla, Board Member

Tanvi graduated from Rutgers University in May 2007 with a BA in Genetics and Economics. After graduation, she started working in Investment Banking Operations at Goldman Sachs in New York, where she stayed six years.

She left the firm early July 2013 to travel the world and, while on the road, stopped by Warm Heart, where she saw all the amazing work being done and got her hair braided by the curious and sweet children living there.

Tanvi is now back with Goldman Sachs in New York.

Mark Balidon, Board Member

Mark Baildon is an Associate Professor at the National Institute of Education (NIE) in Singapore. He received his B.A. in history and psychology at the University of Rochester and a Masters in Social Sciences at Syracuse University. His PhD is in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy from Michigan State University.  

Prior to joining NIE, Mark taught social studies in secondary schools in the United States, Israel, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan. At NIE, he has served as the Head of the Humanities and Social Studies Education (HSSE) Academic Group and Associate Dean of Partnerships and Analytics in the Office of Education Research (OER). Mark’s work has focused on social studies and global citizenship education. He looks forward to contributing actively to Warm Heart’s mission and programs. 

Kim Wimbush, Board Member

Education Background: BSc in Nanotechnology (Hons), Flinders University of South Australia; PhD, Molecular Electronics, University of Twente, Netherlands.

Professional Background: Kim has a strong blend of technical, operational and business experience particularly in the sectors of advanced materials, cleantech, energy and consumer electronics. In management and innovation consulting roles he has worked with research institutes, Start Ups, SMEs, MNCs and Government. Additionally Kim has had the opportunity to work across multiple regions such as Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and USA. He became involved with Warm Heart through supporting the “Stop the Smoke” project.

Lorna Fairbairn

Robert Hocking

Louise Donaghy

Warm Heart Worldwide Youth Advisory Committee

Ella Hocking

Ella is a Toronto-born, London-raised 16 year-old who now makes her home Ottawa, Canada. The majority of her early education was in a full-time Spanish program in London, and she’s bilingual (English and Spanish) with strong spoken French abilities. Ella has exceptional social skills, is bookish, and has been involved in the creative arts as a member of the prestigious Capital Children’s Choir where she has performed at the International Rugby Finals at Twickenham Stadium, for several National Football
League games, and has performed and recorded at Abbey Road Studios. In addition, Ella has studied drama for 8 years and is a competent piano player as she heads into
her 9th year of study. She’s now added baking to her list of interests and has begun training for her first 5km race. She is very keen on the opportunity of contributing and learning with Warm Heart Worldwide.

Petra Nordal

Petra Nordal is 16 years old and lives in Ottawa, Canada. Previously, she lived and attended school in Oxford and Leicester, England and Lyon, France. Petra currently attends Canterbury High School in the Arts program, where she specializes in dramatic arts. In addition to acting, Petra is a competitive dancer and singer with a specialization in musical theatre, and has won numerous awards and recognitions for her performances. She is also an experienced hiker and camper, having spent her summers at Camp Wyonegonic in Maine, USA and achieved her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award in England. This year, she was selected for a Counselor in Training and youth leadership development at the camp and will be completing her lifeguarding certification and training in outdoor living. Petra has been involved in Warm Heart Worldwide for most of her life, having done her first fundraiser at age 6 and most recently organizing English language speaking sessions for the young women at Warm Heart and authoring a few pieces for the environmental newsletter.

Jasmine Fairbairn

Warm Heart Foundation Board of Directors

Mr. Duangmawong

Mr. Duangmawong has served on the Warm Heart Board since 2009. He became Chairman of the Board in 2011. He has a degree in Education Administration from Sukhothai Thammathirat University and taught in Phrao for 22 years.

After retiring from teaching, Mr. Duangmawong was elected to serve as Board Member of Administration for Maewan Sub-District where Warm Heart’s offices were located from 2008 to 2012.

Mr. Duangmawong’s background in education and community involvement drew him to Warm Heart.

Prachan “PJ” Jakeo

Prachan “PJ” Jakeo was born in Phrao. At the age of 17, he moved to the U.S. where he completed high school and joined the U.S. military. As a member of the United States Air Force, PJ was a logistics specialist, stationed across the United States and several countries overseas.

After he retired from the USAF, he returned to live in Phrao. He provides the Foundation Board with complete bilingual and bicultural capabilities. He is an extraordinary community liaison.

Between his mother’s family’s relatives, his father’s political connections, and his deep, personal rapport with the community, PJ opens a remarkable number of doors for Warm Heart.

Mr. Chainurak

Born and raised in Maewan Sub-District, Mr. Chainurak served as the President of the Maewan Administration Organization for eight years between 2001 and 2009.

Appreciating his strong and effective leadership in community development as President and his support of our mission, Warm Heart asked him to join the board of the Warm Heart Board in 2009.

He was elected chair, a position he held for two years. Once he finished his term, Mr. Chainurak remained on the Board, contributing his ideas and experience about farming and ways to help the community thrive.

Mr. Tammachai 

A native of Phrao, Mr. Tammachai has served on the Board since 2010. Mr. Tammachai has a degree in Social Studies from Sukohthai Thammathirat University, was a teacher for 14 years, and has served as a government officer for 19 years.

He has worked in the Chiang Mai Cultural Office, the Chiang Mai Education Office, and the Phrao Education Office. He currently serves as the Secretary to the Chairman of the Phrao Sub-district.

Drawing upon his wide government experience, Mr. Tammachai has provided critical advice to the Warm Heart Board. His passion for education and especially for Thai traditional culture led him to Warm Heart.

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