2022 – 2023
Board of Directors
Ouelessebougou Alliance is successful, in part, because of the dedication of our Board of Directors. These prominent community leaders all serve on a volunteer basis and offer a wide range of talents and assets to support our organization.
John & Ann Lewis
Interim Board Chair
Executive Business Leader, Brigham Young University
Former Board Chair
Members since 2021
Ann and John have been involved in the work of the Alliance for over 30 years. Ann has a special love for Africa, having served an LDS Church mission in South Africa and then working for three years in Nigeria directing a children’s health program. She has also directed the efforts of Days for Girls International in Utah and beyond. John has chaired the Alliance board (2009-2012) and served for many years on its executive committee. Ann earned a BS from Brigham Young University. She grew up managing a fruit-packing shed on the family farm in central California. She is an author, Family History consultant, and was an editor for the LDS Church Magazines. John earned a BA and MBA from Brigham Young University and an MA from the University of Virginia. He is retired from executive business roles at Brigham Young University, WordPerfect Corporation, Novell, and Nu Skin Enterprises. Ann and John live in Orem and have three married children.
Member since 2018
Heidi Poelman received her degrees in communication from Brigham Young University (BA) and Wake Forest University (MA). She is the published author of several books for children and families. She has volunteered as a Communications Consultant for HELP International. She started working with Ouelessebougou Alliance as a way to connect her children’s elementary school with the Malian culture. The school partnership program has been a great success, with cultural days, art exchanges, and multiple successful fundraisers for needed items in Ouelessebougou. Heidi joined the OA board in 2019 and is looking forward to continued efforts connecting school children in Utah with children in Mali. Heidi lives in Sandy with her husband and four children.
Former Board chair
Chief Revenue Officer, VUE
Member since 2016
Carl Dempsey started working in the field of international development in 2008. He has held positions with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the American Red Cross and Pact. Managing community-based programs implementing health projects, capacity building of local organizations and disaster response, he has been able to work in countries across Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Carl has a BA in Linguistics from BYU and an MPA in Non Profit Management from George Mason University. After years in the Washington, D.C. area, he relocated to Utah in 2015. He has a wife and three sons and works as a Chief Revenue Officer based in Lehi, UT.
Audit Associate, Tanner LLC
Member since 2018
Bakary was born and raised in Bamako, Mali. He moved to the U.S. after high school to continue his college education. He obtained an undergraduate degree in Accounting and an MBA from Utah Valley University. He is a CPA and has been working with Tanner LLC. since 2017. Before his full-time position with Tanner, he had a chance to do an internship with them which exposed him to the financial accounting world. He likes lifting weights, and is always ready to play soccer whenever he has the chance.
Psychologist, Former Dean of Graduate Students, Brigham Young University
Member since 1988
Prior to her doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota, Addie taught English at Jordan High and BYU High and, subsequently, advised Student Life programs at BYU. For 24 years, she was at the University of Utah, as a psychologist in the University Counseling Center and professor and chair in the Department of Educational Psychology. Her research focus was in counseling psychology, specifically, group psychotherapy. Addie spent the last nine years of her career at Brigham Young University as Dean of Graduate Studies and, lastly, as Assistant to the President. At a personal level, Addie considers Mali her country and Ouelessebougou her home, such that are blessed by noble people who understand the depth of ‘hope’. She served as Board chair in 1988-90 and 1996-98 and has participated in some 10 expeditions that focused on health, education, or staff development. Addie resides in Draper with Sharon Staples and Pebbles (a chocolate lab), both of whom have an affinity for our Malian friends.
CEO, TrueNorth Wealth/Idaho Medical Association Financial Services
Member since 2019
Joe is the CEO of TrueNorth Wealth. TrueNorth is a financial planning group that manages a little over 500M. He prioritizes creating an environment that encourages the development and implementation of actionable strategies that drive positioning and profitability. This is demonstrated by measurable results. Joseph’s tenture at TrueNorth Wealth has been a period of unprecedented growth, in which new Assets Under Management (AUM) has increased year-over-year. In 2018 alone, TrueNorth Wealth’s new AUM is up over 300% when compared to previous more traditional years. 2019 also brought a year of record-breaking growth and stabilization. Joe has always had a passion for helping. He has participated in projects in Mexico for orphanages and worked with a Utah based children’s cancer camp. Joseph has three children, and enjoys the outdoors, especially if it involves mountain biking, camping, and/or boating. He’s a believer in self-improvement, avidly competes in triathlons, but also enjoys quiet time and movie nights with his family.
Retired Premier Agent, Prudential Financial
Member since 2010
Richard recently retired from Prudential after 43 years as a Financial Advisor. Prudential has honored Richard with several Presidential Citations for his outstanding service to his clients. In addition to serving on the Alliance’s board, he is on the Advisory Board for KUER Radio and on the Board of Friends Meeting House Fund, a committee for the Friends General Conference in Philadelphia. He has been an active member of the Bonneville Exchange Club for over 23 years where he has served as their President. Professionally, he has been an active member of Salt Lake Estate Planning Council and a Life and Qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table. His industry credentials include CLU, ChFC, AEP, and CMFC. Richard is serving as Project Manager for Ouelessebougou Alliance’s new malaria initiative. He is raising funds for and facilitating the first Western-style mosquito abatement program in Mali. Richard was married to his wife, Connie, for 48 years before she passed away in 2012. He is proud of his four children, 12 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Head of Brand Growth & Global Insights, Qualtrics
Member since 2017
Mike runs the Office the Executive Chairman at experience management firm, Qualtrics. Previously, Mike ran strategic business development and global communications at Qualtrics and helped establish the company’s employee experience. Mike co-founded 5 For The Fight with Qualtrics Executive Chairman Ryan Smith, which is focused on raising funds for cancer research. Mike earned an MBA at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and an MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where he also taught public speaking and communications workshops at the graduate level. He received his BA from Brigham Young University. Mike worked as a law clerk on the 2012 Romney for President campaign and has served in a variety of positions focusing on healthcare access in the developing world
Project Manager, Elite Hardscapes
Member since 2005
Danene has been with the Alliance for a while now and her love of Malians continues to grow. She often says, “I’m homesick for Ouelessebougou!” and considers it her home away from home. She has served on our health committee and traveled a few times with doctors to help Malians with eye care. Danene is native to Utah and remembers when the Alliance was first organized, back in the 80’s. Danene served as OA Board Chair between 2018-2020. When she isn’t spending her time with the Alliance, Danene works in landscape construction. She also serves as a team leader for Days for Girls in Draper.
Co-Founder/Lead Broker, Yalecrest Mortgage Member since 2019 Member since 2019
Kara graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English and Music. She has been involved with the Ouelessebougou Alliance almost from its beginning, watching and appreciating the impact it has made on the people of Mali. Kara was a member of the International Development program at BYU and later helped implement health programs in the Phillippines, where she served as a missionary for eighteen months. She has worked with the Mabuhay Foundation and Enterprise Mentors International, offering assistance with health and micro-credit needs. Kara later lived and traveled in the Phillipines for two months to lay the groundwork for the Academy of Creating Enterprise (ACE), an international program for training entrepreneurs in third world countries. She teaches piano and has owned and operated several businesses. Kara lives in Salt Lake City with her husband, Dave, and five children.