SowHope Board Members

Lizbeth Leeson (Board Chair) works for the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington D.C. as a senior associate, with a strong background in policy and community change, working for local, state and national organizations. Beth has her Bachelor’s in social work from Michigan State University, her Master’s of Public Administration from Western Michigan University, and earned a certification in financial planning from the Denver College of Financial Planning. Beth loves adventure — anywhere, large and small — almost as much as she adores her two little granddaughters and family currently living in the Southwest. She travels widely, is on a spiritual quest to learn about all the world’s great religions, and allows her artistic side to venture out through simple and healthy cooking. Beth also serves on SowHope’s programming committee.

TBD (Board Vice Chair)

Ndeye Rokhaya Ndao (Board Secretary) Refugee Employment Support Specialist at Bethany Christian Services and worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA for a year. Board Secretary at Ujima Enterprises in Kalamazoo, MI, and owner of Motherland Beauties, a business focused on social justice and promoting African art and culture in West Michigan. Ndeye has a Bachelor’s in International Relations from Grand Valley State University and is a student in the MPA Program with a focus in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Ndeye holds a certificate of completion for French interpreter and a certificate of achievement from VISTA. She volunteered as a youth mentor at the YMCA of Kalamazoo, as an administrative assistant at the American Red Cross and at the YWCA of Kalamazoo. Ndeye loves working with women and children because they have so much to offer and can be trailblazers in making the world a better place. She loves reading about Afrocentricity, as well as  traveling and learning about other cultures. Ndeye plans on starting her own nonprofit in 2016 to educate and empower women in her home country in Senegal.

Alfred Longtin (Board Treasurer) is the Founder of Longtin Family Companies, a boutique financial consulting firm that was established in 1992 to serve ultra high net worth individuals, families, and entrepreneurs across the United States . Al has achieved the designation of Chartered Financial Consultant and Chartered Life Underwriter with the American College. He is currently serving on the Creative agent Advisory Board (CAAB) for Creative International Corp. Al graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a B.S. in Finance. He also spent four years in the U.S. Navy. He is a former competitive national road racer and also enjoys golf, running, and cycling. Al and his wife have two children and reside in New Lenox, Illinois.

Aaron Hoxworth earned a Master’s of Public Administration from Grand Valley State University. He currently works at Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids as the Assistant Program Manager for the Transitional Work Experience Program. Aaron has a passion for the fight against human trafficking. He has attended numerous trainings on the topic of human traffikcing around the United States and was a part of International Justice Mission at Grand Valley State University while attending the university. He has been volunteering on worships teams and as a worship leader for over 10 years. Aaron serves as the Worship Minister at Ignite Fellowship Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Aaron enjoys casual long distance cycling and, in the summer of 2014, participated in the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults “4k for Cancer” event, traveling over 4,000 miles in 70 days to raise money and awareness for young adults with cancer and those affected by their cancer.

Diane Joppie is Branch Manager at Independent Bank in Grand Rapids, MI. She first started her career in banking with an internship at Old Kent Bank in college and has been involved with money ever since, including a family business for many years. She graduated from Ferris State College with a BS degree in Marketing. Volunteering has always been important to Diane as she firmly believes in “giving back”. She has served on Charlotte Public Schools Board of Education, been a board member for Hayes Green Beach Hospital, served as Treasurer of her church and also on the Finance Committee at her church.  She also serves on the Rockford Public Schools High School Business Dept Advisory Board.  Over the years, she has served on many Women’s Advisory Boards. She enjoys time with friends, traveling, and anything fun. Above all else, Diane’s favorite role in her life is that of “Nana” to four precious grandchildren!

Katie Kirouac is the Director of Development at Emmanuel Hospice in Grand Rapids, MI. Prior to moving to Grand Rapids, she served in the Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa, implementing large-scale health programs and sanitation projects. Katie received both her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master’s of Public Administration at Grand Valley State University. She is a member of the Outreach Team at Mars Hill Bible Church and serves on the Alumni Board for the School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration at Grand Valley State University. Katie has a passion for data-driven philanthropy, and she volunteers for several grassroots organizations. In her free time, she loves to hear local bands, explore new restaurants, and play beach volleyball.

Judy Kruger is the Principal of Kruger International, LLC, a consulting firm providing business investment, business match-making, and business growth in Mexico and in the new emerging market in Cuba. She has previously held executive level sales positions at several international business development firms and worked on business development initiatives and communications for state government agencies. Judy holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and a BA in English Literature from Grand Valley State University.

Board member Genevieve Sabala

Genevieve Sabala is an Instructor of Social Work and MSW Field Coordinator at West Texas A & M University. She previously worked as a Senior Employment Specialist and Complex Medical Case Manager at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids, MI. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Egerton University in Kenya. She earned a Master’s of Social Work and Master’s of Public Administration in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Grand Valley State University. She was a leadership fellow for 2 years in the Cook Leadership Academy at GVSU. She has Certification as a Professional Medical Interpreter. She is a former Vice President of the Board for Holistic Global Partners. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for Kenya Matters and Leadership with Purpose Advisory Committee for Michigan Nonprofit Association. In addition to English, she speaks Swahili, Luhya and basic French. Education, women, children, and economic empowerment are some of the causes she cares about. She enjoys outdoor activities including jogging, running, biking, and swimming.