Diane Joppie (Board Chairperson) is AVP, 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 (Vice Chairperson) 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.
Ndeye Rokhaya Ndao (Board Secretary) is a Transition Coordinator at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, MI. She formerly worked at Bethany Christian Services as an AmeriCorps VISTA Refugee Employment Specialist for a year. Former 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 started working with a group of 20 women in Senegal in 2016, and has been able to provide them with a micro-loan so they can purchase farming equipment and start a small business.
Ben Borisch (Board Treasurer) is the Founder of Growth Distilled, a business and financial consulting company helping companies solve problems around people, processes and finances. Ben also serves as the Board Treasurer for Affinity Mentoring. Ben graduated from Davenport University with a Bachelors Degree in Accounting Information Systems Management. Outside of work or the board room, Ben enjoys learning, cooking, and traveling with his family.
Kimberly Grace Gill is an independent fine artist, currently serving as vice president for the artist collective, Flat River Gallery and Framing, in Lowell, Michigan. She has earned her signature and nautilus fellowship status with the International Society of Experimental Artists. Although Kimberly enjoys creating abstracts and landscapes, portrait painting is her passion. Her work typically has a social justice orientation and emphasizes women and children who have become empowered through support from SowHope and similar organizations. Kimberly is a graduate of Aquinas College. Prior to her career as an artist, she worked in the banking industry for many years. Kimberly has also worked in education and has served many community, charitable, and religious organizations. Kimberly resides in Byron Center, Michigan, with her husband Pat. She enjoys Zumba, yoga, traveling, and entertaining friends and family.
Kathy Muedder retired from Travelers in Hartford, Connecticut. She served on the California, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin WC Rating boards. She also was on the Executive Committee and board for California Workers Compensation Institute (CWCI) and served on the American Insurance Association (AIA) Workers Compensation Committee. Prior to Joining Traveler’s, Ms. Muedder served as Senior Vice President, Underwriting for Selective Insurance Company of America. In that position, she oversaw the commercial line of business underwriting, safety management, and premium audit functions. Ms. Meudder joined Selective in May 2005. Prior to that she served as Senior Vice President of Emerging Issues for ACE USA. Her experience is international in scope and included assignments in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. She began her career with Allstate Insurance as an agent and underwriter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she grew up.
Ms. Meudder is the author of “Singapore and Lessons From a Global Perspective” in Asia Insurance Review and “The Case for Total Absence Management” in Human Resources Planning. She also has served as the Chair of the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board, and a board member for CWCI, NJCRIB, PACRB, National Council on Compensation Insurance, and National Workers Compensation Reinsurance Pool.
Ms. Meudder earned her Bachelor of Science degree in insurance from Roosevelt University in Chicago and has completed advance studies at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. She also holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation. Kathy is married to Brent and they have 2 grown children and 4 grandchildren.
Robert Cunningham brings more than 30 years of international experience to the SowHope Board. Robert has visited, lived, worked, or studied in 50 countries, including Switzerland, where he met and wedded his wife, Berti, and Japan, where he served for 20 years with OMF International and founded and directed the Samaritan Centre in Sapporo, Japan, an in-resident treatment facility by which numerous people were able to leave the confines of mental hospitals through substance abuse prevention education. Robert also has experience in Counseling and Therapy with Skid Row in Chicago, Illinois. Most recently, Robert served as the President of Hokiriku Gakuin University/Junior college on the west coast of the Honshu Island, Japan. He developed real estate for 12 years and opened an interpreting and translating business, which has been running since 1991. Robert taught German, Japanese and Interpersonal Communication at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has also taught Substance Abuse seminars in Switzerland, Japan, and the USA in German, Japanese, and English. He currently continues to be active in real estate and flipping property.
Robert has enrolled in 9 colleges or universities, gaining education in Urban Sociology at the University of Illinois (Chicago), studying Japanese for two years in Sapporo, studying alcoholism at Rutgers University, and achieving a Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry at Trinity International University in Illinois. Robert also obtained master electrician and electrical contractor licenses.
Robert previously served on the SowHope Board of Directors from 20010-2013. Robert and his wife Berti have two wonderful adopted Japanese children (Ken and Naomi).