denise attwood (chair)
Along with her husband, Ric Conner, Denise is co-founder of the Spokane based for-profit, fair-trade import company, Ganesh Himal Trading. They have been importing fairly traded products from Nepal since 1984 and are longstanding members of the Fair Trade Federation and Green America. Denise is co-founder with Sita Gurung of the Baseri Health clinic in Nepal, which opened in February of 2010 and is providing the first ever health care to a remote part of central Nepal. Denise is also co-founder of the Conscious Connections Foundation, with her son, Cameron Conner and co-worker Austin Zimmerman, established in July of 2014. She graduated with a degree in Environmental Science from Huxley College in 1984 and holds a J.D. from the University of Washington Law School in 1988.
cameron connor (co-vice chair)
As Vice President and Co-Founder of the Conscious Connections Foundation, Cameron’s focus is on understanding and utilizing the power of local communities to effect systemic change. In addition to taking a lead role in CCF’s navigation of international disaster relief following the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal, he worked under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees during the refugee crisis of 2016. At home, Cameron has pursued his commitment to social justice through campus organizing, political campaigning, and rewriting articles of student governance to ensure more equitable representation. Cameron is a 2019 Newman Civic Fellow, a certified emergency medical technician and an avid believer in the power of sincere, purposeful conversation. He is currently seeking a degree in Rhetoric Studies and Politics at Whitman College
JAMES (RIC) CONNER (CO-VICE CHAIR)
Ric is co-founder with his wife, Denise Attwood, of the Spokane based for-profit, fair-trade import company, Ganesh Himal Trading . They have been importing fairly traded products from Nepal since 1984 and are longstanding members of the Fair Trade Federation and Green America. An avid traveler, Ric spends much of his time organizing fantastic trips for his family, helping others learn about budget travel, and educating the public on the places they have been. Ric graduated with a degree in Environmental Science from Huxley College in 1985.
SASKIA PECK (BOARD TREASURER)
Saskia is an acupuncturist and energy medicine practitioner and has been empowering people for over 26 years. She runs her own acupuncture practice in Spokane, WA. Saskia is an avid naturalist and photographer and loves to travel and study indigenous cultures. She believes that true empowerment happens when people honor their culture and connection to self, as well as learn ways to support themselves. She is excited to be a part of the Conscious Connections Foundation, to bring people and communities together at home to support and empower people in Nepal, and especially to support the Baseri Health Clinic.
AUSTIN ZIMMERMAN (BOARD SECRETARY)
Austin graduated from the University of Colorado in 2007 with a degree in Sociology. Following three years of professional volleyball in Europe, she returned to her native Spokane and enthusiastically committed herself to a career in Fair Trade. After joining the Ganesh Himal Trading family in 2011, Austin traveled to Nepal in 2012 where she had a profound meeting with Heema & Heena Maharjan whose story inspired the Power of 5 campaign. Committed to girls’ education and the long-term success of the Power of 5, Austin helped to co-found the Conscious Connections Foundation with Denise Attwood and Cameron Conner in July 2014. Returning to Nepal in March of 2015, Austin visited and was instrumental in documenting the progress in the Baseri Clinic Project, The Power of 5 Campaign, and in starting the Menstrual Pad Project.
KIMBERLY A. MAYNARD, PH.D. (BOARD MEMBER)
Dr. Maynard’s objective is to straddle the gulf between the thinking and the doing, linking the realms of practitioner, academic, and policy maker to increase collective effectiveness by shaping institutional practices. She holds a doctorate in International Affairs from the Union Institute and is the author of numerous publications. Her speaking, research, and writing include such issues as macro and micro level approaches to conflict recovery, participatory practices in generating social capital in war-torn communities, the role and capacity building of civil society and non state actors in post-war recovery, grassroots psychosocial issues and the healing process of conflict, among others. Her work has focused on supporting approaches to help revitalize societies suffering from conflict, with particular emphasis on grassroots methodologies and their connection to international strategies.
MARTHA NEWELL (BOARD MEMBER)
Martha has been a big fan of Fair Trade and Ganesh Himal Trading since managing the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center’s Fair Trade store in Missoula, MT from 1991-1997. She has traveled to Nepal twice to observe the fair trade practices and social programs of CCF. As a donor she appreciates organizations that are nimble, effective, and making change in the world. The direct and long established connections of CCF with trusted Nepali partners made joining the board of CCF an easy decision for Martha. Returning to Nepal in March of 2015, Martha was instrumental in documenting the progress of the Baseri Clinic Project, The Power of 5 Campaign, and in helping start the Menstrual Pad Project. She and her partner Mike have 2 sons.
COLLEEN CAHILL (BOARD MEMBER)
Colleen is an art director and has spent 20 years in the corporate, agency, and non-profit worlds working with businesses from a spectrum of backgrounds. She graduated from Boise State University with degrees in graphic design and illustration. In her work, she focuses on crafting authentic stories that evoke emotion enabling clients to connect with their audiences in meaningful ways. She will carry this forward to create awareness for and share the work of CCF. She’s traveled to Nepal twice, most recently in 2017 when she spent three weeks volunteering in a village and completed a trek to Everest Base Camp. The people and character of this country left her in awe and searching for a small way to give something back.
SITA GURUNG (BOARD MEMBER EMERITUS / BASERI CLINIC COMMITTEE chair)
Sita was born and raised in Baseri, Nepal, and was the first woman in the village to get a high school education. Recognized for her abilities, Sita did research on Tamang families in remote areas of Dhading District for Michigan State University. She also was the first woman to run for district president. In 1991, she moved to Seattle, WA, and has been involved in community work and social activity there for many years. She was the first woman president of any Nepali Association in America and was a founding member and president of the Nepal Seattle Society. She is co-founder of the Baseri Health Clinic in her birth village in Nepal, and is President of the Northwest Tamu (Gurung) Society in Seattle. She is an accomplished lyricist, vocalist, and composer of Nepali Folk Music and has traveled around the world and throughout North America performing her songs. She is an ambassador of the Tamu Kalakar Sangh (association of Gurung Artists, Kathmandu). She owns a business working as a home healthcare assistant and as a Nepali English Interpreter. She frequently travels back to Nepal and is loved by the people there for all of her many years of fundraising and her commitment to improving the lives of those less fortunate.
FRED PECK (BOARD TREASURER EMERITUS)
Fred has been engaged in the management of for-cause 501(c)3 organizations and in corporate finance for the last 19 years. He is a graduate of Brown University and holds a master’s degree in Accounting and Finance from the Keller Graduate School of Management. He has been a Certified Public Accountant since 2006 and is the president of the Spokane Chapter of the Washington Society of CPAs. He is currently the Executive Director of the largest affordable housing nonprofit organization in Spokane, Spokane Housing Ventures. Prior to that he served as the Chief Financial Officer of Spokane Housing Ventures, the Treasurer of the Spokane Center for Justice, the Controller of Sterling Mining Company, the Accounting Manager of Heritage Place, and the principal of Fred Peck Consulting. In his spare time Fred likes to travel, enjoy the great outdoors, and create functional art in the pottery studio and the lapidary shop. Fred served as a founding board member of CCF from September 2014 through March of 2017 as the Board Treasurer. He continues to serve on CCF’s financial committee.
WAYNE ATTWOOD (BOARD MEMBER EMERITUS)
A retired physician, Wayne Attwood has practiced the specialty of Internal Medicine in Spokane, WA for 31 years. He has been a long time supporter of the concept of Fair Trade, and has had the privilege of seeing the growth and development of the Power of Five, and the life changing potential it has given to many Nepalese girls. Having visited Nepal numerous times and met with many Nepali artisans, Wayne is familiar with many of the issues most pressing to Nepal at this time. Wayne served as a board member from November of 2014 through October of 2016.