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The Schimel Lode: Encouraging Innovation and Collaboration for the Public Good

Who We Are

I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.

– Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore

Board of Directors

Marie-Ange Binagwaho was raised in Burundi and Kenya and has roots in Rwanda; she has had the privilege of working and traveling in over 20 countries in the last 25+ years working in international development. Marie-Ange�s work with development communities of practice and her focus on supporting sustainable and locally appropriate programs has given her the opportunity to work overseas with community based, non-profit and international organizations. In the US her work has focused on migrant and refugee communities. Marie-Ange currently runs her small international consulting firm: Zawadi Enterprises LLC.

Marie-Ange received a B.S. in Physics from Duquesne University and a Masters in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

Kathy DeBoe is a native Washingtonian. Retired from a career of thirty-three years at the International Monetary Fund, Kathy’s last position was Director of Civic and Community Relations. In that capacity, she managed grants to non-profits both locally and in developing countries. She also was team captain for volunteers at Rebuilding Together with Christmas in April, Miriam’s Kitchen and the Capital Area Food Bank. In addition, Kathy has been a civic grants reviewer for several foundations and District of Columbia government agencies and continues to review grants for the International Monetary Fund and the Catalogue for Philanthropy. She sustains her 30-year advocacy for a mentally challenged District resident.

For six years after retirement, Kathy volunteered with the Mayor’s Office of Partnerships and Grants Services, facilitating the design and delivery of a capacity building class for small, emerging, non-profit organizations and providing individual guidance to find grants, among other projects. Kathy also serves on the boards of directors of three capacity building non-profits. Currently, she consults independently with associates to assist public, private and non-profit organizations to navigate and benefit from addressing social problems such as illiteracy, unemployment, hunger, poverty and disease.

A graduate of local public schools, Kathy earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a Master’s of Public Administration from American University. In October 2014 she completed a one-year program of the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, John Hopkins University. She is also a graduate of two civic leadership programs: DC Neighborhood College and Leadership Greater Washington.

Shari Garmise, Ph.D. is the Executive Director for the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities and Vice President, Urban Initiatives for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. She leads a national urban agenda around three target areas: 1) improving urban health and reducing health disparities; 2) advancing student performance and improving human capital; and 3) strengthening urban neighborhoods and communities. Key projects include the Transformational Planning Grants project, Urban Universities for HEALTH, a national study on holistic admissions, and ongoing research efforts and publications on the foundational anchor role of urban universities.

Prior positions include Vice President, Knowledge Management and Development at the International Economic Development Association, Assistant Professor at Cleveland State University at the Levin College of Urban Affairs and Vice President, Research for the Council of Urban Economic Development as well as managing her own economic development consulting business. She has published the book People and the Competitive Advantage of Place: Building a Workforce for the 21st Century, with M.E. Sharpe Publishers, as well as numerous articles in national and international publications. She received her Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

Nancy Rawles has wide and deep experience in the management of people and organizational development. After over thirty years, she remains committed and creative about solving problems, developing opportunities, and transcending gaps between individual needs and organizational goals. Nancy uses collaborative processes to do this, along with building and leading teams with diverse approaches to work. During her career, Nancy has been a human resources executive in financial institutions, software development, and not-for-profits, and worked as an external consultant. As an association executive, she has played a key role with both members and staff in areas such as strategic planning, board effectiveness, leadership development, and change management. Nancy also has extensive experience working with boards in the not-for-profit and GSE (government-sponsored enterprise) sectors. Nancy received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from Ohio Wesleyan University, her graduate degree in Higher Education from George Washington University and certificate in Organizational Development from Georgetown University.

Kathryn Brown Ramsperger is a communication management executive who specializes in 21st century humanitarian issues. She began her career as a journalist, first with local media, then with the National Geographic Society and Kiplinger. After earning an advanced degree in publications management from George Washington University, she worked with the Red Cross locally, nationally, and internationally.

An author, speaker, teacher, and coach, Kathryn specializes in multicultural communication, global citizenship, and women�s and children�s issues. She has lived and worked in Europe and Africa and has a special interest in Middle Eastern issues. As a creative change agent, one of Kathryn�s greatest strengths lies in providing practical and intuitive assistance to people and organizations locked in Catch 22 situations. Her empathy and insight guide parties to find common ground, see another point of view, and move from the negative to the positive, from stuck to unstuck.

Her past humanitarian projects include heading a project to increase international humanitarian awareness in 15 U.S. cities; crafting and conducting communication and development workshops throughout Southeastern Africa; leading communication teams during the Gulf War and the HIV/AIDS crisis; and developing training on the Geneva Conventions for television producers and reporters.

A published poet and author, Kathryn is winner of the Hollins University Fiction Prize, numerous Hermes Creative Awards, and several finalist placements in literary competitions, including the Faulkner-Wisdom and the Foreword Indies. She was American Red Cross Tiffany Award nominee.

To learn more about Kathryn�s life, work, and philosophy, visit her blog Ground One. You can read more of her writing and discover more about her new novel at

Ruth M. Schimel, PhD assists individuals, groups, and organizations to express their strengths and interests through guides, books, and online and phone consultations. In much of her previous work as a diplomat, professor, and management consultant, she focused on human resources. This experience and her interdisciplinary interests in the arts, social and natural sciences, and cultures enrich her efforts to encourage clients' progress.

In 1983, Ruth launched her career and life management consulting practice. She continues to develop original processes and materials to integrate and honor the richness of clients of all ages and backgrounds. Dissertation research on how people discover their capacity for courage provides a basis for her work and her Choose Courage book series. The only book designed and customized for individual readers readiness for the future of work is her recently published Happiness and Joy in Work: Preparing for Your Future Ruth's seventh book is now available.

Ruth has two long-term goals:

Jeanne Svikhart is our resident cultural anthropologist who has a knack for figuring out an organization's cultural identity. She enjoys being a catalyst to help people and organizations develop, grow, solve problems, and find their creativity. She has a broad background of more than 35 years in addressing recruitment, professional development, retention, and evaluation issues in both the public and private sectors. She is an experienced interviewer (more than 2000 interviews), manager, facilitator, public speaker, trainer, and consultant. Jeanne received her B.A. in English from George Washington University, was the first Director of Law Placement at GWU, first Director of Recruitment and Professional Development for a large law firm in Washington, D.C., and a principal in management consulting firm for 15 years.

For the next 15 years, Jeanne worked in the public sector as an Assistant Director with the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management at the Department of Justice. While at the Department, she conducted all of the interview and relating training for attorneys, developed and co-managed the Department�s Attorney Mentor Program, and played a significant role in developing the Department�s Diversity Management Plan and diversity best practices. Jeanne recently returned to her consulting practice working with organizations who want to strengthen the recruiting and professional development programs and coaching individuals who want to up their game and/or move in a new direction.

Amy Swauger's extensive background in nonprofit management includes serving as executive director of Teachers & Writers Collaborative, a New York City literary arts education program; of the National Academy of Education, an honorary society of education researchers; and of Washington Independent Writers, a professional association of freelance writers and editors in Washington, D.C. Amy worked for many years at the American Association of University Women, where she directed the membership association and legal fund.

She began her career at the Women's Campaign Fund, where she provided fundraising and technical assistance to progressive women candidates for public office. In addition to serving as an advisor to the Schimel Lode, Amy was the public member on the international certification board for CFRE International, the credentialing agency for professional fundraisers. She was also a two-term president of the DC Rape Crisis Center. Amy has a degree in journalism and political science from American University.

Miriam Wardak is a talent focused executive operating at C-level in public and private sectors to orchestrate change, transform organizations to deliver results, optimize organizational performance and maximize engagement. Proven global leader in building start-ups, pre-IPO, post-IPO and Fortune 500 companies. Miriam has more than 20 years of leadership experience in a variety of sectors including consulting, government contracting, software, transportation and telecommunication, most recently as Chief People Officer at asTech, an automotive technology and solutions company, headquartered in Plano, Texas. Prior roles included C-level responsibilities at Project HOPE, a global health development organization, as Senior Vice President of Human Resources at ICF International, a Washington DC-based government consulting organization and Senior Vice President of Human Resources at i2 Technologies, a supply chain software company in Dallas.

Miriam was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, grew up in Germany, and has been living in the United States since 1990. She is fluent in German and Farsi and conversational in Italian and French. Miriam holds a B.A. from George Mason University and an M.B.A. from the University of Dallas.

Andrew Winter grew up in NYC, the son of immigrants from Austria and Czechoslovakia. For 30 years he served as a career Foreign Service Officer in Ecuador, Brazil, Finland, Taiwan, South Africa and as Ambassador to The Gambia. In Washington he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Latin American Affairs (management), African Affairs (management), and Information Technology. From 2000 to 2013 he was an independent consultant providing support and analysis to multiple government agencies in the areas of IT Capital, Strategic and Tactical Planning. For 10 years he served on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer of the American Foreign Service Association, a professional organization and the union representing the Foreign Service. In 2013 he retired to Ecuador where he continues to reside. He remains active tutoring indigenous students in English at a local American-accredited university (USFQ), pursuing his vocation of photography (, and competing in local and international bridge competitions. He majored in history at Dartmouth College and has an MBA from Columbia University.

JW Wohlever’s passion is to positively influence both individuals and organizations through his experience and leadership. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY and veteran, JW served as an officer in the US Army until 1988. After military service, his career has focused on consulting with large and small business organizations, providing expertise in executive management, sales and marketing. JW�s background includes industrial and retail sales in Fortune 500�s, profit and loss responsibilities in residential home construction and banking, as well as primary operational duties with small service sector firms. He currently provides affordable housing through a small business he started in 2008 that has a goal to create affordable home ownership opportunities to all social and economic groups. A new entity was recently established to provide real estate brokerage services, which has further expanded the ability to serve the community�s housing needs in the four state metropolitan region. Additionally JW provides financial forecasting and budgeting services for the federal government and has served on a special detail for the President�s staff.

Away from work JW Wohlever has a strong faith and love of nature. He has sought venues to serve the community through Rotary and by establishing a local chapter of SCORE through the Small Business Administration. JW formerly served as an adjunct professor at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College. He supports the local and international Humane Societies and has rescued many animals.