Leadership


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Stacy James
Executive Director

STACY JAMES is a co-founder and Executive Director of Dazzle Africa, a 501c3 charity based in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is a visionary and oversees sustainable and innovative projects in rural Zambia that protect endangered wildlife, provide educational opportunities to deserving college students, and engage in community development projects.

She graduated from Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR, with a MAT and worked as an educator for more than a decade with students, teachers, administrators, and superintendents to increase success within schools in the U.S. public education system.

Stacy has a keen interest in negotiation and co-created Nevada’s wildlife trafficking bill, SB194, that became law in January 2018. This bill prohibits the sales of 15 species, including ivory, rhino horn, and shark (fin).

Born in Iowa, wildlife is in her DNA, as her father had a professional guiding business in Canada and Stacy spent a good portion of her younger years with her family traveling amidst nature and diverse wildlife. She continues to focus on her love of nature by living a life committed to the environment and empowering others to take action to conserve our natural resources.

Stacy lives in Las Vegas, NV with her husband Chip and their 4 rescue cats and dogs, loves hiking, yoga, reading, and never tires of adventurous travel.

She believes that people truly want to make a difference and together, with passion, dedication, and teamwork, we can achieve our goals.

 

Sarah Early
President

SARAH EARLY, PsyD has served since 2002 as Executive Director of the Colorado Physician Health (CPHP), the peer assistance program for physicians and physician assistants in Colorado. CPHP is a non-profit, independent peer assistance organization for physicians and physician assistants. The mission of CPHP is to promote the health and well-being of physicians and physician assistants through evaluation, treatment referral, support, education, and research. Dr. Early is responsible for administration and management of corporate and program operations.

Dr. Early is a member of the American Psychological Association, Federation of State Physician Health Programs, and Employee Assistance Professionals Associations, and the Society of Psychologist in Management (www.spim.org), where she serves as a Board Director and Chair of Membership Committee. Locally, she has been elected to the Board of Directors of Girls Inc. of Metro Denver (www.girlsincdenver.org), a non-profit charitable organization. The Mission of Girls Inc. is to inspire all girls to be Strong, Smart and Bold through programs and experiences.

Dazzle Africa, (www.DazzleAfrica.org), is the non-profit charity that Dr. Early is most passionate about. She is a co-founder and Board Director of Dazzle Africa, whose mission is to partner with locally based organizations in Mfuwe, Zambia to provide programs in education, conservation, and community development.

Dr. Early is originally from Rochester, New York. Her doctorate was received from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Currently, Dr. Early and her husband, Bryan, live in Brighton, Colorado. In her spare time, she enjoys participating in triathlons, competitive swimming, skiing, hiking, and travel.

 

Ami Desai
Education Chair

AMI DESAI has spent the last twenty years focusing on educational reform and innovation. Her passion for a fair and equitable education for ALL students has included work as a teacher, staff developer, administrator, executive coach, and school design manager in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, South America and Colorado. In 2010 Ami pursued her dream of opening her own consulting business and created Ami Desai and Associates, LLC—a company founded on delivering a holistic approach to executive coaching, professional development, and entrepreneurial education and design thinking (www.amidesaiassociates.com).

She has an Executive Coaching and Professional Development caseload of leaders and schools in Denver and Brazil; from leaders opening up new schools to schools that are well established. In 2011 she published a book entitled, The Educational Secret: Cultivating Entrepreneurial Spirit in Our Youth, which focuses on using entrepreneurship to create a transformative experience for youth and school systems resulting in effective culture and discipline, improved self-confidence, and heightened academic performance.

Ami is also a Board Director with Dazzle Africa, a non-profit that partners with local organizations in Zambia to provide programs in conservation, education, and community development. Dazzle Africa aims to ensure future generations of all children are self-sufficient and iconic African wildlife thrive. In all of her endeavors, Ami focuses on empowering young people, educational leaders, and communities to leverage their passions in order to actualize their dreams.

 

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Heather Maldonado
Secretary

Heather D. Maldonado currently holds the position of Assistant Dean of University College and Director of Academic Standards at SUNY Buffalo State. She is charged with the oversight of college-wide academic policies and assisting students to persist to graduation. Dr. Maldonado regularly teaches at the undergraduate and graduate level, conducts research projects on understanding and appreciating the difference in education as viewed from the intersections of identity, and has presented on higher education issues at the regional, national, and international level. In addition to joining the Dazzle Africa Board of Directors and serving as the organization’s secretary, Dr. Maldonado also serves on SUNY Geneseo’s alumni association, chairs the Operations Committee for the State University of New York’s Faculty Senate, and leads a Girl Scout troop.

Dr. Maldonado has earned a Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education (University at Buffalo), certificate in Human Resource Management (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), M.A. in Educational Policy and Leadership (The Ohio State University), and B.A. in Political Science (SUNY Geneseo).

 

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Cathy Smith
Board Director

Catherine Smith, M.D., is a practicing radiologist. After graduating from the University of Alabama at Huntsville, she chose to pursue a career in medicine. She attended the University of Alabama School of Medicine followed by residencies in both Internal Medicine and Diagnostic Radiology. She finished her training with a fellowship in body MRI at Yale/ New Haven Hospital. She practices general radiology with a special emphasis in cardiac, abdominal, and musculoskeletal MRI.

Cathy grew up in Alabama with her three siblings. Her love of domestic animals and wildlife began when she was young. She was always taking in stray pets and she read extensively about animals all over the world. Cathy is very active in local wildlife management. She remains on the board of a bear advocacy group and works with other wildlife advocates on human-wildlife conflict. She just completed a two-year term on the Washoe County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife. Additionally, along with several other NGOs, Cathy continues to work with the Nevada legislature as an unpaid lobbyist in an attempt to enact laws protecting our environment and wildlife across the globe.

Cathy and her husband, Mike, currently reside in Reno, NV with their three dogs. In their free time, they enjoy travel, wildlife photography, hiking, and skiing.

 

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Marki Sindlinger
Board Director

Marki Anne Sindlinger, born and raised in the mountains of Colorado. She is a 2010 graduate of Fort Lewis College of Durango, Colorado with a BA in Business Management. Growing up with a passion for the outdoors, she has continued to make her home within the Rocky Mountains. She grew up spending many hours on the local ski mountains of Beaver Creek and Vail, Colorado and continued that joy in the San Juan Mountains of Southern Colorado, where she realized her true calling.

After moving home to the Vail Valley she continued her education in Emergency Medical Services, collecting her Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), certification from Colorado Mountain College in 2013. A year later she joined Beaver Creek Ski Patrol and became Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC), certified by National Ski Patrol Rocky Mountain District.

Marki is currently a Ski Patroller year round for Beaver Creek Mountain, in her hometown of Avon, Colorado. She is also a certified NSP OEC instructor, as well as BLS CPR certified instructor for Southwest Regional CPR.

Marki has an adventurous spirit not only in the mountains but also in experiencing new lands. For the past six years, she has been traveling back and forth from America to Southeast Asia and gaining a wealth of knowledge and respect for the culture and all the living creatures that work with one another in the circle of life. Although she did not follow in the footsteps of her parents, both educators, she does share the same passion for teaching and reaching out to others from all over the world.

 


Michael Paredes
Board Director

Mike Paredes, born and raised in New Jersey, works as a pilot for United Airlines. Travel and adventure are what led him to his wife Nancy, also a pilot, and they have explored the world together, both on and off the job. It was Nancy who planned their first African safari, and Mike was transformed by the experience. Since then, they have explored the wilds of Kenya, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe and of course, Zambia, and taken a deep dive into volunteer wildlife conservation work.   Though he has been involved with Dazzle Africa in an unofficial capacity for some years,  he is thrilled to be officially part of the Dazzle Africa team as a member of the Board of Directors.

When not flying, Mike hones his photography skills, kayaks, and sails with Nancy in Annapolis, Maryland, where they live with their animals. Speaking of, his spirit animal is one particular mystical-looking kudu whom he shared a few amazing moments within the South Luangwa.

 

Frank Coyne
Board Director

Frank Coyne started working on the dream of founding the Denver Green School (DGS) in 2008. That dream became reality in the fall of 2010 when DGS opened its doors as an Innovation School and the first school dedicated to sustainability in Denver. Since it’s inception DGS has been one of the top performing schools in Denver and received local and national recognition for their innovative programming.

Prior to joining founding DGS, Frank spent almost a decade working at the University of Denver where he was the Director of the Center for Community Engagement. During this time he successfully managed DU and DPS partnerships and fundraised over $500,000 to grow these successful partnerships. His focus was on training the faculty in the fundamentals of service learning and how to most effectively work with community partners in the highest needs area of Denver.

Frank has been extensively involved in the Denver community for two decades. He has volunteered with AmeriCorps, the American Red Cross, and with Bluff Lake Nature Center and dozens of DPS schools. He has served on several boards of local non-profits and charter schools well with the goals to increase educational opportunities and improve financial literacy for low-income families in Denver. He is excited to be joining the Dazzle Board and looks forward to bringing his knowledge and networks to grow the impact that Dazzle has on the community in Zambia.

 

 

Jeslin Shahrezaei
Treasurer
Jeslin Shahrezaei currently works at Mile High Youth Corps in Denver, CO as the Director of Development and Communications.  She joined the Dazzle Africa Board of Directors in 2017 as a member of the Fundraising Committee and the agency’s Treasurer.  Jeslin received an M.A. in International Development from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School.  She has spent over ten years working as a fundraising professional for various agencies in the Denver metro area including, Girls Inc. of Metro Denver and IDE-International Development Enterprises.   In 2015, Jeslin was a participant in the Institute for Leaders in Development and the Nonprofit Social Enterprise Exchange Inaugural Cohort.  In 2010, Jeslin was named a National Council for Research on Women American Express Fellow.

During her experience at IDE, Jeslin had the opportunity to travel to Zambia and was inspired by the place and its people.  Dazzle Africa allows her to continue to pair her passion for land and animal conservation with educational opportunities for youth in Zambia. Jeslin lives in Denver, CO with her husband, three children and many rescue animals that find themselves in the comforts of her home.

Past Board of Directors:

Donielle Alexander * Founding member
Shera Pillsbury * Founding member
Joanne Hardy * Founding member
Gina Legalle
Jennifer Buchholz
Elizabeth Brooks
Hilary Banks