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 international projects in rural Zambia that protect endangered wildlife, provide educational opportunities to vulnerable and deserving students, and enhance the rural community.
Positive change has been an ongoing theme in her career. She graduated from Lewis and Clark College with a Master of Arts in Teaching and worked as an educator for more than a decade to transform the public education system in the United States. She now promotes stronger regulations and laws to stop wildlife trafficking and raises awareness of the fragile balance between the environment and humans.
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 respecting the environment and empowering others to take action in conserving our natural resources.
Stacy is greatly influenced by children, the elderly and the environment and volunteers her time with Hospice and local animal organizations. She has a strong interest in the creative arts and in 2012, published Ancient Animal Wisdom, www.ancientanimalwisdom.com.
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 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.
Heather D. Maldonado
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 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).
ELIZABETH BROOKS, PhD, is an Assistant Research Professor in the School of Public Health, Department of Community and Behavioral Health, at the University of Colorado – Anschutz Medical Campus. Dr. Brooks’ research focuses on health disparities, particularly surrounding access and quality of care issues; telehealth technologies; physician health and practice; and American Indian and women veteran populations.
She has collaborated on a number of physician health and well-being studies, with topics including professional practice issues, suicide risk, and cognitive impairment. In addition, she has led a number of program evaluations and is currently assessing retail marijuana collaboration and messaging efforts in Colorado.
Dr. Brooks acquired funding for the development and implementation of a psycho-educational and skill building retreat for women veterans in 2012 and currently serves as a consultant on an extension of that project. She has authored a variety of research and policy papers and sits on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Telemedicine and e-Health.
She currently serves as Chair of the Telemental Health SIG, an elected position in the nation’s largest professional organization of telehealth professionals, the American Telemedicine Association.
Her interest in disparities research extends globally and she serves on the Board of Directors with Dazzle Africa, a non-profit organization that works to provide programs in conservation, education, and community development by partnering with collaborators in Zambia.
Dr. Brooks instructs graduate students in the Colorado School of Public Health and will teach Social and Behavioral Factors in Health and the MPH Capstone this Spring.
HILARY C. BANKER, graduated cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School in 1996, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from S.U.N.Y. Geneseo in 1993. She was admitted to the bars of New York State and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in 1997.
Hilary is Past President of the Defense Trial Lawyers’ Association of Western New York, the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Buffalo Chapter, the UB Law School Alumni Association GOLD Group, and the Western New York Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York. She is a former director of the Western New York Trial Lawyers Association and the University at Buffalo Law Alumni Association. Her practice focuses primarily on representing Defendants in negligence actions, and on the defense of insurance companies in first party claims. She has lectured on Ethics for the New York State Bar Association, and is often asked to serve as an arbitrator by colleagues in the insurance defense field.
Business First of Buffalo awarded Hilary the “40 under 40” Award in 2011, Who’s Who in Law in 2012, and selected her as one of Western New York’s “Legal Elite” in 2014. She has been featured in Superlawyers magazine every year since 2011 and in 2013 the magazine named her one of the Top 25 Women Lawyers of Upstate New York.
Hilary lives in Buffalo, New York with her husband Jeff and two children.
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 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.
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 through National Ski Patrol Rocky Mountain District.
Marki is currently a Ski Patroller year round for Beaver Creek Mountain, in her home town 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 form 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 in teaching and reaching out to others from all over the world.
Past Board of Directors:
Donielle Alexander *Founding member
Shera Pillsbury *Founding member
Joanne Hardy *Founding member