Richard Herman, President
Richard recently retired after 15 years as the Executive Director of Cornerstone Community Housing, a 501(c)3 nonprofit in Eugene, Oregon. Cornerstone builds high quality affordable housing communities and provides support services to empower residents to achieve personal and financial independence. Richard continues his commitment to providing affordable housing by serving on the Clackamas County Housing Advisory Board. Richard has over 40 years of senior level management experience in the for profit and not-for-profit sectors. His educational background includes degrees in accounting, public administration, and a masters from the University of Oregon Executive MBA program. His interest in Bhutan started with a meaningful and inspirational trip to Bhutan in 2013. Richard now lives in Lake Oswego with his wife Amy. His passions include travel, photography, gardening and cycling.
Kathleen Kiefer, Secretary/Treasurer
Kathleen Kiefer is a professional photographer, videographer and writer. She received a BS in Anthropology from Central Washington University. She worked for an Alaska Native Corporation for several years and for Grant County Public Utility District where she was the liaison between the utility and the Wanapum Band of Native People upon whose ancestral winter village site the utility built a hydropwer dam. In 2010 she left the utility and started JACOL Filmworks, LLC, an independent video production company. As a producer/director she has worked on documentaries, commercial projects and training videos. Her writing and photographs have appeared in numerous public power and hydropower publications, her films have won AVA and Telly awards and a Bullitt Foundation Icicle Prize.
As the owner of Strand Tea Company located in Sandy, Oregon, Jack Strand has travelled extensively in Asia. In March 2006 he helped bring 13 members of the Tea Board of India & the National Tea Planters Association (NPA) to the United States, holding the first ever Iive tea auction in the USA at the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2007 & 2008 Jack worked with the NPA helping them establish new markets in the US for their Nilgiri Teas. He works tirelessly on behalf of small farm tea growers to help bring their specialty and select teas to new markets in the United States.
Aletha Bonebrake received her Masters of Library Science at the University of Wisconsin in 1985. She was the head librarian in Baker City for 22 years. She became an ordained Episcopal Minister in 2006 and has served St. Stephens Parish in Baker City as a Priest since then. She has served on Baker City Council, arts and heritage boards, and the local electrical cooperative. When she is not serving the needs of her parish, she volunteers as a board member for Baker County Community Literacy Coalition, Eastern Oregon Regional Theater Advisory Board, Oregon State Library Board of Trustees, Baker County Cultural Coalition, and Oregon State Library Board of Trustees.
A native of upstate New York. He has resided in NE Oregon for over twenty years where he has been involved with various non-profit organizations on a state and local level. A graduate of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, he spent several years as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Also a Graduate of Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College, he is a trial lawyer trying civil cases for over twenty years. An avid fly fisherman, cook and photographer, he has recently started trying to raise copper into functional forms. Damien has been a resident of Baker City for 20 years where he lives with his three children adopted from Haiti.
"Even if you don't understand you can feel the blessing of the vibration of the Buddha Sutras. It increases positive energy. Positive, compassionate thinking for others, if you have that in your mind, anything you do will benefit others."
Karma Namgyel Rinpoche
Photo by Joe Bryant - Karma Namgyel Rinpoche at Tigers Nest Monastery in Paro, Bhutan, November 2016
"The country of Bhutan; its people, landscapes, art, film and music, architecture and the immense presence of its mythic past is as close to a living epic poem as I could ever imagine. Mystery and meaning ooze from the landscape and the language. Molecules announce connecting threads through the thinnest veil that requires seeing without eyes and hearing without ears. It's a place of self discovery and verdant, timeless, soulful vistas."