Our People

Budd MacKenzie

Founder

After graduating from Amherst College in 1967, Budd moved westward to Boalt Law School and Haas Business School, UC Berkeley, where he graduated with a joint JD/MBA degree.

Following a one-year transition period selling cheese and wine at “Curds and Whey,” (a retail store started with a friend while in law school), Budd opened a private law practice in 1971. He has provided legal and business counsel to entrepreneurs ever since.

Budd has also been committed to community service for many years. He served as a coach and manager of baseball, basketball, soccer, roller blade hockey, and tennis teams for seven years (until his son could take no more!)

He was the president of Lafayette Little League for three years and Mock Trial advisor for three years at Acalanes High School. His Lafayette Chamber of Commerce service includes six years as a member of the Board of Directors and president in 2006.

Budd founded Trust in Education after reading Charlie Wilson’s War, becoming informed about US involvement in Afghanistan, and visiting Afghanistan.TIE is comprised of an ever increasing number of people who, like Budd, have chosen to make time to help Afghans rebuild their lives and country.

He is just one among many who keep the train running. Truth be told, he looks forward to the day he can be in the caboose.

Awards

  • Citizen of the Year, City of Lafayette, CA 2003-2004
  • Su Stauffer Friends of Education Award, Acalanes High School 2004
  • Peace and Justice Award, Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center 2010
  • Paul Harris Fellow, Lafayette Rotary Club 2010
  • Happenings Local’s Choice Humanitarian Award for Contra Costa County 2012

Nabi Tawakali

Vice President

As Vice-President of Trust in Education, Nabi helps develop policy and programs. He also accompanies Budd on semi-annual to Afghanistan.

Born in Kabul in 1949, Nabi attended Kabul University. He worked as Director of Foreign Relations for the Agricultural Development Bank of Afghanistan. Shortly after the Russians invaded in 1979, he immigrated to the United States.

After arriving in the U.S., Nabi worked as an international banker for more than 10 years, first for the European American Bank in New York and then for Security Pacific Bank in Los Angeles, California.

He then served as Vice President of Pacific Shores Corporation, an agricultural company, in Walnut Creek, California. In 1991 he founded Pacific International Seed Corporation, which produces and exports top quality American seeds around the world.

In 2006 Nabi started his volunteer work with Trust In Education. He is committed to educating the children of Afghanistan because he strongly believes that education is the best way to help the children and people of Afghanistan overcome poverty and their fears.

Suzanne Rogge

Education Sponsorship Program Manager

Suzanne is a native Californian who loves the natural beauty and suzanne photodiversity of the San Francisco Bay Area where she resides.

Her lifelong keen interest and investment in cultures and events beyond U.S. borders likely resulted from having a German-born father strongly tied to the local German community, a Polish-born grandmother passionate about travel, and a mother who lived for a time in Mexico.

Since her 20s Suzanne has felt compelled to “give back” along with pursuing a career in corporate retail with such companies as Levi Strauss, Gap, and Cost Plus. She has volunteered for many organizations over the years, but one area that has continually resonated with Suzanne is assisting women and children who live in challenging circumstances.

Fast forward 20 years to the present, and Suzanne is onto the next phase of her life.  Her focus these days includes her family, designing artisan jewelry (a lifelong passion) which she sells on Etsy.com under Suzanne Rogge Designs, and volunteering for Trust in Education.

Suzanne has assisted TIE since the beginning of 2012 when she first learned of Budd’s work and vision for Afghanistan.  She works on bringing over jewelry and handbags from Afghanistan to help raise funds for the organization.  In late 2013 Suzanne also took on managing the Education Sponsorship Program.

“Budd and TIE’s employees, donors and volunteers are extraordinary in their commitment to get impoverished kids into school; assist internally displaced refugees with food, safer cooking methods, and warmth for brutal winters; and bring awareness to the utter lack of basic human rights for women in Afghanistan.  How very gratifying it is to be involved with TIE.”

 

Derek CollardDerek Collard

Public Relations and Marketing

Derek Collard began his career in theater as an actor at a young age. After years in NYC, he relocated to the Bay Area in 2009 to expand his interest in the arts and to work with non-profit organizations.

Since arriving here, he has worked with theater companies such as TheatreWorks, ACT, Berkeley Rep, CenterREP, Bay Area Children’s Theatre, 42nd Street Moon to name a few.

For the last ten years, Derek expanded his interests into the non-profit world by pursuing a career as an event producer. Using his background and contacts in the theater industry has allowed him the opportunities to help support the missions of non-profits by raising funds for programming.

His events and fundraising campaigns have helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support programming in theater education and importance, early and youth literacy, education in under-served communities, gender equality, women’s health and civil issues and many others.

We are very happy to have Derek working with us to expand our marketing and public relations efforts.

“Working at Trust in Education has been a rewarding gift, and has expanded my understanding and appreciation of our world and how we all play a part in helping each other globally!”

Hoda Al-Faqih Cox

Social Media, Projects and Office Mgmt

me

Hoda was born in Washington DC, to a diplomatic family when her father was first Ambassador to the US during the 50s.  At 2 months old she returned with her family to their home tucked on one of the  beautiful mountains of Lebanon.

She spent the next 20 years in what was once called the Switzerland of the Middle East, surrounded by a closely knit extended family of cousins, second cousins, aunts and uncles.

Her family’s frequent visits to Europe were punctuated by trips to Egypt and Syria, where friends weclomes them. Life took her from Washington DC, to Lebanon, to Lafayette (where 3 siblings had settled), to Memphis, to Houston to complete her education, and finally to Walnut Creek, California.

Hoda joins us with a rich cultural background.  She brings an understanding of cross-cultural communication as well as a passion for uplifting the lot of innocent children devastated by wars they did not choose. This is what attracted her to TIE’s work.

Hoda holds an undergraduate degree in Broadcast Communications, and a Master’s in Business Management.

She has led large software development initiatives, managed project teams, lead training classes, operated a catering service in Contra Costa, owned a Café in Berkeley, tutored adults in Arabic and English as a second language, and is writing a young adult novel.

When not at the TIE office, she spends time with her 2 children and many adult nephews and nieces, offers nutrition consulting, develops recipes for specialized diets, and maintains her CookinguptheCure blog.

She maintains our website, social marketing pages and databases; is our liaison with volunteers; helps with fundraising ideas and efforts; helps with TIE functions; creates our flyers and newsletters, and is responsible for all Admin functions.

Jack Howell    

Solar Oven Project Director

After high school, Jack was drafted in the army and served two years in Germany. He went to the University of San Francisco on a basketball scholarship after a USF alum saw him play in Germany.  He played one year at USF and then settled down to study philosophy.

Jack spent two decades publishing books in Massachusetts, particularly books on solar, wind, photovoltaic, and organic gardening. The Solar Home Book, a New York Times bestseller,  became a classic in the field and was translated into seven languages.

In 1986 he founded Morning Sun Press in Lafayette, California where he continues to concentrate on renewable energy and the environment. In 1990 he published Cooking with the Sun: How to Build & Use Solar Cookers. He was hooked on solar cooking and has been designing and helping people around the world build and use solar cookers ever since. In 2011, he managed the construction of TIE’s  “Hundred Solar Ovens for Afghanistan” project.

He also supervised the manufacturing of 200 simple solar ovens that use the Mylar coffee bean bags from Peet’s Coffee as reflectors. The Afghans are learning how to attach the bags to the cookers. The cookers are all in Afghanistan.

Jack is a hands-on guy with a passion for helping people. TIE offers him the perfect fit: he can direct the construction of solar ovens that will help people live a little healthier life.

Jack loves dogs, solar picnics at wineries, (especially wineries with dogs), gardening and cooking, creating art out of junk, and of course, spending time with his family.

 

Gerard Van SteynGerard van Steyn

Education Advocate

Gerard graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Managerial Economics and subsequently obtained an MBA from UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

For over 20 years Gerard has been the President of SCI Consulting Group located in Fairfield CA.  Gerard joined SCI when it was a three person firm and has managed its growth to over 50 people.  Gerard also formed and managed a successful real estate development firm from 1995 to 2005.

Gerard first became aware of Trust in Education through his father-in-law Brack Davis, who, as a doctor, volunteered time in hospitals in Afghanistan and became aware of the good work being accomplished by TIE.  Subsequently Gerard’s three children and his wife, Kathryn, all contributed time and energy to helping out Trust in Education with various projects.

Gerard began working with Trust in Education in 2014 and is focused on, and enthusiastic about, translating educational videos in math, language and other subjects, including the Khan Academy lessons and Wikipedia, into Dari (or Farsi) and structuring it for offline use in rural schools in Afghanistan.

Someday, schools in rural areas in Afghanistan will be connected to the internet.  Until that happens, TIE hopes to provide an increasing amount of educational content to students that is accessible throughout the year via offline computers and tablets.

We’re very pleased to add Gerard’s energy and vision to our TIE team!

 

Basir Ebrahimkhil

Program Director

Basir graduated from high school in Kabul and then studied Social Sciences at Kabul University. During the war, he lived in Pakistan for ten years as well as served six years as a member of Afghans’s Special Forces.

Before coming to Trust in Education, Basir served for eight years as an administration officer in Afghanistan’s Ministry of Health. Since 2009 he has managed our operations in Afghanistan as full time program director. He interfaces with villager leaders, shuras, and teachers, and villagers in implementing our programs. He’s also helpful in reminding us to eat.

 

Qudsia Ebrahimkhil

Street Student Liaison and Program Director

Qudsia studied in Kabul until the ninth grade, when the war in Afghanistan forced her family to flee to Pakistan. She finished high school there, and for five years she worked as a kindergarten teacher at Children’s House School.

When she and her family returned to Kabul, Qudsia graduated with a degree in language and literature from Kabul University. She then worked at UNICEF for one year as an administrative assistant and at the Afghanistan International Rescue Committee for one year as administration officer.

Qudsia is the program director of our sponsorship program for street children. She provides assistance to the children and their families and serves as a conduit between the children and their American sponsors.

Qudsia is married to Basir and has three young daughters.

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