DeBoer Fellowship instructors offer their insight, experience and knowledge from corporate, education, and non-governmental spheres to highly motivated and proven citizen leaders of Myanmar.
Dr. Aung Thant
Dr. Aung Thant is a physician and development practitioner with extensive experience in development projects as well as emergency humanitarian assistance. His experience includes working in resource-limited areas of Myanmar including Wa Special Region 2, Northern Chin State and Mon State. As the co-founder of Helping Hands – Towards Brighter Future, Dr. Aung Thant has also volunteered to provide educational support for children since 2009. He has worked for a variety of projects focusing on primary health care, malaria, HIV and AIDS, capacity development, micro-finance, child protection, adult learning, gender and diversity and civil society strengthening with Aide Medicale Internationale, CARE International, FHI360 and Paung Ku.
Dr. Aung Thant holds a BS in medicine and BS in surgery from the University of Medicine in Mandalay, Myanmar. He earned his MA in International Development Policy as a Fulbright Fellow at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.
Bob Piazza is an adjunct instructor of management at the University of Richmond Robins School of Business where he has taught Organizational Behavior, Strategic Talent Management, and Business Communications in the MBA program, as well as other courses in the Robins School’s Executive Education division. Mr. Piazza also consults with various organizations on related topics. He retired after a 32 year-career in Human Resources, where his last position was Vice President for a company with annual sales of $1.3 billion, employing 8,000 people in 16 countries.
Mr. Piazza is adept at discovering performance and behavior strengths and opportunities in people and organizations, creating robust development plans for personal and organizational improvement, and leading change, all of which demand broad and deep communications skills.
Bob Piazza earned a BA in Communications and Literature from Pace University, and a MS in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
David Johnson is a former English teacher who left the classroom in 2006 to start Silent Images, a non-profit organization that seeks to tell the stories of persecuted, impoverished, oppressed, or forgotten people in the world. Mr. Johnson has traveled to Myanmar over 10 times and has done documentary work in 40 different countries for hundreds of charities. He has authored two books on Africa and has lectured at dozens of universities across the United States of America. In 2011, Mr. Johnson was a TED Talk speaker.
David Johnson earned a BA in Education and English from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
David Klaus is passionate about building creative, high-functioning Myanmar organizations, and consults for for-profit and nonprofit organizations on the topics of innovation, management, and organizational development. Mr. Klaus has worked with the DeBoer Foundation since 2015, where he has been involved both in teaching leadership development content, and in building a strong network that supports Fellows to keep doing good after they complete their first intensive year of training.
Mr. Klaus begin his work in Myanmar in 2008, where he founded the product design team at Proximity Designs, and led the development of a successful line of irrigation products for rural smallholder farmers. Before moving to Myanmar, Mr. Klaus taught design thinking classes at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford as a Teaching Fellow.
David Klaus holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University, and an MA in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.
Helen Waller has spent many years working in education, teaching academic skills including literature and environmental sciences as well as close, critical, integrative, and original thinking. Ms. Waller arrived in Myanmar in 2011 and has spent years teaching teens at the Pre-Collegiate Program and adults at Yangon University. Since the beginning of 2016, she has also been a member of the Parami University Founding Committee which is working hard to open Myanmar's first non-profit, residential liberal arts and sciences university.
Helen Waller earned her BA in French and Francophone Studies as a Pre-Medical student at Carleton College. She is currently pursuing her MPH in Disaster Management at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
Joanne Lauterjung believes strongly in the transformative potential of conflict, and is currently a consultant for the US Institute for Peace, as well as the Myanmar Country Representative for Karuna Center for Peacebuilding. Since 2011, Ms. Lauterjung has lived and worked in Myanmar as an advisor, curriculum specialist and trainer with Shalom Foundation, Hope International, People In Need, MIID, CARE International, and MIT. She specializes in engaged pedagogy on topics such as communication skills, adaptive leadership and dialogue facilitation. With a background in strategic communications planning and organizational development, Ms. Lauterjung also supports local organizations to build organizational capacity and implement sustainable and adaptive systems.
Joanne Lauterjung holds an MA in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University. She is a trained mediator and Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) practitioner.
Dr. Kyaw Moe Tun
Dr. Kyaw Moe Tun is the founder of Parami Institute of Liberal Arts & Sciences, a school that is designed to nurture critical thinking, interdisciplinary analysis and articulate communication. He is directing efforts to expand Parami Institute into a full-blown not-for-profit liberal arts and sciences university. Prior to founding Parami Institute in January 2017, Dr. Kyaw Moe Tun worked at the Pre-Collegiate Program as Science Faculty and Program Liaison.
Dr. Kyaw Moe Tun earned his BA in Chemistry and Biology from Bard College at Simon’s Rock. He holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Yale University.
Kyaw Wai Yar Soe
Kyaw Wai Yar Soe is the Associate Country Director of the DeBoer Fellowship where he supports the Country Director in oversight, leadership, and monitoring of the DeBoer Fellowship. He was attending higher education in the United States when Myanmar began taking transitional steps toward reformation. Desiring to be part of the positive change through humanitarian efforts at the community level, Kyaw Wai Yar Soe moved back to Myanmar in 2011. He then joined the Norwegian Refugee Council in assisting internally displaced persons and refugees in Kayin State.
Kyaw Wai Yar Soe was part of the inaugural class of DeBoer Fellows in 2014 and has since joined the DeBoer Fellowship staff full time to advance leadership development and other resources to strengthen Myanmar for the future.
Kyaw Wai Yar Soe is completing his BA in Organizational Leadership and Transformational Change at Friends University.
Martin Pun serves as Head Corporate Social Responsibility at Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd., a Singapore public company. Additionally, Mr. Pun is Vice Chairman for SPA (Myanmar) Ltd.; Advisor to First Myanmar Investment Company Ltd.; and the founding chairman of Myanmar Business Coalition on Aid. Formerly, Martin Pun served as the Chief Executive Officer of SPA (Myanmar) Ltd. from 1994 to 2007 and as a Managing Partner of New York Life Insurance Company, Hawaii General Office.
Mr. Pun’s core experience and strength lie in advocacy, branding, marketing and implementing corporate culture in organizations. He has focused on recruiting and training quality people, having a deep passion for developing people. He has a long history in corporate life in Myanmar and the United States of America, and is often requested as a guest speaker, teacher, and advocate for good business practices and corporate social responsibility.
Matt Grace first came to Asia in 2006 during which time he began working with the Burmese communities of northern Thailand. He eventually returned to London where he studied Photojournalism at the London College of Communication, and spent two years plying his trade as a press photographer before moving to Yangon at the beginning of 2010. Much of his work in Yangon has focused on advocacy media and training with the numerous NGOs propping up the country’s ailing public health system, whilst pursuing personal photographic projects looking at youth culture in the city. Mr. Grace has spent much of the last two years setting up Myanmar Deitta, an organization which works to develop resources for documentary photographers and filmmakers in Myanmar.
Melody Murray is a marketer by trade and has been an entrepreneur since she was six. She desires to eradicate the word “unemployable.” Mrs. Murray is married to David, the owner of Dehradun Guitar Company, and they have two boys. After 10 years in marketing with Procter & Gamble, Walmart and Coca-Cola, Mrs. Murray and her family joined a venture to create jobs in Tibet for 7 years. This took the Murrays to a small village at the base of the Himalayas in 2010, where they began creating holistic jobs, building a new culture, and bringing family to as many of the marginalized as possible.
Melody Murray also founded and leads JoyCorps - a non-profit dedicated to serving entrepreneurs who choose to live and work among marginalized communities. JoyCorps equips these entrepreneurs with the resources and skills they need to build successful businesses and empower their communities to thrive.
Peter Dove is the Country Director of the DeBoer Fellowship where he guides the development of instruction and provides direction and oversight to the Fellow Events. He is also the Director of Studies at Yangon Institute of University Studies in Myanmar. Mr. Dove is dedicated to partnering with adult learners engaged in community development. He previously co-founded Imagine Thailand, a Bangkok-based social engagement organization that trains leaders to serve Southeast Asian communities impacted by political or environmental dislocation.
Peter Dove earned a BA from Summit Pacific College and a BA from University of British Columbia, where he specialized in English Literature and Intellectual History. He holds an MA in Global Leadership from Fuller Seminary.
Rehan Khan is the Vice President and General Manager – Vending of Coca-Cola Japan. Prior to his current role, he was Managing Director of Coca-Cola Myanmar and Business Development Director for Coca-Cola Thailand and ASEAN business unit. Within his over 26 years of work experience in The Coca-Cola Company, Mr. Khan has held various roles of increasing responsibility in several markets across Asia and Europe. His extensive experience within The Coca-Cola Company encompasses a good mix of under-developed, developing and highly-developed markets. During his tenure with The Coca-Cola Company, he has lived and worked in multiple countries across the globe.
Mr. Khan holds an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology.
Rochelle Ardesher is the Executive Director and Co-founder of Point B Design + Training (pointB) — a Learning and Social Innovation Lab located at Mawlamyine University in Myanmar. At Mawlamyine University, pointB programs integrate design and systems thinking to support diverse groups (academia, business, government and community) as they begin the challenge of designing better systems of governance in Myanmar.
Previously, Ms. Ardesher worked along the Myanmar-Thai border to enhance educational programming and fundraising efforts for displaced people of Myanmar. Ms. Ardesher began her career as a copywriter for an advertising/design agency where she worked on cause-related clients such as CAA Foundation, Gates Foundation, Obama Campaign for America, and Nike Foundation. Rochelle has published several children’s books including The Story of Hungry, Be Good To Each Other and Sleep Tight, Africa.
Rochelle Ardesher earned her BA in Global and International Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara.
Rudy Kovasckitz is a filmmaker/videographer at Silent Images, a nonprofit providing global charities with professional photography and video services. With years of diverse experience - from directing short film documentaries to run-and-gun video storytelling in developing countries - his projects have spanned four continents. He focuses first and foremost on leaving a lasting emotional connection with the viewer in a way unique to each film.
Saw Myo Min Thu (Saw Kapi)
Saw Myo Min Thu (Saw Kapi) currently serves as the Executive Director of Thabyay Education Foundation. He came to Thabyay after serving in the US high education system for more than twelve years – including as the Director of Admissions and Records at California State University, Bakersfield. Since his return to Myanmar, Saw Myo Min Thu has been actively advocating for a better education system in his native country. He is involved in the national efforts for education reform through the Salween Institute for Public Policy and a broad network of Myanmar educators.
Saw Myo Min Thu earned his a BA in International Relations from San Francisco State University, and holds an MA in Development Economics from Williams College.
Dr. Silke-Susann Otto (Sisu)
Dr. Silke-Susann Otto (Sisu) is based in Yangon as Client Services Senior Manager at McKinsey & Company, spearheading McKinsey’s initiative to build its presence in Myanmar. She has over 17 years of consulting experience in Europe and Asia, primarily as a capability building and transformation consultant, leading operational and organizational efforts to deliver sustained performance improvements at scale for clients in automotive, oil & gas, professional and financial services clients. Dr. Otto is also a trustee to non-profit boards in education in Hong Kong and Myanmar.
Dr. Silke-Susann Otto (Sisu) earned her MA in Japanese Business and Business Administration and holds a PhD in Japanese Business from Philipps University Marburg.
Sylvia Saw McKaige
Sylvia Saw McKaige is the founder of Salween Group, a media communications and marketing company that specializes in working with Asian companies to build their brand through creating smart content. She is also the co-founder of weekly English language magazine Frontier Myanmar and the Group Communications Consultant for Yoma Strategic Holdings. Sylvia Saw McKaige’s expertise is rooted in over 15 years’ in the media and communications industry, including over a decade of experience in newsrooms (broadcast and print). Prior to founding the Salween Group, she was the Head of Creative Solutions & Strategic Content for CNBC Asia, where she was involved with strategic development for programming and responsible for driving advertising sales revenue targets through conceptualization and execution for all integrated multi-media solutions.
Sylvia Saw McKaige earned her BA from National University of Singapore, and holds an MBA from University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management.
Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung
Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung is founder and CEO of Myanmar Book Centre - a leading educational book importer, distributor and publisher in Myanmar. Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung has also founded Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation which supports hundreds of public libraries with books, buildings, facilities and training to librarians. Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung is now working as project director of a mobile library project under Daw Khin Kyi Foundation. He also sits on the executive board of Yangon Heritage Trust and Myanmar Research Society.
Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung received an honorable Chang-Lin Tien Fellowship from The Asia Foundation and also was honored by the Association of American Publishers with the prestigious “Jeri Laber’s Freedom to Publish Award” in 2014.
Thiri Thant Mon
Thiri Thant Mon is a Co-Founder and Managing Director at Sandanila, an investment and advisory partnership committed to bringing investment capital into Myanmar. Thiri Thant Mon is a native of Yangon and was educated in Myanmar, the US and the UK. She was the Head of Corporate Development at Yoma Strategic Holdings until August 2015. Before returning to her home country in 2013, Thiri Thant Mon was an experienced investment banker at Morgan Stanley in London, specializing in raising multi-billion debt financings and large-scale interest rate hedging for large European financial institutions. She started her career with Capital One in the US in 2000 and managed the credit risk forecasting function for Capital One’s UK and European businesses.
Thiri Thant Mon earned her BA in Economics from the College of William & Mary, and holds an MBA from the London Business School.
U Thura Ko Ko (Ko Thura)
U Thura Ko Ko (Ko Thura) is a founding partner of YGA Capital, a Myanmar registered company focused on identifying and investing in attractive growth opportunities in Myanmar. U Thura Ko Ko has over 12 years of experience in global investment banking and private equity firms throughout Asia. He has served as Vice President of Providence Equity, worked for Goldman Sachs and N.M. Rothschild. U Thura Ko Ko is a Senior Advisor to TPG Capital and was elected as Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum in 2013.
U Thura Ko Ko holds a BS in Economics from the London School of Economics, University of London.
Zinmar Win is a communications consultant in Myanmar with over two decades of experience at global advertising agencies. She has built a diverse range of brands including P&G and General Mills and is passionate about propelling Myanmar’s communications industry forward with international standards. She is an active Champion of Change for gender equality, women's leadership development and a promoter of creative innovation. She is on the steering committee of the Professional Women's Network Myanmar and mentors young Myanmar tech startups at Yangon’s leading innovation lab, Phandeeyar. She is also a mentor for The Founders Institute.
Zinmar Win believes in the power of visual storytelling to inspire a new generation to work together and build a better tomorrow.
Zinmar Win holds a BA in Business and Marketing Communications from the University of Greenwich.
We are grateful for our instructors who have generously given of their time, energy and expertise to developing the citizen leaders of Myanmar.
Aung Zayar Lwin
Aung Zayar Lwin is the founder and CEO of InyaLand Co., Ltd. which provides innovative business technology consulting and distribution and system integration solutions in Myanmar. He is also a learning technology consultant for Ashford University, headquartered in San Diego, California. He brings more than 10 years of finance and technology leadership experience from working in the United States.
Aung Zayar Lwin holds a MA of Business Administration with concentrations in Information and Technology Management and Finance from Alliant International University. He graduated from the EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership program at University of California San Diego Rady School of Management.
Dr. Brian Polkinghorn
Dr. Brian Polkinghorn is Executive Director of the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution at Salisbury University where he is a Distinguished Professor and Program Director in the Department of Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution. Dr. Polkinghorn has worked in the conflict intervention field since 1985, specializing in areas of environmental policy dispute intervention, cross-border cooperative enterprises, support of peace talks, and civil society training.
Dr. Polkinghorn has been a Fellow with several prestigious institutions including Harvard University Program on Negotiation, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Presidential Fellowship, and, more recently, the Fulbright Program.
Dr. Brian Polkinghorn earned his BA in Social Psychology from University of Maryland, and holds an MS in Conflict Management from George Mason University. Additionally, he holds an MA in Sociology, an MPhil in Social Science, and a PhD in Social Sciences, from Syracuse University Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts.
Dr. Brooke Treadwell
Dr. Brooke Treadwell is a philanthropy and international development professional specializing in education projects in Southeast Asia. She has over 15 years’ experience working with UN agencies, NGOs and community-based organizations in Myanmar, Thailand and the United States. Dr. Treadwell authored the book chapter ‘Downplaying Difference: The selective representation of diversity in contemporary Burmese schools and educational equity’, in the edited volume Equity, Opportunity and Education in Postcolonial Southeast Asia.
Dr. Brooke Treadwell earned her BA in International Development Studies from McGill University, and holds an MS in International and Comparative Education and a PhD in Education Policy from Indiana University Bloomington.
David Tegenfeldt serves as Country Director for HOPE International Development Agency in Yangon, Myanmar. He has professional experience in public health, community development, management, leadership, systems and strategy, social change and peacebuilding. Since 2002, Mr. Tegenfeldt has focused on peacebuilding capacities and strategies of national organizations and, at the same time, has advised ethnic resistance organizations engaged in decades of armed conflict with Myanmar’s military government. In these capacities, he develops and facilitates retreats and workshops, mentors and accompanies colleagues and partners, and provides analysis and consultations to both national and international actors engaged in Myanmar.
David Tegenfeldt holds an MA in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University and an MA in Health Policy and Management from the University of Michigan.
Heatherly Bucher is a co-founder of Yangon Bakehouse, a social enterprise dedicated to creating job opportunities, skills development and fair wages for disadvantaged women. At the Bakehouse, Ms. Bucher keeps the team focused on sustainable business practices, but also brings twenty-years of experience as a baker to the effort.
In her eighteen-year corporate career, Ms. Bucher built global consulting and support teams, developed methodologies and practices and served as a creative marketing and corporate strategy executive. She focuses on increasing company value and profit by identifying and meeting corporate business needs, leading operational teams, capitalizing on emerging technology and developing clear brand and product marketing.
Ms. Bucher earned her BA in English and holds an MA in Organizational Management and Leadership from Fielding Graduate University. She also holds a Master’s Certificate in Culture and Values in Social Policy from George Mason University.
Julia Fabris McBride
Julia Fabris McBride serves as Vice President of the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC). She previously served as a Faculty and Coach Development Director. Ms. McBride is a professional coach, credentialed by the International Coach Federation. Before joining KLC, she managed her own nationwide coaching business and taught leadership and management classes at the University of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, University of Massachusetts and the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute. Ms. McBride serves on the board for the Chase County school district and board development committee for the Girl Scouts of the Kansas Heartland.
Ms. McBride earned her BA in English from Case Western University.
Kathy Davies is currently a Lecturer in Design at Stanford University. Before that, she worked at Arena Solutions for over 7 years in various capacities, eventually becoming Senior Product Manager. Ms. Davies' expertise lies in the innovation of software product development and creating accessible online teaching materials.
Mrs. Davies earned her BS in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University and holds an MSE in Mechanical Engineering and Product Design from Stanford University.
Dr. Mary Wong
Dr. Mary Wong is a Professor in the Global Studies, Sociology and TESOL department at Azusa Pacific University, where she directs the field-based TESOL program. Additionally, she is the Principal Investigator of a major grant commissioned by the Hong Kong Education Bureau to evaluate English teaching in Hong Kong schools. Dr. Wong has conducted workshops in Mandalay to equip 30 educators across rural Myanmar with tools to become agents of peacebuilding and reconciliation in their communities.
Dr. Wong is a two-time Fulbright Scholar and her publications and research include internationalization of higher education, collaboration of local and native English speaking teachers, and the impact of religious identity and pedagogy.
Dr. Wong holds an MA in East Asian Languages and Cultures from University of Southern California, Los Angeles and an MA in TESOL from Azusa Pacific University. She received her PhD in International and Intercultural Education from University of Southern California.
Matt Gierhart works as an Innovation Officer for IBM. Mr. Gierhart began exploring social media in its infancy by being one of the first to advise major companies’ adoption of Twitter and Facebook as a marketing tool. He started a think tank, The New Celebrity, to introduce the impact of digital behavior to brands, economic development groups and public sector bodies. His time with The New Celebrity is best highlighted by a series of lectures at the London School of Economics on the use of social structures as systems of influence. The New Celebrity concluded with an acquisition by Ogilvy.
Mr. Gierhart’s recognitions include awards from IPM, Cannes, Marketing Week and the Global Sabre for Digital Consultancy of the Year 2011. His speaking credits include SxSWi, Next 2011, Oxford’s Economic Group, The Consumer’s Good Forum, Digital Content Summit and the International Economic Development Summit.
Mr. Gierhart earned his BA in English from Hardin-Simmons University.
Dr. Randy Raggio
Dr. Randy Raggio is Associate Dean of The Richmond MBA and Executive Education programs and Associate Professor of Marketing at the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond. He joined the Robins School faculty in August 2010 after four years teaching undergraduate and MBA courses at LSU.
Dr. Raggio's work is widely renowned and has been published in Harvard Business Review, Journal of Brand Management, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Journal of Product and Brand Management, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, European Journal of Marketing and other outlets.
Dr. Raggio earned his undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Southern Mississippi and an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from Vanderbilt University. He received his PhD in Marketing from The Ohio State University.
Dr. Rosemary Morales Fernholz
Dr. Rosemary Morales Fernholz is a a Senior Research Scholar in the Duke Center for International Development and Lecturing Fellow in the Sanford School of Public Policy of Duke University. Dr. Fernholz has extensive research experience in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the United States. She has researched and consulted on issues in natural resource policy and community based resource management, innovation, leadership and development, social policy to include basic urban services, agricultural and food policy, and political economy challenges.
Dr. Fernholz received her MBA and MPA and holds a PhD in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University. In 2013, she was chosen as the Richard Stubbing Awardee for excellence in graduate teaching and mentoring in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.
Su Wai Phyo Sophie
Su Wai Phyo Sophie is the Head of Human Resources at the British Council in Yangon. Prior to this role, she worked with Pan Pacific Hotels Group in a variety of positions. These include serving as the Human Capital Director, Director-Human Capital & Development, Learning & Development Manager and Marketing & Communications Manager with PARKROYAL Yangon. She has experience in training, course development, and recruiting talent. Her previous professional experience includes Customer Service & Senior Investment Officer at Asset Management Company in Singapore and she has worked as an English Language Instructor for Success Language Academy, Yangon.
Su Wai Phyo Sophie earned her BA in English at the Yangon University of Foreign Languages and her Higher Diploma in Mass Communication at TMC Academy, Singapore.
Susan Steinbach co-founded the Myanmar Children's Foundation in 2007 and currently serves as President. This foundation has raised over $200,000 to support the education, health and welfare of rural school children. Ms. Steinbach has vast experience teaching English in the United States and around the world.
Ms. Steinbach holds a Master's Degree in German form Middlebury College and a graduate degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from UC Davis.
Dr. Tim Steffensmeier
Dr. Tim Steffensmeier is an Associate Professor and Director of the Leadership Communication doctoral program at Kansas State University where he teaches courses in civic leadership, rhetoric, and communication. Dr. Steffensmeier is jointly the Director of Research for the Kansas Leadership Center. He has several publications, including a book, focused on civic leadership, deliberative democracy, argumentation, and community development. He has worked with businesses, organizations, and individuals on leadership development, political campaigns, and communication skills.
Dr. Steffensmeier received his BA in Communication, Marketing from Hastings College, holds an MA in Communication from Wake Forest University and earned his PhD in Communication Studies / Rhetoric from the University of Texas at Austin.