Founder and President, Alicia Jean Demetropolis
In 2017, Alicia Jean Demetropolis spent three months traveling in the Kathmandu area, assisting a local NGO with assessing elder care facilities and rewriting their volunteer program. She took food and water to the homeless seniors and youths living in the streets, and also trained local medical professionals and EMTs in the use of gait belts. Her book, Drowning in Now: A Search for God and Humanity at the Top of the World, is an account of her spiritual journey and the story of how The Global Humanity Initiative was started. Fifteen percent of the proceeds from the sale of Drowning in Now go to The Global Humanity Initiative, benefiting impoverished elders around the world.
Along with being a CNA/Med Tech at a local assisted living facility, Alicia is certified in palliative care, and in spiritual care for end of life patients. Her daily focus is on providing physical and spiritual care to people so they can transition from this world with peace, grace and dignity.
Prior to this work, Alicia spent 30 years in the global corporate world. She holds a BA in English Language and Literature, and an MS in International Business and Finance.
Alicia lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her husband, Doc. Their life is filled with rescuing older, special-needs dogs, and giving them their best life for the remainder of their years.
Co-Founder and Secretary & Treasurer,
Catherine Demes Maydew
Catherine has served large for-profit companies as well as both large and small non-profit and governmental organizations. At KPMG LLP, she was an Assurance Specialist with a focus in government and non-profit entities, including large non-profit hospitals and foundations, as well as the light manufacturing and investment/banking industries.
As an independent CPA, her clients have included Scott Residential Management, LLC, and the Omaha Community Playhouse. Along with previously serving as an adjunct accounting professor at Creighton University, Catherine has also received the 2010 Chapter Service Award from the Association of Government Accountants at their July 2010 meeting in Orlando.
Catherine is proud to be a business partner for the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands. She serves on the following boards:
Omaha Academy of Ballet
St. John Greek Orthodox Church Audit Board
Nebraska Society of CPAs
Association of Government Accountants
Additionally, Catherine is also Past Chair of the Nebraska Elementary & Secondary Finance Authority and Past Chair of the NSCPA Non-profit Committee. She lives in Omaha with her husband, a diagnostic radiologist, and their son.
Vice President, Lana Byal
Lana has over 20 years’ experience in international travel, having both studied and worked abroad throughout her career. She holds a Masters of Science from the University of Oxford where she focused on biodiversity conservation, climate change, and international development.
Currently, she is the Director of Meaningful Travel, Sales and Product Development with Elevate Destinations, a premier, international philanthropic travel company based in the United States. In her work, she liaises with many non-profit organizations, many of which, focus on the education of women and children and environmental conservation in the Global South. Prior to Elevate Destinations, she was an independent safari consultant working on unique and specialized trips to East Africa. Her overall background includes years of academic research, volunteering, and working in natural-resource related jobs. Some of her international experiences include in India, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Cuba, Jamaica and Africa.
Additionally, Lana spent many years working in organic agriculture and managing farms in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, as well as managing a seasonal, on-site office for a boutique salmon operation in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
Lana is passionate about wildlife and habitat conservation and the education and empowerment of many of the world’s most vulnerable stakeholders, such as women and children. She enjoys life on the Olympic Peninsula with her husband and their two ranch dogs.
Founding Board Member, Maia Cosio
Maia deeply believes that everyone deserves to know that someone is in their corner, cheering them on.
She was born in Athens, Greece, to world traveling hippies who taught her to value education and appreciate the world. During her middle school years, her father took a Fulbright exchange in Cyprus for a year, and this gave the family the opportunity to travel to Turkey, Egypt, and back to Greece. She attended Cal State Monterey Bay with a focus on Social Anthropology. During her college years, Maia volunteered every week at the local soup kitchen, and spent one summer studying at The Center for Cross Cultural Studies in Seville, Spain. After college, she spent ten months in Ecuador working for a non-profit, and has also traveled in Peru.
She was blessed to have an amazing grandfather who was active with his church and in his community. She watched as he took food to local shut-ins, week after week. He taught her about the simplicity of compassion, and how to understand people just by being kind. Maia has carried this philosophy with her throughout her adult life, and lives it daily in her job as a Chemotherapy Technician at the local Cancer Center. Her passion is in being there for her patients during their worst times, in creating a micro-community for them, and in being their support when they feel they can’t go on.
Maia lives on the Olympic Peninsula, with her husband and their four children, one of whom has been diagnosed with autism. She proudly tells people that having a child who is on the spectrum has made the window of her life bigger and brighter. Along with hosting exchange students every year, their home is filled with four cats and two dogs, including a Chihuahua named Doug.
Guatemala Project Director, Frank Eckert
Frank’s journey in helping Guatemalans make a better life for themselves began in 2013, while he was working in Mexico for his employer, the Bank for International Settlements. At that time, he joined an organization that was building schools in Guatemala, and his heart was pulled in to the country by its people and its history. Since then, he has spent 2-3 weeks each year in Guatemala and helping in the local schools by teaching English, giving swimming lessons, and teaching Swiss history and culture. He has also organized a football (our soccer) tournament for a home for abused children, and provides financial support for some of the locals’ education expenses. In addition to all this, Frank organizes fundraising drives so that Guatemalan teachers can attend university in Switzerland.
Most recently, Frank ran a successful crowdsourcing campaign to help a Guatemalan friend of his purchase a $60,000 commercial-grade 3-D printer. This young man in Guatemala now has a thriving business and is able to support his family, and his community as well.
He has certificates and degrees from the University of St. Gallen, the European Certification Board for Logistics, the Swiss Foreign Trade Association, and Handelsschule KV Basel. Frank also speaks German, Spanish, French, and English.
Frank joins us from his home just outside of Basel, Switzerland, where he enjoys spending time hiking and windsurfing with his two young-adult children. He is also a big fan (as are all of the Swiss), of the local wrestling style called Schwingen. (It’s all about the shorts!)