Founded in 2010, The Strongest Oak Foundation (TSO) is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and has a global network of volunteers and affiliates based in Canada  and West Africa. TSO team members have been delivering high-impact, sustainable educational and social projects together since 2006.

Board of Directors and Executive

Stace Wills, Board Chairman (Co-Founder)

Mark McLenahan, Director of Finance and Board Member (Co-Founder)

Dan Rickard, Director, Chief Technology Advisor and Board Member (Co-Founder)

Executive

Marlene Ahern, Managing Director

Kimberly Parsons, Director of Marketing & Communications

Oak Leaders

Seydou Kinda, Oak Leader & Solar Project Coordinator

Team Members

Vivian Hindbo, Co-founder and Volunteer

Bridget Wills, Former Managing Director


Stace Wills

Board Chairman (Co-Founder)
Calgary, AB, Canada

Stace WillsStace is a social entrepreneur with a life-long passion for international development, language and culture, and launching technology startups. Prior to leading the launch of TSO in 2010, Stace served as co-founder and Global Director of Fire and Ice – an award-winning Corporate Social Responsibility program of one of the world’s leading educational technology firms, Elluminate Inc. (now Blackboard Canada Inc.).

Under Fire and Ice, Stace spearheaded over 30 social development projects in collaborative education, poverty reduction, and climate change, involving over 5000 participants from 25+ countries. He has also pioneered several online training programs targeting nurses and teachers in remote regions, as well as facilitated thousands of dollars in donations of computer technology and internet connectivity to economically-challenged communities in Colombia, Brazil, Cuba, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, and Kenya.

Stace and his projects have been recognized with several awards by organizations including Stockholm Challenge (Sweden) and the Tech Museum (San Diego, CA). His Fire and Ice initiative helped Elluminate be named as one of the Top Ten Best Corporations in Global Development by InterAction in 2008. In addition, Stace has been featured by international media including CNN.com, The Financial Post, Education Week, CBC, CTV and others.

Stace holds a Canadian Investment Management (CIM) designation, as well as a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Calgary, where he was a member of the 1988 Vanier Cup championship football team.

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Mark McLenahan

Director of Finance and Board Member (Co-Founder)
Calgary, AB, Canada

Mark McLenahanMark has established a broad-based, 20+ year accounting career working in Canada’s oil and gas industry. He has progressed through a variety of accounting and finance posts, both in individual contributor and leadership positions, as well as a 4-year assignment in Halifax on Canada’s east coast where he was instrumental in launching his employer’s regional office. Mark has always been an enthusiastic volunteer in his local community, helping out with various local charities and community associations, and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Bishop Carroll Music Society. In his spare time, Mark can regularly be found coaching his children’s sports teams, participating in a community volleyball league, and helping to provide music at his local church.

Mark received his Bachelor of Commerce degree (Accounting & Finance concentration) from the University of Calgary in 1991 and currently resides in Calgary. He speaks English and some Spanish.

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Dan Rickard

Director, Chief Technology Advisor and Board Member (Co-Founder)
Calgary, AB, Canada

Dan RickardWith over twenty years of international experience, Dan has led groundbreaking technology and social projects on every continent, except Antarctica. From 2006 to 2008, he served as co-founder and Implementation Manager for Fire and Ice for Elluminate, Inc. (now Blackboard Inc.).

In the past 3 years, Dan has launched and managed eLearning networks in Africa, Asia and remote areas of Canada. Working closely with aboriginal people, his learning networks have helped deliver much-needed medical knowledge and expertise into remote areas. He continues to develop a number of international initiatives, including a project in remote areas of Indonesia.

Dan was a finalist for the prestigious Stockholm Challenge Awards in 2008, and also was named 2007 Laureate for the Tech Museum Award (Microsoft Education Category). He has been featured by CNN.com, CBC Business News, and other international media.

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Marlene Ahern

Managing Director
Calgary, AB, Canada

Marlene is an independent management consultant/executive coach with a passion for international development. Based in Calgary, with over twenty-five years of professional and leadership experience, Marlene has worked extensively in the energy and telecom sectors, and also volunteered in various non-profit organizations. Her diverse background includes having lived and worked in both Brazil and Europe, supporting projects ranging from local education enhancement to global, company-wide technology rollout initiatives.

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Kimberly Parsons

Director of Marketing & Communications
Calgary, AB, Canada

Kim enjoys working within the Information Technology industry and her key strength is to develop innovative ways to improve information technology processes. Kim’s knowledge in the areas of not-for-profit, environmental engineering, hospitality, and technology over the past 20 years has been an incredible asset in her roles as Project Manager, Business Analyst, and User Interface Developer.

Kim’s excitement for life extends into her community environment as she continually strives to help others. Since she was a youth at summer camp, Kim has been actively volunteering and her efforts have continued throughout the years with her volunteer service with the Calgary Food Bank. Today, Kim spends her time marketing and promoting multiple organization product lines through social media platforms. In Kim’s personal time she enjoys travelling to locations within Canada, USA, and Europe where she has now developed quite a palette for international cuisine.

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Seydou Kinda

Oak Leader & Solar Project Coordinator
Bale Province, Burkina Faso

Seydou Kinda

Seydou is the co-founder of l’Association Monde Meilleur de Pa (AMMP), a volunteer-based non-profit organization whose mandate is to promote sustainable development in the Pâ region through collaboration with international partners, such as The Strongest Oak Foundation. Seydou Kinda’s background is in nursing and public health. He is currently the Chief Administrator of Health Centre 24 of Ouezzinville, Burkina Faso, where he is responsible for statistical analysis and planning and monitoring patient care. Beyond his current management experience, his career has included monitoring and managing various community health programs (for vulnerable groups, immunization, etc.), evaluating the treatment of neglected tropical diseases, coordinating health care education and training programs, as well as other initiatives.

Seydou has successfully collaborated with various organizations outside of Burkina Faso, including the American Peace Corps, the University of Hertfordshire, the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (Alberta, Canada) and Elluminate Inc. (Calgary, Alberta, Canada). Members of the TSO executive met Seydou when they were Elluminate employees and collaborated with him on an on-line training program for Burkina Faso nurses in the management of malaria. Among the projects he completed with the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School was a solar energy project, providing electricity to a remote village school in Pâ, Burkina Faso in 2015. Seydou has served as TSO’s Oak Leader and Solar Project Coordinator in Burkina Faso since 2016. He and his organization, AMMP, have been instrumental in overseeing four more of TSO’s successful school solar installations in the villages of Heredougou, Kopoi, Voho, Yamane.  Since 2018, Seydou has been actively managing the implementation of the Power Hub project in Pâ.

Seydou is multilingual, speaking his native Mooré and Dioula, as well as French and some English. He holds diplomas in Nursing and Marketing Management, a degree in Management, a master’s degree in International Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, and has taken various courses in Human Resource and Public Health management.

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Vivian Hindbo

Co-founder and Volunteer
Calgary, AB, Canada

Vivian HindboVivian Hindbo has been an active volunteer most of her adult life, including working as a wildlife steward in a conservation area, volunteering at an annual youth music festival (Kiwanis), and working one-on-one with at-risk youth. As a founding member of The Strongest Oak Foundation, Vivian feels she has found her true passion: to make a difference in the lives of those who have faced unspeakable hardship or tragedy. She understands just how fortunate she is to have been born a Canadian.

Vivian graduated from university with a degree in English Literature and began a career as a technical writer and editor in the software industry. She currently works as an independent contractor.

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Bridget Wills

Former Managing Director
Calgary, AB, Canada

Bridget WillsBridget Wills has been involved in international volunteer efforts since 2005, first as a trainer and coordinator of web meetings for LINGOS (helping to train field employees working in NGOs across the world) and as a collaborative coordinator for Fire and Ice (coaching local Calgary classrooms in a climate change series with partner schools in Colombia and Burkina Faso).

Being a devoted mother of two young boys, she is very keen to expose her children to the world outside their backyard and provide an opportunity for them to help make a difference in a world where there is a need to help others. Bridget’s twenty-year career in the travel industry has helped shape her love of people all the world. She hopes that, throughout her volunteer career, she will be able to inspire others to reach out and use their own best skills to make a difference.

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