BlinkNow may have started with the drive of one person, but it is the dedication and determination of one amazing team that makes everything hum. From “aunties” and “uncles” who keep our home happy to teachers who provide much more than education. From the Kopila Board of respected leaders and elders in Nepal to the BlinkNow Board of Directors and staff in the US. From the cooks to the construction team to a group of remarkable Kopila Fellows. It is these resilient, beautiful people – most of whom come from the local community – that make Kopila Valley shine and BlinkNow stronger than ever. We are all in this together.
CO-FOUNDERS TOP MALLA & MAGGIE DOYNE
Top & Maggie co-founded the Kopila Valley Children's Home together in 2007. After meeting at Ramana's Garden in India, a children's home primarily serving Nepali refugees, the two decided to enter into a partnership to serve the needs of Nepal's children back in Top's home country.
The two have been a dynamic duo ever since, running the organization side by side.
These are the caregivers, cooks, and communal parents to our children. They are the heart, soul, and glue of the Children’s Home. They keep the project organized and running smoothly. They prepare healthy meals, go on doctors’ visits, do laundry, grow vegetables, and serve as incredible role models. And they are always smiling, laughing, and joking around (even at six in the morning).
Sachyam Upadhaya, Home Caregiver
Sachyam manages all things related to the home and kids at Kopila, with Aakriti. Originally from Lalitpur, he moved to Kathmandu where he received his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from King’s College. His love for hard work, compassion for others, and affinity for communication soon led him to BlinkNow. As a caregiver, he hopes to bring his love for meditation and mindfulness to the children’s home.
Aakriti Subedi, Home Caregiver
Aakriti is responsible for all things related to the Kopila Valley Children’s Home, including the incredible kids in the home. Originally from Kathmandu, Aakriti joined the BlinkNow team after volunteering for Dashain Camp. She earned her Bachelor in Business Information System in Kathmandu College of Management in Nepal. She aspires to explore a course of study that will provide her with the tools necessary to bring positive change to Nepalese society. At Kopila Valley Children's home, she looks after the kids and keeps track of their day to day activities.
Kopila Valley School is run by local teachers, administrators, counselors, and health workers who are completely dedicated to the education, health and well-being of our children and community. They make so much of the magic happen at Kopila Valley, working both inside and outside of the classroom all hours of the day (and sometimes nights) to make sure our students have what they need. The kids all truly love and respect them – and the feeling is clearly mutual.
Naim Chaudhari, Director of the Kopila Valley School
Naim Chaudhari has 30 years of experience in school education gathered from some of the leading schools in Kathmandu, working in different areas as a teacher, hostel warden, head of department, school coordinator, vice principal, principal, administrator, and school director. In 2009 he joined a nonprofit organization established by Marlies Kornfeld, a Swiss philanthropist, for needy children who do not have a strong social background, family, or financial support to rely on. Naim has since been committed to cultivating meaningful learning and happiness in his students; catering with love and compassion – a fatherly figure. Naim met a young American lady in April 2015 named Maggie Doyne, with an honorable vision of giving a better prospect to needy children at the most poverty stricken areas of the western hills of Nepal. He has recently joined Kopila Valley School as the principal to support Maggie Doyne‘s vision of a green, sustainable school and to help change the harsh reality for so many students in Midwestern Nepal.
Dr. Jaddon Park, Director of Staff Development and Curriculum
Jaddon is a Canadian who has lived and worked in Asia for over 15 years. He is now living an adventurous life in Kathmandu with his wife and two young daughters. He earned his doctorate from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto specializing in international development education, teacher development, and school improvement. Jaddon has been a classroom teacher, school principal, teacher educator, lecturer, and a teacher researcher in Nepal, Bangladesh, and the South Pacific. He has experience teaching at the post-secondary level and has designed curricula for both post-graduate and early childhood programs. For the past two years, Jaddon has been working exclusively in early childhood education for an education foundation and an NGO based in Kathmandu. Jaddon joined the Kopila teaching team in 2015.
Meelan Karki, Health and Wellness Administrator
Born and raised in Kathmandu, Meelan earned her bachelor's degree in Pharmacology and a master's in Business Administration. This blend of qualifications makes her uniquely qualified for managing both human and health resources at the Kopila Valley School. Before serving as our Health and Wellness Administrator, Meelan worked as a pharmaceutical manufacturing auditor, a hospital administrator, and an instructor in dental, nursing, and pharmacy courses. At Kopila Valley, she's responsible for overseeing both our physical and mental health programs. She also works on developing our documentation standards, improving our school nutrition program, and creating a smooth workflow in our school clinic. Our students adore her and call her the "Problem Solver," because they believe any issue they bring to her will be solved in no time.
Our program officers are a dedicated team of talented individuals from around the world who work in specialized roles to make sure our project runs smoothly every day. We're lucky to count these guys as part of our family!
C. Luke Metcalf, Director of Sustainability and Engineering
Luke's primary work is to develop and oversee Kopila's various construction projects, with a focus (and indeed, sometimes obsession) on sustainability and the efficient use of resources. Having grown up in rural Vermont with a furniture-maker father and a gardener mother, Luke naturally went on to earn a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics at Tufts University. During his college summers, he worked at construction firms around Boston - initially focusing on residential projects and then transitioning to steel-frame, commercial projects. After graduation, Luke backpacked around Southeast Asia for three months and was inspired to return to that part of the world. At Kopila, Luke collaborates with our architects, engineers, and contractors to build and develop our three future campuses with maximum sustainability, but he has also overseen projects that range from the installation of our home's 4.2 kW solar array to personally building a shaded study-space on our roof.
Anna Felton, Women's Center Director
Located in the United Kingdom and Nepal, Anna studied Fashion Studies at the Arts Institute of Bournemouth. After graduation she went on to work for many lifestyle brands such as Hiut Denim, Howies, and The Do Lectures, before setting up her own business and creative agency. After working across the UK as a designer, maker, and consultant, Anna started working as an associate lecturer for a number of universities across the country, sharing knowledge of branding, start-ups, and ethically conscious business practies. After meeting Maggie in 2009, Anna became the Head of the Women's Center here at Kopila Valley in 2014. Her daily tasks include working alongside the women on a daily basis, building relationships, empowering them to dream and do, and overall inspiring them to be creative and stand on their own two feet. Anna is dedicated to making the Women's Center a place of learning, support, safety, and love for the local women of our area. Her dream is for the project to be a sounding board for other organizations to across the globe.
Jamie MacDonald, Director of Sustainable Living
Jamie is one of the volunteers charged with making BlinkNow and Kopila Valley leaders in environmentally sustainable living. After receiving an undergraduate degree in economics from Union College, he worked in wide range of fields that have helped him gain a holistic understanding of how people can live more responsibly within the limits of the natural world. Internships in the energy departments of pharmaceutical companies, LEED accreditation from the US Green Building Council, and several seasons on an organic-practicing farm in New Jersey have represented anything but a linear career path. Combined, however, they have prepared him well to address the diverse and complex issues that present themselves at Kopila Valley. His primary responsibilities focus on designing Kopila's new school campus and vocational center, where he is identifying appropriate strategies to address issues of waste, water, energy, and food. He is also collaborating with Kopila's teachers and administrators to improve the school's environmental education program and turn our new campus into one big interactive classroom.
Chris Deegan, Director of Architecture and Design
Chris is responsible for managing all architectural and design related projects at Kopila. He first became interested in socially conscious design as an undergraduate while considering the most useful, most effective, and arguably most valuable venue for architecture on a global scale. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Northeastern University, he moved to New York City where he was responsible for significant portions of high-rise building design and portions of small scale institutional design. Chris led the construction of a LEED silver high rise tower, in addition to working on various LEED projects, and a passive house proposal for the City of New York. In 2015 Chris followed his passions to Kopila, where his architectural knowledge successfully accommodates the growing demand of living, learning, and playing responsibly in a world of finite resources, while successfully navigating political, environmental, and social complexities. Chris believes that good design should be accessible to everyone, and is especially interested in intuitive, passive design strategies. Originally from White Plains, New York, he is excited to continue living the adventure in Nepal.
Anjali Belur, BlinkNow Futures Director
Hailing from Bethesda, Maryland, Anjali heads the BlinkNow Futures Program, an initiative to transition our Kopila Buds from life at the children’s home and school to adulthood. This includes facilitating university and scholarship opportunities, transitional housing, skill acquisition programs, and student exchanges abroad. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Anjali studied political science while interning for Congressman Steny Hoyer and working as a research assistant at the Middle East Institute. Having studied in Turkey twice on State Department grants, Anjali has certified advanced fluency in Turkish, which has proven decreasingly useful in her time in Nepal. In the US, Anjali worked as an SAT tutor and a volunteer for the cultural exchange program AFS. She believes in the inclusion of local communities for more powerful and culturally competent programming and spends her free time learning Nepali.
Cal Hudson, Director of Communications and HR
Cal acts as a liaison between the Nepal and the United States side of operations, dealing with volunteer and visitor activities, fellowship opportunities, and the Foundation's social media platforms. Hailing from the UK, Cal received an undergraduate degree in History at Lancaster University before moving along the DMZ in South Korea to work as an English teacher. Cal first came to Kopila in 2015 as part of a team which worked with the Aquaponics system on the new school campus, and returned in his new role after a road trip across the US. Cal's other interests include working with the children of North Korean refugees, writing for a film magazine, volunteering with a peer listening service, contributing to educational blogs, and owning hedgehogs.
WE BELIEVE IN BUILDING A COMMUNITY FROM WITHIN
Our Nepali board consists of 12 respected local leaders, professionals, and elders who bring knowledge, expertise, and supervision to Kopila Valley. They wrote our bylaws, hold community meetings, and meet monthly to discuss new and ongoing Kopila projects and approve spending. The Kopila Board consists of Top Malla (Co-Founder and Chairman), Kalpana Karki, Balaram Adhikary, Ajay Karki, Krishna Thap, Nanda Devi Kafle, Ganga Devi Thapa, Kalpana Karki, Shanti Tolangi, Mimkosha Shahi, Gagan Malla, Prithi Bahadur Malla, and Mahendra Singh.
Top Bahadur Malla, Co-Founder and Chairman, Kopila Valley Home and School
Top Bahadur Malla is the co-founder and chairman of Kopila Valley. After serving at Ramana's Garden for over 15 years, a project for Nepali refugees in India, Top made the decision to return to his birth country and found Kopila. Top grew up in a small Himalayan village where he was orphaned at a young age. Kopila is his way of giving children of his country the childhood he always dreamed of. As Maggie’s partner, Top is responsible for the development, oversight, and management of Kopila Valley on the ground. He oversees a staff of over 50 people and is the key to making ideas become reality at Kopila. He now lives at the Kopila Valley project with his wife and son.
BLINKNOW FOUNDATION TEAM
Maggie Doyne, Founder and CEO
Maggie created the BlinkNow Foundation to sustain, grow, and support Kopila Valley Children’s Home and School in Nepal, and to serve as a vehicle to share her ideas with young people, especially children in the U.S. Maggie believes that in the blink of an eye, we can all make a difference. At age 19, Maggie used her life savings to build a home for orphaned children in war-ravaged Nepal. Today, she is mom to over 50 children. In 2010, she opened a school for the region’s most impoverished children. The school now serves 350 students and is rated top in the region. Maggie was named 2015 CNN Hero of the Year. She was honored by the Dalai Lama as an Unsung Hero of Compassion in 2014. Her work was championed by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof in a cover story for The New York Times Magazine. In 2012, Maggie shared her story at the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy, and in 2013 she received the Forbes Award for Excellence in Education.
Maggie lives at the home with her children in Nepal, and also spends time managing BlinkNow and holding speaking engagements worldwide to inspire young people and develop strategic partnerships.
Robert Vogel, Board Chair and Member of the Finance Committee
Rob is an Associate Principal at Lucas Capital Management, a New Jersey investment manager. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Red Leaf Resources, a producer of liquid fuel from oil shale. Prior to joining Lucas Capital, Rob was Vice President and Treasurer of Hess Corporation, where he also held a variety of other leadership positions. Rob earned a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado and was awarded a master’s degree with distinction from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Rob is an active supporter of not-for-profits. He recently retired as Trustee and Chair of the Investment Advisory Committee for the Community Foundation of New Jersey (CFNJ), after serving for nine years. He now serves as Chair of the Finance Committee at Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church in Warren, New Jersey, and as a member of the National Eagle Scout Association. He resides in Warren with his wife Carrie and their two daughters.
Rob utilizes his nine years of experience at the CFNJ and leadership in other corporate and finance positions to assist BlinkNow in establishing and maintaining best practices in managing financial controls and strategic planning.
Eileen Manning Quick, Vice Chair and Member of the Development and Health & Medical Committees
Eileen is a member of the Board of Trustees of Mount St. Mary Academy and the Student Programs Advisory Board for Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity based in Norfolk, Virginia. Operation Smile provides free surgery to children who are born with cleft lips, cleft palates, and other facial deformities. Eileen has participated on nine medical missions as a Student Sponsor. Eileen graduated from Fairfield University and received a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. Eileen and her husband, Les, reside in Bernardsville, New Jersey, and are the parents of four adult children.
Eileen maintains the records of BlinkNow, ensures compliance with its 501(c)(3) status, seeks out and prepares grant applications, and acts as a key advisor to Maggie. She travelled to Kopila in the fall of 2014.
Melissa Brown, MD, Secretary and Chair of the Health & Medical Committee
Melissa is a pediatrician, retired from clinical practice, who is known as “The Tox Doc for Kids.” Combining 25 years of pediatric clinical experience, a passion for a healthy environment for all living things, and the reality of overwhelmed parents, she partners with parents and parents-to-be to help create awareness of the toxins in everyday household items. She helps them identify, reduce, and eliminate these harmful chemicals in their homes through her proprietary FIRED UP™ system. Her mission is to unite parents and grandparents to bring about a change in legislation to protect children and the environment from the effects of commonly used toxic chemicals. Dr. Brown received her BS degree from Wilmington College and her MD from The Medical College of Ohio, now a part of the University of Toledo. She co-founded the Millburn-Short Hills Chapter of Powerful You!, a women’s networking and empowerment group and continues to co-facilitate this group monthly. She lives in Short Hills, New Jersey, with her husband, Dr. David Brown.
Melissa provides medical advice to Maggie, utilizes her relationships to obtain medical supplies and equipment and provides medical assistance to the Kopila children as needed, including the coordination of transportation and surgical procedures in the U.S. through donations of time and services.
Bill Bartzak, Treasurer
Bill Bartzak is an accomplished entrepreneur with over two decades of experience in healthcare technology, investing, and advising. Bill successfully founded and sold MD On-Line, a healthcare technology company, in 2014, and is currently the managing director and co-founder of Kai Equity. Kai Equity is an investing company that advises and invests in early-to-mid stage businesses helping CEOs and management teams take companies to the next levels of success. Currently sitting on the board of directors for multiple companies, Bill is also a dedicated advisor on the board of Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business Center for Entrepreneurial Studies as well as Seton Hall University’s Leadership Council.
A frequent speaker at healthcare and medical technology industry conferences, Bill is the recipient of numerous business and healthcare awards and accolades. He has also the co-author of a series of books for C-level executives.
Steve Buffone, Board Member
Steve Buffone is a Partner in the New York office of Gibson Dunn. He serves as Co-Chair of the Firm's Corporate Transactions Practice Group and Energy and Infrastructure Practice Groups. He is a corporate transactional lawyer who has represented clients in mergers and acquisitions, public and private issuances of debt and equity securities, venture capital financings, corporate restructurings and bankruptcies, and general corporate counseling.
Steve is a cum laude graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and the Cornell and Stanford Law Schools. He is a member of the New York and California bars and is active in firm management, having previously served as Co-Partner in Charge of the New York office and as a member of the firm's Executive Committee.
Steve is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Do Something.Org, a national charity that inspires and trains teenagers to be leaders in community service. He is a member of the Board of Echoing Green, the premier not-for-profit that provides seed funding to social entrepreneurs around the world and of the National Crisis Text Line, which is making crisis counseling available to young people who prefer to text rather than call. Steve serves on the Board of Regents of Georgetown University, the Board of Visitors of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and as a member of Georgetown’s Campaign Executive Council. He is a former member of the Board of Visitors of Stanford Law School. Steve is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. Steve was recently honored for his pro bono and community service activities by receiving the Cornerstone Award from the Lawyers Alliance of New York, the Outstanding Citizen Award from Do Something and the Point of Light Award from the Points of Light Foundation.
Libby DeLana, Board Member
Founder and Creative Director at Mechanica a branding firm, north of Boston. Also a mom to two very tall and spectacular boys, impatient knitter, JV beekeeper, wife of a master furniture builder, kombucha brewmaster, book nerd, tea junkie, morning walk advocate, and believer in the power of each of us to make our world a great place.
Jeff DiLollo, Board Member and Chair of the Education Committee
Jeff is an educator in the West Morris Regional High School District in Morris County, New Jersey, where he teaches International Baccalaureate courses in American History, Psychology and Philosophy. He serves as the coordinator of an at-risk program for teenagers housed within the school district and is a member of the Intervention and Referral Services Committee that implements Individualized Education Plans. He also is the Director of Youth Services for St. Lawrence Church in Chester, New Jersey. Jeff received his undergraduate degree in History and Education from Seton Hall University and his master’s degree in School Administration from St. Elizabeth’s College in Madison, New Jersey. Jeff supported BlinkNow as a Teacher Trainer on his first visit to Surkhet in 2009 and served as the Principal at Kopila Valley School in 2011-2012.
Jeff’s year serving as Kopila’s principal provides him with a unique perspective in advising the school on curriculum development, recruiting and training staff for the new high school, as well as advising BlinkNow on investing in the campus expansion.
Claudia Mott, Board Member
Claudia is the Principal at Epona Financial Solutions LLC, a fee-only financial planning and investment management firm. Prior to obtaining her Certified Financial Planner® and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ designations, she was a Managing Director at Prudential Securities following the small-cap segment of the stock market. Claudia earned her undergraduate degree cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and her MBA from Boston University. She has always been involved in her community; from chairing committees for the PTO to leading Girl Scout and Cub Scout troops. With her children now grown, she is actively engaged in a number of non-profit organizations. Claudia is a founding member of the Long Hill Township Library Foundation and currently serves as Board President. She is also on the Board of Impact100 Garden State and is a lifetime member of the Friends of Lord Stirling Stable. She lives in the Millington section of Long Hill Township, is the mother of three and is a passionate equestrienne.
David Sager, Board Member
David is a partner at the law firm of DLA Piper, where his practice focuses on class action defense, franchise-related litigation, deal-related litigation, intellectual property litigation and real estate disputes. During a career of more than 25 years practicing law, David has litigated and arbitrated high-stakes business disputes, frequently on behalf of clients that he has represented and partnered with for decades.
David has a BA from the University of Michigan and a JD from Duke University School of Law. He lives in his hometown of Mendham, New Jersey with his wife Megan (who is also a BlinkNow volunteer) and their four boys.
Patty Breech, Chief of Staff
Originally from sunny southern California, Patty received her undergraduate degree in Linguistics from Yale University. After graduation, she biked across the United States to raise money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity before moving to Australia to work in the travel industry. When she returned, she moved to Colorado where she began her career as an environmental consultant. In addition to becoming an Accredited Professional under the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification program, she also ran a non-profit organization that supported elementary school recycling programs. Her most recent role was as PHP programmer for a small web design firm in Colorado, which she left in 2014 to work with BlinkNow. Her role in Kopila Valley was as varied as her career history - she helped with everything from social media, the website, the new sustainable construction project, to generally keeping things running smoothly. Patty has recently returned to the US permanently, where she remains an integral and influential leader of the team.
Ruth Dekker, Chief Operations Officer
Ruth manages the day-to-day operations at BlinkNow’s U.S. headquarters. She works with donors and manages programming, the Kopila Fellows and volunteers. Ruth has spent 25 years working and volunteering in the nonprofit youth-based sector. Prior to joining BlinkNow, Ruth worked as the Kids Resources Manager at the NJ Community FoodBank where she oversaw the collection and statewide distribution of school supplies and new clothing. Ruth has also served as the Public Policy Director for YouWho Inc. Policy Watchdog for Kids, and the Director of Public Education and Advocacy for Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana. She holds a master’s degree in Public Health from Tulane University and a BA from Macalester College. Ruth previously served on the Board of NJ CASA and currently serves on the Environmental Commission in Chatham, New Jersey. A yoga enthusiast and runner, Ruth loves working with BlinkNow and believes we all have the power to change our world. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Chatham.
Jeanne LeMon, Accounting Manager
Jeanne manages the books of BlinkNow, working closely with BlinkNow and Kopila auditors and the Finance Committee to maintain proper accounting and tax controls. Jeanne is also Treasurer for Stanley Nursery School and accountant for Girls on the Run NJ East and Sum it Up For Girls, all 501(c)(3) organizations. Previously, Jeanne was an Assistant Controller for Corporate Property Investors and a Manager with Ernst & Young. Jeanne is a CPA with a BS in Accounting from LeMoyne College. Jeanne and her husband Jim live in Chatham, New Jersey, and are the parents of five children, with the oldest two currently in college.
Allison Dalziel, Program Associate
Allison oversees the student sponsorship program, supports BlinkNow's financial development program and the Directors of Operations, both in the U.S. and Nepal. She has a strong background in administrative and accounting roles, and prior to joining BlinkNow was Office Manager and Bookkeeper for a privately owned bicycle business. She also managed the marketing, production, and distribution of the company's line of custom cycling apparel. Allison began her career in Arts Management in New York City, and worked in finance and human resources for The Rockefeller Group. She earned her B.A. in Economics and Music from Albion College in Michigan. She has been a long time volunteer, enjoys coaching cycling teams for century rides, and is struggling to become a runner. Her fervent desire to be outside is reflected in her motto, "Any day on snow is a great day." Allison is honored to join BlinkNow and is passionate about making a difference. She and her husband reside in Chatham, New Jersey, have two children, and are transitioning empty nesters.
Autumn Cobb, PR & Social Media Coordinator
Autumn is a San Francisco native and a graduate of Penn State University where she received her degree in Public Relations. She began her career at Edelman Silicon Valley where she worked on enterprise technology accounts. After relocating to New York City, she joined Access Communications where she contributed to campaigns for Facebook Small Business and EMC. She later moved on to work in SoulCycle's corporate offices on the company's SuperSoul team. In October of 2015, Autumn joined the BlinkNow Foundation to help lead the 2015 CNN Hero campaign for Maggie Doyne in Nepal. Now, back in the Americas, she's living in Mexico City working on her Spanish and supporting BlinkNow with PR, social media, editorial, research and speaking efforts.
Matt is the Board Vice Chair and Co-Founder of Blue School. He co-founded Blue Man Group, which opened Off-Broadway at the Astor Place Theatre in 1991, and continues to play there today.
Austin is a media executive, film producer and philanthropist. He plays a leadership role in the still family-owned Hearst Corporation, one of the nation’s largest diversified media companies, where he has been a member of the board of directors since 1990.
Jeffrey C. Walker
Jeff is Vice Chair in the United Nations Envoy’s Office for Health Finance and Malaria. He also currently serves on the Boards of New Profit, Berklee College of Music, Morgan Library, Lincoln Center Film Society, The Miller Center and University of Virginia’s Undergraduate Business School, where he was President for ten years.
Duke is an inspired protagonist who loves to build cultural bonfires. His eclectic background includes: former pro hockey player in Sweden, 15+ years at NIKE, CMO at Seventh Generation, first Expert-In-Residence at Presidio Graduate School, SVP Culture-Creative-Brand Innovation at Easton Sports and is currently curator and co-host for The DO Lectures USA.
Amund was a member of BinkNow’s board from 2011 until 2014, when he left the board to move to California. He is an award-winning songwriter and record producer.
Roohi is an experienced education leader focusing on the transition from secondary education to university. She is working with our Kopila Valley students to help them transition from high school to university and career destinations. Roohi is working to put in place a college and career advising curriculum for the team on the ground, and is seeking financial aid for students to study abroad.