Helene served as an Urban Community Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Barranquilla, Colombia from 1968-70 and as a Small Business Development volunteer in Slovakia from 1997-1999. She is a former member of the National Peace Corps Association Board of Directors, former chair of its Micro-Enterprise Program and has served on the board of directors of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida and Friends of Colombia. In 2007, Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter presented Helene with a Presidential lifetime service award for her on-going commitment to service and Peace Corps values. In 2013, she received the Lillian Carter Award from President Jimmy Carter. She has a B.A. from St. Louis University and a Masters in Management Information Systems from Florida International University. In 2008 she retired after 22 years in Miami-Dade County government and six years with state government in Illinois and Florida.
Helene is a founding member of The Colombia Project- TCP Global and 2019-20 President of the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove.
Jerry Fickel was an agriculture program volunteer in Peace Corps Colombia during 1967-1969 in the northern department of Bolivar. Fickel was first assigned to PINA, a human nutrition program and later worked with SENA, a vocational education program, together with the INCORA land reform project at Marialabaja. Fickelâ€™s primary efforts were directed toward teaching farmers methods of handling and raising cattle.
Fickel is a graduate of Kansas State University in Animal Husbandry with graduate studies in animal reproduction. His career, by combining his education with Peace Corps experience, has been one of sales of breeding cattle and genetic products throughout Latin America.
Fickel resides in Miami and is on the board of other not-for-profits, The Ministry of The Good Shepherd, which provides nutrition and community development projects in Peru, Alticultura, which records climate change on farms at high altitude in Guatemala and seeks crops adapted to the changes, and Empowered Youth, a program to give inner-city boys in Miami a second chance. He volunteers with the local St. Vincent de Paul Society to visit and assist the poor and is a member of the Hialeah-Miami Lakes Rotary Club . Jerry has visited three of the micro-loan sites in Colombia, participated in the 2009 Micro-Loan Micro-Summit in Cartagena and assisted with Colombia Project workshops in La Victoria in 2012.
Kiki Mutis was born in Colombia and has lived in Miami since 1981. She received a Bachelors of Art in Environmental Studies and Master of Science in Environmental Science from Florida International University after completing the Peace Corps Master International Program. Kiki Mutis worked as a Natural Resource Volunteer in Bolivia from 1999- 2001.
Kiki has been a member of The Colombia Project Board since 2004 and has traveled to Colombia to meet program administrators and visit micro-loan sites in order to better understand their front-line concerns. Kiki often handles the SKYPE communications with partners in Colombia.
Kiki currently works as the Community Outreach Coordinator at Fairchild Tropical Garden Since 2004 she has been an active Member of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida and volunteers with RPCV events such as organizing the annual Everglades National Park Trip. During the last four years Ms. Mutis has worked in the planning and implementation of the annual Everglades Trip. She recruits naturalist from local environmental organizations who volunteer to guide homeless and migrant farm-worker children thru the trails of the park. She contacts and works closely with National Park staff to ensure that the Everglades outing will be successful.
Kiki sits on the board of the Environmental Education Providers and umbrella organization for organizations providing a vast assortment of environmental education to the greater Miami Dade community. She also leads excursions for Miami Dade College, Earth Ethics Institute.
Dave served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala with his wife, Sally and is still actively involved in programs to serve the impoverished Mayan population in the northwestern mountain region. Through his membership in the Coconut Grove Rotary Club, Dave secured Rotary financial assistance to help the Adopt-A-Village community development program build that region’s first school. After COLIBRI constructed a first class clinic (equipped with a generator since there is no electricity in this remote Mayan area) Dave secured Rotary financial support to buy medicines and vitamins for the clinic and also run several medical and dental missions to serve the Mayan community. Dave is exploring possibilities for introducting micro-loans to the region.
Dave has an MBA from Harvard University and has worked in business in Bogota and throughout Latin America and Asia since completing his Peace Corps service in Guatemala. He joined the board of The Colombia Project in 2010. Dave participated in a due-diligence visit to the Santa Marta programs in 2010 to see the communal banks in action and to visit the weaver’s cooperative in the Guajira. He also participated in the 2012 workshops where he met all of the TCP administrators and visited nearby micro-entrepreneurs who had received Colombia Project loans.
Dave made two trips to Barranquilla to facilitate the preparation of the Rotary International grant application and then to oversee the micro-loan program implementation by the Club Rotario de Barranquilla Oriente (CRBO) in Barranquilla. Dave assisted The Colombia Project in two successful Rotary District grant applications for regular Colombia Project micro-loan programs.
Dave is the grants coordinator for the Coconut Grove Rotary Club.
Mark Aledda served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Medellin, Colombia from 1973-1975 working with small businesses and credit cooperatives. Mark graduated from Boston College with an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, and also holds an MBA from the Thunderbird School of International Management. Mark worked for over 30 years in International Banking, including overseas assignments in Chile and Mexico, and spent the final 6 years of his career at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, before retiring in 2016. He has been an active TCP committee member since 2009.
Sally spent part of her childhood in Cali, Colombia. She was an ETV volunteer who originally trained for Uruguay and completed her Peace Corps Service in Cucuta, Colombia and the surrounding region of the Santanderes from 1967-69.
Sally is now in private practice as a psychologist in Miami and joined The Colombia Project Board in 2008. Sally participated in the 2012 workshops in La Victoria, Colombia where she met all of The Colombia Project administrators and visited nearby micro-entrepreneurs.
George Gonzalez is a founding member of Mission Ninos de Colombia (MINICOL) which provides scholarships and other types of support for primary education for children from marginalized families in impoverished communities throughout Colombia. The Colombia Project and MINICOL began to work together in 2007 when George joined the TCP board. As of 2013, MINICOL administrators in six sites provide Colombia Project micro-loans. George is originally from Barranquilla and his wife, Noralba, is from Pereira. They live in Miami and make regular due-diligence visits to the MINICOL sites in Colombia and also maintain phone contact with the administrators on a regular basis. George and Noralba, through MINICOL, arranged workshops where the TCP administrators shared best practices in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
Founding member of The Colombia Project. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Palmira, Valle de Cauca - Colombia from 1973 to 1974. Tim served as an education volunteer from 1973-74 at the Centro International de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) teaching communication and technical English to graduate students from South America, Central America, and Africa who were earning post-graduate certificates in agriculture. One day per week, he also taught English as a Second Language SENA in Buga. During his last six months in Colombia, he worked as the Volunteer Leader of the Education Program. Tim earned his bachelor’s degree in Public Address and Group Communication at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, an M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Psychology at Loyola University of Chicago, and a Master’s in Public Health at Florida International University. Tim had a long career at Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System as Director of Training for Psychology Service and as the facility’s Designated Learning Office before taking a position as a psychologist with Peace Corps in 2010.
Andrew Koch, a TCP Board Member since 2018, is currently an MBA Candidate at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Andrew served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia in the Community Economic Development sector where he advised local NGO, 'La Olla Milagrosa', in its launch of a TCP micro-loan program. Andrew also has also worked as an Investment Analyst for Polymath Ventures, a Bogota-based company builder, and as an Analyst for Wells Fargo Securities' Investment Banking and Capital Markets platform. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Wake Forest University.
Jose E. Tocasuche was born in Bogota, Colombia and arrived to New York at the age of six. He grew up between New York and Connecticut. As a Senior at Greenwich High School, he was captain of his swim team, leading them to Fairfield County Champions. He is still an avid swimmer. He attended Long Island University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Communications eventually working for Telemundo, Viacom, ESPN and Discovery Communications. In 2011, Jose moved to Miami, Florida and currently works for Canadian Bank Note Company as the company's lead in market research.
As Director of Marketing and Digital Insights, Jose implements his passion to promote the voice of the individual. He is committed to engaging corporate decision makers with consumers’ needs and wants. He also pursues this mission of giving the individual a voice through his volunteer work at TCP Global. He is happily married to his wife Olaydis and has two loving daughters, Valentina and Olivia.
Will is an entrepreneur and concept designer with an MBA from the University of Texas at El Paso. He served as a business development Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine ('13-'14) and a Response Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia('16). During his service in Colombia — Will supported the development of a community non-profit (PROEDUPAZ) which later became a TCP Global partner. PROEDUPAZ continues to serve their community with micro loans and small business training while mentoring other TCP Global programs in the region.