by Natalie Petersen
We're pleased to announce the new Directors on the US Servas Board: Leena Desai, Tim Sullivan, Connie Ross, and Kelly Sackheim. They bring a broad range of skills and experience to the table; we look forward to how these will strengthen US Servas. It was exciting to get to know these candidates as we heard their ideas and saw their passion for Servas during the Meet Your Candidates Forum on October 18th. The New Board Member terms begin January 1, 2024. Desai, Sullivan, and Ross will each serve a three-year term, while Sackheim will serve a one-year term.
Leena Desai has been on the Board since 2020 and is currently our treasurer. This is her second term. She has a background in medical research management and has served as treasurer for various nonprofit organizations. She has helped US Servas transition to an all-volunteer organization and to develop the 5-branch structure. With other board members, she has worked to make Servas' finances more transparent, organized, and accountable. She has also been an interviewer for Servas, participated in the Peace & Justice Committee, and is always ready to recruit new member volunteers worldwide. Leena is particularly interested in Servas collaborating with other non-profit organizations.
Tim Sullivan has been serving as an interim Board member after serving as an interviewer. He has a background in business and nonprofit finance and served as chair on a variety of boards. He is interested in expanding membership - particularly to younger and non-typical travelers - through utilizing tools to better understand traveler experiences, developing programs and tools to reach younger and more diverse populations, expanding and supporting US Servas’ relationship with Servas International, developing ways to communicate with and engage members, and actively looking for and implementing new programs to engage in peace and understanding.
Connie Ross joins the board with a background in non-profits and education. She has done significant work in the Peace Corps. She became a Servas Member in 1995 and has first-hand experience as a traveler and a host in building peace one contact at a time. Connie is interested in using her skills and experience within the area of community outreach; particularly with event planning and member services for new members. Additionally, she has ideas on how technology could be utilized to broaden the Servas membership base.
Kelly Sackheim comes to the Board with experience working internationally with national organizations supporting travelers. She served as Board President for the Sacramento Council for International Visitors, and during her tenure led the effort to incorporate as a not-for-profit corporation. Kelly is very involved in sponsoring the travel of citizens and residents of less developed countries to the U.S. She is interested in expanding Servas' volunteer engagement by improving processes, particularly in the area of technology, and exploring Servas' involvement in improving immigration policies.
Servas Board members form a dynamic group of passionate, dedicated, and engaged individuals working collectively to fulfill our mission of promoting peace and understanding through travel and hosting. Let’s extend a warm welcome to the newest members of our US Servas Board of Directors!