María del Rosario (Shary) Almaguer Leal
Shary grew up in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México. She has a Master of Science in Interaction Design and a BS in Computer Science from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.
Shary moved to Seattle, WA back in 2015 for work reasons, where she helped One Equal Heart during the GiveCamp Hackathon to redesign One Equal Heart’s website, since that time she fell in love with the work of One Equal Heart in Chiapas. Nowadays, Shary is coursing the MSc in Interaction Design from the Cyprus University of Technology. Her expertise with technology and interaction design will provide the board of members with new skills that will allow One Equal Heart to achieve even more.
“I’m so thankful of being part of One Equal Heart; I love México, I love the traditions, I love the people! Now, I feel I can do something to help my country in a very different way. I’m very proud of Tseltal communities, their love for the Mother Earth and their way of thinking have inspired me to be a better person, and to say ‘I don’t want these communities just to disappear!’ because they are part of what México is. I’m committed to my home country, and I need to help them, there is no better way to do it.”
Shary lives in Bellevue with her husband and her lovely dog. During her free time, she loves to be outdoors hiking with her family, kayaking or swimming. She enjoys going to the farmers market and cooking. As a latina, she also likes to meet with her close friends.
Jeannie Berwick, Founder
Jeannie served as One Equal Heart’s volunteer executive director for 13 years, and is now serving on the Board in an ex-officio capacity.
In February of 1998, Jeannie made her first trip to Chiapas in response to the call for international presence in support of the indigenous people and those who supported them in the face of increasing paramilitary violence and military occupation. That experience not only opened her eyes, but also her heart.
“It was like seeing lightning illuminate the landscape in the middle of the night. Once you’ve seen it, you can’t forget the possibilities. I wanted to join in their work to advance the human rights of indigenous people and to build more just and sustainable communities that take into account the health of the Earth.”
Jeannie graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor’s in Human Biology in 1979 and received a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley in 1983. She practiced immigration and refugee law for over twenty years. She was one of a group of lawyers who founded the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and served on its Board of Directors for 18 years. Jeannie has traveled to Chiapas, México, every year–sometimes multiple times–since 1998, to visit our partners there.
Jeannie lives in Seattle with her husband Jim Degel; they have three adult children.
Malou Chavez, Secretary
Malou has a depth of experience in legal advocacy for immigrants. She earned a Bachelor’s in Political Science from UCLA and her law degree from Seattle University School of Law.
She serves as Deputy Director and staff attorney at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) in Seattle. Since 2008, Malou has been part of NWIRP—first as a volunteer legal intern, then a legal fellow working with survivors of violence, and now as an attorney representing immigrants in removal proceedings and family-based petitions.
“At NWIRP, I have learned that decisions are best when they are informed around the needs and stories of the communities we serve. Working collaboratively or as part of a team is important to my work. I like the ‘honoring’ aspect of One Equal Heart’s mission because it reflects our conscious efforts to have the indigenous communities always present in the work that we do in collaboration with the communities, while recognizing that the work is guided by the communities themselves.”
Malou grew up in Compton, California and lives in Seattle. In her free time, she practices Pilates and enjoys catching up with family and friends. She especially loves spending time with her nephew Winston.
Avelino (Avy) Estrada, Treasurer
Avy found One Equal Heart in late 2018 and felt a pull to contribute to our mission. He has been helping our team revamp our website to be more user-friendly and visually pleasing. He joined the Board in May of 2019.
He currently works as the Director of Business Operations at Crisis Connection. He has many years of experience in projects and development in the financial and business area. He has technical skills he’s used for sales, re-sale, rebranding to give more exposure to companies and businesses.
Avy is proud to be half Mexican, and has visited numerous areas throughout Chiapas in his life, and has seen the needs of the communities. He’s looking forward to helping to form leaders, grow communities, and bring knowledge and tools for future generations that will change the world. He also wants to help preserve traditions and culture, but more personally, to honor his mother’s heritage.
“I strongly believe that we need to invest in our future generations, and doing something now, will have an impact in the next 20 or 30 years, but at the same time, help the ones that sometimes are not heard today, so our children learn, that it’s not enough knowing, we need to give, it’s not enough doing, we need to share.”
Avy lives in Wallingford, and likes to bike, run, camp, read, record music and watch movies in his free time.
Carla Villoria, President
Carla comes to One Equal Heart with experience in project and program management, monitoring and evaluation, global health, and international development.
She is currently a Senior Project Manager at Samasource, an organization that lifts people out of poverty by connecting them to dignified digital work. Prior to Samasource, Carla worked in the Global Health field, and before that she spent four years at Microsoft, where she was a Program Manager for a variety of teams and heavily involved in corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Originally from Venezuela, Carla has a Bachelor’s of Computer Science from Texas A&M University and a Executive Master in Public Administration from the University of Washington. She has spent significant time traveling throughout the world, including all around Mexico with her husband, who is from Mexico City.
“I am passionate about sustainable development and about how One Equal Heart aims to achieve that in Chiapas: working hand in hand with Tseltal communities to bring about desired change focused on making communities more equitable and prosper. I am excited and honored to be part of this mission.”
Carla lives in Seattle with her husband.
Clare grew up in Connecticut with two brothers and many pets. She studied biology and fine art in undergrad and pursued her masters Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where she deepened her passion and knowledge of eco-tourism, community development, and nature-based education.
Clare visited Chiapas with friends in 2013. Before moving to Seattle, she came across One Equal Heart and was thrilled to find that her academic background and passion for women’s rights, equity, and sustainable development aligned so closely with the organization.
“I am excited by the prospect of working with individuals who are carefully trying to balance involvement with indigenous groups with endogenous development as the end goal. I especially appreciate that One Equal Heart seems to be pacing their programs and is not rushing to dole out financial support and move on to something else. It would be a special opportunity for me to build relationships with the One Equal Heart team here and in Chiapas.”
In her free time, Clare loves to cook, dance salsa, and exercise her passport.
Emily Schulman, Vice President
Even before Emily moved from Denver, Colorado, to Seattle in early 2015, she reached out to One Equal Heart, she was drawn to our “commitment to relationship building, collaborative decision-making, shared learning and true partnership with the Tseltal communities.”
Emily is a Program Director for Iconic Adventures, where she focuses on the strategy and details that go into creating great group travel experiences for their clients.
Emily has a Bachelor’s and a Spanish Certificate from Carlton College, where she majored in Latin American Studies, and a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies, with a Global Health Certificate, at Tulane University.
Emily has spent time in Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Nicaragua, where she was engaged in a variety of activities, including studying Spanish and Portuguese and conducting field research. She speaks fluent Spanish.
“I was drawn to One Equal Heart because of my strong interests in cross-cultural exchange, collaborative and culturally responsive development, and social justice. I spent time working with indigenous communities in Guatemala and was struck both by the multiple layers of marginalization they faced, and by how much we were able to learn from one another. It inspired me to find an organization working in a true partnership with the community it serves.”
She enjoys studying, working, and traveling abroad and lives in Seattle with her partner, Evan.