Born and raised in Monimbo, Nicaragua (revered as the cradle of Nicaraguan Folklore and still renowned for its arts and crafts), Agnes was born into a humble family of artisans. Since age 6 she has been weaving bags, belts, and hammocks from natural yarns. At age 15 this skill became her profession when she left her studies to focus on raising the first of her three children. Through hard work & perseverance, she eventually procured a stall in the municipal market, which is where we were so fortunate to stumble upon her pulseras.
Since she began working with the PP in 2008, Agnes has proven invaluable at organizing her peers, and quickly earned a permanent position in assisting fellow artisans improve the quality and consistency of their art. Through visits to the States and local organizations we partner with, she has developed a broad understanding of the projects goals and plays an integral role on the Artisan Advocate Board.
Agnes Janette Acuña
Arquimedes hails from Monimbo and is an active member of its indigenous community. His upbringing, culture, and Jesuit education has instilled in him a deep sense of responsibility for public service. Since his teenage years he has worked on human rights initiatives for migrants, indigenous peoples, and women alike. Upon finishing his degree in Social Communications, he has worked extensively for the US and Spanish Embassies as well as teaching journalism at a local university.
His main role is to oversee the execution of our Artisan Benefits budget, including the health, housing and scholarship programs, etc.. He'll also handle our digital media efforts and serve as Artisan Advocate for the junior artisans.
Artisan Benefits Coordinator
Evan is originally from Athens, Ohio but settled in Granada, Nicaragua over a decade ago. Over the years he’s been an entrepreneur, project manager and bicultural consultant for individuals and business. In addition to spending time with his family, he currently serves as the director of our operations in Nicaragua and Guatemala.
While in the past Evan worked directly with artists and partner organizations, his latest role is developing and supporting our local team to manage operations. He also leads student and teacher trips, helps guide our strategy in the region, and spends time investigating high-impact organizations for the Pulsera Project to partner with!.
Artisan Development / Impact Team
Jael is from Masaya, where she currently lives with her family and is raising her 11 and 2 year old children. Upon finishing a degree in psychology, she originally joined the project as psychologist in 2012. Since then she has decided to go back to school to study Homeopathic Medicine.
She's also a part time artisan, co-leads Artisan Development, and is part of our Evaluations Team. In short, she's extremely versatile and wonderful to work with.
In her own words, "Being an artisan of the Pulsera Project has allowed me engage with many people, learn from the other artisans and continue my studies. Thanks to my scholarship from the project, it helps fulfill my goal to help more people, not just within the context of mental health, but now also socially, physically and emotionally."
Jorge was born in Managua in 1983 and continues to live there with his wife and daughter. He studied law at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) and later went on to get a Masters in Non-Profit Administration at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, España (UAM).
The last 10 years he has worked as a professor of law and as a university administrator the past 10 years. At the same time he also coordinated a 3 year initiative by the Organization of American States (OAS) that worked with dozens of organizations dedicated to various programs, including the youth, violence, art, peace culture and education.
He currently forms part of the Evaluations Team, helping the project improve its methodology and conduct impact evaluations of organizations we are considering funding & collaborating with
Jorge Francisco Morales
Social Impact Coordinator
Juana Xoch Ibaté, is from a small community called El Triunfo in the Solola region of Guatemala where from a young age she worked hard to support her family. During these early experiences she found different civil and women's organizations where she learned about her rights and the value of her work.
In 2010 she founded the women's group SANIK alongside other women from her community, deciding that with collaboration and teamwork, the group could become bigger than the sum of its parts. Currently, there are 15 women in the Sanik cooperative, which has allowed them to achieve a higher standard of living for their families while promoting equality and the importance of women in their communities where the culture is predominantly masculine.
Her main role is to coordinate the purchase of bracelets and manage quality control. She coordinates with other women within her community and her goal is to preserve their traditions and culture through their embroidery and bracelets that have been inherited by their ancestors from generation to generation.
Oscar is our local Nicaraguan expert. Born and raised in Granada, Nicaragua he provides insight and perspectives that others might not see. As an only child, raised by mother and an aunt, he praises his difficult upbringing for instilling in him a profound appreciation for family and the love it radiates. He’s since been happily married for 27 years and enjoyed raising their three children in their hometown.
Industrious as he is ambitious, Oscar was a welder before studying to be an accountant in the late 80’s and then administration in the 90’s. Over the years he’s worked for the government and private businesses, but since joining our team expresses gratitude for the opportunity to contribute his knowledge and efforts to a nonprofit organization that prioritizes people's well being.
Oscar Eduardo Obando
Born and raised in Granada, Nicaragua. Skarlette is both local and has ample experience traveling and working throughout the Americas. She majored in Pedagogy at La Universidad Catolica and has over a decade of experience teaching. Before joining the PP she served as Educational Programs Director for different non-profits and has found a happy home with the PP.
Though Skarlette provides perspective on everything we do, her main focus is working directly with artisans and promoting their well-being. She oversees the formation of new artists groups, the purchase of their pulseras, and coordinates our health, housing and scholarship programs. When not in the field, she likes to spend her time with family, reading, watching movies, and gathering with friends.
Chris Howell, Co-Founder
In addition to working with teachers across the country to coordinate pulsera sales, Chris heads the project’s educational mission in the U.S. He co-leads the project’s Educational Committee with Amanda Seewald, and has collaborated with Spanish teachers to develop the videos, activities, and lessons that we offer to all schools hosting pulsera sales.
Chris also plans and leads the teacher trips to Central America with Evan Durand. In 2018, he wrote the project’s core educational values, and is developing a guide that further examines the lessons we’ve learned over the past decade. He also manages inventory, films and edits the project’s growing video collection, and develops new initiatives for teachers to see the work we do in Nicaragua and Guatemala firsthand.
Colin Crane, Co-Founder
Colin led one of the first-ever pulsera sales while still attending American University in D.C. in 2010 and has been working to build and expand the Pulsera Project ever since.
Colin handles a wide range of essential tasks in the project, from creating all of our visual branding & design materials to managing the website and social media, coordinating pulsera sales with hundreds of teachers and university students each year, handling much of our U.S. accounting, co-creating all of our educational videos, acting as resident photographer, sending out retail orders, attending state & national language conferences, and getting covered in paint making our colorful sale folders and tri-fold displays.
Jillian Bonner, U.S. Administrator
Jillian joined the U.S. Operations team in 2013 to develop Spanish curriculum when the educational program was in its infancy. She has collaborated with teachers during trips to Nicaragua and the Educational Committee to grow this integral part of the project. She is proud to have watched the educational mission of The Pulsera Project come to fruition and to have enriched K-12 Spanish classrooms in all 50 states.
Jillian coordinates pulsera sales with teachers and students across the U.S., packs and ships every pulsera box, counts through mountains of pulseras, attends regional World Language conferences and takes care of the Pulsera mascot, Kennedy.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Abby started out leading a pulsera sale at Henderson High School in 2010, and she has been actively involved in the Pulsera Project since then.
While enrolled full-tme at Tulane University Abby spent two summers working hand-in-hand with artists in Nicaragua, and since graduating in 2015 she has been a key player in much of the behind-the-scenes decision making of the Pulsera Project.
Amanda has been teaching children, coaching educators, and developing curricula for 18 years. She works with educators and schools across the U.S. & Europe to develop meaningful language programs.
She is the owner of MARACAS Language Programs, is a regular presenter at national, regional, & state conferences, and works with legislative offices to garner support for educational programs. Her advocacy work in New Jersey led to the signing of the Seal of Biliteracy into law in 2016. She is the president of the Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey (FLENJ) and serves on the executive board of the Joint National Committee on Language.
Chris Crane, Co-Founder
One of the four project co-founders and a member of the board of directors, Chris lives for new experiences and adventure. He’s co-led countless expeditions throughout Nicaragua and Guatemala and he also leads intellectual adventures into fascinating fields such as human well-being, social enterprise, and cognitive science. He’s co-architect of the Project’s social impact assessment program which tracks Project efforts to improve human well-being. As a co-leader of operations and strategy, Chris enjoys turning the Pulsera Project upside-down and inside-out periodically to see if we can figure out a better way. He loves collaborating with open minds and big hearts to create a more just and caring world.
Daniela was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela and has spent the last 6 years living in Mexico and the US. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration and has over three years of experience in communications and marketing in non-profit organizations and technology firms. She received a Certificate in Social Enterprise Management and Impact Investment with the Frontier Market Scouts program and was connected to the Pulsera Project.
She spent two years helping design and implement the projects approach to evaluating social impact. She now serves as a volunteer member of our committee that oversees investments in projects, organizations, and community development initiatives.
Joe graduated from Eastern University in 2008 and took a job in Uganda as Country Director of a non-profit that provided employment for 130 displaced refugees. Joe then started a social enterprise in Uganda called "Tukula", with his wife Melissa. He lived and worked in Uganda for 4 years before moving back to the U.S.
Since 2012, Joe has been involved in multiple capacities with the Pulsera Project, including forming a partnership between the Project and Tukula, as well as attending multiple pulsera sale events. Joe is now looking forward to working closer with the Project, and is happy to be the newest member of the Board of Directors.
Joan and her son Chris are two of the original pulsera sale pioneers!! Joan led one of the first-ever pulsera sales at Friendship Elementary school, where she has been a teacher for many years. She and Chris have traveled to Nicaragua with us many times and seen the transformation of the Pulsera Project from a small home-grown project to what it is today!
Joan has been on the Board of Directors since the beginning and has had a hand in many important Pulsera Project decisions.
Sue Patterson, Co-Founder
Sue is the project's wonder-woman accounting guru, and handles all of the project's financial tasks! She works as a volunteer and dedicates hundreds of hours to the project on top of her full-time work as a software support team-leader for Ellucian.
Sue has been part of the project's unpaid staff since 2009, keeping track of school sales and Nicargua projects along with mountains of receipts. When Sue's sunny disposition isn't visiting the project's many artisans or educational partners, she and her husband Chris are scouting the Nicaraguan outback looking for new student trip adventures.
Carrie has been teaching all levels of high school Spanish in southern Illinois since 1994. She has her Bachelors in Spanish education from Western Illinois University and her Masters in Spanish Education from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. She is a National Board Certified teacher and the author of comprehension based readers for the Spanish classroom.
A passionate curriculum developer, Carrie creates units and resources for teachers using the Understanding by Design or backward planning method. Carrie is also a National Geographic certified educator. Her passion for science and the environment brings many STEM based units to her classes at all levels.
Linda Egnatz is the 2014 ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year and received the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2013. A high school Spanish teacher from Illinois, her annual student travel tours were recognized with the 2015 ACTFL Global Engagement Initiative Award.
Linda is committed to providing language learners with meaningful interactions beyond classroom walls and supporting educators looking to create globally-focused curriculum. An avid traveler, she frequently visits Latin America and is excited to make interculturality a "Can-Do."
She is active in state, regional and national organizations, a past President and current Webmaster of the Illinois Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and JNCL-NCLIS Board of Director member, and is well known for her advocacy role in the Seal of Biliteracy movement.
Cathy McCauley is a native of Arizona and has been teaching for over 25 years. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Communications and Political Science and after backpacking for 4 months decided that languages and education was her passion.
She graduated with a Master's degree from Grand Canyon University and began her teaching career as a middle school bilingual teacher. Cathy has taught courses for native speakers, IB courses and currently teaches AP Spanish. Last year she traveled to Nicaragua with the Pulsera Project summer teacher trip, an experience that has only strengthened her commitment to the project.
Nathan is the Global Learning Coordinator and Primary School French Teacher at Kent Place School, a leader in girls’ education, in Summit, New Jersey.
As an advocate for early world language instruction for all children, he serves the profession in various leadership roles: vice president of programs of the Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey’s (FLENJ); president of the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL); and vice chair of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL).
Nathan is a frequent conference presenter, program consultant, and writer for various early language programs.
Kennedy joined the project in 2014 as our official puppy mascot. Her professional strengths include barking at delivery personnel, begging for food, supervising pulsera counting, and general adorableness.
She enjoys sleeping, playing frisbee with the US Operations team and going home at the end of the day.
At almost 12 years young, Dufresne brings a lot of wisdom to the team. He has over a decade of experience in puppy dog eyes, napping and scavenging for food.
In his free time, Dufresne enjoys working on his memoir, reading political non-fiction, and taking long walks.