Charles Okorie, M.Sc. Arch.(Founder/Chairman)
Charles Okorie graduated with a Masters degree in Architecture from Abia State University in Nigeria. Upon graduation, he worked for a firm in Lagos, Nigeria before setting up his own Design/Build firm- CBD Nigeria limited in 1998. Shortly after, he moved to the United States with his wife and daughter in 1999. Currently, he is the President/Chief Consultant of CBD Designs – a design firm based in Nashua, New Hampshire.
In college, he was an active member of the Christian Union. He is also a member of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship international.
In his local church – First Church of Nashua, NH. UCC, he is on the board of the property management committee, an Usher, a Deacon, and a Reader.
Charles is married to Dr. Mrs. Ijeoma Okorie (nee Igbogbahaka). They are blessed with 4 children – 2 boys and 2 girls.
Akin Ayi (Co Vice-Chairman)
Akin Ayi was born in Ondo state in Nigeria. He began his career as both an elementary and high school teacher in the 1970s before he came to the United States in 1976. After earning a BS in Engineering at the University of Michigan, Akin graduated with a BS degree in Computer Science from Eastern Michigan University.
In the 1980s, Akin moved to New Hampshire and worked at various levels of software engineering development within Wang Labs. In the early 1990s, he worked at Cabletron as Development Manager for the IBM connectivity group. He later worked as Director of Software Engineering at a number of startup companies in the New England area including, Opticom and Wavesmith. Currently, Akin is Development Manager at Nextchoice.
Akin has lived in Nashua for over 30 years. He has volunteered with the interfaith group in Nashua, NH working to end homelessness; through his church, he volunteers at the Nashua Soup Kitchen.
Akin is a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Nashua, NH and is a married father of two sons and proud grandfather of two.
Rev. James S. Chaloner (Co Vice-Chairman)
Jim Chaloner graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BA degree in history in 1970. Jim worked in the Human Resource Department at the J.F. McElwain Company for five years following his graduation from college. In 1976 Jim enrolled at Bangor Theological Seminary. In 1979 Jim earned a M. Div. degree and was ordained in that same year. He was called to the First Church of Nashua, NH UCC as an Associate Minister in 1979. In 1984 Jim was called to be First Church’s twenty second Senior Minister, where he served for 35 years prior to his recent retirement.
Jim was a member of the board of directors of the Adult Learning Center for six years and the Board of Directors of United Way of Greater Nashua for 16 years. He was instrumental in the formation of the Anne-Marie House, a homeless shelter in Hudson, NH, and he was one of the founders of the Front Door Agency in Nashua, NH.
Jim is married to Lisa and has three grown children.
Steve Chaloner (Board Member)
Steve Chaloner, a native of New Hampshire, was an All-American Track and Field athlete in High School. He went on to study at Brown University where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Art. He then continued his education at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland U.K. where he received a Master of Science in Design & Digital Media.
Steve currently works as a consultant partnering with early stage companies that are looking to improve and expand their online presence and reach.
Over the past 5 years, he has had the pleasure of working with businesses and organizations in various industries facing diverse challenges.
Steve is an active member of First Church in Nashua, NH where he sits on the board of Christian Education. He is also a member of the marketing committee of the United Way of Greater Nashua.
The token Millennial, Steve brings his knowledge of the digital world to Thank You Project, primarily helping with the organization’s online marketing and promotional strategy and implementation.
Steve is newly married, and lives with his wife Meghan in Nashua, NH.
Kenneth Drew, Ph.D. (Board Member)
Ken graduated from the University of the Pacific in his home state of California where he earned his bachelor’s degree and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry. After working in the R&D lab of companies like Biogen on various potential drugs for conditions ranging from cancer to congestive heart failure, he moved to the business development side of the pharmaceutical industry. He has been the Director of US Sales and Business Development for Flamma, based in Italy, since 2010.
Together with a small group of concerned owners, he led an effort to secure a settlement valued at over $24M to restore and refurbish Bluebeard’s Castle Resort in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and bring the Board of Director’s under the control of the owner.
Ken is a member of First Church Nashua, UCC where he has served on the Board of Deacons and the Board of Christian Education. Ken is married to Natasha and has three active and lovely children.
Nonyem Egbuonu (Board Member)
Nonyem E. Egbuonu – Retired Public Servant with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA) and Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology (B.Sc with Honors). Additional qualifications include a Diploma in Science Education, a Certificate in Educational Technology, and a wealth of experience in organizing and project/production management, including the following:
- Board Member, Thank You Project, Nashua, New Hampshire
- Member & Choir Member, Main Street United Methodist Church of Nashua, New Hampshire (MSUMC).
- Member, Granite State Organizing Project (GSOP), Nashua, New Hampshire.
- Former Member, African Community Health Initiatives, Boston, Massachusetts
- Member, Clinton Global Initiative.
- Retired Public Servant, Federal Ministry of Education – National Open University of Nigeria.
- Former Educational Media Producer, Children’s Television & Educational Materials – National Educational Technology Center of Nigeria.
- Former Project Collaborator, Personnel Training for Educational Materials – United Nations Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF).
- Former Member, Board of Trustees – Human Development Foundation of Nigeria (HDFN).
- Life Member, Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN).
- Former Member, Africa Network for Prevention & protection Against Child Abuse & Neglect (ANPPCAN).
- Former Chairperson, Nigeria Association of Media Women Kaduna State Chapter (NAMW).
- Former President, Inner Wheel Club of Kaduna Nigeria (Rotary Club Wives Association).
- Former Chairperson, Nigerian Association for Educational Media & Technology (NAEMT).
- Former Chairperson, Mothers Union & Women’s Guild of St. Christopher’s Church Kaduna Nigeria.
- Former Synod Parish Delegate, St. Matthias Anglican Church, Abuja, Nigeria.
Hobbies include volunteering, mentoring, advocacy, choral music, Christian religious studies, documentaries and educational films, cooking, and arts/crafts.
Laurie Fernald (Board Member)
Laurie Fernald resides in Nashua and is a mother of two sons. She volunteered at their schools and for a time was the Treasurer for Boy Scout Troop 20. Both of her sons achieved Eagle Scout.
Laurie is a member of the Main Street United Methodist church and is currently serving as the IT & Communications Committee Chairperson. She has been a member of the Membership & Evangelism and Nominations & Leadership Development committees. She has had the privilege to teach Bible Study classes.
Laurie graduated with a Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. In her career, she has worked her way up from Software Engineer to Senior Development Manager. In 2005, she shifted her career focus and acquired her Project Management Professional Certification. She has since been a project or program manager in the high tech industry. She currently works at Navico in Merrimack, NH.
Cheryl Kimmens (Board Member)
Cheryl Kimmens Franke is an experienced technology CFO who has worked with a number of highly successful technology startups and technology companies and is currently employed by Oracle.
Prior to joining Oracle, Cheryl served as VP of Finance for Maxymiser, Senior Director of Operations for Barco Medical Inc. CFO of Spider Systems, Inc. and CFO of Voxar Inc. along with other technology and medical companies. She has managed a successful consulting practice working with a number of UK and US startups over the past 20 years and sits on the Board of Directors of various non-profits and companies.
Cheryl received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Bentley University and completed work towards a Masters degree in Organizational and Intercultural Communications at Clark University.
Lori K. Lambert (Board Member)
Lori is an Investment Advisory Representative with LPL Financial and has been in the financial services business since 1988. She is an Associate with the Offices Established by HR Weisman, TN Tessier, LK Lambert and KJ Halloran in Nashua, NH.
Lori is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC and has taken master’s level courses at Rivier University as well as CFP (Certified Financial Planner) courses through The American College in Bryn Mawr, PA.
Lori has been an active volunteer to serve many community groups in the Nashua area including the First Church, Nashua Soup Kitchen, St. Joseph Hospital Board, Hunt Community/Huntington at Nashua Finance Board and Board of Trustees, Front Door Agency, YMCA Capital Campaign, Marguerite’s Place, and United Way of Greater Nashua among others.
She has resided in Nashua since 1986 and lives with her husband, Retired Colonel Gary Lambert and their two daughters
MaryAnn McHugh (Board Member)
MaryAnn McHugh has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, with a minor in music. She graduated from Grove City College in 1982 and taught school in PA, OH, and TN before moving to Nashua, where she did substitute teaching before taking a job as the administrative assistant for the Presbytery of Northern New England. Following that, she worked as the administrative assistant for the Norwell Home, part of the Front Door Agency.
MaryAnn and her husband Kevin have lived in Nashua almost 20 years. They have 5 children (3 at home and 2 married) and 1 granddaughter. In 2011, as she and her husband adopted two young girls into their family, she left her job to become a full time mom and volunteer. She enjoys playing and coaching softball, volleyball, and basketball, and helping out with school activities.
MaryAnn is a member of Nashua Presbyterian Church where she plays the piano and teaches Sunday School. She has served as an elder and deacon, and enjoys participating in many service opportunities her church is involved in.
Harry Nordyke (Board Member)
Harry holds an MBA from Rivier University, a B.S. in Applied Communications from City University of New York, and attended the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati as a voice and theatre major.
In NYC, he was a professional actor under Equity and AFTRA contracts. While transitioning from theater, he was Assistant to the Senior Minister at Christ Church, NYC. From there, he became a specialist in satellite television and was Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for DIRECTV, where he was part of the original team that launched the company to market.
He has gone on to manage sales and business operations in a wide array of markets with companies such as Airborne Express and Airgas USA.
Harry is a member of The First Church Nashua where he sings in the choir with his wife and former Broadway actor, Deborah, with whom he has raised two wonderful children.
Nze Obinelo (Board Member)
Nzenalu Obinelo was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and is a Nigerian Canadian. Nze lived in Nigeria for two years during her childhood. She has traveled many times to Nigeria during her childhood and as an adult, along with her husband and children. She graduated from University of Windsor, where she received both her Bachelor and Masters degrees in Social Work.
Nze is the Vice President of Children and Family Services at Gateways Community Services, in Nashua, where she has worked for 16 years. She is an active member of Immaculate Conception Parish and volunteers with a number of community groups such as: Nigerian Association of Merrimack Valley, Okpu Mbaise Women’s’ Group, Nashua High School South, Anne Marie House, Nashua Soup Kitchen, Avon Breast Cancer Walk, and Komen Breast Cancer Walk. She is an avid runner and loves outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and backpack camping with her family and friends. She has lived in Nashua, NH for 16 years with her husband, Izuh, and three very active children, age11, 15 and 16.