Arne Bister is a technical sales specialist, consultant and software engineer living in Ansbach, Germany.
As a student he worked summer jobs as language counselor for Concordia Language Villages Waldsee Camp in Minnesota USA, gaining experience with child teaching and counseling. Finishing his study of physics he worked as an environmental scientist until branching out into software development in 1999. He worked for IBM for almost 20 years as software developer, architect, consultant and technical sales until deciding to leave for a smaller, impactful company in 2017. In 2015 and after he set up and coordinated volunteer work in Germany at the peak of the refugee crisis ensuing the Syrian war. Arne has visited Project Somos three times between 2018 – 2020. He has been a part of the Antje Duvekot volunteer groups, in 2020 helping with setting up and conducting the trip. Since his first time he has developed a deep commitment to the Project, the cause and the people of Guatemala. Aside from convincing more people in Europe to take an interest in Project Somos Arne wants to bring to bear his engineering and technical talents together with marketing and sales expertise to further the mission. He is currently adding Spanish to his language repertoire to better communicate with children, staff and locals by taking online classes with a friend in Guatemala.
Maria was born in Guatemala and immigrated as a refugee to Canada when she was 5 years old. Her gratitude for her sponsors, are what inspired her to pay it forward and give back to the country where she came from. She is moved by the possibilities of grassroots community development brought her to Project Somos originally in 2009. She came on to the Board of Directors the next year and although, due to family circumstances, she had to step off the board for a while, she has always remained connected both as a donor and volunteer. Maria currently works as a Community School Coordinator in the city of Burnaby, where she also taught for 10 years before that. Her passion for community education motivated her to further her learning in education by doing graduate studies in the areas of curriculum development in today’s classroom. As a mother of two boys, Maria has always strived to lead by example and share the joy of giving time, love and support to others around us. She hopes to continue to share in that joy with her family and friends for many years to come.
Maria visited Project Somos in 2011 when we had just begun construction.
Amir Peter O’Loughlin
Amir Peter O’Loughlin is a psychotherapist and musician living in Vancouver BC. He has been a leading voice in interfaith harmony, having founded the Universal Gospel Choir as well as hosting countless music and spiritual events which celebrate the one essence found and expressed in all cultures and their and arts and spiritual paths. Amir has recorded two albums of his musical settings of Sufi poetry, and continues to perform and compose. He is one of the newer members of the Project Somos Board, and is very excited about being part of such an inspired and beautiful endeavour.
Greg is the Co-Founder and Executive Director on the ground in Guatemala as well as being a director of Compassion Fruit Society. He arrived in February 2011 to break ground and oversee the construction with the local team. It is a plus that he is bilingual and has previous knowledge of construction.
His lifelong interest in creating harmonious, efficient, and beautiful spaces for living led Greg to run successful renovation businesses in Canada, specializing first in heritage homes and later in high-end bathrooms and kitchens. With his care for the environment and an ability to discover creative solutions to structural and design problems, he has been the driving force behind Project Somos’ unique and solid eco-sustainable construction.
Raised in Victoria, BC, Aysha Emmerson is a rising third-year at Harvard College, where she has designed her own major in Resilience Studies with minors in Anthropology and French.
Passionate about creating opportunities for individuals and communities to support one another in overcoming adversity, she is the co-founder of Co-VID Student Support Network, to:gether innovations, and the Director and Founder of Self.I.E Camps. In addition, Aysha interned at the Partnerships in Education and Resilience (PEAR) Institute, was a Speaker at WE Day Vancouver, and served as Zonta International’s Youth Observor to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
Aysha grew up alongside Project Somos, first volunteering there when she was thirteen, then again during the summers of 2015 and 2017. She has been inspired by the organization’s humble approach and willingness to adjust its vision to yield a greater impact, and is excited to give back as a Board Member to the community that has taught her so much.
David LePage is the Managing Partner of Buy Social Canada, Executive Director of Social Impact Real Estate, a partner in the Social Enterprise Institute, and Principal with Accelerating Social Impact. David is Founding Member and Chair of the Social Enterprise Council of Canada; Chair of the Board of the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) and serves on several non-profit and social purpose business boards.
David provides direct support and strategic advice to blended value businesses, social enterprises and social finance developments. He is involved in multiple public policy initiatives and research projects to support the social enterprise ecosystem across Canada. He has worked and volunteered in the social enterprise and non-profit sector for nearly five decades.
David has visited Project Somos seven times since 2011.
Sadhu is responsible for the overall management of the City of Vancouver where he has served as the City Manager since March 2016. He supports Council in making Vancouver an even more vibrant and sustainable community and oversees the over one billion dollar annual budget with over 7,000 employees.
Prior to serving in this role, Sadhu served for seven years as the deputy city manager, where he helped to oversee the development and implementation of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan, which builds off of Vancouver’s successes in building a green city.
Sadhu is a founder and was co-chair (2009-2015) of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), a network of over 120 municipal staff focused on greening their cities, representing over 50 million urban dwellers in North America. Sadhu is a co- author of The Guide to Greening Cities.
Prior to moving to Vancouver, Sadhu served as Chicago Mayor, Richard M. Daley’s chief environmental officer where he was responsible for the oversight of City of Chicago environmental initiatives. Sadhu served Mayor Daley in the development and implementation of the Chicago Climate Action Plan. Under Mayor Daley’s leadership, Sadhu was involved in the design and implementation of the City’s environmental programs, including EVs, green buildings, green roofs, rainwater management, waste management among others.
Sadhu has visited Project Somos twice.