The Leadership Team

 

The governing board

Dave Herbison

David Herbison
Chief Governing Officer

David Herbison is a long-time Unbound sponsor and advocate and a strong believer in the organization’s mission of walking with the poor and marginalized. He has traveled to six countries visiting sponsored friends and projects, and experiencing firsthand Unbound’s valuable work and the life-changing impact of the personal relationship between a sponsored person and their sponsor.

David has more than 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry. He has led successful strategic planning efforts and initiatives in product and deposit strategy, treasury management sales, eBanking and retail and business banking. He has been a member of the Association for Financial Professionals since 1997, when he earned the Certified Treasury Professional accreditation. David is a graduate of Oregon State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in finance and international business, and minored in foreign languages. He also completed graduate work at Portland State University.

David and his wife, Tina, live in the Portland metro area and are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters. David joined the Unbound Governing Board in 2014.

“As Christians and people of good will, I believe we are called to share our hearts and God-given talents and treasures for the betterment of our sisters and brothers. In doing so, we make our own lives richer. Unbound presents each of us a unique opportunity to live our faith through personal one-to-one relationships of mutual respect and support.”

- David Herbison


Alison Avayu

Alison Avayu
Director

Alison Avayú joined the Unbound governing board in June, 2012. She first heard of the organization at a church appeal in April, 2009. She sponsored a young boy from Guatemala and went on a trip to meet him. On that trip she met Scott Wasserman and learned more about the work of Unbound. It was such a powerful experience that Alison made two additional trips. She currently also sponsors an elderly man in Guatemala and a student in the Philippines.

Alison graduated from the Kansas State University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in interior design and minors in leadership and Spanish. She worked for an architecture firm in Kansas City as lead interior designer for three years before relocating to South Florida, where she worked in restaurant and office management. In August, 2013, she and her husband opened their own restaurant.

Serving on the Unbound board is one of Alison’s most treasured experiences.

“Benjamin Disraeli said ‘The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.’ As an Unbound sponsor, the most important gift you are giving is your support and encouragement.”

- Alison Avayu


Joe Barker

Joe Barker
Director

Joe Barker learned about Unbound more than 17 years ago at a church appeal when he first became a sponsor. Since then, he, his wife Ronnesia, and five children have enjoyed building relationships with three sponsored friends while learning about the mutual benefits of sponsorship.

After 21 years in the manufacturing industry, Joe used his years of volunteer positions with underserved communities in the metro Atlanta area to turn his passion into a career. He currently works as a teacher and community outreach director at a Catholic high school in Atlanta and remains active in community mentoring and church ministries.

Joe has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Florida A&M University. He lives in South Fulton, Georgia, with his wife and five children.

“Nelson Mandela once said, “It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead”. With Unbound, you are able to make that difference in the lives of all of our beloved sponsored friends on a daily basis and walk with them as they in turn change our lives.”

- Joe Barker


Vicki Berger

Vicki Berger
Director

Vicki Berger joined the Unbound governing board in 2012. She and husband Roger learned of Unbound (then Christian Foundation for Children and Aging) in the mid-1990s and became first-time sponsors in 1996. Their participation in awareness trips began in 1999 and continues to the present.

Vicki retired in 2003 from North Carolina state government service, during which she served as Curator of Costume and Textiles and Collections Management Section Chief at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. She holds BS and MS degrees from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. from Florida State University. Vicki was named Fellow by the Costume Society of America in 2012 and received the 2015 Community Service Award from the Museum Association of Arizona for her work in costume and textiles throughout the state.

The Bergers live in Phoenix, Arizona. Vicki belongs to the First Congregational United Church of Christ, where she is a member of the mission and outreach Team.

“The United Church of Christ has a slogan ‘God is still speaking,’ Note that the slogan ends with a comma, not a period. After several years of Unbound sponsorship, travel, and now governing board experiences, I believe that ‘God is still speaking,’ through Unbound.”

- Vicki Berger


Dennis Bernardo

Dennis Bernardo
Director

Dennis Bernardo joined the Unbound governing board in 2017. He and his wife, Rosemary, first learned about the organization at a church appeal in 2001, where they decided to sponsor children from the Philippines. As they continued to share letters and photos with their sponsored friends, the Bernardos met them and their families for the first time on an awareness trip in 2013. Dennis and Rosemary’s own children have gone on to become sponsors as well.

Dennis graduated from De La Salle University in the Philippines with a degree in marketing. He furthered his studies at DePaul University, Chicago, in computer programming after moving to the United States. He’s worked in the financial industry for the past 30 years. Dennis says it’s amazing to be able to help give children across the world a chance to receive an education and have a bright and productive future through Unbound.

The Bernardos currently reside in Chicago, Illinois, with their three daughters.

“Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

- Dennis Bernardo


Emma Higgins

Emma Higgins
Director

Emma Higgins has been involved in Unbound nearly all her life. Her parents have been sponsors as long as she can remember. Upon graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Marketing, she interned in Unbound’s U.S. Outreach department. It was then that she decided to sponsor Fernanda in Mexico.

Emma currently works in advertising, focusing on media, data and measurement. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.

“Unbound’s strength lies in the community – from Kansas City around the world. I’m continuously inspired by the Unbound network to keep giving, learning, and growing – and always with a smile!”

- Emma Higgins


Cindy Ricks

Cindy Ricks
Director

Cindy Ricks joined the Unbound governing board in 2018. In 2013 she first became the sponsor of a little girl in Uganda, but has since gone on to sponsor seven more individuals, and has traveled on two awareness trips. Cindy says Unbound’s personal and effective approach to assisting those on the path out of poverty has kept her invested in the program over the years. She especially loves the work Unbound does to empower not just the girls who are sponsored, but also the mothers of all the sponsored children.

Cindy grew up in a desert town in California where reading, learning about and exploring new cultures were always an emphasis. With a degree in plant genetics and breeding from Brigham Young University earned in 2003, Cindy went on to attend law school at Washington University in St. Louis, where she graduated in 2006. She currently serves as a career law clerk for a federal appellate court judge.

“Unbound combines my passion for efficient, effective philanthropy with my desire to form more meaningful, personal connections with my “fellow travelers on this mortal journey” (President Thomas S. Monson, LDS General Conference, April 2014). I love being part of the Unbound family!”

- Cindy Ricks


Rich Swan

Rich Swan
Director

Rich Swan began sponsoring through Unbound in 2000. During a trip to Guatemala in 2003, he and his family met and were deeply inspired by co-founder Bob Hentzen. He joined the governing board in 2012.

Developing relationships with Unbound families and staff has been very gratifying for Rich. He has consistently been amazed with the dedication, care and efficiency of those serving Unbound throughout the world.

Rich was a homeowner association attorney for 12 years. Now, as a Sales Manager, he has more time and flexibility to positively impact the lives of others. He graduated from Regis University where he was challenged to become a servant leader and to ask, “How ought we to live?” A law degree from the University of Denver gave him useful analytical skills.

Having served on other non-profit boards, Rich is impressed with the Unbound governing board’s depth of focus and commitment to governing with excellence, ensuring that resources are used wisely, and quickly getting proper benefits to those served by the organization.

Rich and his wife, Diana, live in Denver, Colorado, and have been blessed with two children and three grandchildren.

“I try to live the Prayer of St. Francis, to be an instrument of peace. I believe that in giving, we receive and that we can bring so much more to places and people where there is doubt, despair and sadness. Mother Theresa said, ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.’ Sponsoring through Unbound has brought our family much love, faith, hope and joy. Serving on the Unbound board has been one of the most satisfying and enriching experiences of my professional and spiritual life.”

- Rich Swan


Monica Gomez

Monica Gomez
Program Coordinator, Antioquia, Colombia

More information coming soon


Peter Ndungo
Program Coordinator, Nairobi, Kenya

Peter Ndungo serves as coordinator for Unbound’s program in Nairobi, Kenya. Before devoting his full-time work to Unbound in 2006, Peter served as a part-time accountant for Unbound, beginning in 2000. He also worked as an accountant at schools in Kenya and for the Africa Jesuit Aids Network (AJAN). He has also been a teacher.

Peter has been active for more than 17 years in program-related leadership and has, over the years, helped in formation of Unbound’s programs in Africa. He studied accounting at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology. Peter is married with three children.

Because he is a current staff member, he serves as a non-voting member.

“I am enthusiastic with the growth of the people I serve. There is nothing as enriching as working in an institution that transforms lives. Witnessing this human transformation is awesome.”

- Peter Ndungo


Scott Wasserman

Scott Wasserman
Ex-officio member
President and CEO

Scott Wasserman and his wife, Anabella, sponsored their first child through Unbound soon after they married in 1988. Since then they have sponsored numerous children and adults in various countries. Now that their three daughters are adults, they credit Unbound sponsorship with teaching them to see the image of God in all people, especially the poor.

Scott became president and CEO of Unbound in 2013. Prior to accepting this position, he was a guiding presence on the governing board for 15 years, the last 14 as board chair.

A graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Kansas, Scott served on the National Review Board advising the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on policies to protect children. He and Anabella are active leaders in their local diocese and parish.

Scott works out of Unbound’s Kansas City headquarters, and spends much of his time traveling to visit families served by Unbound around the world.

“As sponsors, my family and I have received more from our sponsored friends than we have given them. We are grateful to help them on their path to self-sufficiency. In return, they have given us love and joy.”

- Scott Wasserman