Rachel Zelon has been working in the field of humanitarian assistance and development for over three decades. Rachel was a founding member of Hunger Relief International (HRI) in 2009. Her energies have been focused on child protection, promoting the rights of children, and working towards a world where children’s rights include having access to all basic needs. Her leadership has resulted in the promotion of expanded access to critical nutrition, clean water, decent sanitation, health care, and education for vulnerable children living in extreme poverty. In recent years, the scope of her work has expanded to include the fight against child trafficking into institutionalized care in Haiti. Recognizing that extreme poverty directly affects children, their health and safety, as well as their families’ capacity to care for them, Rachel and the team have welcomed the challenges of working to prevent a multitude of tragedies where children are often the primary victims.
Ms. Zelon is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and started her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in the jungles of Ecuador. She then went on to receive a Masters Degree in Social Work at the Hunter College School of Social Work in New York City. Ms. Zelon worked for The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS, Inc.) for 15 years in the field of refugee assistance, protection and resettlement. During her tenure at HIAS, Ms. Zelon was Vice President responsible for all domestic and international programs. Ms. Zelon is perhaps best known for her work in Iraq in 2003 when she led the evacuation of many of the remaining members of the world’s oldest Jewish community from Baghdad to Israel. Her work was featured on CNN’s Newsnight with Aaron Brown in October 2004. She later went on to serve as Vice President of International Programs for another relief and development organization before she founded Hunger Relief International in OKC.
Rachel’s interview on CNN:
Jodel Pierre is a Haitian Senior Development Leader with more than 12 years of diverse experience in the development sector working with NGOs, local organizations as well as government entities. Jodel brings to HRI a strong passion, vision, and breadth of knowledge pertaining to local and international development work. He has special expertise in the design and implementation of Education, OVC and Child Protection projects as well as the management of large, complex development programs and partnerships. Prior to joining HRI, Jodel held positions and consultancies at the UN, USAID, Global Funds, Salvation Army, AmeriCares, Chemonics, and Tearfund.
Jodel holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Guyana and the West Indies University and an Undergraduate Degree in Social Work from the State University of Haiti. He also holds various continuing education certificates including: Program and Project Management Methodologies from Public Research Centre Henri Tudor, Luxembourg; Social Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development: Sustainable Development Courses through Duke University Continuing Studies; Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations from the Academy for Educational Development (AED); and Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI) in International Development and Social Change from Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.
Hector Alay is a Guatemalan professional that has been working in the development sector with churches, NGOs, and local organizations for more than two decades. Hector brings to HRI new ideas, new allies, versatility and growth that has called the attention of government institutions and other NGOs in the country. His efforts focus on developing social capital, opening opportunities for leadership within the communities, especially youth and women, and engaging these leaders as the main protagonists of their own process of development, contributing to the autonomy of the communities.
Previously, Hector worked with PAMI on a child trafficking prevention project on the Guatemalan border with El Salvador. He also developed a violence prevention project for the Spanish Red Cross in Guatemala City and worked as trainer for the Guatemalan Red Cross Youth Volunteers Program throughout Guatemala. In addition, he was a certified trainer in Sexual Education for youth in APROFAM and a trainer for Elementary teachers in the Pacific Coast for Universidad del Valle. He has also served as a consultant for USAID projects training local leaders.
He is a recurrent guest contributor on mental health issues for TN23, a Latín American news network.
Hector has a Master’s Degree in Education for Development and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Universidad de San Carlos. He was certified for Emotional Support during Emergencies by the Red Cross and certified by the Teachers for Peace program of the Guatemalan Archbishop Human Rights Office.
He has volunteered as a professional for the Guatemalan Red Cross, Fabrica de Sonrisas and Safe Passage, and he founded HRI’s Guatemalan Volunteer Group, officially recognized by Centro de Voluntariado Guatemalteco.
Steve Whetstone has dedicated a nearly 40 year career to serving low income and vulnerable families through nonprofits. He began working with small businesses to create jobs for low income households.
The Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce recruited Steve and he quickly found himself in management, including VP Finance & Operations, laying the foundation for a career in nonprofit and association management. Over 10 years he developed experience in non-profit accounting, legal, board development and strategic planning.
Steve served the next 15 years in management at Feed The Children. As special assistant to the President, he directed logistics & distribution, partner development, special projects and events, disaster response, communications & media and fundraising. Finally settling into the role of Sr. VP, International Operations for nearly 10 years, he realigned and restructured the organization’s international projects into a single consistent program model, demonstrating great success in developing self-sufficient communities in rural and urban areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Steve has now begun to share a lifetime of experience and knowledge with non-profits, building their capacity to operate more effectively through strategic planning, board development, budgeting and program alignment.
Jennifer has worked in international development and organization management since 2003. As Information Specialist of Youth America, she helped develop a nation-wide Youth Pastor Mentor Program and co-directed many volunteer-led camps and conferences. During her leadership as Special Projects Supervisor at Feed The Children, they saw massive increases in program support as she supervised more than 1,500 service projects nation-wide in under two years benefiting local and international programs, taking FTC from the 27th largest US-based NGO to 3rd largest. After her promotion to FTC International Services Manager, she renovated the Child Sponsorship and International Volunteer Programs to bring them up to modern standards. She also created a Customer Response Matrix to more efficiently meet client needs. Jennifer most recently served as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Crisis Aid International for nearly 10 years. She managed donor development, grants & outcomes reporting, communications, program development & mission trips on multiple continents, and more. She helped grow CAI revenue more than 3.5 times over the course of her 10 years of service. Jennifer has served as the Director of Donor Relations & Communications for HRI since February 2018.