Board of Directors
GREGORY T. BUIE, M.A.
Executive Director & Co-Founder
Greg has worked as an international development consultant, serving organizations that operate in countries all over the world in building their capacity, designing & implementing programs, and working side-by-side with local partners & communities to help them achieve their development goals. He holds a BA in Political Science: International Relations from the University of California, San Diego, and an MA in International Studies & Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Greg first volunteered with Visions in 2004 and has consulted with many nonprofit organizations committed to working with communities in need globally since then, having worked in Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Indonesia, Nicaragua, and Ethiopia. In addition to his role with Visions, he serves as President of the American Friends of SOAS and as an Advisory Board member of both Rapid Response (India) & Visions Global Empowerment India. He resides in Orange County, California, is passionate about travel, and is working toward his goal of developing fluency in Spanish.
MEERA PATHMARAJAH, Ed.d., ed.m.
In 2003, Meera Pathmarajah organized and led a team of volunteers to implement a youth leadership and English training program in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, sowing the seeds for the establishment of Visions Global Empowerment. While working with Room to Read from 2005 to 2009 as Asia Regional Program Manager, she helped design educational programs with teams based across 7 countries in South and Southeast Asia. Meera holds a B.A. in Psychology and South Asia Studies from the University of California, Berkeley; an Ed.M. in International Education from Harvard University; and an Ed.D. in International Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. Meera is also the proud mother of 2 young children and speaks Tamil.
Shyamala nagendran, Ph.d., M.sc.
Having immigrated to Canada more than three decades ago, Shyamala now resides in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with her family. University of Alberta is her Alma mater where she obtained a BSc, MSc, and a PhD in Computing Science and Informatics focusing on medical education. Being a lifelong leaner she passionately believes in education and volunteers in activities related to education supporting underprivileged and disadvantaged children. She is the founder of Natya-Size Fitness/Wellness Club. Established in 2001 and funded by the Alberta government, the club promotes fitness and Wellness within the Asian community in Edmonton. One of her responsibilities is to strategize funding models targeting governments. Shyamala is also a native speaker of Tamil.
venita sivamani, m.b.a.
Venita has focused her efforts on educational equity and leadership for nearly a decade. She has a keen passion for international education and closing the achievement gap locally and abroad. Venita is a Teach for America alumnus and recently received her MBA from UC Davis. She has led our Northern California/UC Davis Chapter for many years and has volunteered with Visions in India & Ethiopia. Venita’s leadership and tireless efforts have contributed greatly to the growth of our organization. She recently helped launch a new business venture called Dermveda, which is dedicated to the promotion of high quality, holistic information about skin health and wellness, integrating Eastern and Western medical perspectives through education, research, and product review.
Tamara Lafarga, M.S.
Philanthropist, entrepreneur, international health/fitness presenter, real estate investor, artist, nature aficionado, wife, mother and grandmother - Tamara channels her boundless energy and diverse skill set in a myriad of different ventures. Tamara founded CLJ Designs in 1991, built a health and fitness club, was involved in international marketing in Asia, owned alzheimer facilities and has a real estate investment career. She taught health/nutrition in Mexico and Guatemala and high school math and CPR in the USA. Tamara has her BS from the University of Wisconsin, graduate work at University of Wisconsin and University of Nevada as well as a certificate in gerontological counseling form UCSD. She is a native speaker of Spanish as well.
Zuliya Khawaja, B.S.
Aside from her day job as a real estate broker, Zuliya is also a health & wellness coach and plant-based chef who runs her own business - Naturally Zuzu. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics & Business Administration from the Russian University of Economics in Moscow, as well as her real estate license and certificate in Plant-based Nutrition. Based in San Diego, California, Zuliya speaks Russian and Uzbek fluently and is a proud mother of two teenage boys.
MARY GRACE HAMME, M.S.
A professional speech-language pathologist at The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham (MA), Mary Grace has been involved with Visions since 2012 when she first joined us in Ethiopia. She has served as a Visions Chapter Director for both Rochester (NY) & Boston (MA) and has volunteered in Ethiopia several times since then. She holds a B.A. in Communication Disorders from the State University of New York, New Paltz and an M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from Nazareth College. She is also fluent in American Sign Language (ASL).
JOE HILL, B.F.A.
As a filmmaker and arts enthusiast, Joe is now based in New York City where he works as an Associate Producer for VICE on HBO. He is also a Co-Founder of Round Room Image, a creative production company that challenges social narratives with honest representations of stories unheard. Joe, along with other volunteer filmmakers, produced a series of short documentary films for Visions over the past few years in both Ethiopia and India. Joe attended Carnegie Mellon University where he obtained his B.F.A. in Directing from the School of Drama.
Brittany Hughes, M.S.
A professional speech-language pathologist with a B.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders & an M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from Nazareth College of Rochester (NY), Brittany has been a dedicated volunteer for the past several years helping to develop programs and services for the Deaf community Visions serves in Ethiopia. Brittany currently teaches at The River School in Washington, D.C. and is proficient in American Sign Language and Cued Speech.
Jayme Kaplan-Krutz, M.S.
Jayme is a professional speech-language pathologist at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at RIT. Currently based in Rochester, NY she has dedicated her career to working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. She is fluent in American Sign Language and has worked for various Schools for the Deaf around New York State. She is also an adjunct lecturer at Nazareth College. Jayme has volunteered in Ethiopia on several trips over the past few years, helping to pioneer our language and communication enrichment programing at the Visions Model Deafness Center in Bahir Dar. Jayme is an avid traveler and dog lover.
Catherine Clark, Au.D., M.A.
For the past 30 years, Dr. Catherine Clark has worked as an Associate Professor, Audiologist and Coordinator of the Cochlear Implant Program at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf’s (NTID) Department of Communication Studies and Services at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Dr. Clark provides speech-reading and auditory training, performs hearing evaluations, hearing aid fittings and services related to cochlear implants and teaches an interpersonal relationships course. Dr. Clark earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech and Hearing Services from Bradley University, a Master’s Degree in Audiology from the University of Louisville, a Doctorate in Audiology (AuD) from Salus University, and completed her clinical fellowship at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles where she worked in the children’s cochlear implant program.
PAULA BROWN, Ph.D.
Dr. Brown is a professor of speech-language pathology at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York, where she has taught since August 2003. She was previously a faculty member and chairperson of the Speech-Language Department at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology, and adjunct faculty member of Nazareth College. Dr. Brown holds a B.S. in Speech Pathology & Audiology from the University of Missouri; M.A. in Speech Pathology from Kent State University; and both M.S. in Development & Leaning and PhD in Language & Cognition from the University of Rochester. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Budapest, Hungary in 2013, and was named a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in 2016. Dr. Brown has led several service-learning trips to Ethiopia in partnership with Visions, and regularly supports Visions' work to help empower Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ethiopians.
Ramoshan Canagasaby, M.S.
An engineer by day and Social Entreprenuer the rest of the time, Ramoshan is driven by his dream of making Jaffna (Sri Lanka) the next Silicon Valley. Ramoshan grew up amidst the war in Jaffna in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He developed a passion for educational development and entrepreneurship ever sine he moved to Silicon Valley in the late 90’s. He has been CTO of the iTEE Foundation and an integral part of Yarl IT Hub – an IT incubator in Jaffna for the past 5 years. He is the Director of Engineering, Systems and Applications at Rambus, based in Sunnyvale, CA. He is also the CEO & Co-Founder of Vetri Holdings LLC, which “intends to become the de-facto integrator for the development of IT-based infrastructure in Sri Lanka.”
Sally Neiser, M.A.
Sally Neiser is a lifelong educator from Huntington Beach, CA. She recently retired from a 25+ year career in public education to help bring education and leadership opportunities to youth that may not have readily-available resources. With a B.S. in education from Bucknell University and a M.A. in educational administration from Azusa Pacific University, she taught music, language arts, and leadership to all grade levels before transitioning to administration. Most recently she served as the principal of a high-achieving middle school in southern California. Reading to stay current in best educational practices, and volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to foster youth are important activities for Sally.
Chapter Directors & Volunteers
*denotes a part-time position