Burke Fishburn, President
Burke Fishburn is the Executive Director of the Posner Center for International Development, a Denver-based community of almost 200 organizations and individuals working across the spectrum of international development issues in over 100 countries. The Posner Center’s mission is to convene, connect, and catalyze the international development community to collaborate for greater impact. Global Seed Savers is proud founding tenant of Posner and thrilled to have Burkes leadership and guidance extend to our Board.
Burke previously led Colorado-based global public health consulting firms, directed the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative in the Western Pacific Region, and served as a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Associate Director for Policy, Planning and Evaluation, as well as a Technical Officer in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia and Viet Nam. He is a former Navy Lieutenant, and graduate of the Georgetown University Master of Public Policy Program and Villanova University.
Michael Beck, Vice-President
Stacy Armbruster, Co-Treasurer
Alaine Janosy, Co-Treasurer
Katie Goodrich, Secretary
Marissa Loterina, Board Member
Philippines Board of Directors
Padmapani L. Perez, President
Padmapani (Padma) L. Perez is an anthropologist by training and a writer by heart, she received her bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of the Philippines Baguio. Padma went on to pursue a master’s degree in Environmental Anthropology in Kent University, in the United Kingdom, after which she earned her doctorate in Anthropology from Leiden University, in the Netherlands. She is presently a Research Fellow at Far Eastern University, in Manila. Her research interests include indigenous peoples’ rights, nature conservation, climate change, art, and visual ethnography. Padma balances her academic work with community engagement in different forms, including disaster response, participatory governance, writing for a popular readership, and now, happily, organic farming and seed saving! Her poems, essays, and feature articles about motherhood, Philippine Cordilleran culture, art in Baguio, and the environment appear in various Philippine books, periodicals, and online publications.
Efren Cabbigait, Treasurer
Efrenlito (Efren) is a social worker with more than a decade of experience in the social development sector. He has worked for many Non-Government-Organizations (NGOs) in several capacities ranging from direct service provision, youth development, program development, to resource mobilizer. An ardent advocate of social justice, he commenced his career at the Institute for Inclusive Education Foundation in Baguio City by advocating for the rights of blind children to be included in the regular classes and advocating to make schools more accepting of children with diverse needs. He advanced to more complex roles in following organizations leading to his current job as a Liaison Officer at the International Justice Mission. His main duties include, accessing resources from government and private agencies to help restore lives of sex trafficking victims. Efren holds the following degrees: Masters in Social Work (MSW) from Philippines Women’s University in Metro Manila, Masters in Social Development Studies (MSDS) from The University of Philippines, Baguio City, and a Bachelors in Science (BS) in Social Work from Saint Louis University in Baguio City.
His motivation for joining Global Seed Savers-Philippines comes mainly from being a son of a poor farmer. Life was difficult for him growing up with a parent whose career was undervalued by the market economy. He believes that GSS vision is fitting to his aspiration for promoting farmers to a higher degree of importance within the society, which will translates to farmers leading better and more sustaining lives.
Jeffrey Sotero, Secretary
Jeffrey Sotero has served as the Municipal Agriculture Officer in the Municipality of Tublay, Benguet since 2008. In this role he has been a tireless advocate for Global Seed Savers programs helping us launch our first Seed School in Tublay in December 2015. Thanks to his leadership and support our founding Seed Library is housed at the Municipal Agriculture Office and we continue to partner to host technical and capacity building trainings for farmers at the Municipality of Tublay. In 2018, under his leadership Tublay was given the distinguished honor of being named the top Organic Municipality in the Country at the National Organic Agriculture Congress of the Philippines. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture Engineering from Benguet State University (BSU) the region’s leading agriculture school. He is currently completing his Master’s in Science in Rural Development also at BSU.
In addition to his long leadership at the Municipal level he also served for four years as a Barangay Council Member in Daclan, Tublay. He and his wife Connie operate a beautiful organic farm in Daclan and are active members of the Benguet Association of Seed Savers (BASS). We are excited to welcome Jeffrey to the Philippines Board of Directors where he can share his local government expertise and passion for our mission to support our continued expansion and collaborative partnerships throughout the Philippines.
Nash Tysmans, Board Member
Nash is a writer, teacher, and community worker. She was previously employed by the government to do communications work but found that she was best fit to be outside of the office, on the ground, collecting stories to make better policies. She splits her time between the Cordilleras and Mindanao, seeking to understand the everyday in the far away and learn about farmers whose lives are directly bound to the earth. At present, Nash is fascinated by what’s on her plate. She’s determined to discover where her food comes from and hopes to encourage more people to pay attention to how food travels from the farm, to the market, to our plates. In the course of her work, she has found that food is a universal experience that not many can enjoy and so, there must be a way to change this, one community at a time.
Rambie Lim, Board Member