Team Members

Talem | Rachel Branaman

Rachel Branaman

Principal Consultant

 

Rachel's (She / Her) background and bio are available here.

Rachel lives and works in the Washington D.C. area which is on the occupied territory of the Piscataway people, who have stewarded this land for generations. 

Saadia Ahmed | Talem

Saadia Ahmed

Operations & Community Communications 

Saadia Ahmed (She / They) graduated in International Studies from Austin College where she intensified her commitment to serving the community. She is a community and thought leader in Dallas/Fort Worth in addition to being the founder and adviser to numerous nonprofit and community initiatives; some of whom include Gem Advisers Mentorship Program, Define 360, Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, DREAM DFW, Strong Muslimah, and Yaqeen Institute. Her work in the advocacy field includes roles at South Asians for Obama, senior fellow at Wendy Davis for Texas Governor, and deputy director at Bangladeshi Americans for Biden-National Council.

 

Saadia's areas of expertise include youth development program development, advocacy, community building, event planning, social media optimization, individual major giving, DEI training, and annual fund development. Saadia is fluent in English and Bengali. She has professional working proficiency in Hindi, Urdu, and French. She is currently a board member for Faith in Texas, Women Organizing Women Democrats, Malikah, as well as an advisory board member for American Muslim Professionals of Dallas. She was awarded the “Trailblazer” award by Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, “ the Community Leader of the Year” award by CAIR Dallas/Fort Worth, and was the inaugural recipient of Radio Azad’s “Unsung Hero” recognition.

Saadia lives in Frisco, Texas, which like most of North Texas, was a mixed buffer zone for a number of tribes including the Wichita, Comanche, Caddo, Cherokee, and other smaller tribes. 

Nancy Geiger

Administration

 

Nancy (She / Her) has a Bachelor's in Family and Consumer Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin as well as a Masters in Special Education from Texas Women's University. ​

Nancy oversees financial management for Talem. She lives and works in Dallas, Texas, which was a mixed buffer zone for a number of tribes including the Wichita, Comanche, Caddo, Cherokee, and other smaller tribes. 

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Avia S. Haynes

Marketing & Creative Design

Avia Haynes (She / Her) has a BA in Mass Communications from Texas State University and an MS in Marketing and Social Media from Southern New Hampshire University. She has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and design working with The Thomas Agency, Rhumb Designs, JCPenney, Dal-Tile Corporation, and National Tile Contractors Association.

 

Avia has worked with a variety of nonprofits providing marketing, digital and print design, website development, social media planning, digital marketing, brand awareness and promotion, art direction, and increasing traffic and engagement.

Avia lives and works in the Greater Houston, Texas area where the Akokisa were the indigenous tribe who lived on the land of the present-day Greater Houston area.

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Beth Bohannon

Culturally Responsive Education

 

Beth (She / Her) works as a vocal music instructor for 5-8 grades at Upper Elementary and Middle Schools in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has also worked as a music teacher in Durham Public Schools and Vistation Catholic School. Beth has a bachelor's in music education from Lawrence University and a master's in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

 

Beth incorporates culturally responsive teaching into her work to bridge gaps between students and educators to understand cultural nuances and support student achievement. She brings that knowledge into work with education-adjacent nonprofits to support DEIA implementation and culturally responsive tools into their work. 

Beth lives with her husband, three kids, and catdog, Roxie, in Waynesboro, Virginia which was settled by the forefathers of bands we now call Sioux, or Cherokee, or Iroquois. She also sings with her church choir in her spare time. 

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Alton Gillard

Special Events

Alton (He / His) has worked in event planning and management for organizations such as  BAYPAC, Arden Reed, AngelHack, AppLovin, American Red Cross, and the National MS Society. Alton has a bachelor's degree in marketing from Southern Connecticut State University and certifications in Unconcious Bias and Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging from LinkedIn.

In his spare time, Alton is the advisory board chair for Oregon Health and Science University's Partnership PRoject which provides a comprehensive array of services to the HIV and transgender/gender non-conforming communities. He supports their work through digital/print marketing, strategic partnerships, and community/client relations. 

Alton lives in the Portland Metro area which rests on traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya, Molalla, and other tribes who made their homes along the Columbia River.

Ash White | Talem

Ash White

Proposal Writer

 

Ash White (She / Her) has a BA in English and Theatre from Mary Baldwin University and a MA in English Literature from the University of the South. In addition to her work with Talem, she is a high school English teacher.

Ash lives and works in Staunton, Virginia which is thought to have been inhabited by ancestors of the Monacan Indian Nation.

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Amy Fetterman 

Proposal Writer

 

Amy (She / Her) serves as a Transitional Pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She leads workshops and retreats for the greater church in areas such as worship, spirituality, and intergenerational discipleship.

 

Amy is the mother of an industrious preschooler, spouse of a computer whiz and talented chef, and a friend who will make mediocre crafts for all your big life events.

Amy lives in Fishersville, Virginia which is thought to have been inhabited by ancestors of the Monacan Indian Nation.

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Liz Russell

Proposal Writer

 

Liz (She / Her) works as a writer, researcher, and proofreader for a variety of organizations, but focuses on supporting the messaging of nonprofits and companies dedicated to positive change. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in Life Sciences Communications and Horticulture and began her career working at public gardens and historical societies before transitioning into full-time writing.

 

She is often found exploring the great outdoors or local food scene with her husband, children, and rescue dog, Taters, and enjoys renovating old homes in her spare time.  

 

Liz lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which was originally home to a variety of indigenous tribes, including the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, Odawa (Ottawa), Fox, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sauk, and Oneida.