Between the United States and Guatemala, our entire Common Hope staff is passionate about what we do. We’re dreamers and doers, organizers and empathizers. A determination to make the world a better place is in every one of our staff’s DNA. And each of us believes that the right people in the right place can, and will, achieve even the biggest of goals.
Shari Blindt was appointed executive director for Common Hope in September 2006, having previously served as the director of development. For 18 years prior she served in leadership roles with Penn Garritano Marketing, FICO, and DynaMark. Her experience leading team-based, collaborative business units contributed significantly to her clients’ success and the growth of these organizations.
At Common Hope, Shari sees a fitting unification of her personal and professional life. She has a personal passion for building opportunity for impoverished Guatemalan children and families and says, “Common Hope is my opportunity to truly give back to a country which has helped to make my family and my life whole.” Shari’s involvement with Common Hope began after the adoption of her two Guatemalan children, when she felt called to give back to the people of Guatemala. In September 2005, Shari left the for-profit sector and joined the Common Hope leadership team.
Director of Finance and Administration
Doug arrived at Common Hope in April 2020 to continue his career in nonprofit finance, administration, and operations. A native of the Twin Cities, Doug has spent his entire career working in the business offices of the Guthrie Theater, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, MacPhail Center for the Arts, Macalester College and Augsburg University. At Common Hope, Doug oversees and works collaboratively with colleagues on budgeting, accounting, finance, HR, IT and office administration.
Doug holds a Bachelors of Business Administration degree in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, and a Masters of Business Administration degree in Finance from the University of Saint Thomas (MN). He is an active member of the Twin Cities Nonprofit Financial Group and an active member at his church. Doug enjoys spending time with his family and doing outdoor activities (hiking, biking, cross country skiing), and attending sporting events and concerts.
Director of Strategic Relations and Development
Avi Mylrea is an exceptional non-profit leader with a strong record of maximizing revenue and positive organizational outcomes. Avi grew up in Guatemala and has been living in Minnesota since her relocation to the USA in 2011. She was first introduced to Common Hope’s mission as a volunteer translating letters. Since joining the team in 2017, Avi has focused significantly on leading and growing the Visitor Experience Program while fostering sustainable Strategic Relations for the organization. Avi has demonstrated a passion for delivering strong results on Common Hope’s Mission and Vision while sharing her love for Guatemala and enthusiasm with students, families, staff, donors, and visitors. Avi holds a master’s degree in Public and Non-profit Administration. She has devoted herself to the work of non-profits supporting and empowering children for most of her professional career; at AYUVI in Guatemala and Make-A-Wish in the United States.
A strong leader with a deep commitment to Guatemalan culture and livelihood, Rebecca most recently served at the Rainforest Alliance of Guatemala, where she built and led a global team since 2008. As a manager, advocate, and market strategist in sustainable agriculture, she has extensive experience serving NGOs, the private sector, and local farmers’ operations in 40 countries across the globe.
Joining Common Hope | Familias de Esperanza in 2016, Rebecca is charged with developing and executing Common Hope’s vision of helping children to graduation and families out of poverty in the Antigua Valley. Her knowledge of international business and human development represents a significant opportunity for Common Hope to make an even greater impact. Rebecca came to Guatemala to serve in the Peace Corps and stayed. Dedicating her life to her work in Guatemala for more than two decades, she has built not only a marvelous career serving the people of the country, but she has a family and home here as well. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Economy from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Monterey Institute of International Studies.
The position of Country Director allows Rebecca to, as she would say, “work with the most wonderful team,” and make use of her diverse leadership skills for capacity building, training, program analysis and evaluation, and strategic and operational implementation. She looks forward to working together to continue delivering Common Hope’s mission of hope and opportunity to the children, families, and communities we serve.
Director of Administration
Pablo arrived at Common Hope as IT Director in February 2006 and in 2016 he was made Administrative Director in charge of IT, Human Resources, and Accounting. He is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of each department. Prior to Common Hope, Pablo spent eleven years working in systems with a large non-profit in Guatemala.
Of his work Pablo states that of course he loves working with the technology, but above that he enjoys the opportunity he has at Common Hope to feel connected with the families we serve. From his office at the Family Development Center, he is able to see the work going on all around him as the families arrive daily for social work meetings, medical appointments, support groups or educational classes.
Director of New Program Development
As program development director, Renato focuses on gathering, prioritizing and setting up special projects to be developed for future or existing programming, such as the Common Hope educational quality initiatives, the launch of future outposts and general program monitoring and evaluation work.
Renato was born in Guatemala and orphaned at age five. He was then adopted by a couple in the United States. After graduating from St. John’s University with a degree in political science, he decided to devote the next stage of his life to Guatemala and its people. In 1996, he returned to Guatemala as a full-time volunteer with Common Hope and worked with home construction, stoves, eyeglasses, and computers.
From 1998 to 2008, Renato served as the director of New Hope, overseeing the construction of the village and primary school, as well as overseeing the development of primary and secondary education and community development. In January 2009, Renato accepted his current position of program development director. Renato lives in Guatemala with his family.
Raiser’s Edge Database Administrator
Visitor Relations & Events Specialist
Outreach and Partnership Manager
Associate Director, Strategic Relations and U.S. Visitor Experience
Associate Director of Marketing & Events
Sponsor Relations Manager
Sponsor Relations Coordinator
Mariadela Belle Alvarez
Outreach & Partnership Coordinator
Mark Ruff, Chair
City of Woodbury, League of MN Cities; Former Chief Financial Officer, City of Minneapolis
Diane Kozlak, Vice Chair
Business Development Executive, Menttium
Joe Hammell, Secretary
Partner, Jones Day law firm (retired)
Fran McCloskey, Treasurer
CPA; Business Advisor
Cheri Broadhead, Director
Principal, Totino Grace High School
John Bruellman, Director
President/CEO, Sign-Zone, Inc.
Richard Cargill, Director
Co-Founder, Escape Climbing
Carlos R. Cruz, Director
Director of Operations, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota
Danell Gibbons, Director
President of Jellycat, Inc.
Marlene Lopez Ibarra, Director
Strategy Director CG&S, 3M
Davor Grgic, Director
Retired CIO and Vice President of Sustainability, Kohler Co.
Nancy Norling, D.D.S., Director
Owner, Nancy Norling, D.D.S. Dental Practice
Chris Osgood, Director
Business Growth & Sales Development Manager, Great Northern Equipment
Cindy Sattler, Director
Chief Financial Officer at Toppan Merrill
Katie Sullivan, Director
Bill Wagner, Director
Regional Sales Manager, Jack Henry Lending
Vince Walker, Director
Director of Development Grinnell College, Retired
Robert Fafinski, Jr.
The Huebsch Family
Jack Burbidge, Minnesota
Jim Hatch, Colorado
Bill Huebsch, Minnesota
Jenny Merthan, Minnesota
Kathy Paden, Idaho
Karen Rose, Minnesota
Steve Schmidt, Minnesota
Joan Uselmann, Wisconsin