Our Leadership

Board of Directors

Our wonderful Board of Directors bring their wealth of passion and expertise to make sure that our reach and impact will continue to grow.

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Brett Macdonald

International Humanitarian Specialist

Dr. Viliami Vakautakakala

Cultural Expert

Crystal Keung

Indigenous North American / South Pacific Liaison

Gary Winters

International Humanitarian Specialist

Kristina Worton

Prevention Advisory Group Chair

Matthew McConkie

Finance Chair

Andrea Ferguson

Director; Co-founder with husband Dr. Rob Ferguson

Dr. Rob Ferguson

Chair of Treatment Team; Co-founder with wife Andrea Ferguson

Mele Taumoepeau

Educational Expert

Eric Shumway

International Relations Expert

Tevita Makihele

Food Initiative Representative

Seamus Burlingame

Corporate Representative

Board of Directors

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Est euismod egestas sed enim nibh id.

Brett Macdonald

International Humanitarian Specialist

Dr. Viliami Vakautakakala

Cultural Expert

Crystal Keung

Indigenous North American / South Pacific Liaison

Gary Winters

International Humanitarian Specialist

Kristina Worton

Prevention Advisory Group Chair

Matthew McConkie

Finance Chair

Andrea Ferguson

Director; Co-founder with husband Dr. Robert Ferguson

Dr. Rob Ferguson

Chair of Treatment Team; Co-founder with wife Andrea Ferguson

Mele Taumoepeau

Educational Expert

Eric Shumway

International Relations Expert

Tevita Makihele

Food Initiative Representative

Seamus Burlingame

Corporate Representative

More

Learn more about the people who are making our mission a reality for indigenous communities around the world.

North American
Indigenous Research Team

Our North American Indigenous Research Team focuses on solutions for indigenous people in the United States and Canada.

Tongan Team

Our team in Tonga has been working for years to fight diabetes in the island nation of Tonga.

American Samoa Implementation Team

The American Samoa Implementation team is helping the people of Samoa learn about the life-saving practices that can treat and ultimately prevent diabetes.

BYU-H Internship Team

We teach and train our team of interns at BYU-Hawaii so they can take what they know back to serve their communities throughout the Pacific.

Interested in Joining our Team?

Dr. Rob Ferguson

Chair of Treatment Team

Co-founder of ‘Amanaki Fo’ou’ with wife Andrea Ferguson

Since 2013, Rob Ferguson has been working with ministries of health, medical professionals, government leaders, and hospital and clinic staff to address the management, treatment, and education on the sequelae of diabetes. Rob is a reconstructive surgeon and hospital system medical officer with Intermountain Health (based in Salt Lake City, UT). His focus includes training teams on surgical management of diabetic complications as well as working with local teams to recruit volunteer specialists to meet their goals and needs.

 

 

Rob graduated from Brigham Young University prior to obtaining his medical degree from the University of Virginia. His surgical and specialty training programs include the University of Kentucky, MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX), and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (Taipei, Taiwan). He obtained a masters in business administration from the University of Utah. 

Seamus

Seamus Burlingame

Corporate Representative

CEO, Innovacyn

Seamus Burlingame has a B.S. in Business Management from San Diego State University, and a MA in Management from Claremont University. With 30 years of experience in operations management, Burlingame has worked in the manufacturing industry, and since 2009 in the wound care supply industry. Burlingame Industry has given generously in the areas of woundcare, animal shelters, and disaster relief.

Tevita

Tevita Makihele

Food Initiative Representative

Manager of The Church of Jesus Christ Welfare Farm, Tonga

Tevita Makihele studied Farming at Liahona High School in Tonga. He currently works as the Liahona Ranch and Farm Manager where he plants seedlings to distribute to communities throughout the kingdom of Tonga. He trains villages, and communities, as well as Stakes and units for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in use of the Key-hole Garden technique. Together with his wife Sisifa, Makihele provides demonstrations on growing methods, and healthy cooking with the garden fruits and vegetables. Additionally, he works with government leaders and other churches to build leadership and vision towards a healthier future. Makihele serves with Government Livestock Division to train farmers to raise healthy animals and be successful farmers.

Eric

Eric Shumway

Culture Expert

Former President of BYU-Hawaii (1994-2007); Author of books and documentaries on Tongan Language and Culture. Eric Shumway, Cultural Adivisor Former President of BYU Hawaii (1994-2007) Author of books and documentaries on Tongan Language and Culture.

As a young man, Eric Shumway served a proselyting mission to Tonga from 1959-1962. He married Carolyn Miller in 1963 and has 7 children, 36 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. He earned his BA and MA in English from BYU, and a PhD in English Literature from the University of Virginia. From 1967-1968, Eric taught the Tongan Language to Peace Corps Volunteers. He has served as the President of BYU-Hawaii from 1994-2007 and as the Area Seventy, Hawaii and California, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 2004-2007. He is the author of several books, and the creator three documentaries on Tongan culture as well as a 21-episode TV series in Tongan. Through his efforts, Eric has earned the Tongan chiefly title “Faivaola.”

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Mele Taumoepeau

Education Expert

Former Director, Takiama Leadership Institute

Mele Taumoepeau received a BA degree at BYU-H and M.A. degree at the University of Hawaii in English, and an M.S. in Education Leadership at the University of New England. She worked as an educator, and later as a principal at a Liahona high school. Taumoepeau worked as Area Assistant Manager for schools run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the South Pacific, based in New Zealand. After retirement she managed the Tonga Leadership Program, training all of the secondary schools principals and leaders. Her command of the Tongan and English languages has brought her to translate books, documentaries, and speeches. She is revered by educators and community leaders for her significant contribution to the advancement of education, moral development, and leadership. She formerly served as Chair of the Board of ‘Amanaki Fo’ou.

Andrea

Andrea Ferguson

Director of ‘Amanaki Fo’ou, Co-founder of ‘Amanaki Fo’ou with husband Dr. Robert Ferguson

Co-developer, Community-engaged Scholars, University of Utah

Since 2013, Andrea Ferguson has been working side by side with medical professionals, educators, government representatives, exercise specialists, food experts, culture leaders to reduce the effects of diabetes in indigenous populations. She specializes in identifying talented volunteers and harnessing their energy and talents to impact this work.

Ferguson studied Marketing at the University of Utah where she was heavily involved in the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center. There she co-founded Service-learning Scholars (now Community-engaged Scholars), where students are able to combine service and academic learning to make a profound impact in their community.

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Matthew McConkie

Finance Chair

Managing Partner

Matt McConkie is a Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Tunbridge Peak, LLC a subsidiary company of Peak Capital Partners. McConkie began his career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs. He went on to become the Vice President of Capital Markets at Crosland, a diversified real estate development company.

Education: M.B.A., The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania; M.A, International Studies, University of Pennsylvania, B.A., English, Brigham Young University.

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Kristina Worton

Prevention Advisory Group Chair

CEO, Brighter Futures inc.; Strategist, TBRI Practitioner, Child Rights Advocate

Kristina Worton graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in Human development and Family studies coupled with a Service distinction. She has spent 8 years in humanitarian work within ‘Amanaki Fo’ou participating in new program research, identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and gaining feedback as a value add for our program.

Worton currently serves as the CEO for Brighter Futures Foster Care Agency. She is passionate about providing Child and Family mental health and support services to increase positive outcomes for kiddos and families. She is skilled in strategic and critical thinking, cultivating positive culture within an organization, relationship building and developing a strategy deployment plan.

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Gary Winters

International Humanitarian Specialist

Humanitarian Volunteer

Gary Winters worked for The Welfare Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a variety of positions, including as Director of Deseret Industries; Director of LDS Employment Services; Area Welfare Director; Manager of Humanitarian Major Initiatives (Wheelchair and Water Projects); Field Manager Humanitarian Operations – Asia, Asia North, Pacific Areas; and has coordinated humanitarian tsunami relief operations in Southeast Asia. Winters’ background is in emergency response, program development, management administration and vocational rehabilitation/developmental disabilities.

He and his wife, Susan have served three humanitarian missions, including as humanitarian country directors for Bosnia and Croatia (2012-13); as Area Welfare Specialists in the Pacific Area, stationed in Auckland, New Zealand (2014-16); and as Area Welfare Specialists in the Europe Area, stationed in Frankfurt, Germany (2019-20)

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Crystal Keung

Indigenous North American / South Pacific Liaison

Tumuaki/Principal, Whānau Tahi USA LLC.

Owner and Principal of Whanau Tahi USA LLC. Crystal Keung has over 20 years’ experience working and serving within both the Government and NGO sectors and among Tribal and Indigenous groups. She has developed domain expertise in evolving current models of care toward a family-centered model based on outcomes and impact. Crystal also has extensive experience in supporting, shaping and informing government policy on this emerging integrated family-centered model; Whānau Ora in New Zealand and more recently, Tiwahe in the USA.

Based in Washington D.C., Crystal is engaged with Tribal Governments and Federal Agencies and Departments to advance innovative initiatives. Recently, her work involved partnering with six (6) Tribes and international research to develop and deliver key Congressional reports on a five-year pilot initiative called Tiwahe (ti-wah-hay), Lakota for family, the purpose of which was to establish Tiwahe as a permanent program and national policy through Indian Nation. Whānau Tahi USA is a thought leader advancing outcomes practice supported by international research, technology, and data analyses within the Health and Human Services sector.

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Dr. Viliami Vakautakakala

Treatment Group Chair

DPM

Dr. Viliami Vakautakakala, DPM is a Podiatry Specialist in Richfield, UT and has over 8 years of experience in the medical field. Dr. Vakautakakala is a Diplomate in the American Board of Podiatric Medicine and an Associate of the American Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He specializes in the early detection of diseases that exhibit warning signs in the lower extremities, such as diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Vakautakakala graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in 2014 and completed his Podiatric Medical and Surgical training at the VAMC-Phoenix in 2017. He is affiliated with multiple hospitals that includes Sevier Valley Hospital in Richfield, Utah, Gunnison Valley Hospital, Gunnison, Utah and Beaver Valley Hospital, Beaver Utah.

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Brett Macdonald

International Humanitarian Specialist

Education, Food Security, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Consultant

Brett Macdonald has extensive international experience in humanitarian consulting and project management. He currently consults on global efforts to address refugee education, mental health, and livelihoods. He has worked for both donor and implementing organizations. His background also includes training, curriculum design, writing, strengthening organizational capacities, and implementing programs in international contexts.