Who We Are – Meet our team

Our board members are all passionate about the mission of IMEC. Read their stories. All our board members are volunteers.

Karen CapaldiKaren Capaldi, Co-Chairperson, has been a Ski Instructor, US Forest Service employee, Professional Singer/Songwriter, Recruiter and Digital Production Artist. For the last 20 years she has exceeded all metrics in her role as Starbucks Store Manager through meaningful connections with her employees, peers and Senior Leadership. She created TheDreamMakerProject to inspire and connect Starbucks employees to lead a more meaningful life, using their job to get them closer to their goals and dreams. Using her own story as the pilot, she traveled the world, did volunteer work in Rwanda with Bridges to Prosperity, successfully summited Kilimanjaro, and interviewed Starbucks employees on their dreams. The result was a program that uses Digital Storytelling to start the conversation of “why are you here?” This technique galvanized a business/management tool to elevate the value of everyone it touches by showing relatedness and inspiration to empower engagement and a deliberate life. Karen makes her home in Durango, Colorado with her partner in crime, a Pitbull named Cowboy Buddha.

Melissa Foley, Co-Chairperson, over 20 years of corporate marketing experience, extensive world travel, and more than a decade of NGO consulting globally, she has a unique perspective on ethical travel. She has organically curated a diverse international network striving to benchmark meaningful social and environmental sustainability practices that are adaptable and relevant for the African tourism industry. Creating All About Africa Consulting was inspired by a simple philosophy that everyone in the tourism supply chain shares a collective obligation and economic opportunity to protect our communities, natural resources, and cultural traditions. Based in Cape Town, she represents a diverse portfolio sharing common values, including a certified auditor for Travelife, sustainability advisor for ATTA, WTM Africa, and several African tourism businesses, not-for-profits, associations, and organizations. Her true passion is facilitating the integration between various stakeholders to create lasting collaborations where transformational tourism can truly thrive.

Christine Minja-Trupin, Board Member, aTanzanian citizen residing in Vermont, USA.  Christine grew up on the slopes of Mountain Kilimanjaro. Her tradition was built on a belief that the Chagga people were Kilimanjaro’s (House of God) and on the knowledge that their wellbeing was tied to that of the mountain ecology. She clearly remembers when as a child, young and adult men in villages surrounding the mountain would take turns to engage in wildfire protection exercise. In recent years, however, these norms have disappeared with severe negative impact on the mountain ecosystem, the communities in particular. Christine remains closely connected to her community as a small coffee farmer. Since her retirement in 2018, she has been spending more time in Tanzania, supporting initiatives to improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable groups. She believes that to nurture this fragile ecosystem sustainably requires a mutually beneficial holistic approach.

Saskia de Rover, Board Member, lives in Alkmaar, The Netherlands, and works as a program manager. As a family of four they visited a lot of mountains around the world. In 2022 they climbed Kilimanjaro. This adventure and the people they met left a lasting impact on her enthusiastic family. It inspired Saskia to empower the porters of the Kilimanjaro who make the climb possible, but seem to be forgotten by the clients after reaching the summit. As a family they started a NGO to realize an educational program for the children of the porters (next generation), a gear shop and much more. Saskia is coaching Tanzanian business women and stimulating small businesses (owned by women) to produce special gifts to sell in the shop. After finishing her MBA at the University of Groningen she studied environmental management & conservation at the University of Leiden. The first few years she worked as an environmental consultant and strategic advisor. Later on she worked as a manager for the government of the Netherlands. She managed highly sensitive & complex administrative programs ranging from harbour & airport development to international sport center development.