Who We Are

 Scott Dimetrosky, Founder

Mr. Scott Dimetrosky founded the International Mountain Explorers Connection (originally called the Himalayan Explorers Club) in 1996 after completing a six-month traverse of the entire Himalayan range, through Pakistan, India, and Nepal. Disturbed by the negative environmental and cultural impacts of tourism that he witnessed on this trip, Scott created IMEC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, to minimize the deleterious effects of tourism on the fragile mountain environments and cultures. IMEC established a number of initiatives, including a homestay program, volunteer handbook, teacher placement program, and the porter clothing bank, as ways to connect tourists more closely with the region and give back to the mountain cultures that provide so much to the tourists that visit. Currently, Mr. Dimetrosky designs and evaluates energy efficiency programs in the U.S. and stays connected to Nepal and Tanzania through his work on the IMEC Board of Directors.

Nathan Partain, Board Chairman

Nathan Partain has been actively involved in non-profits in Tanzania for over a decade.  He is one of the founding Board members of The Mailisita Foundation which created the financially self-sustaining Stella Maris Education Center to serve the needs of a growing orphan and vulnerable population in rural Tanzania. In the USA, Mr. Partain has served as President and Chief Investment Officer of Duff & Phelps Investment Management Co. since 2005 as well as President and Chief Executive Officer of all Duff & Phelps Closed End Funds (NYSE Listed) and Director on all funds. He is also a director (since 1993) and Chairman of the Board of Directors (2011) of Otter Tail Corporation, a diversified electrical utility company located in the Dakotas and western Minnesota.  Mr. Partain is a National Association of Corporate Directors Board Leadership Fellow, having completed NACD’s comprehensive program of study for corporate Directors and ongoing engagement in the Director community.  He holds BS and MBA degrees from Sam Houston State University.

Jack Zuzack, IMEC Volunteer

Jack lives in Boulder, Colorado and has a love for adventure travel and mountaineering.  After several climbing trips to Nepal and South America, he saw first-hand the needs of the people living and working in these remote mountainous regions of the world. He noticed, in particular, how warm and generous these people are despite their difficult lives.  These travel experiences lead to Jack’s desire to make a difference in the lives of people living and working in the world’s mountain zones.  After joining IMEC’s volunteer staff in 2005 he served as clothing transport coordinator, office manager, and board member.  Jack continues to be inspired by the impact a small organization like IMEC can make.

Anna Oursler, Board Member

Anna has over ten years of experience working in the development sector in East Africa. She currently serves as the East Africa Project Manager at Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners, in New York City and Kampala, Uganda. Prior to BBB, Anna worked designing and installing renewable energy technologies in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. Anna believes strongly in fair, ethical treatment of staff, and volunteered with KPAP through Visions in Action from 2005-2008.  She joined IMEC’s Board in 2009. In her spare time, Anna enjoys outdoor activities – including mountain climbing and camping.

Alexandra Pastollnigg, Board Member

Alexandra has over twelve years of experience in corporate finance and strategy. She became acquainted with KPAP in 2015 when she climbed Kilimanjaro and researched for her book Kilimanjaro Uncovered. Shocked by the exploitation of the majority of porters employed in mountain climbs, and impressed by the dedicated work and solution offered by KPAP, Alex left her career in corporate finance in order to create KiliGATE, an ethical climb booking platform that exclusively promotes KPAP Partner companies. In between, Alex cycled from Cairo to Cape Town and fell in love with the entire African continent. With Fair Voyage, Alex is now building a conscious travel platform for destinations globally, though continues to dedicate much of her time to Kilimanjaro.

Lindsay Amundsen, Board Member

Lindsay works for Canada’s Building Trades Unions, an umbrella organization that represents over 500,000 working tradeswomen and men across Canada. Her primary focus is on the development and operations of Build Together, a national program that works to recruit and retain tradespeople from underrepresented portions of the population: Women, Indigenous Peoples, the Next Generation & New Canadians. Lindsay’s true passion in life is travel & adventure and is most proud of her successful summit of Mount Kilimanjaro & most recently Everest Base Camp. Lindsay’s experience in Tanzania impacted her profoundly and she searched for ways in which she could ‘give back’ which led her to discover the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project. She became so inspired by the work they were doing to protect Porters rights and improve working conditions on the mountain. Lindsay is honored to now serve as a board member for IMEC which oversees the work of KPAP.

Melissa Foley, Board Member

Melissa has lived abroad for several years consulting for various NGO’s in Greece, India, Cambodia, Thailand and Tanzania. Primarily focused on women’s health, education, advocacy and wildlife conservation she has developed and implemented sustainable outreach programs integrating responsible tourism and voluntourism with local community development. Most recently as founding Director of All About Africa a boutique marketing consulting firm to Africa tour operators, lodges and the largest safari vehicle manufacturing company in Africa, she has established international networks and is actively promoting the development of corporate social responsibility policies into the tourism industry. Utilizing over two decades of executive marketing and business development expertise in corporate America, combined with extensive global travel experience; she provides a unique perspective on tourism development.

Steena Chandler, Board Member

Steena is a Leadership Consultant in Denver, Colorado, and has a background in leadership development specifically in the renewable energy and tourism sectors. Prior to living in Denver, she lived in Tanzania for seven years, working for a Kilimanjaro Outfitter and partner of KPAP. She spent a couple years working closely with KPAP to develop company-wide fair porter treatment practices, including developing a software database for porter registration and selection. Steena is glad to be a part of the IMEC board, and is eager to help contribute her time to fair porter treatment practices!

Harry McLaren, IT/Website Support

Having become acquainted with KPAP when he was just 16 years old and living in Moshi Tanzania, Harry later offered his emerging website development skills and has been supporting KPAP over the last 10 years. As a Cybersecurity Consultant, Harry works alongside some of the largest companies in the UK and, in his personal time, a number of charities and NGOs across Scotland. Harry volunteers his services as IT/Website Support, develops and hosts the IMEC and KPAP websites, and provides any additional ad-hoc advice required.

Karen Valenti, Project Manager Kilimanjaro

Since her teen years Karen has always wanted to live in Africa. Her desire persisted after serving with the Peace Corps in 1992-1994 as a physical therapist on the island of Antigua. Karen’s dream finally came true after she received her Masters degree in Nonprofit Management and volunteered in Moshi, Tanzania with Visions in Action in 2002-2003. Karen has been with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project since 2004. She acts as Project Manager helping to guide and facilitate the development of the nonprofit organization and its Tanzanian porter staff. Karen is surprised that her calling is to help porters and enjoys her simpler lifestyle in Tanzania.