Who We Are

Annual Report for IMECKPAP/KRTO

Christine Minja-Trupin, Board Member

Christine is a Tanzanian citizen residing in Vermont, USA. She was recruited to IMEC by Ben Jennings, a strong KPAP partner company and supporter. While staying at Ben Jennings guest house in Arusha, Tanzania her subsistence farmer instinct led her to Ben’s garden. He told her about the KPAP and suggested that she join the IMEC program because “you will find people of our species”. She wanted to find out what Ben meant. Shortly Karen Valenti followed up with her and explained the program. The moment she was invited to the IMEC board, she said “Oh Yeah”. Coming from academia she
was curious but also had a strong feeling that her experience in program planning and evaluation and in grant application will be useful. 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.

Karen Capaldi, Co-Chairperson

Karen 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. She is currently on sabbatical to discover her next role. Karen makes her home in Durango, Colorado with her partner in crime, a Pitbull named Cowboy Buddha.

Meg Edwin, Board Member

Meg Edwin, is a Tanzanian award-winning global communication strategist and former journalist with over 15 years of experience, driven by a passion for Social Impact, Storytelling, and Innovation. A passionate advocate for youth development and empowerment, she authored the USAID/Feed the Future Tanzania Advancing Youth Impact Stories Book, featuring 29 impactful stories of youth empowerment in Tanzania, foreworded by the USAID Tanzania Mission Director. Recognized for her outstanding work on the book, Meg was honored with the inaugural PR Excellence Award by the Public Relations Society of Tanzania.
Dedicated to community service, Meg actively serves on multiple boards within various development organizations, both locally in Tanzania and on a global scale. In 2016, the Chevening Secretariat acknowledged her significant contribution to supporting UK charities, honoring her with the prestigious Chevening Gold Award. In her current role as a Global Communication Consultant, Meg leverages her expertise to drive meaningful change and amplify impactful narratives.

Melissa Foley, Co-Chairperson

Utilizing 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.

Paul Hourihan, Board Member

Paul Hourihan lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he is the general counsel of SumUp, a global financial technology company with the mission of creating a world where everyone can build a thriving business. Prior to joining SumUp, Paul was the global head of litigation and interim general counsel at Western Union. Before moving to Colorado with his family, Paul was a partner at the law firm of Williams & Connolly LLP, in Washington, DC, for over 20 years, appearing in courts across the United States in a wide range of civil and criminal matters. An avid outdoorsman, Paul enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. His connection to Tanzania and to mountaineering dates back to the early 1990s, when he was an economics teacher and outdoor pursuits leader at International School Moshi and took trips up Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru, and Mt. Kenya. He has trekked and climbed many times in North and South America since then, most recently in Patagonia.

Saskia de Rover, Board Member

Saskia de Rover 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: “’I feel the same drive for Tanzania at IMAC and KRTO. You feel the passion of 20 years of knowledge and commitment for the porters and all related issues. Team up with people and organizations makes us stronger and gets things done more quickly and easily”. 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. From 2022 on she will take care of setting up housing, income, healthcare and education for more than 600 refugees from Ukraine and 19 other countries in the Netherlands.

Harry McLaren, IMEC Volunteer

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 supported KPAP over the last 18 years. As a Cybersecurity Consultant, Harry works alongside some of the largest companies in the UK and, in his personal time, several 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.

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.

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.