Board of Directors

Gigi Pomerantz, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, founder and Executive Director of Youthaiti, is a retired Family Nurse Practitioner after 38 years of practice in Milwaukee, WI. She also practiced in Israel for three years, where she lived with her family. She served as a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and as the chair of the Quality Improvement Committee and  a prior board member of Managed Health Services, a Medicaid HMO. Gigi has been involved in non-profit and social justice work for many years and has served as Vice-President of Intergroup Relations of the Milwaukee chapter of the American Jewish Committee and as previous President of Congregation Shir Hadash and Tikkun Ha-Ir of Milwaukee, a Milwaukee-based social justice non-profit. She first traveled to Haiti in 2006 and fell in love with the people and the country. Her nursing background drew her to look at prevention as the first priority for health work. Gigi believes that nothing is more basic than the human need and right for sanitation with dignity!

Madeline Wake, PhD, RN, FAAN, Chair and member since 2009, is retired University Professor and Professor of Nursing at Marquette University where she holds the John P. Raynor, SJ Endowed Chair. She has served the University as Dean of Nursing and as Provost. She played a key institutional role in major training programs in Kenya and the Republic of Georgia. She has taught nursing management and health care systems leadership to undergraduate and graduate students. She has chaired major conferences including the 2nd International Conference on Intensive Care Nursing. She has conducted research in behavioral change and has lectured and consulted nationally and internationally on promoting innovations, nursing care delivery systems and nursing education. For eight years, she was a member if the core team developing the International Classification for Nursing Practice. She has served on Boards for the Blood Center of WI, Youthaiti, Aurora Visiting Nurse Association, Trinity Memorial Hospital, American Diabetes Association – WI Affiliate, St. Francis Seminary, and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Current service includes teaching healthy living classes at a free clinic and working to improve hygiene and sanitation in rural Ethiopia with Catholic Relief Services.\

Nicholas DeFino, BS, CPA, member since 2015, is a retired Director with Northwestern Mutual Real Estate Investments.  He currently serves on the Milwaukee Housing Trust Fund Advisory Board.

Susan Maiers Azor, Treasurer and member since 2011, is the Business and Finance Director of Medical Support Services. Previous work includes Founder and Executive Director of the Children’s Development Initiative, Videographer of the Hackett Foundation doing educational mission work, Coordinator and recruiter for the Democratic Congressional Campaign, and Volunteer of the Year for Safe Haven.

Nancy Bohrman, BSN, RN, founding member since March 2007,  is currently the nursing home administrator (NHA) at Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC). Nancy is a strong proponent of animal rights. She lives on a farm  dedicated to providing a home for animals who have previously been discarded or neglected.

Tipan Verella, member since 2012 was born in Brussels, Belgium on January 12th 1979, of Haitian parents. He grew up in Haiti and moved to the United States upon graduating high school to attend college. He has worked as a teacher for the Baltimore City Public School System, as a Data Analyst for the John Hopkins University School of Public Health, and the World Bank, and was a senior analyst at Advertising.com/AOL. He holds a masters degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics for the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering, and is currently writing up his PhD dissertation in Systems and Information Engineering at the University of Virginia. He is a Data Scientist for Millennial Media and lives in Milwaukee Wisconsin with his wife Dr. Sameena Mulla and their son Ibrahim Leopold Verella.

Joan Janus, Secretary,  MA in Education, member since 2014,  is a retired early childhood teacher and adjunct lecturer in the Early Childhood Education department at the University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee. She has also taught at Carroll College and Alverno College. Now she keeps busy volunteering at the Urban Ecology Center, Literacy Services of Wisconsin, and Washington Heights Neighborhood Association Green Committee.  She is the grandmother of three active boys and a dog who loves long walks.

Ernst Louis, member since 2016, born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is President of FNJD, Federation National de la Jeunesse pour le Development,  National Youth Federation for Development, founded in 2004 is a non-profit organization whose mission is to organize and unify Haiti’s youth towards coherence, openness, reconciliation and develop the productive capacity of young people. FNJD is an affiliation of youth associations in Haiti and abroad with a council of young Haitian professionals providing leadership and consultation. 

Jean-Sebastien Duvilaire, member since 2016,  was born in Les Abricots, Haiti, is the Artistic Director of Project AfrikAyiti, a contemporary and traditional Afro-Haitian dance company.  Frequent guest dancer offering Master classes around the world. Founder of Tahomey chocolate in Les Abricots, Haiti.