Cindy Goodale, President / CEO
Cindy brings decades-long passion and experience for creating access to health care and sight restoration programs for women and families both domestically and internationally. She received an undergraduate degree from UC Davis in Community Nutrition and an MBA from Golden Gate University in Health Service Administration. She brings 35 years of serving as a nonprofit executive director in health, human services, and vision care programs.
Cindy met Bob Martin in their youth when both volunteered for AMIGOS de las Americas. Bob’s wit, incredible sense of humor, ability to reach out and bring joy to everyone he came in contact with serves as a source of inspiration. Throughout the years they continued their mutual dedication to serving the underserved in Latin America in numerous vision care programs. Now, several years later, Cindy has been instrumental in bringing the team together to found VER International. VER is committed to continuing Bob’s legacy of humanitarian service: restoring hope, transforming lives, and creating futures with the gift of sight to the medically under-served and impoverished throughout Latin America.
Lynn Scuri, Chairperson
Lynn is the chairperson of the Board and longtime public health advocate. She is currently employed with a non-for-profit managed Medicaid plan serving over 500,000 low-income individuals living in 14 northern California counties. Lynn is a graduate of the University of California, Davis where she earned a degree in Nutrition Science and later a Masters of Public Health at University of California, Berkeley. While in college (many years ago) she met Cindy Goodale, now President of VER, and began a long-term friendship with Cindy, serving as an armchair companion on her many ventures leading vision health programs in South America. She is also the mother of three beautiful girls, now in college, and is ready to lend her organizational and analytical skills to further VER’s mission.
Charissa Cannon Nelson, Secretary
Charissa joins the VER board after numerous volunteer service trips to Latin America with health and environmental non-profit foundations. Her love for Latin America stems from her 7 summers of volunteering in health and community development projects in rural Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Ecuador with Amigos de las Americas during high school and college. Charissa and Bob directed a tuberculosis detection project in the Amazon region of Ecuador with Amigos. Charissa has a BA in Latin American Studies from UC Berkeley and an MA in Teaching from Pacific University. Charissa brings perspectives in cultural competency and languages to the VER board. She currently teaches 3rd grade in Eugene, Oregon.
Linda Burgess, Treasurer
After 20 years in the Wine Industry, Linda began a new career in the Not-for-Profit sector with organizations supporting underserved populations through fund and resource development, finance management, event planning, public relations and as a board member. She has been passionately involved helping indigenous women in Guatemala to rise up from poverty with micro-loans to start businesses; providing access to women’s health care in Burundi, Africa; and creating safety and education for victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking to make positive changes desperately needed globally. Linda is currently a board member of VER International.
Colleen grew up admiring her father, Robert G. Martin II, for his passion in providing assistance to those in need. Currently, she is a board member for VER International. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Master’s in Nursing from the Johns Hopkins University. She’s participated in multiple volunteer trips over the years, most recently in Peru last summer.
Meghan’s passion for volunteering and helping others came from her dad, Robert G. Martin II. She is currently a board member for VER International. Meghan spends her day as a recruiter in the Chicagoland area helping others find careers. She received her degree in Global Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and started the campus chapter of Global Law Brigades where she led two volunteer trips to Panama. She also sits on the Young Professionals Board for the American Heart Association of Chicago and the Community Council Board for the Junior League of Chicago.
Ryan grew up hearing about service trips from his father and how desperately individuals in Latin and South America need life-changing eye care. It was his trip to Guatemala with his father in 5th grade that convinced him of this mission. He now serves as a board member for VER International. Ryan graduated from Marquette University, majoring in Finance and International Business. He is looking forward to watching the foundation expand upon and facilitate his late father’s mission.
At an early age, Michelle’s family taught her the importance of giving back to others. At Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School, she was taught the importance of having compassion towards the needs of others. When she was a high school junior, she was inspired by her cousin Bob, who introduced her to Amigos de las Americas. Thanks to Bob, she had the honor of participating in her first medical mission trip during Amigo’s initial visit to Oaxaca, Mexico. Michelle immediately developed a deep passion for charitable work and for Latin America. For over fifteen years she has volunteered weekly at a hospital in Chicago devoted to serving chronically ill children. She has continued to participate as a volunteer on mission trips to Ecuador, Peru, and Nicaragua, and looks forward to volunteering with VER International to bring the gift of vision to many more children and adults in Latin America.
Renee’s experience with travel and service started with her first trips to Japan and Denmark with 4-H. Her older brother, Robert G. Martin II inspired her to go out in the world and serve others. She completed her master’s degree at IIT in Financial Engineering and ran her business for 25 years at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Later in life, she had time to pursue her passion for helping and empowering underserved children and their families in Nicaragua to reach their full potential. She is also proud to be the mother of 3 amazing young men that are also dedicating their lives to serving others. VER is very near and dear to her heart, in honor of her brother’s legacy. “The eyes are the windows to the soul” is an expression that is often used to describe the deep connection one feels when looking into another’s eyes. Renee is committed to aiding VER in improving and restoring sight to individuals living in extreme poverty.