Learn more about the Roma Learning to Fly team members from around the world.
William Howell, Executive Director
Bill is an advocate. Since 1992 Bill has been involved in leadership training and development in Europe. In 2011 his focus began to change. Having been asked to help with development in two Roma (Gypsy) villages he became aware of the situation facing Roma families. With the founding of Roma Learning to Fly, he is primarily engaged in educational and economic initiatives in Slovakia. “It is my belief that wherever we go, wherever we live, wherever we work, lives should be better.” In 2015, Bill and a Slovak based team also started Nové Krídla Pre Rómov, a European based NGO to ensure long term sustainability and to promote indigenous leadership. Bill is an ordained minister with a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies and an undergraduate degree in Finance. He lives in South Bend, Indiana with his wife, Linda who is the founder of EMERGE leadership training for women. They have two married sons and five amazing grandchildren. Bill also serves as Adjunct Faculty at Bethel College, Mishawaka, IN.
Joe has over 26 years of experience serving as a Commercial Real Estate Broker, Property Manager and court appointed receiver. His past clients and customers include Prudential Securities, Wells Fargo, Allied Signal, Raymond James, Allied Waste, Home Depot, Golden Corral, Jackson Hewitt, and Papa Johns. Joe has served as Board member at The Res, a youth and nature preserve in Mishawaka, IN. He is also on the Board of the Indiana Brownfields Task Force, and presently serves as a board member of the Roseland Rotary and as the vice-chair for Finance and President-elect for the LaSalle Council, Boy Scouts of America, in North Central Indiana and SW Michigan.
Dr. Joyce Long, Ph. D.
Joyce is a graduate of The Ohio State University (2003) with a Ph.D. in Education from the School of Educational Policy & Leadership – Social and Cultural Foundations Program, with specialization in Educational Psychology and Curriculum; Cognate Area in Creativity. Currently serving as a research analyst, Community Health Enhancement, Joyce is also the Executive Director of “No Parent Left Behind.” She has served on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame (Adjunct). Dr. Long has been published in numerous academic journals and books and is the book editor and co-author of “When Community Matters: The teaching and practice of community-based research.”
Born in Cheb, Czechoslovakia, Marian Kaleja is a community leader in Sabinov, Slovakia. His work with fellow Roma brought him national recognition when Peter Pollack, Plenipotentiary for Roma Inclusion, honored Marian for helping bring a positive view of Roma among the majority population. Working with local community leaders Marian has been instrumental in education and employment opportunities among the Roma.
Jana Tomlova lives with her family in Slavosovce, Slovakia. A graduate of the Social Work and Health Care College, Jana worked as a social worker for seven years before taking a job in 2012 as a financial adviser with Posta Bank. Jana has three children, a son in university, a daughter in gymnasium (high school) and a daughter in secondary school.
Igor is the Project Manager for the Digital Village Learning Centers project. A native Slovak, he has been actively engaged in Roma communities for 16 years. Prior to his work with the Roma he was employed by the city of Kosice. He and his wife Katka have 3 children and reside in Rozhanovce, Slovakia. During his previous employment, Igor worked in and around Lunik 8. It was his experience with children from Lunik 9 that transformed his attitude toward the Roma and launched him into his work with them.
Jeff Kennedy, Board Member
Jeff Kennedy currently the Pastor of Southgate Church. Prior to serving in South Bend Jeff served the Michigan District Assemblies of God for 15 years as their youth director. Prior to that Jeff have served on several churches as an associate pastor with the concentration in youth ministry since 1987.
Lisa Jacob, Administrative Assistant
Lisa Jacob has been serving in ministry since 1998 and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Life Pacific College in Ministerial Studies. Lisa has served in many areas such as, Christian Education Director, Youth Administrative Director, Case Manager, Pastoral Counseling, Elementary School Teacher and more. Lisa is currently a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God and serves in ministry with her husband Michael in South Bend, IN.
Dave Grundy, Board Member
Dave is the Digital Media Manager for the Marketing Team at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. He has a background in marketing and communications and has previous experience in the television news business. He currently volunteers his time with United Way of St. Joseph County and Center for the Homeless. Dave joined the Roma Learning to Fly board in January of 2017.
Nate Howell, Board Member
Nate Howell is the Marketing Manager for Utilimaster®, a Spartan Motors Company in Bristol, Indiana. Nate has a broad background in marketing and public relations and has volunteered with various NGO’s and non-for-profits in his professional capacity. A long-time partner of Roma Learning to Fly, Nate joined the board in January 2017. Married to April Howell and parents to three children: Macie, Emma and Ethan, the Howell family live in South Bend, Indiana.
Morgan Allison, Board Member
Morgan Allison has recently returned to her hometown in South Bend, Indiana after graduating from Taylor University with her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. While at Taylor, Morgan was an outfielder for the women’s collegian softball team where she earned four varsity letters. While pursuing her love for teaching, Morgan also developed a passion for world traveling including her most recent missions work in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, the Bahamas, and her longest time overseas as a student teacher in Nairobi, Kenya where she worked in a 3rd grade classroom.