Rise Beyond the Reef (U.S. Board)

Renee Holt, Board Chair

Renee Holt is a nurse and lawyer with a graduate degree in public health. She has worked in the international public health field for 25 years.  She has experience in women’s rights, reproductive health, vaccines, and clinical trials. As a consultant for the World Health Organization, Renee drafted health legislation for many Pacific Island nations, including the Kingdom of Tonga, The Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu. Through her work and travels to the Pacific, Renee feels a strong connection with the Pacific Island people and the mission of Rise Beyond the Reef.  Renee now works at PATH, a nonprofit global health organization based in Seattle, Washington.


Magdaleno Rose-Avila, Vice-Chair

Magdaleno Rose-Avila began his working life in the onion fields of southeast Colorado at the early age of 11. By 13, he was traveling the migrant stream picking fruits and vegetables. Today, he serves as Director in the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs for the City of Seattle. He has run congressional campaigns, worked for Colorado Legal Services, NW Immigrant Rights Project and The Colorado Migrant Council. Between 1985 and 1993 he worked in a variety of administrative and leadership positions for Amnesty International. Rose-Avila served as the inaugural Executive Director for the Cesar E Chavez Foundation and founded Homies Unidos. Throughout his career, Rose-Avila has been a United States Peace Corps Country Director in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Paraguay and Micronesia, which is where he developed his love for the Pacific islands, the people and their cultures.


Beth Sims, Secretary

Beth Sims’ career as an educator has spanned across age groups and continents for more than 20 years. A specialist in project based learning and STEM education, Beth has worked with institutions around the world designing, developing, and  implementing a variety of site and context appropriate academic programs. She is inspired by the dedication of teachers working in remote Pacific islands boarding schools and excited to establish cross-cultural learning exchanges.


Bob Mazelow, Board Member

Bob Mazelow has been a teacher for the past 40 years and recently retired from Lakeside School.  His teaching has centered on both intercultural and environmental education working at the International School of Kenya and Malaysia.  His interest in traditional cultures started with Native Americans who he worked with in the Sierra Nevada’s and then in Kenya with mostly Masai cattle herders and Swahili fisherman on the Kenyan coast.  His Global Village course, that he taught for 25 years, utilized his understanding from living in a variety of cultures to try and gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of a changing world.  This is the reason he joined the “Rise Beyond Reef” project as a way to further understand the changes in traditional culture resulting from globalization both cultural and environmentally.


Rise Beyond the Reef (Fiji Board)

Etika Rupeni, Board Member

Etika Rupeni is currently the Regional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation and Regional Learning Coordinator for the ADB-Coral Triangle in the Pacific since 2009. Rupeni also served as the Institutional Development advisor for the Asia/Pacific Locally Managed Marine Areas. During his work as the Regional Programme Manager of Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International (FSPI) Communities and Coasts program, he lead coastal resource management efforts in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Tuvalu. He formerly held management roles as Country Director for World Wide Fund For Nature and Deputy Director for Wildlife Conservation Society – Pacific Office, working on Fiji-based conservation projects in marine, forest, watershed, climate adaptation and eco-regional planning for the last 15 years.


Dilo Masilaca – bio coming soon