Connie Burke, Board Chair

Connie’s career experience includes over 30 years in administration and management. She began her career as a technical writer for the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation and worked as a forestry technician for the U. S. Forest Service. Upon completing graduate school, she became a legal assistant in environmental law and rose through the ranks to the position of Director of Administration/CEO for Vinson & Elkins, an international law firm based in Houston, Texas. She then served as the Master of Lovett College, Rice University, Executive Director of Leadership Rice and Assistant to the Board of Trustees at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Connie went on to become Office Administrator for Bracewell L.L.P., managing the daily operations of their regional office in Washington, D.C. before retiring to Santa Fe with her husband in 2012. She came out of retirement and served as the Interim Executive Director for the International Folk Art Alliance (IFAA) August 2014 and served in that capacity until March of 2015. She then served as the Chief of Staff to the new CEO until August 2015, coordinating the 2015 International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe.

She holds a B. S. in Geology from California State University, Long Beach and an M. S. in Forestry/Natural Resource Management from Oregon State University.

She has served in a variety of chair positions for the International Folk Art Market and she is the chair of the docent council at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. In addition, she volunteers at the Sweetheart Auction, the Wine and Chile Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Girls, Inc.

Mary Kushnir, Board Vice Chair

I spent the first thirty years of my life in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During that time I obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees in business and I obtained my CPA. I worked for an international accounting firm in Tulsa and was asked to work in the Calgary, Canada office for a year, where I met the man I would marry. Ken and I lived in Calgary, England, Dallas, and Houston, Texas, before finding our dream retirement location of Santa Fe.  During the last few years, Ken and I have focused on exploring the world, and enjoy  traveling to learn about other countries’ cultures and histories.

During our time in Texas, I devoted significant time to boy scouts as a way to stay involved with my boys. I loved watching and helping young boys develop into strong, independent young men who could be perfectly comfortable outside in nature sleeping, cooking, hiking, and exploring, knowing what to do in almost any emergency. They learned to give service to their communities and to be the best humans that they could be. At Girls Inc of Santa Fe, I have found an organization that is devoted to inspiring girls to become Strong, Smart, and Bold. I am so excited to focus on girls now at this point in my life!

Alina Catanach, Board Treasurer

Alina C. Catanach was born and raised in the beautiful city of Santa Fe, New Mexico. With an extensive background in real estate. Alina is excited to take on the role of Vice President of Sales and Qualifying Broker for Las Campanas Realty.

With years of experience in sales and development, Alina continues to use her expertise and passion to help individuals find their dream homes in Santa Fe and beyond. Her dedication and commitment to this field have made her a respected figure among her peers and clients alike. Developing lasting relationships and friendships is important to her.

Alina is also deeply involved in her hometown Santa Fe community. Serving on the Board of Directors as Treasurer of Girls Inc., a nonprofit organization that empowers young girls to become strong, smart and bold, has been a fulfilling experience. Supporting young women and seeing them develop to their full potential is extremely rewarding. Alina is also serving the real estate community as a Commissioner for the New Mexico Real Estate Board of Commissioners. This has allowed her to stay up to date with the most pressing issues in New Mexico real estate.

Most importantly, Alina is proud of her role as a single mother to her two children. Balancing work and family life has not always been easy, but it has been the ultimate reward for her to see her children grow into kind and productive young adults as they begin their lives outside of the nest she created.

Alina is excited for this next chapter in the Santa Fe real estate world and as always, looks forward to serving her clients. The very best part of her work is helping new and repeat clients enter new chapters of their own lives in their newly found home.

Diane Ramsey, Board Secretary

The oldest of six siblings, Diane grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Green Bay, Wisconsin. She was profoundly influenced by the few options then available to her mom – a young, divorced mother in the 1950’s and by her mother’s desire that her children pursue a college education.

Diane’s professional career in advertising and marketing began in Chicago. Relocating to Iowa eight years later, she began a 20-year stint working in consumer advertising, corporate communications, customer management, and economic/community development. Diane served for 10 years as co-founder and CEO of the Iowa-based nonprofit Women Lead Change, an organization dedicated to developing, advancing, and promoting women and organizations to impact the economy and future workforce. Diane found her true passion in helping develop women and girl leaders. In collaboration with Iowa’s Governor, she established the Epic Corporate Challenge – one of the nation’s first statewide public-private partnerships to advance women leaders.

Upon retiring, Diane moved to Santa Fe with her husband, Bruce Johnson. She served on the board of the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos. In addition to her work with Girls Inc., Diane also serves on the marketing committee for the Santa Fe Alliance for Science, as a mentor for American Corporate Partners supporting both US Military veterans and their spouses, and as co-chair of an International Folk Art Market committee.

Diane, her husband, and their Weimaraner (Harper Lee) are enjoying all that Santa Fe and New Mexico have to offer.

Sascha Anderson, Board Member

Sascha was born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma, and is a proud Chahta ohoyo. Sascha’s professional work has focused on training, development, and communications, but now is centered on advancing progressive causes across the state of New Mexico. Sascha’s community work has focused on equity in education, immigrant justice, and reproductive justice. Sascha moved to Santa Fe in 2015, where she now resides with her husband, Michael, and three spirited girls – all strong, smart, and bold.

Linda DeWolf, Board Member

Linda moved to Santa Fe in 2014 having, like many, visited the city different for decades. Before that she was a bit of a rolling stone, having lived in some eight different states and 30+ homes. She moved to Santa Fe because, as an artist, she loved all aspects of the beauty and spirituality that the high desert represents. She is a nurse by training (later she obtained a degree in English) with her career path taking her from nursing to patient advocacy to community service to philanthropy. She has written and published on a variety of topics.

She revitalized and ran a national foundation for 10 years which focused on promoting innovation in health care. She then co-founded GoPhilanthropic Foundation, a global not-for-profit, seeking to shift the power and privilege in philanthropy by creating engaged communities of donors and partners supporting grassroots programs.

Linda has always been passionate about women’s and girls’ issues and is proud to be part of an organization that inspires girls to be “strong, smart, and bold. She has two sons and six grandchildren. She loves learning, international travel, art, facilitation, networking, and mentoring others.

Jenna Gruhala Oltersdorf, Board Member

Jenna grew up just outside of St. Louis, Missouri with fast cars and lots of pets. When she and her husband met, they were both working at an advertising agency in St. Louis. Their careers led them out to Charlotte, N.C. and Chicago where they ultimately started their own agency, Snackbox. They moved themselves and the company to Austin, Texas in 2010 to be closer to family and now in the 2020s, landed in Santa Fe to pursue a retirement dream a little early.

Jenna is the CEO of Snackbox, a public relations agency, and proud board member of Girls Inc. of Santa Fe. When she’s not working on causes she believes in, you’ll find her working in her pollinator garden, playing with her pets (Churro, Chalupa and Colonel Handsome Mustard) and watching wildlife through her game camera.

Laura Hudman, Board Member

My education as a young girl in the Deep South is an awakening one to look back upon, to say the least. The lessons in “social graces” on how best to fit in with the cultural mores of the time were more along the lines of “socially disgraceful.” It was a time to not be too strong or too bold and certainly not appear to be smarter than the boys in those days. Sure it was nice to have straight A’s, but not to talk about it with anyone. Fast forward to today’s changing culture and women and girls being seen for all that they truly are and the importance of equality for all. A feminist is simply anyone who believes in equality regardless of gender. One of the most beautiful sights at the DC’s Women’s March was the fact that so many men were walking that day. It is a privilege to walk in support of Girls, Inc. The difference that all of the meaningful programs make in the lives of so many girls in Santa Fe is remarkable.


Suzanne Kern, Board Member

Suzanne is a science professor at Minerva University, a liberal arts college implementing evidence-based educational practices in the context of an undergraduate program where students live together in a new global city each semester. She is endlessly curious about people, places, and how the world works. Suzanne’s love of learning and teaching started early, supported by family, friends, and mentors. She researched bacterial metabolism and earned her PhD in Biology from MIT. After various teaching roles at Caltech and the Claremont Colleges in California, she became a professor at Minerva and moved to Santa Fe in 2016.


Ellen Marshall, Board Member

Ellen started her life in Philadelphia, PA where she graduated from Temple University with a B.A. in Psychology. She worked at Pennsylvania Hospital for several years as the Clinical Research Coordinator for the Department of Oncology. From there Ellen moved to Denver, CO where she lived for 30 years. She worked at Humana Health Plan; negotiating contracts and implementing quality assurance and utilization review processes.

In 1993 she was recruited to join The Doctors Company, a Medical Malpractice insurance carrier, where she was a Vice President. She was transferred to Los Angeles in 2008 to run the company’s largest regional office. While in Denver, Ellen was on several committees at the Denver Botanical Gardens, and after moving to Los Angeles, her home was featured during the Hancock Park Historical Home garden tour for its sustainable landscape, the only one in the neighborhood! She remained in Los Angeles until 2013 when she retired to Santa Fe, where she lives with her partner Rusty Crutcher and their sweet terrier Rudy. When Ellen came to Santa Fe she volunteered at the Botanical Garden and the Food Depot. She joined the board of GISF in 2014 after she went on a tour and saw, firsthand, how they were changing the lives of girls in Santa Fe. In 2020 she was termed off of the board and rejoined in 2021.


Sylvie Obledo, Board Member

The daughter of a civil rights attorney and a nurse, Sylvie grew up in the Southwest, Northeast, and West Coast. She loves meeting new people, experiencing new places and cultures, and learning about humanity. Driven to creatively inspire others through storytelling, beauty, and experiences that touch and transform, her multi-passionate background includes fashion, lifestyle, and entertainment. An actor, she performs in film, television, and theater. Inspired by her parents, who fought for those with no voice, she enjoys roles empowering the expression of others. A yogini, she practices mindful sustainable living on and off the mat, enjoys domestic and international travel, creates conscious beauty for others, trendspotting, and learning about ancient wisdom for our modern world.

During the day, you’ll find her at Shared Assessments, the trusted source in third-party risk management. As Senior Director, Committee Management, she facilitates thought leadership and peer-to-peer networking for the world’s top risk management experts across multiple industries.
As Director of the Ambiance Décor of the largest folk art market in the world, she created concepts, managed, and produced the look and feel of the International Folk Art Market-Santa Fe and Arlington. In addition, she assessed brands and provided recommendations for Whitaker International, a strategic lifestyle agency. As US Sales Agent for Novotex A/S, the first environmental apparel manufacturer in the world, she serviced clients including Garnet Hill, Hanna Andersson, and Patagonia, protecting their brand DNA throughout the design and development process of private label programs. While Fashion Director at Here & There, she attended runway shows, covered fashion in New York, Paris, London, and Milan, and trendspotting for a client roster of retailers and manufacturers. Throughout the years, Sylvie has advised decision-makers and counseled creatives, entrepreneurs, and executives on how to build their brands. She’s provided creative direction for ID systems, websites, marketing collateral, brand books, lookbooks, still and moving images, products, services, environments, and experiences.

Sylvie spoke at TEDxABQ on “Navigating Enoughness Through Creativity.” She enjoys a wanderlust approach to a global life and savors moments of beauty, creativity, and the luxury of enoughness at home in New Mexico.


Erica Ortiz-Berk, Board Member

Erica Ortiz-Berke was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico and primarily raised in Santa Fe.  As a teenager, she lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and went to college in Los Angeles, California, and Denver, Colorado.  This change further broadened her understanding of people, culture, and environmental impacts on how the melange of elements opened her eyes to how each place has its sometimes subtle, but unique way of living.

Growing up in a home with wonderful parents and an older sister…her childhood was definitely blessed!  She was showered with love, many travel experiences, and an unwavering amount of support to follow her dreams and let her passions in life be her driving force.  With her family taking on projects they all worked on together such as designing and building homes and rebuilding old cars, troubleshooting and working through challenges and the path forward was a team effort.  Erica was always told that following her dreams was sometimes not easy and took a lot of hard work, but well worth it.  Quitting was never an option!  Her dream to become an Interior Designer was achieved 12 years ago when she founded Neubleu Interior Design.  She knows that with love, support, and the ability to see no boundaries, little girls everywhere can run the world boldly and fearlessly.  She knows that working hard, never giving up, and reaching for the stars is attainable!


Ally Rael, Board Member
Alanie Rael (she/her) – Ally for short – was born and raised in Northern New Mexico and grew up surrounded by family, nature and her Hispanic culture. She attended Girls Inc. of Santa Fe in the summers as a child and after aging out of the program, Alanie went on to volunteer, and then to work for GISF as a program facilitator. For the last 15 years, Girls Inc. has been a major part of Alanie’s life, shaping her into a woman who is bold in her thoughts and beliefs. In 2019, Alanie graduated from The University of New Mexico with her bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism. She now works full-time at The Mountain Center in Tesuque N.M. working with clients through therapeutic adventure experiential ed programming. In her downtime, Alanie enjoys fly fishing, hiking, rock climbing, crafting, and especially spending quality time with her dog Rue! She is passionate about the Earth, with her future goals of graduate school and entrepreneurship being climate change-focused.

Barbara Seeley, Board Member

When I was 7 years old [see photo], my mother said that I would see my “clients” for
psychotherapy sessions in my “office” in our laundry room. It is no surprise then that I was
eventually able to hang out my legitimate therapist shingle in Santa Fe, but only after many
years as a Montessori teacher in Washington state, Wisconsin, and then Santa Fe. There were
other passions along the way like goldsmith and EMT. After a few years flipping houses during
The Railyard boom in Santa Fe, Ted and I settled down to farming in a beautiful river valley
northeast of Tesuque, called Chupadero. Here we are content and confident that this life among
bees and vegies is enough.

I have lived in Santa Fe since 1980 and raised my two boys as a single mother. My
involvements with the community included teaching at Little Earth School, volunteer and board
membership with FolkMads [the NM Folk Music And Dance Society], and Oddfellowship. Many
years ago, the Oddfellows approached our contra dance community to become members in
order to preserve our dance hall, which has a sprung wood floor for excellent dancing. As an
Oddfellow, I served a term as the Nobel Grand and other offices. I was president of our home
owner’s association when living in Santa Fe. For many years, Ted and I have been avid
volunteers and chairs of committees at the International Folk Art Market, as well as for our
Traditional Music Festival which we help produce each August. I created and managed our
merchandise tent at this festival for five years.

It was through our mutual involvement with IFAM, that Ginger and Connie invited me to
consider becoming active with Girls Inc. I am grateful to be a board member with this most
healthy group of women and girls. I have so much to learn and am already a smarter, stronger,
and bolder woman for being included with this empowered organization.

Reba Serafin, Board Member

Reba received her BAs in Psychology and Sociology from the University of New Mexico. It was not long before she decided to return to UNM to pursue her MAs in Counseling and School Counseling. Reba is a Native New Mexican and an enrolled member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of New Mexico, she is passionate about mental and behavioral health issues. Currently, Reba is a Provider Relations Specialist with Falling Colors Corporation, where she works closely with Providers throughout New Mexico and contributes to the Falling Colors Foundation. When she is not working and traveling around our beautiful state, her hobbies include team roping, camping, hunting, and spending time with her family. Reba would like to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident, and help them to realize and value their own personal strengths. Reba said it’s an honor and a tremendous opportunity to be a member of the board for Girls Inc. of Santa Fe.

“I am humbled and amazed by the wonderful people who put their individual talents to use furthering the Girls Inc. of Santa Fe’s mission, vision, and values.”