Doing good work starts with having good people. Meet the Water to Thrive team.

 

 

 Susanne WilsonExecutive Director


I am beyond thrilled to be selected as Water to Thrive’s first Executive Director.  I’ve witnessed first-hand the difference clean water makes to the lives of people who struggle daily with the basic needs of life and there is no more basic need than water. I’ve been involved in water projects in El Salvador for over ten years and I’m excited to become part of a great team.  I am originally from Kentucky and grew up on a farm.  My family raised beef cattle, but we always had a menagerie of animals and I have a wealth of childhood memories of farm life. 
 
I was a classroom teacher for 15 years before becoming involved in nonprofit management.  I completed both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and a MBA.  My interests include travel, reading, UK basketball, working out, wine tastings and making a positive impact. 
 
I look forward to the journey with Water to Thrive and to connecting with the many supporters who are touched by the mission and vision of W2T.  
 

Kellie Shellaby - Office Manager


I serve as the Office Manager of Water to Thrive where I’m an integral part of the day-to-day operations of the organization along with maintaining its bookkeeping activities.  For the past 12 years, I have supported Dick Moeller in various administrative roles.  Prior to moving to Austin in 1999, Atlanta, Georgia was home and where I grew up. As a youth, I loved eating at The Varsity, The World’s Largest Drive-in Restaurant.  I treasure being a mom and spending time with my family and pets.  I enjoy creative projects, decorating, gardening, reading, and watching the Food Network.  My favorite dishes include traditional southern food and sweet tea.  I feel blessed and privileged to work at Water to Thrive.  Looking at photos of thankful, smiling faces warms my heart and inspires me to be a better person! 

 

 

Kari Hughes - Administrative Assistant


I have called Austin home for most of my life, where I also attended high school and college, and have been employed in an administrative assistant capacity over the years.   My husband, son and I are members of Bethany Lutheran Church.  In my spare time, I enjoy writing, painting, and activities with our family, friends and pets.  Now that we have a teenager who is taller than I am, I have resumed employment!  I was thrilled that Water To Thrive needed a clerical assistant, and my position in this role since October 2011, has been a tremendous blessing.  It is such a privilege to provide support for Water To Thrive’s growing and essential mission.

 

Joyce Harmon- Accounting

Originally a farmer’s kid from north central Nebraska, unbeknownst to me at the time, my father greatly influenced the careers of my sister and me.  I remember him sitting at the kitchen table for hours entering dates of birth and numbers in a ledger book of every animal birthed or purchased, every crop planted and harvested. Ultimately, those ledger books told him how much it cost him to raise that animal and plant a field of wheat and how much he gained (although too often it was how much he lost) when the crop or animal was sold.  He continued with his ledger books until the end of his life recording even the most insignificant details such as the purchase of a cup of coffee.  In hindsight, it seems only natural that both my sister and I have had amazingly successful careers in the accounting field. We completely understand our Dad’s love of seeing all those numbers on a page.

After attending college and working for a year in Lincoln, I joined my sister in Southern California where I spent the next 20 years working in the automobile industry. In 1987 our family moved to Texas.  Here I was privileged to be a stay at home mom and (successfully – meaning they are breathing today :) ) raised my two amazing daughters. After reentering the workforce in 1995 I have worked in various industries, primarily real estate development and non-profit.
Even though I am not as personally and directly involved in the impact Water to Thrive has in the lives of the beautiful people of Africa, I know that what I do is important.  I am honored and privileged to work alongside Dick and the team who are the ones that make it happen.
One more thing about my dad-ironically, in the early 1940’s he and 3 of his 10 brothers owned a well drilling business in western Nebraska. Today there are still 7 functioning windmills standing on a small rise in the sandhills near the town where I was born. Many generations later the water they brought up out of the earth is still sustaining cattle and crops.
Outside the office my greatest pleasures are reading, cooking and spending time with my daughters and two beautiful grandsons.
 

 Dick Moeller - Founder  & Chairman of the Board 


It has been an incredible and blessed journey for me since that Sunday School class in the summer of 2007 when the spark of W2T began to burn.  Clean water…..so simple, but so profound.  I believe there is no intervention that has greater overall impact on a community’s development than access to clean, safe water – empowering the community to better health, education and economic progress.  The caring hearts of the thousands who have helped bring clean water to hundreds of communities amaze me every day. While I was fortunate to experience 30+ year technology and entrepreneurial career, nothing has ever brought more joy to the heart than experiencing the community celebrations of the gift of clean water.

    Ed Scharlau - Board Member

I spent 35 years in business with 3M in the fields of Administration, Human Resources and Finance.  Twenty of these years were in St. Paul, Minnesota and fifteen in Austin, Texas and in four distinct assignments.  Two unique assignments was the development of the first Employee Assistance Program and moving several operating divisions to Austin, Texas managing new site development. I retired in 1999 and dedicated more time in service to others.  I am a founding board member of Water to Thrive and was the facilitator for  study on World Hunger/Poverty at Triumphant Love Lutheran Church that resulted in funding 12 fresh water wells in Ethiopia and inspired Dick Moeller to found Water to Thrive. In addition to my service on the Water to Thrive board, I also serve on several other not for profit boards.  

Jim Sorensen 

 Jim Sorensen - Board Member


I joined the W2T board after my church donated $22,000 toward the deep bore-hole well in Gedamba. Having been a missionary to Ethiopia 1960-64, I was pleased to be involved in such a worthy ministry. Because of my knowledge of Amharic, and with my contacts in Ethiopia, I am a co-leader of yearly trips to Ethiopia by W2T donors. I know the rural needs of Ethiopians, and enjoy the face-to-face opportunities of getting to know them even better. When I’m not raising funds for W2T, I work in my studio, doing stained glass art. I am professor emeritus of nursing from the University of the Incarnate Word, and have done short-term mission trips to Ethiopia, working with nursing programs there.

 

 

 

 

Carol Kaemmerer - Board Member


As a marketing communications expert (Kaemmerer Group, LLC, Minneapolis) I help corporate clients tell of the impact that high-tech medical devices can make on individuals who have debilitating chronic medical conditions. It’s an exciting niche, and I love to write about the life-changing interventions possible through technology. But W2T’s story of impact is seen through an entirely different lens. With a relatively modest investment in a low-tech well, an entire village is helped: they are healthier! – and they have time for education and economic development. My husband and I are excited to have funded a well; our congregation has committed to funding three. And, I am delighted to contribute my communications talents as I serve on the W2T Board.  

 

Lynne Dobson - Board Member


I am a native Texan and a photojournalist who worked in the newspaper business for more than 25 years, 13 at the Austin American-Statesman. With a Journalism degree from UT-Austin, I worked for Ohio and California newspapers, before moving back to Austin in the late 80s. For the last few years, I have been documenting the lives of Africans who are touched by non-profit organizations that work in Uganda, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi. My hope is to enlighten others and bring significant improvement in the lives of the needy through humanitarian photography, active volunteering, and philanthropy.
My father founded Whataburger and I grew up in Corpus Christi. For the last decade, I've served on the Whataburger board with my two brothers. I live in Austin with my supportive husband and two children where I am active at my church, St. Johns Methodist and I run and garden as often as I can.


I find great joy in sponsoring four high school and college students through the African Children's Choir and World Vision organizations. In 2008, after a fateful trip to Uganda as a medical mission team photographer, I became an ambassador for Free Wheelchair Mission.  I have since led two distributions, delivering more than 1000 wheelchairs in East Uganda - a place that I consider to be my second home. I am privileged to share my passion for service with Water to Thrive for the people of Africa!

 

 

 

Helena Shi - Intern

 

I am a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Texas, double majoring in Marketing and Plan II Honors. Born and raised in Plano, Texas, I've come to Austin and Water to Thrive to pursue my dream of marketing positive social causes and spreading the message of giving to the world. I am involved in the Asian Business Student Organization, for which I served as a Public Relations Director, and I am a soprano for the Asian American Campus Ministry Acapella. I fell in love with Austin the moment I saw the evening sun bordering the Capitol, and I'm proud to support one of Austin’s nonprofits. I am extremely inspired by the dedication and philanthropic heart of Water to Thrive’s mission, and am beyond excited to work with Water to Thrive as a marketing and outreach intern. My hobbies are watching Buzzfeed videos, singing, trying out new treats, and voraciously devouring the latest bestselling novel.