Our Team

Quechua Benefit Staff

Alejandro Tejeda
Peru Director

Bio: Alejandro Tejeda Barzola was born in Majes, an agricultural valley in the Arequipa region of Peru. He graduated from San Agustin de Arequipa University with a degree in Economics in 1985.


Alejandro joined the QB team in 2009 with a great deal of experience working on governmental projects in Southern Peru. He has always enjoyed focusing on rural projects with Quechua communities and alpaca breeders.

“For me, is a great achievement of my life to witness how much we are growing. As the Quechua Benefit Director, Peru, I have to give my best every day in all activities and projects. Casa Chapi is a beautiful opportunity for our  kids — it is changing their lives. I am very happy to work with American people who believe in the Peruvian people.”

Maribel Almonte Canahuire
Peru Office Administrator

My name is Maribel Almonte Canahuire. Working at Quechua Benefit gives me the chance to see the impact of my work translated into life improvements.

Robert Els
Content Creator

Originally from South Africa, Robert has called Peru home for approximately 15 years where he specializes in wildlife photography.


After working for a number of NGOs in Peru, Robert recognized the incredible work that Quechua Benefit does in the highland communities and now dedicates most of his time telling people’s stories through photos and documentaries.


Besides photography, Robert loves the outdoors and is an avid traveler.

“It’s extremely inspiring seeing the difference my work makes in the lives of those less fortunate, and giving them an international voice.”

Sara Matsuzaki
Communication Director

Sara was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She comes from an artistic background, specializing in fine art and graphic design. She graduated from The Art Institute of Portland in 2012 with a BFA in Graphic Design. Sara has been a part of the nonprofit world in some capacity for over ten years. She enjoys working with and helping others.


Sara joined the Quechua Benefit team in May 2022. Her role at QB consists of marketing, graphic design, and spreading the word about our nonprofit.


In her free time, she loves to travel, listen to music and podcasts, and spend time with her partner, Yomi, and sons, Bukayo and Ifedayo.

Steve Johnson
Executive Adminstrator
Sue Herinckx
Office Manager & Bookkeeper

Sue was born and raised in the Portland area. She has lived in Cornelius for the last 33 years with her husband, Jeff, and two boys, Eric and Aaron. Sue is coming to the world of nonprofits after 25 years of bookkeeping experience in medical clinics and property management. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, and nothing makes her happier than her animals. 

Mike Safley

Mike Safley was born and raised in Oregon. He attended the University of Oregon and served in the U.S. Navy Seabees, doing two tours of duty in Vietnam.


Mike was elected president of the fledgling Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) in 1990 and the Alpaca Registry (ARI) in 1996. While serving as president of AOBA, he conceived of and became the first editor for Alpacas magazine. He has been instrumental in the development of policies and practices for both AOBA and The Alpaca Registry, Inc. (ARI).  Mike has written several brochures for the alpaca industry which continue to be printed by AOBA today including: “The Alpaca Investment,” “Fleece to Fashion” and “Alpacas the Color” brochure. He is also the author of Alpacas: Synthesis of a Miracle, Ideal Alpacas from Myth to Reality, The Alpaca Shepherd, and The Alpaca Chronicles.


Over the last 30 years, Mike has conducted seminars and lectures worldwide to audiences in England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, and Peru.  He has been a judge at alpaca shows in the United States, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, and Peru. The major shows include the AOBA National, MAPACA, The All American Futurity, British Futurity, Alpaca Western Extravaganza, The North American Alpaca Show, The Great Western Alpaca Show, The Kentucky Classic, Estes Park Wool Market, and the Santa Fe Alpaca Show.

Dale Cantwell
Executive Director

Mr. Cantwell is currently an Oil and Gas Consultant with both small and large clients. He has more than 34 years of industry experience in the management, engineering, operations and product marketing for domestic oil and gas companies.


Mr. Cantwell was on the Board of a nonprofit school for 10 years. While on the Board, he chaired the Board of Directors for 3 years and chaired a Capital Campaign which raised over $10 Million.


In 2004 Mr. Cantwell co-founded Resolute Natural Resources, and was Senior Vice-President of Operations. At Resolute, Mr. Cantwell helped guide the company from a startup with seven employees through several key acquisitions, and finally going public on the NYSE, with over $500 million in assets. Prior to Resolute, Mr. Cantwell was Vice President of Kerr-McGee Rocky Mountain Corporation, following the merger of HS Resources with Kerr-McGee Corporation in August of 2001. As Vice President, his duties were to manage all aspects of Kerr-McGee’s Colorado assets in the DJ Basin.  Prior to the HS/Kerr-McGee merger Mr. Cantwell was Vice President in charge of HS Resources D-J Basin District.


Mr. Cantwell earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado. He currently is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.


Mr. Cantwell is married and has two daughters. He is an avid skier and bicyclist.

Chad Colton
Chairman of the Board

Chad Colton is a trial lawyer with a track record of achieving great results for his clients. He focuses his practice on complex, high-stakes business cases. As part of his commercial litigation practice, Chad handles cross border disputes and international litigation and arbitration, particularly involving businesses and individuals in Mexico and Latin America. Chad is fluent in Spanish and, having lived for several years in South America, is adept at helping clients navigate the thorny legal and cultural issues that arise in disputes between U.S. and Latin American parties. Chad has also litigated and arbitrated disputes between U.S. companies and companies in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Canada.


Incisive and composed in the courtroom, Chad is widely recognized as an outstanding trial advocate. Over the past decade, he has tried nearly 20 cases before juries and judges. Chad’s trial work includes cases for breach of fiduciary duty, minority shareholder oppression, defamation, elder financial abuse, fraud, professional negligence, and breach of contract.


For the past six years, Oregon Super Lawyers has listed Chad as a “Rising Star,” a designation reserved for only 2.5 percent of Oregon attorneys under the age of 40.


Chad’s clients value his sharp and level-headed approach to litigation – he works hard to understand both the strengths and the pitfalls of his cases and then partner with his clients to set a winning litigation strategy. He has successfully represented U.S. and international clients in a broad range of industries, including the software, energy, entertainment, professional services, and agriculture industries.


He is the past Chair of the Oregon State Bar Computer and Internet Law Section. Chad serves on the board of directors for Quechua Benefit, a nonprofit organization that provides food, shelter, schooling, and medical services to impoverished children in the highlands of Peru. Chad also serves as an officer and director of Up & Out, which provides housing and life services to more than 40 adults with developmental disabilities.

Dr. Chuck Gulotta

Chuck Gulotta graduated from Virginia Tech in 1997 with a PhD in clinical child psychology. He has worked as behavioral psychologist for 15 years and is currently the Program Director of the Pediatric Feeding Disorder Program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The Kennedy Krieger Institute is an internationally recognized institution dedicated to improving the lives of children and adolescents with pediatric developmental disabilities and disorders of the brain and spine. As the Program Director of Pediatric Feeding Disorders Unit he directs both inpatient and outpatient care as well as conducts outcome research on pediatric feeding disorders. Chuck also works part time as a contractor for the Veterans Administration conducting mental health exams for returning veterans.


In 2000, Chuck and his wife Ashley Hanahan purchased a small farm and began breeding suri alpacas as way to relax and enjoy the country life. They currently live on a 9 acre farm, Arcadia Hollow Alpaca Farm, LLC in Manchester, Maryland where the raise suri alpacas as well sell alpaca fiber and products in their farm store. Over the past 11 years in the alpaca industry Chuck has served as treasurer and board member for both the Maryland Alpaca Breeders Association and the MidAtlantic Alpaca Breeders Association (MAPACA). He has also organized and run as a volunteer the MAPACA Jubilee from 2006-2008.

Janice Clingman

Janice Clingman is co-owner of Lodi Alpacas at Whistling Valley Farm. She is an experienced business development professional with a history of working in the insurance industry. Jan has an extensive background in accounting as well as experience as the Director/Treasurer for the Great Lakes Alpaca Association. Her wealth of knowledge both in business and the alpaca world make her a valuable member of the Quechua Benefit Board of Directors.

Lynn Edens
Board Member

Lynn Edens is an alpaca breeder and partner in a vertically integrated U.S. yarn, knitwear and textile business. Reflecting her philanthropic focus on human rights and health care and education access, she has both supported and served as a board or advisory committee member of several of nonprofit organizations with community health and/or social justice missions. Naturally, it was also this combination of interests that lead to her interest in and support of Quechua Benefit’s important mission and leadership. Lynn previously worked on Wall Street for a decade as a bond market analyst – this was in the dark ages between the advent of the fax and that of the smaller-than-a-suitcase cellphone.

Bruno Franco
Board Member

Bruno was born in Arequipa and received his education in business and economics in Peru. He worked for several years in the most important think tanks in Peru, advocating for free markets and economic reforms to lift the standard of living of all Peruvians.


After working for more than 16 years in the alpaca industry with Michell & Co. in various management positions, Bruno met Quechua Benefit, initially by supplying garments and knitwear for their online store.


Bruno became a supporter of Quechua Benefit’s work in the highlands, and he believes it truly make a difference. Years after the business relationship began, and having finished studying photography, Bruno participated as one of the principal photographers for Mike’s latest book, Vicuñas: Survival of the Finest.


“As a result of our ever-closer relationship, our friendship, common interests, and my participation in several of their social work projects, I was invited to join the Quechua Benefit Board of Directors, which I accepted with deep honor and enthusiasm.”


Thank you, Bruno, for your valuable contribution to Quechua and for joining the Board of Directors!

Dr. Ian Tippets
Education Director

Dr. Ian Tippets serves as an Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. He received his Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics from Ohio State University in 2010. Quechua Benefit is pleased to have him join our Board of Directors as our Education Director.


Ian has lived, volunteered, and done research in South America. His first experience with the Quechua people was when he worked with a humanitarian group based out of Cusco. Ian says, “I have always treasured my time living in South America, and QB allows me an opportunity to return and contribute to life-changing programs using my experience and skills.”


Ian plans to visit Peru to develop a more complete understanding of the Casa Chapi program and its development. Additionally, he wants to identify and promote best practices and elevate Casa Chapi’s profile in the region. Ian also hopes to gain a personal perspective on the dynamics of the region to find ways to strengthen the efforts of QB.


Quechua Benefit is pleased to have Dr. Tippets as our Education Director. His expertise in Spanish and English as a Second Language education are a valuable addition as we continue to improve our educational programs at Casa Chapi.

Kris Wigger
Board Member

Kris has lived in Oregon for 30 years and has a long association with Quechua Benefit. Kris and his wife, Mimi, have traveled to Peru on several occasions and are enthusiastic about Quechua Benefit’s work. Kris and his amazing wife have two sons.


Kris earned marketing and management degrees from Portland State University and was the captain of their football team. After a successful career in medical sales, Kris joined TwentyFour7, an experienced design firm based in Portland. Taking on the roles of Account Executive and Director of Culture, he has spent the last 10 years working with clients around the globe to create and execute customer–centric programs that produce brand advocates.


As the Director of Culture, Kris has helped drive the tenet of One Life. This allows members of TwentyFour7 to bring all their passions to the workplace. Through this concept, community work has had a spotlight in the culture. His past work advancing the lives of under-served children with Big Brother Big Sisters, CAMFED, Rosemary Anderson High School, The African Foundation, and Quechua Benefit has been in the forefront of these efforts.