Board of Directors
Board President, Mary Ann McCammon
Mary Ann, who always wanted to be a nurse, has a BS in nursing from the University of Missouri and a PhD in nursing from the University of California, San Francisco. She was a Professor of Nursing at Oregon Health & Science University, where her program of research focused on improving the health of marginalized women. After retiring, she began teaching quilting to women incarcerated at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Oregon and to women in a rural Mexican fishing village.
In October of 2015, she combined her passions for women’s health and quilting by starting Quilts for Empowerment, teaching quilting to obstetric fistula survivors treated at the Gynocare Fistula Center in Eldoret, Kenya. After subsequent trips to work with the women and refine the products they were paid to make, she established Quilts for Empowerment as its own nonprofit organization.
Mary Ann’s art quilts, many of which focus on obstetric fistula, have been juried into local, regional, and national shows. Three are in the permanent collection of Fistula Foundation. She enjoys hiking, yoga, classical music and gardening with her husband, Steve. Although they raise chickens, she is afraid of them, which is why this photo of her with Mercy’s gift of a chicken in 2016 is so special.
Board Treasurer,Steve McCammon
Steve grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated with a BA degree in Economics from the University of Kansas, and obtained a MBA degree in Finance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He served as a US Navy officer during the 1960’s.
Steve retired in 2013 after a forty-eight year banking career mostly spent in community banks where he handled customer relationships focusing on small businesses and non-profits. He has served on many local and statewide non-profit boards over the years. For the past several years he has been on the finance committee of the Board of Janus Youth Programs Board in Portland, Oregon. Janus Youth has a $ 12 million annual budget and offers forty programs for youth at risk.
Steve enjoys hiking, reading, gardening and buying and selling used books.
Board Secretary, Lottie Smith
Lottie Smith raised her children on the family farm teaching them the benefits of a strong and consistent work ethic and the value of sharing knowledge with others. In this richly creative and nurturing environment, her children learned to use their hands to create food and practical items for use in everyday life and how to use these skills to provide for and sustain themselves in the greater world.
As an adult, Ms. Smith returned to school to complete degrees in technology and business and worked in the corporate world as an Information Systems Manager, interfacing artists and authors with technology. She developed an acute appreciation for teaching new skills to creative people. Ms. Smith’s background provides the atmosphere and inspiration to create work which captures the essence of an environment and to share that knowledge with others.
When she became aware of Quilts for Empowerment and its mission, Lottie seized the opportunity to support the activities of the group, 1) embracing education of women (in recovery from surgical fistula repair) enabling them to become self-sufficient using personal sewing and artistic embroidery skills to tell their personal stories and 2) teaching the value of and how to manage monetary resources from the sales of these items which, in turn, provide the opportunity to become and remain independent.
Community Member, Christine Fox
Christine is a native Californian. She has 2 grown children and is an operating room nurse by profession. Christine has always felt called to work in the developing world and has done many short term mission service trips dating back to 1974.
Having spent time in Kenya working with impoverished woman in 2009 she felt called to come back to Kenya. Having learned of the devastating effects of obstetric fistula, she knew it was time to return to Kenya and work with women recovering from fistula, specifically in area of reintegration.
For the past 3 years she has made Kenya her home and served as the Reintegration Coordinator and International Liaison for Beyond Fistula, functioning under Gynocare Women’s and Fistula Hospital. Her most import role has been that of house mom to more than 20 young fistula survivors.
Due to changes in the program Christine returned home to California in 2017 and became our Kenya Program Coordinator. She is returning to Kenya in 2018 to continue her passion working with fistula survivors and young sexual assault survivors. Her experience and knowledge of working with fistula survivors in Kenya is an invaluable asset to our Program.
COMMUNITY MEMBER, DEB SOREM
Deb Sorem seeks to use her marketing and organizational skills to promote Quilts for Empowerment. This organization mirrors her values by utilizing fabric and thread to teach life skills, promote creativity and economic independence and develop self-esteem.
For thirty years she worked in a variety of both clinical and administrative nutrition related positions in her community before practicing as an independent real estate broker for ten years. She lived the majority of her life in Minnesota, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Foods and Research and later a Master’s in Public Health, Nutrition Administration.
Retirement allows her time to develop her creativity through fabric art, as well as to continue a life-long pattern of community and social involvement through organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Global Volunteers. She volunteered at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility quilt program, and curated art quilt exhibits in Salem and Lincoln City. Deb participates as an artist in many organizations such as Studio Art Quilters Association, Columbia Fiber Arts, Artists in Action and Fiberexplorations. Her fiber works have shown in more than six states and internationally.
Courtney grew up in a small town in western Pennsylvania, but in the past few years has slowly moved toward the west coast. She graduated with a BA in Communication from the University of Pittsburgh ('11), with a certificate in Corporate/Community Relations. She then earned a MA ('13) and PhD ('17) from The Ohio State University in Communication where she studied the influence of media portrayals on interpersonal romantic relationships. Courtney now works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at George Fox University.
Courtney was introduced to Quilts for Empowerment by one of her students and was impressed and encouraged by the work of the organization. Her family has ties with Kenya -- her husband, Jon, worked in Nairobi for a time and they jointly sponsor several children in Kenya through various humanitarian aid programs -- which piqued her interest in what the QFE was doing. Courtney looks forward to informing individuals about the work of QFE and encouraging others to pour into these girls and women as they recover.