Narda Pitkethly/Founder and Chief Executive Officer: In 1991 Narda established a top selling real estate brokerage firm in the aggressive Sun Valley, Idaho real estate market. In 2005 she retired from her brokerage firm to devote her time to the development of the Nardagani Reading Program. Early on, when Narda needed funds to continue her work on Nardagani, she created a successful window washing company (windowwisdom44.com), established an environmentally sustainable company to recycle food waste in local restaurants (WormOn.net), and created and marketed her own hand-blown glass art products (firewithinglass.com). Narda has a daughter and a son who are thriving college students.
Gary Gigot/Advisor: Gary is currently the co-founder and Chairman of Vennli, a choice visualization and analytics platform company headquartered in South Bend. It is a spin out from Notre Dame’s business school. Gary founded the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship at Notre Dame in 1997, which has served as the foundation for what is a flourishing start up culture at Notre Dame. Vennli is the full manifestation of this initiative since it started in the business school, was incubated in the Innovation Park and now operates out of downtown offices in South Bend.
Gigot’s career includes 16 years in the advertising industry, most notably with Stephan & Brady in Madison WI, and then with his jump from Madison to Madison Avenue and Ogilvy & Mather. AT&T was Gigot’s flagship client during this period. His executive resume includes Microsoft, where he served as vice president of marketing and was integrally involved in the original launch of Windows and Microsoft Office. Then came a move to Visio, where he was Chief Marketing Officer and aided in the creation of both a new category– Business Drawing– and the development of a public company. His consultative and board positions include Optimum Energy, Sesame Communications and Docusign. Gary was also an investor and board member of Aprimo, a leading marketing management software company in Indianapolis.
Gigot’s career is a blend of marketing know how, entrepreneurial risk taking, and energy. This has extended to his altruistic endeavors as well included his work with Notre Dame students, his leadership in Seattle with their initiative to end homelessness (“Out of the Rain”), and his current work in Indiana with Startup South Bend-Elkhart. His social causes alw Days have a commercial sensibility and march to a marketing drum.
Gigot’s two children Jessica and Emily live in the Pacific Northwest and are in organic farming (and poetry!) and social responsibility respectively. His brothers, sisters, and nieces and nephews all have ties to Catholic Education, something Gigot feels particularly strong about.
Kenneth Lewis/Investor/Chairman: Ken is a businessman and former shipping executive. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Ken served on the Board of Trustees of Pacific University and Lewis and Clark College, both in Oregon; the Board of Visitors of the University of Oregon School of Law and the Board of Directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He was chairman of the national “I Have A Dream” Foundation in New York; was founding chairman of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation in Oregon; and is the current President of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation in Idaho. He was President of the Oregon Ballet Theatre and the World Affairs Council of Oregon. He was also President of the Port of Portland Commission and he served on the Board of the Oregon Community Foundation. Mr. Lewis received the President’s Public Service Award in 1991 from the Oregon State Bar Association.
Fred Burmester/Investor/Advisor: Fred has been an entrepreneur and master mason all of his adult life. He has owned Stoneworks of Palm Beach, Fla., for over 30 years. In the early 1980s Fred sold commodities at the Chicago Board of Trade. Fred has owned several companies. In 1979 Fred graduated from Maharishi School of Management, in Iowa, with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Lauri Maher/Administrative: Lauri has over 20 years’ real estate experience. Positions she has held within the industry include designated managing broker in Idaho and Washington; leasing manager/consultant for new construction, high-rise, multi-family projects; director of marketing for several development and management firms; regional manager/portfolio manager for 3000 plus multi-family units; co-owner for resort vacation rental company; co-owner of a corporate extended-stay hotel company; and development administrator/managing member for the development of two multi-use land projects. Lauri brings her knowledge in marketing, sales and operations management to our team.
Ali Long/Investor/Advisor: Ali is founder and director of the Local Food Alliance (LFA) and president and trustee of The Springcreek Foundation (TSF). Ali is a mother, conservationist and Impact Investor in Idaho. In these various capacities, Ali integrates social mindedness and environmental awareness, ever cognizant of the legacy and responsibility we will leave to our children. TSF aspires to strengthen our community through individual and collaborative grants and investments. The LFA’s mission is to create a healthy local food system and restore food security in the Wood River Valley. Ali has been committed professionally and personally to philanthropy promotion and education since 1996, and now focuses her professional energy on the synergistic reform of our food and financial systems in order to achieve a balanced global environmental and social system. Ali has two strong, young sons.
Thomas Wilford/Investor: Tom received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Minnesota. Areas of study included Accounting, Finance, Economics and Quantitative Analysis. Tom retired from Ernst & Young after 27 years in public accounting. Tom spent the next 20 years as CEO of a private company and Foundation with emphasis on operations, investment management and philanthropy. Tom has served as a board member of a California real estate developer and a Washington DC online education curriculum provider and is currently a Director and Audit Committee member of IDACorp and Idaho Power.
Louise Twohy/Investor/Advisor: Louise (or Louisa as she likes to be called) has been an entrepreneur for most of her life and along with her husband, Kevin, has started and run several million dollar businesses. She is now semi-retired, takes time for her Spiritual Practices and oversees her multi-national anti-aging products company. She also enjoys oil painting and the outdoors on the central California coast near Santa Barbara. Louisa brings both her business experience and intuitive perspectives to Nardagani.
Jose Varela/Instructor: Jose has helped Narda develop the Spanish version of Nardagani. He has been testing and teaching our bilingual program at the Blaine County Detention Center since April 2013. Jose teaches the bilingual program to students of all ages. He was born in Mexico and moved to the United States to attend Montebello High School in L.A. in the mid-80’s. He owned Tropicana Travel Systems from 1993-2000. Jose has owned Miramar Restaurant in Hailey since 2003. He is the father of two lovely children.
Barbara Mercer/Instructor: A Washington State certified reading specialist, Barb has taught reading, writing and spelling in grades K-12 for 30 years. As a school district curriculum administrator and staff developer she taught and supervised all teachers new to the district in the area of literacy. She has also supervised student teachers for four Washington/Oregon Universities. Barb has also been an adjunct professor at Seattle Pacific University, Washington State University and University of Portland. A lifelong passion for how the brain functions led to Barb’s presenting at a national conference on Brain Compatible Learning Environments. Her last job, before moving to Idaho, was a literacy coach for a large middle/high school with a staff of 50.
Cheryl Allaire/Local Legal Counsel: Cheryl is a co-managing member of the law firm Mathieu, Ranum & Allaire, PLLC. She has more than 20 years of experience providing legal and strategic counsel to businesses ranging in size from small start-ups to established publicly held corporations. Her practice focuses on a wide variety of corporate and business matters and she assists businesses throughout their entire life cycles, from startup to exit, and in many different industries including technology, energy, food and beverage, venture capital, real estate, retail and consumer products, manufacturing, life sciences and investment management. She has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and an MBA and received her law degree from Georgetown University. She has practiced corporate law at some of the top national law firms, as well as in-house at a Fortune 500 financial institution. She is licensed to practice in California and Idaho.
Bradlee Frazer/Legal Counsel (Intellectual Property, Trademark and Copyright matters): Bradlee is a partner in the Boise office of Hawley Troxell. He is a member of the firm’s business and finance group and chairs the firm’s Internet and intellectual property group. In addition to emphasizing and focusing on all facets of Internet law, Intellectual Property law, and Information Technology law, Mr. Frazer is also involved with related transactional work and litigation. Mr. Frazer has written extensively on matters of Internet and intellectual property law and is a frequent speaker on internet, intellectual property, and computer law topics and a guest lecturer at Boise State University and Northwest Nazarene University on intellectual property law and Internet ethics. A Boise native, Mr. Frazer began his legal career in 1989 as an intellectual property attorney and commercial litigator at a Boise-based law firm. In 1997 he accepted an in-house position as Senior Intellectual Property Counsel with the Fortune 1000 company, Micron Electronics, Inc., and remained there through the company’s merger with Interland, Inc. (now Web.com), then the nation’s largest Web hosting company. He eventually became Deputy General Counsel for Micron Electronics, Inc., and Interland, Inc. From June 2003 to February 2006, Mr. Frazer served as Deputy General Counsel to MPC Computers, LLC, in Nampa, Idaho.