Our Board of Directors and staff who make everything possible.
Board of Directors
Robert Aylward is the CEO of Jones & Carter, a full service engineering consulting firm headquartered in Houston, TX. He primarily grew up in Illinois, and lived in Maryland for 30 years before relocating to Texas. Bob studied economics at Illinois State University and received his MBA from Johns Hopkins University.
Through child sponsorship, Bob first came to know about AOET~USA and joined the Board in 2014 for multiple reasons. He desired to help develop sustainable models that address the root of poverty; to put his Christian faith to work; and to utilize the business leadership skills he’s gained in his care in a nonprofit context.
Bob’s outside interests include golf, family activities and community service. He and his wife, Kelly, who also serves on the Board, have five children and one grandchild.
Becky is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters of Public Health. She currently spends her work hours divided between her nutrition consulting/education business and a Women in Agriculture and Food Security project with University of Maryland, where she travels to Afghanistan and Ethiopia teaching nutrition and overseeing the projects.
Becky and her husband Nick were a part of the team at their home church that began a partnership with AOET-Uganda in 2007. They lived in Jinja, Uganda in 2008/09 with their family and worked with AOET ‘s leadership team. They have continued to work with their church’s East Africa focus group since their return, including several trips back to Uganda between them. Supporting a local organization that helps vulnerable children and families access education and resources to live to their full potential is a privilege for them.
Originally from California, Becky and Nick have lived in Boston, Tanzania, and now Maryland. They have 3 children – 2 in university and one in high school. Becky enjoys running, growing vegetables and volunteering as a board member for Girls on the Run!
James Barfoot recently retired from Troutlodge, Inc., after 18 years, and is exploring other business opportunities. As a military dependent, he grew up all over the country and now resides in Lake Tapps. WA. Jim received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Richmond.
The Barfoot family first became acquainted with AOET~USA when The Chosen, a singing/dancing group of AOET children, stayed at their home. Jim and his wife, Leah, have been supporting AOET~USA since 2006 and joined the Board in 2011 to take their involvement to the next level.
When not working, Jim enjoys traveling and boating. He and Leah also have six children.
Linda Stewart worked for 20 years combined in law enforcement/investigations and was one of the first female FBI agents, serving with the Bureau for five years. She retired in 2005, after working 15 years with the Missouri Department of Mental Health as an investigator of allegations of abuse and neglect. She also served for nine years on her local school board. Linda grew up in Webb City, MO and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Family friends with AOET~USA’s first Executive Director, Ginger Damron, Linda was asked to join the Board after writing about her trip in 2008 to Tanzania, Africa with her husband, Dan. On that trip, she was touched by the children she saw walking long distances everyday to go to school. On another day, Linda observed adults and children, all dressed up, walking in the hot sun to the next town. It was then that she realized that it was Sunday and they were walking miles to church. The experience was a defining moment for Linda and compelled her to honor the Tanzanian’s commitment with her own service to help Africans.
Prior to joining the Board, Linda and Dan lived in Belgrade, Serbia, between 2006 and 2008, where he was assigned to the US Embassy and worked with officials in Serbia in helping them learn to be more effective in prosecuting public corruption cases. Currently, Linda and her husband serve those locally in their community by facilitating a weekly Bible study at a program for recovering addicts. They travel often and spend a lot of time with their son, daughter-in-law, their two children; and their daughter, son-in-law and their two children.
Kelly Aylward’s favorite job has been raising her children with husband and fellow Board member, Bob Aylward. They have five children and one grandchild. She grew up in Richmond, VA and graduated from the University of Richmond with an Economics Degree.
The Aylwards were first introduced to AOET~USA through their church’s partnership with the organization. Kelly joined the Board in 2014 because she shares the passion for the mission to restore hope and dignity to the most vulnerable and orphaned. She also desires to strengthen AOET’s church partnerships and to be part of the work that breaks the cycle of poverty in the area where AOET~Uganda serves.
Kelly enjoys spending time with family, sharing in community with women in her church, participating in community outreach, and trying new recipes.
Bio coming soon
Laurie joined AOET~USA in 2015 and serves as the organization’s Executive Director. With over 25 years experience in nonprofit fundraising and friend-raising, she is delighted to be part of such an incredible organization, serving God’s children in Uganda.
A resident of the Portland metropolitan area for over 30 years, Laurie has a passion for all things children! In addition to her work with AOET, she serves on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Urban Core Champions Board and volunteers to help other local nonprofits whenever time allows.
Married to Chad, they have a blended family consisting of five children and two four-legged children. Laurie loves her family, friends, music, food, pinot noir and staying active (so that she can enjoy those things previously mentioned)!
Three things you should know about Laurie are that she loves sea salt dark chocolate, adores her German shepherd and values relationships above all else.
Julie joined AOET~USA in June 2017 as our Office Manager. With over ten years of experience in banking, retail leadership, and volunteering in her church, she is excited and humbled to serve in her new role with AOET~USA.
Julie believes once she started staying home with her sons’ full time, she was called to leading children and helping them learn and grow. Using our gifts to serve one another has always been on Julie’s heart.
Julie married her husband, Sola, in 2006 who is from Nigeria. Together they have three sons that keep them very busy! Julie and her family have recently replanted to the PNW after being away for two years and now live in Camas Washington. They love traveling, road trips, movies, reading, the coast, and doing all things outdoors.
Three things you should know about Julie are she loves a good book, dreams of visiting Ireland with her husband again, and enjoys photography in her spare time
Andy joined AOET~USA in 2017 with 35 years combined experience as an ordained pastor, church mobilization and development director, mechanical engineer, entrepreneur, and perhaps most important, self-proclaimed foodie.
Calling God’s people to care for the lost, vulnerable, orphans and widows, and the oppressed—those who Scripture declares are most on the heart of God—has been a life-long passion. Andy has worked for and learned from leaders such as Rick Warren (Saddleback Church), Gary Haugen (International Justice Mission), and Greg Surratt (Seacoast Church).
Andy and Kellie were married on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean 25 years ago, and together are raising two teenagers in Charleston, South Carolina. Andy confesses that most days, however, “who is raising who” is debatable.
Four things Andy’s closest friends all know: he has a tendency to laugh at strange moments, he loves a bold Cab with a dry-aged steak, will stop everything to watch a Monarch butterfly, and needs at least 325 days of sunshine a year to function.
Molly joined the AOET~USA team in 2017 as the Child Sponsorship Director. She has worked with educational non profits for twelve years, and also has a background in copywriting and communications. She is thrilled to join such a passionate team to support the educational and spiritual growth of Ugandans.
Molly has lived in Portland for much of her life. She has diverse interests, and remains involved with the PCPO (Parent Child Preschools Organization), serves on the board of the Cedar Hills Kindergarten and Preschool, and enjoys blogging about the Portland Trail Blazers. She likes to work hard and play hard, and can also be found playing basketball with her husband Derek and their four children, coaching youth soccer, or organizing a neighborhood game of glow in the dark tag. She loves all the good food that the NW offers (especially oysters!), road tripping with her kids, and karaoke!
Three things you should know about Molly is that she is always down for a fun adventure (one that involves laughter is the best!), she is a die hard basketball fan, and her idea of a perfect evening is a group of friends gathered by a fire with lots of delicious food and conversation.
Maria joined the AOET~USA team in 2015 as the bookkeeper. She has worked as a finance manager for non-profits for the past 15 years, and has a background in marketing. She is honored to be part of an organization that is Christ centered and has a passion for children.
Maria has put her energy toward raising her 3 boys who were very active in sports and she has run several fundraisers, auctions and community events surrounding her son’s activities, along with her husband Jim of 26 years. With them now all in college she found herself wanting to give her extra time to an organization that embraces both her love for children and Christ.
Three things you should know about Maria is that she loves the outdoors and being active, cherishes family, and would love to travel to Italy with her family to visit her roots.