Board of Directors

Our board of directors works diligently to keep Proteus, Inc. moving toward our mission.

Melissa Garcia

Former Chair

State Monitor Advocate, Iowa Workforce Development

Rebecca Prescott

Chair

Marketing Manager, Peoples Bank

What draws you to the work of Proteus? I was attracted to joining the board as a way to help advocate for farmworkers and their families, because of the tremendous cultural and economic impact they have on our Midwestern states. Since joining the board, I’m in awe of the number of families who have made Indiana, Iowa, and Nebraska their permanent homes after coming here initially to work.

Favorite Produce Item: Broccoli is the one vegetable that everyone in our house will eat!

Kristin Hoffman

Vice Chair

Director of Worker Rights and Protection Project, Indiana Legal Services, Inc.

Why are you in nonprofit work? I am passionate about serving low-wage workers and survivors of human trafficking. My work gives me a great deal of satisfaction knowing that I help hard-working communities that are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Favorite Produce Item: Pomegranate. It is a fruit I discovered later in life. It is exceptionally sweet and nutritious, and it reminds me of a time when I studied abroad in Nepal.

Amy Beller

Treasurer

Consultant, Maher & Maher

Juan Ayala-Roman, CPA

Board Member

Lutz & Company P.C

What draws you to the work of Proteus? My father and mother use to work as a farmworker and a meatpacker, respectively. It is great to be part of an organization that helps, educates, and supports these workers that may otherwise not have these types of opportunities.

Favorite Produce Item: My favorite produce is corn. Corn has been used to make tortillas, tamales, and other meals which remind me of the home-cooked meals my mother used to make. There is nothing like mom’s cooking!

Hijinio Carreon, DO

Board Member

Chief Medical Executive, MercyOne

What draws you to the work of Proteus? Being from an immigrant family that every summer worked in the soy fields from the age of 11-16, the back-breaking slog through weed-infested fields under a sweltering summer sun is why I am drawn to the segment that Proteus Inc. serves. Because that was me and that was mi familia. The opportunities that are conferred to farmworkers or their kids, whether educational or health-related, are what draws me to Proteus!

Favorite Produce Item: Strawberries are my favorite – they are delicious and contain the enzyme malic acid, which can do wonders for your smile.

Michelle Mackel-Wiederanders

Michelle Mackel-Wiederanders

Board Member

Assistant City Attorney, City of Des Moines

What draws you to the work of Proteus? Agricultural workers provide the very sustenance that gives us life. It is, therefore, imperative that we offer them opportunities for health and success.

Favorite Produce Item: Fresh sweet corn. Because, well, Iowa!

John Van Ginkel

John Van Ginkel

Board Member

Cetera Financial Group

Gloria Vermie

Board Member

Retired, Public Health Professional

Why are you in nonprofit work? Nonprofit work aligns with my personal and professional goals. I’m most content when serving and caring for others.

Favorite Produce Item: I love fresh cantaloupe and think of my birth father’s family who worked in the melon fields near Pueblo CO.

Sarah Nash

Board Member

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health

What draws you to the work of Proteus? I feel really passionate about health equity and social justice, and am very interested in farming!

Favorite Produce Item: I love root vegetables (especially parsnips). Love love. Such comfort foods!