Board of Directors
Board Member, Vice PresidentJoe Passalaqua has a background in international trade. He previously owned a small trading company, has been employed by two Fortune 500 organizations, and has consulted for many others. Joe embraces a holistic approach to continuous improvement, citing economic development and job creation as a primary drivers for family security and personal growth. With his background in logistics, supply-chain consulting and regulatory compliance, he hopes to bring more direct investment and involvement from business entities to the region. Joe holds degrees from Thunderbird Global School of Management and Schiller International University in Germany.
Mary Lynn Barrett
Board MemberMary Lynn Barrett has dual Master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health from the University of Washington. She is the Director of Behavioral Medicine in the Family Practice Residency Program and Family Health Center at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Her current position involves both teaching physicians to manage the mental and behavioral health aspects of primary care and treating patients who experience these challenges to help their overall well-being. Mary Lynn has trained extensively in several mind/body modalities for healing trauma and is very knowledgeable of the effects of trauma and stress on both physical and mental health. As a Master Trainer in the Trauma Resiliency Model and the Community Resiliency Model, she trains all types of individuals from physicians and licensed mental health providers to case managers, parents, lay providers, veterans and clergy. Mary Lynn is fluent in Spanish. She has lived in South America and traveled throughout Latin America. She worked in Honduras with the Shoulder to Shoulder program, providing much needed mental health services and training medical students in the process. Currently, she lives in Asheville with her young son.
Hannah Presser is a May 2016 graduate from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a degree in International Relations and double minors in French and Political Science. Hannah has been interning with Africa Healing Exchange since January 2015 and recently joined as an active Board Member. She traveled to Rwanda in December 2015 with AHE for the business skills and meditation workshops in Kigali and Gisenyi. Hannah aspires to work in the field of international human rights and has been involved in UNCA’s Model United Nations chapter and the French Film Society.
Anna Ferguson is a professional yoga teacher with a decade of experience focusing on promoting, enhancing and restoring balance and wellbeing with the yogic tools of meditation, posture practice, breathing practice, yoga nidra (deep relaxation), yoga philosophy and yogic ways of understanding the world. She researches the latest discoveries in neuroscience and yoga to create therapeutically-oriented yoga practices for holistic healing, increasing resiliency and transcending trauma. She sees people in private sessions, as well as small group classes and larger public classes.
She is currently an E-RYT 500, which means she has completed more than 2,100 hours in yoga instruction.