Advisory Team

United States (Grand Rapids, MI) Team


AANEE NICHOLS, blog manager

Aanee Nichols joined Be a Rose in February 2017, bringing with her a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Michigan University, a background in editing, and a passion for writing.

In addition to her work with Be a Rose, Aanee maintains a blog sharing her personal journey and discussing topics of wellness, running, and mental health. Aanee deeply enjoys lending her voice to issues of women's health and empowerment as a member of the Be a Rose team.



Karen Brogno is a freelance business editor with print and digital experience. Her specialties are copyediting, copywriting, reporting, fact-checking, web-editing and deeply researched industry reports. Her interests include business technology and management and marketing communications.

She works with local and global clients and, in between, provides pro bono editorial and communications assistance to worthwhile nonprofits. She is delighted to apply her skills in support of Be a Rose, Inc., and its social services mission of making health and wellness education a reality for underserved young women.


JESS MAGNAN, graphic designer

Jess Magnan completed her Bachelor of Arts in film and writing at Grand Valley State University, from which she draws upon her design skills to create infographics, social media graphics, and other design materials for Be a Rose.

Her interests lie in the interconnectivity of multimodal communication and how texts influence social change. Jess strives to promote social equity in her work through involvement with team efforts, such as Be a Rose.  


AUGUST NYSON, photojournalist

August began pursuing digital & analog portrait photography in 2012, and shortly after started her own business. Photographing portraits for high school seniors, couples, families, fashion editorials, as well as a myriad portfolio gigs, she quickly gained traction in the industry.

She is the recipient of a number of awards, including Scholastic Art & Writing awards from 2012 to 2013. Her work has been showcased in The Best of High School & College Photography 2013 and international magazines such as Manila Up! and Illustrado.

She attended Ontario College of Art & Design University in 2013 to focus on color film photography, and currently resides in Grand Rapids, MI.


CARA MAZURE, food pantry manager

Cara has Bachelor and Master of Social Work degrees from Saginaw Valley State University and the University of Michigan, respectively. Cara has a background in child welfare and community service. She currently works with children with autism as a Behavior Technician.

Cara believes that social justice is incomplete without the pursuit of economic equity, including knowledge of and access to essential healthcare. She feels blessed to serve with Be a Rose in the Grand Rapids community.


ALLIE VANNAMEN, communications manager

Allie VanNamen is a graduate from Michigan State University (MSU) with a B.S. in Marketing, and a focus in social media/graphic design.  Allie was the social media content manager for the Izzone while she attended MSU as an undergrad.

She holds a job as a school photographer and enjoys editing and creating new content wherever she can.  Allie enjoys photography, going on runs with her dog, and anything Michigan State sports related.


BEN SCHWEITZER, user experience research advisor

Ben Schweitzer is a User Experience Expert with a focus on online shopping. After completing his Master of Science degree in Interaction Design and Information Architecture at the University of Baltimore, Ben began his career with TrueAction. Since 2011, he has helped numerous clients refine and innovate their websites, apps, emails and other customer touch points.

His expertise spans a broad range of user research and design. In addition to commercial work, Ben has also taught courses in interaction design and research methods at the University of Baltimore, and co-founded a NYC-based UX Researcher Meetup to foster learning, sharing, and collaboration across industries. Ben is excited to apply his skills to areas outside of eCommerce and to help Be a Rose establish its reputation and make a positive impact.


Kristina Anderson, student affairs and community partnership coordinator

Kristina Anderson is a student at Grand Valley State University where she is completing her degree in Social Work. She plans to use her degree to provide guidance to woman and adolescents by working together to reduce barriers. With her current skills, she will be a mentor for students to help advocate and educate our community through our mission at Be a Rose.

Kristina is passionate about bringing power to woman and helping girls rise through action, dialogue, and education. She is eager to be a part of Be a Rose where she can promote health and empowerment.


SARAH HOYLE-KATZ, lead research advisor

Sarah Hoyle-Katz has a passion for social and environmental sustainability. In the course of pursuing her interests, she earned a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and an M.S. in Civil Engineering, both from the University of Illinois.

To Be a Rose she brings skills in cross-disciplinary research and data analysis. Sarah currently works as an administrative assistant in social work at Western Michigan University. 


HANNAH BARBER, project manager

Hannah completed her Bachelors of Science in Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech in 2013, where she developed her skills in research and project management.

She is currently working for a major health insurance company in customer service, and is working towards her certification in Lean Six Sigma.

Hannah has always been passionate about women's rights and social sustainability, and is thrilled to put her skills and passion to work with Be a Rose.


Kenya Team


NKATHA MUTHAURA, project manager

Nkatha Muthaura has a graduate of Law degree from the University of Nairobi and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law. As a practicing women and girl child empowerment activist, Nkatha believes that education is a key equalizer of power that girls and women of all ages need to remain confident, skilled and competitive for modern day opportunities. 

She is dedicated to  breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence on women,  as well as promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights.

She joins Be a Rose in 2018 full of zeal to lead the school project with our partner, Paul Mbiu Primary School.


ONG'UTI (GLENN) MANG'ARE, legal advisor

Ong'uti Mang'are is a Kenyan, passionate about his country and continent. His vision is to assist fellow Kenyans in developing a standard of life that enhances human dignity. He holds Bachelor of Science and Art degrees in Software Engineering and Law, and currently serves as an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

Glenn believes in the equalizing force of education and looks forward to a day when Africa's conversation will move from one of despair to one of optimism. Before starting his law practice, he worked with a Kenyan NGO that offers free legal aid to Kenya's poor and marginalized populations. He joined Be a Rose in 2015 to continue his efforts to promote social justice and human dignity.


SYMON VICTOR THUO, ground ops & media manager

Symon Victor Thuo is a proud Kenyan with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

Upon completing his degree in 2013, Symon founded the IT firm IDECK, and later, the IDECK Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps underprivileged communities in Kenya. Symon joined Be a Rose in 2015 to give back to the less fortunate.