Staff Directory

Dr. Charles Aanenson, CEO:

Dr. Charles Aanenson is Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Peace Winds America. He brings over 35 years of experience in the field of international aid and development. Serving in numerous leadership positions throughout Asia and Eastern Europe, Chuck has carried out projects involving governments (national and local), NGOs, militaries, and the private sector. He recently coordinated the two largest assistance policies and programs of the U.S. and Japan Governments, addressing areas such as disaster relief, health, and education. His experience in disaster mitigation extends from designing and implementing disaster readiness and response training programs to coordinating on-site relief. Chuck earned his PhD in public administration from Indiana University.

Penny Carothers, Development and Program Support Specialist:

Penny supports fundraising and programs at PWA. Penny brings a background in non-profit management and communication, having served both as a board and staff member with several international non-profits based in the Seattle area. She holds an M.P.A. from the University of Washington with a concentration in international relief and development and a B.A. in history from Reed College.

Patrick Hurley, Program Officer:

Patrick Hurley is a Program Officer helping to develop and implement disaster preparedness, response, and recovery projects in Asia Pacific. Patrick is an attorney and graduated with honors from The George Washington University Law School, where he focused his studies on international human rights law. He has worked with various Human Rights NGOs in different countries and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Southeast Asia. He later transitioned to working and training in the field of emergency management, including with FEMA and the American Red Cross. He has a background in nonprofit operations and administration, including as an Executive Director.

John Sanders, Vietnam Field Officer: 

John Sanders manages our field office in Hai Phong, Vietnam; where he launched the Sister Cities disaster preparedness initiative aimed at improving private sector disaster resilience through business continuity planning. With over 25 years of leadership experience in both business operations and human resources development, John brings a unique and valuable perspective to PWA. In addition to his passion for developing individuals and teams, John has a deep and long-lasting commitment to Non-Profits, having served in multiple organizations ranging from volunteer to board president. John received his B.S. in business from the University of New Mexico.

Mari Poorman, Project Officer:

Mari Poorman joined Peace Winds America as a Project Officer, and brings extensive private sector experience in international project management and business development, with a focus on the U.S. and Japan. Mari has implemented and managed various relief and recovery programs in Japan, the Philippines, and Nepal partnering with NGOs and local governments. She has served and led civil-military humanitarian assistance program partnering the U.S. and Japan (Palau and Japan) and with the UN and NATO in the Balkans (Macedonia). During 2014-15, Mari lead a Peace Winds team targeting development and humanitarian assistance in Myanmar. She holds a B.S. in public relations from the University of Utah. [Mari is presently on temporary leave from PWA.]

Tuan Ha, Field Officer:

Tuan Ha serves as the Field Officer for the Vietnam – US Disaster Preparedness Initiative at the Hai Phong field office. Mr. Ha is a PhD candidate in agricultural systems management at the University of Adelaide. He previously obtained an M.Sc. at the University of Queensland, Australia, and has done consultancy work for Oxfam America, the Spanish Red Cross, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Rosa Gimson, Research and Program Support Intern 

Rosa served as the Research and Program Support Intern at Peace Winds America for much of 2016. She is currently an MPA candidate at the University of Washington, where she is studying international development and non-profit management. Below she shares some of what she learned in her internship at PWA.
        “My time with Peace Winds America has given me the opportunity to learn about how critically important disaster preparedness work is, especially when it comes to vulnerable populations like women, the elderly and/or disabled, and indigenous communities. Disaster preparedness work, a quick and collaborative response, and long term recovery with local partners can provide the relief and then stability that a community needs to fully recover and empower all of it’s citizens to survive and thrive. Thank you PWA for providing me with a fantastic learning opportunity and space to apply the skills that I’m learning in my graduate degree!”

Opportunities at Peace Winds America

Internships: If you are interested in an internship opportunity, please submit your resume and a cover letter describing your specific areas of interest to

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