Meet Our Team

Our Founder

Joyce Tannian
Founder/Executive Director

Joyce is the heart and soul of Water is Life Kenya. Read more about her story and how she came to start our organization here. Joyce spends most of her time in Kenya directing the day-to-day operations of WILK. Joyce not only designs water and livestock projects, she also loves creating beautiful jewelry. Joyce continues to inspire us all with her passion to serve others.

Board of Directors

Dr.Dr T Headshot Francis Tannian, President of the Board
Retired Professor of Economics at the University of Delaware
Francis now devotes his time to volunteer for various causes, including Water is Life – Kenya, putting his Ph.D. in Water and Sewer systems to use in helping the people of Kenya.

suresh headshotDr. Suresh Advani
Dr. Advani is the department chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Delaware.  He serves as a strategic planning adviser and also supports our grant-writing.


Dr. Kim Bothi
Associate Director for Science and Engineering at the University of Delaware’s Institute for Global Studies. Her multidisciplinary background in engineering and the social sciences has driven her interest in applying systems approaches to her work across a range of developing country contexts.

yolanda headshotYolanda Chetwynd
Yolanda is a talented artist and you can see her work here. Her paintings have been sold into collections in North America, Asia, and Europe. She has exhibited work, regionally and internationally in New York, NY, London, and Oxford, England, France and India.

Mark HeadshotMark Manniso
President of Forte Marketing
One of the original “volunteers” to help the foundation, Mark provides imaginative marketing and help in all areas to further the cause.


Dennis O'BrienDennis O’Brien
Chairman & CEO, InfoVest.  He has a Ph.D. in Economics and is an econometrician.  He has worked with the world’s leading information  companies and brings his expertise to helping Water is Life Kenya.


Amy Plante pictureAmy Plante
Senior Branch Manager, Vice President M&T Bank. Committed to growing retail and commercial banking relationships and supporting community outreach programs.


Retired School and Public Outreach Educator Specializing in Water Resource Protection
B.A. in biology with education minor and Masters of Applied Sciences in Environmental Engineering. Worked as biology teacher and in the non-profit sector in environmental education, land conservation for habitat and wildlife protection. Most of the latter work involved protection and conservation of waterways through public outreach and advocacy for improved watershed management.

Leilani Walker
Human Resources
Leilani is actively involved in her church, Calvary Baptist in Newark DE and is a member of her church missions board.  After reading “The Hole In Our Gospel” she had a strong desire to help others obtain clean water.  Leilani’s focus for WILK is on selling beads.  She recently retired from DuPont Human Resources with over 39 years of service.


Mary WoodsMary Woods
Program management, budgeting and acquisition
Mary has a Masters in Public Administration and has worked for the Army for over 30 years in program management, budgeting and acquisition. In 2001, I earned an MBA from Georgetown University.  Over the years, I have volunteered for the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, various Catholic churches I have been a member of, Catholic Charities and Fisher House Foundation.


Tad Yancheski

Tad Yancheski
Tad has been a WILK board member since 2008.  A University of Delaware graduate, he is a self employed professional engineer (PE) and professional geologist (PG) with over 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting field, and has worked on environmental engineering related projects in 45 countries worldwide on nearly every continent (still seeking that work opportunity in Antarctica!!!!).  He travels often to Kenya to assist with WILK endeavors, and is also the current responsible engineer in charge for the Engineers without Borders Newark Delaware Professional Chapter, which also has a current water supply project in Southern Kenya.

Our Staff

Josephlarasha headshot crop Larasha
Field Manager
Larasha is our main-man in the field.  He comes from the Amboseli area and has both a deep understanding of and good relationships with the community.

Colleen Leithren
U.S.Program Director
Colleen works out of the US office and manages communications, events, volunteers, the beaded handicraft division and just about everything else!  She is also a digital storyteller who is currently sharing her expertise with WILK  so others can be inspired to help make a difference.