Board of Directors
Kody Gerkin, M.A.
Founder and Board President
Kody studied International Relations (B.A., Michigan State University), joined the Peace Corps (Appropriate Technology for Improved Family Health, Guatemala), and studied International Human Rights (M.A., University of Denver). Subsequently, Kody moved to the Middle East for several years where he worked as a University lecturer and worked on nonviolent theory and human rights research projects. Subsequently, he returned to Guatemala. Chronic unemployment and child malnourishment, coupled with a severe and ongoing drought, wrought conditions that were worse than those he’d seen eight years prior as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Kody founded Mujerave with the aim of working alongside local women’s groups to find sustainable solutions to these problems. More recently, Kody managed award winning equity programming for a public health nonprofit in Colorado where, in 2019, he became an Accredited Representative for the Department of Justice, allowing him to represent immigrants in proceedings before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Pat Curtin came to NowPow in 2016 as the Head of Service Information. At NowPow, Pat designs and executes the strategy to build and maintain high-quality, accurate and effective service information databases. His experience at NowPow builds on a career of using streamlined technology to supercharge social work and to connect clients to reliable resources. Prior to NowPow, Pat worked for the Food Bank for New York City for 7 years, leading the TEN (the Tiered Engagement Network) Program, where he led a team of 10 AmeriCorps VISTAs to build the city’s largest closed loop referral network, resulting in 1,500 clients referred monthly. His interests in community development and lasting change has brought him to Mujerave, where he delights in the opportunity to work with his fellow board members to improve the health and well-being of Guatemalan communities.
Melissa Martinez, M.A.
Project Coordinator, Board Treasurer
Melissa has more than 10 years of experience working with women's groups and other marginalized populations in the United States, the Middle East, and Latin America. After visiting rural Guatemala in 2010, she became interested in the plight of indigenous women; environmental degradation; and the fight for food sovereignty in the Global South. Shortly thereafter, she began a certificate program in International Sustainable Development, which she completed in December of 2013. She currently resides in Colorado where she assists with an adult ESL program and serves as a volunteer domestic violence/sexual assault survivor advocate. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys camping, hiking, reading, meditating, playing cribbage, and spending time with friends and family.
Emily Gerkin Guerrant, M.A.
Emily Gerkin Guerrant joined Michigan State University in March 2018 as Vice President and University Spokesperson, managing all the crisis communication and issue management for the nation’s first Land Grant Institution. Emily manages day-to-day media messaging and responses, strategic communications for university leadership, internal communications for the campus and executive communications related to the President and Board of Trustees. Prior to MSU, Emily was the Senior Vice President for Marketing, Communications and Public Relations for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for five years. In that capacity, she worked with her team to develop the communications strategy surrounding economic development, community development, business attraction, talent development and the popular Pure Michigan tourism campaign for the state of Michigan. Prior to joining MEDC, Emily spent 10 years in the private sector with two public relations firms; John Bailey & Associates and Lambert, Edwards & Associates. Her varied experience touched all aspects of public relations at the state and regional levels, including strategic planning, media relations, branding campaigns, research and legislative outreach. She worked with coalitions, state associations and non-profit clients who advocated for a variety of issues around the Capitol dome - from healthcare to education, energy and business issues. Emily started her career with six years in the Michigan House of Representatives as a communications professional and Press Secretary to the Speaker of the House. A third generation Central Michigan University Chippewa, Emily earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science in 1997 and completed a master's degree in public relations from Michigan State University in 2008. She lives in Lansing, Michigan with her husband Kyle, and children Katie, Maddox and Zachary.
Alexis has a strong connection to Santa Maria Chiquimula. From 2007-2009, she lived and worked there as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Her primary project, Escuelas Saludables, worked with primary schools in the municipality to develop health education programs. She also helped organize a girls leadership camp for teenagers girls across Guatemala. While her passion for women's rights spans back to college, it was in Guatemala that she came to understand the importance of sustainable development and community empowerment. After completing her Peace Corps service, she earned a Master's degree in Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Alexis currently is a Policy Analyst at a national farmworker organization, promoting health care access for U.S. farmworkers and their families. She is thrilled to be part of Mujerave and once again work with the communities of Santa Maria Chiquimula and Totonicapán.
Tate A. Jesky
Mr. Jesky develops highly personalized wealth preservation, tax and estate planning services to clients in the United States and abroad. Distinguished by the support of a superb team of legal, tax, and insurance professionals Mr. Jesky and Piper Greene offer a comprehensive array of private client strategies at the highest level of quality - reasonably priced and timely delivered. Mr. Jesky holds a BBA in Accounting and an LLM in Tax Law. He lives in Georgetown, Michigan, with his wife and two daughters. In his spare time he enjoys golfing, cooking and traveling with his family.
Brandi M. Planet, Esq.
Brandi Planet is an of counsel attorney with the law firm of Fennemore Craig, P.C. in Las Vegas, Nevada. She specializes in business litigation and labor & employment. Brandi graduated Magna Cum Laude and with University Honors from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Psychology. Brandi later received her Juris Doctor from the William S. Boyd School of Law. Brandi became involved with Mujerave because she believed in the importance of empowering woman and providing them with the necessary resources to care for themselves and their families. Brandi relies on her legal and public relations experience to provide support to Mujerave as it develops and implements projects throughout Guatemala.
All of our Board of Directors serve as volunteers without compensation.