Tsehaye Teferra, CEO/Executive Director
Start Date: 1983
Dr. Teferra is founder and president of the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), Inc. His leadership and vision have shaped ECDC from a start-up agency with an initial budget of less than $100,000 to a major community-based organization with an annual budget of over several million. ECDC now offers a wide range of cultural, economic, educational, and social services at the local and national levels through its headquarters operations and through ECDC African Community Center (ACC) branch offices in Denver, Colorado, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Arlington, Virginia.
While meeting the many challenges of running a multifaceted organization, Dr. Teferra is also active in civic, professional, and local community affairs. He frequently lectures locally and nationally on African issues and cross-cultural studies and has testified before Congress. He has served as Chair of the Resettlement Committee of Refugee Council USA and as a member of its Finance Committee; and Vice Chair and Chairman of the Virginia State Refugee Advisory Council.
A native of Ethiopia, Dr. Tsehaye Teferra received his undergraduate degree from Haile Selassie I University in Addis Ababa. He then earned an M.S. in Applied Linguistics and a Ph.D. in Sociolinguistics from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he also served as a Research Associate in the School of Languages and Linguistics. Dr. Teferra was an instructor at The Catholic University of America and the Foreign Service Institute and was an Assistant Professor in the African Studies and Research Center at Howard University. He served as a cross-cultural instructor in the Peace Corps' in-country training program and taught at several institutions of higher learning in Ethiopia before coming to the United States as a UNESCO Fellow in 1972.
Recognition and Awards
• Selected as a White House Champion of Change in 2012.
• Received the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago's Pioneer Award for Leadership, Advocacy and Networking in October 2009.
• Honored in May 2008 by the Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) for his many years of public service to Ethiopian and Africans in Diaspora.
• Honored by Bank of America in 2006 with a Local Hero Award of Excellence for contributions as president of ECDC and the Enterprise Development Group through support to low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs.
• Honored by the City Council of the City of Los Angeles in 2005 with an Award of Appreciation for his contributions to improving the lives of refugee and immigrant newcomers to the United States.
• Recognized in 1991by former President George H.W. Bush for outstanding record of community service.
• Recognized in 1991 for outstanding contributions to the country by then Ambassador at Large and U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs Jewel Lafontant-Mankarious.
Allene F Wright , Senior Vice President
Allene oversees ECDC's Ethnic and Preferred Communities (PC) Programs. She is also engaged in development activities, human resources, and works with ECDC's branch offices. Ms. Wright recieved a B.A. in German from Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indianna, and did graduate work at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She has been with ECDC since 1986.
Ron Buzard, Managing Director
Start Date: 2019
Ron served as the Executive Director of the Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association (IMAA) in Rochester, Minnesota, for 28 years. For the past 30 years, both as a volunteer and employee, Ron has been involved with organizations that empower the lives of refugees and immigrants. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1980 at Friends University in Wichita Kansas, and a Master of Divinity in 1984 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Chelsea Primak, Programs Manager
Start Date: 2019
Chelsea has an MA in International Human Rights from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She has worked in various capacities in refugee resettlement for over 12 years. She has worked with refugees in local capacities in schools, a medical clinic, and language programs, has interned nationally with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and worked overseas based out of Nairobi, Kenya with the US's Resettlement Support Center.
Mani Dahal, Resettlement Programs Manager
Start Date: 2014
Mani is a former refugee from Bhutan who was resettled through ACC. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Siliguri College in India. Mani has extensive experience working in cross-cultural environments, both in the U.S. and abroad. As the Economic Empowerment Lead, he now oversees ACC's job development, employment preparation and training, and the TANF programs.
Tracy Small, Youth Programs Manager
Start Date: 2013
Tracy brings 16 years of experience working with refugees and immigrants in five different states through Youth Program Initiatives. Her passion and commitment to young people is evident through her leadership, entrepreneurial spirit of creating sustainable programs, and on-going desire for achieving best practices. Tracy holds a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education from Arizona State University and her Masters in International Education with a Minor in Conflict Transformation from World Learning: The School of International Training (SIT).
Haider Twaiger, Finance Manager
Start Date: 2011
Haider graduated from Baghdad University with a BA in Accounting. Since coming to the US he has taken several classes in tax preparation and worked in accounting for 9 years. He is currently completing a BA in Accounting at the University of Colorado, and his expected graduation date is December 2019.