Mark Ryle, LCSW
Mark Ryle is an astute businessman with the soul of a social worker. His globe-trotting, high-pressure years in corporate finance – juxtaposed with his heart-stringing-and-boot-strap-pulling together of the nonprofit vision and mission as current CEO of Project Open Hand — reinforces a career foundation as a skilled and results-driven executive. Mark’s devotion to serving the critically ill began while a University of Texas student in 1985, when his best friend was diagnosed as HIV-positive. Although the illness was new and frightening, a commitment to helping the vulnerable was familiar. The Abilene-born Texan was instilled with an awareness to always think of others first. After 20-years of success in the corporate finance world, Mark returned to the University of Chicago to earn his Masters in Social Work and focused on community organizing and gang intervention. He spent two years as a director of Fundación Huesped in Buenos Aires Argentina, building a food program for youth living on the streets of this massive city. Moving to San Francisco in 2009, Mark worked as a therapist with San Francisco’s most vulnerable children and their families, In 2013, he began at Project Open Hand, where his contributions range from delivering meals with love to clients to leading the historic institution’s new strategic direction.
Amira Barger, MBA, CVA, CFRE
A California native, Amira Barger joined Project Open Hand in 2016 with 12 years of experience as a professional fundraiser and communicator. Amira previously served as Area Executive Director for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), and at Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, as Chief Development Officer. One of her most significant accomplishments was completing CitySQuare’s concurrent annual and capital campaigns from 2011-2013, which raised $15M and $14M respectively, to build a new facility, the only one-stop shop for people dealing with poverty in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Amira received her B.A. in Marketing from Vanguard University, an MBA from Letourneau University, and invested in her professional development by receiving both her CVA (Certified Volunteer Administrator) and CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) designations. In addition, Amira serves on the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration External Relations Committee as Chair, is an active member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, the Association of Fundraising Professionals as well as having the distinction of serving on an AFP Board of Directors.
San Fernando Valley native, Ana Ayala has joined the Project Open Hand team as Vice President of Programs after ten years living in San Francisco and working at places including AIDS Walk San Francisco and Catholic Charities, where she held roles ranging from administrative to events, development, and fundraising. For the past five years, Ana worked in programs at Catholic Charities. She speaks fondly of her role in Star Community Home -- a shelter for women and children, which Ana helped implement within a three-week timespan. The project was intended to run for 18 months, but was so successful that it is still active today.
Teresa Ballete, MBA
With 20 years of corporate and nonprofit experience, Teresa Ballete has held Controller positions specifically with Hospitality Industry, Chemical Distribution and consulting roles for Santa Clara University, University Club of San Francisco and Conservation Corp of North Bay. With her formal background in Mathematics, Finance and Accounting, Teresa Ballete provides a perspective from both economic worlds. Her commitment to Project Open Hand and its core mission gives her the motivation to be involved with the growth in both service and financial stability of Project Open Hand.
With over ten years of progressive HR experience, Andy joined Project Open Hand in July of 2016 as Vice President of Human Resources. An adept communicator and strategist his work in a variety of sectors including healthcare, bio-tech, contingent staffing and non-profit have all shaped the professional he is today. Utilizing his background in education, his focus has and continues to be the development, engagement, and alignment of people operations with organizational mission. A commitment to serving and uplifting our most vulnerable neighbors drives his passion for Project Open Hand as he works behind the scenes to ensure we deliver meals with love to our community. A proud father, Andy resides in Pacifica with his family.
Executive Chef Adrian Barrow’s life journey is as extraordinary as his food.
Born in Barbados, Adrian moved to the “Big Apple” as a teenager, and enrolled in the culinary program at New York City College of Tech in Brooklyn. After his studies, he gained experience at many well-known, upscale New York restaurants including Union Square Café, Hudson River Club, and most notably, Blue Water Grill, where he was a sous-chef for five years. Adrian then made the cross-country trip to begin his west coast career at Aqua, a top rated Michelin restaurant. It was at that point that Adrian began to feel like something was missing; that perhaps he had a special culinary calling – a calling where he could help others in need. Nine years ago Adrian began as Special Diets chef at Project Open Hand; he has undergone a variety of role changes throughout the years, transitioning from Catering Chef, to Sous-Chef, and now to Executive Chef.
Born and raised quite literally in the middle of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Maggie has been in love with computers since the age of 5. By age 14 she was building and fixing her own computers. Maggie received her bachelor’s degree in IT while living in Australia and then her MBA back in Argentina. Volunteering is a big part of Maggie’s life for as long she can remember. She and her parents often helped out at after school programs for children with little to no resources. Maggie moved to San Francisco in April of 2014. “The city allows me to have everything – I have an IT job that makes an impact,” she says.
Kim Madsen, MEd, RD
An east coast native, Kim Madsen received her BS in Dietetics from University of Vermont and her Masters in Nutrition Education from Framingham State College in MA. Her passion for wilderness adventure led her to northern California in 1991. As a Registered Dietitian, Kim honed her clinical nutrition and consulting skills in long- term care and rehabilitation facilities in San Francisco for 7 years. Then, 18 years ago, she found her dream job at Project Open Hand. Surrounded by compassionate staff and volunteers, and inspirational clients with fascinating stories,. During her tenure at Project Open Hand Kim has been the program dietitian for the Senior Meal Program, the agency dietitian for all programs and now is the Director of Nutrition Services where she continues take great pride in working for an agency that provides quality medically tailored meals and nutrition education to the sick and the elderly in San Francisco and Alameda Counties.
John McArdle has over 25 years experience in marketing, fundraising and communications using a broad array of channels including mail, teleservices, social media, email/digital, event, viral, mobile, canvass and collateral. His specialities include direct marketing channel, message and creative/strategic integration -- non-profit, commercial and association. Acquisition and retention programs that get results. Expertise in production, acquisition strategy, creative strategy & account/project management.
San Francisco native Delfin Vigil spent the formative years of his career as a newspaper journalist in the Bay Area. He spent most of his career as a staff writer with the San Francisco Chronicle as a breaking news and in-depth features reporter. Since 2010, he has worked in the nonprofit sector specializing in creative communications and capacity-building. Delfin also regularly collaborates on projects that involve art, literature, music and film. He lives in Petaluma with his wife and two children.