Meet The Team

CEO/Founder & Chairman

James J. Owens


James J. Owens is an expert in professional management communication. He has published 100+ articles in national and international publications. Professor Owens has appeared on CNN and has interviewed numerous Fortune 500 CEOs. He worked in the UK, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Africa for companies including Bain Consulting, Agfa-Gavaert, Coco-Cola, and Louis Vuitton, and consults with corporations on topics ranging from communication to leadership. He is Founder and CEO of The World is Just a Book Away, a non-profit literacy organization. 

Emilio Diez Barroso

Chairman of the Board

Emilio Diez Barroso is the Chairman of WIJABA and the Founder of NALA Investments, LLC, a private investment holding company with operations across various industries including communications, transportation, energy, media and technology. The company manages a portfolio comprised of multiple investment asset classes primarily in the United States and Latin America.

Assistant Director

Ryane Acalin


Assistant Director

Ryane is the Assistant Director and US Country Director of WIJABA. She is responsible for the overall management and operation of the organization as well as project management for US libraries. She illustrated the World is Just a Book Away and is the resident graphic designer for the nonprofit. Ryane received her BA in Fine Arts from the University of California Berkeley.  

Programs Director

Darryl Macer, Ph.D.

Professor Darryl Macer is a New Zealander, and serves as President and Co-founder of American University of Sovereign Nations (AUSN), and moved to USA in 2013. Dr. Macer served from 2004 until early 2013 as UNESCO Regional Adviser for Social and Human Sciences in Asia and the Pacific.He is credited with over three hundred academic publications (50 authored and edited books; 240 Peer Reviewed papers in academic journals and books; and other academic publications in academic journals). He was a Foreign Professor at University of Tsukuba, Japan, from 1990-2005, and also is a Affiliated Professor, University of Kumamoto, Japan (since 2007) and Director, Eubios Ethics Institute, (New Zealand; Thailand and Japan (since he founded it in 1990, and a Research Fellow at the Center for Ethics of Science and Technology, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.  Dr. Macer is also the Secretary of the Asian Bioethics Association.He has a B.Sc (Hons) in Biochemistry from Lincoln College, University of Canterbury, New Zealand; Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, and Trinity College, University of Cambridge, U.K.,; and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy from Kumamoto University, Japan in 2009.   

International Directors

Arif Darmawan

Indonesia Country Director

Arif is the Country Manager of  Indonesia. He has worked with WIJABA since 2008 and is responsible for project management, establishing relationships with government officials and schools, managing project rollouts and launches, and establishing systems and programs to ensure the sustainable success of WIJABA's projects in Indonesia.


Arif has a long-standing interest in technology, human development, reading, and education. He is currently leading teams in 5 different regions in Indonesia.

Farah Mustika Sari

Indonesia Programs Director

Farah is WIJABA Roots & Shoots Program Director. She has worked with WIJABA since 2015. She graduated from Universitas Negeri Surabaya as a Bachelor of Education. Farah has a great interest in education & personal development. She believes that every person, especially the young, will have a better future with a better education and know themself very well.

Daniella Diez Barroso

Mexico Country Director

Daniella is WIJABA's Country Director in Mexico. She oversees all 17 libraries which serve over 10,000 children in Chihuahua. 

Board Members

Alexandria Diez Barroso

Board Member

As founder of TransGnosis, Alexandra Diez Barroso is an internationally renowned life coach, facilitator, and writer. She is the author of 13 Qualities For Authentic Living. Alexandra has 20+ years of experience deeply engaged with philanthropic work related to education, health, the arts, and children on 4 continents. She holds a BA in Communications from St. Edwards University and a Masters in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. 

Chris Bard


Board Member

As National Managing Partner of BDO USA, LLP's R&D Tax Services business and BDO International's Global R&D Center of Excellence, Chris works in the area of U.S. federal, state, and non-U.S. R&D tax credits and incentives, helping companies claim and support tax benefits for their efforts to improve their products, manufacturing processes, and software.

Drew Boyles


Board Member

Outside of currently serving as El Segundo’s Mayor, Drew Boyles is an entrepreneur and veteran. Drew achieved his Bachelor’s Degree by the age of 21, while fully enlisted in the US Navy. After the military, Drew quickly progressed through the leadership ranks at Brunswick Corporation and Starbucks Coffee, while solely raising his two sons. Drew went on to get his MBA in Finance from USC, and became a Big 5 Management Consultant.


Drew has co-founded a dry cleaning start-up and owned and operated as many as three dozen 1-800-GOT-JUNK? franchises. He owns and operates You Move Me, a local moving company, in Southern California and Drew founded, which provides the first of its kind residential and commercial hazardous waste removal services. Drew’s latest ventures involve a patented consumer product for the action sports industry and developing a best in class wave pool.

Drew’s personal passions are spending time with his wife, Lee and his five children, working hard to leave the world better than when he found it, and surfing, skiing and snowboarding as hard and as often as possible. Drew has a goal of surfing every country in the world, somehow even the land locked ones! As of January 2020, he has surfed 18 countries. 

Diego Gutierrez


Board Member

Diego Gutierrez is an entrepreneur and the Director of the emerging office of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico—UNAM) in Los Angeles, the largest university in Latin America, working to bring enhanced opportunities for education to the Latino population in the United States. Diego has spent half of his professional experience working for the Mexican Federal Government, specifically the Federal Electoral Court. He holds a BS in Public Accounting from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, an MBA from Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales du Nord (EDHEC) in France, and he is currently a doctoral candidate in Law from UNAM.

A.G.S Johnson

Board Member

A former banker, Mrs. Johnson specialized in international cash management for mid- and large-cap corporations and major banks, including a 6-year stint as Vice President and Region Manager, Citibank, Global Products and Services. Upon retirement, she went back to USC, earning a Masters of Professional Writing degree in 2001. She earned her BS in Marketing Management from Drake University. An avid writer, she has published the first of her two completed novels, The Sausage Makers Daughters.

Thomas McInerney

Board Member

Thomas McInerney is an investor, advisor and founder of roughly a dozen consumer-focused Internet companies. Before becoming an entrepreneur, McInerney worked as an engineer and scientist at Apple Computer’s headquarters and as an engineer at Sony. He is interested in architecture, flying and traveling.

Douglas Rowell

Board Member

Douglas Edward Rowell is an award-winning advertising, entertainment and marketing veteran with 20 years of experience in designing, developing and delivering multi-platform content and performance driven experiences that define how technology, business and the consumer engage each other. With a strong background in children’s literary, animated and live action projects— his work as a director and producer has been nominated for multiple awards including three Primetime Emmy Awards. Mr. Rowell has contributed, spoken or been featured in animation, creativity, education and marketing publications and events including The Advertising Club, Advertising Week, Animation World Network, Business Week, BONUS Creative Week MX, Congreso RED 3, DM News, KTLA5, Huffington Post, and the ADDYs among others.

Dina Silver

Board Member

Dina is the President of Pegasus Coaching Group, Inc. and an Executive Leadership Coach for Mariposa. Before launching her coaching career in 1999, Dina worked in the entertainment industry as President of an independent film company. She ran multi-million dollar projects on budget, managed large teams under high pressure and was involved in the creation of award-winning films. Her most recent coaching clients include Directors to CEOs at AAA Northern California, Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Cisco, City of Burbank, Getty Museum, WestEd and Zest Finance. Dina holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an MCC from the International Coaching Federation. 

Advisory Board Members

Roselle Chartock, Ed.D

Advisory Board Member

Dr. Chartock is Professor Emerita of Education at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, MA. Prior to teaching on the college level, she taught high school history at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington, MA, and before that middle and elementary school. She has authored several books and journal articles that promote interdisciplinary instructional approaches and call for multi-cultural and global perspectives as the bases for nurturing critical thinking and tolerance. She has also provided professional development for in-service teachers and lectured on a wide variety of topics related to education throughout her career.

Nina Houghton

Advisory Board Member

Nina is a researcher and consultant with Inverness Research Inc., an educational research and consulting firm based in northern California. As a consultant with the firm since 1995, Ms. Houghton has worked to provide insight into the design, quality and effectiveness of educational reform initiatives in schools and districts across the country. She holds a BA from Stanford University and a Masters of Education from Lesley University.

Emmanuel Kelly

Advisory Board Member

Emmanuel Kelly was found in a box as an infant in war-torn Iraq by nuns and taken to a Mother Teresa orphanage where he was adopted into Australia by Moira Kelly. He rose to prominence after he performed his rendition of "Imagine" by John Lennon on Australia's X-Factor in 2011. Emmanuel is known as the first differently-abled pop star and has performed duets with David Foster and Coldplay, opened for Snoop Dogg to a sold-out audience, and performed a set of concerts in Juarez Mexico to sold out audiences, becoming the 1st non latino pop artist to do so.

Riz Khan

Advisory Board Member

Riz Khan is a recognized media journalist, host, and producer, following extensive careers with the BBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera English. In 2005, he was recruited by the Al Jazeera network to set-up its English-language channel and to host a daily, live, interactive show featuring the world's top newsmakers. He also gained recognition for his flagship, weekly profile show, Riz Khan's "One on One". Riz attended the University of Wales in Cardiff, where he earned an honors degree in Medical Physiology and switched to Journalism for his post-graduate studies.

Mary Lewis

Advisory Board Member

As Vice President of Outreach, Office of the Founder-Global, and Assistant to Dr. Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE at the Jane Goodall Institute, Mary has been engaged in environmental awareness and protection efforts for many years.

Jenny Ming

Advisory Board Member

Jenny became President & CEO of Charlotte Russe Holding, Inc. in 2009. Jenny joined Gap, Inc. in 1986, serving in various executive capacities in its San Francisco headquarters. In 1994, she was a member of the executive team that launched Old Navy. From March 1999 to October 2006 she served as President of Old Navy. Jenny was included in Fortune magazine's 2003 & 2004 lists of "50 most powerful women in American business."She received her Bachelor of Art's Degree in Clothing Merchandising from San Jose State University.

Tim Monich

Advisory Board Member

Tim is a speech and dialect coach with over 35 years' experience in theater and film. Having trained with Edith Skinner at Carnegie Mellon University, he was on the faculty of The Juilliard School for 12 years. Tim has coached more than 135 professional theater productions and has worked on over 135 feature films. 

Marco Antonio Regil

Advisory Board Member

Marco Antonio Regil is a talk show host and media personality who began his career in 1985 as a disc jockey in his hometown of Tijuana. Since 1997, he has simultaneously hosted one or more national series on Televisa and Univision/ Telefutura, including The Price is Right, Family Feud, Dancing with the Stars, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, and Mi Sueno es Bailar. In 2011, according to a national Readers Digest poll, he was voted the most trusted personality on Mexican television. In 2012 he joined the newly launched Spanish-language U.S. channel MundoFOX where he currently hosts Minuto Para Ganar. He has been studying for a degree in spiritual psychology at the University of Santa Monica.

Andru Subowo

Advisory Board Member & President WIJABA Indonesia

Andru is the Managing Director & Co-Founder of Bramadi Capital with over 15 years experience in investment management. He started his career with the Salimgroup's Indofood, one of Indonesia's leading food companies. He served on the Board of Commissioners of Indosiar, one of Indonesia's largest national TV & media companies from 2003-2012. He is currently the Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (KADIN) –Asia Pacific Committee and served as Chairman of the East ASEAN Business Council from 2010-2012. He represented Indonesia at the APEC Young Leaders Forum in Monterey, Mexico in 2006 and was one of the Asia Society's Asia21 Fellowship receipients. He received both his MBA in Finance and BA in Economics from USC.

Catherine Quinlan

Advisory Board Member

Catherine Quinlan was appointed Dean of the USC Libraries effective August 1, 2007. She is responsible for guiding the university’s efforts to establish the model for the 21st-century library by providing leadership for USC’s library staff. Quinlan came to USC after a decade at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she headed a library system encompassing 300 full-time staff members and more than 21 sites. Beginning in 2004, she also served as managing director of UBC’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Before joining UBC, she spent seven years as director of libraries and chief librarian at the University of Western Ontario, and as an adjunct professor in the university’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Previously, Quinlan oversaw the health sciences library at Memorial University of Newfoundland and was a member of the adjunct business administration faculty. She holds an MBA from Memorial University of Newfoundland, a master of library studies degree from Dalhousie University and a bachelor of music degree from Queen’s University.






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