Meridith "Duck" Bardus, Secretary, Board of Directors
Duck Bardus is currently a Food Outreach Coordinator for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. She earned a BA in English from Ohio University in 2007 and spent the following 10 years working at nonprofits serving people living in poverty in Ohio, Texas, and Spain.
For the past three years she has been providing operational support to statewide political campaigns to increase voter registration, address climate change, and implement criminal justice reforms with the Ohio Organizing Collaborative.
Duck served as head of safety at the Cannonball District Emergency Shelter on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation in the winter of 2016. She was responsible for sanitation, fire code, and all physical aspects of the space that pertained to health and safety. In her free time she enjoys reading fiction, hiking with her dog, and vegetables.
Nina Giardinelli, Treasurer, Board of Directors, Social Media Manager
Nina became interested in manual therapies at a very young age, having learned to help ease her mother’s asthma attacks by relaxing the respiratory muscles via massage.
Nina has been a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2014. Her position as an interim board member of Frontline Wellness United allows her to pursue her passion for compassionate touch while incorporating her interest in providing care for victims of human rights abuses.
She is working on a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies at the University of Utah and plans to pursue a master's degree in journalism.
Nicholas Taggart Long, Training Director & Firefighter/Paramedic
I work as a paramedic-firefighter in St. Louis, Missouri, where I live with my wife and two children. I’ve been interested in emergency services, as well as social and environmental justice, for as long as I can remember.
I love finding opportunities to share my knowledge and experiences while working for social and environmental justice. I appreciate helping and training individuals engaged in the essential work of protecting one another and our planet.
I’ve benefited from a vast array of training. I hope to facilitate learning in a way that is approachable, interesting and realistic. I’m excited about Frontline Wellness, and I hope to contribute to the important and significant work it has undertaken.
Lisha Sterling, President, Board of Directors
Lisha is best known for her work as executive director of Geeks Without Bounds, “an accelerator for humanitarian projects.”
What that means in very practical terms is, for one, that Lisha and her team roam the earth building communications networks for communities that want to enter the online world. Sometimes that happens here in the U.S., where Geeks is based.
Lisha lead the team of technicians that established Internet services for civil-resistance workers in the Dakota Access Pipeline camps near Cannonball, North Dakota 2017-2017. That (very loosely knit) group also set up encryption and cyber-security protections for activists working in the camps.
That work (as much of Lisha’s word does) involved choosing, setting up, and managing the physical devices necessary for activists to connect online, do research, organize activities, plan and implement activities—and do so without intrusion or threat from third (let's say uninvited) parties. For those of us in the medical community serving the camps, it meant being able to access email, find the answers to medical questions, connect with Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation leaders, order supplies, and so on.
But Lisha’s work can get pretty exotic. A quick scan of Geek’s website, and the projects team members work on, yields some fascinating topics: building a wireless network in Ecuador that will cover a million acres of land in the Amazon in order to track pollution and illegal incursions into Indigenous lands; hosting hackathons (at multiple locations for four years) for NASA’s International SpaceApps Challenge (ISAC); facilitating and participating in hackathons in eastern India, Madrid, Amsterdam, Washington, D.C., podcasting, developing apps that will help grassroots disaster-response groups gather and track info in a crisis, cybersecurity consulting … and the list goes on.
“Languages are like piles on my desk. If I don’t get to them, they get buried under something else. But if I pick them up and start working with them, I can get some fluency back.”
She worked in Amsterdam in 2015 and discovered she could speak a reasonable amount of Dutch after about a week “because Dutch is derived from low German, the same as Yiddish is.” Yes, she speaks some Yiddish, too.
Lisha works as a Frontline member on cybersecurity for activists, Internet access in the field, translation, open source applications and coding, when needed.
Lisa Ling, Interim Board Member
Lisa joined the military in 1991, serving as an army medic and nurse before transferring to the Air National Guard (ANG). In the Guard, she became a communications technician, working on various types of electronic equipment including DCGS (Distributed Common Ground System; the U.S. Air Force defines DCGS as its "primary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance collection, processing, exploitation, analysis and dissemination" system).
Besides her overseas deployments and prior years in the U.S. drone program, Lisa served with the 234th intelligence Squadron and 48th Intelligence Squadron at Beale Air Force Base from Oct 2007-Sep 2009. The 48th Intelligence Squadron provides communications and logistics maintenance for the DCGS.
She served more than six years on active duty and more than 15 years as both active and inactive National Guard.
She decided to speak out against the misuse of drones after traveling to Afghanistan and seeing for herself how what she participated in was not a war on terror, but a war of terror. She has spoken out against armed drones killing with inaccurate data, and the program's immense unchecked power around the world, writing for (and sometimes being featured in) the Los Angeles Times, the Daily Beast, on Cyberwar—Viceland, and ABC Australia.
Lisa is one of three protagonists from the U.S. drone program featured in the documentary film National Bird, directed by Sonia Kennebeck.
For Frontline, Lisa is an essential networker among whistleblowers and military veterans who serve now as social-justice activists. Being an extremely savvy technician, she also advises Frontline (and therefore activists as a whole) on issues regarding unwarranted surveillance, malicious use of technology to undermine resistance movements, and cybersecurity.
You can follow her on Twitter: @ARetVet
Joel Preston Smith, Director, Field Operations & Communications
Joel is a journalist, artist and FEMA-trained disaster responder. His FEMA certifications & coursework include: Incident Command System, Public Information Officer, Community Emergency Response Teams, Diversity Awareness, National Incident Management System; Logistics; Active Shooter Response.
His mental-health certifications include: ASIST Model of Suicide Prevention, and Youth Mental Health First Aid.
In the winter of 2016 he served as the Evacuation Manager & Emergency Shelter Manager for the Cannonball District of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Cannonball, North Dakota during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. His past humanitarian-relief work includes: service in Rwanda at the end of the civil war in 1996, Honduras after Hurricane Mitch in 1998, Iraq, Gaza and the West Bank in 2003.
His communications work includes: journalist, U.S. Army (1987-1991), spokesperson and media coordinator, Oregon Health & Sciences University; public affairs specialist for the Portland VA Medical Center; acting communications director, Lines for Life (National Suicide Prevention Line), and others.
He’s also a contributing writer for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict—specifically for the agency’s Minds of the Movement site.
His books include Night of a Thousand Stars & Other Portraits of Iraq; Nazraeli Press, 2006); Untidy: The Blogs on Rumsfeld (co-editor); Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith (co-editor); The Library at Night (photographer); It’s A Boy (photographer); The Green Zone (photographer).
His media credits include roughly 1600 published photos and essays in: Utne magazine, Oregonian, Salt Lake City Tribune, Seattle Times, Gobshite Quarterly, Charleston Daily Mail and others. His credited and non-credited broadcast media production work/videography includes: Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, ABC News, TODAY Show (NBC), KOIN-TV, KGW-TV, KATU-TV, KPTV (FOX 12), KING-TV.
His website is: https://joelprestonsmith.com/
Robin Chancer, Social Worker & Therapist, Board of Directors
Robin is a clinical social worker in Akron, Ohio, and works through a legal-aid society, helping refugees and unaccompanied minors secure asylum in the United States.
She was born in Los Alamitos, California and attended Pamona College in Claremont, originally intending to be an English teacher. But she was assigned an internship with a high school teacher and discovered that what she loved most “was building relationships.”
She later graduated with a master in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “I felt like counseling and building relationships and getting involved in social justice was more my thing than teaching.”
Her first post-graduate job was working at a community health center in North Carolina as a social worker for pregnant women—primarily immigrants from Latin America.
“That’s where,” she says, “my passion really took off. Working in rural North Carolina was formative, seeing how isolated the locals were from immigrants. Seeing the injustice, seeing that immigrants weren’t treated as humans either by institutions or people. It broke my heart.”
That led to a job in Guatemala, coordinating a health education program for men, then on to Montgomery County, Maryland where she served as a mental health therapist with Latin Americans who'd recently immigrated to the United States. Robin has also worked in outpatient therapy, using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for treating a range of mental-health struggles.
She’s an excellent essayist, publishing mainly at medium.com. Some of her recent work includes essays on sexual consent, the lives of immigrants (and how we might contribute to their having better lives), some excellent advice for activists on “How to Stay Sane if Trump is Driving you Insane” and other stories that manage to be both philosophical and emotive and straight to the point at the same time.
As a member of Frontline, Robin promotes social-work-and-mental-health services for activists. She has a deep commitment to social justice for people and communities that are often dis-empowered and at risk of harm. Her writing is a powerful challenge to patriarchy, racism, sexism, and mis-perceptions about immigrants and people of color.
She says, “In my work, I want to help people feel they’re an important part of our community. It strikes me how quickly people improve when someone reaches out, respects them. That’s where I get my sense of spirituality in the world, from doing this work.”
Bree Gorman, Board member
As the current Vice President of Marketing for Restech and newly acquired Mederi-RF, Bree’s work is rooted in crafting successful communications tailored to specific audiences along a broad spectrum of interests and motives. In her 13 years working to grow this privately funded medical device start-up, she has gained valuable experience in nearly every area of sales, marketing, customer service and clinical affairs.
Bree’s educational background includes a BFA in Visual Communications, with an emphasis in Graphic Design from the University of Kansas. She also holds a Masters in Public Health from George Washington University, where she focused on program planning and evaluation. She finds it helpful to draw upon her diverse educational background solve problems and guide strategy in the healthcare marketing space.
Travel and culture have largely shaped Bree’s perspectives and intentions. She studied design in Germany, worked in hospitals in several countries educating physicians and nurses reflux diagnostics, and experienced many cultures simply as a traveling observer. One of her most memorable and life-changing experiences was her involvement in Xtreme Everest, a medical research expedition with University College London, University of Southampton and Duke University. Trekking to Mt. Everest Base Camp inspired Bree to formally study public health in order to elicit positive health changes at a population level.
”It wasn't any particular experience of my trek -- just the juxtapositions of very detailed research being done on individuals to be applied to populations (ICU patients, at the time), and the feeling/realization of how tiny we are as humans on this earth, when you're hiking for days amongst these amazing, powerful, ginormous mountains.
The wealthy people visiting Nepal spending tens of thousands of dollars, risking their lives to climb up a dangerous mountain... while the natives/sherpa population works for pennies to guide these people up the mountain. Watching sherpas pass us on the trail carrying hundreds of pounds on their backs -- items sometimes as large as cars almost, no joke. People wearing brand new fancy boots being passed by people in sandals falling apart. It was all of these things that kind of came together for me and made me want to work at a "bigger" broader level.
I love science, medicine, sociology, people, health, etc. I just couldn't imagine being in medicine as a physician or practicing acupuncture treating individual after individual. I wanted to work on a population level, as it's all so interconnected and we are all so interdependent upon each other and our larger communities.”
Bree leads Frontline’s work in creating public-health guidelines for nonviolent civil-resistance movements. The primary goal of our Public Health Program is to protect resistance communities in siege-type camps (where activists are concentrated for long periods at a single location, typically with limited access to potable water and sanitation facilities).