New BIIN Board Assumes Leadership

Published by Program Manager on

New BIIN Board Assumes Leadership

Members of the 2022-23 BIIN Board of Directors gather in September 2022. From left to right: Susan Dennis, Angela Rios, Judith Briseno, Maria Martinez, Nancy Plankey-Videla, Michelle Esparza, and Tere Vega. Photo credit: Mary Campbell.

Important transitions are underway at BIIN:  one change occurs every fall, as some members of the board of directors pass the baton to new leaders, and new members join. Here, we want to thank outgoing board members for their service and also hear from those who are stepping into leadership roles for the year to come.

Special thanks are due to Amy Klinkovsky, who served as board chair in 2021-22, a year marked by continued challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic and the disruptions it brought to many aspects of daily life.  Amy rallied the board each month, met regularly online with staff, spoke at the October 2021 fundraising breakfast, and led a board/staff retreat to reflect on BIIN’s future in March 2022.  Thank you, Amy, for all that you have done and given to BIIN, since joining the board in 2018.  We are grateful for your leadership and generosity.

Amy Klinkovsky in action: chairing an online board meeting in November 2021, speaking about BIIN’s impact at the October 2021 fundraising event, and leading the board and staff in a reflection on BIIN’s goals in March 2022.

We are also grateful to the following people who served on the BIIN board during the 2021-22 year and stepped down in August:  Mollie Fitzpatrick, Maria Perez-Patron, Celina Vasquez, Alaina Jalufka, Sam Cutrone, and Emily Béghin, as well as CMSA student representatives Carol Valladares and Jasmine Escobar.  Special thanks to Maria Perez-Patron for serving as board secretary and to Mollie Fitzpatrick for her extraordinary leadership of the marketing team in the past two years. BIIN has benefited from the gifts that each board member has brought to the table.

As we start a new board year, BIIN is blessed to have a combination of seasoned leaders and new members serving.  Leading the board in 2022-23 are the dynamic duo of Nancy Plankey-Videla, one of BIIN’s founders and long-time volunteers, and Mary Campbell, also a long-time volunteer and former board chair.  They are joined by returning board members Nan Reichel (treasurer), Susan Dennis (now secretary), and Tony Caraballo (immigrant liaison);  and by a host of new members bringing diverse talents and perspectives to the board.

To get a better sense for the board’s plans for the coming year, we asked each of the new and continuing members to share a few comments about what brought them to BIIN, the skills and hopes they bring to the task of leading the organization in 2022-23.  To learn more, read on!

Nancy Plankey-Videla, Chair of the Board

I am proud to say that I have been with BIIN from the beginning. I have been involved in BIIN as a founder, board member, donor, and volunteer because I believe in the work we do.

I hope that BIIN will become a household name in immigrant homes, that when immigrant parents need someone to stand with them advocating for their kids at school, or negotiate wages owed for work performed, or just translate a letter, BIIN volunteers will be there with a willing heart and resolute attitude. After the success of the recent Guatemalan Mobile Consulate, I would like to see BIIN facilitate consular services from El Salvador and Honduras for their compatriots in our community.

I hope that we run out of space in our English and Citizenship classes and that we provide “Know Your Rights” talks all around town. I dream that community support is such that donations ensure BIIN’s sustainability.

I bring a love of service and dedication to the immigrant community, language skills to be used for the service of others, and a desire to see BIIN succeed and thrive as an organization. My superpower is that I am a doer. My challenge is to delegate.

Mary Campbell, Vice Chair

I started working with the citizenship classes when I started sending my students to volunteer as part of a service-learning class, back in 2013. 

I hope we can help immigrants feel safe, supported, and welcomed in our community.

I spend a lot of time using U.S. Census data, so I can be helpful with developing community profiles or other information about our county.  I can also write grants. My Spanish skills are very rudimentary — I am working on them, but I am not (yet) conversational.

Nan Reichel, Treasurer

My husband was a BIIN liaison while he served on the Vestry for St. Thomas Episcopal Church several years ago, so I had some knowledge of what BIIN did and how they helped people in our community.  A little over a year ago I was approached by Rich Woodward to take over as treasurer for BIIN and I said “yes.”  Knowing a bit about the difficulties of immigration and the naturalization process (in part through the experiences of my daughter-in-law, who is Mexican), I felt a willingness to serve in some way.

As a financial advisor, I thought I might be of some help in maintaining the financial records and reports for the organization. 

It has been a learning process and after one year of doing this for BIIN, it would be my hope that I can find a way to simplify the process of tracking the income and expenses for BIIN, helping streamline the payroll process, and make it easier for the next person to step into the job of treasurer.

Maria Luisa Martinez, At-large board member

I recently started volunteering at BIIN and I am honored to be part of the board.

BIIN has greatly helped our community and I hope the assistance continues to grow as the organization reaches out to help more individuals with their needs.  It is very important to make our community aware that BIIN is looking out for them, and is a place where they can seek assistance and/or resources.

Coming from a family of immigrants, I know what it’s like to be in a place where we sometimes feel lost or unwelcome. I am blessed to be bilingual and would love to put those skills to work. I am not afraid to speak up for my community.

Tere Vega, At-large board member

I have known about BIIN since 2011, because of my work with the newspaper La Voz Hispana.      I have always been interested in helping this organization, and was a member from 2015 to 2016.

I see the great needs that our Hispanic brothers and sisters have. I hope that this year we can raise more funds, so that BIIN’s help can be extended to people who live in other communities.

I have a degree in computer engineering as well as a master’s degree in finance. So I can help with translations, designing and updating BIIN’s website, and volunteering in other ways. Since I work in the press (radio and newspaper), I can help with advertising, design, and  anything that BIIN needs.

Doris Machinski, At-large board member

I have known about BIN for several years, but did not realize the extent of the services BIIN provides to the immigrant community until I became a member of the board. I am so excited to serve on the board as we strive to support newcomers to the community and families while they become acclimated.

I hope that BlIN continues to be a safe place for immigrants for years to come. We live in an ever-changing world. The support needed by immigrants today probably will not be the same for immigrants five or ten years from now. It is my dream that BIN will change as needed to assist immigrants of the future.

The greatest gift I bring to BIIN is understanding what it feels like to be a stranger in a foreign land – to face the challenges of entering a new environment. When my daughter, Ashley, was born with Down Syndrome, I knew nothing about caring for a child with special needs. However, I learned that I could not accept less than what was needed for my daughter and our family to flourish and thrive in our community with necessary supports. I became a social worker and will use my skills and knowledge to the very end of my life, to ensure that there is no more injustice toward ANY group of people.

Judith Briseno, CMSA External Affairs officer (TAMU student representative to BIIN board)

I have been directly involved with BIIN since April 2022. I have volunteered with the Conversational English classes and have also seen what BIIN is all about through the Council for Minority Student Affairs (CMSA) at TAMU.

I hope BIIN can reach even more people in the coming year with all of the services they provide. I can see first hand how much it changes people’s lives to be able to get help learning English. Seeing the hope this gives people motivates me to be a larger part of what BIIN does in the community.

As an immigrant myself, I hope to bring a direct perspective from the immigrant community to the board and help as much as I can.

Daniel Salazar, CMSA external affairs officer (TAMU student representative to BIIN board)

I have been involved with BIIN since February 2022 through the CMSA Outreach Committee, which promotes BIIN and the services that they provide to people in the Bryan/College Station area. I have many friends who have shared their own and their family’s struggles as immigrants.

My hopes are that BIIN will become even more of a staple in the community through all the services and resources that they provide. I would love to see BIIN become a household name in the Hispanic/Latinx community.

I hope to bring to the board the skills of open mindedness and the willingness to dive deeper and share any ideas I have.