Partners in philanthropy.
Participants in possibilities.

 

Leadership Team

Having a passion for helping others realize their goals is the foundational element shared by all of our board members. K2 Adventures Foundation is fortunate to rely on the expertise they bring to the table as members of Fortune 500 companies, business owners, entrepreneurs, and non-profit leaders. It’s the diversity of that acumen that allows us to do things that other organizations can’t—and elevates the K2 Adventures Foundation to realize its own possibilities.

Founders

Kristen Sandquist, Co-founder, Vice President & Executive Director


To book Kristen Sandquist for a speaking engagement or a special team-building event, contact info@k2adventures.org.

Kristen Sandquist

CO-FOUNDER, CEO

Throughout the years, Kristen has been involved with a variety of non-profit organizations, starting one when she was just 23 years old. But seeing the great poverty among those who were disabled in the U.S. and in third-world countries was so distressing that she felt compelled to do something about it.

Her vision was realized in March 2009, when she was asked to be one of the guides on mountaineer Kevin Cherilla’s climb to lead eight blind individuals up Mt. Kilimanjaro. The group made the summit and broke four world records, but the trip was historic for another reason, as well—she and Kevin made the decision to co-found K2 Adventures Foundation.

For Kristen, the experience has proven to be life changing. “I’ve fallen in love with a little boy in Africa named Said,” she says. “When I met him in 2009, I was told he only had a few years to live if his medical circumstances didn’t change. Because of the medical care K2 has provided to his orphanage, he’s still alive and his condition is monitored regularly. Without our help, he wouldn’t be here today.”

Today, Kristen organizes all the K2 applications and awards that are received and donated, and oversees the Foundation’s annual fund-raising events. She also manages all board meetings and board member committees. Together, Kristen and Kevin run K2 Adventure Travel, which organizes trips to Africa, Peru, Argentina and Nepal.

Talks That Transform

SPEAKING OPPORTUNITIES PRESENTED BY CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, KRISTEN SANDQUIST.

Whether you’re looking for something inspirational, educational or motivational, K2 Adventures Foundation CEO and Co-Founder Kristen Sandquist will deliver a presentation that’s powerful and professional. Click here to learn more about Kristen's presentations.

Kevin Cherilla, Co-founder, President & Executive Director

Kevin Cherilla

Co-founder, President

Kevin has been an international mountaineer for over 20 years—conquering the summit of Mt. Everest in 2007 was one of his greatest personal accomplishments. His passion for climbing and helping others reach their personal goals has impacted the lives of participants at the various destinations he has climbed and includes individuals who are blind, paralyzed or have lost limbs. As co-founder of K2 Adventures Foundation, he and his partner Kristen Sandquist change lives one adventure at a time.

Their own adventure began when Kevin was the expedition leader for 25 individuals, eight of whom were blind, on a climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for those with disabilities. Kristen was one of the guides on this team. The team broke four world records, raised over $200,000 for the blind in Arizona and assisted a local orphanage that housed 24 blind, albino children in Tanzania. After this historic climb, the two joined forces to create K2 Adventures Foundation and K2 Adventure Travel. They’ve been helping others around the globe ever since.

Kevin says, “I enjoy the smiles on the faces of those we help both in the United States and around the world.”

Today, Kevin helps organize all of K2 Adventures Foundation’s annual fundraising events in the spring and fall, and helps manage all board meetings and board member committees. Together, Kevin and Kristen run K2 Adventure Travel, which organizes voluntourism trips to Africa, Peru, Argentina and Nepal.

Executive Board

  • Kelly Michael

    Kelly Michael

    CFO

    Kelly Michael - Controller Kelly helped lay the groundwork for K2 Adventures Foundation and says it’s been extremely rewarding to see all that’s been accomplished since its inception. Being able to make a difference in the lives of those that have more challenging circumstances and make their lives easier is what she enjoys most about serving on the Board. In 2012, she accompanied other board members on a trip to Tanzania where they helped build and outfit the dental clinic at the Mwerni School for the Blind. “It was incredible to see how such simple gifts—providing a pair of shoes, dental care for the first time, a new wheelchair, or an opportunity to enjoy a new experience—could have such a profound and far-reaching impact.”

  • Laurie Malone

    Laurie Malone

    Secretary

    Laurie Malone - Secretary Doing good work with good people is what Laurie enjoys about her time on K2 Adventure Foundation’s board. Laurie has tremendous experience in assisting individuals in need and changing the lives of others, having served various non-profits in the past including Helping Hands for Single Moms and Visions of Hope as well as in her current position as a Managing Partner/CEO of Golden Heart in Scottsdale.

    Laurie has been a part of the Foundation from the very beginning and has a fundamental belief in the K2 Adventures Foundation cause. She currently serves as secretary for the Foundation.

Board of Directors

Welcome 2017 board members Kelli Borges, Christa Mose, Mary Lou Muccino, Mark and Beverly Nuessle, Teri Nisser and Rahul Chawla.

  • Jeanine Allsup

    Jeanine Allsup

    Jeanine Allsup Jeanine has a heart for doing good, which is exemplified by her many accomplishments. In 2006, she received the William T. Kemper Foundation Community Service Award for community betterment and the enhancement of the lives of others. In 2009, she was recognized as Illinois’ Big Sister of the Year. She’s also been a volunteer advocate with The Rescue Project at the Phoenix Dream Center. Jeanine became involved with K2 Adventures Foundation after seeing the passion and care for others exhibited by their leadership team. She currently serves on the Grant Writing Committee. Jeanine says, “Lives are being transformed each day through the work at K2 Adventures Foundation, and I am forever changed as a result of serving on the board.”

  • Adrienne Bonnet

    Adrienne Bonnet

    Adrienne Bonnet The passion, leadership and ability to change lives exemplified by Kevin Cherilla and Kristen Sandquist inspired Adrienne to become a board member of K2 Adventures Foundation. She first met Kevin when he was a speaker at Phoenix Country Day School where she was a teacher. His intriguing talks inspired her to attend fundraising events and community presentations, where she also met Kristen. Adrienne currently serves on K2 Adventures Foundation’s Grant Writing Committee and on planning committees for fundraisers. By working with the organization, she says “My perception of what is possible for people with disabilities has been shattered.… I now believe anything is possible.”

  • Kelli Short Borges

    Kelli Short Borges

    Kelli Short Borges Kelli has known Kristen Sandquist for more than 33 years, meeting first as children growing up and attending school in Arizona, and then graduating together from Arizona State University in 1992. With a degree in Elementary Education, Kelli became an educator in the Arizona public school system. When Kristen founded K2 Adventures with Kevin, Kelli became a founding board member. She now is a business owner, mother and athlete. She actively supports working with individuals with disabilities and is honored to be part of the K2 Adventures Foundation, where she’s been touched to see so many lives changed in monumental ways.

  • Mark Briggs

    Mark Briggs

    Mark Briggs Mark says K2 Adventure Foundation’s mission, passion and life-changing impact on people’s lives impressed him so much that he jumped at the chance to serve on the board. A corporate lawyer, Mark helped Kevin and Kristen form the organization, has previously served as secretary and is now an active member of the board. “I’ve been a big fan of the organization since day one. Everyone checks their ego at the door and focuses on the work with a supportive, fun attitude. I couldn’t ask for a better dynamic.”

  • Tyler Brotz

    Tyler Brotz

    Tyler Brotz Tyler was a Junior Board Member back in 2011 and now serves on the active board. Tyler has worked with other Junior Board Members to bring K2 Adventures Foundation initiatives into their schools. Tyler says the greatest experience of his life was the trip to Tanzania, Africa both in 2012 and 2015. “I saw firsthand how the kids lived and how happy they were when we visited them.” What Tyler enjoys most about serving on the active board is being a part of the growth of K2 and watching all the new programs develop.

  • Rahul K. Chawla, MD, MA

    Rahul K. Chawla, MD, MA

    Rahul K. Chawla, MD, MA With a passion for special-needs and handicapped children, Dr. Chawla brings a physician’s point of view to the board, and aid in starting the pediatric clinic in Tanzania. As a Pediatric Critical Care physician at Scottsdale Shea Medical Center, Dr. Chawla says he’s experienced firsthand just how amazing K2 is, and what impact they’ve had on the community. “I enjoy sharing the ability to reach out and help so many different individuals fulfill their goals and aspirations.” He’s looking forward to his first trip to Tanzania in June 2017.

  • Donna K. Detwiler

    Donna K. Detwiler

    Donna K. Detwiler Donna is involved with board development, community awareness, marketing and fundraising. During her time with K2 Adventures Foundation she has met “the First Lady of Tanzania” and Kyle Maynard, both of whom brought her to tears with their stories. She points to Kevin and Kristen’s drive and determination to develop a non-profit organization as a primary reason for serving on the board. Donna says, “The knowledge and expertise of our current board members is awesome. I personally have a feeling of accomplishment with this organization and I like the fact that it’s really making a difference in the community—and the world.”

  • Dr. Abbas Fazel

    Dr. Abbas Fazel

    Dr. Abbas Fazel Dr. Fazel has known Kevin Cherilla for more than a decade. They met when his children were attending a school where Kevin taught. When Kevin and Kristen launched K2 Adventure Travel, Dr. Fazel joined a group summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. After they established K2 Adventures Foundation and began looking for volunteers to help with the Mwereni Integrated School for the Blind’s new medical/dental clinic, Dr. Fazel says he had no hesitation in providing his services. “I was born in Tanzania, and this gave me the opportunity to give something back to my country.”

    Dr. Fazel says his involvement has been very rewarding. “When you see children and families with disabilities that are trying to make ends meet and live a normal life but can’t due to their circumstances, it really makes you appreciate what you have and become more determined to help.”

  • Vince Hawley

    Vince Hawley

    Vince Hawley Vince became involved with K2 Adventures Foundation by going on climbing trips and attending functions. But it was being able to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children around the world that inspired him to become a board member, serving as a language and cultural liaison. Vince is founder of the Wealth Management Group of Scottsdale and is currently a director at Robert W. Baird and Co. in Scottsdale. He received his Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) credentials from Wharton Business School.

  • Roger Hurni

    Roger Hurni

    Roger Hurni After meeting Kevin in 2006 on the first unassisted ascent of Kilimanjaro by a paraplegic climber, Roger has been a proponent of K2 Adventures Foundation. Roger says that the combination of the support given to the school and orphanages along with international destinations is in line with his own values and lifestyle. With a successful career in marketing and having served on the boards of various non-profit organizations, Roger now lends his marketing and advisory expertise to the K2 Adventures board.

    Being part of a team of people who are incredibly caring and dedicated to the K2 mission is what Roger enjoys most about serving on the board. He has traveled with K2 to Peru, Nepal and Tanzania and can say that every trip experience was amazing. Inspiration, warmth and hope were apparent at every turn and made each journey special in its own way.

  • Bobby Kelly

    Bobby Kelly

    Bobby Kelly After serving on numerous boards in the Phoenix area, Bobby knew his calling was to be part of an organization that closely aligned with his core values and long-term vision. At K2, Bobby utilizes his experiences from running his personal training facility, Results Only, to consult in the areas of marketing, vision and outreach. “ After just a few short conversations with Kevin and Kristen, the passion of the K2 team was contagious, and I knew I needed to get involved. It’s a place I can really get in the trenches to do some amazing work.”

  • Jon Kitchell

    Jon Kitchell

    Jon Kitchell The Kitchell family has a long history of influence in the arts, architecture, construction and community service in The Valley of the Sun. Jon is no exception. Today, he directs and supervises all Kitchell-Perez company construction activities. The idea of helping others attain their dreams while facing physical challenges led him to become a K2 board member where he helps raise money and volunteers his time at fund-raising events. Jon also helped install the material, equipment and medicine necessary to open the medical/dental clinic at the Mwereni School for the Blind in Tanzania. He says, “Being able to help kids with incredible challenges and seeing the joy on their faces was life-changing.”

  • Leatrice Kitchell

    Leatrice Kitchell

    Leatrice Kitchell Leatrice summited Mt. Kilimanjaro with Kevin Cherilla in 2008, and the minute she heard his story, she knew she wanted to be involved with K2. Through her position as Director of Operations for Kitchell-Perez’s Venue Projects, she brings a wealth of experience to K2’s board, serving as a member of the Planning Committee and co-chairing K2’s Summer in the City event. She says the hard work truly pays off. “ Giving back is always life-changing, especially seeing the hope and happiness restored to families.”

  • Rodney Malone

    Rodney Malone

    Rodney Malone Rodney, along with his wife Laurie, has been an active member of K2 Adventures Foundation from the start. Rodney’s strong belief in the K2 Adventures Foundation drives him to pursue his goal of helping people to realize their dreams.

    As a Managing Partner/COO of Golden Heart in Scottsdale, an organization that provides in-home care for seniors and individuals with special needs, Rodney knows how compassion and attention can truly benefit a person’s quality of life. K2 is yet another outlet for him to provide help to those in need.

  • Kyle Maynard

    Kyle Maynard

    Kyle Maynard Kyle is a motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur and athlete. Despite being born with arms that end at the elbows and legs near the knees, Kyle’s wrestled for one of the best teams in the Southeast, set records in weightlifting, fought in mixed martial arts, and most recently became the first man to bear-crawl on his own to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. His story has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, ESPN’s Sportscenter, HBO’s Real Sports, ABC’s 20/20 and Good Morning America, and as a cover story in USA Today. He continues to inspire with his book, “No Excuses,” a New York Times bestseller.

  • Cheryl Mendez

    Cheryl Mendez

    Cheryl Mendez One of K2 Adventures Foundation’s original board members, Cheryl says it’s rewarding to be part of a group of caring individuals who can gather the resources needed to make a difference in the world. A highlight for her was traveling to Tanzania with her son. They met the children of The Mwereni Integrated School for the Blind, and helped provide the funds necessary to build them a life-saving medical and dental clinic. She says, “The children there are so beautiful and loving—they will break your heart.” She says, “With the help of Kevin, Kristen and a truly dedicated board, we’ve grown and evolved into a very successful non-profit.”

  • Christa Mose

    Christa Mose

    Christa Mose Christa has worked for the Phoenix Police Department for the past 18 years, including serving as the first female bomb dog handler, and as a detective. In 2013, she took a “once in a lifetime” K2 trip with her fellow law enforcement peers, hiking Kilimanjaro and working in the orphanage—a trip that inspired her to join the K2 board. She says it’s fulfilling to be part of an organization that genuinely cares and has an impact on the community. “With multiple volunteer activities, there are so many amazing opportunities to help make a difference in people’s lives.”

  • Mary Lou Muccino

    Mary Lou Muccino

    Mary Lou Muccino When Mary Lou retired from her career in public education working for the Scottsdale Unified School District in 2014, she wanted to volunteer at her niece Kristen’s organization. “I truly believe in K2’s mission and what Kristen and Kevin have done to enrich the lives of disabled children and adults here and abroad,” she says. She has enjoyed working alongside Kristen to develop K2 programs for Valley children who are challenged medically, physically or cognitively. In her board role, Mary Lou wants to “spread the word” to the community about K2 Adventures.

  • Lisaanne Murray

    Lisaanne Murray

    Lisaanne Murray The daughter of K2 board members, Jon and Leatrice Kitchell, Lisaanne says she serves on the board as a “joy-maker,” since “Joy” is her middle name. She became involved with K2 tagging along with her “awesome” parents, and loves K2’s food and events. She was honored by the organization with an award that allowed her the opportunity to speak publicly on a stage, which was a life-changing experience. Lisaanne has a talent for remembering birthdays and knows more than a hundred different birthdays of people she’s met. She also loves celebrating Fridays, and wears a “TGIF” button to prove it.

  • Shaheen Neil

    Shaheen Neil

    Shaheen Neil With a heart that leads her to service, Shaheen has been working with various non-profits for the past 15 years. After meeting Kristen and Kevin through involvement at Brophy College Preparatory in 2012, she was inspired to attend K2 fundraisers and to take a trip to Peru.

    Shaheen says that the real magic of K2 is the experience that comes on one of the trips. Shaheen and her husband went to Peru in the summer of 2014 and had the trip of a lifetime, celebrating their 20th anniversary while there. Hiking through the Andes with Kevin and their Peruvian guide Elkin was such an exciting and enjoyable experience. They felt comfortable and safe, enjoyed the camaraderie of the group and were grateful to contribute their time at the orphanage. Shaheen is inspired by the work that Kevin and Kristen do locally and around the world. She believes in what the K2 Adventures Foundation stands for and would like to help the organization continue to grow.

  • Teri Nisser

    Teri Nisser

    Teri Nisser Teri played an instrumental role in coordinating the silent auctions for Summer in the City 2016 and Masquerade 2016. She’s lived in five U.S. states, as well as Germany and Switzerland, and brings a global perspective to K2 Adventures Foundation. She says over the past year, she’s witnessed incredible tenacity on the part of Kevin and Kristen. “If there’s a need, they want to make a difference. Their excitement and energy for serving is contagious.” Her daughter, Tayler, recently had the opportunity to take the first K2 service trip to Peru with her school, Notre Dame Preparatory.

  • Beverly Nuessle

    Beverly Nuessle

    Beverly Nuessle Beverly and her husband, Mark, were introduced to K2 Adventures at a fundraiser and wanted to go on a K2 adventure. They traveled to Tanzania in 2015 to climb Kilimanjaro and work in the orphanage for two days, which she says was “truly the best part.” The climb, she says, was “mental and physical, spiritual and marriage bonding. What trip can give you all of that? Kevin and Kristen were beyond amazing.” Now serving on the K2 board, Beverly enjoys “being with amazing people that are giving from their hearts.” And she feels like she’s “making a difference in a life—and the future.”

  • Mark Nuessle

    Mark Nuessle

    Mark Nuessle After spending a few days volunteering at the K2 orphanage in Tanzania and working with HopeKids for six years, Mark says the experiences showed him what the heart of K2 really is—and how it’s a blessing to be able to serve. The small business owner enjoys serving on the K2 board because it’s “a dedicated group of people and the mission is very impactful.” Mark and his wife, Bev, hiked Kilimanjaro with K2 in 2015. They have three children, one of which is going on the K2 Kilimanjaro adventure in July 2017.

  • Kelly Richardson

    Kelly Richardson

    Kelly Richardson Kelly has been part of K2 Adventures Foundation since its inception. She serves as Co-Chair of the annual Boots & Bling fundraising event, is a member of the planning committees for all other events and helps out on the Application and Award Committee. Kelly says, “Being part of the event planning is fun, but the real joy is seeing how and where our funds are being used in the community.” Kelly also served with the first medical team that treated the children at the Mwereni School for the Blind when the medical center was completed in 2011, an opportunity she says was life-changing.

  • Blair Singer

    Blair Singer

    Blair Singer Through a chance conversation on an airplane, Blair was introduced to the K2 Adventure Foundation. He had been looking for a community service project for his son and completely fell in love with the combination of adventure travel and philanthropy that K2 offered.

    Blair says that every trip with K2 has been life changing. Each experience taught him lessons on being a great father, how to be present in the moment as well as finding awe in the magnificence of the planet and feeling so connected to it. Climbing with Kevin and Kristen has been an amazing exhibition in great leadership, fun and personal growth. From relationship building with his son to the magic of working with the kids at Mwereni and more, being on the board and a part of the adventure travel has shifted Blair’s priorities in life. Blair feels he can personally make a difference in the world through the Foundation by serving others and generating health, education and support for kids with disadvantages and disabilities.

Junior Board of Directors

  • Adam Cherilla

    Adam Cherilla

    Adam Cherilla Adam is a Junior Board Member who loves playing Lacrosse and the saxophone, and helping out at K2 Adventure Foundation’s fundraising events. His father Kevin is co-founder and got Adam involved with the organization’s community service work. Adam took a trip to Tanzania and participated in the climb to Mt. Kilimanjaro. “I had an amazing time. I really enjoyed helping and playing with the kids at the school.” Adam also says that assisting with the Hopekids movie showed him that “helping out a little goes a long way in helping others.”

  • Lindsey Cherilla

    Lindsey Cherilla

    Lindsey Cherilla Thanks to her father who is one of K2’s founders, Lindsey has always been a part of K2 Adventures in some way. And now as an official Junior Board Member, Lindsey knows she will be able to do more for the organization. Her experience witnessing all of the people who K2 has helped over the years has opened her eyes to the hardships people overcome and how anyone can change someone else’s life for the better. On a trip to Tanzania in 2012, Lindsey visited the school and took in the sights and was amazed at how many people are willing to give to strangers who are in need.

  • Nick Meath

    Nick Meath

    Nick Meath With a passion for adventure and the upmost respect for Kevin, Nick joined the team as a Junior Board Member. Nick traveled with K2 to Tanzania, summited Mt. Kilimanjaro and volunteered at the orphanage. He also traveled to Peru, hiked 30 miles through the Andes, visited Machu Picchu and spent time with children in a school for the disabled. Through these adventures, Nick has learned about the hardships and challenges that people endure and feels inspired to make the world a better place.