Our Team

Our Board Members

With the recent invasion of Ukraine and MSF’s increased focus on the situation there, we are expanding our board membership and will welcome new members soon. Stay tuned.

Nathan Schmidt

Nathan Schmidt, Lt Col USMCR

Mountain Seed Foundation Founder
CEO Mountain Seed Counsulting Group

Shannon E. French

Shannon E. French, PhD


Director and Inamori Professor in Ethics, Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence

Professor, Department of Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences, Professor, School of Law

Dr. John Beary

John F. Beary, MD, FACP


Dr. Beary has American Board certifications in Internal Medicine, Rheumatology and Clinical Pharmacology. His education and training were at Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Hospital for Special Surgery-Cornell in NYC (HSS). He currently serves in the TriHealth PHO-Population Health Organization in Cincinnati Ohio.

Vlad Kondratiuk

Vlad Kondratiuk


Vlad Kondratiuk is from Kyiv, Ukraine and is currently an Associate with Moelis & Company, a global investment bank based out of New York.

Victor Saunders Head shot

Victor Saunders


Victor is a world-renowned British mountaineer and became a UIAGM mountain guide in 1996 after a career as an architect in London. He relocated to Chamonix, France in 2003 becoming a member of the SNGM (National Syndicate of French Mountain Guides).

Andreas Gassner, “Andi”

Board Member - Austria - Mountain Guide

“As a mountain guide, I have really found my calling and am happy every time I look in the faces of my guests at the summit or after a hammer deep snow day and the grin from my left to the right ear no longer seems to go away. Then I am happy and exactly where I always wanted to go.” 

Ambassador Trevor Traina

Board Member - Austria

Trevor D. Traina is an American diplomat, entrepreneur and private investor who served as the United States Ambassador to Austria from 2018 – 2021.

Colonel Michael Davis, Army Ret.

Board Member - Austria

Michael Davis is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces officer with extensive experience in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.  He is passionate about the outdoors, education, foreign languages, and energy security.  Michael is an Associate Professor at a postgraduate university and lives in the Pacific Northwest, where he explores nature with his wife and three children.

Our Special Advisors

Cristina Pogăcean

Cristina Pogăcean

I was born in 1984 in Romania. My initial profession was that of civil engineer while now I work full time as mountain guide. I’m a fully certified IFMGA Mountain Guide and member of the East European Mountain Guides Association (EEMGA) and the Syndicat National des Guides de Montagne (SNGM).

Dr. Kenneth T Davis

Dr. Kenneth T. Davis

Dr. Kenneth T Davis is an accomplished International Development professional, having worked as a Foreign Service Economic Development Officer with USAID in Kabul, Afghanistan. He has worked in Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Iraq, to name a few of the 77 countries he has familiarity.


Cosmin Andron

I was born in 1976 in the town of Baia Mare in the NW of Transilvania (Romania). Baia Mare was then a primarily mining town with industry drawing upon it. Nevertheless, it is situated in a beautiful valley within mountains and hills, surrounded by lakes and rivers and forests. It is there where I found so much fun being a child, swimming, trekking, climbing, skiing, caving, exploring ruins, abandoned mines and so on.

Katie Ross Mountain Seed Team Photos

Katie Ross

Katie R. Ross, MSW, serves as a strategic advisor for Mountain Seed Foundation with more than a decade of experience in mental health and non-profit management. She is a nationwide healthcare leader as the creator of Tactical Recovery(specialized residential trauma treatment) in her role as Director of Veterans Services for Summit Behavioral Healthcare. Katie is also a long-time advocate serving on several non-profit boards working to increase access to care and strengths-based, resilience building programs, driven to improve the lives of others.

The Team

Kristen Calvin

Chief Legal Advisor

Kristen has over ten years of public interest advocacy experience in government, NGOs, and community-based organizations. Her eclectic background includes direct legal services to low-income residents of Washington, DC; consulting work on global education initiatives; Embassy work in Ukraine and Georgia; plus policy and outreach efforts to promote social reform in the areas of women’s and children’s issues, victims’ rights, disability services, and education reform.

Iryna Prykhoko

Iryna Prykhodko

Program Lead/Founding Member

Iryna Prykhodko is one of the founding members of the Mountain Seed Foundation and the Non-Executive Director for Programs. Iryna brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the foundation, including a vast network of contacts in Ukraine.

Bryn Beary Mountain Seed Team Photos

Bryn Beary


Bryn is an accomplished Educator, Artist and Graphic Designer with a long time focus on Art Education. At the onset of the Russian invasion into Ukraine, she decided to transition out of the classroom and devote her full time efforts to helping Ukrainian children heal from the war. Having lived in Ukraine recently, Bryn developed relationships and important context to craft MSF's programs to meet the needs of Ukrainian children.

Danny Ross Mountain Seed Team Photos

Danny Ross

Director of IT

Danny Ross is Retired United States Navy in the field of IT and Technology Management. Spending many years overseas, including Ukraine, in support of joint military training.