Board of Directors
Brad Walker is a public health physician working in Orange County and the married parent of 6 children. He is a returned missionary from Guayaquil, Ecuador. Brad is the chief founder of the Liahona Children's Foundation. He authored a series of articles entitled “Spreading Zion Southward” in 2003-2004 in “Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought”. In addition to serving as President, Brad currently serves on the Vision, Values and Leadership Committee, the Field Operations Effectiveness Committee, and the Legal Committee.
Polly Sheffield is a General Pediatrician who currently works at the BYU Student Health Center. She received her MD from the University of Utah and completed her residency training at UCLA. She also received a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Polly is a returned missionary from Los Angeles where she had the opportunity to work with Cambodian refugees and developed a long-term interest in care of underserved populations and an interest in culturally appropriate care. Polly enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, reading, music, and bike riding in her free time. Polly is one of the founders of the Liahona Children’s Foundation and she currently serves as the head of the Vision, Values, and Leadership Committee.
Robert A. Rees teaches Mormon Studies at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and at UC Berkeley. Previously he taught at UCLA and UC Santa Cruz and was a Fulbright Professor of American Studies in the Baltics. He served as Assistant Dean of Fine Arts at UCLA where he was also Director of Continuing Education in the Arts and Humanities and Director of Studies for the UCLA-Cambridge, UCLA-Royal College of Art, and UCLA-Royal College of Music Programs. In addition to his scholarly and creative work in the arts and humanities, Rees has been active in religious and Mormon studies over the course of his academic career. He was the editor of Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought (1970-76), former Chair of the Sunstone Foundation, and has published a wide variety of scholarly articles, personal essays, editorials, and poetry. Rees has served as a bishop, high councilor, and member of the Baltic States Mission Presidency. Bob is one of the founders of The Liahona Children’s Foundation and currently serves as the head of the Fundraising Committee.
Alberto Puertas is a career/academic counselor for the University Advisement Center at Brigham Young University. Alberto has a Master of Science in Counseling and Guidance from BYU. He has mentored many college students doing humanitarian work and internships abroad. He currently serves as the Latin American Director of the National Career Development Association. One of his main contributions in this position is leading the formation of the Peruvian Career Development Association. Alberto serves as the Chair of the Board for Teens ACT. In his outreach to the local and international community, Alberto served as a member of the Board of Directors of Southern Cross Humanitarian. Presently, he serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Eagle Condor Humanitarian. In addition, he serves as the President of the Peruvian Arts Foundation which promotes Peruvian culture and talent in Utah and the USA. Alberto and his wife Kristen of 24 years live with their three beautiful children in Orem, Utah. In his free time he enjoys reading, nature, good cuisine and spending time with his family and friends. Alberto is a member of the Governing Board and oversees pilot projects in Central and South America. He also serves as the head of the Partnerships and Key Relationships Committee.
Clayton Avery received a BA in International Relations with an emphasis in Southeast and Eastern Asia from Brigham Young University. He is the founder and CEO of CS Intelligence, a language translation company. Clayton is currently a Product Manager of Language Curriculum at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. He formally taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Utah and helped further develop the Cambodian language programs there. His experience with language training and instruction has been ongoing since 2003. His love for the Cambodian language and the people of Southeast Asia began with his missionary service among the Cambodian population as an LDS missionary in Long Beach, California. Clayton has also been involved with numerous volunteer, education, and non-profit programs in Cambodia since 2008. He was raised on a cattle ranch in Wyoming and has four children. Clayton has been a part of the Liahona Children's Foundation since 2011. He currently serves as the head of the Diversity and Culture Committee, is the Country Supervisor for Cambodia, and helps supervise the growth of the Foundation in Southeast Asia.
Sara is an international public health specialist who received her Master’s in Public Health Degree from George Washington University. She is a returned missionary from Korea. Sara has served as President of the Liahona Children’s Foundation in the past and has led multiple groups of interns to screen children in Central and South America. She is one of the co founders of the Liahona Children’s Foundation and currently serves as the head of the Field Operations Effectiveness Committee.
Gary Heaton grew up in rural Utah. He and his wife have been married for 45 years and have six children. Gary graduated with a Bachelors of Science from Brigham Young University in 1970, and he earned his Medical Degree from the University of Texas Medical School Houston in 1973. He later earned his Masters of Medical Management from Tulane University in 2000. Dr. Heaton completed his residency in pediatrics in 1977, and from 1977-2005 he was in general pediatric practice at FM 1960 Pediatric Center. He also served as the President and CEO of FM 1960 Pediatric Center from 1979-2005, overseeing 20 physicians and 4 allied health professionals. From 1995-1998, Dr. Heaton was the Associate Medical Director of One Care Health. His service includes serving three years on the Board of Directors for Medical Group Management Association, community service in schools and Boy Scouts of America, humanitarian service in Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Africa, as well as regular service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Dr. Heaton currently chairs the LCF Operating and Finance Committee and serves on the Field Operations Effectiveness Committee and the Vision, Values, and Leadership Committee.
Tim Heaton holds a Camilla Kimball chair in the Department of Sociology at Brigham Young University and is the director of the International Development Minor. His research focuses on demographic trends in the family. Research in the United States and Indonesia has focused on trends in and determinants of marital dissolution. He has examined the relationship between family characteristics and children's health in Latin America and Africa. He has directed the PEAT internships since 2011, working with students on evaluation projects in India, Cambodia, Thailand, Uganda, Malawi, Peru, Guatemala and Mexico. He currently serves on the Field Operations Effectiveness Committee and the Volunteer Committee.
Ashley has a BA in Sociology from Weber State University and a nursing degree from Salt Lake Community College. She has worked as a cardiac nurse for the last 5 years, and spent 8 years doing research and education with patients living with artificial hearts. She is very interested in humanitarian work and participated in a medical humanitarian trip to Vietnam through Children of Peace International. She is married with two children and loves reading, traveling, and learning. Ashley serves as the head of the Volunteer Committee.
Josh West is an associate professor of health science at Brigham Young University, where he specializes in the assessment and use of technology applications to measure and change health behaviors teacher. MPH has emphatically a doctorate in epidemiology and public health with an emphasis on health behavior. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles on issues of public health, such as the use of social media to track substance abuse and suicide and a number of related applications cellphones items and their potential health to influence the health behaviors. Dr. West co founded Computer Research in Health, a collaboration between public health and the computer science. He currently serves on the Field Operations Effectiveness Committee, the Diversity and Culture Committee, as well as the Operating and Finance Committee.
Gloria Rosales (Guatemala)
Gloria Rosales and her husband, Fernando Santiago, were sealed in the Mesa Temple prior to temples being opened in Guatemala. Gloria is a convert to the Church and was baptized in 1974. She and Fernando now have three grown children. Gloria has served as a ward and stake relief society president, although her favorite callings have been directing choirs and working with the Quetzaltenango Temple dedication as a musical coordinator. She has been very dedicated to the malnourished children and is currently managing the program in one stake and two districts in the Momostenango area of Guatemala as well as supervising the LCF programs in the Central America region. Her area has a very high rate of childhood malnutrition and many cases of LDS children who are living in desperate circumstances; she has also run a program to allow children in her stakes/districts to go to elementary school via the foundation. Gloria currently serves on the Partnerships and Key Relationships Committee.
Natividad Samochuallpa (Peru)
Natividad Samochuallpa is from Cusco, Peru. She is a teacher by profession and has taught high school, elementary, and kindergarten students. Naty is a convert to the Church and was called to serve a mission in the Bolviia La Paz Mission soon after being baptized. She started working with the Liahona Children's Foundation soon after it started operations in Peru and worked as the local stake coordinator for the program in Cusco. She then worked as the Country Coordinator of Peru and managed all the programs in Peru. She now oversees all the operations in South and Central America. Natividad currently serves on the Volunteer Committee.
Maryjoy Bano-Bello (Philippines)
Maryjoy was raised in the southern part of the Philippines. She and her husband, Anthony, have three sons and currently live in the Makati Stake. Maryjoy is a convert to the Church and was baptized in 2011. She has worked with Liahona from its beginnings in the Philippines in 2014, and was there, with her husband, helping with the first screenings in Makati, Montalban, and Navaliches. Maryjoy is a teacher by profession, and she now manages all of the 30+ LCF programs in the Philippines.
Ben Crookston has 10 years experience conducting research in Asia, Africa and Latin America. He earned his bachelor's degree in zoology and his master's degree in public health from Brigham Young University and a doctorate from the University of Utah. He currently works as an assistant professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Brigham Young University. He has worked with a variety of research institutions related to child nutrition, growth and health.
Renata Forste is professor in the department of sociology at BYU. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago. Renata served recently as the sociology department chair, and previously as an associate dean in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, as director of Latin American Studies at the David M. Kennedy Center, and as coordinator of Women’s Studies. Her research focuses on patterns of family formation and child well-being in the U.S., Latin America, and most recently in Africa. In particular her research examines birth-spacing, contraceptive use, maternal education, breastfeeding, child nutritional status, child obesity, and infant mortality. Renata currently serves on the Advisory Board.