Capt. Jamie Spence (Founder, President ) - Jamie built and captained Canvasback, the world’s largest aluminum sailing catamaran, which brought medical care to Micronesia. Jamie was the Principal Investigator for the Department of Defense grant “Diabetes and Wellness Outcomes Research for the Republic of the Marshall Islands,” and he led the building of the Diabetes Wellness Center in Majuro. Jamie has worked as Department Head in Finance for the City of Alameda. A licensed Merchant Marine Captain, Jamie has built and captained two wood and fiberglass ocean cruising sailing yachts. He is a Rotarian and Paul Harris Fellow.
Capt. Jacque Spence (Founder, Vice-President ) - Jacque built and was First Mate and Navigator of the 71-foot welded aluminum medical catamaran, Canvasback, which brought medical relief to Micronesia. She acted as co-director for building Canvasback’s Diabetes Wellness Center in Majuro and was the Chief Financial Officer for the “Diabetes and Wellness Outcomes Research for the Republic of the Marshall Islands” Department of Defense Grant. Jacque was a counselor and Deputy Director of the Pleasant Hill Trailblazers Pathfinder Club. Jacque is an experienced and licensed Merchant Marine Captain. She sits on the Board of Directors of VOENA Children’s Troupe.
Kristin Smith, RN (Regional Co-Director) - Kristin grew up in Monteverde, Costa Rica, and got her BS degree in Nursing from Southern Adventist University in 2004. She worked as nurse for several years before becoming a stay-at-home mother.
Tanner Smith, RN (Regional Co-Director) - Tanner grew up in Casanova, VA and graduated from Southern Adventist University in 2004 with his BS in nursing. He worked in several states as a travel nurse before coming to the Marshall Islands.
Sterling Spence (Director of Strategic Planning) - Sterling holds degrees from La Sierra University in Management and Religious Studies as well as an MA in Ethics and Social Theory from the Graduate Theological Union. His thesis work focused on liberation theology as it applied to the faith-based nonprofit sector. He grew up with Canvasback and spent months at a time on the original Canvasback sailing catamaran. During his undergrad work, he served for a year teaching middle school on the island of Yap (2009-10) and has traveled extensively through the Pacific. He has worked for community organizations in the Bay Area such as Bend the Arc and the American Friends Service Committee organizing around prison abolition, progressive tax reform, and housing issues. He also sits on the junior board of City Youth Now.
Mey S. Saephan, MPH, CHES (Public Health Program Manager) - Mey has a Master of Public Health with a focus in community health and has worked in a variety of public health settings. Her previous experience includes working as an educator teaching oral health to K-5 students and a program assistant for APPEAL—a non-profit focusing on reducing health disparities among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Before joining Canvasback, she was an emergency planning and training coordinator for Yolo County and developed plans for public health emergencies. Her favorite healthy meal is a berry salad with salmon and a homemade fruit and veggie smoothie. During her free time, Mey enjoys hiking and exploring the outdoors.
Linda Sue Martin, MBA (Technology Director) - Linda Sue has over thirty years of information technology experience, and a natural knack for problem-solving. A graduate of Pacific Union College, she holds a Master's in Business Administration from DeVry University, from which she graduated with distinction. Linda Sue routinely performs complex database management and provides the team at Benicia headquarters with a broad range of technology solutions tailored specifically to keep Canvasback Missions sailing smoothly through every informational or technological storm.
Caitlin Dwyer (Program Manager) - Caitlin has her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art Photography and Creative Writing. She has traveled to the Marshall Islands and assists in coordinating our specialty medical teams. Any volunteer who has served with us in the last few years knows what a difference Caitlin's expertise has made on our pre-trip process. In her free time, she works on photography, writing, and healthy cooking.
Wakein Deunert (Executive Assistant) - Wakein began working for Canvasback in 2015. Originally from the island of Arno in the Marshall Islands, she now lives in the Bay Area with her husband and children. In addition to her valuable work with Canvasback Missions, she enjoys volunteering on the USS Hornet museum.
Eril Morales (Administrative Assistant) - Eril holds a Bachelor's of Science in Society & Environment, with a focus in public health, justice and sustainability. Prior to joining Canvasback, she completed an internship at an education non profit in Sydney, Australia, where she provided literacy workshops and mentorship to their Aboriginal and marginalized communities. Proud to be Pilipinx and first generation, she is eager to use her experience and skills to work with the Marshallese, learn more about their cultural traditions, and assist with productivity back in the office space.
Brenda Davis, RD (Head Dietitian) - Brenda, a registered dietitian, is a leader in her field and an internationally acclaimed speaker. She is co-author of eight books, including Defeating Diabetes. She is the lead dietitian in Canvasback's diabetes research project in Majuro, Marshall Islands. Brenda is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association.
Chris Howell (Youth Extreme Director) - Chris and his wife, Debbie, live in Clarksville, Maryland. They have two daughters, Jasmine and Camilia. Chris and his wife, Debbie, began their mission service in the Marshall Islands in 1986 where they spent a year as student missionaries on the island of Ebeye. They also served as missionaries in Ethiopia, Africa for four years. Chris graduated from Atlantic Union College and holds a BA in Religion. He owns and operates his own carpet dyeing business, Colorful Carpets. When not traveling with Canvasback Missions, he enjoys playing racquetball, playing the piano, and teaching judo, in which he holds a black belt. Chris has a passion for the islands and the people of Micronesia and considers leading youth teams to the islands as one of life’s greatest joys.
Garland Crawford (Warehouse Supervisor ) - Garland began in the warehousing, crating and shipping industry in 1972 and later opened his own business, Crawford and Crawford Crating, with his brother. Garland takes pride in having every item needed by a surgery team crated and organized so that when the 40 foot ocean container arrives at the Canvasback warehouse he can turn it around within one hour.
Amy MagBanua, RN (Medical Consultant) Amy's contributions to the organization are many and varied. She is responsible for medical expertise on mission related supplies and equipment. Providing valuable research and medical knowledge to the acquisition of medical equipment and supplies.