Chief Operating Officer
Natalie Bastow is CFC’s Chief Operating Officer, serving in this role since 2012 when she relocated from Singapore to Atlanta with her family. In this role, she directs all volunteer programs, oversees annual events, and raises funds and public awareness for CFC’s vast educational initiatives in Siem Reap.
Natalie has worked with CFC since 2007, holding a series of roles of increasing responsibility while living in Singapore. In 2011 and 2012, she served as President of Asia Pacific and Japan, and in 2010 she pioneered the job of Volunteer Coordinator. Prior to these roles, she served as a volunteer on the Education Committee of which she later became the chairperson in 2009.
Natalie envisioned and built CFC’s current volunteer architecture. Under her leadership, the volunteer program was initiated in Singapore and has since continued to adapt and grow, enabling CFC supporters around the world to stay involved from anywhere they live and work. Her dedication to CFC and to supporting volunteer efforts has generated a broad base of important relationships for CFC globally.
Natalie’s passion for education began long before she joined CFC. For thirteen years, she was a teacher in Ontario and New Brunswick. In her final year of teaching in Ontario, the Dalewood Middle School administration and parents created an award in her honor. The Natalie Bastow Award is bestowed each year to an outstanding student that shows excellent musicianship, leadership and initiative through academic and extracurricular music programs.
In 2012, Natalie received the prestigious Golden Hand Award given by the Cambodian Government for outstanding service and support to the country. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Western Ontario and a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Windsor.
Natalie, her husband, and their two children currently reside in Atlanta, Georgia.
Superintendent of Schools and Country Director, Cambodia
Ung Savy is CFC’s Superintendent of Schools and Country Director. He has served as Superintendent since 2003, and additionally, as Country Director since 2006. In this role, Savy oversees all student programs across CFC’s twenty-one schools, offering leadership to the school principals and providing opportunities for improvement at each campus to maximize student learning. As the primary liaison to the Cambodian Government, Savy has implemented the joint Memorandum of Understanding and built important relationships with the Ministry of Education. In addition to managing the school principals, Savy directs the Deputy Country Director, the CFC Administrator, the Executive Assistant of Programs, and the Senior Program Manager.
Under Savy’s leadership, drop-out rates have fallen to less than 10% consistently since 2010 (currently one-third the national rate), and CFC has continued to forge connections with the Cambodian government, achieving the significant honor of being named the country’s model schools by the Minister of Education.
Savy’s early years were overshadowed by the Khmer Rouge, and from the age of one, he lived in Cambodia’s war-torn conditions. Separated from his parents and family, he was provided with limited food and was forced to work destroying termite mounds and making fertilizer for rice paddy fields until the age of 10 when the Vietnamese army forced Pol Pot from power. At the age of 13, Savy finally began his formal schooling as a first grader. After graduating from sixth grade at the age of 18, he joined the Vietnamese army where he started learning English – something that was illegal at the time.
In 1993, Savy was able to use his knowledge to provide translation services to the UN armies upon their arrival in Cambodia. He was also able to return to school to continue his formal education. After relocating to Siem Reap in 1994, Savy obtained a position as an English teacher at Spien Chreav School – now the Spien Chreav Amelio School – and worked as a tour guide in his spare time. Savy stayed in these roles until 2003 when he was introduced to Jamie and Bill Amelio, and accepted the role of Superintendent at what was the first of CFC’s now twenty-one schools.
Since joining the CFC team, Savy has supplemented his education with courses on leadership and English, among others, bolstering his natural ability to guide teams and excel in an international environment.
Savy and his wife, Mom, live in Siem Reap with their son who was born in 2011.
Deputy Country Director, Cambodia
Christin Spoolstra is CFC’s Deputy Country Director, a position she has held since 2014. In this role, she reports to Superintendent of Schools & Country Director Ung Savy, serving as the central point of communication for CFC’s on the ground in Siem Reap. Christin helps to establish strategic direction and execution of key CFC initiatives and works with CFC’s program managers to strengthen current systems as well as implement new community programs. Additionally, she develops Human Resources policies and procedures, and trains local teams on communication and public relations skills.
Prior to joining CFC, Christin worked with the US Peace Corps from 2011-2014 and was stationed in Cambodia. Initially assigned to the English Teaching and Teacher Training Project, she taught English at a public high school in Svay Rieng while living with a Cambodian host family. It was during this time that Christin not only began learning the Khmer language, but also developed a love for her host country and a deeper understanding of Cambodia’s rich culture.
She extended her Peace Corps service beyond the two-year commitment and served as a volunteer leader in Cambodia, supporting Peace Corps volunteer programs with resource management, staff development, and volunteer training.
Christin graduated from Albion College in Michigan with degrees in political science and English literature, and a concentration in leadership in public policy and service.
Lori Soenksen is CFC’s Director of Finance. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration degree from West Virginia University.
Prior to joining Caring for Cambodia as Director of Finance, Lori was Vice President of Finance for a private equity company focused on the oil and gas industry and located in Princeton, NJ. In this position, Lori was responsible for all financial aspects for the firm, including financial reporting, payroll, and accounting management. She also managed the office and all contact with vendors, building management and IT set-up. Prior to this, Lori held various accounting roles of increasing responsibility with Medical Broadcasting Company and Kraft General Foods. Her public accounting experience came in earlier years as a senior auditor at Price Waterhouse LLC, Philadelphia, PA.
From 2013 through 2015, Lori and her family lived in Singapore where she became acquainted with CFC. She was fortunate to participate in a family service trip during that time and that experience solidified her interest in and commitment to CFC.
Lori and her husband John have three children, and currently live in New Hope, PA.
Lydia Breckon is CFC’s Development Director. Since 2012, she has coordinated CFC’s fund development strategies, including corporate and foundation proposals, outreach to individuals through the Annual Appeal and other campaigns, and supporting CFC staff and volunteers conducting events and personal fundraising campaigns. She is currently based on the East Coast of the United States.
Lydia has worked in development for over twenty years both with larger organizations, such as International Rescue Committee and Catholic Social services, and small nonprofits, such as Angkor Dance Troupe. In each position, her commitment is to find and advance the alignment between donors and those programs that make a real and lasting difference.
Lydia holds a BA from Brown University in Literature and a PhD from Yale University in Anthropology. She has taught at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and at the community college level. She has also done extensive fieldwork on migration to the US with a focus on Southeast Asia migrants. Her applied work in this area includes program evaluations and immigrant community needs assessments.
Lydia’s longstanding commitment to Cambodia has its origins in her expatriate childhood in Southeast Asia, and is evident in her years of research and advocacy/social service work with Cambodian communities in the US, as well as Cambodian language training.
Human Resources Director
Deeann Gallo is CFC’s Human Resources Director. She has served in this role since 2013, ten years after she first joined CFC as a volunteer. In this role, Dee is responsible for hiring the Management Team in the US, Singapore and Cambodia, overseeing the recruitment of the support team in Siem Reap, and defining CFC’s succession plan. She also monitors the salary structure, salary increases and bonus plan, drawing on market research in Cambodia, the US and Singapore. Dee is instrumental in helping to develop key CFC initiatives, as well as policies and procedures for the Siem Reap team.
Dee first became involved in CFC in 2003 when she attended one of the first ‘backpack parties’ where groups gathered to fill backpacks with school supplies and uniforms for CFC students. Her love for the organization grew as she took on the job of coordinating and running CFC’s first ‘Make a Difference’ service trip to Siem Reap, as well as advising CFC in the human resources area. After leaving Singapore in 2007, Dee and her family moved to Buenos Aires where she focused her energies on local charity work. In 2012, Dee and her husband Juan moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to be closer to their two sons.
Dee’s previous experience includes jobs as a Benefits Administrator for a law firm in Denver, CO; an HR Generalist for TRW, a large multi-national auto and aviation supply company in Boston; and Office Manager for Wilevco, a small manufacturing company also located in Boston. While living in Buenos Aires, Dee taught Business English to senior leaders and CEO’s of Argentine and US subsidiaries in the Latin America region. In addition to her extensive work-related training, Dee studied Business Administration at colleges in Denver and Boston.
Laura Andrews is CFC’s Communications Director. In this role, she is responsible for delivering and coordinating all external communications to CFC’s global supporter base, including newsletters, chapter outreach and social media. She is also responsible for the ongoing maintenance of CFC database.
Laura first became involved with CFC in 2008 while living in Singapore, volunteering with various committees, participating in several family service trips, and ultimately assuming the lead role on the Communications team in 2012. When her family relocated to Switzerland, Laura was the first CFC volunteer to pioneer a leadership role from outside Singapore or the US.
Laura holds a BSFS from Georgetown University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. She worked for more than twelve years in the banking and technology sectors before her husband’s career led them on expatriate assignments in Singapore and Switzerland. She and her husband now live in Orinda, California with their two children.
Singapore Operations Manager
Renee France is CFC’s Singapore Operations Manager. In this role, Renee works closely with committee chairs to coordinate several hundred volunteers throughout the region. She oversees fundraising and special events in Singapore, and serves as the regional liaison with CFC’s global management team.
Renee is a social care professional with experience in the charity, voluntary and government sectors. Originally from the United Kingdom, Renee has been living in Singapore with her family since November 2014. She has extensive experience recruiting, managing and training front line social care staff and volunteer workers, and she brings knowledge of fundraising and event planning for charitable organizations.
Prior to arriving in Singapore, Renee was Project Manager for four high-profile homelessness services in a diverse London borough.