who we are
Meet The Team
Marge Aherns, chair, is a retired Veterans Administration social worker. Her volunteer activities have focused on voter rights, and social, economic and racial justice, especially through the League of Women Voters of Topeka-Shawnee County and Kansas, and her church. She lives a block and a half from the former grocery at Huntoon and Lane and began working on the problem of loss of accessibility to quality and fresh foods for her neighbors in 2018. Her concerns relate to justice and healthy equity.
James Monson, Vice-Chair, was born and raised in Topeka. He is committed to strengthening the Topeka community and volunteers at several local organizations. He has an entrepreneurial background and works as a Business Advisor for the Kansas Small Business Development Center. He received Marketing and Entrepreneurship and Innovation degrees from Washburn University and is currently working towards a Master of Business Administration.
Ann Marshall, treasurer, has lived in Central Topeka since 1972 and is concerned about the quality of life for Topeka residents. She currently serves as the president of the Chesney Park NIA. Her leadership and community activism has played a large role in advancing the CTGO Group's efforts and will continue to move our project toward our future goal reestablishing a neighborhood grocery store.
Janet Cathcart, secretary, is also a lifelong Topekan who is deeply concerned about the Central Topeka community. She was an active parent in Topeka Public Schools 501 while her children attended Randolph Elementary, Landon and Topeka High School and continues to be an advocate for public schools. A member of League of Women Voters observer core and a member of the Elmhurst Neighborhood Association, she oversees grocery research and organizing CTGO Group's correspondence and documents.
Clark W. Trammell has held executive management positions in several fields including business, banking, entrepreneurialism, economic development, and transportation. He has served on both for-profit and nonprofit boards in the United States and internationally. He is a community activist and is involved with several programs in the community. Clark also manages a consulting practice, the Kansas Executive Group/ Colorado Executive Group LLC.
Relyn Strom is a dedicated educator and servant leader, known for her passion for teaching and her commitment to the betterment of the education system. Born and raised in a small town, she developed a strong work ethic and a love for learning for an early age. She embarked on her journey as a teacher working the K-12 education system for 23 years. She took on various leadership roles that allowed her to shape educational policies and advocate for positive change. As an administrator, Relyn was deeply committed to fostering a collaborative and empowering work culture for teachers. Her commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of students continues to inspire others in the education community.
Pastor Harry B. Christian Jr.
Pastor Harry B. Christian Jr. is a native of Madison Heights, Va. He retired from the United States Air Force after 24 years of service. He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, Texas, in 2009. He was ordained as an Elder in the Methodist Church in Topeka since July 2013. Pastor Chrisitan is passionate about justice and served as the co-chair of the Topeka Jump Justice Ministry for two years. He currently serves on the executive board for Topeka Jump. He has also served on Topeka's Affordable Housing Review Committee.
Nadia Arbelo is the Interim Regional Director with Kansas SBDC at Washburn University. Born and raised in Topeka, Nadia brings a broad international consulting and educational background. Nadia’s role includes cooperation with local, regional, and national organizations that encourage and support small businesses by putting ideas into practice and “engage in the economic vitality of businesses in the region and beyond” (WU), which fulfills individual dreams of entrepreneurs, lifts the underserved, working in urban/rural communities within Kansas.
In September, Nadia was awarded the Kansas State Star at the annual America’s SBDC conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Nadia is excited about the collaboration and synergy working across sectors, from retail, the arts, manufacturing, innovation, agriculture and more and has delivered and administered services to public and private schools, organizations, and the local community.
Nadia serves on multiple boards in the region and is a member of Topeka Independent Business Association (TIBA), Topeka Small Business Council Advisory Board, SPARK MHK Board and is a Rotarian who believes in service for all with good intentions.
Jackie Keller is the Sunflower Stories Program Coordinator for the Kansas Rural Center (KRC), a non-profit organization founded in 1979 that has been working with communities across Kansas since its inception. Jackie has been closely involved with KRC for over 20 years, much of which was spent serving on the board. She earned a M.A. degree in International Relations from San Francisco State University with an emphasis on Environmental Policy, thesis topic was Sustainable Agriculture. She’s worked with diverse communities at Food First in Oakland, CA, Global Exchange and the San Francisco Departments of Agriculture and Environment. In 2000, she moved back to Kansas and transitioned her parent’s 200-acre conventional crop ground to organic, attaining certification in 2004. Jackie has served on her Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committee for twelve years. For almost thirty years she has advocated for healthy soil, water and food access, and social justice.