Meet the Board of Directors and Co-Founders

Sean McKeever


Sean spent his childhood in the mountains of Colorado where he grew his love of nature and mountain living. In high school, Sean traveled to Nepal with an organization called Students Shoulder to Shoulder, which has been a partner of The Small World for over 15 years. On this trip he got to know Karma and Sonam and their efforts to help and empower their communities. Over the next ten years, he and Karma stayed in touch while Sean went to Tufts University to pursue a degree in Computer Science and later a career in data and analytics. In 2022, he became more serious about finding ways to be helpful and Karma was the first person he called. After working together on a project towards the end of 2022, Sean and The Small World decided to work together even more closely and with great enthusiasm Sean joined the board. He is excited to be of service to the mission and the community at large.


Maria Struble

Vice President and Secretary

Maria is a Professor of Politics and Government at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado.  Her research work examines issues of migration and human rights violations, and she has traveled and worked with refugees in Nepal on several occasions.  Her book The Politics of Bodies at Risk, examines what happens at the intersection of state security and human insecurity, with specific focus on Tibetan refugees and survivors of trafficking in human beings in Bulgaria.  A native born and raised Bulgarian, she is happy to call the United States her second home.  In her spare time, she volunteers at the community gardens in Gunnison, is an avid runner and reader, loves to travel into the backcountry with her two boys, her husband and Oli, their dog baby.  She is excited to be joining the Board of The Small World USA and help create meaningful connections inside the United States with potential donors, benefactors and community members dedicated to the goal of making the world a more equitable, just and welcoming place for all.


Sally Wier

Treasurer and Co-founder

Sally is a native of Colorado and has a passion for mountain environments, women’s empowerment and the Himalayas. A mountaineer, Sally has climbed peaks including Island Peak, Denali, and Mount Rainier, and has done attempts on other big mountains including Cerro de Aconcagua. She holds a Certificate in Non-profit Management from Duke University and an M.Sc. with Distinction in Sustainable Mountain Development from the University of Highlands and Islands in Perth, Scotland, where she studied under Martin Price. Sally completed field research for her dissertation, ‘Identifying paths to girls’ successful Higher Education in the Solukhumbu district, Nepal’ in November 2016, which was published in Mountain Research and Development in 2020. She has traveled to Nepal four times for trekking, climbing, humanitarian work, academic research and NGO project implementation. Sally has been touched, inspired and humbled by the incredible people and communities she has had the honor of living among there.


Karma Sherpa

Board Member and Co-founder

Karma is a native of the village of Deku in the Solukhumbu region of Nepal. Karma’s life was transformed by the gift of education and support from an American trekker. After experiencing the revolutionary power of education in his own life, he decided to dedicate his life to providing the same opportunities for others. In 2006 he founded The Small World in Nepal to address the needs of girls and communities in his home district. Read a message from Karma here.