The Bo M. Karlsson Foundation is governed by two boards of directors. Our Seattle-based, U.S. board partners with board directors from our Nepal sister organization, Mahilaa Sikshya Nidi.


Sonnia J. Karlsson, Executive Director / President

While visiting Nepal in 2003, Sonnia witnessed the numerous challenges that Nepalese women faced due to gender, caste, disability, and poverty. She was convinced that higher education could offer an alternative--a way for women to become confident, independent, productive citizens. This insight, along with a strong desire to honor her husband’s memory and the conviction that one person can make a difference led Sonnia to launch the Bo M. Karlsson Scholarship Fund in 2004. Sonnia is passionate about girls and women issues and spends a lot of her time working with local and international grassroots efforts to bring in positive changes to our global community. Sonnia lives with her family in the Seattle area.


Mari Hirabayashi, Vice President

Mari's passion for Nepal began in 2007, when she traveled to Jorpati, with items funded by friends and family, to volunteer with children with disabilities. Each child she encountered showed immense joy and gratitude, even while faced with adversity and physical pain due to his or her disability. Several young women Mari met while volunteering are now Bo M. Karlsson Foundation scholars.

Mari's involvement with the BMKF started as donor and event volunteer before officially joining our organization as an advisor overseeing a Jolkona grant for technology training in Nepal. In 2014 she became a member of the board and in 2015 accepted the secretary position.

She looks forward to returning to Nepal one day and introducing her young son its culture and beauty.

Chris Landschulz, Treasurer

Thomas (Chris) Landschulz is serving a second term as the Treasurer of the board. Chris earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1994 and completed an MBA at the University of Washington in 2009. Chris has a background in insurance claims, litigation management, and for the last 12 years has worked for local real estate developer Polygon Northwest, where he became a partner in the firm and served as the VP of Finance. Chris and his wife, Shelly, live in Seattle with their three children. Chris has been involved with the Foundation since 2007 and has a passion for social and environmental causes.

Amanda Wager, Social Worker

With 15 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, and a Master’s degree in Social Work from NYU, Amanda Wager brings to the board both perspective and passion. Since her first steps in Kathmandu in 2013, that passion has been focused on the people of Nepal through water sanitation and hygiene with the Living Earth Institute, and now on the empowerment of women through education with BMKF. While she enjoys the active life she has built in Seattle, she looks forward to working with the foundation to enrich the country she considers her "home away from home."

Shannan Chapman, Engineering Manager

Shannan Chapman has been in the technology industry for over 17 years. She earned her BS in Computer Science and her MBA from the University of North Carolina. Her desire to make an impact in education was born out of her own personal experience coupled with her passion for working with diverse teams across the globe. The work that BMKF does, supporting women in Nepal through scholarships for higher education is something Shannan has a strong passion for. A mom to five and grandmother to four, she currently lives in the Pacific Northwest where she works for Cisco and enjoys a good book and the great outdoors. She looks forward to traveling to Nepal and meeting the amazing young women in the program.

Grishma Manandhar, Mechanical Engineer

Growing up in an energy deficient economy in Nepal, Grishma developed a passion for working in the field of renewable energy. The possibility of being able to design standalone renewable energy systems was her motivation for pursuing an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and in 2008, she was awarded a Bo M. Karlsson Foundation Scholarship. She also holds a graduate degree in Energy and Environmental Management from the University of Flensburg, Germany.

Since graduating in 2011, Grishma has been working in the Energy and Environment. In previous roles, she worked as a Project Officer in Nepal, a Renewable Energy Engineer in India, a Hydro Energy Consultant in Scotland and most recently as a Research Intern in Indonesia. Currently, Grishma is looking forward to pursuing her doctorate degree in Economics, specializing in energy and environment issues in emerging and developing economies. Grishma is honored and excited to join the board and give back to the organization that enabled her to pursue her passion.


photo credit: Scott Squire

Neema Sherpa, Program Coordinator

Rama Poudel, Office Manager/Accountant

photo credit: Scott Squire

Bimala Manandhar, President

photo credit: Scott Squire

Om Prakash Singh, Vice President

Sumita Maharjan, Secretary

photo credit: Scott Squire

Sabita Tamang Ghising, Treasurer

Poonam Karki, Social Worker

Sarita Sharma, Electronic Engineer

photo credit: David S. Robbins

Lali Kumari Sunuwar, Nurse