Interim Executive Director

Brook Edwards
Brook was named DTL’s Interim Director in September, 2018. Prior to her appointment, she served as a Senior Project Manager at Downtown Languages for over four years, working extensively with our leadership team during that time, as well as managing our volunteer program. She brings 17 years of experience in both the financial services and public/nonprofit sector prior to the position. Brook also served in the Peace Corp as a public health volunteer in Nicaragua. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Idaho, and a Master of Public Administration degree and Master’s Certificate in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Oregon. She enjoys hiking, road biking, photography, camping, and just generally being out in nature with her husband and son.


Board of Directors

Katie Gaebel, President
Katie is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Career Development Center at Oregon State University, where she supports student internship and work programs and initiatives. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and German from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, and master’s and doctorate degrees in educational policy and leadership from Ohio State University. Before moving to Corvallis in 2014, Katie was an assistant professor of education in Iowa, where she taught socio-cultural foundations of education and multicultural education and implemented numerous opportunities for students, including short-term experiences in Puerto Rico and a grant-funded internship project for Burmese refugee youth in Des Moines. She also served on the Board of Directors for a refugee organization. Since coming to Oregon, Katie has taken every opportunity to explore the natural wonders of the state. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her husband and two dogs.



Becky-Jo Samples, Treasurer
Becky-Jo is passionate about providing students access to educational opportunities. She served as a volunteer mentor for ASPIRE Oregon, a program of the Oregon Student Assistance Commission, from 2015 to 2018, and has been a board member for Downtown Languages since 2017. A proud Duck, Becky-Jo holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Oregon and a master’s of business administration from Northwest Christian University. She is a product marketing manager at Oregon Community Credit Union.

Marilyn Kelly, Secretary
Marilyn holds a bachelor’s degree in French from Whitman College. She served three years in the Peace Corps in Tanzania and Uganda, where she taught English in upper primary school and French in secondary school. A long-time resident of Eugene, she has worked as a seamstress, bookkeeper, legal secretary, legal software trainer, volunteer tutor for adult ESL learners, and editor and technical writer for an online public high school and other K-12 Web-based initiatives.


Doug Bales
Doug has been serving as a Financial and Investment Advisor in our community for almost 30 years. During this time he has been very involved with the Great Rotary Duck Race and the Egan Warming Center Project. He has renovated half a dozen houses in the downtown area and lives on the McKenzie River in Vida. Doug likes to row his wooden drift boat and spends a lot of time on the river.

Doug Bales

William Mendez
William brings years of business experience, a real love for people, and a can-do attitude to the board. Since 2003, he has owned his own business, WMCO Property Repair and Maintenance LLC, an ISO 9000 certified company, in Springfield, Oregon. Previously, he worked as an industrial technician and consultant; he was involved with large training projects and understands how important it is to help others in their development, since in this way, “we are able to strengthen our social environment with values and information.” William holds a bachelor’s degree in human development from the University of Guadalajara, and is passionate about helping others succeed. In his free time, he coaches youth baseball.

Claude Puntel-Sessions
Claude moved from the south of France to New Jersey in 1998. As an immigrant to this country, diversity, languages, cultures, and cross-cultural communications are a big part of her life. She knows well how challenging and intimidating language acquisition is for newcomers to the United States. In 2009, she created a cross-cultural communication and translation business in Kansas, and in 2011 got involved with the International Rescue Committee, assisting refugees from around the world with English as a Second Language and Naturalization test preparation. Claude has a trilingual master’s degree in cross-cultural communication and negotiation from the University of Aix en Provence in France, and is a certified ESL instructor and French-to-English translator. In her spare time, she likes to explore Oregon and spend time with her three daughters and husband.