Our Founders and Team
Robin D. Ross MD, MPH: Co-founder and Board Member
Dr. Ross currently is a global ophthalmology consultant focused on building eye care capacity in low income countries to prevent blindness. She is a board certified ophthalmologist who specializes in vitreoretinal diseases and surgery for over 20 years.
Dr. Ross received her BA at Stanford University then attended medical school at Weill Cornell University Medical College where she completed a Basic Science Vitreoretinal Research Fellowship in perfluorocarbon liquids that revolutionized retinal detachment surgery. In medical school, she was awarded a Scudder Fellowship to study in India, gaining her first exposure to “eye camps”. During her residency in Ophthalmology at The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, she founded the Free Eye Clinic at the Free Medical Clinic in Iowa City. She was a Heed Fellowship Recipient during her Vitreoretinal Fellowship.
Her overseas development work with two Brazilian ophthalmologists is where things started for Red Rover Ventures in 2004. Her team helped advance sub-specialty training and equipment so patients could receive care locally. In this project, we also learned that “blindness” could be due to “uncorrected refractive error” or lack of access to clean water. The concept of RED was born–Research, Eye Care Education Training, and Development work locally.
In 2013, Dr Ross began the merger of her private practice to the University of Michigan to bring additional cornea and glaucoma services to the Grand Blanc/Flint community and she completed her Masters in Public Health at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2016. The Ebola Epidemic began in 2014 and she felt called to build eye care capacity in West Africa. She is currently collaborating with Johns Hopkins and the National Eye Institute on clinical research with PREVAIL III in Liberia.
Chad Cleveringa: Co-founder, Chairperson, Board Member
Chad is currently the President and CEO of Viridis Capital Group. Chad is also the co-founder and President/CEO of 7 loaves, Inc. a Fair Trade organization. Chad received his BSE and MSE in Industrial Operations Engineering from The University of Michigan in 1994/1996. He worked for Ann Arbor Consulting for several years before developing an interest in Fair Trade and social entrepreneurship after working at Ground Zero and assisting a health care capacity building trip to the Amazon. He saw firsthand women trading hand carved boats and necklaces with river traders and theft via “unfair trade.”
Robin E. Martini: Executive Director
In 2006, Robin joined 7 Loaves as their Global Artisan Director. Design, staging and creating were natural to Robin as a child but she always dreamed of teaching women to create with limited ingredients. She subsequently completed culinary arts school in Portland, Oregon with an emphasis on French and Italian cooking, because she enjoyed creating farm to table meals using local ingredients. She had her first opportunity to assist women working in her local community Safe House. Working with like-minded mothers across the globe allowed her to design and share dreams and fears regarding their children. Her dream day is cooking in a small makeshift kitchen in Durban, South Africa with women artisans—it’s like spending time with a lifelong friend.
Her true passion is working directly with the artisans and her staff team to design products using local ‘ingredients’ for export to the US market. In 2015, she was promoted to Director of Global Development. During her travels, she also performs medical and educational needs assessments of those communities for future projects. She recognized the direct link between vision and the art produced. In these dual roles, Robin is working with artisans in 30 different countries at this time.
Kevin Leffler CPA, PLCC – Board Member
Kevin has been a Certified Public Accountant for over 30 years. He currently owns and operates his own accounting practice in Davison, Michigan. He has worked for KMPG, one of the world’s largest CPA firms. Kevin has been a tenured Associate Professor of Accounting at Baker College in Flint for over 20 years. He is a member and President of the Davison School Board for 12 years. He is also the founder and President of the Davison Educational Foundation. Kevin received his undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Michigan Flint and his MBA from Wayne State University.
Brent Peterson – Digital Designer
Brent has spent a lifetime in the world of photography and storytelling. With his business degree in hand, he tackled this lifetime exposure in the modern world starting Digital Ink. Incorporating his computer skills and graphic design, he has created and launched many projects. With the nonprofit organization Red Rover Ventures, he traveled to Africa shooting video and creating content, bring back the life of both the incredible wildlife and the hard working artisans. Working with Moose Peterson, he has produced the first iBooks of their kind, Taking Flight and Photography FUNdamentals. And he produces the quarterly iMag and The BT Journal. www.brentpetersondigitalink.com
Jake Peterson – Professional Photographer
Jake is a wildlife and aviation photographer whose passion for both has fueled his desire to capture beautiful images while preserving history. Jake has worked with Red Rover Fair Trade capturing beautiful photography from Africa. Jake has had numerous articles and photographs published in a variety of magazines and websites. Jake has become an internationally published aviation photographer with work being featured consistently in magazines in other countries.
Making his way in both wildlife and aviation photography, he continues to find new stories and new people to share them with. www.jakepeterson.org