Peter F. Nájera
As a successful entrepreneur, business executive and former Army officer, Pete Nájera brings a wealth of leadership and management experience in leading all aspects of the Rudd Foundation as it's current President. In this role, Pete launched and now manages the Rudd Scholarship program as one of the key initiatives of the organization. He also participates in many civic activities throughout Kansas in representing the foundation but especially in Wichita where he is a member of the Downtown Rotary Club.
Previously, Pete served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Virginia-based Sterling Foundation Management where he was responsible for all operational issues across Sterling’s full suite of philanthropic services including Private Foundation Administration, Sterling’s Donor Advised Fund, Charitable Consulting, and the company’s industry-leading Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) Program.
Before his career in non-profit management, Pete served as Vice President for the world’s largest biomass energy producer, which he helped build from the ground up as an entrepreneurial, pre-revenue startup in the renewable energy space. With a global footprint of facilities and associated supply chain, Pete supervised a $300 million international operation in Europe, Latin America, and throughout the United States.
A former Army Officer and combat veteran, Pete honed his leadership and critical thinking skills in adverse and high pressure conditions around the world to include the DMZ in Korea, the Cold War border between East and West Germany, Operation Desert Storm in Iraq, and the Green Line in Cyprus. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Valorous Unit Award for his combat service. Pete also served in the Pentagon as a Harvard Fellow and advisor to the Secretary of Defense, and later in the Executive Office of the President as a White House Fellow.
Pete has been recognized with a number of national and regional leadership awards including the prestigious MacArthur Leadership Award, the Draper Leadership Award, and Notre Dame’s Corby Award for distinguished government service. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Pete has also served as a Young Leader Fellow in Britain, France, Austria and Japan. Pete’s community service and philanthropic endeavors include volunteering with Reading is Fundamental, Habitat for Humanity and the Special Olympics. He is also a supporter of Wichita's Catholic Charities, Kansas Make-A-Wish, Wichita's Share-the-Season Program, and the YMCA. He is a former board member of Notre Dame's Hispanic Alumni and US Japan's Leadership Program. Pete received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and earned a master’s degree from Harvard University.
Dee Bielenberg, PhD
Vice President, Educational programs
Dr. Dee Bielenberg received double Doctorates in History from the University of California, Berkeley in United States and Latin American History. She also earned Master’s Degrees in History, Art History and English. Her areas of specialty include diplomatic history, race, gender, carceral history, immigration, labor, trade and transnational cultural exchange. She has served on the faculty of UC Berkeley, Harvard University, Mills College, Saint Mary’s College and California Baptist University.
Dr. Bielenberg is the Founding Director of Daughters of Lifers, a non-profit dedicated to helping the daughters of men and women serving in California's prisons attain admission to, and success in, college. She has also served on the admissions committees of several universities and currently reviews scholarship applications for a number of foundations and schools including the Rudd Scholarship selection committee.
Corri joined the Rudd portfolio in 2012 and has worked closely with all the Rudd operating companies. Through this time she has grown an appreciation for the Foundation’s mission to improve access to higher education, advocate for better nutrition and health, support the community of Wichita and promote Jewish causes. As Program Manager, Corri was instrumental in helping establish the Rudd Scholarship Program where she was responsible for implementing the online application process, managing the candidate selection process, and developing the support and programming for all future Rudd Scholars.
Prior to joining the Rudd Portfolio, Corri worked as a General Manager for Darden Restaurants. Through her 19 years in this industry she honed her leadership and management skills to a high level as she advanced through the ranks. Most of all, Corri perfected her interpersonal skills interacting with employees and customers to meet their needs and get results, many of whom still reach out to her to share their life accomplishments to this day. Her energy and compassion for people is noteworthy and immediately evident to everyone who meets her.
Corri is an active community volunteer at St. Peter's Catholic Church and at St. Peter's Catholic School. She has also been involved as a volunteer with Kansas Food Bank and their Food-4-Kids program, Big Brother Big Sisters, and the Lord's Diner Wichita to help combat hunger in the community with dignity and respect. Corri began her studies at Kansas State University before earning her B.A. in Psychology from Wichita State University.
Becky manages all facets of the Foundation's accounting needs including but not limited to the annual tax return, grant documentation, required distributions, and assisting with all IRS compliance requirements. She has worked closely with other Rudd operating companies for 7 years.
Becky graduated from Kansas State University earning her Bachelor in Business Administration with a major in Accounting and a minor in Economics.
Becky enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She volunteers her free time as a troop leader with the Girls Scouts of the Kansas Heartland.