Barbara Platts

Barbara moved to Aspen two and a half years ago after graduation from Emerson College in Boston. She's worked in journalism as well as public relations, branding and marketing since moving to town. She currently takes on dual roles as associate editor and marketing coordinator at Aspen Magazine. She is also the town's designated millennials columnist for the Aspen Times. Having visited Aspen since she was only a wee tot, Barbara is very happy to be able to live full time in such a wonderful community. Some of her favorite pastimes include hiking with her puppy Cassius, drinking fine wine with good friends and skiing on a powder day. Always eager to learn about new places, cultures and people, she is honored to be a part of AFAW.


Paula Nirschel

Paula has been a frequent visitor to Afghanistan. Over the years she has combined her work visits there, with lots of good times spent with her Afghan hosts and friends. Afghan hospitality and pride is the best. Paula commits her life work to promoting a better life for Afghan women, their families and communities. 
In 2001, Paula created a successful nonprofit education program for Afghan Women. The mission was to educate future female leaders for Afghanistan, in the areas of business and politics. Fifty five women graduated with four year US college degrees! Their experience at US colleges was life changing, and contributed to the great pride of their homeland.

John Tangen

John Tangen, CPA, Eight years of CFO/ Controller experience in the public and private sector for organizations with annual budgets in excess of $10 million.Ten years of Auditor experience in the public and private sector including: three years with an International Public Accounting Firm; two years with an International, Fortune 500 Company in the Internal Audit Department; State and local Government auditor experience.

Doris Buffett was the largest donor, and Laura Bush was a mentor, having Paula speak at many of her functions. 

In August 2013, the AFAW was created to help the dire situation in Southern Afghanistan. Paula knows that with a village of caring Americans, many lives can be changed for the better in Southern Afghanistan.  Our focus of lessening the abuse of women in that area is key. Her last program was mainly in Kabul. It is time now to  move on to Kandahar and Helmand, since good seeds need to be planted there.

Anjum Malik

Anjum Malik is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of the Alhambra US Chamber of Commerce, Co-Founder and Vice President of House of Tutors, and Co-Founder and Vice President of the Intensive American English Institute.  Anjum’s belief in the power of education to improve society is evident in all aspects of her professional life: when she provides oversight  for the academic development of international students, scholars and administrators at the Institute; through her global work in the development, consulting and training activities of the Chamber; and, as the expert networker who inks others to build the commercial and diplomatic bridges that bring us together to create that brighter future.  


Empowering Afghan Women for a Better Future

Board of Directors

Ariel Timm

Ariel Timm works in the non-profit sector, specializing in stewardship and event planning in Michigan. This focus allows her to celebrate the strong relationships people have with causes they are closely connected to, and she is motivated by contributing to something greater. With a B.S. in Sustainable Business and Community Leadership, her passions are people, building community, and education. Currently she is pursuing her Masters of Management, graduating in December 2015. Ariel believes strongly in the empowerment of women through education and societal progress through social justice, and has found this to be supported by the AFAW. 
Paula has received the following awards/honors:
  • Interviewed by Katie Couric on the Today Show
  • Participated in the G8 Summit, Georgia.  Spoke at a roundtable discussion with the presidential spouses
  • Mrs. Bush graduated her first students and gave the commencement speech
  • Attended White House luncheons and dinners
  • Speaker at Hawaii International Women Leadership Conference, hosted by governor
  • One of 14 program leaders, in Afghanistan and Iraq, honored by the President
  • Featured speaker at NYC Colony Club
  • Featured speaker at World Affairs Forum conference in Stamford, CT
  • Program received the 2007 New England Higher Education Excellence Award
  • Keynote speaker at annual NAFSA Region V111 Conference - DC
  • Outstanding Alumni Award - Southern CT State University

Featured in Media Outlets:
​New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, CBS, Christian Science, Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, National Public Radio, Advancing Philanthropy, Providence Journal, Rhode Island Monthly

​Paula is the proud mother of three children, a son in law, and a daughter in law. She cherishes her family and friends. Time off is spent out in nature, active, reading, volunteering, traveling, and enjoying the gift of life.