“Creating a better tomorrow for the lives of my fellow Guatemalans is my passion.” – J.P. Dahdah

Our Founder & Executive Director: J.P. Dahdah

Juan Pablo (J.P.) Dahdah is a Guatemalan native whose family immigrated to the U.S. when he was 8 years old. Leaving their homeland, relatives and loved ones behind wasn’t an easy decision for his parents, but not an uncommon sacrifice for Guatemalan’s aspiring to build better life for their family. This early childhood life experience is what would serve as the genesis and foundational element of J.P.’s philanthropic vision.

Upon graduating from The University of Arizona, where he earned dual degrees in Finance and Marketing, J.P. began his professional career as a Financial Advisor with the Fortune 100 company, American Express Financial Advisors. His entrepreneurial journey begun at the age of 23, when he started an independent registered advisory firm, Dahdah Global Wealth Management, which specialized in working with business owners. Upon learning that alternative investments were permissible within Self-Directed IRAs, he felt a huge disconnect with the misinformation being perpetuated by Wall Street firms. In an effort to be part of the solution instead of the problem, he founded Vantage in June 2004.

J.P. Dahdah is the Founder and CEO of Vantage Self-Directed Retirement Plans, which currently administers over $1.2 billion in retirement assets. Throughout his over 20 year financial career, Mr. Dahdah has received a multitude of recognitions, which include being awarded the prominent “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and being honored by the Phoenix Business Journal and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with the “Forty Under 40 Award” for being one of the Arizona’s most influential leaders in the community.

In 2019, he was also one of Arizona’s twenty-five honorees of the prestigious “Most Admired Leaders Award” presented by the Phoenix Business Journal. J.P. is the former President and proud member of the Arizona Chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and is actively involved philanthropically in the community via many charitable organizations beyond his work with Advance Guatemala.

Mr. Dahdah’s philanthropic philosophy is grounded by his personal belief that one must “Give ‘till it hurts!”

Service to others is a gift which has no boundaries.  To Mr. Dahdah, there is no better feeling in the world than giving something to someone and expecting nothing back in return.

Our Board Members

Keith Galbut

Keith R. Galbut leads Galbut Beabeau’s corporate, construction, real estate, and outside general counsel practices. Keith has extensive experience in corporate and real estate transactions, including matters of corporate formation and governance and the negotiation of commercial contracts, employment agreements, license agreements, leases, and mergers, acquisitions, and sales of businesses. He often protects his clients’ rights and advances their interests in business, construction, and real estate disputes, whether through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation. Keith devotes a significant portion of his practice to supporting clients expanding into Arizona and beyond Arizona into domestic and foreign markets.

A community leader in the area of business globalization, Keith served as an Adjunct Professor of International Business Law at the Thunderbird School of Global Management for over ten years and as Chairman and President of the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations. Keith was honored by Global Chamber as “Global Business Service Provider of the Year” in 2015 and with the “PCFR Visionary Award” in 2016 by the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations.  Keith’s strong leadership, integrity, values, vision, and commitment to excellence is also evidenced by his 2021 recognition by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the Valley’s “Most Admired Leaders.”

Keith is regularly recognized with AV Preeminent (the highest peer review rating for legal ability and ethical standards) and Platinum Client Champion (the highest client review rating) designations by Martindale-Hubbell®. He has also been recognized by Southwest Super Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of business, entrepreneurship, family business, and corporate law, and highlighted by AZ Business Magazine, Arizona Executive Magazine, and Phoenix Magazine as one of Arizona’s Top Lawyers.

Keith’s passion for making a positive impact on his community is evident from his leadership involvement. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Banner Health Foundation, Advance Guatemala since its founding in 2008, and as an Emeritus Member of the Board of Directors for the Phoenix Committee of Foreign Relations and Esperança. Keith is a recipient of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s “AZ’s Finest” award and “AZ’s FUTURE Award” for his contributions to the community and the Foundation, where he served as Chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk for several years. Keith has also been a “Big Brother” for the last eighteen years.

Keith is a Phoenix native and graduate of ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Emory University and earned Master’s Degrees in International Management and Business Administration (MIM/MBA), with a concentration on finance, from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. In addition, Keith studied International Law and Business Transactions at the University of Geneva, Switzerland and Cambridge University, England.

Keith’s passions are his family, international travel, community organizations, and residential construction and architecture. He is the Founder and President of Advocate – Residential Construction Advisors, a residential construction advisory and owners’ representation firm.

Mark Walker

Mark Walker’s deep understanding of poverty issues comes from over forty years of laboring side-by-side with needy people in the developing world, managing programs in Guatemala, Colombia, and Sierra Leone with Plan International in Director Positions.

Mark’s passion for Guatemala goes back to his time as a Peace Corps volunteer. Mark’s first job out of the Peace Corps was as a consultant with CARE International whose staff asked him to identify the basic technologies for an agro-forestry program. In response to a major earthquake in Guatemala, Mark co-founded FUNDACED, a Christian Guatemalan development agency. His work included mentoring Guatemalan staff on how to raise funds in the US and Europe.

The Cooperative Housing Foundation hired Mark to develop the property management procedures for a housing program on the South Coast of Guatemala. Over the years, Mark has led numerous donor visits to Guatemala and strengthened the foundation giving program for the Namaste Foundation, which supports micro-entrepreneurial work of Mayan Indian women in the highlands.

Previously, Mark was the Senior Representative for MAP International (Medical Assistance Programs, the 37th largest charity in the U.S.), for over 10 years. Mark has held senior development positions with World Neighbors, Food for the Hungry, MAP International, Make A Wish Foundation International and was the CEO of Hagar USA, which supports survivors of human trafficking.

He holds a master’s degree in economics and rural sociology from the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in history and sociology from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado. He is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Institute co-hosted by AFP and the Center of Philanthropy at the University of Indiana.

A third of his memoir, Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond takes place in Guatemala and was recognized by the Arizona Literary Association for Non-Fiction. More than 20 of his articles were published in literary journals ranging from Ragazine, Literary Yard, Literary Travelers, Quail Bell, WorldView and Revue Magazines.   His reviews can also be found on the Midwest Review Book Shelf and GoodReads.  “Hugs not Walls, Returning the Children” was an essay winner for the “Arizona Authors Association” 2020 Annual Literary Awards competition. An article from his “Yin & Yang of Travel” series was recognized in the Solas Literary Awards for Best Travel Writing hosted by Traveler’s Tales.

Walker is a producer of a documentary, which was the focus of a feature article in the February 2020 issue of Revue Magazine.  “A Documentary Film Production, Guatemala: Trouble in the Highlands.” He founded Million Mile Walker LLC. His honors include the “Service Above Self” award from Rotary International and his wife and three children were born in Guatemala.

Jeanne Lewis

A globally active humanitarian, Jeanne Lewis is passionately committed to numerous philanthropic causes. A short list of the organizations she is involved with include: Board of Governors with Opportunity International; Board of Chicumbuso in Lusaka, Zambia offering AIDS programs and a children’s orphanage; Community Board Member with Project C.U.R.E. providing medical relief to needy people in more than 120 countries; Fundraiser for Mercy Child orphanage in Kenya; Scholarship creator for Refugee Women in Phoenix, AZ; Engaged with COAR, an Arizona State University organization that provides scholarships for refugee students graduating from Phoenix area High Schools.

An active member of Scottsdale Bible Church, Jeanne has been an Advance Guatemala Board Member since 2008 and is proud of the role the organization plays in providing a helping hand in the areas of healthcare, education, housing, and entrepreneurship to impoverished Guatemalans.

Carmen Margie

Carmen Margie has been serving others her entire career. Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Carmen spent her professional time supporting various vice presidents and executives at numerous financial institutions.

Carmen relocated to Phoenix, Arizona in 2010 and began her career at Vantage Retirement Plans, LLC as the Executive Assistant to the Founder and CEO, J.P. Dahdah. Over the years, her role evolved, and she now serves as a member of the leadership team as the Chief of Staff. During her tenure, one of her primary responsibilities were coordinating the volunteer opportunities for the team at Vantage. Through her coordination, Vantage partnered with organizations such as St. Mary’s Food Bank, Feed My Starving Children, Arizona Helping Hands, and Child Crisis Arizona to give back to the local community.

Carmen wholeheartedly embraced the servant culture Vantage provided, and it opened the door to her involvement in Advance Guatemala. Her commitment to AG’s cause was solidified after attending the 2015 donor trip. She has since returned to Guatemala in 2018 as part of the bottle school project. Carmen joined the board of Advance Guatemala as the Secretary in 2020.

Guatemala Needs You.

We have the charities, the projects and the people ready to go. Now, we need your support. Together, we can build a better tomorrow for this remarkable country.