Our Team

Meet the BESI Team! 

John Sklenar-Founder/Board Member

John graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 1974, with honors, in Accounting and Business. He worked for a large CPA firm until 1978 and then set up his own CPA firm in western Iowa. He started a financial planning firm in the 80’s. John is married to Virlee and together they have two children, Nick & Josie.  After a trip to Africa, John started a 501(C)(3) organization to help orphans in Malawi, one of the poorest countries. Specifically, 222 children at the El-Shaddaih Orphanage in Salima, Malawi. Our goal is to make sure these 222 homeless children are fed, clothed, educated, doctored and off the streets, and that they become Christians and productive members of society. John serves as an elder at his local church and enjoys spending time with his 4 grandchildren.


Josie Ehlers-Board Member

Josie is the younger of two children to BESI founders, John and Virlee Sklenar.  She and her husband Cody have a son named Cooper and she is a part-time independent hair stylist in Stillwater, Oklahoma where she and her family live.  Josie joined the BESI team shortly after her dad’s return from his first visit to Malawi. After hearing his passion and determination to do everything in his power to break the cycle of poverty in these children’s lives, she decided to bring whatever she could offer to the table.  Josie contributes in such ways as organizing team meetings, creating website and social media content and communicating financial needs between The El-Shaddaih Orphanage and BESI’s donors.


Dr. Kelli Wallace-Board Member

Kelli grew up on my family farm in Iowa, youngest of 3 girls. She spent a lot of time at the Mayo Clinic when she was very young as her mom had breast cancer. It was at that time Kelli knew she wanted to be a doctor. Kelli went to medical school and did her residency in Family Medicine. Taking care of people from birth to the end of life. Kelli’s husband is also a family medicine doctor. Together, they have 3 children, Claire, Max and Ellie. Kelli states, “We lost Claire to cancer August 7, 2017. Our hearts will never be the same, but it has strengthened my commitment to taking care of people who are most vulnerable. I became acquainted with John and Virlee Sklenar in June 2021. I immediately fell in love with the idea of having a long-term relationship with a mission, not just spending a few weeks every year in different places. It has been a gift to me to be part of BESI.”


Jacky Sklenar-Social Media Manager

Jacky is John (BESI Founder)’s daughter-in-law.  She is married to Nick and together they have 3 children: Jackson, Nolan & Lena.  Jacky’s heart for orphans was cultivated when she and her husband became foster parents, 10 years ago.  Through foster care, they were able to adopt their daughter, Lena.  Jacky graduated from Buena Vista University in 2002 with a degree in Corporate Communications and a minor in Marketing.  At BESI, she is responsible for all things social media. Jacky manages the BESI website, Instagram account & Facebook page.


BESI Support Team

Virlee Sklenar

Nick Sklenar

Cody Ehlers


Join us in helping El-Shaddaih Orphanage. Your gift will have a huge impact on the over 100 children who live there. To find out how you can make a difference, visit our "Get Involved" tab or send an inquiry on our Contact page.