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Meet the Commonwealth Funds Board of Trustees

The Commonwealth International Series Trust Board of Trustees oversees the operation of the Commonwealth Funds and ensures that corporate policies are followed. The Board of Trustees has been elected to represent the interests of shareholders of the Commonwealth Funds.

The Board of Trustees is majorly composed of independent directors, which allows them to provide an objective check on management. Three of the four Trustees are independent or not interested persons‚ meaning they have no significant relationship with the Commonwealth Funds advisor or underwriter.

Jack Ewing

Jack is an adjunct Professor of Economics at the University of Houston, Houston Community College and North Harris College. He is also the former Executive Director of the Japan-America Society of Houston.

Jack has been actively involved in the Houston international business scene through trade consulting with Houston International Affairs and as President of Vuepoint-Texas, a pioneering computer-based training company. He was one of the early developers of The Greater Houston Partnership where he was responsible for international trade development. Jack managed inbound and outbound trade missions, promoting trade development strategy and infrastructure, and assisting Houston companies expand imports and exports.

Prior to joining the Greater Houston Partnership, he founded and managed his own trading company after a seventeen-year career with Gulf Oil Corporation and Chevron. There he held a variety of positions with Gulf Oil Asia, Corporate Business Development, and Gulf Oil Trading Company, where he headed the company’s Strategic Planning and Business Development Department. Jack was also a professor at the University of Maryland’s Far East Division in Japan where he taught in the Political Science and Economics Departments. He has also served in a variety of positions in the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Information Agency, and the U.S. Senate. He holds a Master’s in International Affairs from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History from the University of Mississippi.

John Akard

John is a solo practice Attorney-C.P.A. who is “of counsel” to the law firm of Mason, Coplen, & Banks, P.C. He is licensed by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, admitted to practice by the State Bar of Texas, United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

After receiving his B.B.A. in Accounting from Texas A & M University in 1988, John worked as a senior staff auditor with Arthur Andersen & Co. While there, his clients included SEC regulated, publicly traded companies and small start-up businesses primarily in the telecommunications, regulated utilities and high-tech industries. He subsequently received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Texas Tech University.

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John is a member of the State Bar of Texas and its Bankruptcy and Real Estate, Probate & Trust Sections, the Houston Bar Association (“HBA”), and its Estate Planning and Probate and Bankruptcy Sections, the American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants (“AAA-CPA”), the Houston Estate and Financial Forum, the Texas Society of CPAs and the Houston Sigma Chi Alumni Chapter. He currently serves as Treasurer and Director of the AAA-CPA and is Treasurer for St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Cypress, Texas. John also previously served as President of the Texas Chapter and Director at Large for AAA-CPA, President and Treasurer of the Aggie Sigma Chi House Corporation (a non-profit corporation), Chair of the HBA Law Library Committee and President of the Dallas Sigma Chi Alumni Chapter.

Kathleen Kelly

Kathleen founded International Protocol Advisors in 1993 to assist corporations in establishing and maintaining a positive working relationship with foreign government officials. Drawing on a unique background of political risk analysis and protocol, Kathleen handles the nuts and bolts of these interactions through a variety of services from market intelligence and positioning to briefing papers and organizing visits of senior (ambassador level and higher) foreign government leaders to training and protocol. Clients include international energy companies, business organizations and not-for-profit organizations specializing in international development.

Before forming her company, Kathleen headed the Houston International Protocol Alliance where she acted as Chief of Protocol for the City of Houston for more than five years. She created a Consular Task Force in 1992 to systematically encourage consular representation in Houston. During her tenure there, Kathleen played an active role in the organization of the G-7 meeting in Houston, the Republican National Convention in Houston and the visit of such important dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth II, and heads of state and government from more than 50 countries.

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Prior to joining the Protocol Alliance, Kathleen acquired a strong background in international business relations through her work at Business International Corporation, an international business publishing, consulting and training firm. She then worked for United Energy Resources doing risk analysis for their European investments and as Manager of Special Projects International for their UK subsidiary. Later, she formed Interisk, Inc., to develop country risk analyses for clients with interests in oil producing countries.

Kathleen serves as Honorary Consul for New Zealand in Houston, appointed by The Honorable James Bolger, Prime Minister of New Zealand in 1995. She is also active in the community and serves on a number of boards including the Houston Committee on Foreign Relations, the Houston World Affairs Council, Theotokos and the Bolivian Charity Foundation. She is a past secretary and member of the Executive Committee of the Consular Corps of Houston. Kathleen is the first (and to date only) woman to have served as chair of the Houston Committee on Foreign Relations. She is also a member of the Business Council for International Understanding.

Kathleen has received a number of professional recognitions over the years for her work. Among them, she was has been presented with special certificates of merit from the government of Bolivia, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, U.S. Secret Service and several special merit awards for her work at Amoco. She has lectured widely and has been a guest on a number of television programs. She has also been featured in a number of articles in newspapers (Houston Chronicle, Houston Business Journal) and magazines (Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, Greater Houston Partnership At Work). She appears in the 2001 edition of Who’s Who in the World.

Kathleen previously served on the Institutional Review Board of Park Plaza Hospital and is active in the annual Edward W. Dennis, M.D. Lecture Series in Cardiology at Baylor. She holds a BA in History and European Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She also studied at the University de Strasbourg, France.

Robert W. Scharar

Robert is the Senior Portfolio Manager of Commonwealth’s Australia/New Zealand, Japan, Global and Real Estate Securities Funds. Mr. Scharar is President and Director of FCA Corp, based in Houston, Texas, and has primarily worked in this capacity during the past several years.

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Robert earned a Masters of Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate from Northeastern University, a LLM (masters of law) in Taxation from Boston University, and a Bachelor of Science Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Florida. Previously, he has served as an accounting professor at Bentley and Nichols Colleges.

Robert is a member of the Florida and Massachusetts Bars; and is a Certified Public Accountant (Florida). He is a Director and past President of the American Association of Attorney-CPAs. He is a Director of Blantyre Hotels Corp., NICO Holdings Corp., and a Manager/Director and/or Officer of Vintech Investors LLC, Africap LLC, FCA Investments Co., First Commonwealth Holdings Corp., First Commonwealth Mortgage Trust, Holly Mortgage Trust, Ivy Realty Trust, Scottsdale Canal Project LLC, Heights of Tampa, LLC, and other closely held FCA advised entities and non-FCA related entities.