Global Volunteers Board of Directors

Bud Philbrook, JD <br />St. Paul, MN

Bud Philbrook, JD
St. Paul, MN

Co-founder, Chairman, President and CEO

Bud directs the organization‘s internal and external business and is Chairman of the Board. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs, and a Juris Doctor (Law). He has served as Deputy Undersecretary for USDA, as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Assistant Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, a government affairs consultant for Rural Ventures Corporation, and was in private law practice for 12 years. Bud has led dozens of Global Volunteers teams over 30 years.

Michele Gran <br />St. Paul, MN

Michele Gran
St. Paul, MN

Co-founder, Trustee, Senior Vice President

Michele manages the organization‘s marketing strategy and external messages. She earned a Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies/International Communications and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. Before joining the staff in 1990, she worked as a public relations consultant, and held communications manager positions at various departments in Minnesota State Government, and in non-profit organizations. Michele also has led over 50 Global Volunteers teams.

Sam Hanson, JD <br />Minneapolis, MN

Sam Hanson, JD
Minneapolis, MN

Trustee

Sam is a shareholder in the firm of Briggs and Morgan, Professional Association, and a member of the firm‘s board of directors. After serving on the Minnesota Court of Appeals for two years and the Minnesota Supreme Court for five years, he rejoined Briggs™ Business Litigation Section and Energy Law Group, and is a member of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group. He is a former litigation section head and firm president. Sam practices principally in the areas of arbitration and mediation, complex civil litigation, appellate law and public utility regulation.

Sue Laxdal <br />Hilton Head Island, SC

Sue Laxdal
Hilton Head Island, SC

Trustee

Sue consults with corporations, governments and non-profits in participatory approaches to organization development, operational planning, transition management, management development and organization analysis. She earned a Bachelor‘s Degree in Business Administration and an Masters in Organization Development at Pepperdine University. Sue is a founding member of Minnesota Worldwide Women, Minnesota Facilitator’s Network (MFN), International Association of Facilitators (IAF) and MSOD Alumni Network. Sue has been a volunteer or team leader on more than a dozen Global Volunteers programs.

Todd Lefko <br />Elk River, MN

Todd Lefko
Elk River, MN

Trustee

Todd is President of International Business Development Company, an import-export firm, and writes for Rossiske Vesti, a Russian political newspaper and offers commentary for Rusya-Al Youm, the Russian Arabic Television channel for the Middle East. He has taught urban affairs, political science, international relations, political philosophy, political campaign management, leadership, organizational development and public administration and sociology at the university level, and has lectured at universities in Russia, China, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Todd has led and participated on Global Volunteers Service Programs in Jamaica and the USA.

Keith Kresge <br />Los Angeles, CA

Keith Kresge
Los Angeles, CA

Director

Keith is an attorney currently working as a part-time Administrative Hearing Officer for the City of Santa Monica, California. He retired in 2010 from full-time work with the City after 25 years with it’s Rent Control Board. He received a Bachelor’s degree in political science at SUNY College at Buffalo and completed law school in Fullerton, California. Keith began his association with Global Volunteers in 1998 as a volunteer on a team in Puglia, Italy. Since then he has participated in 15 other Global Volunteer programs all over the world, most of them with his partner of 25 years, Timothy Cunniff.

Dean LaFrenz <br />Brooklyn Park, MN

Dean LaFrenz
Brooklyn Park, MN

Director

Dean is a retired secondary school administrator of 35 years who received his Bachelor‘s and Master’s Degrees from the University of Minneosta, and his Education Special Degree from the University of St. Thomas. He is an avid community volunteer through his church, a local low income housing organization and in the community mediation program. Dean has traveled to over 50 countries, served in the Peace Corps (65-67), and served on four Global Volunteer Programs with his wife, Carol, of 49 years.

Dr. Carol Conzelman <br />Boulder, CO

Dr. Carol Conzelman
Boulder, CO

Director

Carol is a cultural anthropologist at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she is the Associate Director for the Global Studies Academic Program and Faculty-in-Residence for the Sustainability and Social Innovation Academic Program. She conducts ethnographic research and directs a summer Study Abroad program in the Yungas of Bolivia, and teaches courses on Latin America, globalization, democracy, development, drug policy, immigration, and community engagement. Carol first volunteered with Global Volunteers in Costa Rica in 1994, and she completed her first Volunteer Team Leader Training the next year in McAllen, TX. She has been a Volunteer Team Leader since 1995 in Jamaica, Ecuador, Italy, Tanzania, Ireland, and Cuba.

Denise Miller <br />Silver Spring, MD

Denise Miller
Silver Spring, MD

Director

Denise is a Marketing Director at CEB, a best practice insight and technology company. Denise’s professional background includes over 20 years of high-tech marketing experience, including positions at Red Hat, Adobe and AOL. Her roles have been focused around lead generation and new product launches for software, hardware, and mobile games. In addition, she worked as a Quality Assurance Engineer at AOL, before returning to marketing. Denise has been a supporter of Global Volunteers for many years, joining the Cook Islands Program in 2005, and St. Lucia in 2015. Denise served on the Board of Directors as Treasurer for the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra 2011-2014, and volunteers regularly with Habitat for Humanity.

Joseph Dunn <br />Palm Springs, CA

Joseph Dunn
Palm Springs, CA

Director

Joe has over 30 years of senior healthcare experience as a Psychologist and in executive administration. He most recently has worked for Tenet Healthcare in both Corporate Compliance and Education. He holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a Masters and PH.D in clinical psychology, with an emphasis in pediatric psychology, from the University of Kansas. Joe’s international volunteer work with Global Volunteers and Habitat for Humanity has taken him to Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Ghana, Malawi, Mongolia, Romania, Senegal and Tanzania.

Peter Neiman <br />Harrison, NY

Peter Neiman
Harrison, NY

Director

Peter has spent over 30 years in Marketing and Advertising positions. Most recently, he was the Vice President of Brand and Advertising for the Unum Group, A Fortune 500 insurance company. Before that, Peter worked in a number of large Madison Avenue ad agencies including Grey, Bozell, J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy. He is a graduate of Boston University’s School of Management.

Peter volunteered in Greece during the summer of 2014. He lives in suburban New York with his wife, two daughters and two Jack Russell terriers.

Evette Morrow <br />Newark, DE

Evette Morrow
Newark, DE

Director

Evette owns a real estate brokerage in Wilmington, Delaware specializing in real estate sales and property management and preservation. She also has over 20 years of management experience from the nations‘s largest financial institutions including Citibank and Bank of America. Evette holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and an MBA. She has traveled to all 7 continents and has volunteered for many worthy organizations over the years. As a Global Volunteers Board Member, Evette has combined her life passions of volunteerism and travel. She has joined teams to Ecuador, Tanzania and was on the first service program to Peru.

Pamela Griffen <br />Jacksonville, FL

Pamela Griffen
Jacksonville, FL

Director

Pamela is a highly experienced Organization Effectiveness Consultant focused on organization strategy and design, effective sourcing and selection, change management, succession planning and developing and implementing broad solutions to more effectively manage human capital. She currently is a Director at SSA & Company. She began her career in IT consulting at Cap Gemini, and then transitioned to Management Consulting in 2003. Pamela enjoys travel and has visited many cities across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Tanzania, Mexico and the Caribbean for both business and personal adventures. Pamela’s favorite vacations are those spent with Global Volunteers visiting the village of Ipalamwa Tanzania in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the village of Pommern Tanzania in 2012 and the St Lucia program in 2014

Loren Sunell <br />Kingstowne, VA

Loren Sunell
Kingstowne, VA

Director

Loren has a long career in federal government. She currently is Chief of the Policy, Analysis and Oversight Division in the United State Patent Office. She previously worked for the Department of Homeland Security, The Coastguard office of Procurement,The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. She earned a Master of Arts Degree in Humanities from American Military University, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Information Systems Management from  University of Maryland where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Loren volunteered recently with Global Volunteers in both Cuba and St. Lucia.

Global Volunteers USA Staff

Dorota Wierzbicka

Dorota Wierzbicka

Director of International Operations & Poland Country Manager

Dorota manages operations and preparations for service programs led by our Country Managers worldwide. For five years, Dorota volunteered as an an interpreter for Global Volunteers‘ Poland teams. In 2000, she joined the staff full-time as Poland Country Manager, and in 2007, was promoted to Associate Director of Operations. She was promoted to her current position in 2011 and continues to lead teams to Poland as well as to other countries as needed. She has a Master’s Degree in English language linguistics and a degree in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Dorota was named Staff Person of the Year in 2001 and 2004, and Staff Person of the Decade in 2010.

Andrew Philbrook

Andrew Philbrook

Associate Director of International Operations

Andrew manages operations, program logistics, host communications, team formation and volunteer information for service programs in St. Lucia, Cuba, Italy, Portugal and the United States, coordinates Global Volunteer’s Earth Box support worldwide, and leads volunteer teams when needed. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Intercultural Communications from the University of Minnesota, and has served in Cuba, St. Lucia, China, Jamaica, Poland, Mississippi, West Virginia, and the Blackfeet and Crow Indian Reservations in Montana with Global Volunteers.

Peter Kelley

Peter Kelley

Manager of International Operations

Peter prepares volunteers for our service programs by responding to their questions, managing volunteer preparation staff and procedures, and monitoring program functions and evaluations.He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from American University. Before joining Global Volunteers, Peter worked as Director of Interactive Media for The Nancekivell Group, Intranet Manager for Faegre & Benson, LLP, and International Product Manager/Field Communications Specialist for Realty Interactive, Inc. Most recently, Peter dedicated his time to writing and publishing his three novels. He has lived and worked abroad in the Netherlands and in the UK, and served with his family on Global Volunteers’ Cuba Service Program in March 2016.

Heidi Richter

Heidi Richter

Volunteer Coordination Department Manager

Heidi heads up our assistance to prospective volunteers and supports the volunteer coordination staff. Before joining Global Volunteers, Heidi worked in sales, marketing, and relationship management for a not-for-profit in the health and safety education arena. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of North Dakota.

Julie Costa

Julie Costa

Volunteer Manager

Since 1994, Julie has responded to prospective and Encore volunteer requests, questions and recommendations, and monitored service program developments. She shares her extensive history with Global Volunteers through recommendations on strategic direction and volunteer relations. Julie has a Bachelor‘s Degree in Media Communications and Marketing, and has worked in specialized reporting, writing, event coordination and public relations positions. She’s served on 18 service programs worldwide, and was named Staff Person of the Year in 2010.

Diane Fredricksen

Diane Fredricksen

Volunteer Manager

Diane manages all aspects of the daily activities of and motivates Global Volunteers’ outstanding team of volunteer coordinators. Before joining the staff in 1997, she held executive and management positions in the resort and hospitality industries in Florida and Mississippi. Diane has led 14 teams to Tanzania, India, Vietnam, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Montana, Ghana, South Africa, Greece and Brazil.

Michelle Holker

Michelle Holker

Senior Volunteer Coordinator

Michelle counsels volunteers to select service programs that match their skills and interests. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Marketing and International Business and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin. She studied in Spain and Mexico, and has travelled widely in Europe and Latin America. She has led Global Volunteers teams in Ecuador, St. Lucia and also led a Cuba NOW! People-to-People group. She lives and works in Argentina.

Vicki Kappus

Vicki Kappus

Senior Volunteer Coordinator

Vicki counsels volunteers to select service programs which match their skills and interest. Before joining Global Volunteers, Vicki worked in wholesale and retail sales and was a gourmet food broker for almost 30 years. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Family Resources and Consumer Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and has traveled worldwide: to countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America.

Erin Mihm

Erin Mihm

Volunteer Coordinator

Erin counsels volunteers to select service programs which match their skills and interest. Before joining Global Volunteers, she worked in customer service for a Colorado rafting company. Erin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Parks and Recreation Management and a Masters Degree in Tourism Management.

Erin has traveled internationally to Scotland and Canada, and hopes to include her husband and daughter in her future journeys.

Jenny Quach

Jenny Quach

Volunteer Coordinator

Jenny counsels volunteers to select service programs which match their skills and interest. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Global Studies and has a background in "beyond the classroom" learning where she inspired students to utilize their Chinese language in their educational, personal and career goals.

Jenny has traveled to China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, and Canada. She was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the USA as a child. She’s passionate about experiencing world cultures, and inspiring others to engage in a supportive and bonding environment.

Elise Kendall

Elise Kendall

Volunteer Coordinator

Elise counsels volunteers to select service programs which match their skills and interest. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Global Resource Systems and Environmental Studies from the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Before joining Global Volunteers, Elise was co-founder of a corporation providing mobile solar dehydrators to subsistence farmers to decrease post-harvest loss and increase local communities’ incomes.

Elise was an intern in Kamuli, Uganda and in Pokhara, Nepal on sanitation projects and evaluating agricultural improvements. She has experience networking with various global organizations and coordinating service trips for mission-driven organizations. She’s also traveled in Africa, Portugal, Thailand and China.

Kayla Ruplinger

Kayla Ruplinger

Volunteer Coordinator

Kayla counsels volunteers to choose the best programs to suit their interests and skills. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Spanish with a Business Administration Minor from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. She also studied at the University of Valladolid, Spain.

She’s completed extensive leadership training, earned TEFL/TESOL certification, and has worked with diverse groups to facilitate orientations in Spanish and English.

Before joining Global volunteers, Kayla worked in Antigua, Guatemala as a student teacher where she taught vocabulary, grammar and phonology, and created logically sequenced lesson plans in Spanish.

Agatha Wagoner

Agatha Wagoner

Volunteer Coordinator

Agatha counsels volunteers to choose the best programs to suit their interests and skills. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media and African Studies,with a minor in History from Juniata College.

She most recently was a Field Organizer with BaseBuilder, LLC, canvassing and fundraising with Friends of the Earth Action and Alliance for a Better Minnesota.

Agatha has traveled, worked and volunteered in Spain, Germany, Holland, the UK, Gambia, Senegal, Uganda, Morocco, Rwanda, and Cuba. She’s fluent in French.

Linda Schlapp

Linda Schlapp

LGBT Program Director

Linda develops outreach strategies to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities for our service programs. She started her Global Volunteers career as a volunteer in Vietnam, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Tanzania and Mississippi. She later became the first Country Manager in China. Following her role in China, Linda became the Director of New Program Development, and helped start programs in the Cook Islands, Ghana, Greece, India, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Romania. Linda has lead over 30 teams for Global Volunteers and has traveled to 40 countries around the world.

Patty Carlson

Patty Carlson

Volunteer Relations Manager

Patty recognizes and engages alumni volunteers through projects to sustain their support for Global Volunteers and our partner communities. She reviews service program photos and maintains our image library, and blogs about volunteer‘s experiences on site. Patty has a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts, a professional background in real estate sales and marketing, and has been a volunteer and board member for local non-profit organizations. She’s traveled internationally as a volunteer on Global Volunteer’s St. Lucia service program.

Dana Faust

Dana Faust

Volunteer Engagement Manager

Dana engages Global Volunteers’ Encore volunteers in social media, personal presentations, special projects, and helps develop visual content strategies and video campaigns for online marketing. With a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and nutrition, and fluency in Spanish and Swahili, Dana is well-versed in inter-cultural affairs. She loves international travel and learning, and has served with Global Volunteers in Chennai, India and Anse la Raye, St. Lucia.

Daniel Salazar

Daniel Salazar

Social Media Coordinator and Peru Country Manager

Daniel has lived most of his life in Peru, but also spent significant time in the US. He earned his BA in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from The King’s College in New York and worked as an intern at the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. He has managed many groups and individuals in a variety of settings and has engaged volunteers on community development projects. He’s deeply committed to the development process. Before joining Global Volunteers, Daniel was a professor at Universidad SEL in Lima.

Jack Bryan

Jack Bryan

Digital Media Intern

Jack produces video content for Global Volunteers’ social media and website. He has an education in Digital Media Arts, Communication Studies and Public Relations from Hamline University, where he currently is a student.

Bella Dilorenzo

Bella Dilorenzo

Social Media Intern

Bella engages Global Volunteers’ alumni and prospective volunteers on social media – focusing on outreach and awareness building for Global Volunteers. Bella earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Hamline University, has an internship background in social media and marketing, and has volunteered for a variety of local and domestic non-profit organizations.

Rachel Dyer

Rachel Dyer

Accountant

Rachel manages our accounting processes, works with our auditor, and ensures that program budgets and expenses are properly recorded. Rachel worked in cash and accrual accounting in the private sector before joining Global Volunteers. She has both an MBA in accounting and a Master’s Degree in accounting and financial management. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Washington.

Sherry Allenspach

Sherry Allenspach

Office and HR Manager

Sherry responds to incoming communications, directs registrations and information requests, manages office logistics and building maintenance, manages routine employment requirements and reporting, and submits required non-profit state registrations nationwide. With more than 20 years of human resources, payroll, accounting and general administrative experience with Boston Health Care Systems, the National Marrow Donor Program/BeTheMatch and on the Maplewood City Council, Sherry is uniquely qualified to oversee the needs of staff in our busy home office!

Adam Kruczek

Adam Kruczek

IT Manager

Adam is responsible for web development and management, media design, and in-house video production. Adam also serves as on-site IT systems support for our local offices. Adam has spent over a decade working in technical support and systems management in the print media world. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in 2006, he began to become more involved with web and visual media, focusing primarily in web development.

Jake Philbrook

Jake Philbrook

Sales IT Manager

Jake oversees the development, expansion and maintenance of our corporate database, and responds to technology needs across Global Volunteers‘ staff locations worldwide. Focusing on network functions and security, Jake is responsible for maintaining the day-to-day operation of Global Volunteer’s vital information systems and upgrading staff IT equipment. Jake is finishing a degree in Business, and has served on Global Volunteers teams in Costa Rica, China, Jamaica and Russia.

Laura Hughes

Laura Hughes

Accounting Clerk

Laura reviews and processes volunteer service program payments. She has 11 years of accounting experience working in banking, reconciling accounts, running checks and data entry. Before joining Global Volunteers, she worked for 12 years in education. Laura earned an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Accounting from Century College in Minnesota.

Kathy Klietz

Kathy Klietz

Receptionist/Office Assistant

Kathy responds to phone and email requests, and helps with administrative tasks 15 hours a week. She gained extensive experience in office coordination, data management and international education and service as International Programs Coordinator for Augsburg College and as an administrative assistant with the St. Paul Public School District.

Global Volunteers International Staff

Bao Li Wang

Bao Li Wang

China Country Manager

"Bao Li" completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English at Northwestern University of Political Science & Law in Xi’an in July 2001. She was a local Chinese volunteer with our program and was hired by the Sino American Society as its representative in July 2001. She has worked with every team of volunteers since that time. In May 2005, Bao Li was hired as the Assistant China Country Manager, and was promoted to Country Manager in 2009.

James Puati

James Puati

Cook Islands Country Manager

James is a New Zealand-born Cook Islander, and leads Global Volunteers service programs year around. He has worked at both elementary and high school levels as a Physical Education teacher and teacher of Maori. He has also contracted to the New Zealand Ministry of Education to develop Maori resources, and as a Pacific Island Education Advisor.

Debi Futter-Puati

Debi Futter-Puati

Cook Islands Country Manager

Debi was born and raised in New Zealand and moved to the Cook Islands with her family in 2002 so their children would be exposed to their Cook Islands heritage. Before joining Global Volunteers staff, she worked for the Cook Islands Ministry of Education as the Health and Physical Well-being curriculum developer. She is a health and physical education lecturer for the University of Waikato, and is currently completing her doctorate on youth sexuality.

Stephanie Caro

Stephanie Caro

Cuba Country Manager and Volunteer Preparations Coordinator

Stephanie began leading our Cuba service programs in 2016. She has successfully combined her passion for International travel with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from Drexel University. Stephanie has initiated, marketed and raised funds for international service partnerships. As an American with Colombian heritage, she has traveled to Guatemala and organized trips for family and friends to offer service in Colombia and South Africa. Before she joined Global Volunteers, she worked as Marketing Director for Style Saves, a non-profit organization, and as an Account Executive for LGD Communications, both in Miami.

Maggie Bjorklund

Maggie Bjorklund

Ecuador and Costa Rica Country Manager and Recruiting Communications Manager

Maggie manages our service programs in Ecuador and Costa Rica and manages communications for our volunteer coordination team. Maggie earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Global Studies and Spanish from the University of Minnesota, for which she studied development in Costa Rica and Ecuador. A native of Minnesota, Maggie has resided in Quito, Ecuador since her college years. Before joining the Global Volunteers staff, Maggie worked as an English teacher and translator in Ecuador.

Samantha Pinakoulaki

Samantha Pinakoulaki

Greece Country Manager

Samantha was born and brought up in the south of England and graduated from a London school of performing arts with honors.She spent 10 years traveling the world with various dance groups. Her last group took her to Crete in Greece, where she met her husband of 16 years. They now have five children. Samantha volunteers to help mentally and physically handicapped children in her hometown.

Stephen Raja Chinnappan

Stephen Raja Chinnappan

India Country Manager

Stephen was born and raised in Bangalore, and now lives near Chennai in the suburb of Porur. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in commerce, and before becoming Country Manager, he served as our on-site consultant in India for almost a year. Stephen owns a tour business in Chennai, which he runs when teams are not on-site.

Sheeba Thankappan

Sheeba Thankappan

India Program Assistant

When Sheeba married India Country Manager Stephen Raja Chinnappan, Global Volunteers gained a nurturing and intelligent cultural consultant. Like a "first lady" to an American president, Sheeba cheerfully took on many coordination tasks and made our volunteers feel at home in Chennai. In 2008, we formally hired her as our Program Assistant. Sheeba has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History, and a nursing diploma.

Barnabas Anthonysamy

Barnabas Anthonysamy

India Program Security Guard

Barnabas ensures the safety and comfort of Global Volunteers‘ teams at our guest house in Chennai, India. Before joining the India staff in 2004, Barnabas worked as a security guard at Ramachandra hospital in Chennai. As is customary in his country, he uses his father’s name, not his formal name, as his common name.

Rani Selvarani

Rani Selvarani

India Program Cook

Rani prepares nutritious and flavorful traditional meals for volunteers at Global Volunteers’ guest house in Chennai. After lovingly cooking for her family of origin, and later her husband and children for over 30 years, in 2003, at the time she was widowed, Rani accepted a staff position with Global Volunteers.

Maria Moreno

Maria Moreno

Peru Country Manager

Maru is an International Affairs Major from the American University of Paris, France. She has lived in eight different countries and speaks four languages. She is half Peruvian and half Venezuelan. She completed her internships with UN Geneva and the UN Refugee Agency. Prior to joining Global Volunteers, she worked for more than 10 years as an ESL teacher. Her biggest passion is helping others and taking care of her 10 y/o daughter.

Chemida Popo-Cox

Chemida Popo-Cox

St. Lucia Country Manager and Volunteer Preparations Coordinator

Chemida handles the day-to-day logistics and volunteer management of The St. Lucia Project. Formerly teacher and acting principal at Anse la Raye Primary School, Chemida has lent support to volunteer teams since Global Volunteers’ partnership in Anse la Raye began in 2012. Born and raised in St. Lucia, Chemida has dedicated over 20 years to educating the children of Anse la Raye. She received her associate degree in Teacher Education and Education Administration from Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in St. Lucia. In 2011, she graduated magna cum laude from New York City College of Technology, with a Bachelor’s degree in Teachers Technology Education.

Mihaela Cirjontu

Mihaela Cirjontu

Romania Country Manager

Mihaela began working for Global Volunteers as a consultant in 1989. In 2000, she joined the staff full-time as the Romania country manager. A former teacher, Mihaela earned her degree in Bucharest, studying Romanian and world literature. A native Romanian, Mihaela and Dan married in 2004, and work together while raising their daughter, Dahlia. She was named Staff Person of the Year in 2006.

Dan Cirjontu

Dan Cirjontu

Romania Country Manager

Barladian by birth, Dan grew up in the same city and went to school there. He assists Mihaela with her photography and Internet needs, and with the children at the Tutova Clinic. Dan worked as a metrologist for 17 years at the Ballbearing factory in Barlad, one of the fewest of the kind in Romania, and of the biggest in Eastern Europe. He is currently studying to become a social worker.

Coca Petcu

Coca Petcu

Romania Nurse Aide

Constanta (Coca) Petcu joined Global Volunteers in 2007 to provide continuity of care for the children we serve. She has lived all her life in Tutova, near Barlad. Coca nurtures the special needs children at Barlad‘s municipal hospital in between service programs and works with volunteers throughout the year. An exemplary caregiver, she’s always patient, smiling and kind - loving the children like her own.

Schinell Gonzague

Schinell Gonzague

St Lucia RCP Caregiver

Schinell is a mother and RCP Caregiver in Anse la Raye, St. Lucia. She earned a certificate in Early Childhood Education from the University of the West Indies, and worked for 9 years at Kids‘ Step Early Childhood Development Center and the Paddinton Fun House. She worked for the international Roving Caregivers Program for 8 years before joining Global Volunteers’ staff in 2012. She’s the secretary for the board of the Foundations Sports and Cultural Club, and a floor representative for the Anse-La-Raye Youth and Sports Council.

Abna (Roselia) Stephen

Abna (Roselia) Stephen

St Lucia RCP Caregiver

Abna is a mother and RCP Caregiver in Anse la Raye, St. Lucia. She‘s earned a certificate from the University of the West Indies for completing their Early Childhood Education course. In 2006, she completed training in the international Roving Caregivers Program, and began working for that program in 2007. In the previous five years, she worked for Kids’ Step Early Childhood Development Center in Anse la Raye. She joined Global Volunteers’ staff in 2012.

Danielle Mederick-Francis

Danielle Mederick-Francis

St Lucia RCP Caregiver

Danielle is a mother and RCP Caregiver in Anse la Raye, St. Lucia. She‘s an advocate with the Anse la Raye Anti-Domestic Violence and Advocacy Group, and is currently earning her Early Childhood Development certificate from the University of the West Indies. She worked for the international Roving Caregivers Program for 8 years before joining Global Volunteers’ staff in 2012.

Shana Jules

Shana Jules

St Lucia RCP Caregiver

Shana is a mother and RCP Caregiver in Anse la Raye, St. Lucia. In 2006, she completed training in the international Roving Caregivers Program, and began working for that program in 2007. She‘s studied Early Childhood Education at the National Research and Development Foundation (N.R.D.F), and hopes to complete that course in 2016. She’s also studied Mathematics at the post-secondary level. She joined Global Volunteers’ staff in 2012.

Zarana Noeline Augustin

Zarana Noeline Augustin

St. Lucia Earthbox Coordinator

Zarana Noeline Augustin is an RCP mother, and helps coordinate our St. Lucia Earthbox Program. She trains mothers in the Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) program how to plant, harvest and maintain earthbox household gardens. Tessa routinely monitors the earthboxes’ produce, and collaborates with RCP families on improvements and upgrades. She also coaches the Anse la Raye under-17 girls’ netball team.

Natasha (Tessa) Donovon

Natasha (Tessa) Donovon

St. Lucia Earthbox Coordinator

Natasha (Tessa) Donovon is an RCP mother, and helps coordinate our St. Lucia Earthbox Program. She trains mothers in the Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) program how to plant, harvest and maintain earthbox household gardens. Tessa routinely monitors the earthboxes’ produce, and collaborates with RCP families on improvements and upgrades. She previously worked in hotel housekeeping.

Sue Beckwith

Sue Beckwith

St. Lucia Lodging Manager

Born and educated in the UK, Sue moved to St. Lucia in 2005, marrying her St. Lucian husband in 2010. She‘s part of the local community, serves as President of the local Vendors and Water Taxi association, and is well-known for her charity work in the local community. She previously managed the lodging we now lease as our "home base," and oversees the facilities and staff, ensuring volunteers’ safety and comfort, and introducing them to the St. Lucian culture.

Makarios Mdegella

Makarios Mdegella

Tanzania Country Manager

Makarios leads Global Volunteers‘ teams in Tanzania, and manages our relationship with community partners. Before becoming Global Volunteers’ Country Manager for Tanzania in July 2016, Makarios served for three years as a Lutheran Pastor in Iringa and two years as a youth representative for Lutheran World Federation. He was also a Research Director at the African Center for Peace and Conflict Research in Dar es Salaam. He earned his Master‘s Degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from the University of Bagamoyo in Dar es Salaam and Bachelor’s Degree from the Tumaini University Makumira in Arusha.

Mohamed Kassim

Mohamed Kassim

Tanzania Program Assistant

Before joining our staff, Mohamed was a guide at the State Travel Service, a park ranger at Ngorogoro Conservation Authority Area and a conservation education specialist. In 1996, he was hired as a driver for Global Volunteers teams, and became a program assistant in 2009. He completed training in Minnesota in 2009.

Global Volunteers Volunteer Staff

Lindsey Ball

Lindsey Ball

Volunteer Team Leader

Lindsey first served in 2005 on Global Volunteers‘ Peru Service Program while completing her Bachelor’s Degree in English at the University of New Mexico. After "instantly falling in love with her experience and Global Volunteers," she completed team leader training in 2006, and led her first team to Pelican Rapids, MN in 2007. She currently resides in Chicago, IL where she continues her growth in service working for an early childhood education non-profit organization.

Pam Cromer

Pam Cromer

Volunteer Team Leader

Pam first served on Global Volunteer’s Turkey Program in 1997, and followed the next year in China. She completed Global Volunteers Team Leader Training, and began leading teams in 2000. She has lead just under 50 teams to nearly all our partner communities. Pam earned a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work, and has been in private practice doing long-term psychotherapy for more than 40 years. She has served on boards for abused children, counseled patients with HIV, and participated in early research on death and dying. With all this, she says her " best job in the whole world is being a grandmother to my five grandchildren...ages 5 to 16."

Barb DeGroot

Barb DeGroot

Volunteer Team Leader

Barb worked for ten years as media relations manager for Global Volunteers and led teams in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Italy, South Africa, Vietnam and the United States. She has also served as a team member in Greece, Poland, Romania and China. A native Minnesotan, she received a Bachelor‘s Degree in Latin American Area Studies and, most recently, a Master’s Degree in strategic communications, both from the University of Minnesota. She recently retired from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum where she was a Public Relations Specialist.

Gail Emerson

Gail Emerson

Volunteer Team Leader

Gail first participated on a Global Volunteers Tanzania Service Program in 1990. "I was doing contract work at that time," she recalled. "I wanted to do something meaninful, and that program exceeded my expectations. She served on a Poland Service Program, completed Global Volunteers Team Leader Training, and has led more than 15 teams to Poland, India, Greece, Tanzania, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Montana, Hawaii and Oklahoma. Gail is a marketing and capital consultant and a Realtor in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Norman Baxter

Norman Baxter

Volunteer Team Leader

Norman has participated on Global Volunteers service programs in Russia, Vietnam and Cuba. Now retired, he worked 12 years as a banker/lender and 17 years on overseas technical assistance projects as a project manager, resident adviser, consultant, and trainer. During his consulting career, he organized and led numerous study tours in the US for foreign officials and students. He has been active in his local community as a volunteer his entire life. Currently, he is teaching financial literacy in local high schools, serving as an AARP Tax-Aide volunteer during tax season, and performing as treasurer of the local historical society.

Andrea Bishop

Andrea Bishop

Volunteer Team Leader

Andrea participated in her first Global Volunteers service program in Lima, Peru in 2007. Since then, she has volunteered in West Virginia and Cuba and completed Team Leader Training in 2015. After many years as a corporate attorney and in-house counsel for an international investment banking firm, Andrea now spends her time pursuing coursework in International Development, Impact Investing and Social Enterprise Management and leading volunteer teams around the world.

Karen Kast

Karen Kast

Volunteer Team Leader

"KK" has served on 10 Global Volunteers programs worldwide, and is looking forward to a future of leading many teams - making them "fun filled and exciting." She graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Children’s Drama. She currently is a part time manager of a popular Italian restaurant in Seattle. She also spends her time volunteering at a local animal shelter, sailboat racing, running and doing Pilates.

Julie Knudsen

Julie Knudsen

Volunteer Team Leader

Julie began leading Global Volunteers teams in 2007 after serving on two U.S. service programs. Since then, she‘s led teams in Montana, West Virginia, St. Lucia and Vietnam. Julie’s a licensed clinical social worker and currently works as the only social worker for a large urban PA school district. She is the mother of three daughters and enjoys traveling, the outdoors and yoga. She also serves as the Board President of her county’s Department of Behavioral Health/Developmental Disabilities, is a board member of the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project, and is a Youth Aid Panel Volunteer.

Dr. Carol Conzelman

Dr. Carol Conzelman

Volunteer Team Leader

After serving with Global Volunteers for the first time in Costa Rica in 1994, Carol was so impressed with the Philosophy of Service that she completed Team Leader Training the next summer. Since then, she has lead volunteer teams on service programs in Jamaica, Italy, Ecuador, Tanzania, and Ireland and Cuba. She also serves on the Global Volunteers Board of Directors. Carol teaches cultural anthropology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, serves as the Associate Director of the Global Studies Academic Program, and brings students to Bolivia each summer for a Study Abroad course.

Kristina Herman Hill

Kristina Herman Hill

Volunteer Team Leader

Kristina was a volunteer coordinator with Global Volunteers from 2002 to 2008. She was fortunate to participate on service programs in Minnesota, Ghana, Hungary, China, Poland, and Tanzania, and has led teams in Quito, Ecuador in 2010 and 2011, and a Cuba Now! program in 2013. Having taught English on many of these programs, she discovered a love of teaching, which led to her decision to pursue a new career as an English as a Second Language teacher. Kristina says she now has the “best of both worlds” because having her summers off as a teacher allows her to serve as a Volunteer Team Leader.

Amy Keegan

Amy Keegan

Volunteer Team Leader

Amy‘s first service program in Malungeni, South Africa cemented her commitment to Global Volunteers: "To have a front row seat in the life of the people of Malungeni was a priviledge! How else would you, in the first few hours in South Africa, be sitting in someone’s house, sharing a cold beverage with a family that was so pleased to see you that they couldn‘t stop smiling, or talking about their country!" Since then, she’s completed team leader training and led a team to Costa Rica in 2012. Amy was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She owns two restaurants and works as a business consultant for a local non-profit - teaching business skills to entrepreneurs. She underwrites microloans and works alongside her clients to help ensure their success.

Michelle Lindstrom

Michelle Lindstrom

Volunteer Team Leader

Michelle first participated on a Global Volunteers Portugal Service program in 2009. Since then she has volunteered in South Africa, Italy, and St. Lucia, and completed Team Leader training in 2012. Michelle has been self-employed for 21 years as a Licensed Massage Practitioner. She has served as a Massage Board member for the Washington State Department of Health and was a Site Review Team Leader for COMTA (Commissions on Massage Therapy Accreditation). She currently resides on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Cindy Murray

Cindy Murray

Volunteer Team Leader

Cindy served on her first Global Volunteers service program in Mississippi, USA, in 1997, and was immediately asked to serve as a Team Leader. Cindy has led multiple teams in Montana, Minnesota, Florida, and Costa Rica. She has also led teams in Cuba, West Virginia, and Poland. Cindy is a Floridian by way of New York, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. With a Dual Masters’ Degree in Human Resources and a BA in Theatre & Drama, Cindy is well-suited to lead volunteer groups and for her day job as a producer for a very well-known mouse. Cindy is active in Central Florida arts and culture; both as a patron and as a photographer. She serves on the Board of Hands on Orlando, and is partial to Kundalini yoga, bicycling, second hand clothing stores, and New Yorker cartoons.

Ann Marett

Ann Marett

Volunteer Team Leader

A native Texan, Ann first participated on Global Volunteers‘ teams in Greece and Spain in 1999. Thereafter, she completed Global Volunteers’ Team Leader Training, and served as our country manager and team leader in China in 2000, and in Mexico in 2005-2006 and has also led teams in Peru, Costa Rica, the Cook Islands, Greece, Italy, Australia and the United States. Now retired after 32 years as a corporate public relations professional, she is feeding her passion for learning about cultures around the world, including in the U.S.

Barbara Morris

Barbara Morris

Volunteer Team Leader

Barbara and her husband participated in their first Global Volunteer program in Ecuador in 2008. She fell in love with the philosophy and art of volunteering in partnership with local communities and organizations. She’s since volunteered in Vietnam, India, and Peru and has lead teams in Montana and West Virginia. At home in Colorado, she volunteers with several community-based organizations. She is honored to serve as a commissioner for Serve Colorado, the Governor’s Commission on Community Service. Barbara is a practicing geriatrician and serves as Medical Director for Centura Health Physician Group in Denver.

Patty Prue

Patty Prue

Volunteer Team Leader

Patty first participated on a Global Volunteers program in Ghana in 2008 and loved her experience so much that she returned to Ghana with her son in 2010.She leads McCartan Consulting and is a certified business coach with extensive global human resources executive experience. She has a number of professional certifications, serves on not-for-profit boards and is a graduate of Stonehill College, North Easton, MA.

Jeff Rogo

Jeff Rogo

Volunteer Team Leader

Jeff has served on two Global Volunteers service programs in Italy, and been a Volunteer Executive on USAID-funded projects in Armenia and Georgia.He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History from John Carroll University and an MBA from the University of Tampa. Two of his three “careers” have provided him with the opportunity to work with volunteers. He has worked in trade association management and government affairs and served as Alumni & Development Director for Jesuit High School in Tampa. His third “career” was radio broadcasting.

Kathy Mace Skinner

Kathy Mace Skinner

Volunteer Team Leader

Kathy first joined a Global Volunteers service program in Vietnam in 1995, and completed team leader training in Mississippi shortly thereafter. This, and a serious interest in developing cultures solidified her commitment to peace building through Global Volunteers. She has since lead over 20 teams worldwide, and has participated internationally with Rotary International. Kathy’s career has spanned positions as a teacher, mediator, lawyer and magistrate – the latter from which she recently retired. She divides her time living on an acreage in Iowa and a beach house in Mexico.

Sue Surma

Sue Surma

Volunteer Team Leader

Sue participated on her first Global Volunteers program in 1989 to Guatemala and completed Team Leader Training in 1994. Sue has led teams to Mexico, Costa Rica, Mississippi, India, and Ireland, and served on 13 other programs. She has a Bachelors Degree in Theatre Arts, a Degree in Travel Planning, and an Associate of Science degree in Nursing. Sue has worked in the hospitality, tourism and health care industries.

Jim Swiderski

Jim Swiderski

Volunteer Team Leader

As a former staff member, Jim led over 50 teams to nine host countries during his 12-year career at Global Volunteers. He served 3 1/2 years as our China Country Manager, and as a volunteer team leader to the Cook Islands, Poland, and Vietnam, and also joined teams in India, Minnesota, Texas and Mississippi. Jim had a career in human and economic development, working in both public and private organizations. He has managed a Subcommittee for the US Congress, and recently helped lead efforts to expand U.S. federal support for international volunteer service. He currently works in Washington D.C. for Congressman Nick Nolan.

Joe Testa

Joe Testa

Volunteer Team Leader

Joe first joined a Global Volunteers service program to Guatemala in 1991. He completed Global Volunteers Team Leader Training in 1993, and has since led more than 50 teams worldwide. Joe earned an MBA and built a highly successful ground water and water purification business. He sold the company and now serves as General Manager so he can spend more time with two beautiful grandchildren, volunteer as an ESL tutor, and continue as a “big brother” to the same “little brother” he’s had for 20 years with "Big Brothers, Big Sisters."

Phyllis Thompson

Phyllis Thompson

Volunteer Team Leader

Phyllis learned about Global Volunteers on the NBC Today Show in 2003, and immediately became entranced with our English teaching program in southern rural Italy. She volunteered that same year, and soon after completed Global Volunteers‘ Team Leader Training. She has since led 15 teams to Italy as well as to China, Costa Rica, Montana, Portugal, and South Africa. Phyllis holds a Master’s degree in Health Professions Education, and is a certified health professional, practicing for over 25 years in radiation oncology. She resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband, William. Her favorite place to visit is Italy!

Judy Werner

Judy Werner

Volunteer Team Leader

Judy first joined a Global Volunteers service program to Jamaica in 1995 and "caught the volunteer vacation bug." She completed our extensive Team Leader Training in Minnesota in 1997, and has since led volunteers on service programs in Texas, Tanzania, Costa Rica, and the Cook Islands. She lives in Vermont - where she works with Discovery Map International.

Warren Williams

Warren Williams

Volunteer Team Leader

Warren served on the Global Volunteers board, completed Global Volunteers Team Leader Training, and has led more than 70 teams on service programs in nearly all of Global Volunteers‘ partner communities. He retired as a senior Colonel in the U.S. Army after more than 30 years of service; with two years as a combat leader in Vietnam; eleven years as a negotiator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); and as Chief of Joint Strategy, Forces Command in Operation Desert Storm. He earned a Master’s Degree in Education, is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and NATO School, and is fluent in Greek, Vietnamese and Italian.