Our Team

Anna Barrett
Program Officer, A Ganar

Anna Barrett is currently working as a Sport-for-Development Officer for the A Ganar Program. Led by Partners of the Americas, A Ganar is a youth workforce development program that utilizes soccer and other team sports to help youth in Latin America and the Caribbean, find jobs, learn entrepreneurial skills, or re-enter the formal education system. She received her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.  Prior to joining A Ganar, Ms. Barrett worked with sport for development programs at Grassroot Soccer (South Africa) and Soccer Without Borders, as well as coaching at Tufts.

Ukiah Busch
Senior Strategic Affiliations Officer, Partnerships and Programs

Ukiah Busch is the Senior Strategic Affiliations Officer for Partnerships and Programs. He works on issues related to membership development, membership services and the establishment of new strategic partnerships. He has a Master’s degree in U.S. Foreign Policy and International Development from American University and was the first recipient of the Machado “Intrapreneurial” Fellowship from Partners of the Americas, awarded to him for his work in developing the PartnersCampus initiative. He studied Italian, French and Spanish at the University of Georgia before serving in Ecuador as a legal advisor for immigrants and refugees in the human rights organization, Movilidad Humana.

Mr. Busch was selected in January 2011 as an EDF Scholar by the Intercultural Management Institute and served as a Conference Ambassador for the organization's Annual Conference on Intercultural Relations. Mr. Busch is passionate about human rights, youth engagement, organizational development, foreign policy and international development issues, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Peggy Carlson
Vice President for Development Programs

Peggy Carlson is the Vice President for Development Programs for Partners of the Americas.  In addition to her role as Senior Director of Agriculture and Food Security, her primary responsibilities are  strengthening Partners’ local field capacity in the Caribbean and raising awareness of Partners’ development programs, as well as overseeing Partners of the Americas' Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program and Haiti Nutrition Security Program, both funded by USAID. Farmer-to-Farmer is a multi-million dollar agricultural development and technical assistance program implemented in the US, Latin America and the Caribbean. The Partners Haiti Nutrition Security Program (NSP) seeks to improve the nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women and young children in 3 geographic-focus corridors in Haiti. Ms. Carlson has more than 22 years of development experience in 21 countries, with a particular focus on agriculture and the environment. She is skilled in the strategic planning, program management, value-chain development, and monitoring and evaluation of both privately and government-funded projects in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Ms. Carlson has expertise in the capacity building of non-governmental organizations, universities, and other groups through training and technical assistance. In addition, she has been trained by the World Bank Institute in a number of areas, including international standards and agro-food trade, export promotion, and market analysis, including using Trade Map and Market Access Map tools developed by the International Trade Center. In the area of information and communication technology, Ms. Carlson has worked to integrate ICT into development projects and is also a computer network administrator.

Ms. Carlson holds a Master of Arts in International Development, with a concentration in Rural and Community Development, from American University in Washington, D.C. and a Bachelor of Arts from Furman University, Greenville, S.C., in International Relations.

To find out more about the Haiti NSP Program, click here. To find out more about the Farmer-to-Farmer program, please visit the program blog.


Abraham Cisne
Senior Program Officer, Youth Engagement

Abraham Cisne is the Senior Program Officer for Youth Engagement. Abraham holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Latin American Studies from Temple University. He furthered his professional formation as a Social Sciences Fellow at Temple then as a Public Policy Fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. As a college student and professional, he has experienced working, studying, and living in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Mr. Cisne joined Partners having significant professional experience in democracy and governance, education, public policy and international development. In early 2011, he started as a Program Officer with the Youth Engagement Team and has since worked with youth from 14 nations across the Americas and the Caribbean including Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia. This also includes youth from across the U.S. and from as many as 15 U.S. states. He very much enjoys volunteering and is passionate about music, film and other forms of media especially as a means for social change and empowering youth. Mr. Cisne believes very much in international exchanges and considers that they foster creativity and help break down barriers that can impede our personal and societal growth. Today, Mr. Cisne draws from the aforementioned experiences and from years of being a teacher’s assistant, tutor, and even a swimming instructor to facilitate youth leadership workshops and develop and implement international youth leadership programming.

Regarding his approach to youth development, Mr. Cisne writes, "One thing I have learned is that we shouldn’t necessarily look for committed youth but instead foster commitment by getting youth invested. Getting them invested can take the form of giving them opportunities to lead and design their own projects, allowing them access decision-making/influential roles within the organization, and fostering an environment where youth feel they can contribute, enjoy themselves, and make friends with peers. All this seems to work best when there are equally invested adult partners who support and dialogue while understanding youth and their potential as change makers and contributors in the present as well as in the future."

Matthew N. Clausen
Senior Vice President, Public-Private Partnerships & Senior Director,100,000 Strong in the Americas

Matt Clausen (@matthewclausen) is Senior Vice President for Public-Private Partnerships and Senior Director of President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund at Partners of the Americas.  Mr. Clausen leads and provides senior oversight to programs and presidential initiatives involving public and private sector collaboration, including President Obama’s signature educational initiative in the Western Hemisphere and Partners’ public-private partnerships in Colombia.  He was interviewed by the President of the U.S. as a featured NGO panelist during the Conversation on the Americas at the White House Conference on the Americas in 2007.  Mr. Clausen has coordinated numerous professional fellowship, leadership and youth engagement programs, and has led regional and global efforts to convene volunteers and organizations to promote service, including the 2009 Conference on Higher Education and International Volunteer Service and the 2011 World Summit for Youth Volunteering that convened 900 young leaders in Colombia. Mr. Clausen is Chairman Emeritus and current board member of the Building Bridges Coalition, the organization that emerged from the Brookings Initiative on International Voluntary Service, and serves on the U.S. board of the volunteer organization America Solidaria.   

Mr. Clausen received a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a BA from Swarthmore College. Prior to receiving his postgraduate degree, Mr. Clausen served as a volunteer teacher for a year on the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador with WorldTeach. He currently lives and works in Washington, D.C.

Horacio Correa, Jr.
Vice President of Operations and Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Horacio Correa, Jr. is the Vice President of Operations and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Partners of the Americas. He additionally serves as Treasurer and CFO of the Partners of the Americas Foundation. Mr. Correa has more than twenty years of experience in the fields of finance and accounting, auditing, government grants and contracts and information technology (with particular emphasis on upgrading IT infrastructures).

With a deep understanding of the mechanics of both for-profit and non-governmental organizations, Mr. Correa has also acquired substantial expertise in administration and human resources, including the areas of compensation, benefits, insurance and facilities.

Immediately prior to his work with Partners, Mr. Correa was the Controller for a publicly- traded research and development company focusing on gene therapy and vaccine research. A war veteran, Mr. Correa spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Systems from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, MD and an Associate’s Degree in Accounting from Montgomery College in Rockville, MD.

Chris Daileader
Outreach Officer and Multimedia Specialist
(202) 637-6216

Chris Daileader is the Outreach Officer and Multimedia Specialist for Partners of the Americas. He serves as Executive Assistant to Partners’ President & CEO, Coordinator for Partners’ Internship Programs, and as the resident photographer and videographer for Partners. Chris is often sent to document Partners’ programs and create videos to demonstrate their successes, recruit new members, and report out to our network and donors.

Outside of Partners, Chris is an actor, writer, photographer, director, and comedian. His work has been published by Sierra Magazine.  A native of Charlotte, NC, Chris studied at the Catholic University of America, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with B.A.s in Media Studies and Drama.  He has also studied performance at IUNA Movimiento in Buenos Aires and The University of California at Los Angeles.

Courtney Dunham
Senior Program Officer, Agriculture and Food Security

Courtney Dunham is a Senior Program Officer on the Agriculture and Food Security team. Ms. Dunham supports the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti and Nicaragua. F2F provides agricultural development and technical assistance to local farmers and farmer associations, agribusinesses, NGOs and other organizations in developing and transitional countries to promote sustainable improvements in food security.

Ms. Dunham has over seven years of international program management and research experience. Her interest and expertise in agriculture and food security began when she spent two years living and working in western Honduras as a Protected Areas Management Peace Corps Volunteer. Ms. Dunham remained in Honduras for a third year to work for USAID/Honduras. At USAID, she assisted with the development of Honduras’s Feed the Future food security initiative, conducted site visits to meet beneficiaries of the health, economic growth and environmental programs, and created and managed a Mission-wide monitoring and evaluation database. Aside from agriculture and food security, Ms. Dunham is also interested in qualitative and quantitative research. In 2006, she led an independent study, supported by the University of Puget Sound, in biological conservation on the Juan Fernández Islands, Chile. Prior to joining Partners, Ms. Dunham was a Research Assistant for The George Washington University (GW) Department of Health Policy.

Ms. Dunham holds a Master’s of Public Health from The George Washington University with a concentration in Global Public Health and specialization in Program Design, Monitoring and Evaluation. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA.

Melissa L. Golladay
Senior Director, Professional Leadership Exchanges and Youth Engagement

Melissa Golladay is the Senior Director for Professional Leadership Exchanges and Youth Engagement. She has over ten years of professional and academic experience working in Latin America and the U.S. on citizen diplomacy, youth leadership and citizen participation.

As Director for Professional Leadership Exchanges, Ms. Golladay leads programs that bring professionals together to collaborate on issues such as climate change, small business development and government transparency. As Director for Youth Engagement, she leads programs that use international exchange to teach leadership and reinforce values around service. She previously served as Program Officer with the Center for Civil Society, where she worked to build the capacity of CSOs and government to increase citizen participation in local decision-making. Ms. Golladay co-authored four publications on civil society participation in the Inter-American System and case studies of successful programs.

Ms. Golladay is a trained facilitator and has led sessions for more than 600 youth and adults in volunteer management, proposal development and leadership skills. Ms. Golladay has given presentations at the Youth Service Institute, the Conference on Higher Education and International Volunteer Service and the National Conference on International Citizen Diplomacy. In addition, Ms. Golladay has planned numerous conferences including the International Youth Ambassador Summit and the Conference on International Volunteering and Higher Education. Ms. Golladay served as the Chair of the Agenda Committee for the 2nd World Summit on Youth Volunteering in 2011. Ms. Golladay served as mentor and facilitator at the Youth Forum of the Americas preceding Sixth Summit of the Americas in 2012 and led a delegation of youth leaders at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in 2009.

She earned a M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, concentrating in Social Development and a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Karen Guzmán
Campus Engagement Officer
(202) 637-6212

Karen Guzmán is the Campus Engagement Officer at Partners of the Americas. She works extensively with Partners’ student chapter network across the Americas, as well as in Colombia, Panama, and Argentina. Student chapters are based in educational institutions and completely led by on-campus students. They expand the Partners Network and grow student leaders through community leadership, civic engagement, volunteerism, and professional development.

Prior to her work at Partners, Karen has had substantial experience in leadership, promoting social justice, mentoring students, and advocating for social issues through organizations such as the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Program (AIME), Pro-Mujer, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, United We Dream, Upward Bound Pre-College Programs, and College and Career Pathways, Inc.

Karen has studied Psychology, Sociology, International Relations, and Human Rights at the University of Sydney and in Florianopolis, Brazil. She graduated from the University of Maryland-College Park with a dual B.A. in Psychology and Sociology and minors in U.S. Latino/a Studies and International Development and Conflict Management.

During her time at the University of Maryland, she led “La Familia,” a mentoring program for first-generation Latino college students, created P.L.U.M.A.S. to advocate for issues affecting the Latino community, led a service-learning trip to Cabarete, Dominican Republic through the Alternative Breaks Program, and helped create and develop two programs: the Behavioral and Social Sciences Global Scholars Program and the Peer Educators Program. Both of these programs are focused on creating cross-cultural understanding and development between students from diverse organizations and communities in order to become positive change agents that are passionate about solving today’s most pressing global and domestic social issues.

Orli Handmaker
Program Recruiter, Agriculture and Food Security
(202) 524-6295

Orli Handmaker is the Program Recruiter on the Agriculture and Food Security team. She handles all volunteer recruitment for the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Flex countries. F2F promotes economic development and food security abroad by sending volunteer agricultural specialists from the U.S. to provide technical assistance to foreign producers, cooperatives, agribusinesses, NGO’s, and educational institutions.

Ms. Handmaker’s work experiences are diverse; she has taught Spanish as a second language, worked as a Spanish translator, and is now starting her international non-profit career with Partners of the Americas. Her interest in agriculture and food security stems from her belief that successful economic development comes from the ground up; Ms. Handmaker feels strongly that ensuring food security in the developing world is crucial to promoting any further growth in developing nations.

Ms. Handmaker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Spanish from Skidmore College. While at Skidmore, she studied and lived in both Costa Rica and Spain, where she gained a deeper appreciation for Latin American cultures; she hopes to travel to other countries in the region and live amongst other new cultures in the coming years.

Elizabeth Holst
Senior Officer, Program Development & Paraguay Okakuaa

Elizabeth Holst is a Senior Officer for Program Development and Paraguay Okakuaa. Ms. Holst started her career at Partners in February 2013 as a Program Officer for Program Development. In December 2015, she began supporting Paraguay Okakuaa, a four-year, multi-million dollar project to support Paraguay in its efforts to reduce the worst forms of child labor and improve labor law compliance and working conditions.

A Minnesota native, Ms. Holst has spent nearly three years living in Latin America. Prior to working at Partners, she served in the Peace Corps as a Community Economic Development volunteer in Paraguay (2010-2012). She holds a Master of Public Administration with a focus on international public service and development from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Camden; and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and Latin American studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Ms. Holst serves on the board of Friends of Paraguay, Inc. and is an active member of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC. 

Penelope Kim
Program Officer, Professional Exchanges

Penelope Kim is a Program Officer for the Legislative Fellows Program, a State Department-funded international exchange program for mid-level professionals that engages government officials and civil society leaders in the legislative processes in order to strengthen their capacity to promote citizen participation and advance government transparency and accountability. She has a background in international affairs and international development with a regional focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. Her work and studies abroad have taken her to nearly 30 countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

One of these overseas opportunities was through the Peace Corps, where she served in Costa Rica in 2009-2011 as a Rural Community Development Volunteer working in youth development. Ms. Kim holds a Global Master’s of Arts in International Relations from Webster University through their global program, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, with a European and Asian Concentration, and a Minor in Spanish from Hawai’i Pacific University.

Summar Lyons
Program Officer, Youth Engagement

Summar Lyons is a Program Officer for the Youth Engagement Program at Partners. She provides support in preparing youth leaders to build mutual understanding between Latin America and the United States and to develop skills that foster long-term commitment to volunteerism and service. Throughout her professional and academic experience, she has become well-versed in Latin American culture, youth leadership capacity building and international development. Ms. Lyons has had the opportunity to travel throughout Central America on a study abroad program in Merida, Mexico in 2006 and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica from 2009-2012.

While living in Costa Rica, she served as a project management advisor and youth development liaison in collaboration with the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (P.A.N.I.) and the Board of Directors of two Development Associations where she helped implement children’s rights and environmental awareness campaigns, youth leadership and life skills workshops and the construction of a sports court project. Upon her return to the U.S., she was selected to be a Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellow. In this role, she volunteered at Woodrow Wilson High School, D.C. Bilingual Public Charter School and Next Step supporting global studies resource development and English learning initiatives. She earned a M.A. in International Development from American University’s School of International Service with a concentration in Children and Youth Development and a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Spanish from Northwestern University. She is deeply passionate about sharing how volunteerism abroad not only has a meaningful impact on improving the lives of others but also has a lasting effect on one’s personal and professional growth.

Danielle Martin
Assistant, Finance and Administration

Danielle Martin is an Assistant of Finance and Administration at Partners of the Americas. She started with Partners as part of the President’s Internship Program in May 2014 working with the Professional Leadership Exchanges team. She now has joined the staff at Partners in October 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Professions and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management with a focus on International Business from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

During her studies in Wisconsin, Ms. Martin has had the opportunity to study abroad twice, once in Costa Rica and another time in Italy. In Costa Rica, she studied at a local school to obtain fluency and better understanding of Spanish. In addition, she spent two weeks living with the BriBri tribe in Costa Rica, whom are an indigenous tribal group located in the southern half of the country near Buenos Aires. During her study abroad in Italy, Ms. Martin had a great introduction to the arts, history, language and foods of the region. She is deeply passionate about international development and volunteerism abroad, and hopes to continue to help others in the Americas throughout her work at Partners.

Michael Moscarelli
Assistant Director, Agriculture and Food Security
(202) 637-6214

Michael Moscarelli is the Assistant Director of Agriculture and Food Security. His primary responsibilities include leading strategic planning and business development efforts in the unit, establishing and maintaining relationships with donors and partners, and supporting the implementation of current programs.

Prior to his work at Partners, Mr. Moscarelli worked on the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems team at International Relief and Development, where he managed food security and value chain programs in West Africa and helped develop USAID, USDA, and DFID proposals. He also spent three years working in Ecuador’s highlands and Amazonian region as a Sustainable Agriculture Volunteer in the Peace Corps.

Mr. Moscarelli has expertise in agronomy, horticulture, and farmer-centered research and extension. He holds a Master’s degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Mary Washington.

Taylor Nelson
Senior Officer, Communications

Taylor Nelson is the Senior Communications Officer at Partners of the Americas. While supporting the overall mission and vision of the organization, Taylor works closely with each of Partners’ programs to increase their visibility through website development, social media outreach, branding, print and product design.

Prior to joining Partners, Taylor was the Director of Arts and Education at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem. Passionate about using art for social change, she designed and led programs in visual arts, theater and dance. Among puppet shows and West African drumming, Taylor spearheaded the Salem Public Mural Project, a nine-month initiative that empowered Boys and Girls Club youth through leadership development, community engagement and art lessons to celebrate pride in their community.

Taylor’s commitment to community arts stems from her work with ArtCorps as well as Mercado Global in which she designed fair trade capacity building workshops for Mayan artisans in Guatemala. Taylor studied at the Fuji Art School in Italy, El Mundo En Español in Guatemala, and graduated with a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in 2009.

Michelle Nicholson
Senior Director, Communications

Michelle Ruhlin Nicholson serves Partners as Senior Director of Communications.  She has 7 years of experience working in international development. 

Prior to her arrival in Washington, D.C., Ms. Nicholson conducted Spanish-language training, safety and compliance campaigns for a nationwide company based in the Midwest.  She also contributed to the development of television program and magazine concepts for the Latino community in Portland, Oregon.   

Ms. Nicholson earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Bowling Green State University, where she was also awarded a special commendation for service to the university community.  She holds an MA in Latin American Studies with concentrations in History and Sociology and an MPA focusing on Non-Profit Management and International Economic Development from Indiana University-Bloomington.  A traveler at heart, she speaks Spanish and has lived or studied in Mexico, Costa Rica and Spain.  She is also a member of the PRSA Chapter of the National Capital Region.   

Leonard Noel
Senior Officer, Program Development

Leonard Noel has been a Senior Program Development Officer at Partners since June 2013. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations with a focus on Inter-American Studies from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. Mr. Noel served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay from 2005-2007 where he worked with local government partners to implement a variety of community development projects. He is passionate about volunteerism and international development, particularly in the Latin American and Caribbean Region.

Carmen Peña
Assistant Director, Program Development

Carmen Peña, a native Colombian, is the Assistant Director of Program Development and Program Manager for the EducaFuturo project. Funded by USDOL, EducaFuturo is a multi-million dollar project to combat child labor among vulnerable populations in Ecuador and Panama. Ms. Peña has over four years of experience as a Program Development Officer, implementing outreach strategies, developing new partnerships and programs and responding to funding opportunities that include grants, government solicitations (USAID, DOS and DOL) and corporate foundations. Ms. Peña started at Partners as Field Operations Officer, coordinating and monitoring international development programs in Latin America in compliance with donor’s rules and regulations. She backstopped the USDOL funded program Educame Primero in Colombia to combat the worst forms of child labor through education. Ms. Peña’s prior work experience at the Organization of American States and her knowledge on international development in Latin America enable her to expertly research, analyze, and present opportunities to hold and expand our programs in the field. She has had the opportunity to live, extensively travel, study and work in several Latin American countries. Ms. Peña has a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies with a concentration in Development at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. A former Georgia Rotary Scholar, she also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia.

Molly Porth
Senior Program Officer, Professional Leadership Exchanges

Molly Porth is the Senior Program Officer for Professional Leadership Exchanges. She has a diverse professional background that includes non-profit fundraising and program development, non-profit program coordination, social enterprise scaling and extensive travel, study, volunteer and work experiences abroad, including as a Fulbright Fellow in Mexico, an exchange student in Chile, and a volunteer coordinator in Kenya.

As Senior Program Officer for Professional Leadership Exchanges, Molly coordinates program design, proposal writing, program implementation and monitoring and evaluation for two new strategic Partners initiatives, Partners Language Programs, which uses language learning as the bridge between communities and cultures to promote the economic and social development of the Western Hemisphere and Sport-for-Community, which transforms the power and popularity of mega sporting events, like the World Cup, into positive results for local communities and sport-based youth development leaders.

Molly holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts dual degree in English and Spanish, with certificates in Latin American studies and Faith Justice studies from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.

Cindy Rejas
Program Officer, A Ganar

Cindy Rejas is a Sport-for-Development program officer at Partners of the Americas. She provides support to A Ganar, a youth workforce development program which uses soccer as a tool to help at-risk youth in Latin America and the Caribbean gain employment, become entrepreneurs, or re-enter the formal education system. While Ms. Rejas offers support in executing program functions, she is mainly involved with the strengthening and quality management of current Monitoring and Evaluation systems. Cindy is enthusiastic about learning the most effective methods in measuring youth employment success.

Ms. Rejas is a graduate from George Mason University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.

Prior to joining Partners, she volunteered at the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute.

Janira Romero Reyes
Program Officer, International Education Programs

Janira Romero Reyes is a Program Officer for Higher Education and oversees the Capacity Building Grants for U.S. Undergraduate Study Abroad. This State Department-funded program is Partners’ first global program designed to create or expand the capacity of U.S. higher education institutions to administer study abroad programs under the diversity goals – broadening the student population who studies abroad, the fields of study, and/or the destinations in which they study. Her many years of studying abroad and training/teaching in Latin America and Europe contribute to her knowledge and expertise in international education.

One of her training and teaching experiences was as a TEFL volunteer for Peace Corps Ukraine from 2010-2012. Upon completing her service, she obtained a master’s degree in Education, Gender and International Development from the University of London and supported the London-based NGO, Teach A Man To Fish, in establishing the Central America network for the Enterprising School Network. Currently, as a member of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington DC, Janira serves as board director for cultural events. She continues to be a passionate advocate of cross-cultural exchanges for developing global competence, as well as women & youth empowerment through education.

Carmen Sepassi
Senior Program Officer, Education and Culture

Carmen Sepassi is the Senior Program Officer of the Education and Culture Program of Partners of the Americas. This program is funded by U.S. Department of State. The Education and Culture Program aims to connect people and institutions, serve communities, strengthen local institutions and enhance cross-cultural understanding and cooperation between the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Partners of the Americas does this through travel grants, small grants and thematic workshops. For the past 25 years, the Education and Culture Program has worked with over 20,000 volunteers throughout the region to build partnerships across borders, mutual understanding and provide needed services to communities.

Formerly, Ms. Sepassi was the Program Assistant for the Fellowship in International Development Program – Fellows I through Fellows X for 20 years. This program was sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation.

Ms. Sepassi came to Partners of the Americas in April 1979 after living in the Middle East for one and a half years.

From 1972 to 1977, Carmen was the Executive Secretary for Deferred Compensation Plans, Inc., a private insurance company in Washington, D.C.

Lee Tablewski
Director, 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund

Lee Tablewski is the Director of the 100,000 Strong for the Americas Innovation Fund. His responsibility is to drive the implementation of the initiative, which President Obama has created to foster region-wide prosperity through greater international exchange of students – our future innovators and leaders. The initiative is supported by the U.S. Department of State in partnership with NAFSA: Association of International Educators and Partners of the Americas. The multi-million dollar effort unites and partners academic institutions, foundations, corporations, governments, students and faculty members to seize these opportunities.

15,000 Latin American and Caribbean adult and student learners have benefited from Mr. Tablewski’s programs at the Institute of the Americas, where he served for 18 years as founding Director of Programs and later as founding Director of Training and Director of Project Mexico, and previously at the Dante B. Fascell North-South Center as Senior Research Associate.  Both organizations enjoyed locations on university campuses, UC San Diego and the University of Miami respectively. 

His work has been guided by the leadership and mentorship of four distinguished former U.S. ambassadors who served as his supervisors, and by a large network comprised of former students, partners and stakeholders. Mr. Tablewski’s activities typically include communication and conceptualization of problems and solutions, creating partnerships and mobilizing resources, managing project design and implementation, reporting outcomes and ultimately, building sustainability.

He has collaborated in his capacity-building activities with several U.S. Government agencies including the Department of State and its embassies, USAID, the Department of Commerce, and multilateral organizations and governments at the national, state and municipal level across the region. Uniquely, he has been able to identify the overlap of common interests with local and international business to mobilize resources for this work while maintaining high quality and program integrity.

Recent programs and policy initiatives have focused on training Latin American and Caribbean journalists, empowering marginalized communities and women, building the capacity of Latin American students in science and innovation and addressing the challenge of community security through action by civil society.

Andi Thomas
Senior Program Officer, Agriculture and Food Security

Andi Thomas is a Senior Program Officer on Partners of the Americas’ Agriculture and Food Security team. She supports the USAID-funded Nutrition Security Program (NSP) in Haiti as well as Farmer-to-Farmer activities in Haiti and other countries as needed. The goal of NSP is to improve the nutritional status of children and pregnant and lactating women in three geographically-focused areas in Haiti. The holistic approach of NSP addresses the health and livelihoods aspects of nutrition insecurity. In addition to improving knowledge, program activities promote income generation and food security.  Farmer-to-Farmer is a USAID-sponsored program that provides technical assistance to local agricultural producers, agribusinesses, NGOs and other types of organizations. Agricultural volunteers from the United States share their technical knowledge on a people-to-people basis to help farmers increase their income, improve their businesses and preserve their natural resource base.

Ms. Thomas earned a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from American University in Washington, D.C., a Master’s of Divinity from Mercer University in Atlanta, GA and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Furman University in Greenville, SC. She is passionate about international development, issues surrounding food security and water access and increasing social impact through improved monitoring and evaluation. Prior to working with Partners, Ms. Thomas co-founded and managed His Nets, a non-profit organization dedicated to combating malaria through the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets. She is especially interested in how faith groups can positively impact international development amd has published articles and book chapters on the subject, and has been quoted in news sources such as The Economist.

Kristian Vasquez
Officer, Administration

Kristian Vasquez serves as the Administration Officer for Partners of the Americas. Ms. Vasquez has five years of administrative and HR experience with non-profit organizations. She is proficient in planning, organizing and implementing a program or function with agency-wide impact. Prior to her work with Partners, Ms. Vasquez was employed by United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) a Virginia based non-profit organization that serves at risk youth in the foster care system.

Ms. Vasquez worked closely with the administrative and HR related functions of programs such as: therapeutic foster care, adoptive family preservation, and Project LIFE which provided teens going out of foster care find skills and voice through various seminars and job trainings. Ms. Vasquez is currently working towards obtaining her B.A. in Special Education from the University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

Martha Cecilia Villada
Program Manager, EducaFuturo Program
(202) 637-6222

Martha Cecilia Villada is an experienced project evaluator and manager. Having served as Chief of Party for six successful USAID-funded initiatives, including a capacity building program in Colombia, Ms. Villada has repeatedly demonstrated her ability to develop critical monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems for both her projects and her civil society partners. As an evaluation consultant on projects throughout Latin America, her responsibilities have included developing the evaluation design, conducing data collection and analysis, and producing final reports. She is skilled in data collection methodology, including conducting interviews and surveys. Most significantly, she is adept at utilizing various analysis strategies that allow her to translate collected data into performance results and ultimately lessons learned.

In addition to her evaluation work, Ms. Villada has 27 years of experience building the capacity of civil society groups throughout Latin America in M&E, responsive leadership, and results-oriented performance. As Chief of Party she was consistently responsible for establishing internal monitoring systems and conducting mid-term evaluations of the projects under her management. In her most recent assignment as Chief of Party in Peru she worked closely with her partners at Vanderbilt University to facilitate the project’s baseline and end line surveys.


Sherrita Wilkins
Senior Outreach Officer,
President's Office

Sherrita Wilkins is the Senior Outreach Officer for Partners of the Americas President’s Office. Since 2011, she has served as the Executive Assistant to Partners’ President & CEO, Liaison to the International Board of Directors and Coordinator for Partners’ Internship Programs. Ms. Wilkins started with Partners as an intern in the Communications Department, where she also worked closely with the Partnership & Programs Unit.

Native of Rochester, New York, Ms. Wilkins graduated cum laude from Nazareth College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and concentrations in International Relations, Spanish and Philosophy. 

Some of Ms. Wilkins’ personal interests include playing tennis, salsa dancing and improv theatre.

Ms. Karen Graham, Chair (Oregon Partners)

Karen Graham is a seasoned school administrator and has served on several district committees.

Mr. Harry Wing, Vice Chair (Peru Partners)

Harry Wing, now retired from a 30-year career in development, has lived in six different Latin American countries,

Mr. Wayne Chance, Secretary (Trinidad & Tobago Chapter)

Wayne Brian Chance from the Founder, Chief Executive Officer and President of Vision on Mission,

Mr. Erik Brand (Minnesota Partners)

Erik Brand has worked for more than a decade in publishing, public affairs and international relations.

Dr. Sam Drew (South Carolina Partners)

Dr. Sam Drew is the Founder and President of Te Bene Non Profit Corporation.

Ms. Rosemary (Binka) J. Le Breton (Minas Gerais, Brazil Partners)

Binka Le Breton is the Co-founder and Director of Iracambi Rainforest Research Center,

Ms. Jane “Jhani” Laupus (Indiana Partners)

Ms. Laupus is the founding director for the National Committee on Planned Giving

Ms. Raaida Mannaa (Barranquilla, Colombia Partners)

Raaida Mannaa is the Creator and Project Manager of Global Youth Volunteers,

Ms. Lisa Martin (Washington, D.C. Partners)

Since 2011, Lisa Martin has served as Executive Director of Silver Spring Town Center Inc.

Mr. Christian Stalberg (North Carolina Partners)

Christian Stalberg is the founder and former coordinator of the International Building Performance Simulation Association, Research Triangle Park, NC chapter, as well as, founder and former Chair of the Research Triangle Park chapter of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility 2001-2004.

Meet Our Foundation Board
Partners of the Americas Foundation Board of Directors establish and oversee the investment policy of the Foundation and manage the disbursement of all grants from its endowment funds. Directors are elected to three terms of office and are selected by Partners of the Americas’ International Board.

Class A Officers
Mr. Matthew Lee, Jr. (Chair)
Mr. Erik Brand
Ms. Karen Graham
Ms. Paula Laschober
Mr. Stephen Murphy
Mr. Stephen Vetter (President & CEO)

The leaders of Partners’ International Advisory Council (IAC) provide advice and counsel on a broad range of policy and operational matters. They bring their varied backgrounds and expertise of the corporate sector, international development and Latin America to bear for the advancement of Partners’ mission.

2015 Partners of the Americas International Advisory Council

Thomas C. Ramey, Trustee of The Brookings Institution, former Chair of Liberty International and Liberty Mutual Group, Director of AXIS Capital Holdings, and former VP for the Inter-American Foundation.

Barry Gaberman, former Executive Vice President of the Ford Foundation, board member and advisor of various philanthropic: Board Source and chairman of the Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support.

Jack Shakely, chairman of the Center for Philanthropic and Public Policy at the University of Southern California, former president of the California Community Foundation, author on development issues (New York Times, Washington Post etc.) and a novelist.

Deborah Szekely, former president of the Inter American Foundation, chairman of the Szekely Foundation, member of the board of the Council on Foundations and an internationally known and respected business leader.

John Dickson, former Director of Public Diplomacy for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. State Department.

Robert Sicina, former President of American Express Bank Ltd. Also former Division CFO of Citibank for Latin America as well as Citibank’s entire International Consumer Group and later their credit card business.