Current Fellows Program Cohort

The 2016-2017 World Affairs Council Fellows Program cohort is comprised of 32 impressive Seattle leaders representing diverse fields. The Fellows convene once a month for breakfast discussions with carefully selected high-caliber international experts who offer unparalleled insight into current global issues, in addition to meeting throughout the year for additional WAC events and networking opportunities. 

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2016-2017 Breakfast Discussion Speakers and Topics:



Andy Nagorski, award-winning journalist and author

 “Putin’s Leadership in Russia”


Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

 “U.S. Attitudes, Foreign Policy, and the 2016 Election”


Joe Cirincione, President of Ploughshares Fund

“The Politics and Policy of Nuclear Weapons”


Lieutenant Colonel Owen Ray, Special Forces Officer 

“US Counterterrorism Strategies”


Michael Punke, Deputy United States Trade Representative and U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization 

“The Future of Free Trade”


Mariusz Brymora, Consul General to Poland in Los Angeles

“The Future of the European Union”


Howard French, former New York Times correspondent and author 

“China’s Push for Global Power”


Amanda Sloat, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean Affairs

“The Threat to the Liberal International Order”


Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, Washington’s First Congressional District Representative

“Congress and U.S. Foreign Policy”


Dr. Trita Parsi, Founder and President of the National Iranian American Council 

“The Future of the U.S. – Iran Relations”


2016-2017 Fellows Program Cohort:

Kevin Austin

Founding Attorney, Aero Law Group

Kevin Austin founded the Aero Law Group in 2000 after an extensive career in Aviation and Law with Cooley Godward LLP in Palo Alto, California and The Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington. His practice has spanned aviation, emerging growth companies, venture capital financing, public securities and initial public offerings, and equity and debt financing transactions. Kevin’s practice currently focuses exclusively on aviation; he represents numerous clients in domestic and international transactions involving the sale, lease, and exchange of commercial and executive aircraft.

Mr. Austin received his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1993. He attended the University of Washington and received a B.A. in business administration (accounting) from Seattle University in 1980 while working full-time at Boeing delivering aircraft. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute of Flight Foundation in Mukilteo, Washington, a leading center of learning and innovation for science, technology, and aviation. Kevin is a member of the state bars of California, Colorado, and Washington, as well as the American Bar Association – Forum on Air and Space Law and Aircraft Financing Subcommittee, and the National Business Aviation Association.


Virginia Bergin

Director, Global Responsibility and Public Policy, Starbucks

Virginia leads Starbucks’s veteran and military affairs team, citizenship campaigns, and global social impact efforts. Virginia joined Starbucks in 2006 to support its Ethical Sourcing efforts. Virginia led a global team of partners (employees) to develop and implement social responsibility standards for Starbucks’s global manufactured goods supply chain.  Prior to her current role, Virginia served as director of Public Affairs for Latin America where she led the communication strategy for key business announcements, developed a regional community investment model and championed a new approach to feature farmer support as a central element of the Starbucks brand in Latin America. After graduating from the University of Colorado in 1999, Virginia taught English in Vietnam and Ecuador before to moving to Seattle in 2003 and working in Social Responsibility for Nordstrom.


Stephanie Bittner Byington

Director of Marketing Strategy, Nordstrom

Stephanie Byington is a 20-year international marketing professional who has led brand strategy, marketing communications, and advertising for marque brands such as Nordstrom, Starbucks, and American Airlines. She found her affinity for international business as an undergrad at The University of Texas and moved to Costa Rica four days after graduation, landing a marketing job at the largest cookie company in Central America. She then worked for an international advertising agency, DDB Needham, managing the American Airlines account in Latin America. She received her MBA with a focus in International Marketing in 1998 and moved to Buenos Aires where she led advertising strategy for all of DDB’s multinational clients. When the Argentine peso was devalued, she returned to the U.S. to manage global advertising and sponsorships for Continental Airlines. After twelve years in the airline industry, she decided to try her hand at coffee and moved to Seattle to lead brand advertising for Starbucks. She is currently a Director of Marketing Strategy at Nordstrom. When she is not researching the product (shopping), you will find her traveling, working on her wine blog (My Wine Tribe), or studying to become a Certified Specialist of Wine Education.


Jeff Douglass

Senior Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton

Jeff Douglass presents extensive professional experience in government, non-profit, and corporate sectors. His expertise in communication (strategic communication, public affairs, and information operations), change management, organization efficiency and effectiveness, and human capital and learning have become valued capabilities to clients around the world. His past and present portfolios and experience include the Department of State, Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, Department of Homeland Security, international organizations (United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and commercial clients. The geographic span of roles and missions include Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Asia.

In June 2005, Jeff retired from a U.S. Marine Corps career that spanned thirty years, the last fifteen of which was invested in planning, executing, and managing public and civil affairs. Jeff served as the Operations Officer for the Combined Joint Civil Military Cooperation Task Force, NATO Stabilization Forces (Bosnia and Herzegovina). There, as the senior Marine Corps Officer assigned to Bosnia and Herzegovina, he worked with the Office of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), World Bank, European Union, and the United Nations to rebuild commerce, health, stability, and growth in Bosnia. Upon his return from Bosnia, Colonel Douglass served in a series of public affairs assignments, including Marine Corps Liaison to the White House where he developed and executed a Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs public affairs campaign for the President. Following his White House assignment, Jeff served as Chief of Staff for the Korean War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Committee and Director of Operations for the WWII 60th Anniversary Commemoration Committee.


David Echodu

Chair, Pilgrim Africa

David is the founder and executive partner of a number of non-profit and for-profit entities involved in economic development, public health, education, and policy. Some of David’s involvement includes his work as the Founder of Pilgrim Africa, an organization that focuses on public health and education; the Council for African Policy, which works on policy; and Earthwise ventures, which seeks to restore the ferry system in Lake Victoria, East Africa. David is also involved with Tango, a consulting firm that works on research, policy, and advocacy in East and Central Africa. 

Through the above institutions, David has gained firsthand experience working with the governments of most East and Central African countries as well as American and European partners including The Global Fund, President’s Malaria Initiative with USAID, the European Union, DFID, DANIDA, and the Gates Foundation.


Brent Gray

CFP®, Vice President, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley

Brent comes to Morgan Stanley with 16 years of industry experience. He began his career in finance with Charles Schwab and UBS before joining Banc One Securities, which later became JP Morgan Chase. After coming on board as a Financial Advisor, Brent transitioned into management where he spent seven years in various leadership roles in Arizona, Northern California, Oregon and Western Washington. In 2012, he returned to the role of Financial Advisor when JP Morgan launched its Chase Private Client program for high net worth clients.

Brent’s practice is primarily focused on retirement planning for professionals nearing or currently in retirement. He also focuses on providing dedicated financial planning through ongoing education and financial guidance to women investors.  

Brent attended St. Lawrence University, graduating Cum Laude with a BA in Sociology, and completed his Global MBA through Thunderbird School of International Management. He is a Certified Financial Planner and holds Series 7, 65, 24, 53 and 4 licenses.  Brent has held various board positions with Bainbridge Performing Arts, The Epilepsy Foundation Northwest, and the Thunderbird Alumni Association. He is also currently a member of the Finance Committee at Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church. Brent and his wife, along with their three daughters, currently live on Bainbridge Island.  He stays busy watching his girls perform at the local community theater and compete in gymnastics and also enjoys travel, snowboarding, rock climbing, golf and tennis. 


Krystle Gomez

Founder, CIMI Ventures P.C.

Krystle is founder of CIMI Ventures P.C., where she serves as a legal counsel and business advisor to startups and established companies. Krystle formed CIMI Ventures P.C. to focus her work with collaborators, innovators, makers, and investors from all backgrounds who are working to disrupt the status quo in their respective industries.     

Previously, Krystle worked in the New York and California offices of Troutman Sanders LLP as a corporate attorney, where she served as legal counsel on a wide variety of corporate and transactional matters, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions for domestic and foreign clients. Prior to joining Troutman Sanders LLP, Krystle worked as a legal intern for a 2008 presidential campaign, assisting with federal and state election law and campaign finance law matters. Additionally, in connection with the Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies, she served as a child advocate in termination proceedings, assisted in family reunification efforts, and coordinated with hospital General Counsel, legal officials, and social workers to obtain necessary health care for disabled clients. Krystle has also served as a mediator in numerous pre-trial conflict resolution sessions in Philadelphia. Krystle has represented public and private clients in a wide range of industries, including high tech, bio-tech, pharma, e-commerce, beauty, professional service, management consulting, investment, and real estate development sectors.       

Krystle graduated first in her class in 2006 from the W.P. Carey School of Business and the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a focus on International Business and a minor in English Literature. In 2009, she obtained her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School with a concentration in Business and Public Policy from Wharton. In 2010, she obtained her MBA from Webster University through a global program, which taught business in active corporations and international classrooms through an immersive experience in five major business capitals in Europe and Asia. Krystle is barred to practice law in California, New York, Washington, and Illinois.


Melanie Godinez

Project Manager, National Security, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

Melanie Godinez has been with PNNL for more than 17 years, working directly with internal and external clients as well as a broad range of stakeholders and state and local emergency response personnel. She has served in several capacities in the PNNL National Security Directorate, including Project Manager for the Standards Development Project, Project Lead for the Puget Sound Landside Preventative Radiological/Nuclear Detection Project and Project Manager for the Boat-to-Boat Detection training project. She is also the Deputy Project Manager helping to deliver the NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program’s best-in-class program administration, planning, and implementation. Melanie holds an M.B.A. in Technology Management and a B.S. in Business Administration.


Barbara Hazzard

Program Director and ABAC Coordinator, National Center for APEC

Barbara joined the National Center for APEC in 2010. Established in Seattle in 1994, the National Center for APEC (NCAPEC) is the only U.S. business association focused exclusively on facilitating private sector engagement in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization. 

Barbara is a Program Director responsible for the Center’s policy work and program activities on health, women and the economy, energy security, and food security issues. She works closely with the U.S. business sector, U.S. government, and other relevant stakeholders to identify priorities and initiatives for these policy issues as relevant to U.S. businesses and the Asia-Pacific region.

Barbara also serves as the APEC Business Advisory Council Coordinator (ABAC) for the three U.S. Members to the ABAC.  Established in 1995, ABAC was created as a permanent institutional mechanism for APEC to draw on for private sector input.  ABAC meets four times a year to assess the regional business climate and develop specific input to APEC officials. 

Prior to joining the Center Barbara worked as the Program Director of the Washington Council on International Trade and as the Program Coordinator of the World Affairs Council. Originally from Boise, Idaho, Barbara is a graduate of the University of Washington. Barbara has been active in education issues serving three terms as PTA President of her sons’ school. She lives in the Sunset Hill neighborhood of Ballard with her husband, two sons, and golden retrievers.


Eileen Hynes

Director of Thematic Studies, Lake and Park School

Eileen Hynes is the Director of Thematic Studies at the Lake and Park School in Seattle, where she works across the school with all classrooms and teachers. Eileen has taught for over thirty years in both public and independent schools. Wherever she is teaching, she works to bring the world into the classroom and to create opportunities for students to venture out into the world. Eileen shares her love for developing integrated, globally-focused curriculum with community partners that support schools. Eileen joined the World Affairs Council and began attending Global Classroom workshops in 2001, became a teacher liaison in 2003, and traveled to Turkey with the Turkish Cultural Foundation/World Affairs Council in 2009. In the 2010/2011 school year, she was the Teacher-in-Residence at the World Affairs Council, working to include elementary school-friendly materials in all learning packets and writing the Global Sandbox blog. In 2013, she participated in the Global Classroom Teacher Leaders for Online Exchange Program.

Eileen was named a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow in 2012. She traveled to Arctic Svalbard with National Geographic in 2012 and has continued to contribute to the NatGeo learning community, most recently developing materials for the Washington State Geographic Alliance.  After returning from the Arctic Eileen joined the NOAA Climate Stewards to further her own education and understanding of the causes and effects of climate change on the world’s systems as she worked to develop classroom materials to share with her students.  Eileen joined the National Center for Science Education Teacher Advisory Panel in 2015, and helped pilot the NCSEteach program to help K-12 educators teach about evolution and climate change.  Eileen has also worked with EarthEcho International, which includes the World Water Monitoring Challenge, since 2014 as part of their Learning and Education Advisory Panel.


Joanne Kalas

Associate, Stoel Rives LLP

Joanne Kalas is an associate in Stoel Rives’ Environment, Land Use, and Natural Resources practice group and counsels clients on environmental litigation, transactions, and regulatory compliance. She has experience handling complex environmental litigation and addressing issues related to site remediation, environmental cost recovery, contaminated property transactions, and compliance involving CERCLA, RCRA, TSCA, CWA, and state and municipal environmental laws and regulations. Before joining Stoel Rives, Joanne practiced as an environmental attorney in New Jersey. During law school, she interned for the Pace Law Environmental Litigation Clinic and the UN Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), Defense Support Section, and was a delegate for the Republic of the Marshall Islands at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP-15) for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark. Before starting her legal career, she worked in the field of medical education and managed international conventions for the photography industry.


Peggy Keene

Marketing Communications Director, Esterline

Peggy is a marketing and communications executive with broad experience in local, national, and international industries, primarily aerospace and defense. Peggy currently manages the promotional activities for a division of Esterline Technologies, located in Everett. Esterline is a $2billion+ publicly traded company headquartered in Bellevue.


Quan Vu Le

Eva Albers Professor, Associate Professor of Economics, Director of International Business, Seattle University

Quan Vu Le has been appointed the Eva Albers Professor for 2016-2019. He is the Director of the International Business Programs at Seattle University. Dr. Le teaches primarily in the areas of international economics, macroeconomics, and economic development. His research focuses on the areas of institutions, governance, global health, and entrepreneurship. He has been published in Journal of International Money and Finance, International Review of Financial Analysis, Public Health, and International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research. Dr. Le has twice been a recipient of the Fulbright Scholar, in 2005-2006 at the Vietnam National University in Hanoi and in 2015-2016 at the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program in Ho Chi Minh City. Dr. Le holds a PhD in Economics from Claremont Graduate University, and a Bachelor of Science in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkley


Captain Mark Lakamp

Commanding Officer, Naval Station Everett, U.S. Navy

Captain Lakamp was born in Western Nebraska and raised in central Illinois. He attended the University of Illinois where he received his commission through NROTC in 1992 after earning a B.A. in Political Science. His sea duty assignments include Main Propulsion Division Officer, Gunnery Officer and Main Propulsion Assistant in USS ELLIOT (DD 967); Military Detachment Officer in Charge for USNS YUKON (TAO 202); Chief Engineer in USS HEWITT (DD 966); and Material Officer for Commander Destroyer Squadron Two One. He served as Executive Officer in USS PRINCETON (CG 59) and had the honor of commanding USS McCLUSKY (FFG 41). His most recent sea tour was as the Surface Operations Officer on the staff of Commander, Carrier Strike Group Eleven.

Ashore, he attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA where he earned his M.A. in National Security Affairs. He served as Force Combat Systems Officer and Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Readiness Analysis and Innovation for Commander Naval Surface Force. His joint tour was at United States Strategic Command where he served as Branch Chief for Exercise and Training in JFCC Global Strike Plans Directorate (J5). Prior to reporting as the Commanding Officer of Naval Station Everett, Captain Lakamp served as a Senior Assessor for Engineering Assessments Pacific.


Simon Liepold

Manager of Global Government Affairs, Microsoft

Simon works in Global Government Affairs at Microsoft, covering international policy matters for all of the company’s global operations. As part of this work, he drives programs around the world to help governments and policy makers harness new technologies to enhance public discussion and policy formation of strategic importance. In the course of his eight-year career at the company, he has also worked for Microsoft in Germany in various roles and segments including public relations, corporate affairs, and the company’s small and midsize business group. Prior to joining Microsoft, Simon worked at public affairs firms in Berlin and Brussels. He is a graduate of the University of Constance (Germany), and holds a Masters of Public Affairs and Politics from Rutgers University.


Tom Lombardo

Financial Advisor, Robert W. Baird & Co.

Tom Lombardo is a Seattle financial advisor with the wealth management firm, Robert W. Baird & Co.  He has participated on the boards of several local non-profit organizations in the educational and cultural fields, most recently as board president and treasurer of The Northwest School, a private middle and high school in Seattle serving domestic and international students. As an active member of the World Affairs Council, Tom seeks to engage with people of disparate cultural backgrounds in order learn about the complex forces that lead to both conflict and understanding. He plans this autumn to devote time to teaching English to immigrant refugees at the St. James Immigrant Assistance Program. He is very pleased to join the Fellows Program for the 2016-2017 year.


Kimberly Pearson

Regional Director for Europe, Boeing Commercial Planes International Strategy & Business Development

Ms. Pearson negotiates and manages industrial partnerships in the international strategy and business development markets to expand Boeing’s commercial opportunities and global competitiveness. Previously, Ms. Pearson was the Boeing Defense, Space and Security (BDS) manager in Canada for Industrial Participation from 2007 to May 2011. Based in Ottawa, Ms. Pearson was BDS’ primary liaison to Canadian industry, trade organizations, government agencies, research groups, and academic institutions. Ms. Pearson worked to develop potential Canadian suppliers and Industrial Participation projects and identify collaboration opportunities. She also helped develop and execute BDS’ Industrial Participation strategy for new business campaigns. Ms. Pearson joined The Boeing Company in June 1991. Among her roles at the company, she was responsible for supplier integration for Commercial Airplanes’ 787 Program and managed implementation of tools, processes and training with global partners in support of engineering design activities. 

A Seattle native, Pearson holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business from the University of Washington; she also studied business and marketing at L’École Supérieure de Commerce in Nantes, France. She received a Masters certificate in project management from George Washington University in 2000, and became a Stanford certified project manager in August 2007. Pearson is also certified by the U.S. Department of Defense as a French linguist.


Harkiran Rajasansi

Consul and Program Manager, Foreign Policy & Diplomacy Service, Consulate General of Canada in Seattle

Ms. Rajasansi is a career diplomat with Global Affairs Canada (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development). She has served as the Consul and the Program Manager for the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service Section at the Consulate General of Canada in Seattle since 2012. Ms. Rajasansi’s role at the Consulate focusses on the Canada US bilateral relationship in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Key areas of interest include the Arctic, defense and security, energy and environment, and competitiveness. Ms. Rajasansi served abroad at the Embassy of Canada in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 2005 to 2007. In Ottawa, she has had assignments in the West Europe division, been Canada’s representative on the Committee for Trade and Investment at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and was a senior policy advisor at the Privy Council Afghanistan Task Force.  She also has worked in the Minister of Foreign Affairs office as a departmental advisor. Born in the United Kingdom to parents of Indian origin, Ms. Rajasansi joined the Canadian Foreign Service in January 2003.  She grew up in Kitchener, Ontario and has a B.S. from the University of Waterloo and an M.S. from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London.  She is married and has two children.


Mia Reyes

Program Director, National Center for APEC

Mia Reyes is a Program Director at the National Center for APEC (NCAPEC) where she works on international trade and foreign policy issues on behalf of U.S. industry. She specifically focuses on policy issues such as digital economy/data, trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, small and medium enterprises, and financial services. Prior to joining NCAPEC, Mia served as the Executive Director for a Seattle based non-profit, as well as Program Director for an award-winning social service program. She has traveled extensively and lived in Southern India. Mia holds a Masters of Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington with a certificate in International Development Policy and Management. She received her BA from the University of Washington in Communications.


Bea Rico

Strategic Planning Program Manager, Port of Seattle

As the Program Manager for the Port of Seattle’s Office of Strategic Planning, Bea is responsible for developing and implementing the Port’s five-year strategic long-term plan. She has previously worked in program management, strategy, supply chain, and business development at The Boeing Company and in finance at Lockheed Martin. Bea interned at the White House and for California State Senator Betty Karnette. Bea serves as the President of FYLPRO, an international non-profit organization focused on developing the next generation of Filipino leaders and advocating for the advancement of the Philippines. FYLPRO has a strong partnership with the Republic of the Philippines, Department of Foreign Affairs. Each year, FYLPRO works with the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the Philippine Consulate Generals around the United States to identify the top 10 most outstanding Filipinos in the United States. The top 10 FYLPRO delegates are sent to the Philippines for a week-long leadership immersion program meeting with Philippine government dignitaries and senior executive business leaders, learning more about the Philippine heritage, volunteering in community service, and developing a social impact Legacy Project to implement after the immersion program. Bea was selected as a FYLPRO delegate in 2013. She is a graduate of the George Washington University Business School and the MIT-Universidad de Zaragoza International Logistics & Supply Chain Program. She also received a certificate of advanced project management from Stanford University.


Jessica Rush

Assistant Director, MBA Global Programs, Global Business Center, University of Washington

Jess is responsible for MBA global programs at the Foster School of Business Global Business Center (GBC). GBC programs include Study Tours and University Exchanges as well as on campus opportunities. In addition, she manages center-wide evaluations and assessments in line with the federal CIBER grant. Prior to working at the GBC, she served prospective and current undergraduate students in roles with the UW Admissions and Foster School Undergraduate Programs. Previously, Jess worked with people recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis for a biotechnology company in Cambridge, MA. She received her M.Ed. from the University of Washington with a focus in Higher Education Administration, and her B.A. from Bowdoin College in Biochemistry. Jess lived in Paris, France for a year where she worked as a nanny and has traveled to 25 countries and 30 U.S. states. When she’s not travelling, Jess can be found dancing Kizomba or Bachata, practicing yoga on her stand-up paddle board, learning the Irish fiddle, or seeking some other adventure around Seattle and the PNW.


Rob Saka

Technology, Transactions & Privacy Associate, Perkins Coie

Rob Saka is a technology attorney at Perkins Coie.  Rob focuses his practice on matters involving highly complex global technology transactions, licensing, cloud computing, data security, and privacy. Rob represents rights holders in connection with their worldwide intellectual property and related technology assets. Active in the local community, he serves on the board for the Urban League and is a dedicated pro bono lawyer. Prior to law school, Rob served for 10+ years as an Intelligence Officer in the Air Force Reserves. He is a veteran of the Iraq War, having deployed overseas in support of the “troop surge” of 2007. In his spare time, Rob enjoys competitive distance running and is a qualifier-finisher-survivor of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Rob is a graduate of Kent-Meridian High School, the University of Washington, and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.


Cindy Schaarschmidt

Director, Student Fellowships & Awards, University of Washington Tacoma

Cindy Schaarschmidt holds an M.A. in Media Communications and American Studies from the University of Leipzig, Germany. She is the founding director of the Office of Student Fellowships and Awards at the University of Washington Tacoma where she supports students on their applications for competitive national and international fellowships. Cindy also lends her expertise to a campus-wide student success initiative and serves on the Race and Equity steering committee. Additionally, Cindy is a member of the Executive Board of her professional association, the National Association of Fellowships Advisors (NAFA).

A native German, she has studied and worked abroad in the U.S., Guatemala, the U.K., Russia, and Spain. She is particularly grateful for these international experiences given that she was born and raised in Socialist East Germany until age eleven. In her spare time, Cindy is active in Velofemmes, a women-focused cyclist group in Tacoma, and convenes regular French and Spanish conversation hours in the City of Destiny.


Dmitry Sherbakov

Director of Global Outreach and Programs, The Northwest School

Dmitry began his academic career in metallurgy and materials science at a university in Russia. After the country became more open to the international community in the early nineties, Dmitry was invited to the University of Toronto to work as a research scholar. Upon his return to Russia, Dmitry was charged with the task of internationalizing his university, Southern Ural State University (SUSU).  What was supposed to have been a temporary assignment became a career path. For nearly ten years, Dmitry directed the international affairs office at SUSU, developing and managing over a dozen global projects with universities in the United States and the European Union, administering study abroad programs, and overseeing work with international students at SUSU. Later, he served as Associate Director of the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program (IFP) at the Moscow office of the Institute of International Education (IIE). The IFP offered advanced study opportunities to over 4,000 social justice leaders from the world’s most vulnerable populations in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Russia.  After moving to the United States in 2007, Dmitry continued working with the IFP program helping to build a worldwide community of IFP fellows and alumni. Since 2013, Dmitry has worked at The Northwest School where he manages international marketing efforts and coordinates the school’s global programs with partner schools in China, Ethiopia, France, Spain, and Taiwan. Dmitry was a recipient of a fellowship from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and was awarded special recognition by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation for the development of international education programming.


Wendy Sowers

Director, Product Forecasting & Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Wendy Sowers leads Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ (BCA) analysis of airline industry market dynamics. In her current role, she directs the development of Boeing’s annual Current Market Outlook, a 20-year global forecast for air traffic and airplane demand, as well as near and mid-term market analyses supporting BCA’s business and strategic planning. Wendy has been with BCA for over 15 years in a variety of roles including product marketing, competitor analysis and strategy, and supply chain management. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and English from The College of William and Mary and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Washington.


Kristian Coates Ulrichsen

Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen is the Fellow for the Middle East at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, an Affiliate Professor at the Henry M Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, an Associate Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London, and a Senior Adviser at the King Salman Center for Local Governance at Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Working across the disciplines of political science, international relations, and international political economy, his research examines the changing position of Persian Gulf states in the global order, as well as the emergence of longer-term, nonmilitary challenges to regional security. Coates Ulrichsen holds a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge and has worked as Senior Gulf Analyst at the Gulf Center for Strategic Studies as well as the Co-Director of the Kuwait Program on Development, Governance, and Globalization in the Gulf States at the London School of Economics.

Coates Ulrichsen has published extensively on the Gulf. His books include Insecure Gulf: the End of Certainty and the Transition to the Post-Oil Era (Columbia University Press, 2011) and Qatar and the Arab Spring (Oxford University Press, 2014). In addition, he has authored The Logistics and Politics of the British Campaigns in the Middle East, 1914-22 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and The First World War in the Middle East (Hurst & Co, 2014). His most recent book, The Gulf States in International Political Economy was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015, and his next book, The United Arab Emirates: Power, Politics, and Policymaking, will be published by Routledge in 2017. Coates Ulrichsen’s articles have appeared in numerous academic journals and he regularly provides commentary for global news outlets, including the BBC and the Financial Times. He has worked with and advised governments and companies across Europe, the United States, and the Middle East.


David von Moritz

Legal Assistant (Staff Counsel pending bar admission), WaveDivision Holdings LLC

David moved a great deal as a child, spending most of his upbringing in Oregon, New York, and New Mexico with stints in Germany and Canada. A graduate of the University of Puget Sound, David studied German, Chinese, international affairs and business, and studied abroad in Taiwan and China. Upon graduating from UPS in 2007, he moved to San Francisco to work in public affairs and ecommerce. David returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2008 to work for an ecommerce company in Bellevue, and began his transition to the legal field in late 2009. Initially working for a firm focused on real property matters, David moved to telecommunications where he currently works. At WaveDivision Holdings, David engages in corporate legal matters and is primarily involved regulatory work and mergers and acquisitions. Having recently completed his law degree at Seattle University with a focus in business and international law, David is thrilled for his next step into the corporate legal world as an attorney.


Jack Unbehend

Relationship Manager, The Commerce Bank of Washington

Jack is a native New Yorker. After attending Syracuse University for two years, he transferred to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA to complete his undergraduate degree (BS, Biology). Jack began his banking career in 1995 with Key Bank, where he served as a branch Private Banking Officer in the greater Seattle area. After several years, he transitioned to Foundation Bank to focus on building relationships with established families and business owners, tailoring solutions that met their unique needs. Jack joined The Commerce Bank in early 2007 to unite his private and commercial banking experience, where he currently collaborates with clients who prefer to work closely with their trusted banking advisor to achieve their financial objectives. Jack is a 2010 graduate of Pacific Coast Banking School. A devoted husband and father of two daughters, Jack gives back to the Seattle community through his work as a NE Seattle Little League Softball Coach, Board Member of St. Martin’s Programs, and as the Finance Committee Chairman of Assumption St. Bridget School.


Melissa West

Director of Advocacy, VillageReach

Melissa West is a results-driven advocacy professional with a deep commitment to health and development issues. She has more than twenty years of experience building partnerships and developing strategies to influence stakeholders and motivate action at a global level. Melissa currently leads global advocacy efforts for VillageReach, an organization that develops implements and scales solutions to critical health system challenges in low-resource environments. She serves as vice president on the board of One By One, an organization fighting fistula, a devastating childbirth condition caused by obstructed labor, and is involved with a number of other organizations including her daughters’ schools, Eastlake Community Church, and Wheelchairs for Nigeria.

Previously, Melissa worked as a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in global policy and advocacy, focusing on ensuring all children can access life-saving vaccines. She led advocacy for polio eradication, working with partners at global, national and local levels to create an environment that ensured funding and political will for ending the disease. Prior to the Gates Foundation, Melissa served in government relations, marketing, and communications for organizations including Microsoft, Expedia, and Amgen. She has a Master’s Degree in international policy and a B.A. in business from University of Washington.


Brian Wright

Director of Sales, Nice-Pak Products

Brian Wright is currently the Director of Sales at Nice-Pak Products, a global manufacturer of wet wipes. He manages the international business at Costco where he works with teams throughout North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. Prior to joining Nice-Pak, Brian worked in global procurement at Starbucks and in international buying at Costco Wholesale with over 15 years of retail experience, most of it spent in a global setting.

In addition to his professional roles, he has been a mentor and program manager of the Business Mentoring Connections program at the University of Washington, mentoring students in the Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB) program at the Foster School of Business. Brian has also joined the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at the University of Washington. Brian received his B.A. from the University of Washington in Economics and is a lifelong Husky fan. He currently resides in Seattle with his family including two young children who all enjoy attending Husky sporting events.