Our Team

Juliana Araujo
Vice President, Marketing Management and Global Citizenship

Juliana Araujo is the Vice President for Marketing Management and Global Citizenship. She has more than 20 years of experience overseeing programs with higher education institutions, NGOs, governments and the private sector in Latin America and the United States, including education and student exchange programs between Brazil and the United States. 

Juliana has also led business development, marketing, and communications departments for 500 Fortune corporations in Brazil, Argentina, and the United States where she fostered her capacity for international partnership building for the implementation of programs with economic and social impact, including partnerships to promote international education. She has advocated for global education, organizing and implementing workshops to promote international academic programs targeting U.S. students interested in cultural and educational exchange, and pursuing academic and professional degrees from Latin America and the Caribbean higher education institutions. 

Juliana has further researched and advocated for financial citizenship, holding an executive program certificate in the field of financial inclusion from Harvard Kennedy School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Catholic University of Campinas, Brazil, an MA in Scientific and Technology Policy from State University of Campinas, Brazil, and an MBA from University of Sao Paulo Brazil. She also holds an MA in Education from the Federal University of Sao Carlos, Brazil.

Ukiah Busch
Director, Public Private Partnerships

Ukiah Busch is the Director of Public Private Partnerships at Partners of the Americas, where he oversees the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund and the Study Abroad Diversity Fund, as well as Partners’ annual Higher Education Partnership conference.  In a previous role, Mr. Busch led Partners’ higher education membership strategy and played a key role in building the network of more than 1,800 institutions that currently make up the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Network.  In 2011, Mr. Busch became the first recipient of the Machado “Intrapreneurial” Fellowship for his development of the PartnersCampus Student Chapter initiative, which connects university students at institutions across the Americas for international service and leadership activities.  

In 2010, Mr. Busch served in Ecuador as a legal advisor for immigrants and refugees in the human rights organization, Movilidad Humana.

Mr. Busch earned degrees in Italian, French and Spanish from the University of Georgia and a Masters of International Relations from American University in Washington, DC.

Abraham Cisne
Director, Economic Development & Health

Abraham Cisne is a Director with the Economic Development and Health Unit and manages Farmer-to-Farmer programming focused on revitalizing agricultural sector productivity and increasing food security in vulnerable communities. He started at Partners of the Americas as a program officer and worked up to management supporting and leading projects involving youth, leadership, entrepreneurship, education and culture, and peace efforts.

Abraham holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He has worked on programming across Latin America and the Caribbean and has short-term experiences in Europe and Asia.

Debra Cooper
Chief Financial Officer

Debra Cooper is the Chief Financial Officer at Partners of the Americas. Over the course of Debra’s 26 years as a CPA, her path has included public accounting, several not for profit organizations, and construction. Her focus throughout has been on driving business forward by undertaking transformational initiatives, navigating complexity and ambiguity, embracing disruption, and ultimately removing obstacles. 

As a champion of innovation and improvement initiatives in process, reporting, and workflow, she creates a sustainable and reliable environment. As an adept change management expert, she leads system implementations and process standardizations, assessing impacts enterprise-wide.

Laura Cossette
Senior Program Officer, 100,000 Strong in the Americas

Laura Cossette is the Senior Program Officer for the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund. Laura brings with her years of experience in international studies and work. She holds a B.A. in International Studies with a concentration in Latin American Studies from Soka University of America and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. In these roles, she has focused on human rights, gender studies, post-conflict reconstruction, and education.

As part of her studies, Laura co-authored a policy memo identifying priority issues and recommendations for the purpose of lobbying U.S. policymakers to support gender-inclusive peace building in Colombia. She has a passion for convening stakeholders from a variety of sectors in both regions in order to cultivate positive bilateral relations and formulate creative solutions to hemispheric problems.

Originally from San Francisco, California, Laura has had the opportunity to live, work, and study in Spain, Perú, and Colombia and has traveled to over 20 countries. Her passion for education and interest in the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund was sparked by her experience as an English Language Instructor in Cusco and as an intern with a rural education reform program at a Bogotá-based non-profit. Through these experiences, Laura has developed professional-level fluency in Spanish and has become committed to cultivating sustainable, equitable, and just bilateral relations between the United States and Latin America.

Rachel Falek
Communications Officer

Rachel Falek is the Communications Officer at Partners of the Americas. Her primary role is to share Partner’s story and impact by collaborating closely with over a dozen international development programs and a grassroots chapter across 30 countries. 

Prior to joining Partners, Rachel strived to better communities and ensure access to human rights at numerous organizations, including the Center for Health and Gender Equity, Girls Inc., PAI, Prevent Human Trafficking, and the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault. At the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, Rachel worked on a six-figure national media ad buy that led to over 35,000 constituents contacting their Congress members. She is eager to continue working to make a difference in minority communities. 

Rachel graduated summa cum laude from American University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Gender Studies.

Jane Haines
Senior Program Officer, Economic Development and Health Unit

Jane Haines is a Senior Program Officer for the Economic Development and Health Unit at Partners of the Americas. Her primary role is to support the Unit’s USDA Food For Progress project in Colombia aimed at strengthening the cacao value chain and improving living incomes for smallholder farmers through crop diversification. Jane returns to Partners after interning with the EDH Unit in 2016.

Prior to joining Partners, Jane served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia and worked for London-based NGO Marie Stopes International. She graduated from American University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and economics. Jane is excited to apply her knowledge of Colombia and Spanish language skills in this new role

Fadrique Iglesias
Director, Child Protection Unit

Fadrique Iglesias is the Director of the Child Protection Unit at Partners of the Americas. His primary role is to provide technical and operational leadership to facilitate implementation of combating child labor projects in Colombia, Ecuador, and Paraguay. 

Prior to joining Partners, Fadrique worked at the Inter-American Foundation at the External and Government Affairs Office, at the Inter-American Development Bank's Division of Culture and Solidarity Affairs, and with grassroots organizations such as the Capital Area Food Bank in D.C. and Proyecto Martadero in Bolivia. 

He holds a master’s degree in Local Economic Development and a bachelor's degree in Labor Studies from the University of Valladolid in Spain. In his parallel life, Fadrique represented Bolivia in the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in 800 meters, writes non-fiction stories, and participated as speaker in a TEDx event in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

 

Jessica Karcz
Associate Director, Business Development

Jessica is the Associate Director of Business Development at Partners of the Americas. She is a subject-matter expert in international development, program design, corporate responsibility, human rights, conflict resolution, and governance. She aims for meaningful progress for marginalized and vulnerable populations through conflict transformation, economic growth, comprehensive data collection, holistic approaches to fieldwork and program design, and maximizing the efficacy of public-private partnerships and intergovernmental initiatives.

This passion stems from Jessica's experience living through the consequences of poor governance and community violence in Mexico, field research in Colombia, graduate studies at Georgetown University focused on conflict, political corruption, and sources of violence, and seven years of professional experience including designing and managing multi-million dollar democracy and human rights projects funded by USAID and the U.S Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).

Penelope Kim
Director, 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund

Penelope Kim is the Director for the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund. 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
Associate Director, Exchanges & Global Citizenship

Ms. Lyons leads international youth leadership programming by 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. Ms. Lyons previously provided assistance in overseeing the grant competition review process for Higher Education Institutions applying for opportunities through the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund.

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 through 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 right and environmental awareness campaigns, youth leadership and life skills workshops and the constructions 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.

Ms. Lyons 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. 

Yewande “Lola” Maraiyesa
Program Officer, Business Development

Yewande “Lola” Maraiyesa is a Program Officer in the Business Development Unit. She began her time with Partners as the President’s Office Intern.

Lola also works as a Residential Coordinator and Volunteer Outreach Advocate with FAIR Girls, an organization that provides intervention and holistic care to female survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. Lastly, she volunteers on a weekly basis with D.C. Public Schools as a Reading Partners Tutor.

Lola graduated from the American University in Cairo’s (Egypt) School of Global Affairs and Public Policy in 2019 as a Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellow receiving her MA in Global Affairs, concentrating in international security. In 2017, Lola received her BA with honors in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

A native of Lagos, Nigeria and exposed to many different cultures, Lola developed an interest in learning about the world at a young age and has tailored both her professional and personal pursuits to discover and use the tools, knowledge, and resources to build her competencies as a global leader. She is fiercely passionate about addressing and alleviating some of the factors that contribute to international in-security, such as human trafficking, and socio-economic inequalities. Her long-term goal is to work in this fields back home in the West African region.

Lola is Fluent in her native language Yoruba and is currently working towards developing her professional competencies in French, Arabic, and Spanish to be able to serve as many communities around the world as possible.

Danielle Martin
Senior Finance and Administration Officer

Danielle Martin is a Senior Finance and Administration Officer 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.

Kelly McNally
Program Officer, Economic Development & Health

Kelly McNally serves as the Program Officer for the Economic Development & Health Unit. She supports the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program in recruiting highly qualified volunteers for 2-4 week technical assignments. She conducts orientations for the volunteers prior to departure for their assignments and acts as a liaison between headquarters and field staff during their assignments. Kelly also conducts outreach to industry contacts, associations, universities, and other organizations to raise awareness of the Farmer-to-Farmer program and recruit potential volunteers.

Kelly is a former agricultural extensionist volunteer for Peace Corps Panama from 2016-2018. As a volunteer, she worked alongside several Panamanian government agencies to develop projects for her community and trained community members on innovative techniques to improve crop yields, pest management, and how to work in a cooperative. In this role, she developed her skills as a facilitator and project manager. Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in Global Environments & Sustainability from the University of Virginia.

Susanna Meyer
Senior Program Officer, Economic Development & Health

Susie Meyer is the Senior Program Officer for the Economic Development & Health (EDH) Unit at Partners. She is joining the team from her previous role as Senior Membership Officer in which she provided support and guidance to the Partners Chapter and Higher Education networks. She will be supporting the EDH unit with volunteer recruitment for the USAID-funded Farmer to Farmer program, coordinating logistics and providing orientations for technical volunteers embarking on 2-4 week assignments in the field. She will act as a liaison between Partners field staff and headquarters and will conduct outreach to external stakeholders and other interested organizations.

Susie is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and holds a B.A. in Geography and Latin American Studies from Colgate University. She served as a Fulbright García Robles scholar in Aguascalientes, México from 2015-2016, and subsequently worked as an English professor at the Universidad Tecnológica del Retoño in El Llano, Aguascalientes, Mexico.

John McPhail
President & CEO of Partners of the Americas

John is the President & CEO at Partners of the Americas. He brings over 20 years of leadership experience at nonprofit organizations across the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean and is a seasoned expert in partnership building, strategic planning, and stakeholder engagement. He is passionate about community development in Latin America and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador. After his service, he remained in country for a total of over fifteen years, marrying a Salvadoran doctor and raising their three daughters.​

John brings significant experience as a country and regional director for international nonprofits including Save the Children, World Vision, and Project Concern International. He has held leadership positions on the Boards of numerous local nonprofits and associations in El Salvador, providing operational and strategic direction. He coordinated or co-coordinated  multiple national and regional networks in Central America in health, water & sanitation and agriculture/food security. John received a BSc in Civil Engineering from MIT and a Master's in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois / Urbana-Champaign. He is fluent in Spanish and has a working knowledge of French.​

Maia Moore
Program Officer, Education and Exchanges

Maia is a Program Officer for Education and Exchanges at Partners of the Americas. She supports U.S. Department of State-funded programs that promote professional development among U.S. exchange alumni and leadership development among youth in Latin America. As an exchange alum herself, Maia started her time with Partners attending one of the professional development programs. She then joined the team as an intern in 2020 and is thrilled to return as a staff member. 

Maia’s youth exchange in Mexico propelled a life-long pursuit of Latin American studies and Spanish language learning. She received her MA in Teaching and BA in Psychology & Spanish from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. In college, she studied abroad in Argentina, and after graduating returned for two years as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant and Coordinator. 

Committed to a whole-person approach, Maia values the right to an education and sees international education as a huge asset to an individual’s (and in turn community) growth. She looks forward to working with Partners on equitable and ethical youth development and exchange alumni programming to engage global citizens in harnessing their passion and potential to make positive change.

Michael Moscarelli
Vice President, Economic Development & Health

Michael Moscarelli is the Vice President of the Economic Development & Health Unit. 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.

Marcio Nascimento
Vice President, Business Development

Marcio Nascimento is the Vice President of Business Development. His primary responsibilities include leading business development efforts, contributing to strategic planning, cultivating relationships with donors, and developing partnerships.

Prior to his work at Partners, Marcio worked for various international NGOs including FHI360, Pact, Plan International, and Chemonics International, leading business development, program management, and supporting operations and systems enhancement. He has managed health sector projects in Africa and worked extensively on business development throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.  

Marcio has professional experience in the health, democracy and governance, education, and economic development sectors. He holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from Salve Regina University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Fitchburg State University.

Anthony Nguyen
Budget Analyst

Anthony Nguyen is a Budget Analyst at Partners of the Americas. In his role, Anthony analyzes Partners’ financial situation, budget and imbursement for internal control and management.

Prior to joining Partners, Anthony worked for Vietnam Investment Group, a private equity firm, where he conducted market, company and competitor research to support the launching of three new business plans.

Anthony enjoys working for Partners as he is gaining exposure to an American professional working environment and he likes the organization’s family-like work environment.

Anthony obtained his Master’s Degree in International Finance and Banking from the University of Portsmouth in the U.K.

Kellen Parrish
Senior Program Officer, Economic Development & Health

Kellen Parrish is the Senior Program Officer for Economic Development and Health. His primary responsibilities include Monitoring and Evaluation for Farmer to Farmer field activities and helping develop work plans for F2F volunteers. Kellen has a background in project management and agricultural development with specific technical experience in aquaculture from time spent working and researching in the private seafood sector in California. 

Kellen's interest in agriculture began as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in International Business from the California Maritime Academy. He also holds a Master’s degree in International Agricultural Development from UC Davis. In his spare time Kellen enjoys freediving, spearfishing, reading, spending time with his family and refurbishing antique wristwatches. 

Carmen Peña
Vice President, Child Protection Unit

Carmen Peña, a native Colombian, leads the Child Labor Unit. In her role, she oversees three flagship projects – EducaFuturo, Paraguay Okakuaa and Colombia Avanza. She also manages a sub-agreements for a USDOL funded project in Costa Rica and a USAID funded project in Honduras.

Carmen 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.

Carmen 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 Educare in Guayana and Educame Primero in Colombia to combat the worst forms of child labor through education. Carmen’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 extensively travel, study and work in several Latin American countries.

Shannon (PJ) Pierre-Jerome
Senior Executive Assistant

Shannon (PJ) Pierre-Jerome is the Senior Executive Assistant to the President & CEO at Partners of the Americas. Her primary role is to provide support to the President & CEO. She is the main point of contact for all matters pertaining to the office of the President & CEO and serves as a liaison with the Board of Directors. 

PJ joins Partners as a scholar and professional. She holds an M.A. in Intercultural Communication from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and a B.A. in Foreign Language from Towson University. Her global perspective, in part, was cultivated by her study abroad experiences in Panama City, Panama, and Havana, Cuba, as well as through her service as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) volunteer in Peace Corps Macedonia from 2011 to 2013.

Originally from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, PJ recognizes her Haitian-American roots and Baltimorean grit as sources of motivation in and outside of the workplace. In addition to her love for language and culture, she enjoys traveling, staying informed, and contributing to community empowerment.

Olivia Robertson-Moe
Program Officer, Child Protection Unit

Olivia Robertson-Moe is a Program Officer for the Child Protection Unit at Partners of the Americas. Her primary role is to support the technical and operational implementation of the Unit’s projects to combat child labor and human trafficking in Colombia, Ecuador, and Paraguay.

Prior to joining the Child Protection Unit at Partners, Olivia developed her interest in human rights as a staff assistant at an immigration law firm and as the Communications Officer for her university’s chapter of ONE, an organization combatting extreme poverty and preventable disease in Africa. After serving as an intern for Partners’ Economic Development and Health Unit for seven months, she is very excited to continue her work supporting the organization’s development projects in the Americas.

Olivia graduated from George Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and a concentration in Global Public Health. During her junior year, she spent 6 months studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which furthered her interest in Spanish and her passion for international sustainable development in the region.

Janira Romero Reyes
Associate Director, Economic Development & Health

Janira Romero Reyes, Associate Director of the Economic Development & Health Unit, supports and monitors country directors for the Farmer-to-Farmer projects funded by USAID. Her primary role is to assist the operations of field offices in Latin America and the Caribbean and evaluate the progress of countries’ projects. Janira brings project management knowledge and experience of working in the field with local community members.

Janira is a former TEFL volunteer for Peace Corps Ukraine from 2010-2012 and a former Network Support Officer for Teach A Man To Fish (a London-based NGO) in Guatemala from 2014-2015. In both roles, Janira liaised with the implementing organization and the beneficiaries of the programs, leveraging communications with stakeholders in the local, regional, and national levels. Janira is a master’s graduate in Education, Gender, & International Development from University College London and has exercised this knowledge by developing curriculum plans for diversity & inclusion programs. She continues to be a passionate advocate of cross-cultural exchanges for developing global competence, as well as improved livelihoods of women & youth through economic development opportunities.

 

Yohana Romero-Lopez
Accountant

Yohana Romero-Lopez is an Accountant at Partners of the Americas. Her primary role at Partners is to support the Finance staff in their daily operations. During the weekends, Yohana volunteers at her church as a teaching assistant in Washington, DC.

 Prior to joining Partners, Yohana has worked for the Cabbage Patch Settlement House, a social service organization in Louisville, Kentucky and the Arlington Community Foundation in Virginia.

Yohana is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Marymount University. Previously, she obtained an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies from the Academy of Health Sciences at Prince George’s Community College in May 2015.

Javiera Salinas
Senior Program Officer, Child Protection

Javiera Salinas is the Senior Program Officer for the Child Protection Unit. Her primary role is to support the implementation and oversight of the Unit's United States Department of Labor-funded and USAID projects. She acts as the main point of contact for the field offices in Paraguay, Colombia, Costa Rica and Honduras. 

In her junior year of college, Javiera interned at Partners for the Program Development department through the Global Politics Fellows program at GMU she interned at Partners for the Program Development department.

Javiera is originally from Santiago, Chile and is passionate about economic/social development and youth empowerment in Latin America. Javiera is eager to continue supporting the various programs in her unit, making an impact in the lives of youth and families throughout Latin America.

Javiera holds a B.A. in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Governance and a minor in Latin American Studies from George Mason University.

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.

Denise Torres
Program Officer, Economic Development & Health

Denise Torres is a Program Officer with the Economic Development and Health Unit and supports Farmer-to-Farmer programming focused on revitalizing agricultural sector productivity and increasing food security in vulnerable communities. Prior to joining Partners, Denise worked at Freedom House where she helped manage a Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights program in Central America. Previously, she was a consultant at the World Federation of UN Associations supporting advocacy initiatives on Sustainable Development Goal 16 for Peace, Justice, and Inclusion.

Denise graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and international politics. Her passion for Latin America stems from her Argentine roots and years spent living and working in Bogotá, Colombia.

Sheila Sullivan
Director, Economic Development & Health

Sheila Sullivan is an Director in the Economic Development and Health Unit at Partners of the Americas, where she manages the F2F Agricultural Volunteer Opportunity Project. Prior to joining Partners, she managed a global portfolio of volunteer-sending projects at VEGA (Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance) and worked on the F2F Special Program Support Project.

Sheila’s previous experience includes managing health programs at one of Australia’s largest international development NGOs, and as a reporting consultant for the UN World Food Program. She holds a Master’s degree in International Development from the University of Kent Brussels School of International Studies.

 

Renata Torres
Associate Director, HR | Talent Management & Acquisition

Renata is the Associate Director of HR at Partners of the Americas. In her role, Renata supports the President’s Office and manages the human resources, facilities functionalities and contracts compliance.

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Renata worked with one of the most successful organizations in the healthcare management field of her country. She brings more than 12 years of experience in office management, finance operations and quality control management systems to Partners.

After her arrival in the U.S., Renata graduated with a Business Administration degree from Marymount University, in Arlington, VA. She also gained experience in contract management, specifically as it relates to federal awards and mandatory provisions of USAID, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of State. Additionally, Renata has excellent interpersonal skills and a deep passion for development in Latin America.

Renata joined Partners in August 2017, when she was looking for an organization where she could maximize her mission and values. According to Renata, what she likes most about being part of the Partners’ team is the opportunity to be part of something bigger than herself, capable of changing lives.

Stephanie Verganza
Senior Program Officer, Economic Development & Health

Stephanie Verganza is a Senior Program Officer for the Economic Development & Health Unit. Her primary role is in assisting with the implementation of the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program in Latin America & the Caribbean. Prior to joining Partners, Stephanie spent a year in Brazil as a Boren Scholar studying Portuguese and Brazilian culture. Her previous professional experiences include working at the Women's Foreign Policy Group, the US National Committee on UN Women-Los Angeles, and the Pacific Council on International Affairs.

Stephanie graduated from the University of California, Irvine with Bachelors degrees in economics and international studies. As an undergraduate, she participated in the Public Policy and International Affairs fellowship at Princeton University and spent two years studying security and development in Central America. As the daughter of Guatemalan parents, Stephanie is very passionate about economic development and social issues in Latin America.

 

William D. Webber
Associate Director, Membership
William D. Webber is the Associate Director of Membership at Partners of the Americas. In this role, William oversees membership operations, the Chapter network, and PartnersCampus. He previously served as the Program Officer for Education and Exchanges at Partners, where he worked primarily to support the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund. 
 
Prior to joining Partners, William worked for NAFSA: Association of International Educators where he supported professionals who assist and advise international students and scholars. During his graduate studies, he studied education in Cuba as well as completed field research on international academic exchanges in Mexico. His additional international experiences include study abroad programs in France, Chile, and Tanzania. Adding to his experience, he was an English Program Coordinator in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has extensive travel experience to over 30 countries.
 
He earned his M.A. in International Education from The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education & Human Development with a specialization in Latin American & Hemispheric Studies. William completed a B.S. in International Studies with a concentration in European Cultural Studies and a B.A. in French and Spanish as well as minors in Adolescence Education and Political Science from The State University of New York at Fredonia.
Hanyu Zhang
Accountant

Hanyu Zhang is an Accountant at Partners of the Americas. His responsibilities include data entry and audit of staff and volunteer expense reports and check/wire requests. At the same time, He also supports the Finance team in its core functions and day-to-day operations.

In the Spring of 2018, Hanyu worked as an Executive Business Center extern at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and helped process hundreds of meeting requests during the 2018 Spring Meetings held by the IMF and the World Bank Group.

Hanyu believes that helping people and making the world a better place is one of the most rewarding experiences in life he is proud to work at the Partners and do meaningful work that helps communities.

Prior to coming to U.S., Hanyu worked as a self-employed trader in China for four years. During these years, he devised a personalized trading system to find investment opportunities with best risk.

Hanyu is currently pursuing his Masters Degree in Finance from George Washington University. He obtained his undergraduate degree in both economics and management from the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China.