Reconnecting with our past, building connections, and energizing our community for the future.

Thanks to the AMIGOS community for an inspiring Summit!

AMIGOS Board Chair Patricia Grad said inspiration would be unavoidable—and that proved true! In our 55-year history, we have never hosted an event with so many opportunities to see the power of our impact.

The head, the soul, and the heart of AMIGOS were on display. And we even debuted a brand-new video that tells our story from 1965 to present. You can watch it here.


Michael and Jeff Zimbalist gave us an insider’s perspective on documentary filmmaking.


The audience was moved hearing stories that were inspirational and thought-provoking.


The young alumni panelists had us laughing as they recounted stories of working on service projects and learning new words in Spanish. They shared how their AMIGOS experiences opened their eyes to the world and continue to influence their futures.


Ambassador Arnold Chacon and California’s Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday shared how AMIGOS influenced their career trajectory and helped cement their belief in the value of service.


There are many big problems facing our communities. We were inspired by panelists Kirsten Tobey, Co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer at Revolution Foods, John-Paul Maxfield, Founder and President at Waste Farmers, and Vicki Barghout, Founder and CEO of Viver Health, and how they are each harnessing the power of business to find solutions. We are eager to consider ways to highlight social entrepreneurship in future AMIGOS programs.


The Philip C. Johnson Alumni Service Award was given to Mike Kercheval, AMIGOS alumnus and current Treasurer of the Board of Directors.

Thanks for an incredible event! If you would like to share your photos, please email [email protected].

October 18 & 19, 2019

Hotel ZaZa

Houston, Texas

Click here to add this event to your calendar.

The AMIGOS Summit is a new way to reconnect with and celebrate our alumni by highlighting them as panel speakers and experts in their fields. In this forum, we will discover where life after AMIGOS has taken our panelists in film, government, and entrepreneurship and explore the role AMIGOS has had in shaping their personal values and professional path.

This year’s program will also

  • Explore the depth and relevance of our current programs in today’s world
  • Examine the critical role of change management in supporting organization growth
  • Offer new social event models such as Saturday night’s Moveable Feast

Program available for download here.

Attendees include:

  • AMIGOS Board of Directors
  • Chapter Leaders
  • Foundation for AMIGOS Trustees
  • Advisory and Regional Council Members
  • Headquarters Staff
  • Past board members, key stakeholders, and members of our local Houston community

Click on the Programs Tab to learn more about the inspiring Summit Panelists.

Program available for download here.

Friday, October 18th

Welcome & Summit Kick-Off

3:30–3:50 PM

Board chair Patricia Grad will welcome all attendees to the inaugural AMIGOS Summit.

AMIGOS: 2020 and Beyond

3:50–4:15 PM

Sara Nathan, President & CEO and members of the Strategic Plan Task Force share how AMIGOS has evolved and discuss our plans for the future.

A Window Into AMIGOS 365

4:15–4:35 PM

Gap Program volunteers in Montevideo, Uruguay join via video chat for a virtual meet and greet with Summit attendees.

Reception and Evening Program: Dinner and A Conversation with Michael and Jeff Zimbalist

5:00–9:30 PM

AMIGOS alumni Michael Zimbalist (’97, ’00) and Jeff Zimbalist (’95, ’96, ’98, ’99, ’08) co-founded All Rise Films, an Academy Award-shortlisted, Emmy, and Peabody Award-winning media company dedicated to bringing exciting and authentic stories to global audiences. Since 2004, the Zimbalists have shared powerful stories through their films about community, sports, music, and occasionally international crime.

On Friday night, Michael and Jeff will share about their AMIGOS experience and incredible film making career. All guests are warmly invited to a reception preceding the event at 5:00pm and to dinner at 7:30pm after the program has concluded.



Saturday, October 19th

Session: Fresh Perspectives: Finding Inspiration in the Next Generation of Leaders

Saturday, 9:00–10:00 AM

Recent alumni share their experiences with the Discover AMIGOS Program, Summer Immersion Program, and the National Young Alumni Council. Learn about the perspectives of today’s youth and why immersive global leadership experiences like AMIGOS provide a truly unique opportunity for learning and growth.

National Young Alumni Council member and Youth Ambassadors Program alumnus Ashley Lin will share her experience with AMIGOS. Ashley says, “I want to share with my peers that yes, you can travel even if you’re in high school. Yes, immersing yourself in another culture really does change the way you appreciate the present. Yes, do some soul-searching and path-creating with AMIGOS. And no, this isn’t just a summer program. By joining AMIGOS, you’re joining a network of peers and mentors who want to see you succeed just as much as you do.”





Jordan (Jojo) Chase (’18, ’19) brings a unique perspective to the panel, as he has participated in both our Discover and Summer Immersion programs. In 2018 he joined the Discover AMIGOS Panama Project and returned to Panama in 2019 with our 4-week Coclé project. Back in Panama for the second time, he was able to visit his host family from the previous summer and celebrate his host abuela’s 101st birthday! Jojo is a sophomore at The Post Oak School in Houston, and interns at the AMIGOS office. He’s looking forward to his third summer with AMIGOS this year in Peru!

Amelia Heymach (’18) is a senior at Episcopal High School in Houston. Her interest in public health led her to AMIGOS in 2018 when she joined our 8-week project in Chimborazo, Ecuador. Amelia is the Vice President of the AMIGOS Club at her high school and is currently navigating the wonderful world of college applications!






Chloe Pence (’19) joined AMIGOS through the Austin Chapter. She is a junior at Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin, Texas. Passionate about working with youth, Chloe was excited to volunteer in Santa Elena, Ecuador in 2019 with a project theme of youth empowerment.






Matthew Travers, Project Staff Representative to the Board and three-time Project Staff (Panama ’16, Colombia ’17, and Mexico ’18) will moderate the panel. Matthew is a bilingual sociologist who studies the intersection of leadership development, community building, and international education. He currently works at Atlas Corps, a nonprofit addressing critical social issues by developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and promoting innovation through an overseas fellowship of skilled nonprofit professionals.




Session: Life After AMIGOS: Exploring the Enduring Impact of Our Programs

Part I: Leaders in Their Field: Diplomacy and Public Service

Saturday, 10:00–10:50 AM

Moderated by Doug Alexander

Ambassador Arnold Chacon (’74, ’75, ’76, ’77, ’78, ’79) is a career member of the United States Foreign Service currently serving as the Senior Vice President at the National Defense University. He has held senior leadership positions at the State Department, including Chief of Mission in Guatemala and Chief Human Capital Officer. He is widely recognized for his expertise in Latin American and European affairs, talent management, communication strategies and building a diverse workforce.

Prior to his service in Guatemala, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Spain. His other diplomatic assignments include postings to U.S. Missions in Honduras, Mexico, Chile, Italy, Peru, Ecuador, and the United Nations. Ambassador Chacon joined the AMIGOS Board of Directors in 2019. From 1974–1979, he served with AMIGOS in Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, and Mexico as a volunteer, route leader and member of the AMIGOS international staff. A life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Ambassador Chacon is a Boettcher Foundation Scholar and graduate of the University of Colorado. His wife Alida Chacon is retired from the Foreign Service and they have three children.


Josh Fryday (’98) was recently appointed California’s Chief Service Officer, leading the organization California Volunteers. Before this role, Josh was the mayor and city council member of Novato, CA. In his professional capacity, Josh served as President of Golden State Opportunity, working to provide financial security to low-income working people throughout California. Prior to that, he served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for NextGen Climate, a leading national organization focused on climate change and clean energy. Josh volunteered with AMIGOS in the Dominican Republic in 1998.



Doug Alexander (‘70–’74) will moderate the panel. Doug is widely regarded as one of the premier advocates specializing in practice before the Supreme Court of Texas and is listed by Texas Super Lawyers as one of the Top 10 lawyers in Texas. Doug is the 2013 recipient of the Texas Bar Foundation’s Gregory S. Coleman Outstanding Appellate Lawyer Award; was selected as the 2013 Austin Appellate Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America; and is listed in the Texas Lawyer Go-To Guide as one of five “Top-Notch Lawyers” in Texas for Appellate Law.

Doug is recognized as a leader in the appellate bar. He has been selected by his peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America in Appellate Law; is listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in Appellate Litigation; and has been inducted as a Fellow into the by-invitation-only American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.

Doug served on the AMIGOS Board of Directors from 1986-2002, 2005-2007, 2018 and as Foundation for AMIGOS Trustee from 2014-2017. He participated in AMIGOS from 1970-1974 in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Colombia.



Session: The Role of Youth Programming in an Evolving Latin America

Saturday, 11:00–11:40 AM

During this TED-talk style session, our team will discuss the current sociopolitical context of life in Latin America. Using lived volunteer experiences as a narrative lens, we’ll unpack how AMIGOS programs plug into the broader social context, including how AMIGOS contributes to local initiatives and promotes youth leadership development across the Americas.



Session: Reflections on AMIGOS in Action

Saturday, 11:40 AM–12:00 PM

Grab your passport, your polo, and your spirit of adventure and head to Latin America with us! Hear from alumni and supporters who recently had the chance to see first-hand how AMIGOS is evolving while continuing to provide unparalleled youth leadership experiences.

Supporters trip to Costa Rica, 2019


Almuerzo con AMIGOS

Saturday, 12:00–1:00 PM

President & CEO Sara Nathan and AMIGOS staff and leadership field a Town Hall-style discussion over lunch.


Session: Life After AMIGOS: Exploring the Enduring Impact of Our Programs

Part II: Leaders in Their Field: Social Enterprise and Innovation for Public Good

Saturday, 1:00–1:50 PM

Moderated by Kirk Iverson

Kirsten Tobey (’94, ’96, ’98) co-founded Revolution Foods in 2006 while in graduate school at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Based in Oakland, Revolution Foods is becoming the nation’s leading innovative, nationwide food solution for citywide wellness. Revolution Foods serves approximately 2 million healthy, affordable meals per week across 15 states, serving over 2000 school and community sites in the US. Revolution Foods’ mission is to build lifelong healthy eaters by making kid-inspired, chef-crafted food accessible to all.

Revolution Foods has been named by Fast Company as one of the world’s 50 most innovative companies and has been listed as one of Fortune Magazine’s “Seven World-Changing Companies to Watch.”  Kirsten is a social entrepreneurship fellow for the Schwab Foundation, as well as an Ashoka Fellow, an Aspen Institute Environmental Fellow, and a member of the Culinary Institute of America’s Business Council. She currently is a member of the Board of Directors for Mercaris and ARTA River Trips.

Prior to founding Revolution Foods, Kirsten was a teacher, researcher, and garden educator. Her AMIGOS service included Costa Rica (volunteer – 1994), Ecuador-Manabi (Field Supervisor – 1996) and Ecuador-Cotopaxi (Associate Project Director – 1998).  Kirsten holds an AB from Brown University and an MBA from UC Berkeley. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three daughters.


In 2009, John-Paul Maxfield (’98) left the world of private equity without a clear plan for his future. He did know that idealism and capitalism can coexist. John-Paul didn’t know what the next 9 years (and three kids later) would look like, but he did know that building a company with strong, regenerative values can be a powerful lever for addressing emerging social and environmental needs. That’s why he founded Waste Farmers and is hell bent on building the biggest and most responsible conglomerate in the history of mankind. Acknowledged as one of Denver Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40, “Fifty for the Future” by the Colorado Statesman, and the “Top of the Town Environmentalist” by 5280, John-Paul’s purpose is “to build one of the greatest, most responsible companies that’s ever been built.”

Additionally, John-Paul helped form the Colorado Americana Band, Coal Town Reunion. The band’s approach to music is simple, write honest songs and play the hell outta them. CTR just recently released a new album entitled “Stories We Tell.”

John-Paul served with AMIGOS in the Dominican Republic.


Vicki Barghout, MSPH (’93) volunteered with AMIGOS in Mexico. She became inspired from her experience to be an advocate for health education. As a result of her experience with AMIGOS and being a breast cancer survivor, she founded Viver Health to educate and empower people about the importance of eating healthy and understanding the impact food can have on the body.

Viver Health publishes portable pocket guides that empower users to reduce the risk of disease by integrating healthy food choices with good daily habits. The inaugural published guide, “Reduce Your Risk of Cancer,” is based on her own personal action plan of melding modern science with back-to-basics food techniques to minimize the side effects of her treatment. By the time of her surgery, her aggressive tumor was undetectable, and today she is 9 years cancer free and is happily married with 2 beautiful daughters.

Vicki has worked in the health care industry for over 20 years, leading various pharmaceutical divisions for Novartis US Oncology health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) and Pricing, Global Novartis GI Franchise HEOR, and Bayer HEOR. Her roles included implementing patient reported outcomes, health economic endpoints, and pricing for compounds in development. She also has worked on multiple drug launches and post launch activities focusing on oncology, gastroenterology neurology, primary care, women’s health, and diagnostics. She has published over 35 manuscripts in top-tier journals and has presented over 110 abstracts at major international conferences. Her work in gastroenterology has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She has lived in multiple countries, including Switzerland, England, Mexico, and Guatemala. She received her undergraduate degree from Loyola University Maryland and her graduate degree from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. Vicki is also a certified nutrition integrative health coach.


Kirk Iverson (’94, ’95) is the Founder & CEO of Globalcraft. Kirk joined the AMIGOS Board of Directors in 2019. He served with AMIGOS in ’94-’95 in Ecuador and Honduras. He lives in Portland, OR.


Session: Finding Your Inspiration in AMIGOS Today

Saturday, 2:00–3:00 PM

In this interactive session we will explore what drives and inspires our community. Draw on your own AMIGOS experiences and takeaways from the Summit in this closing session.


Reception and Dinner: A Moveable Feast

Saturday, 6:00–9:00 PM

A dazzling variety of unique dinners will be hosted in the private homes of alumni and AMIGOS enthusiasts across the Houston area. The night will begin with a cocktail reception at Hotel ZaZa. Then, travel to your dinner destination with Amigos new and old. This is a great chance to reconnect and get to know others in our broader community.

All proceeds from this Moveable Feast are 100% tax-deductible.

Adam Seitchik, Guest
Adam Shreeve, Regional Director
Adolfo Jiménez, Board of Directors
Alejandra Samaniego, Youth Ambassadors Program Coordinator
Alex Sundstrom, Content Strategist
Alma del Toro, Board of Directors
Ambassador Arnold Chacón, Board of Directors*
Amelia Heymach, Alumna*
Analitza Factor, Alumna
Andrew Haas, Board of Directors
Andrew Nathan, Guest
Ann Crowley, Houston Chapter
Ann Sandford, Alumnus Parent
Anna Crowley, Alumna
April Hearne, Managing Director of Business Operations
Ashley Lin, Young Alumni Council*
Belén Navarro, Youth Ambassadors Program Coordinator
Bruce Horwitz, Co-Medical Director
Camila de Mendoza, Youth Ambassadors Program Coordinator
Chloe Pence, Alumna*
Cynthia Ballard, VP of Finance
Cynthia Diaz, South Bay Outreach Manager
Danya Kachkou, Admissions Officer
David Baron, Board of Directors & Medical Director
David McKay, IT Systems Manager
Dena Korsgard, Board of Directors Chapter Representative
Doug Alexander, Advisory Council*
Edward La Cava, Seattle Chapter
Elimarie Garcia-Cosme, Travel and Administration Coordinator
Elizabeth Blowers-Nyman, Advisory Council
Elizabeth Bonilla, Administrative Assistant
Ellen Curran, Peninsula Chapter
Emily Padgett, Summer Programs Manager
Erin Aucar, National Outreach Manager
Florencia Renart, Youth Ambassadors Program Coordinator
Gerry Finkelstein, Alumnus
Jacque Fuller, Data Manager
Jarrod Ford, Houston Chapter
Jeff Zimbalist, Alumnus*
Jenny Claycombe, Director of Development
Jill Hunter, Guest
Joe Allred, Albuquerque Chapter
Joe Crownover, Austin Chapter
John-Paul Maxfield, Alumnus*
Jojo Chase, Alumnus*
Josh Fryday, Alumnus*
Karina Goulet, Alumna Parent
Katherine Conway, Managing Director of Programs
Kathleen Coode, Kansas City Chapter
Kay Wilson, Chicago North Chapter
Kevin Lanier, Board of Directors
Kirk Iverson, Board of Directors*
Kirsten Tobey, SF Bay Area Regional Council, Board Member Elect
Krisa Van Meurs, SF Bay Area Regional Council*
Krista Boscoe, Bay Area Director*
Kristin Kelling, Alumna
Laura Corona, Chicago Urban Chapter
Lauren Antosz, Chapter Operations Coordinator
Lauren Hauser, Managing Director of Regional Operations*
Lily Young, Digital Marketing Officer
Linda Piland, Houston Chapter
Lisa Pieper, Board of Directors*
Liz Morgan, Houston Outreach Manager
Logan Falley, Training Manager
Maggie Brown, Guest
Maria French, Advisory Council
Marlina Frederick, Peninsula Chapter*
Matthew Travers, Board of Directors Project Staff Representative*
Meghan Ford, Admissions Manager
Michael Cook, Youth Ambassadors Program Associate
Michael Zimbalist, Alumnus*
Mike Kercheval, Board of Directors
Pablo Dávila, Regional Director
Patricia Grad, Board of Directors*
Paul Reidy, Alumnus
Phil Johnson III, Board of Directors
Rachel Koslofsky, Youth Ambassadors Program Manager
Ray Howze, Salt Lake City Chapter
Sam Waters, Development Associate
Sara Love, Portland Chapter
Sara Nathan, President & CEO*
Sarah Smith, Guest
Soraya Brombacher, Houston Chapter
Stacy Alexander, Guest
Steve Sharpe, Foundation for Amigos de las Américas
Steve Kirk, Boston Chapter
Susana Sharpe, Guest
Tania Almazan, Alumna
Taylor Martin, Chapter Operations Director
Toby Spoon, Advisory Council*
Tom Brombacher, Houston Chapter
Vanessa Fiedler, Gap and Custom Program Manager
Vicki Barghout, Alumna*