Sara Lamson Nathan
President & CEO
Associate Project Director, Gap Program
Program Operations Coordinator
Youth Ambassadors Program Coordinator
Health & Safety Manager
Youth Ambassadors Program Manager
Project Director, Gap Program
Mental Health Coordinator
Youth Ambassadors Program Coordinator
Travel and Administration Coordinator
IT Systems Manager
Director of Development
As CEO, Sara leads the team at AMIGOS in developing extraordinary opportunities for students to learn about the world by living and serving in it. Prior to leading the organization she served as Director of Programs, building new programs, including the Gap Year Program and university-level programs. Her commitment is to expand the opportunities that young people have to truly experience the world, shaping their lives and world views forever.
Previously, Sara was Vice Chair of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Sara holds a MS in International Development Management from the London School of Economics and bachelor’s degrees in Conservation and Spanish from the University of California Berkeley.
Kelly is excited to work with AMIGOS because he is inspired by the mission of building leadership and cultural skills for young people while serving Latin American communities. As a youth, he had similar experiences serving in Latin America and developed a strong love for the people in the areas where he served.
He studied at Brigham Young University, earning a BS degree in Design Engineering Technology and later a master’s degree in Business Administration. Most of his early work as an engineer and project manager was international in nature, with a focus in Latin America due to his fluency in Spanish. Kelly was able to further expand his love for Latin American people and their culture as he managed large water and wastewater projects to help serve and provide health and safety for their communities.
It has been rewarding for Kelly to transition to executive leadership roles in the organizations where he has served (most recently Dover Corporation, POET and Suez). He has moved from the technical side of designing and building equipment and facilities, to focus on effectively leading people, improving processes and operations, and growing highly effective organizations.
During his journey (especially with some of the more recent local events such as Hurricane Harvey) he has been reminded how serving builds team unity, communication, proper perspective, and human compassion.
It is with this passion that he joined AMIGOS—to build significant life-changing experiences for young people.
Cynthia joined AMIGOS in 2013. She was born and raised in Michigan, and misses the snow but loves the Texas sunshine. She has an Accounting Degree from Michigan State University and loves numbers! She has experience as a bank examiner, internal auditor, and has been the Assistant Controller for a major grocery chain and the Treasury Director for a global staffing firm. She also loves to travel!
Favorite travel memory: Experiencing the wonderful sights of a volcano and a glacier in the same day in Iceland
Doug Alexander 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.
Over the course of his career, Doug has served as:
President of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society;
Chair of the Appellate Section of the State Bar of Texas;
Adjunct Professor of Appellate Advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law;
Member of the Civil Appellate Practice Commission of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization; and
Law Clerk to the Honorable John R. Brown, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Doug has been Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1990. He is a sought after author and speaker on appellate practice, and has published numerous articles, including the seminal writing, Petition Practice Before the Supreme Court of Texas.
Erin is not an AMIGOS alum but she is passionate about cultural exchange, languages, travel, and education. She is a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Political science, originally from Texas. During her time at Notre Dame she had a transformative study abroad experience in Chile which, coupled with a variety of other service experiences, has fueled her interest in Latin America and social justice. Erin is excited to advocate for Amigos and is grateful for the opportunity to promote the same kinds of service, leadership, and cultural experiences that have shaped her own personal development but is extremely jealous of anyone who actually got to participate in an AMIGOS program. In her spare time you can find her exploring the city and if you ever visit D.C. she can give you a definitive ranking of the best cupcakeries in town.
Top of her bucket list: Hike the Camino de Santiago in Spain and take fun photos at Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.
David was an AMIGOS volunteer in the Dominican Republic in 1980 through the Ohio Chapter, which was the second largest chapter in the country at the time. The training and in country experience were outstanding, and inspired him to volunteer in the Peace Corps after college. His sister and brother-in-law were also AMIGOS volunteers in different countries and that time period, and it had a great impact on all of them. They all became physicians partly because of the inspiration from these experiences. More recently, David’s second daughter Sophie was a volunteer in Nicaragua in the summer of 2010.
David reconnected with AMIGOS in 2009, when he was asked to join the Board of Directors. He became the Medical Director of the organization in 2013. He has thoroughly enjoyed working with exceptionally interesting and talented board members, and devoted, passionate, and intelligent staff. David says that it is his privilege to serve in these roles for AMIGOS to support this fantastic mission of making the world a better place by focusing on our youth.
Elizabeth joined the AMIGOS leadership in 2013 as part of a long history with AMIGOS.
Elizabeth is the Executive Director, U.S. Vaccine Public Policy and Government Relations for Merck. She joined Merck in 1998.
Prior to Merck, Elizabeth served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal. There she worked in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of Nepal’s nationwide polio eradication initiative. She holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in Health Policy and Management from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Boston College. During graduate school, Elizabeth spent time at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) working in Measles Elimination Activity.
Elizabeth has a long history with AMIGOS, starting as a Volunteer in Paraguay in 1991. She then went on to serve as a Project Supervisor and two time Country Director [at that time, she oversaw multiple projects – 2 in Paraguay in 1993 and the 3 in Costa Rica in 1994], field staff representative to the International Board of Directors and AMIGOS Fellow. From 2005-10, she returned to AMIGOS as a member of the Board of Directors and AMIGOS Fellow.
Elizabeth Bonilla joined the AMIGOS organization in 1998, bringing with her experience in customer service and administrative skills after working several years as a Receptionist/Office Manager for an auto dealership. Though not an AMIGOS alum she had always hoped to be part of an organization that truly cared about social change and community development, so when the position at AMIGOS became available she took it. Through the years she has assisted several of the different departments in the organization and now is primarily involved in assisting the programs department with many different types of projects. She has experienced first- hand the organizational growth and truly hopes that her children will also get the opportunity and privilege to one day be able to participate in one of the many great programs that AMIGOS has to offer.
Top of her bucket list: Win the lottery.
Krista is from San Francisco and lives there now with her family across from Ocean Beach.
As soon as she heard about AMIGOS in her freshman year, she wanted to go. She waited impatiently until she was 16 and then headed to Mexico in 1982 to work in latrine construction. To this day, she walks by bags of concrete at Home Depot with a well-trained desire to get some water and start mixing. The following summer, she went to Ecuador on a rabies vaccination campaign. While studying Sociology at UCSC, she returned to Ecuador in 1985 as field staff and then went back to Mexico in 1987 as the project director in Michoacan.
After college, she moved to Washington DC for two years. Her life took an unexpected turn when she moved to Seoul ,South Korea for three months that became five years. Asia was a true revelation to her and she loved every moment. When she returned to the US, she came back to San Francisco to work in International Education. She is thrilled to come full circle and be back with AMIGOS on the west coast.
Top of Krista’s bucket list: Hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain with her husband (though he does not know that yet).
Ryan, originally from Scotland, is passionate about traveling, volunteering and learning about world cultures. He graduated from the University of Aberdeen, with a Master of Arts in Hispanic Studies and International Relations. As a university student, Ryan spent his second year studying in Pennsylvania at Haverford College, and his third year volunteering with three NGOs in Ecuador and teaching English and Spanish in four schools. Ryan has nine years of experience working with NGOs throughout the Americas and the U.K. that focus on: women’s rights, education, youth development, leadership, and environmental conservation. He just finished a 2 and half-year stint working in Nicaragua with the Berkley based NGO Global Student Embassy as their Exchange Program Director. Ryan heard about AMIGOS several years ago and is thrilled to be joining the team in the role of Associate Project Director in Cuenca, Ecuador. Ryan’s experience with education informs his belief that young people are best placed to bring about positive change in the world.
In his free time Ryan enjoys singing, traveling, reading, and having engaging conversations.
Top of his bucket-list: Road trip from Canada to Chile, visiting all of the countries in the Americas along the way.
Ed Cazier is a petroleum geologist with over 30 years of experience in the upstream and midstream oil and gas business. His principal technical work areas are development planning, reservoir description and 3D geomodeling.
He spent 24 years with BP in a wide variety of technical, commercial and management roles, most of which were in field appraisal and development. While at BP, he had the opportunity to live in a number of exotic locations, and work on a large number of high-profile development projects, in Alaska, Colombia, Venezuela, Russia and Texas.
During 2008 – 2012, Cazier worked for Maersk Oil in Copenhagen, Denmark, on the development of the super-giant Al Shaheen field in Qatar and the Dunga field in Kazakhstan, as well as on a number of new business projects.
He joined Cobalt International Energy in 2012, and has served as the Subsurface Manager for the Cameia project in deepwater offshore Angola, as well as senior development geologist for the North Platte and Anchor projects in the deepwater US Gulf of Mexico.
Between university and graduate school, he worked as a well site geologist in California’s San Joaquin Valley.
Cazier has bachelor’s degrees in geology and French literature from Colgate University, a master’s in geology from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MBA from the Jones School at Rice University. He is a certified petroleum geologist and a reviewer for the Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
His Amigos experience includes work as a volunteer (Honduras, 1976; Ecuador, 1977), field staff (Route Leader: Honduras – 1978; Assistant Project Director: Honduras – 1979; Project Director: Panama – 1981) and Board member (International Board: 2003 – 2012; Foundation Board of Trustees: 2013 – present). He is also the father of two Amigos: Maria Isabella and Brendan, and met his wife (Suky) while working on field staff in Honduras.
Ambassador Chacon 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.
Jenny joined AMIGOS in October 2017 and is ecstatic to be part of such an amazing organization. Though she never participated in AMIGOS, she has traveled widely throughout Latin America for study abroad in college and in a previous role as an International Admissions Counselor at a university in Georgia.
Jenny is passionate about the work of AMIGOS and nonprofits in general. She completed an Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Administration and wants to help more people become involved with nonprofits — as donors, volunteers or in any way that they desire!
Bucket List Items: Travel to every continent, have a farm (well, maybe just some chickens and a goat).
Michael was first diagnosed with wanderlust at a very young age when he would travel from snowy Wisconsin to Colombia to visit his mom’s side of the family. He cherished the summers that he spent in South America and they fostered a yearning for adventure and the unknown! Michael graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he received his B.S. in Zoology and Conservation Biology with a focus in Global Health. He continued exploring the world by studying abroad in the Dominican Republic and working abroad in Italy. After his graduation, Michael did what seemed most logical and joined the United States Peace Corps. He spent 2 years in a small, mountainous community in the southern highlands of Madagascar working as a health volunteer. He focused his projects on nutrition, latrine building, and ways to engage the students of the village in their own health. His experience with the leadership and ambition of Malagasy students committed him to a career in furthering education and cross cultural opportunities for youth across borders.
In his free time, Michael loves cheering on the Badgers, exploring national parks, watching Disney movies in different languages, and a good game of Catan.
Gio grew up between Nicaragua and Miami. He is an international development professional with over 5 years of experience working to empower youth and communities across Mexico and Central America. Gio holds a Master of Science in Latin American Development from King´s College London, where he was a recipient of the prestigious Chevening Scholarship awarded by the UK government. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree with departmental honors in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Miami (FL) and obtained a Diploma in International Relations from a European Perspective from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid, Spain, where he was a Benjamin Gilman Scholar. He is fluent in Spanish and is passionate about Central American integration efforts, diplomacy, international development and the role of the private sector in development. Gio is a foodie and enjoys traveling, football (Hala Madrid) and listening to Latin and indie music.
Logan was exposed to international travel at a young age when he went to Spain to study for a summer. After that experience, he was infected with the travel bug and fascinated by all that the world has to offer. This catalyst started a chain reaction that resulted in an M.A. in in Spanish literature and various experiences abroad.
After personal journeys and asking important questions, he sought a more hands-on ways to contribute to the world. His search lead him to Peru, where he lived for 3 years. While in Peru, he was blessed with many opportunities: from teaching high school students about youth activism to developing experiential education curriculum. His far-reaching involvement in the community was stimulated by his growing passion to help youth discover their true potential and contribute by empowering.
Logan is thrilled to be following his dream of helping youth thrive and promoting global citizenship.
Vanessa started her adventure with AMIGOS in 2013 as the Program Coordinator for Gap Year in Nicaragua. She continues loving her job in that role and has also twice served as Project Director for AMIGOS summer programs. Vanessa attended the University of Oregon Clark Honors College, double majoring in International Studies and Political Science. She is passionate about international development, environmental education, and youth leadership. Before joining the AMIGOS team, Vanessa worked for Global Glimpse, designing and leading group experiential learning trips to Nicaragua for young leaders.
Top of her bucket list: Hike through Patagonia and experience the astonishing beauty of the untarnished terrain.
An avid traveler and language enthusiast, Meghan first joined AMIGOS as a volunteer in Azuero, Panamá. After graduating from Salem College with a B.A in Communication, she returned to both AMIGOS and Panamá as a Project Supervisor in Coclé. Prior to joining the AMIGOS headquarters team, she was an AmeriCorps member in her hometown of Madison, WI working to close the achievement gap in bilingual elementary classrooms through a tutoring and mentorship program. She is passionate about how educational experiences, both traditional and non-traditional, contribute to leadership development and thrilled to be part of the work AMIGOS does to provide such opportunities to young people.
Top of her bucket list: Walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain
Jacque joined AMIGOS in 2001 as the Executive Assistant to the President. As Data Manager, she now maintains AMIGOS’ information database. Jacque graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a BS in Anthropology. She was fortunate to be able to spend the 1990s traveling and living in several countries throughout the world, experiencing many different cultures.
Favorite travel memory: Living in the jungle of Borneo being serenaded by gibbons each morning.
Although not an AMIGOS alum, Elimarie comes to AMIGOS with a passion for youth leadership and collaboration with local communities! Through her undergraduate and graduate studies in anthropology and cultural heritage, she was able to explore her love for Latin American history and culture. Through her own travel experiences in Latin America and other regions, she has learned how cultural immersion can make a positive impact on one’s life and is excited to work at an organization that provides such amazing opportunities for youth. In her free time, Elimarie enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her dog Buck. Her bucket list includes going to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, hiking across the region of Andalucía in Spain, and visiting every Disney park at least once!
Abbie is a 5x Amiga serving as a summer volunteer in Panama and the Dominican Republic and as a summer staff member in Paraguay, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. After graduating from Rockhurst University with dual degrees in Psychology and Spanish, Abbie received her Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. She served as the Regional Director with AMIGOS in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic for two years before transitioning to the Finance Department as the Accountant. With extensive experience designing, implementing, and evaluating projects in Latin America, Abbie brings a unique perspective to the finance team. Abbie appreciates well formatted spreadsheets, Excel formulas and shortcuts, and balanced budgets. In her free time, you can find Abbie playing kickball and sand volleyball or spending time with her dogs.
Top of her bucket list: Hike the Pacific Crest Trail with her dogs, Sammie and Shadow.
Following his graduation from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI, David Gonzalez traveled to Brazil where he spent the past two years teaching and studying on Fulbright fellowship. In 2017, David taught at the Federal University of Campina Grande in the small eponymous city of the northeast. There, he taught U.S. history and connected with local youth through community arts programming. In 2018, as a Regional Cohort Leader for the Fulbright Brazil Commission, David moved across Brazil to teach, study, and lead a regional group of Fulbright scholars in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul. In this role, David served first-year scholars as the first point of contact in navigating administrative bureaucracy as well as health and safety protocol and emergency management.
David values community and creativity. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring cityscapes by running, biking, dancing, and tuning into the sonic texture of the city.
Bucket List: Discover Houston’s arts scene, explore the natural world surrounding his new home, and travel Northeastern Brazil with his sister, Catalina.
Patricia is Director of the Investor Development Group Actis in New York. Actis is an alternative investment firm focused on the global growth markets of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Patricia has over 15 years’ experience in developing, launching, and executing strategic fundraising and business development plans for alternative investment firms. At Actis, she focuses on fundraising and investor relations activities for investors in the Americas and manages the firm’s relationships with consultants globally.
Prior to joining Actis, Patricia was the Head of Investor Relations at Irving Place Capital and before that, a Vice President of Investor Relations at Oak Hill Capital. She started her career in the alternative assets research group at Cambridge Associates.
She holds a MBA from Columbia Business School and a bachelor’s degree with honors from Wesleyan University.
Patricia has been working with AMIGOS for nearly 25 years, first as a participant in Ecuador in 1993. Since then, she has served as a chapter president and currently serves as the chair of the Board of Directors.
Mike is a Managing Director and Partner of Akkadian Ventures. Previously, he was a member of the founding team of Industry Ventures, where he served as a Managing Director since 2004. Mike led Industry’s investments in Facebook (FB), Twitter, Pandora (P), LifeLock (LOCK), Jajah (Acquired by Telefonica), Cloudmark, Lowercase Capital (Twitter, Uber, Instagram), Walden Venture Capital (Pandora, Glam, SoundHound) and Madrona (Isilon), among others. He also helped grow Industry Ventures from less then $10 million AUM to over $1 billion AUM.
Prior to Industry, Mike worked at BV Capital (formerly Bertelsmann Ventures) in San Francisco, a $275 million international venture capital fund. At BV, he sourced, structured, and managed direct venture investments. Earlier in his career, Mike worked in Business Development at Personify, a CRM analytics software company.
Mike holds a BA from University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Regents and Alumni Scholar, and an MS from the London School of Economics.
Chapter Operations CoordinatorHouston
Trey’s fascination with cultural immersion and love of exploration began when he moved to Australia in middle school. Being from a small Texas town, he had no idea what this world had to offer until then… and he hasn’t stopped exploring since. He received a degree in International Relations from the University of Texas, focusing on sustainable agriculture and poverty reduction programs in Latin America. After studying in Austin and Argentina, and working in Los Angeles, he returned to Houston to await his next adventure. He loves tacos, anything outside, music festivals, doggos, and most people. He is thrilled to be a part of AMIGOS and the invaluable opportunities it provides!
Top of his bucket list: Try everything at least once
Managing Director of Regional OperationsOakland
Lauren first became involved with AMIGOS as a mentor on the first AMIGOS Youth Ambassadors exchange to Paraguay in 2012. In 2013, she was the Project Director in the Yucatan, Mexico before she took on her current position. Lauren is a proud University of Wisconsin graduate, with degrees in Environmental Studies and Global Cultures and extensive travel experience in South America and globally. Prior to joining AMIGOS, Lauren worked as an AmeriCorps *VISTA on higher education service-learning initiatives then worked in a variety of youth, media, and educational-focused nonprofits, developing engaging programs focused on social justice and building more equitable communities.
Top of her bucket list: Trek to the tip of South America and hop a boat to Antarctica to drink beverages with 3 million year old ice.
April is a native Houstonian, marketer, and veteran Amiga.
In 2008, she participated in AMIGOS in Guanajuato, Mexico. At Colorado College, she majored in Sociology and continued her Latin American travels in Ecuador and Cuba. An avid backpacker, she spent a month in the backcountry on three separate occasions.
April is excited to use digital marketing and new technologies to get the word out about the power of AMIGOS programs.
Philip Johnson, M.D., is a board certified physician and division director, Professor and Vice-Chair for the Department of Internal Medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
He is actively involved in clinical patient care, teaching and research. Dr. Johnson served as the associate program director of the University Clinical Research Center at Memorial Hermann Hospital for 15 years, with interest in the research areas of gastrointestinal and fungal infections and HIV/AIDS. His research awards include, but are not limited to, grants from NASA and leading pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Johnson was listed in Texas Super Doctors and the Best Doctors in America a total of four times and was voted as one of Houston’s Top Doctors in 2002.
Dr. Johnson is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine as well as a fellow in the American College of Physicians.
Mike Kercheval is the Executive Director of the Real Estate Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. He runs the business school’s real estate program, managing and promoting the relationships between the real estate industry and the academic community, focusing on education, career development, and industry best practices.
Earlier, Mike was President and CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers (the world’s largest commercial real estate trade association), a real estate portfolio manager and investment banker in New York, and CEO of Lend Lease Latin American Realty Advisors. He was a senior economist with Equitable Life, taught Economics at Columbia University and served as staff economist for the Colorado Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Growth Management.
With AMIGOS, Mike was the Northeast Chapter Development Director (1978-80), Regional Director for Central America and the Caribbean (1976-78), Country Director Nicaragua (1974-75), Assistant Country Director Colombia (1973) and Colombia volunteer (1972).
Mike holds graduate degrees in economics from Columbia University and a BA in economics, political science and international affairs from the University of Colorado.
Lucy is thrilled to be part of the AMIGOS team as the Project Director for the Ecuador Gap Year Program! A Virginia native, Lucy graduated from the College of William & Mary with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. Her love for learning about new people and places and her passion to explore led her to join the Peace Corps after graduation, and she has not left Ecuador since! After finishing her stint with the Peace Corps TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) program in Riobamba, Ecuador in April 2017, Lucy led a group of U.S. university students in a 2-month social innovation and cultural immersion internship that led her through various indigenous communities in Ecuador’s central and southern highlands. In her free time, Lucy enjoys hiking, running, and trying new street foods that she encounters along the way. Lucy is so excited to have the opportunity to share her love of Ecuador with the AMIGOS participants!
Top of her bucket list: Trek through Patagonia
Margaret Laliberte is a child and adolescent Psychiatric Nurse Specialist with an extensive history of clinical work with adolescents & families in a variety of mental health settings. In her 30 years of clinical practice, she has worked in residential, day treatment, & out patient programs as well as participated in evaluating adolescent programs & their development across the country. She currently maintains a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area and does individual and group consultation to Child & Adolescent therapists. Margaret has coordinated the Mental Health program for the AMIGOS organization for the last 15 years. She does the mental health screening of all applicants where necessary, provides senior staff training, and takes the lead on providing summer consultation to staff in the field.
Margaret’s own daughter, Amy, was a long term AMIGOS participant, from Chapter Volunteer to a two-time Project Director!
Bryan joined the Advisory Board in 2019 after serving three years as a member of the AMIGOS Board of Directors, where he worked as a member of the Development and Executive committees and as a Board liaison to the AMIGOS Foundation. Bryan’s passion for AMIGOS grew out of his daughter’s experience as a participant in 2015 (Nicaragua) and 2016 (Costa Rica) and as a Project Supervisor in Panama in 2017. Bryan lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and works in financial technology and software product management.
Rasha joined AMIGOS in January 2014. Though not an AMIGOS alum, she served as Project Director in her home country, Colombia, from 2014-2016. In 2016 she moved up to the role of Regional Director, overseeing all programs in Panama and Colombia. She graduated in September 2013 with a degree in international relations from Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia with emphasis on political science and diplomacy. Through her years in Uninorte, she was always an active part of UNIVOLUNTARIOS, the volunteer group on campus. Rasha was born and raised in Colombia, but she is also Lebanese and Brazilian.
Top of her bucket list: Get to meet all her family that lives all around the world.
Taylor began her AMIGOS adventure in 2008 as a participant in Nicaragua. After that life changing experience she continued to volunteer with like-minded organizations and travel in Latin America. She graduated from San Francisco State with a degree in Child and Adolescent Development and began working with youth and families. In 2015 she joined the National Office Staff to support participants and staff throughout their summer programs. In the fall of 2015 she transferred to the West Coast Team to work on recruitment and chapter support!
Top of her bucket list: Visit every continent and try the food!
David is a fifth-generation Texan and was raised in Lindale, TX. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University. He has worked in the for-profit and non-profit arenas in IT, finance, and management. He is excited to be at AMIGOS to support the incredible work that is being done through its staff and volunteers.
Top of Bucket List: To compose a Bucket List.
Belén joined AMIGOS and Plan International in June of 2016 working with the Youth Ambassadors Program in Ecuador and the American Youth Leadership Program in Houston. Belen graduated from Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador as a clinical psychologist. After graduation, she began working with teenagers on drug prevention workshops lasting ten months. Belén loves working with teenagers and empowering them to feel capable of fulfilling their dreams and fighting for what they want. She loves learning from them every day. In her free time you can find Belén reading or dancing.
Top of her bucket list: Travel around the world!
Mason is a second generation AMIGO and was first a participant in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2000. This experience helped Mason discover his passion for traveling, cross-cultural exchange, and facilitating positive social change. He returned to work with AMIGOS on project staff four times and studied Spanish and Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Mason was the Training Director for the Tucson Chapter of AMIGOS before moving to Houston in 2011 to work for AMIGOS headquarters. He is proud to support passionate young leaders to train and prepare for their AMIGOS experiences.
Top of his bucket list: Try at least one traditional meal from every country.
Patty Russell has more than 15 years of experience working in strategic planning and evaluation in the social sector. As founder of Russell Advisory Services consultancy, she works with private, corporate, and community foundations to develop data-driven philanthropic strategies on issues ranging from educational attainment and affordable housing to global health and development. Patty also partners with corporate leaders to develop shared value strategies that align strong business outcomes with measurable social impact.
Previously, Patty was a managing director with FSG, a mission-driven consulting firm that works with clients to achieve large-scale, lasting social change. At FSG, she led the Catalytic Philanthropy practice, advising foundations on strategy, program design, evaluation, and operational improvement. She has blogged and written extensively on philanthropy and shared value, including articles in Stanford Social Innovation Review and Forbes. Patty holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
AMIGOS experience: Volunteer (Ecuador ’88, Mexico ’89), Route Supervisor (Dominican Republic ’93), Project Director (Paraguay ’94), International Office (’92, ’95).
Adam joined the AMIGOS team in 2017 as Program Coordinator for the Ecuador Gap Year Program. Although not an AMIGOS alum, Adam has extensive experience living with and working alongside developing communities within Latin America. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, Adam served as a member of the United States Peace Corps in Guatemala. His experience in the Peace Corps forged within him a passion for indigenous communities and public health. The opportunity to help young people learn more about their world and themselves makes him happier than a big ole bowl of grits. In his downtime he enjoys running, reading, and eating unhealthy amounts of cheese.
Top of Bucket List: Visit every Spanish speaking country before his 35th birthday.
Astrea is originally from the Washington, D.C. area, but loves finding “home” in new places around the world. She received a B.A. in Psychology and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, and recently finished her M.A. in Conflict Resolution & Mediation at Tel Aviv University. Her studies allowed her to travel and strengthen her interests in social justice, community engagement, and mental health. She likes to use art as a tool for storytelling and advocacy, a passion that took her to Brindisi, Italy in 2017. There, she developed and facilitated art workshops at a refugee camp for men. The project culminated with the creation of a community mural, using original designs by workshop participants. After much wandering, Astrea is eager to return to Latin America and begin a new journey with the AMIGOS team in Cuenca, Ecuador. In her free time, she enjoys discovering new music and drinking a cozy cup of café con leche.
Top of her bucket list: take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey.
Susan Stevenson is a consultant for organizations focused on improving education and early childhood. From 2010-2016, Susan served as Executive Director of Flamboyan Foundation in Washington, D.C. As founding Executive Director, Susan led the effort to create Flamboyan’s unique approach to family engagement, which focuses on building teacher and school-level capacity to engage with families authentically and meaningfully so children succeed. Susan also led partnership and organizational development at Flamboyan, helping invest funders and city agencies and growing the Flamboyan team to over 25 talented individuals. Under Susan’s leadership, Flamboyan developed a close collaborative partnership with D.C. Public Schools, which is now a national leader in family engagement, and built successful partnerships with many local and national teacher and leader preparation organizations.
Through the combined efforts of Flamboyan staff and partners, in Washington, D.C. today over 1,100 teachers and school leaders have been trained, 54 schools (public and public charter) are implementing intensive family engagement initiatives, and over 40,000 home visits have been performed, including 13,000 in the 2015-16 school year alone. In addition to overseeing the rapid growth of Flamboyan’s family engagement efforts, Susan spearheaded the effort to identify and leverage $3.5 million in additional funding for family engagement during her tenure. She also oversaw the completion of an external evaluation of home visits in DC, which found positive associations between teachers’ home visiting practices and student literacy and attendance.
Prior to joining Flamboyan, Susan co-directed United Way America’s “Success by 6” initiative, a national network of early childhood organizations. She also worked in international development, serving as Vice President, Latin America and Vice President, International for Ashoka, where she led a team of 75 people in 34 offices worldwide to support the efforts of social entrepreneurs. Susan also worked as a management consultant for McKinsey and Company in New York and Argentina. She started her career as a Program Assistant for Save the Children in Bolivia.
Susan earned her Master of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Spanish from Indiana University. She was the 2016 recipient of the Jocelyn Graves national award for Distinguished Service to Public Education. Susan lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, David Littleton and two teenage daughters.
Susan’s first involvement with AMIGOS was as a volunteer in Oaxaca, Mexico and Olancho, Honduras. She then spent three years on staff, as a Project Supervisor in Tlaxcala, Mexico, an Assistant Project Director in Michoacan, Mexico, and a Project Director in Costa Rica. Susan serves on the Board of Directors of Amigos and is the mother of AMIGOS volunteer Allie Littleton.
With a background in education and nonprofits, Alex has seven years of experience writing everything from blogs on knitting to white papers on circuit boards. With a BA in Literature and a soon-to-be-complete MBA, she brings a highly creative yet data driven approach. Originally from California but hopelessly in love with Houston, Alex spends her free time with her dog Mookie binge watching Netflix, hunting for the best pizza, and planning her next travel adventure. Her travel bucket list includes beaches in Bali, croissants in Southern France, and temples in Japan.
Kirsten Saenz Tobey 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-Cotapaxi (Associate Project Director – 1998). Kirsten holds an AB from Brown University and an MBA from UC Berkeley. She lives in the SF Bay Area with her husband and three daughters.
Spending the last three years in real estate in Michigan, Lauren is excited to be back in her home town of Houston, bringing her marketing and outreach experience to Amigos. Lauren is a graduate of the University of the Incarnate Word with a degree in Sociology where her weekly attempts at Zumba encouraged her to take dancing classes in Latin America. After living with a host family in Guatemala and participating in local activities, Lauren was excited for the opportunity to study abroad in Chile where she spent the semester studying the culture, traveling, and acting as a teacher’s aid at a local middle school. She is excited to meet new participants, exchange stories with alumni, and is still working to become decent at salsa, bachata, and Argentine tango.
Top of her bucket list: Hike through Canaima National Park in Venezuela
Howard Wright is an executive, entrepreneur, and aviator with deep business experience in the transportation, logistics, hospitality, and tourism industries. He is widely recognized for his commitment to community, and his unique ability to bring people together on complex issues. Mr. Wright is Chair and Founder of Seattle Hospitality Group, llc (SHG), which he founded in 2002. SHG is a holding company with interests in best-in-class event management, hospitality, tourism, and transportation companies in Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. Since founding SHG, he has built a portfolio with 400+ employees and $100m in revenues. His interest in Latin America dates to his time as a high school exchange student in the region. Mr. Wright majored in Latin American Studies at Washington State and has traveled extensively in the area. He co-chaired the capital campaign for the Amigos de las Américas Foundation and served on the board of the U.S. Foundation of the University del Valle in Guatemala City.
Lily is passionate about social change and the power of youth to impact their world. Her enthusiasm for meaningful travel began in high school, when she lived with a family in Mexico for a Spanish immersion program. Since then, she practiced her Argentine accent while studying abroad, ate innumerable salteñas in Bolivia, met the president of Colombia, and swam in the deep waters of Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán. She studied international development at SOAS, University of London, where she completed her Master’s degree. Lily is excited to bring new Amigos into the fold so they can have amazing experiences through leadership and service in Latin America. A lover of parades and dances, Lily has been to Carnaval in Oruro, Bolivia and Barranquilla, Colombia – next on the list is Brazil!