Jill van Nortwick, President

Jill recently joined the Global Ties Board after being both a member and volunteer. Her exposure to new cultures started when her family moved to Iran when she was 9. Lucky enough to travel the world at an early age, her love of traveling and experiencing other cultures is steadfast. Jill currently works as principal consultant for curate impact, an intercultural consultancy service dedicated to helping boards and top management teams identify their values, establish patterns of behaviors for ethical decisions, and discover and advance their vision.

Greg Polk, Treasurer

As a new face to Global Ties ABQ, Greg Polk was recently elected as Treasurer to the Board and is citizen envoy member. His past experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer, international development advisor, and educator has given him the opportunity to not only travel but serve abroad. Greg holds a master’s degree in City Planning from MIT and lived in Albuquerque from the mid 80s to the mid 90s when he then went overseas to work. He and his wife Rebecca recently returned to New Mexico after 20+ years overseas. Greg has extensive experience as a specialist in structuring public-private development projects in 15 countries. Greg now lives in Corrales and looks forwards to bringing in his past experience in economics & planning to enhance the future of Global Ties.

Melissa Leonard, Member-at-Large

Melissa Leonard is a Resource Development Officer at The Grant Plant, an organization that assists nonprofit organizations with research, grant writing, and reporting. She is also an alumna of The Grants Collective’s Talent Academy, a fellowship designed to change the way organizations seek grants. Melissa received her B.A. in International Relations from the University of California, Davis, and her M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico. She has traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America, spending several months in Peru studying Quechua Ancashino. Melissa’s experience is diverse; she has worked in academia, healthcare, social services, and fundraising, and approaches each endeavor with equity and cultural competency at the forefront. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys live music, mountain hikes, movies, crocheting, and studying Spanish, Quechua, and ASL.

Laura Hille, Member-at-Large

Laura Hille is the International Admission Director at the Menaul School, which has a long history of welcoming students from around the world. She is passionate about international education and preparing students, our future leaders, to be global citizens. She is excited to be a part of Global Ties ABQ and its work in welcoming visitors, further expanding Albuquerque’s global opportunities, and building exchange programs. Previously, during her 7.5 years at the Institute of International Education (IIE), she managed outreach, recruitment, and section activities for a variety of global scholarship programs and institutions, including Schwarzman Scholars, Boren Awards, and New York University Abu Dhabi. Prior to IIE, Laura worked at the American Society of Hematology on international programs and at the U.S. Department of State on the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has a MA in International Affairs from the George Washington University. Laura and her husband, Tyler, moved to Albuquerque after eight years in Washington, D.C. and New York City. In her free time, she enjoys running, traveling, hiking, writing, and visiting New Mexico’s wealth of archeological sites.

Sara Barr, Vice President

After graduating from the University of New Mexico with a Master’s Degree in Education, Sara Barr spent six years traveling abroad, teaching in foreign lands and adventure trekking across North America. Sara has worked in education for almost 10 years in many different capacities and in a variety of subjects across the globe. This includes a two-year volunteer assignment in the United States Peace Corps on a remote island in the South Pacific. Sara was Treasurer for the Gender and Development committee while serving in Vanuatu where she focused on gender-based violence and youth development educational programs. She has managed large groups of visiting foreigners during her US trek adventures and directed a staff of 20 employees while running a youth adventure camp out of the Bay Area. She has recently returned home to New Mexico where she now works as a Behavioral Research Scientist for Northrop Grumman Corporation. Sara volunteers for TEDxABQ curating the annual Education and Youth talk-series events. She enjoys eating New Mexican food, practicing various forms of yoga, and playing Mahjong tournaments with her family. She is a certified yoga instructor and Wilderness First Responder. Sara values global exchanges that foster positive relationships between nations, cultures and individuals. She is excited to continue supporting this imperative exchange.

Josh Edwards, Member-at-Large

Joshua is the Director of Finance for RiskSense, a homegrown cybersecurity tech company based in Albuquerque. He has his Masters Degree from UNM, and is a licensed CPA with years of experience in public accounting at KPMG, and heading up the finance function for emerging tech companies like Lavu and RiskSense. Joshua has a passion for Albuquerque and seeing it succeed and grow into a truly international city.

Sommer Smith, Member-at-Large

Sommer is a communication artist, creative director and writer committed to problem solving and contributing to possibilities for social change. She is the co-founder and creative director of MediaDesk NM, a communications agency that provides high quality, professional and values-based communications services to nonprofits and community organizations. As creative director at MediaDesk she is currently working with nonprofit organizations across New Mexico to further their missions through effective, imaginative and coordinated communications and marketing efforts. Her expertise includes message branding, strategic planning, creative direction, project management, copywriting and media relations. Sommer has a Bachelors of Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she studied anthropology, Latin American studies and writing. She was awarded the Spencer Barnett Memorial Prize for Excellence in Latin American studies for an ethnographic project regarding the links between individual experience and sociopolitical and architectural processes at work in the city of Salvador da Bahia. As a young person (at age 16 and again at 20) she studied abroad in Brazil, first as a Rotary International Exchange Student and later as a Gilman Scholar. She believes it is essential that we explore new ways of approaching our cities, re-envisioning them as places where we realize our potential as creative, resourceful and compassionate beings.

Carol Yarnall, Member-at-Large

Carol A. Yarnall, Colonel USAF, Retired is a Past President of Global Ties ABQ.  She served as President from October 2010 through September 2014.  Carol had an immensely successful career, retiring as Director of the Supply Chain Management Center, which oversees Sandia National Laboratories’ Procurement, Supplier Relations, and Logistics Operations in April 2011. Before her Director position at Sandia, Carol was President of SMI International in Colorado Springs and spent the majority of her career in the U.S. Air Force with assignments ranging from field laboratories to base operation and positions at MAJCOMS, Air Force Secretariat and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Carol is a graduate of Harvard University’s, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Executive Program for Defense Senior Managers, and has an MA in Public Administration from the University of New Mexico, a BS in Chemistry and Doctor of Humane Letters from Wheeling Jesuit University.

Carol’s late husband William (Bill) Yarnall was a past president of Global Ties ABQ and known for noted for his home hospitality dinners. For many years, Carol and Bill hosted the Global Ties ABQ Holiday party for all members, visitors, and prospective members.

Carol is on a leave of absence from the Board of Directors

Kory Hoggan, Member-at-Large

Kory Hoggan is a certified public accountant and senior manager with Moss Adams LLP.  He has over 20 years of accounting experience and serves clients throughout New Mexico and the United States. He received a Masters of Accountancy from Brigham Young University. Kory has lived and worked in South America and the South Pacific and enjoys traveling and further developing his understanding of different histories and cultures.


Rachelle Rochelle, Member-at-Large

Rachelle is the New Mexico Clinic Operations Manager at the ECHO Institute/Project ECHO, University of New Mexico. She is a nonprofit management professional with ten years of leadership experience developing and implementing innovative programs. In her current capacity as the New Mexico Clinic Operations Manager at the ECHO Institute, she oversees operations of existing New Mexico-based teleECHO education programs and supports start-up of new teleECHO programs. Prior to her work with Project ECHO, Rachelle spent nearly a decade in NYC where she received a Master of Public Administration, Public/Non-Profit Management and Policy from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. She then worked as the Program Director for the Brooklyn Branch of the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City – a health advocacy group working to increase awareness around tobacco control issues. At the Coalition she partnered with community and cultural groups, legislators and health advocates, to supports neighborhood-based efforts for effective and long-term change throughout New York City.Early in her career, she spent time with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and three years as a Community Organizer with the affordable housing nonprofit Community HousingWorks in San Diego, CA.  Rachelle loves to travel and never wants stop learning! She is a native New Mexican and is incredibly happy to have returned to the beautiful Southwest after twenty years away. New Mexico is home, and she is looking forward to sharing its beauty, history and culture with the rest of the world through her work with Global Ties.