Team

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Chris Brennan

Program Director
Bio

Chris Brennan is a New Mexico native who grew up just blocks away from the Global Ties ABQ office in downtown Albuquerque. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2008 with a dual degree in Political Science and Peace Studies, where he developed a penchant for travel while studying abroad in Western Australia. Upon graduating, Chris worked in the Special Education Department at Van Buren Middle School before accepting a position as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua, where he served for 3 years. After returning to Albuquerque in 2014, Chris spent  8 years as the Workforce Development Center Director at First Choice Community Healthcare, where he was an integral part of the Senior Management Team. He is multilingual and has a deep passion for causes related to social justice, equity, and cultural exchange. He is set to graduate from UNM’s Anderson School of Business in May 2023 with his Executive Masters of Business Administration (EMBA). In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and distance running as well as extra hot chile, and sings and plays guitar in the local band Reviva. He loves to travel and show visitors all that Albuquerque has to offer.

Sarah. Grants and Contracts Administrator

Sarah Wilkinson

Grants & Contracts Administrator
Bio
Sarah Wilkinson founded what was initially called Project PeacePal in 2006 to connect students directly with peers in countries across the globe through hand-written pen pal letters. By 2016 she had expanded the network to over 18,000 participants in 31 countries, and grown the organization to include in-person international exchanges, rebranding as Global One to One. In 2020 Sarah completed her Masters in Public Administration from the University of New Mexico, with her thesis topic “Developing Intercultural Understanding and Communication with Adolescents through Virtual Exchange.” Sarah is passionate about building global connections that celebrate our common humanity, and is excited to continue developing relationships with existing and new partners in her position with GlobalTies ABQ. In her free time she enjoys hiking in the mountains of New Mexico and laughing with friends and family.
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Michael Garlid

Program Officer
Bio

Michael was raised in Tempe, Arizona where he received his Bachelor’s in Global Studies from Arizona State University with a minor in French Language and Literature. He then pursued a Master’s of Science in International Management in Lugano, Switzerland at Franklin University Switzerland.

His passion for travel and public diplomacy stems from personal experiences that challenged his core values and beliefs and led to a career in cultural exchange and community engagement.

Outside the office Michael works to support sustainable initiatives and has worked with the UN Habitat and participated at COP 26 and other international conferences. Through international and idea exchanges he believes urban settlements and lifestyles can be more sustainable and retrofitted for the future.

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Kathy Kersting

Project Manager - Youthink2: Global Challenges

Board

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Melora Palmer

President
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Jill Van Nortwick

Past President
Bio
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.
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Greg Polk

Treasurer
Bio
Greg is a familiar face at Global Ties Abq.  He served as treasure from 2016 through 2019 and was recently reelected to that position on the GT Abq board of directors. His past experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer, international development advisor, and educator has given him the opportunity to not only travel but to serve abroad. Greg holds a masters degree in City Planning from MIT and has called New Mexico home since the mid 80s.  In 2016 he and his wife Rebecca returned to New Mexico after 20+ years living and working overseas and during that time gained extensive experience as a specialist in structuring public-private development projects in 15 countries. Greg is also coordinator of the New Mexico Peace Corps Association.  He now live in Corrales and looks forwards to bringing his experience in finance and planning to enhance the future of Global Ties. 
Laura Hille

Laura Hille

Secretary
Bio
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 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.
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Stephen L. Bishop

Member-at-Large
Bio
Stephen L. Bishop (Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1999; J.D. University of Michigan, 1993; B.S. University of Illinois, 1990) is the Director of the International Studies Institute and an Associate Professor of French and Africana Studies at the University of New Mexico. Professor Bishop’s interests encompass literature and culture of sub-Saharan Africa, law and literature, shame and guilt, feminism, FGM, cultural studies, and child soldier narratives.

Professor Bishop has published a number of articles on African literature and law, as well as his book Legal Oppositional Narrative: A Case Study in Cameroon (Lexington Books, 2008), which examines opposition to government-supported, dominant social orders through legal writing, including fiction that deals with legal themes, settings, and language, as well as nontraditional narratives such as legal decisions and textbooks. He has a forthcoming book, Scripting Humiliation: Shame in the African Novel, with Liverpool University Press.

He teaches courses on African literature and culture, theories of law and literature, and European and African legal and moral traditions in literature and film.
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Deborah Blank

Member-at-Large
Bio
Deborah’s involvement with Global Ties ABQ helps her feel that she has a role to play in creating international goodwill. As a huge added benefit, she has learned so much about other cultures from these very bright and energetic future world leaders – what a privilege to engage with them. They clearly enjoy coming to Albuquerque and she finds it fun to show off the city and share their reaction to the many attributes – especially the food, skies and sunsets!
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Jon Ghahate

Member-at-Large
Bio
Jon Ghahate is of the Pueblos of Laguna and Zuni and of the Turkey and Badger Clans. Jon is the Museum Cultural Educator at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As the Museum Cultural Educator, his responsibilities are to develop and present a historically accurate and respectful narrative of the cultures, heritage, and legacies of New Mexico’s Pueblo communities. He has a diverse professional background as; a primary care and orthopedic-surgical Physician Assistant, a high school math and science teacher and athletic coach for the Albuquerque Public Schools, was an Associate Producer for Native America Calling, a live national daily radio talk program, and has volunteered for a number of civil and community organizations. He is a Vietnam Era veteran, in enlisted and commissioned medical ranks, having serviced in several military branches. He was a Kellogg National Leadership Program Fellow.

Through the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Jon has given presentations on New Mexico’s Pueblo communities, providing a credible and historically accurate paradigm of the Indigenous civilizations of the US Southwest, the impact of encroachment and colonization by Eastern Hemisphere entities upon of these civilizations, the acknowledgement of the diverse Indigenous civilizations of the Western Hemisphere that incorporated STEM constructs in establishing and sustaining their civilizations pre-Contact, the continued evolution and resilience of Indigenous peoples, the efforts of Indigenous people taking ownership of a more accurate and science-centered narrative of their history, and topics centered on Cultural Humility and Sensitivity. As a lecturer, he has presented to organizations such as; the Albuquerque Public Schools School Board, the University of New Mexico, the Crow Canyon Archeological Center, the Coronado State Historic Site/Park, The Nature Conservancy of Santa Fe, the National Park Service, the Sierra Club, the America Farmland Trust, the World Council of Churches, SITE Santa Fe, the US Air Force, the Pittsburg National Corporation, the Center for Indigenous Ministries, and META/Facebook. He has assisted some of these organizations with creating their ‘land acknowledgement statement’. Jon is a parent of two children and resides on the homelands of the Pueblo people of the Southwest United States.
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Moses Winston

Member-at-Large
Bio
Moses is an experienced attorney, leader and an aspiring optimist. He has practiced law for over 10 years and currently is a Senior Associate in the Albuquerque office of Ray | Peña | McChristian, P.C. In his law practice, Moses represents clients in all areas of civil litigation, including insurance, business disputes, and professional liability.

Prior to his work in private practice, Moses was appointed to several senior executive positions in state government, including General Counsel and Legislative Coordinator and was responsible for legal, policy and operational issues for several state agencies. In these roles, Moses advised elected and appointed officials on matters including policy and legislation, risk management and personnel. Moses was appointed a Special Assistant Attorney General and served on a legal team that provided a successful defense of the state’s governor in a writ of mandamus filed in the New Mexico Supreme Court involving a Class III Gaming Compact.
Moses was born on a Naval Base in Guam USA. Growing up throughout the United States, Moses credits his father, a career officer in the Air Force, for his discipline and work ethic and his mother, a nurse, with his good nature and sense of humor. Moses is a lifelong athlete, and his joy of competition has supported many endeavors in his personal and professional life.

In his free time, Moses likes staying active, being outdoors and providing amateur critic reviews on the latest movies.

Interns

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Zennie Tran

Marketing & Communications Intern
Bio

My name is Zennie. I'm a University of New Mexico student majoring in Organizational Communication Studies. I was born and raised in Vietnam, and my parents always encouraged me to do my best in everything I do. They let me make my own choices and never pushed me toward a career goal. Growing up in the United States, I noticed that Asian-American representation is among the most minor represented groups working in the PR industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 6.2% of Asian Americans make up the PR industry in the U.S. As a member of the AAPI community, and I believe this might open doors for me to work in the PR industry.

As I sought to gain knowledge in the PR industry, I was able to get the opportunity to be a part of the Global Ties ABQ team. My goal is to be an Asian American representative in the PR industry to emphasize the work industry's power and influence. Being a member of the AAPI, I want to contribute my perspectives and experiences that I could share to enrich U.S communities, enhancing mutual understanding between the U.S and other nations. I also want to be a part of representing a voice for underrepresented groups. Overall, I believe the more diverse and inclusive the PR industry, the more rich and powerful we can get our messages across and strengthen our relationships with the rest of the world.