Board of Directors

Holly Emert, Ph.D.,  President, 2017-2018


Holly Emert, Ph.D.,  is the current president of SIETAR USA. She has been an active SIETAR USA member since 2001. Her service to the organization includes membership on the Board of Directors as Professional Development portfolio chair, co-chairing the 2013 national conference held in Washington, DC, and other forms of service to the organization. Outside of SIETAR USA, Holly works at the Institute of International Education (IIE) as the program director of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program. Holly is also adjunct faculty at both the American University School of International Service and Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey; she teaches intercultural relations at both institutions. She has extensive experience working in the areas of intercultural and diversity training; international education programming; international development; quantitative and qualitative research design and analysis and evaluation. She has worked in several countries, including China and France. She earned a Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education, International and Intercultural Education focus, from the University of Minnesota in 2008. She currently lives in Washington, DC.

Sandra Fowler,  President-Elect, 2018


As a young professional working for the National Bureau of Standards, Sandy was assigned to a project to assess the costs and benefits of the U.S. Peace Corps’ staging processes. It was the first time she dealt with culture’s direct impact on the ability to do work. A fascination with culture has remained and led to a Master’s Degree in organizational psychology with an emphasis on intercultural relations. Sandy spent eight years of research at the Navy Personnel Research and Development Center in San Diego, on selection and training of uniformed navy personnel. While in Washington, DC from 1979 to 1989 as head of the Overseas Duty Support Program, she expanded the program in both scope and content and embedded it within the navy’s organizational structure. Sandy organized the program according to the overseas transition cycle for personnel assigned to foreign duty stations starting with the earliest contact with the Navy detailer through all the phases of going and returning to the United States. She also re-wrote the selection for overseas assignment regulations and funded a number of research projects. In addition, she worked with Michael Tucker, then of CRE to create the Navy Overseas Assignment Inventory (NOAI) a pre-curser to the OAI. Leaving that position in 1989, she has maintained an active consulting and training schedule working with a variety of U.S. and global companies as well as government agencies. Sandy has been very engaged with SIETAR International serving as president from 1986 to 1988, and with SIETAR USA serving as the founding secretary and continuing on the Board in several capacities. She agreed at the initial IAIR conference in Fullerton to be on the Membership Committee (and have been there ever since). Mostly retired at this point, but still “professionally active” she writes and trains a bit and serves as the Art Co-Editor for the American Psychologist. Sandy has published 10 intercultural articles and chapters as well as editing the two volumes of the Intercultural Sourcebook: Cross Culture Training Methods.

Monica Mumford,  Secretary, 2017-2019


Monica Mumford joined SIETAR International in 1980. She served as Secretary and Treasurer for SIETAR USA from 2003-2013, and rejoined the Board of Directors this year in the role of Secretary. Monica is currently providing international human resources consulting services. Previously, she was the Human Resources Director for a mid-tier gold mining company with operations in West Africa. She has extensive international HR experience specifically in Ghana and Canada, and she coordinated the overseas briefing program for CIDA’s volunteers going to Asia. She is the junior editor of The Intercultural Sourcebook: Cross-Cultural Training Methods, volumes 1 and 2. She holds an MA in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University and a BA in Sociology from San Diego State University, and she has earned two HR certifications, one of which is the Global Professional in Human Resources. Monica lives in the greater Denver metropolitan area.

Amy Rausch, Acting Treasurer, 2017-2019

Amy Rausch is the acting Treasurer of SIETAR USA. Amy began serving SIETAR USA in 2012 on the conference committee for Sponsor Partnership development and went on to hold the position of Treasurer from 2014-2016. Amy’s international living experience in the UK fueled her passion for the intercultural field. She is currently working as a Cross-Cultural trainer. Previously, Amy specialized in Global Mobility as a tax, compensation and policy design consultant with the accounting firm KPMG. She holds an MSc in Organizational Studies and International Human Resource Management from the University of Essex in England, a BS in Accounting from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, and is certified through the Interchange Institute for the Crossing Cultures with Competence program. Amy lives in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota.

Farzana Nayani, Leadership Development Director, 2018-2020

Farzana Nayani is currently Leadership Development Director for SIETAR USA and has been involved with SIETAR since 2004.  Farzana has been consultant to Fortune 500 companies on diversity and inclusion, intercultural communication, and employee engagement. She has had extensive experience conducting leadership training, intercultural communication, and economic development programs for over 15 years.  Her passion for small business development and supplier diversity can be seen in her drive to advise and connect minority suppliers and large corporations. Farzana has made an impact as an Asian-Pacific Islander community advocate through guest speaking and multicultural curriculum design for organizations such as the Smithsonian. Her latest work focuses on cultivating the processes and performance of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). She holds a Master’s Degree in Communication and Management from the University of Hawai’i/East-West Center and has been featured in DiversityInc magazine and the LA Times on the topics of inclusion and race in the workplace.  

Brett Parry,  Communications & Marketing Director, 2018-2020

Brett Parry currently serves as Communications Director for SIETAR USA. Brett's early professional background was in the mining and engineering field in his native Australia, before moving into the business of retail franchising. In 2000, Brett moved to the USA to pursue international franchise opportunities. Shortly after arriving, Brett also began consulting to Australian companies wishing to expand into the North American market, many times in collaboration with the Australian Trade Commission. It was this shift that brought him to recognize the importance of cross-cultural knowledge and understanding. Brett soon expanded his business to include Asian and European clients, offering further real world learning opportunities in navigating cultural differences. Brett has been certified by a number of cultural learning organizations to deliver their programs in support of global mobility and cultural competency. He currently delivers these programs in support of executives and employees of some of the world’s largest corporations. Brett currently lives in Chicago, IL.

Julia Gaspar-Bates, Local Groups Director, 2017-2019 

Julia Gaspar-Bates has recently joined the SIETAR USA Board of Directors as Local Groups Director. She has been a member of SIETAR USA since 2002 and has been involved with the organization in various capacities over the years such as heading up the SIETAR Washington DC chapter from 2007-2010, co-chairing the SIETAR USA conference in 2013 and teaching yoga at many of the annual conferences. Julia is co-founder and president of Intercultural Alliances, LLC, a global intercultural training and consulting firm. Since 2000, she has provided cross-cultural training and consulting services on four continents and in multiple foreign languages to executives, educators and students, military service members and governmental and non-governmental personnel. A dual citizen of the U.S. and the U.K., Julia lived in France for over seven years, has lived for shorter periods in Mexico, Italy and Switzerland and has traveled to over 45 countries. She speaks French, Spanish and Italian fluently and is currently studying Brazilian Portuguese. She has been an adjunct professor at George Washington University since 2007 and writes a bi-monthly column "Cultural Connections" for the Hyattsville Life & Times newspaper. Julia holds a Master’s degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University. She currently lives in the Washington DC metro area with her husband and daughter.

Yulia Carson, Professional Development Director, 2017-2018

Yulia has been in the field of intercultural training for 10 years and has spent most of her career facilitating intercultural programs, individual consultations and group programs, as an independent trainer and consultant. Today, she is a Manager of Global Talent Development at one of the field’s leading providers of intercultural training and global mobility solutions IOR Global Services. She manages all of the Learning and Development and intercultural assessment solutions and is also a recruiter and manager of the organization’s global trainer network.

Yulia’s educational background is in Cultural Anthropology. Currently, she is pursuing a Graduate Degree in Adult Learning and Organizational Change and Leadership Coaching Certification from Northwestern University.

On a personal note, Yulia is a native of Russia. For over 16 years now, she and her family have been living in Chicago, IL. Yulia is absolutely committed to the training field and intercultural education, convinced that intercultural professionals help make the world a better place one engagement at a time.

Membership, Outreach & Diversity Director, Laurette Bennhold, 2017-18

Laurette Bennhold-Samaan is an international executive with over thirty years of experience in world-class organizations including The World Bank, Honda of America, Accenture, and the Peace Corps. Most recently, Laurette was Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Aperian Global (international consulting company serving 1/3 Fortune 100, government, non-profit and academic institutions) reporting directly to the Board. Her expertise includes strategic planning, human resources, training, and partnering with corporate, government, educational, and international organizations.

She holds a Master in International Affairs focusing on cross-cultural communications and international business from Ohio University and has authored and co-authored several books. Laurette has been on the faculty with the University of Maryland International Division in Europe, Kingston College, and Strayer University. Originally from Egypt, Laurette has lived in Nigeria, Germany and Canada. She currently resides in Washington, DC with her family..

Sonya Kaleel, Sponsorship Development (S.E.A)  Director, 2018-2020

Sonya Kaleel became active in SIETAR-USA in 2016 and now serves as the Sponsor Partner Development Director. She is a seasoned learning and development leader with over 25 years designing and facilitating learning experiences that enable us to create sustainable, inclusive workspaces. She has been in the Intercultural field for the past 15 years creating and delivering blended learning engagements, strategic global mobility solutions and global readiness assessments for Fortune 500 companies worldwide. As a social justice advocate, she has been engaged in initiatives that deconstruct race, culture and identity for the past two decades. Sonya holds a BS degree in Communications from Bradley University and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University. She has lived in five countries on four continents, traveled to over 30 countries and now resides in Austin, Texas, USA with her family.

Alisa Poehler,  Conference Oversight Director,  2017-2019

Advisory Council

Kelli McLoud-Schingen  2018-2020

Kelli McLoud-Schingen is President of KMS Intercultural Consulting and has specialized in Global Diversity and Inclusion since 1989. As a long-time member of SIETAR USA she has served on the board in some capacity since 2003.  She served as Conference Chair in 2009 and as conference Co-Chair in 2016. Before coming into leadership at SIETAR USA, Kelli also served on the Board of Directors for the now non-operational SIETAR Houston from 2001-2007.  She has also been active with Young SIETAR.  As you can see, Kelli is committed to the SIETAR global network and looks for every opportunity to engage in the global community.

Rob Pusch  2018-2020

Rob Pusch has been an active member of SIETAR USA since 2002. Rob has served as the communications director and has been part of the conference planning team since 2010. Rob is associate director of Syracuse University Project Advance and oversees SUPA’s instructional services unit. He also teaches in the Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation program at SU. As a consultant, Rob does workshops on LGBT issues. He is one of the coauthor’s of the Cultural Detective: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender.

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