The Greenheart team is dynamic, mission-driven, and dedicated to expanding worldviews. Get to know our founders, board of directors, and staff.
Emanuel Kuntzelman has dedicated his life to raising environmental awareness, promoting cultural understanding, and advocating for world peace. A lifelong spiritual seeker, he is the Founder and President of Greenheart International. Founded in 1985 as the Center for Cultural Interchange, the organization changed its name to Greenheart International in 2013 in efforts to further embody the work of connecting people and planet. Greenheart now encompasses four major branches: CCI Greenheart, Greenheart Travel, the Greenheart Shop, and Greenheart Transforms. The cultural exchange division facilitates programs for some 10,000 international students annually who come to the Unites States on a wide array of programs, many of which are organized under the four J-1 visa designations that Greenheart has from the Department of State. Greenheart Travel provides opportunities for Americans to work, volunteer, and travel abroad. Within the two exchange branches, Greenheart partners with some 250 organizations in 97 countries. The Greenheart Shop promotes eco-friendly and fair trade products for conscious consumers, and features a retail store in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago, an e-commerce option, and a wholesale line called “Sobremesa.” The shop offers products from 55 countries and provides wholesaling to some 500 retail shops nationwide. Greenheart Transforms promotes personal development and social transformation. It has organized numerous seminars and events since its inception in 2009, and more recently has helped build the Global Purpose Movement, which is a collective of some 50 like-minded organizations collaborating to create a world that works for everyone.
Other Greenheart affiliates include the Greenheart Club, which currently logs over 42,000 volunteer hours annually and sponsors 85 projects in 20 countries. The Greenheart Camp provides scholarships for Chicago youth to explore nature and expand their worldviews. Greenheart also supports Greenheart Music and the Casita Verde environmental center, both located on the Spanish island of Ibiza.
Additionally, Emanuel is co-founder and president of the Foundation for the Future (Fundacion por el Futuro) based in Madrid, Spain. He has lived most of his life in Europe, but now resides primarily in Chicago, where Greenheart is based. In addition to his duties related to Greenheart, Emanuel is a motivational speaker and initiator of the Global Purpose Movement, working toward positive planetary transformation. He has organized retreats and workshops throughout the U.S. and Spain. He is also a writer and his blogs and general philosophy can be found on his personal website: emanuelkuntzelman.com. Emanuel’s debut book, Riding the Wave of Global Purpose, is forthcoming.
Laura Rose is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Greenheart International, and is passionate about the organization’s vision for a world in which communities come together as agents of change to create a more peaceful and sustainable future for all.
In 1995, she co-founded the Fundación por El Futuro (Foundation for the Future), a not-for-profit in Spain devoted to the creation of environmental and educational programs for American and Spanish youth. Since 2001 she has been a key supporter of the growth and mission of the Casita Verde, an eco-education center on the island of Ibiza which showcases sustainable living and alternative energies, and is visited by thousands of students and adults each year.
Laura recently completed six years’ service as a member of the board’s executive committee for the Council on Standards for International Education and Travel and currently serves as the vice chair for the board of the Alliance for International Exchange based in Washington, DC. As part of her board service for the industry, Laura has been a panelist and speaker in numerous forums and recently gave the keynote address at a CSIET conference in Washington. She has worked closely with members of the Department of State and community leaders to further the causes of public diplomacy and cultural understanding.
Her other passions are studying and speaking the romance languages, snorkeling, cycling, film and aspiring to see every nook and cranny of Southern Europe in this lifetime.
In 1993, Chris founded the Casita Verde model ecology centre, using a small rented house near San Jose. After trying unsuccessfully to establish a couple of different commercial Ecological Centres, including the ‘Eivissa Ecolandia’ pilot project during 2001, Chris decided to re-focus his attention on improving the facilities and potential of the Casita Verde. At the same time, and with the help of others, he began to develop the ‘Green Heart’ strategy plan, with the idea of including the whole island of Ibiza in a new and more global project. During early 2003, Chris and Marc Osmo, our in-house graphic designer at the time, came up with the concept of making a ‘Greenheart Project Farm’, which would provide a platform for the development of ideas and projects of many people and which would be managed by a growing multi-national steering committee, under the umbrella of the not-for-profit organisation ‘Fundación por el Futuro’.
Chris presently represents the “Foundation for the Future” in Ibiza, is president of the study group “Ibiza Ecologic”, and director of the model ecological centre at Casita Verde.
Jack Blanks has been working in the field of international relief and development since 1974, beginning with a three-year assignment as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa. Following his Peace Corps service, he worked six years for Save the Children in the African countries of Burkina Faso and Malawi in both a technical and program management capacity. In 1987-88 he served as a Desk Officer at the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington D.C., covering four African nations.
Since 1988, he has been involved primarily in international health activities. As the Director of Programs for the International Eye Foundation in Bethesda, MD, he coordinated worldwide prevention and cure of blindness programs from 1988-1993. As the Executive Director of the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program in the Americas (a Carter Center led initiative) he launched a successful program to eliminate river blindness in six Latin American nations from 1993 to 1996. Jack joined Project HOPE, a Virginia-based international health assistance agency, in 1996 and served sequentially as Regional Director for Africa, Latin America and Asia. During his last several years at Project HOPE he served as Director for Strategic Alliances, supporting the development of partnerships with corporations, other non-profit organizations, and government agencies. He also coordinated disaster relief efforts for Project HOPE after the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and Hurricane Katrina in 2006.
After 13 years with Project HOPE, Jack joined Seva Foundation as the Executive Director in 2009. Seva was founded in 1978 with a mission to alleviate suffering caused by disease and poverty. Operating in over 20 countries including the United States, Seva currently works to prevent blindness and restore sight in developing nations and underserved Native American communities.
Mr. Blanks holds a BA in Religion from Catawba College and a Master of Science Degree in International Administration from Central Michigan University. Besides English, he speaks French and Spanish fluently.
Residents of Sacramento, California since 2002, the Blanks family includes three grown children (all working or in post graduate programs). Jack’s wife, Nancy, is an attorney for the Federal Government specializing in natural resource law.
Roy Curran has been a member of the Board of Directors since October 2006 and previously served as advisor to the board. Roy is President, CEO, and a member of the Board of Directors of Oak Bank. He is also President and CEO of Rush-Oak Corporation, Oak Bank’s holding company in Chicago, Illinois. Roy has spent more than 35 years in community banking in Illinois. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of District 33 Foundation for Educational Excellence from 1991 to 2002 in West Chicago.
Dustin DiPerna is a visionary leader, entrepreneur, and recognized expert in world religions. He’s committed his life to making timeless spiritual wisdom relevant and accessible for a rapidly changing global society. Through writing, teaching, coaching, and consulting, Dustin helps individuals and groups optimize their human experience to find happier and more fulfilling ways of being in the world. He is author and/or editor of four books: Streams of Wisdom, Evolution’s Ally, The Coming Waves and Earth is Eden.
Dustin has spent more than a decade of close study with American Philosopher, Ken Wilber, who has declared that Dustin’s work “fundamentally alters the way in which religion or spirituality can (and should) be taught and practiced.” For the past 8 years, Dustin has been practicing and studying in the spiritual lineages of Mahamudra and Dzogchen under the direction of Daniel P. Brown and Rahob Tulku Rinpoche. Dustin has a lifelong commitment to being both student and practitioner.
Dustin has held positions with the Integral Institute, the Integral Spiritual Center and the World Council of Religious and Spiritual Leaders (WCORL). As an entrepreneur, Dustin first launched Integral Publishing House as a platform to publish a series of carefully curated books, each selected to stimulate the development of deeper levels of consciousness and culture. He next co-founded WEpractice, a training program to help people move beyond the limitations of individualized spiritual practice to discover the power of groups in transformation, integration, and healing. WEpractice has trained over 500 practitioners as well as a new cohort of leaders who continue work around the globe. Dustin played a central role on the leadership team for the Global Cooperative Forum in Interlaken, Switzerland, exploring how a deeper understanding of spiritual awakening might inform cooperative efforts of social action. Building on this success and sensing the need for deeper collaboration among global organizations, Dustin launched the World Business Commons in partnership with the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. His latest venture, Bright Alliance, is building an endowment for the continued preservation and dissemination of the great treasure trove of human wisdom sourced in our world’s great religious traditions.
Dustin holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a Masters of Liberal Arts degree in Religion from Harvard University. An avid lover of art, design and nature, he lives in California with his wife, Amanda, and daughter, Jaya.
Dr. Shamini Jain is a psychologist, scientist, and social entrepreneur. She is the Founder and Director of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI; www.CHI.is), a collaborative accelerator that links scientists, practitioners, artists, entrepreneurs, and educators to facilitate the science and practice of healing. CHI was formed through Dr. Jain’s deep desire to bring key stakeholders together to create a coherent and effective movement to move us beyond the “decade of the brain”, into the “age of consciousness and healing”. Founding partners of CHI include the Miraglo Foundation; Institute of Noetic Sciences; the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine; San Diego Cancer Research Institute; Westreich Foundation; and Chopra Foundation.
Dr. Jain obtained her B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. degree from the SDSU/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, with a research focus in psychoneuroimmunology. She conducted her clinical residency at the La Jolla VA Hospital/UC San Diego, and her post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research. While a graduate student, Dr. Jain received NIH funding and conducted the first-ever clinical trial at UC San Diego on hands-on-healing in cancer survivors, the results of which are published in the prestigious journal Cancer, widely read by oncologists.
Currently, in addition to running CHI, Dr. Jain is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego, and has been an active member of UCSD Center for Integrative Medicine’s Research Committee for the past 5 years. She is also a student of Rev. Rosalyn Bruyere in the healing arts.
Dr. Jain has published extensively in the areas of psychoneuroimmunology and well-being, integrative medicine, and healing. She has received numerous awards from scientific societies including the American Psychosomatic Society, the American Psychological Association, Society of Behavioral Medicine, Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, and others for her work. Shamini’s published research in healing has been featured by TIME Magazine and CNN, as well as other radio and media. Shamini has a passion for sharing the science of healing, regularly speaking on topics surrounding healing and well-being in diverse venues including NATO; TEDx; major universities and medical centers; health-related conferences and corporations. She also contributes as an author on these topics in online blogs for Huffington Post, The Times of India, and Fulfillment Daily. Shamini’s scientific publications, example talks, speaking schedule, blogs and more can be found at www.shaminijain.com.
Rich has been a member of the Board of Directors since November 2005, and serves as Treasurer. He has forty years of experience in private business, and over 25 years of experience serving on boards of NGOs in the cultural exchange, education, youth sports, and financial sectors.
Currently, Rich works for Corning, Incorporated. His focus is on developing technology and business innovation strategies for emerging markets, and managing new business initiatives in emerging technology applications in agriculture; food quality and security; and sustainable manufacturing practices. One such initiative is the application of spectral imaging sensors for sustainable farming practices.
Previously, Rich served in finance, business development, program management and general management roles with major aerospace companies. As General Manager of Goodrich/Recon/Optical, Inc., with over $50 million in annual Sales, and Director of Marketing and Business Development for Europe and the Middle East, Rich opened up new markets through collaborations with local companies. Additionally, he established and staffed an office in Rome, Italy, where he lived as an expatriate with his family for nine years.
Rich has served on numerous NGO boards of directors. While living in Rome, he served on the board of the American Overseas School of Rome for seven years and as its Chair for five years. Others have included the Barrington (Illinois) Area Community Foundation; Recon/Optical, Inc. Employee Credit Union, where he frequently served as its Chair or Treasurer over 20 year period; Barrington National Little League, where he also served as Chair; and as President of the Parish Council and Chair of the Finance Committee for St. Susanna Parish in Rome. Rich is a member of Rotary International, and is a Paul Harris Fellow.
Rich has a Master of Business Administration degree and Certificate in Change Management from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Wichita State University. He lives with his wife, Lori Tibbett, in Sacramento, California. They have five children and eleven grandchildren.
Lisa Custardo is a forward-thinking professional with an extensive business background in Health & Human Services and Non-Profits. She comes to Greenheart International as an Illinois CPA with an earned MBA from NIU, and holds a graduate coaching certification with designation in the internationally recognized field of Social + Emotional Intelligence – focused for business leaders, from The-ISEI – Denver, CO. Lisa accepted the invitation to join the senior leadership team of Greenheart in August 2014 as Vice President of Finance and Operations, to bring a unique balance and diverse set of expertise to key areas of the organization’s strategy, vision, leadership, team development, financial oversight, information technology, risk management and insurance.
After a dedicated career in humanitarian efforts and holding a variety of senior positions for some of the most successful local organizations centered on significant causes, social development and awareness, and dynamic community impact in the Chicago area for nearly twenty years, Lisa comes to Greenheart completely inspired and enthused to work with such a progressive team of professionals in connecting people and planet and serving a more global mission. Lisa currently resides in Winfield, IL, a western suburb of Chicago, with her exciting daughter Paige – an aspiring creative and musical artist, thespian, and avid soccer player!
Claudia has been with Greenheart since 1995 when she began on a part time basis. She loved the mission and her co-workers and has stayed ever since. She has worn many hats and currently dons an array of ever changing selections that keeps things fresh and vibrant. As Personnel Director she meets with all new hires and helps with smooth onboarding. Building management duties have included rehabbing more than a handful office spaces into beautiful work environments for staff. Overseeing the IT department is a daily education that helps keep her brain well oiled. New projects that are always just around corner add to the fun!
Claudia was born and raised in Bolivar, Pennsylvania where she got the cultural exchange bug as a high school travel abroad participant. Currently living in Chicago with her husband of 32 years she loves to explore the city. Claudia covets her Chicago magazines for the monthly restaurant Hot List. She has added running to her list of new ventures and hopes to run her first official 5K in early 2014. Family dinners that include her two grown sons are the best times on earth.
Jamel, a Chicago native, has always had a passion for improving the lives of others and learning about other communities and cultures. She has over 15 years expertise as a HR Leader and Consultant in the Chicagoland area supporting child welfare, health and human services, health care, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations. In addition, she has facilitated a variety of training programs in the areas of leadership, performance management, conflict resolution, and employee relations.
Jamel has a Bachelor of Science in Training and Development from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a Master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University in Human Resources Development. She also is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) and as a Society of Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).
She is a United States Air Force (USAF) veteran, a devoted wife and mother of four. Jamel and her spouse Gregory recently celebrated their 27th anniversary in Indonesia. During her spare time she enjoys theater, traveling, sports, and home improvement.
Christopher has been a lifelong resident of Chicago and has been advancing his career for the last 20 years in accounting. He has worked in customer service, hospitality, finance and in the service industries before joining Greenheart. He looks forward to putting his energy and experience into Greenheart to help further its mission, connecting people and planet.
His interests include following the Blackhawks and Cubs and indulging in new restaurants. He is committed to helping control the feral cat population through the TNR Program “Trap Neuter and Release.” He is also a proud owner of a dog, two cats, and an African Grey parrot.
Paula alternates her working and personal life between left-brain critical thinking and right-brain creative expression. She started out in banking over 30 years ago. She studied liberal arts and business at Purdue University and has worked in bookkeeping in banking, public accounting, the hotel industry, and private medical practice. Paula also has a B.A. in Graphic Design from Columbia College and worked as a graphic designer in publishing and freelanced. She managed her family’s automotive service shop and co-owned an event decorating company. Paula has also done professional puppeteering. She endeavors to bring a creative approach to life’s little challenges. As the Accounting Associate, Paula keeps things running smoothly and orderly in the department. She supports Greenheart’s mission of social responsibility and personal transformation and is active in Chicago’s conscious communities. Growing up on a farm has given her a respect for the natural world and sustainable living. She lives in a tiny wooded haven in the Rogers Park neighborhood with her husband, three cats, and various wild animals, where she cultivates, cooks, creates, cogitates and conjures.
I am originally from Michigan, more specifically the rural “Thumb”. I moved to Chicago in the fall of 2006. I have a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy from Adrian College. I have worked in accounting with public accounting firms; primarily performing reviews and audits for a variety of clients and subsequently with a web based tech sales company and later in the non-profit sector with a large charter school organization. I bring experience with financial reporting, month and year end close, and working with external auditors along with process review/improvement and documentation. In my free time I enjoy playing volleyball, spending time with my Little Brother from Big Brothers Big Sisters along with my nephews and niece, watching good binge worthy shows and sports, and attending craft beer events and releases with friends.
I was born and raised here in Chicago. I have an Associates Degree and I have been doing Account Payable for about ten years. I am part of the Englewood Rising Group and we help to mentor the young people in our neighborhood. My hobbies are bike riding and going to the health club as well as, going to the movies and plays. I am the youngest of two, and have one son and two grandsons.
Before coming to Greenheart, I spent quite a few years working in legal aid, first as the IT Manager for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) and Legal Aid of Western Ohio (LAWO). Making the move to the big city, I then came to Chicago to work as the Technology Director for the Legal Aid Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (LAF). From there, I took a few years off to spend time with family and found my way back to the working world by spending the last three years working in webhosting. Helping people use technology to make the world a better place is my passion, and I can’t wait to share that passion with everyone at Greenheart.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: English, Bengali
University: BA in Economics, BA in Political Science
Where I’ve Traveled: Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, France, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Italy, Uruguay, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Southern Caribbean, and Spain
What I like to do: Read, Binge-watch Media Content, Travel, Cook, and Play Trivia
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
Languages: English, some French, some Spanish, some Mandarin
University: Allegheny College, B.S. in Psychology, Minor in Dance and Movement Studies
Where I’ve Traveled:Taiwan, Some states in the U.S., Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Mexico City
What I like to do: Shoot hoops, travel, watch TV/movies, play chess
After completing his certification as a Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA), Arturo worked as a Field Technician for a consulting firm managing a full spectrum of IT services for clients. He brings his enthusiasm, quick problem solving skills and great energy with him. A native Chicagoan, Arturo lives in Portage Park with his family that includes 2 small children. In his spare time he enjoys reading, music recording, and motorsports.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: English and Latin
University: DePaul University/Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology
Where I’ve Traveled: Austria, Greece, Mexico, Turkey
What I like to do: Camping, fishing, hiking, cooking, biking, and calligraphy
Shane comes to Greenheart with almost 2 decades of technical support experience. He grew up in the southwest suburb of Oak Forest before going to Dallas to attend Southern Methodist University to achieve his bachelors in Computer Science. In his spare time, he volunteers teaching computer basics at a community center, spends time with his 2 dogs, and is an avid video gamer.
Andrea Dennis is a charismatic organizer, fundraiser, and facilitator in the fields of cultural exchange, fair trade, service learning and sacred connection. She is committed to creating space for transformation to emerge for individuals and the collective. Through organizing, facilitating, interviewing, and hosting, Andrea supports deep personal and group connection. Her approach is influenced by a wide-ranging background in multiple fields including: meditation, yoga, permaculture, and community organizing. She received teacher trainings in Primordial Sound Meditation from the Chopra Center; a 200hr yoga teacher training course from Yoga Now Chicago; a certification for Fundraising from the Heart by Lynne Twist; a permaculture Design Certificate at the Earth Activist Training by Starhawk and Charles Williams; and became a Life-Cycle Celebrant through the Celebrant Institute and Foundation. Andrea is a published author in the anthology Purpose Rising. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Social Enterprise Alliance and currently serves with Chicago Fair Trade. She volunteers with Chicago elderly and youth, and is lovingly committed to bringing forth a flourishing existence for all beings. She rides her bike around the city and enjoys lounging.
Nicole, born in California and raised in the Midwest, received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Spanish from Augustana College. Bitten by the travel bug at an early age, she studied abroad in Ecuador and interned at the Flamenco Museum in Seville, Spain. She then pursued an even lengthier abroad experience by becoming TEFL certified and teaching English in Chile for 3 years where she met her amazing husband, lived for a time in a Chilean copper mine, and solidified her Spanish and Portuguese.
Feeling called upon to spread her enthusiasm for cultural exchange and language, Nicole knew that she needed to work for Greenheart upon returning to Chicago in early 2016. Before joining DOVE as the Service Learning and Outreach Manager, she worked as a temporary Program Assistant and Cultural Outreach Assistant for Greenheart’s Work and Travel program. She loves connecting with the Chicago community and has volunteered regularly with Equality Illinois and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
When she’s not working, Nicole likes to take walks, delve into Latin American novels, pet other people’s dogs, and eat her Chilean husband’s delicious home cooking. She has been lucky enough to travel to over 15 countries across 4 continents and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon!
A native of Chicago’s northern suburbs, Rosie attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in News-Editorial Journalism with a minor in Earth, Society and the Environment. After graduation she worked in newsrooms with the Washington Post, Sun-Times Local and ABC.
However, after volunteering with P.E.R.R.O., an environmental advocacy group in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, she became inspired to switch careers and use her digital skills to further causes that benefit our planet and all who inhabit it.
As Digital Manager, Rosie loves mixing her passions for social/environmental justice with digital media. She manages web development projects, updates and support across all of Greenheart’s websites. In her spare time you can find Rosie nerding out about space exploration, cooking, knitting, playing board games and enjoying a good bottle of wine with friends and family.
Rob comes from a military family and although he can’t claim any one location as home, he enjoys engaging in many different cultures worldwide. As a designer, he loves visual storytelling and seeks out new ideas and inspirations. Color theory, branding, and illustration are three areas of design he highly enjoys working in. His main focus has been on using design and media for social awareness/activism in LGBTQ and gender equality, rights/visibility, as well as cultural expansion and environmentalism.
A south side Chicago native, Rocio was first introduced to the power of cultural exchange through an expedition to the Peruvian Amazon in high school. Since then, she has continued to seek out and explore the potential of the human spirit through travel and service experiences locally and internationally. Whether it be aiding the rebuild effort in the heart of New Orleans, camping out at a sea turtle conservation center in Baja California, or hiking Mount Olympus in Greece, Rocio is always up for creating and sharing in the impassioned stories of everyone she meets. She came into her love of storytelling at DePaul University as a journalism major.
In her free time, you can find Rocio writing/reading, singing and playing along to a tune, and getting lost in the woods (because as she says… the best trails are the ones your create yourself).
Born in China, raised in the US, and humbled in South Africa, my life spans oceans and continents. I am as avid a traveler as I am an artist, with film and music being my chosen forms of expression. When not practicing my trade as a filmmaker, I’m a dedicated student of history and language. Life so far has been full of potholes and speed bumps: ran wild as a kid, immigrated, learned English, got bullied at school, made friends, played tennis, cleaned toilets at a daycare, went to college, got fired from an internship, cleaned tables at a restaurant, went to South Africa, almost got arrested for driving on the wrong side of the road, did meaningful work, came back, and now wondering what next I will add to this short but growing story of mine.
Jason first became passionate about intercultural exchange while studying abroad at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia. Originally from Minnesota, Jason earned a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities. After completing his undergraduate degrees, Jason served two years as a Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer in Ukraine. Following his Peace Corps service, Jason continued his education at the SIT Graduate Institute studying Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management. Jason is responsible for providing information and assistance to new and existing international partners on CCI Greenheart and Greenheart Travel products, operations and procedures to develop or strengthen partnerships. Outside of work, Jason enjoys spending his free time cooking, honing his green thumb and exploring Chicago.
William, a Chicago native, received his Bachelor of Arts in Art History with minors in Marketing and International Business from Loyola University Chicago. While at Loyola University, he studied and lived in in Rome, Italy, for one year and previously worked both in Chicago and abroad for arts organizations before joining Greenheart. He is a certified English as a Second Language instructor and did so for five years in both the U.S. and Italy. As the International Partner Development Coordinator, William and initiates international partner screening procedures, develops and maintains relationships with international partners, and pursues strategic partnerships for Greenheart in conjunction with the Director and the CEO. Before joining the International Partner Development team, he was the Human Resources and Project Coordinator for a year and a half. He has traveled to over 22 different countries across four continents. In his free time, William likes to cook, travel, throw pottery, and read classics. He is fluent in Italian.
Originally from California, Maria was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She switched coasts when she moved to Washington DC to attend the George Washington University where she majored in International Affairs and minored in English Literature. She had the time of her life studying abroad in London during her junior year, where she traveled throughout the UK and Europe. This led to her interest in the international exchange world and upon her return she worked for the GWU Study Abroad office and contributed to a pilot virtual exchange program. Always ready for a new experience, after graduation Maria made the move to Chicago and is currently exploring the city every chance she gets! She loves trying new restaurants, discussing recent Game of Thrones fan theories, and of course- traveling.
Hometown: Rock Island, IL
Languages: English-native, Portuguese-beginner
University: University of Denver, M.A. International Administration; Northern Illinois University, B.A. Anthropology
Where I’ve Traveled: Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Trinidad and Tobago, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
What I like to do: Biking with my family along the lake, exploring Chicago with my kids, swimming, traveling, horseback riding, gardening
Hometown: St. Charles, IL
Languages: Thai, Pig Latin
University: University of Illinois, Communication
Where I’ve Traveled: Australia, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Morocco, Spain, France, England, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Costa Rica
What I like to do: Reading, enjoying Chicago summers, Theater, Basketball and eating Thai food
Hometown: Shaker Heights, OH
Languages: A little Spanish
University: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bachelors in Sociology; DePaul University, Masters in Nonprofit Management
Where I’ve Traveled: I’ve been lucky enough to visit all 6 inhabited continents, and over 30 countries
What I like to do: Take dance & fitness classes, cook, go to concerts & comedy shows, and learn Spanish
Hometown: Geneva, IL
Languages: English University: BS University of Iowa
Where I’ve Traveled: Born and raised in Japan, Argentina, Canada, Caribbean, United States
What I like to do: Spending time with family, cooking, knitting, crafts and reading
Hometown: Evanston, IL
University: DePaul University, MS, Human Services in Counseling; BS, Elementary Education
Where I’ve Traveled: France, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Kuala Lumpur
What I like to do: Enjoying my two darling little boys, being outside, reading and horses.
Hometown: Lombard, IL
University: DePaul University/Bachelor of Arts in French
Where I’ve Traveled: France, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Argentina, Japan, Thailand, traveled throughout Europe
What I like to do: I love to read, go to the beach, travel, watch movies, and hang out with my husband and dog
Hometown: Toledo, OH
University: DePaul University (B.A. International Studies) University of Fribourg (American College Program)
Where I’ve Traveled: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey, England, Ireland, The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Egypt
What I like to do: I love exploring Chicago, taking fiddle classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music, organizing volunteer projects, and cheering on my favorite women’s soccer team, the Chicago Red Stars.
Hometown: Aiken, SC
University: Bachelor of Arts in Theater Performance (Minor Creative Writing) Winthrop University – 1 year of Study Abroad at Kingston University in Southwest London
Where I’ve Traveled: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Netherlands, Argentina, Aruba, Spain (lived in many parts of the US)
What I like to do: Passionate about film, theater, writing, and performance – connecting people through story and mutual shared experience. And of course, to travel!
Hometown: Woodland Park, CO
Languages: English, Spanish
University: Colorado State; International Studies and Political Sciences
Where I’ve Traveled: Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, England, Wales, Spain
What I like to do: Biking, exploring, eating and traveling
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Languages: English, elementary Korean
University: Colorado State; English, University of Bristol, England; Gender and International Relations
Where I’ve Traveled: South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland and the United Kingdom
What I like to do: I love to try to new restaurants and foods, travel, learn new things and hang out with my family and my cat
I am originally from Portland, OR and started my Midwest venture in 2011 when I moved to Wisconsin to attend Beloit College. At Beloit, I majored in Religious Studies and studied abroad in Indonesia. After graduating, I took a short break from the Midwest and moved to Boston, MA to work for Hult International Business School as a Visas & Compliance Coordinator. I have been living in Madison, WI for the past two years, working for University of Wisconsin Hospitals & Clinics in their Adolescent Alcohol/Drug Assessment & Intervention Program. In that position, I provided case management services to teens and families involved with the Juvenile Justice System and Child Protective Services. I also love to do volunteer work, and have spent the past few years working with refugees and immigrants teaching English and U.S. civics. When I’m not working, I love traveling, trail running, camping, learning languages, writing, singing, and eating donuts. I am really looking forward to working at Greenheart!
Hometown: Winfield, IL
University: Miami of Ohio
Where I’ve Traveled: Italy, England, Spain, and France
What I like to do: I love going to the movies in my free time or exploring museums and historical landmarks
Hometown: Winnetka, IL
University: University of Denver
Where I’ve Traveled: 6 out of 7 continents, 26 countries – Nepal, Thailand and South Africa being three of my favorites!
What I like to do: Travel, photography, yoga, cycling – anything that keeps me active and outdoors
Hometown: Denver, CO
University: Attended Metropolitan State College and Coaches Training Institute
Where I’ve Traveled: Puerto Rico, France, Costa Rica, Italy, Aruba, Argentina, Spain
What I like to do: Make memories with my family, experience live music, get lost in a good book, engage in heartfelt conversation
Having lived in different regions of the United States, Moriah learned at an early age the importance of understanding and accepting cultural differences and continued to seek out and expand on these learning opportunities through international travel. Having graduated from DePaul University with a degree in English, she used creative writing as a way to explore culture in the many countries she has visited which include Greece, India, Thailand, and more. In her spare time, she enjoys reading novels and mysteries as well as baking sweets. Her favorite treat to bake is Puppy Chow (aka Muddy Buddies).
Hometown: Champaign-Urbana, IL
University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Master of Arts, Applied Linguistics
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, France, Ireland, England, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Czech Republic, Singapore, Turkey, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, New Zealand
What I like to do: Cooking (and eating), watching cooking shows, gardening, reading, traveling, hiking, dancing, yoga, running, and trying to keep up with my husband on weekend road biking trips
Hometown: Naperville, IL
University: Illinois Wesleyan University/BA in International Diplomatic Studies and French
Where I’ve Traveled: France, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Germany, Belgium, England Argentina, Canada and Spain
What I like to do: Cooking, cooking, and cooking! I spend a lot of my time experimenting in the kitchen, but when I’m not you’ll can also find me reading, watching Netflix, or outside enjoying the sun in any way I can (when it’s warm, of course!)
Hometown: Oxford, OH
Languages: Some Korean and Spanish
University: DePaul University/ BA in International Studies and Peace, Justice, & Conflict Studies
Where I’ve Traveled To: Canada, South Korea, England
What I like to do: I love reading, watching Netflix, going for walks when the weathers nice, trying out new coffee shops, and attempting to cook
Hometown: Greenville, SC
University: Bard College/BA in Literature
Where I’ve Traveled: Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay, France, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy
What I like to do: Yoga, Reading the New Yorker, Eating, Movies, Dancing
Hometown: Camas, WA
University: Loyola Marymount University – BA in Economics, BA in Spanish
Where I’ve Traveled: Spain, Italy, Honduras, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada
What I like to do: Run, read, cook, bike, play piano and guitar, watch documentaries, root for the Portland Trailblazers
Hometown: Chicago, IL
University: University of Illinois, Political Science and Social Work
Where I’ve Traveled: Ireland, Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Morocco, Italy, England, Germany, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, France, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Russia, Mongolia, and China
What I like to do: Spend time with friends and family, read, go on adventures
Hometown: Skokie, IL
Languages: English, Spanish
University: Northwestern University, International Studies & Spanish
Where I’ve Traveled: Belize, Guatemala, Peru, Spain, France, Holland, Cayman Islands, England, Morocco, and Portugal
What I like to do: Learn about people, places and things, read, make crafts, plan my next adventure
Hometown: Manchester, Maine
Languages: Conversational German
University: University of Maine: BA International Affairs, BS Developmental Psychology. Northumbria University: MSc International Development
Where I’ve Traveled: United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Czech Republic
What I like to do: Hiking, cooking, watch foreign films and Animal Planet, meeting new and interesting people, traveling to visit my friends around the world!
Hometown: Montgomery, AL
University: BA, MA English
Where I’ve Traveled: Many countries in South America and Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada
What I like to do: Gardening, reading, traveling, and spending time with young people
Hometown: Vancouver, WA
Languages: English, Spanish
University: University of California, Irvine/ BA in Spanish & Bilingual Education
Where I’ve Traveled: US, Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, Argentina, Spain, France, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Portugal, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy, Scotland, England
What I like to do: Spending time with my 4 children and husband; Meeting people from all over the world ; Traveling; Making a difference in people’s lives; Baking & eating sweets
Hometown: Sheridan, AR
University: Associates of Applied Science
Where I’ve Traveled: Brazil, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Canada, Greece, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Scotland, England, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal
What I like to do: Spending time with family, especially my grandchildren! Outdoor activities, photography, traveling, exploring nature, and serving others
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Languages: English and know the essentials of 5 others
Where I’ve Traveled: Spain, Africa, Czech Republic, Austria, France, The Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan
What I like to do: Rock Climb, Read, Travel, Volunteer, Exercise
Hometown: Oswego, NY
Languages: English and some Spanish
University: Oswego State University/Public Justice
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, Mexico, Aruba, Argentina, Germany, Greece and Greek Islands, Turkey, Italy, Spain
What I like to do: Spending time with family and grandchildren, reading, gardening, taking classes on anything, volunteering, listening to music, attending sporting events of any kind, and traveling
Hometown: Portland, Maine
Languages: English, French
University: GTC Home Economics
Where I’ve Traveled: Lithuania, Denmark, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, England, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Aruba
What I like to do: Travel and read
Hometown: Akron, OH
Languages: Spanish, French, some Italian, Arabic and Buluc
University: MA in International Higher Education Administration
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Argentina, Aruba, St. Lucia, Mali, Cote D’Ivoire, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Egypt, England, France, Spain, Italy
What I like to do: An around the world trip
Hometown: Greeley, CO
University: Bachelors of Science
Where I’ve Traveled: Europe
What I like to do: Spending time with my children, swimming, traveling, and learning
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, German, French, English
University: Mulernes Legatskole, Odense, Denmark – Studied Languages & Pedagogy
Where I’ve Traveled: Most of Europe, South America, Africa and the Canadian Wilderness. Bucket List includes Greenland, Iceland & The Faroe Islands
What I like to do: Traveling, learning new languages, reading good books
Hometown: New York, California and currently Iowa
Languages: A little Spanish
University: B.A. UCLA, M.A. Fuller Theological Seminary, LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist)
Where I’ve Traveled: I have been to 42 States, 41 countries and 5 continents (and counting).
What I like to do: LOVE to travel. LOVE my husband of over 30 years, 3 adult kids (one kid in law) who are spread all over the US and 2 “Practically perfect in every way” grandchildren (they LOVE Mary Poppins). LOVE culture and my (over) 90 exchange students and all they have taught me. LOVE my church and God’s Word. Also like to exercise, hike, read, socialize. Did I mention I LOVE to travel?
Hometown: Pearland, TX
Languages: English, French and Spanish
University: University of Alabama, Business
Where I’ve Traveled: All over the USA, France, Argentina, Aruba, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Brazil, Bali Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Spain, Switzerland and many more in the future.
What I like to do: I love to travel and learn about new cultures, plan and organize events, crafts, anything outdoors and spending time with family
University: Michigan State University
Where I’ve Traveled: U.S.
What I like to do: Travel, hosting exchange students, gardening, cooking and entertaining
Hometown: Oak Park, IL
Languages: English, Spanish, and some Portuguese
University: University of Wisconsin – Madison, BA Spanish/certified in International Relations
Where I’ve Traveled: Many countries around the world with the exception of many places in SE Asia, Africa and Middle East
What I like to do: Travel, learn languages, eat, cook, hike, movies
Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia
Languages: Indonesian, Italian, French
University: Marquette University/BA in Communication Studies & Public Relations; Loyola University/MBA in Management & Entrepreneurship
Where I’ve Traveled: Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Jamaica, Mexico, England, Spain, Andorra, France, Monaco, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy
What I like to do: Learn Italian, serve in various ministries at the Holy Name Cathedral, go karaoke, practice swing dancing & Lindy Hop, and relearn how to play the piano
Hometown: Grand Haven, MI
UniversityB. A. International Relations/B. A. International Economics – Grand Valley State University
Where I’ve Traveled: Europe, Asia, Latin America
What I like to do: Cook, eat, swim, and make people laugh
Hometown: Brookfield, Wisconsin
Languages: Slovak, Spanish, Pig Latin, English
University: University of Wisconsin – Madison/B.A. In Spanish Linguistics; International Studies; Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies; Minor in Global Cultures
Where I’ve Traveled: Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Mexico, Moldova, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, the Philippines, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, Ukraine, and across the wild and wonderful U.S.A.
What I like to do: SCUBA dive, study the blending and evolution of languages, karaoke, throw parties, hike in the forest, declutter, make soup
Hometown: Opatow, Poland
Languages: Polish, English, Turkish
University: Bahcesehir University/MBA
Where I’ve Traveled: Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Moldova, Germany, Italy, France, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, United States.
What I like to do: Long walks; photography; traveling; reading books and travel, lifestyle & parenting blogs
Hometown: Oak Park, IL
Languages: Spanish and English
University: University of Illinois – Chicago, B.A. in Communication
Where I’ve Traveled: All over Europe (10 countries), China, Morocco, Mexico, and Canada.
What I like to do: Traveling, discussing and watching films, obsessing over President Lincoln and history, and hanging out with close friends and family with a glass of wine
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: English, Spanish
University: DePaul University, BA in Anthropology
Where I’ve Traveled: Chile, Argentina, Peru, Costa Rica, Honduras, Cuba, Spain, and Mexico
What I like to do: Travel, try new recipes, dance, and organize Lunch and Learns!
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: Conversational Japanese, once I studied German and Russian….I can order a few things in Dutch
University: Marycrest International University, BA in Global Studies and History
Where I’ve Traveled: Japan, Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Ireland, London, U.S.
What I like to do: Meeting new people, eating new foods, joying cultural events, listening to my husband’s band, and laughing with my family
Hometown: Skokie, Illinois
Languages: English and German
University: KU Leuven – Master of Arts in European Studies and DePaul University – Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Where I’ve Traveled: Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Philippines, and Thailand
What I like to do: Improv comedy, laugh, travel, hike, admire the view alongside Lake Michigan, volunteer, attend concerts, and engage in activities that revolve around food
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: English, French
University: Northeastern Illinois University/MA in Teaching English as a Second Language
Where I’ve Traveled: France, Italy, Germany, Slovakia, England , Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium
What I like to do: Books, cook, blog, study languages
Hometown: Pionki, Poland
Languages: Polish –Native, Portuguese – Elementary proficiency
University: Master’s Degree in Economics, Specialization: Finance
Where I’ve Traveled: China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Philippines, Cyprus, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Turkey, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Chile
What I like to do: Playing tennis, learning Portuguese, and cooking
Hometown: Oak Park, IL
Languages: Spanish and Portuguese
University: St. Lawrence University – BA in Performing & Communication Arts, DePaul – MA in Organizational & Multicultural Communication
Where I’ve Traveled: Mexico, Canada, Spain, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina
What I like to do: I enjoy exploring new places, trying new foods, and hanging with my family and friends
Hometown: Livingston, Montana
University: Utah State University/Major in Community Health Education, Minor in Nutrition
Where I’ve Traveled: Mexico, Canada and hoping for much more in the future!
What I like to do: I love baking sweet treats, spending time with my husband and kids, dining out, and watching movies
Hometown: Royal Oak, MI
Languages: English, German
University: Bowling Green State University/ Bachelor of Science of Journalism
Where I’ve Traveled: Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, England, Canada
What I like to do: Write fiction, read, drive my car, travel
Hometown: Kalamazoo, MI
University: Kalamazoo College/B.A. in English with an emphasis in Writing
Where I’ve Traveled: Ecuador on foreign exchange, Peru, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, England, France, and Canada
What I like to do: Play and watch tennis, sing, shop for vinyl records, try new foods, and jump in Lake Michigan
Hometown: Evansville, IN
Languages: French, Arabic, Spanish
University: Indiana University – Bloomington, BA in International Studies and French
Where I’ve Traveled: France (Corsica), England, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey, Mexico, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago.
What I like to do: Cultural tourism via food, ballroom dancing, reading, arts and crafts, cooking/baking, snuggling with my pup Lola
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Languages: French, Arabic, Wolof
University: Northwestern University/B.A. in Political Science, Minor in Psychology
Where I’ve Traveled: Senegal, Jordan, Switzerland, France, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon
What I like to do: Learn about different cultures, try new foods, talk about movies, Improv, and enjoy a good cup of coffee
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: Beginner Hebrew
University: Bradley University, B.S. in Communications (Public Relations). Minors in Marketing and Sociology
Where I’ve Traveled: Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, Indonesia, Israel, England
What I like to do: Play and coach soccer, swim, compete in triathlons, travel the world
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Languages: English, some Spanish
University: Loyola University Chicago, B.A. in Sociology and International Relations
Where I’ve Traveled: United States, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Bahamas, Aruba, Ecuador, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium
What I like to do: Travel, read, hike, yoga sculpt, play with my cat (Frances), watch movies, drink tea and do puzzles
Hometown: Nevada, Missouri
Languages: English, Mandarin and a little Spanish
University: University of Missouri, B.A. Communications, M.A. Anthropology (in progress)
Where I’ve Traveled: Taiwan, China, Canada, Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama
What I like to do: Learn about culture & language, travel, cook and explore
Hometown: Boston, MA
Languages: English and French
University: Northwestern University, BA in French and International Studies
Where I’ve Traveled: France, Spain, Germany, England, Belgium, Italy, Romania, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark and Mexico.
What I like to do: Cooking, baking, photography, drawing, watching movies, reading, playing guitar, yoga, skiing
Hometown: Mankato, MN
Languages: Mandarin, Spanish
University: Northwestern University/BA in Anthropology and International Studies
Where I’ve Traveled: China, South Korea
What I like to do: Training for and racing triathlons, reading (especially narrative nonfiction and ethnographies), hiking, studying languages, playing soccer
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Languages: English, Spanish, basic Portuguese
University: Michigan State University
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, Chile, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, United States
What I like to do: Traveling as much as possible, reading biographies, baking and eating sweets, studying maps, obsessing over my dog Palmer and whole heartedly advocating for all things Buffalo and Michigan State
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Languages: English and Spanish
University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Where I’ve Traveled: Mexico and throughout the United States
What I like to do: Spending time with family and friends, watching and playing sports – especially tennis – reading, attending concerts and watching movies
Hometown: Barrington, IL
Languages: German and a tiny bit of Spanish
University: DePaul University
Where I’ve Traveled: Germany, the Netherlands, France, Ireland, Austria, Czech Republic
What I like to do: I like to try to keep active and busy. I am a coach for DePaul’s Dodgeball club that meets twice a week. When the weather is nice out I like to play Wiffleball and Frisbee, or I go for a bike ride on the Lakefront Trail. I watch a lot of movies and read books whenever I find one that interests me
Hometown: Naperville, IL
Languages: English and Hebrew (super minimal….)
University: Bradley University
Where I’ve Traveled: Israel, Italy, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland, London, Paris, Mexico, Croatia, Budapest, Vienna.
What I like to do: I love baking dairy-free treats, playing with puppies, traveling, reading, or catching up on my favorite Netflix shows!
Hometown: Crest Hill, IL
Languages: English, Sign language (beginner)
University: Bradley University, Bachelor of Science in Organizational Communication; minors: Leadership Studies and Business Management
Where I’ve Traveled: All over the U.S., Canada, Netherlands, England, Italy, Spain, France, Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, China, and Thailand
What I like to do: Traveling the world, seeing musicals, surfing Pinterest, and taking road trips
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Languages: English, Spanish, Portugese, and some German
University: Columbia College Chicago
Where I’ve Traveled: Bogata, Bucaramanaga (Columbia, South America)
What I like to do: Read, write, DIY art (video, audio, and digital art), bike and travel!
Hometown: Mokena, IL
Languages: English, Spanish
University: University of Iowa (BA) International Studies, Adler University (MA) Nonprofit Management
Where I’ve Traveled: Mexico, Ghana, England, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Peru
What I like to do: Traveling, spending time with friends, playing board games or cards, reading, mentoring youth, binging on Netflix, cooking, and trying new things especially food
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Languages: American Sign Language
University: Columbia College Chicago (BA) and DePaul University (MA)
Where I’ve Traveled: Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Finland, Hungary, Austria, Paris, and 42 out of 50 states.
What I like to do: Running marathons.
Hometown: Woodridge, IL
University: Monmouth College (BS) and Loyola University (MA)
Where I’ve Traveled: Every continent except Antarctica and Australia
What I like to do: Writing, coffee, trying new restaurants and Buzzfeed Tasty videos, and last but not least walking around a Barnes & Noble.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese
University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, BA in Spanish
Where I’ve Traveled: Mexico and throughout the United States.
What I like to doRead, travel, dance, and meet people from other countries.
Hometown: Mason, Michigan
Languages: Spanish (Intermediate)
University: Grand Valley State University
Where I’ve Traveled: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, Spain, Portugal, England, Germany, and Iceland
What I like to do: I enjoy traveling, gardening, photography, eating sushi, salsa dancing, and spending time on Lake Michigan.
Hometown: Oak Park, IL
Languages: English and a little bit of Danish
University: BA Psychology, Smith College
Where I’ve Traveled: U.K., Ireland, Spain, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Denmark
What I like to do: Play trivia with my friends, read, listen to podcasts, go to the movies, discover new music and travel!
Hometown: Naperville, IL
Languages: English, Mandarin Chinese
University: Loyola University Chicago, BA in Political Science
Where I’ve Traveled: China, Costa Rica, Mexico, Belize, 18/50 states and Washington D.C.
What I like to do: Watch hockey, baseball, and rugby, take photographs at anime conventions, listen to podcasts, write, and read!
Hometown: Novosibirsk, Russia
Languages: English, Russian
University: Master of Arts in International Relations and Comparative Politics
Where I’ve Traveled: Hungary, Italy, Japan, New Orleans, California, Russia, Mexico
What I like to do: Explore Chicago
Hometown: Blaine, Minnesota
Languages: English, Thai
University: College of St. Benedict/Peace & Conflict Studies and Environmental Studies
Where I’ve Traveled: England, Australia, India, Burma (Myanmar), and Thailand
What I like to do: Hiking, canoeing, gardening, cooking, and spending time with my dobs
Hometown: Loveland, Colorado
Languages: English and Spanish
University: Central Michigan University- BS Spanish Language; BS Anthropology
Where I’ve Traveled: Bolivia; Costa Rica; Spain; England; Scotland; Czech Republic
What I like to do: Travel, try new recipes, go to concerts, watch movies, read, and walk my dog
Hometown: Bolingbrook, Illinois
Languages: English, Intermediate-Korean, Spanish, and Tagalog
University: Loyola University Chicago, Brunel University
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, England, Amsterdam, and Spain.
What I like to do: Travel, try new foods, play sports (volleyball, American football), learn new languages, and dance
Hometown: Peosta, IA
Languages: English, Spanish
University: Wartburg College B.A. International Relations and Spanish, University of Northern Iowa M.A. Spanish
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain, France, UK, Norway, Germany, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Austria, Greece, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Armenia, UAE, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Namibia, South Africa
What I like to do: I love to travel, read, try new recipes and anything active outdoors!
Hometown: Inverness, IL
Languages: Arabic, Chinese and a little French
University: Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Where I’ve Traveled: Egypt, Jordan, Israel/Palestine, Turkey, Greece, Belize, China, Korea, France, and England
What I like to do: Explore new places, meet new people, try new food, spend time reading, visit museums and hang out with friends and family
Hometown: Libertyville, IL
Languages: English, Spanish
University: DePaul University, BA in Communication Studies, minor in Psychology
Where I’ve Traveled: Italy, France, Switzerland, Greece, Tunisia, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea
What I like to do: Explore new places, hike and go on bike rides, read, take photos, try new recipes
Hometown: Glenview, IL
Languages: English, Spanish (basic)
University: Michigan State University, B.A. in International Relations
Where I’ve Traveled: Ireland (Dual-Citizen), Scotland, England, Spain, Poland, Canada
What I like to do: Travel, explore the Chicago restaurant/bar scene, attend sporting events (particularly Cubs games), read the news, sing karaoke, watch Netflix, meet new people
From cycling through Morocco to driving solo across the border to Mexico, Kyle is no stranger to travel and has a wanderlust that can’t ever seem to be satisfied. Kyle was exposed to new cultures at an early age having spent 4 formative years in grade school in Hong Kong. From then on he kept bouncing around earning his BA in economics in London, UK and, after a few years back in the States, his MBA in Monterrey, Mexico. Equally important in planning his next trip is the mode of transportation. He has sailed from Miami to the Panama Canal on a container ship, logged countless foreign miles on his bike, and soaked up the terrain travelling by bus throughout Mexico. Happy to call Chicago home, Kyle spends his domestic time cycling, playing tennis, and enjoying great food.
Hope’s love of travel, living abroad, and working with youth has been realized into a dream job at Greenheart Travel as the High School and Short-Term Programs Director. During her studies at St. Norbert College as an International Studies major, Hope studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria. Inspired by her time overseas, Hope decided to move to the other side of the globe to teach high school English in China. While getting her Master’s in Intercultural Service Leadership and Management at the School for International Training, Hope lived in Taiwan working with Southeast Asian survivors of human trafficking. Between her Asian adventures, Hope worked with learning disabled inner-city youth at the Marriott Foundation. Thrill seeking, jogging, relaxing on the beach, movie watching, reading, and visiting friends and family all contribute to Hope’s happy list.
Savannah studied International Studies and Spanish at Indiana University and spent a semester studying in Buenos Aires, which gave her a taste for malbec and life abroad. After graduation, she moved to Zafra, a small town in rural western Spain, where she taught at a public high school for two years. She then moved to southern Thailand, where she lived in a shipping container home in the jungle and taught classes of 55 adorable second graders and managed a small English academy for 18 months. Homesick for Spain, she moved to the heart of Madrid to teach in a public school, work on her Spanish, and regularly eat her weight in tapas. She has traveled extensively in Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland, and Thailand, as has visited Morocco, Argentina, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, watching cheesy Spanish television, and obsessively planning out the next trip—Greece and Costa Rica are high on the list.
Kara’s first trip abroad was a 10-day trip to France with her high school French class, and ever since then has had an insatiable desire to see the world. Kara graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in English non-fiction writing and a minor in French. In November of 2013, Kara got on a plane bound for Thailand to teach English on Greenheart’s Teach in Thailand program. There, she taught at an all-boys boarding school in the Nakhon Pathom province, learned how to ride side-saddle on a motorbike, and discovered the ever delicious khao mun gai. When Kara is not daydreaming about Thailand, she enjoys cooking, binge-watching Netflix, rock climbing and dabbling in photography.
Lauren has had an interest in international cultures and affairs for as long as she can remember. While earning her degree in International Studies, Lauren completed her minor in French in an intensive summer program in Dijon, France. She then spent a semester on a ship circumnavigating the globe with Semester at Sea, visiting 10 countries around the world. Inspired to spend more time immersed in another culture, she spent the summer of 2006 volunteering as a teacher in Ghana. Lauren loves to encourage and excite people about cultural exchange and traveling abroad! She also loves photography, hiking in the great outdoors, running, biking, and exploring all of the wonderful food, culture and events that Chicago has to offer.
Sara comes from a background of extensive travel, including a semester onboard the MV Explorer with Semester at Sea in which she circumnavigated the world, visiting 13 countries. She also spent a summer abroad in Costa Rica studying ecotourism in Carrera National Park. Sara received a Bachelor’s in Geography from The University of Wisconsin–Madison and is a die-hard Badger football fan. After graduating, Sara spent a year living and teaching middle school English in Seoul, South Korea where she learned to love kimchi and K-pop. Upon returning from Korea, she decided she wanted to help people move abroad and have the same amazing cultural exchange experience she did by working at Greenheart Travel!
Jessica’s first experience abroad was a trip to France with her high school French class. She proudly paid for the whole trip herself through her job at a grocery story! She has been an avid traveler ever since. She went on a study abroad program in college to the Netherlands and France. Upon graduation, she joined the Peace Corps and spent two transformative years in Cote d’Ivoire as a community health volunteer. She’s visited so many countries, she’s losing count! She loves biking, cooking, gardening, and spending time with her wonderful friends, husband and two children.
Chase became a travel addict after his first international trip to Australia at the age of 18. He could hardly wait to explore the world more, so he rushed through his time at Waldorf College in Iowa, pausing only to work summers in Montana as a camp counselor, and graduated with a three-year BA in electronic media. Chase found himself on an acoustic band of sorts soon after graduation – touring the United States, as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia for year. He has also worked in various media outlets including radio and television stations, and at a large daily newspaper, but realized he had a passion for teaching while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guyana, South America. Chase was most recently an English teacher for five years through Greenheart Travel programs in South Korea and Yangon, Myanmar. Capturing stories of people and the nuances of culture through photography and blogging is his hobby. When Chase isn’t hanging out with his 20 housemates in Chicago, he can be found jogging along the lakefront trail.
Kate’s first experience leaving the comforts of home for an extended period of time was when her parents pulled her siblings and her out of school for a year to travel around the United States in a bus. She’s been on the lookout to book her next exciting trip ever since. While attending a wedding in Greece, paragliding in Ecuador, becoming scuba certified in Thailand, cliff diving the cenotes of Mexico, and skiing the Pyrenees in Andorra, Kate immersed herself in the culture of each new country by staying with locals, learning the customs, and of course, eating everything there was to offer. She likes to spend her time at home meeting up with friends, exploring her new city of Chicago, and reading a good book in a cozy spot.
Allison was 16 year-old when she took her first trip abroad, where she participated in a mini-exchange with a high school in Billericay, England. She graduated from Indiana University with degrees in International Studies, Spanish and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. She studied for a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina; taught English and was an au pair in Ibiza, Spain; and worked in Melbourne and Darwin, Australia, which explains why she has the habit of drinking mate, eating dinner late and signing off emails with “cheers.” She’s traveled to over 30 countries and hopes to soon visit Brazil, India and South Africa. She also writes freelance about travel, women and society and in her free time loves listening to podcasts, belting her favorite reggaeton songs, reading anything fascinating, and trying to learn social Latin dances.
Born and raised in the Midwest, Megan is a lifelong traveler with her first international trip happening at only 12 years old. Ever since then, she has been fascinated with studying, working, and traveling to foreign countries. Megan studied History and International Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also participated in a 4 month around-the-world educational program with Semester at Sea, which opened her eyes to the need for culturally conscious education and global sustainability. After graduating from college, Megan continued her dedication to life abroad by working in Chile, hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, and backpacking through the South America and Asia. In total, she has visited 41 countries! You can read about some of her adventures on her personal blog. When she manages to stay in one place, Megan enjoys biking, going out to eat, reading, watching football (Packers and Badgers, of course!) and playing with her two adorable cats.
What inspires me about working at Greenheart is knowing that my work is helping others. When I’m not working, I enjoy cooking – I am a member of a gourmet dinner group where we share a meal we’ve cooked every six weeks or so. My specialty is baking. I’m also a member of two book clubs and will read about anything except science fiction.
An enthusiasm for culture, art and business led me to work at Greenheart International. Studying Environmental Economics at Kalamazoo College and Photography at the School of the Art Institute Chicago, I strive to combine left and right brain in my career path. Drawn to different cultures, I studied abroad in Spain and took a photography hiatus in India for six months. Giving me a personal connection to the work of GHI, in high school I had the amazing experience of hosting a German exchange student, who I still visit.
Working for the Greenheart Shop and Sobremesa division, I am inspired by the artisans we represent. Our carved wooden bowls from PATs provide income for indigenous families in the Amazon Rain forest. Locally, we support young moms in Chicago who learn job skills and gain confidence by pouring candles for Bright Endeavors. Each product in the store and wholesale line represents Greenheart’s commitment to fair trade and strengthening of our global community.
Outside of work, I enjoy coffee, craft beer and traveling with my husband, Joe. I have lived in Chicago for over 10 year, so I have been re-conditioned to not put ketchup on my hotdogs. (Versus my home state of Michigan where chili dogs are more the style) We live in Rogers Park neighborhood with our two photogenic cats and daughter Emma.
Three years ago, I decide to take a different approach to advancing my skills and apply them to social mission driven businesses. While working a wholesale trade show, I met Nancy and immediately asked if she had an internship possibility for me to expand my knowledge in the fair trade, small business field. She asked me to apply. After she reviewed my resume and I had an interview, I was offered my dream position at a company that stands for everything I wholeheartedly believe in!
I was immediately drawn to Greenheart, because they firmly believed that being exposed to travel and other cultures enhanced one’s life. I had been to Italy for an alternative spring break and fell in love with traveling to other countries. I thought it brought a new perspective on my outlook of life. Along with this idea of changing lives, fair trade and environmentalism was another aspect of Greenheart I strongly believed in. I wanted to make a difference in the world by the work I do. I believed Greenheart was the perfect fit and place for me to do that!
In my spare time you can find me taking my dog, Ozzie, out on adventures around the city, exploring new bars and restaurants with friends, and planning my next getaway.
Carly Visk is the Partner, Sponsor, and Event Coordinator at Greenheart Transforms, a division of Greenheart International. She is a yoga teacher and has a passion for the mystery of consciousness and transformation. She enjoys creating and contributing to events that not only foster inner transformation but also support the sharing of creative ideas for bringing more balance and peace into our relationships with each other and our planet. She recently coordinated sponsors and vendors for Sukhava Bodhe Yoga and Music Festival and is now focused on organizing events for Greenheart Transforms and the Global Purpose Movement. On the side, she is co-founder of Sweet Aum Chicago and hosts visionary art and music events. She also studies with indigenous teachers from Brazil and Columbia who inspire her to work towards manifesting the vision of an Earth that can be protected and shared by all living things.
Ryan Bell is excited to be joining the Greenheart family as the Assistant to the President and Greenheart Transforms. Along with a deep passion for social justice and radical politics, he earned his BA in Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, focusing on the nature of consciousness, transcendental art and metaphysics. During college, however, he fell in love with the communal power of food and has spent the last decade working as a chef in Chicago’s restaurant industry. Still, the call to action for social transformation persisted, and he finally made the decision to change career paths in line with this true purpose. Motivated by the singularity of the present moment and the imperative of conscious evolution, he is grateful for the opportunity to work in pursuit of a world that is sustainable, loving and free. He is perpetually fascinated by human creativity, the infinite universe and the music of the Grateful Dead.