Courtney Brooks is the Global Ties KC Executive Director. She has been to all seven continents, and has lived in China and across South America. She holds an MBA from UMKC Bloch School of Management in Finance and International Business, and a BA from Saint Louis University with a triple major in Political Science, Economics, and International Studies. Courtney enjoys being able to share the Midwestern spirit of hospitality with the world, and is proud to share the amazing resources in KC with our visitors.

Emily Xouris is a Global Ties KC Program Associate. She earned a BA from William Jewell College, located in Liberty, Missouri, with a double major in International Relations and Spanish Language and Literature. Emily spent a semester abroad in the Netherlands where she studied human trafficking within the European Union. During this period, she traveled to surrounding cities within the EU such as Prague, Thessaloniki, and Antwerp. In the future, Emily hopes to return to the Netherlands to earn a Masters in International Relations with an emphasis in Eastern European studies. In the meantime, she loves working at Global Ties KC where she gets to welcome international visitors everyday.

Sarah Martin is a Global Ties KC Program Associate. Her experience with international programs began as a youth host, which provided the opportunity for a reciprocal visit to Serbia the following summer. After that, she gained a passion for international collaboration, and started as an Intern for Global Ties KC. Since then, she has moved up the ranks and returns to Global Ties KC whenever possible as she works to finish her BS in Finance from Ball State University.



Ron Fredman, President, is the Chief Development Officer for the Kansas City Ballet.

Roger Hiatt, Vice President, has practiced in the area of international law since 1984 and assists clients in a variety of situations, including drafting international agreements and compliance with international trade laws. Roger has linguistic capacity in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese and brings a lifetime of civic and professional experience to the Global Ties KC Board of Directors.

Dan Stewart, Treasurer, retired from the U.S. Justice Department, where he worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago and Kansas City, MO, prosecuting federal economic crime and corruption and national security cases.  From 2006-2008, he worked as a Justice Department Resident Legal Advisor in Belgrade, Serbia, where he was an attaché to the U.S. Embassy. 

René Street, Secretary, is the Executive Director of the American Business Women's Association.


Carlton Abner is the Associate Vice President at B.E. Smith.  

Bethany Spilde is the President/Founder of Social Media Buzz and currently serves as Social Media Strategist. She also is the founder of iRiseAbove, an organization that empowers, inspires and mentors young adults.

Syed Shabbir began his career as a Kansas City News Reporter. He is currently a Program Manager at Cerner working in marketing, and continues to be involved in various non-profit organizations.

Paul Weida s the Vice President of Government Affairs at Black and Veatch Corporation.

Mike Drackert

Sierra Moussa