Staff and Board of Directors

Global Ties KC Executive Director Courtney Brooks Courtney holds an MBA & a BA in Political Science, Economics, and International Studies. She has been to all 7 continents, and has lived in China and South America. She enjoys being able to share the Midwestern spirit of hospitality with the world!
Special Programs Manager Sarah Lowderman Sarah has a BA in finance & is currently seeking a MA in Teaching from the University of Central Missouri. She has coordinated the IVLP, 19 youth exchange programs, and a variety of special projects. Her passion for KC can be seen in all of her work, as she builds bridges between the local community and the globe.
Program Associate Justin Keehler Justin graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration. He started as an intern with Global Ties KC in the Summer of 2021, and his passion for international exchange has only expanded since. He loves exploring the cultures of the international visitors, and enjoys sharing KC with the world.
Program Associate Niyati Sethi Niyati holds a MA in Religious Studies & Public Policy, and a BA in Economics and Religious Studies. Originally from New Delhi, India she has a deep appreciation for Midwestern hospitality and a passion for citizen diplomacy. Utilizing her unique background both academically and professionally, she is excited to welcome visitors to KC!
STEM Exchange Program Manager Matt Roy Matt holds an MA in Law & Diplomacy from Tufts University and a BA in International Studies. After spending 5 years away from the Heartland in Peace Corps Morocco and grad school, he is excited to support implementation of the FIRST Virtual Robotics Exchange Program.
Administrative Assistant Alex Freeman Alex graduated in June 2023 with a BA in International Relations and will travel to London later this year to begin a MA in Global Media and Communications. After working as an intern in 2022, she returned to Global Ties KC to contribute to the organization’s efforts to raise awareness about KC and all it has to offer the international community.
Board Chair |The Center for the Rights of Abused Children Kendall Seal Kendall became passionate about global exchange following a personal connection. Carol Gale, his favorite high school teacher, helped organize an exchange program to England. “That experience revolutionized my life. Global Ties KC is all about the relationships and creating these types of experiences.”
Board Vice-Chair | Kansas State University Shabina Kavimandan Shabina has seen the impact experience first hand: “When you take students to another country, once they go there and live with host families and talk about their experience, these students who have never been out of the Midwest who get to see a new culture - it broadens their horizons completely.”
Secretary | Oracle Cerner Stephanie Greenwood As Media Relations Manager at Cerner Corporation, Stephanie knows the value of education and awareness. For her, Global Ties KC programs take that a step further. “Opportunities like what Global Ties KC provides are much richer, showing what a day in the life is in a different country as a part of an enrichment experience,” she said.
Treasurer | BioTech Consultant Sujal Shah Always solutions-oriented, Sujal sees Global Ties KC as working toward a broader, societal goal: “What we do at GTKC through Youth Diplomats, home visits, etc., is to provide an experience of global interaction in your own backyard, to provide people to make better, more empowered decisions. Empathy only comes with experience.”
Senior Director, Kofax PJ Matulka Even in his work PJ keeps his international focus as he builds programs & develops communication strategies. “There is value in slowing down and learning to love other people for their differences and similarities. We help people experience differences and champion them.”
Product Strategist Hai Chen As a product strategist, working at the intersection of a variety of diverse fields, innovation is in everything Hai does - and that extends to his role on the board of Global Ties KC. “We bring life-changing experiences to people here and want to expand that as much as possible,” he said.
Assistant Director of Transportation, MARC Martin Rivarola Martin has seen exchange programs through several unique perspectives, first as an exchange student, then as a host, and now as the father of a Youth Diplomat. He feels that it is his “time to give something back” to the organization with which he has spent so much of his life.
Retired, KC Election Board Shelley McThomas Shelley has worked as an executive across a diverse array of industries, including work in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. In reflecting on why she has now chosen to devote her time to Global Ties KC, a Mark Twain quote comes to mind: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” She is confident that GTKC can contribute to that goal.
H&R Block Carter Quirk Through his work at H&R Block, Carter regularly works with multi-national organizations on client growth and programming, embracing a global attitude which contributes to his work on the board. "Fostering a community built on connectedness across cultures will continue to be the driving force in embracing diversity, inclusion, and change."
Program Officer, Children International Ari Griffin Ari's expertise comprises nonprofit work, advocacy, education, policy, among others. To her, Global Ties KC provides a crucial role in making multiculturalism more accessible: “Not everyone can afford to go abroad, and because of us, people can bring it home. We bring equity to international and intercultural experiences.”
Partner, Chamber HR Solutions Kelsey McLellan Through her work with nonprofit organizations, Kelsey brings her background in marketing and human resources to the Global Ties KC Board. Having grown up outside of the United States and studied abroad in Europe and Australia, Kelsey values the diversity and experiences that Global Ties promotes in the Kansas City community.