Staff and Board of Directors

President & CEO 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!
Director of Programs 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.
Marketing Coordinator Martina Pascuzzo Martina holds a B.S. in Interactive Digital Media from Northwest Missouri State University. Originally from Argentina, she is deeply committed to fostering global connections and promoting cultural awareness. Martina's professional journey began as a Youth Diplomats Fellow, reflecting her early dedication to international collaboration and citizen diplomacy. Now, she blends creativity and strategy in her role.
Board 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.”
Board Vice-Chair | RSGR 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.
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.”
Member-At-Large, Mid-America Regional Council 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.
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.”
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."
Tungsten Automation, formerly Kofax PJ Matulka PJ Matulka keeps his international focus as he builds programs and develops communication strategies. His global, multidimensional outlook proves beneficial in his work with Global Ties KC: “There is something to be said about life going so quickly and the value in slowing down and learning to love other people for their differences and similarities. We help people experience differences and champion them.”
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.
TST Business Strategies Terri S. Turner A mission-driven communications specialist, business growth strategist and leadership mentor, Terri brings her business acumen together with a passion for international affairs to strengthen Global Ties KC's strategic mission.
Lockton Companies Kevin Holland At Lockton since 2008, Kevin supports the risk management and insurance needs of multinational companies and professional services firms. He specializes in providing cross-border consultation for firms with unique structures and operations and spends a significant time in the European and London markets. Kevin is married to Anna and they have four children (Payton, Jackson, Walter and Franklin) and two dogs (Edie and Teddy). Kevin is passionate about outdoor adventure.
Digital Consultant/Entrepreneur Janet Casto Janet Casto is an energetic Kansas City resident, wife, mom, marketing leader, and entrepreneur. In 2015, Janet joined DST (acquired by SS&C in 2018), drawing from her experience to lead content marketing, introduce digital lead and demand generation, and play key marketing operations roles for the growing technology company. Janet recently shifted her career to entrepreneurship, creating UnchainedBrainz and crafting unique tools to bring families and loved ones closer together. She lives in Blue Springs, MO, with her husband, Matt, and daughter, Lilly (18), while staying close with her adult twin sons, Walter and Alex (24).
Center for Advanced Professional Studies Mike Farmer Mike Farmer has founded four new ventures, raised over 12 million dollars and authored 10 patents. Most recently, Mike was the Founder and CEO of Leap2, a visual search collaboration platform for consumers and publishers. Mike currently is an Entrepreneur-in-residence at the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS), leading the Innovation & Entrepreneurship course. In 2004, Mike led in the strategic development of the Kansas Economic Growth act, a 15 year $600 million dollar technology-based economic development initiative.
Retired, EyeVerify Inc. Karen Dickinson As a former Fulbright Scholar, Karen was able to combine her love of cross-cultural communication, travel, and photography during her 35+ year legal career. Now as a part-time consultant in international law and business, Karen brings her passion for public service to GlobalTies KC because of her belief that the more people understand each other the greater chance for peace in the world.
Epigraph Jasper Mullarney Jasper Mullarney is the co-founder and CEO of Epigraph, a product visualization startup he launched in 2018. A native of Wicklow, Ireland, Jasper has a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems from Park University. He has spent his career in the advertising and marketing technology world, beginning with Adknowledge, a Kansas City company that grew 30 fold during his tenure there. In his free time, Jasper is an avid cyclist, a doting parent of twin daughters, and a global traveler whenever given the opportunity. He is also the founder of The Tower KC, Inc, a non-profit dedicated to public art in Kansas City.