About Us: Staff
If you are interested in joining the team as either a member of our program staff or office staff, read more about available positions with GLA.
Andrew H. Motiwalla
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Andrew has extensive experience operating international educational programs around the world. He served as Senior Vice President for the non-profit international volunteer program Cross-Cultural Solutions, where he helped build programs from scratch into a network of 14 countries and 2,500 volunteers. Andrew is a graduate of Lawrence University and speaks Spanish and Portuguese. In addition to international education, he enjoys studying languages, anthropology and technology, and loves spending time with his two daughters at their home in San Diego.
Originally from Ghana, West Africa, Fred has lived and worked in South Africa for several years, and spent his formative years in four other African countries before attending university and graduate school in the United States. These international experiences taught Fred that having a worldview is especially important in today’s increasingly inter-dependent world, and provided him with the inspiration to create Global Leadership Adventures. Fred is a graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, USA, and helped to manage one of the top-performing schools in Botswana before attending the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Today, Fred runs a high school in South Africa called the African Leadership Academy.
Mike’s entire life reflects a passion for travel and immersing himself in other cultures. It began in high school when he took his first trip outside of the States to France. It was a life-changing experience. Since then he has lived in eight countries across Europe, Latin America, and Asia. He also brings significant professional experience to the organization; he has worked at Goldman Sachs, Proctor & Gamble and The Clorox Company in a variety of marketing and finance roles. Mike is fluent in Mandarin and Spanish and likes to travel, lift weights, and sing in his free time. He has a BA in Economics from Yale and a MBA from Harvard Business School.
Jessica Rose Miller
Director of Admissions
Jessica is our Director of Admissions and has worn many hats over the years at GLA. She currently oversees the enrollment, pre-departure coordination process and support for families during programs. Jessica has a passion for international education and social entrepreneurship that stems from experiences living and working abroad. Jessica is a graduate of Oregon State University, where she studied History, Anthropology and Spanish. She has managed and led almost all of GLA’s programs on every continent and knows that the next generation can “be the change” through witness of GLA Alumni in action.
Controller & Finance Manager
A California native, Judy earned her degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA. She has held several finance, leadership and IT positions during that time. She has traveled internationally to Costa Rica, Ireland, Scotland, numerous areas in Mexico and Peru. She has volunteered in Peru, with Big Sisters and in youth sports. She loves reading, hiking, snow skiing and trying new adventures. She has a passion to help broaden high school students’ knowledge of life experiences through international travels and understanding other cultures.
Sandy M. Cooper
Senior Manager, International Programs
Sandy believes global consciousness that comes from authentic experiences abroad, cross-cultural understanding, and service learning empowers individuals to become leaders. She first lived abroad at age 15, and has continued to live, study, travel, and work in over 20 countries. After graduating from Skidmore College, Sandy served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Kiribati. Returning to the USA, she became a Team Leader for AmeriCorps*NCCC, managing teams of volunteers in under-served communities. Her commitment to social responsibility led Sandy to co-found Thinking Beyond Borders, an organization designed for Gap Year students to explore international development through global service learning and academic study. Sandy is certified in Nonprofit Management, is a Wilderness First Responder, and speaks Spanish and Kiribati
Annabel L. Smith
Annabel Smith is a consultant in Global and Community Education. She was previously Director of Global Studies and Community Partnerships at the American School in London and both Director of Global Studies and Service Learning and Founding Chair of the Global Scholarship and Service Department at the Taft School in Connecticut. Originally from England, she has taught at independent high schools in the UK, US, and Kenya and traveled extensively in Europe, the Americas, Asia and on the African continent. Additionally, she has led student trips to South Africa, Russia, Tanzania, The Dominican Republic, Greece, Italy and France. Annabel received a BA in International History and an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics, as well as a PGCE from Oxford University. She served as a GLA Program Director in South Africa in 2006 and 2007, in India in 2009 and in Tanzania in 2011. She currently advises GLA on curriculum development and devising methodologies to mainstream international service-learning in secondary school curricula.
Senior Enrollment Advisor
Bridget is an Enrollment Advisor for GLA and has led programs in Brazil, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Ghana, and Tanzania. She enjoys helping students find international experiences which will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Bridget has a deep passion for international relations, community service, and working with youth.
Carly has been to Australia, New Zealand, and numerous countries throughout Southeast Asia and Latin America. Through her travels she has learned to look at the world with open eyes while respecting all cultures. With a degree in Natural Resources from Oregon State University, Carly leads programs for GLA, spending the last two summers in Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands. Carly believes strongly in experiential education as a means of inspiring youth to learn more about themselves and their world.
Korissa believes that one of the best ways to learn about yourself and the world is through meaningful international experiences. While earning her Spanish degree at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, she studied in Spain and in Mexico and also travelled extensively in those regions. She has worked in travel & tourism in both the U.S. and in Ecuador as well as in the study abroad field. She is thrilled to assist youth in the process of preparing for an experience they’ll never forget.
Maria is an Enrollment Advisor for GLA. She is enthusiastic about cultural immersion and education. She has had the opportunity to travel throughout Latin America, and extensively in Europe while living in England. She enjoyed getting her B.S. at West Virginia University and developing a background in the environmental field. After graduation Maria moved out to San Diego far away from her snowy hometown of Portland, Maine. Maria is very excited about helping students find the international program that’s right for them!
Sue is an Enrollment Advisor for GLA, born and raised in Southern California and currently resides with her husband and two kids in San Diego. After sending her son on a GLA program to Tanzania, she was so impressed with the program and the transformation that was made during his journey, she was excited to work for GLA and help other teens do the same. Sue’s younger daughter is awaiting her turn to be of age to have a chance at the same amazing experience! She is a graduate from San Diego State University, had over a decade career at Nordstrom, where she traveled extensively as an international buyer. Sue has been an active volunteer in her community, and served many years as PTA President. Sue has a love for travel and learning and enjoys traveling with her family.
Alex is an Enrollment Advisor for GLA and discovered his passion for traveling and the world around us while pursuing his B.A. in Global & International Studies at UCSB when he spent a semester abroad in Bangkok, Thailand. After graduation, Alex took off for Europe where he completed his M.A. in Global Studies, spending one year in Poland and another in Germany. Since then, Alex has worked in various roles and traveled extensively across Asia, Australia, Europe, North Africa and Central America. Alex knows the power that international experiential education holds and is eager to pass on his enthusiasm to future leaders.
Travel Operations Manager
Lisa had her first volunteer abroad experience as a young adult in Costa Rica. This experience changed the way she thought about herself, her world, and traveling internationally. She believes that meaningful travel abroad experiences can help young adults shape their futures, and the world around them. After graduating from San Diego State University Lisa traveled to New Zealand, Fiji, Japan, and across the United States before returning to San Diego. She is thrilled to help high school students embark on volunteer and international experiences that will change their lives. Lisa has staffed GLA programs in Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. She is very excited to travel to Tanzania and Ghana Summer 2013 with GLA.
Social Media Marketing Manager
Sydney enjoys working with youth and children and is passionate about social issues and travel. She believes that the future depends upon people being thoughtful, dedicated global citizens, and traveling abroad is one of the best ways to achieve this. Sydney has traveled throughout Europe and hopes to help students fulfill their dreams of traveling to other countries as well. Sydney earned her BA from Oregon State University. For the past five years, Sydney was in the field of social work and worked with young children and their families. Additionally, she has staffed GLA programs in Costa Rica.
Melissa was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and immigrated to Southern California when she was 2 years old. After a summer abroad in Spain, she was aware of two things: she wanted to become an influential & effective Bilingual/Cross-Cultural Teacher and travel the world doing it. She has spent the majority of the past few years as a Projector Coordinator and Asst. Project Director with the Department of Defense in their Child, Youth and School Services programs (living on U.S. military installations in: Germany, Japan, Italy and England). She once again calls San Diego home and hoping to carry on her mission of transforming future generations through travel and education.