The Global Leadership Adventures Team
Headquarters Staff and Founders
Rodrigo is a passionate geographer, educator and traveler with experiences in over 40 countries. Born and raised in Brazil, when he is not working and traveling around the world, he enjoys spending his time in his self-built ecological house in the magical island of Florianopolis. During his graduation in Education and Geography, he also studied Human Sciences at the Université de la Rochelle, in France, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Western Australia. Passionate about languages, besides Portuguese and English, he is also fluent in French and Spanish and always trying to learn other ones. In his free time Rodrigo loves cooking with friends, playing music, taking photographs, exploring the outdoors and trying to improve his way into surfing and yoga. He has been a Mentor with GLA in Ghana and Costa Rica and has lots of nice stories and tips about those and many other places to share.
Chris is a co-founder of Global Leadership Adventures and former CEO of the African Leadership Academy. He brings a hybrid background in business and education to his work designing and building educational institutions of excellence. He previously worked with the Procter and Gamble Company, the Boston Consulting Group, The Broad Foundation, and at Oundle School. He holds a BA degree summa cum laude in Economics from Yale University and an MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University. As a graduate student at Stanford University, Chris and fellow GLA co-founder, Fred Swaniker, began to build African Leadership Academy, an institution that seeks to transform Africa by identifying, developing, and connecting future generations of leaders from across the continent.
Luis Miguel Castro
Risk Management Consultant
Dave is a risk management and emergency response specialist and the Executive Director of Cornerstone Safety Group, serving international travel and experiential education providers. Dave has a master’s degree in risk management, 25+ years experience in domestic and international tour operations, has developed industry leading systems for vendor vetting and crisis response procedures. Prior to co-founding Cornerstone, Dave held leadership positions with some of the most reputable travel organizations in the world and is currently the Secretary of the Gap Year Association’s Standards and Accreditation Committee. He supports Global Leadership Adventures’ programs through ongoing consultation, policy advisement, and on-call support.
Brenda was born and raised in a small town in California. She fell in love with traveling after studying abroad in Granada, Spain during her undergrad program. Brenda holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from California State University Monterey Bay and a master’s degree in Bilingual and Multicultural Education from Teach and Learn, Franklin Institute. After finishing her master’s degree in Madrid, Spain, she spent five years as an English Language Assistant where she educated students through various subjects in the classroom and always encouraged them to expand their viewpoints about other cultures in different countries. In her free time, she likes to go to events, day trips, eat delicious food and be in good company.
Josh Dubansky, MD
Josh is a board certified emergency medicine physician at a busy tertiary care and trauma center, and is Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM). Dr. Dubansky received his medical degree from the University of Maryland, then trained in Emergency Medicine at UCSF-Fresno. There, he created and completed an Area of Concentration in Wilderness Medical Education, designed and implemented EMS field scenarios and mass casualty drills, and lectured extensively to medical students, EMTs, nurses, physicians, and National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service Rangers, and researched and wrote National Park Service EMS protocols as part of the ParkMedic and Wilderness Medicine Programs. He also helped design and implement a Tactical Medicine program for the U.S. Forest Service. Dr. Dubansky also spends time as a ski clinic physician and as a National Ski Patrol volunteer physician. He is a Wilderness Medical Society Fellowship Candidate and WMS DiMM Graduate.
Peru Field Coordinator
Patricia was born among the Andes Mountains in Cusco, Peru. As a child she dreamed of learning English to share the beauty of her country with visiting travelers. She went on to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism from el Centro de Formación en Turismo (CENFOTUR) in Lima. After her studies, Patricia‘s passion for the Peruvian Amazon brought her to a job in which she collected carbon offset data. In 2008, she moved back to the tourism field where she led international travel groups throughout Peru and other South American countries. Patricia joined GLA in 2017 as the Homebase Manager where she provided extensive logistics assistance for all Peru programs. Now, she serves as the Peru Field Coordinator.
Ilana was raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and attended University there where she received her titles of Teacher and Licentiate in Environmental Sciences. In 2021 she got another degree in NGOs Management and a Diplomacy in Gender, Race, and Injustice. At the age of 17, she went for a gap year program in the Middle East, described as a life-changing experience. Since 2015, she has lived in several countries and traveled around the world. In the last few years, Ilana has been working on women’s projects in rural communities, as well as in Experiential Education and International Travel in different countries across the continents. In 2018 she joined GLA and since then, Ilana has had the honor of directing programs all over the world. Ilana is passionate about life underwater and loves diving. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the mountains, doing yoga, being in nature, and traveling!
Anna grew up in San Diego and obtained her Bachelors in Accounting at the University of Lynchburg in Virginia. She enjoys working for Terra Education because it aligns her love of numbers with her focus of being a global citizen. Anna’s travels and service learning began close to home volunteering at a school in Tijuana, Mexico as a teen. She has since traveled to many places and hopes to visit Antarctica one day.
Lauren discovered her love for international travel after studying abroad in Granada, Spain in college. She earned her B.A. in International Studies from the University of California at Irvine, and her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of California at San Diego. She started her career working for The Leatherback Trust and Upwell Turtles in Costa Rica as an Education Coordinator. Then, in an effort to learn more about the field of Marketing, she moved back to the US and eventually became a Marketing Communications Manager at Dytran. Lauren loves working at Terra because she loves knowing that her work is contributing to teens’ transformational travel experiences. When she isn’t working on Terra’s latest marketing campaign, she loves spending her free time doing yoga and traveling.
Program Manager - Costa Rica
Heather is from San Diego, California. In 2018, she joined the Global Leadership Adventures Admissions team in Costa Rica and has called it home ever since. She loves helping students and their families prepare for life-changing programs abroad and sharing her passion for meaningful travel. She earned her B.S. in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University, and her Master’s in Education (TEFL) from Alliant International University. Heather has worked in International Education and study abroad programs for teens and university students since 2009. A lover of languages, Heather speaks Spanish and Portuguese (and tries her best at German). She is a passionate water woman and marine life advocate, who loves to spend her free time surfing, free diving and exploring the outdoors.
Costa Rica Country Field Manager
Daniel has lived all his life in Costa Rica. He has extensive experience in travel operations, tourism and different topics from his country of origin. After finishing school, Daniel worked for several companies dedicated to different travel topics, such as volunteering, social travel, and more. During Spring 2008, he joined the Global Leadership Adventures Team and has been with the organization ever since. Daniel manages our many different programs throughout Costa Rica and gives support in the field when needed. Daniel’s university studies were in Business Administration, English as a Second Language and Accounting.
Originally from Texas, her first big trip abroad was the summer after high school and it really got the travel bug going. She studied a semester in Luxembourg and earned a BS in Accounting from Miami University (OH). She lived and worked in Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth for 7 years before leaving the corporate life behind to travel and live abroad. Rather than just ticking places off a list, Lauren enjoys spending more time in one place to really get to know the culture and people.
Eden is originally from Edwardsville, IL and got the travel bug when she flew on a plane by herself at 7 years old. She received her B.S. in Anthropology from Loyola University Chicago and later went on to get TEFL certified in Costa Rica where she lived and taught English for 8 years. She speaks English and Spanish and is practicing her Portuguese. Her favorite sport is rugby and in her free time she enjoys riding her bike, going to the beach, doing macrame, and playing with her cats. One day she hopes to get her pilot’s license.
Medical Screening Officer & Admissions Coordinator
Steph was born in England but has lived in multiple countries around the globe. Through her experience, she has developed a deep love for people, food and exploration. After working in the non-profit sector for five years in South Africa, Steph delved further into community development while researching non-profits in Sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on education, sports and fair trade standards. After running multiple successful programs with TED and TED Education, she went on to publish two books and multiple research papers. Her passion for youth enrichment and development lead her to focus her studies, within the Psychotherapy sector, on early childhood trauma. Steph loves the outdoors, exploring new places and finding the local beach hot spots. From seeing the incredible influence travel can have, she loves to share that passion while connecting students and families with the perfect programs for them.
Brooke Loving Bagwell
of International Programs
South America & the Caribbean
In 2018, Global Leadership Adventures sent Brooke to Peru as a Program Mentor for the summer season. Captivated by the mountains, culture and artisanal heritage of the Andes, she decided to make Cuzco her new home, and today, she serves as the Regional Director of International Programs for South America and the Caribbean! An IE Business School MBA candidate and graduate of the American University with a BA in International Studies, Brooke is interested in sustainable international development initiatives through social business. In her free time, Brooke likes to hike, visit artisanal communities and eat delicious Peruvian food!
Becca is a Northern Minnesota native and experienced her first international travel experience as a student on a Global Leadership Adventures program back in 2015! After graduating with a double degree in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Minnesota – Morris in 2019, Becca joined GLA as an intern in the Costa Rica office. She loves learning about different cultures and is a huge advocate of experiential learning, which is a big reason why she keeps finding her way back to GLA. Becca joined us as a Program Mentor in Costa Rica this past summer before joining our Admissions team. She is currently living in Seattle, Washington and getting her Master of Education degree with a focus on Language, Literacy and Culture at the University of Washington, and couldn’t be more excited to be part of the GLA team again!
Jessica Rose Miller
GLA Executive Director
Jessica (Jess) has always had passion for leadership development and initiating personal change as she is proud to be a first generation college graduate. Her passion for international education and social entrepreneurship stems from various experiences studying, living and working abroad. Jess joined the founders at GLA in 2007, ignited by the mission of the organization and its relationship to the African Leadership Academy. She has overseen and supported GLA programs consistently since 2007, and had the honor of facilitating GLA programs all over the world over the years. She is a graduate of Oregon State University, where she studied history, anthropology and Spanish. She believes in the genuine inspiration and transformation of the next generation through authentic, international learning experiences. Jess currently lives in sunny San Diego with her husband, two sons Adryan and Kieryan, and their leopard gecko Sunny!
Matt has loved photo and video from a very young age, when he and his father moved to Costa Rica for a year during his freshman year of high school. This experience not only taught him the benefits of experiencing new cultures and the love of capturing footage and photos from unique destinations, but created a passion to help pass that learning on to the next generation. After graduating with a Cinema Studies degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Matt moved out to San Diego to pursue his career in media and marketing. Joining the team at GLA in 2018, Matt has captured the life-changing experiences of students from across the globe on GLA programs.
Peter is a co-founder of Global Leadership Adventures, as well as its Terra Education sister organizations Discover Corps, Teen Travel Network and Summer Springboard. He spent 15 years working across Africa before joining the company full-time in 2016, where he now serves as Executive Director of Terra Education. Peter was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in Duesseldorf before transferring to Johannesburg. He later co-founded and co-ran Tana Africa Capital; now a leading Africa-focused investment company. Peter is a German citizen; he holds a Master’s degree with honors in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Aachen, an honors degree in Law from the University of Hagen, and a degree in Economics from the University of Bayreuth. In his limited spare time (Peter and his wife Busi have three children, which are a great joy), Peter likes to meet friends and play chess.
Elijah firmly believes that the world’s future rests in our ability to transition decision-making power to today’s youth. He has lived in India, South Africa, and Mexico working to help young people develop leadership skills. He is the former Operations of Director of the AIF Clinton Fellowship for Service in India and a co-founder of the 360Plus Leadership Collective. Eli holds an M.A. in International Studies and Diplomacy from the University of London (SOAS) and a B.A. from the Evergreen State College, emphasizing cross-cultural communication.
of International Programs (Costa Rica & North America)
& Program Hiring Manager
Costa Rica & North America
A South Carolina native, Madison had her first international experience at the age of 17, which sparked her interest in international education and inspired her subsequent world travels. After graduating from the University of South Carolina (the real USC!) with a degree in Journalism & Mass Communications, Madison lived and worked in Australia, South Korea and Chile before serving as GLA Program Mentor in the Dominican Republic and becoming inspired by GLA’s mission and values. She’s since worked as the Programs Hiring Manager for GLA and managed programs in the DR, Thailand and Bali before moving to manage Central & North American programs. Madison brings her enthusiasm for international education and communication to GLA, and loves being a part of helping teens discover the world and become the next generation of global leaders and ambassadors.
Andrew is a co-founder of Global Leadership Adventures and its sister organizations, Summer Springboard and Discover Corps. He has extensive experience operating international educational programs around the world, including serving two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras. His overseas volunteer experience ignited a passion to share that experience with others, and he became vice president at a non-profit international volunteer organization. There, he helped build programs from scratch into a network of 14 countries and 2,500 volunteers, before going on to co-found Terra Education. 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.
of International Programs
Africa, Asia, Europe & the Pacific
Yente is proudly South African! Growing up on the sunny east coast of the “Rainbow Nation” of the world, she developed a deep passion for changing the world through community development and adventure from a young age. Specializing in Safe Spaces for development programs, she’s worked in the field throughout Africa with locally based NGOs and most recently, UNICEF, over the last 8 years and also holds a masters degree in the same field. Now based in Durban, she’s excited to welcome future students and show them the magic Africa has on offer.
Jenica discovered her own passion for international travel while studying abroad in central Mexico during college. Upon her graduation from the University of Oregon with a degree in English Literature, she was determined to enable other young people in their own life-changing experiences abroad, which she has been doing through GLA since 2014. From staffing programs in Asia and South America to working with GLA Student Ambassadors to leading GLA’s non-profit organization (GLAIF), Jenica has seen all sides of the organization.
Anna Caroline Rowland
Anna Caroline grew up all over the southern states of the US, and is now living out a long term dream with her husband, Caleb, as digital nomads in Buenos Aires, Argentina. With a Bachelors of Arts and Master of Divinity from Lipscomb University, she spent 6 years in the university’s call center, and also spent 4 years as a youth minister. AC loves working with teenagers and their parents, cooking, snuggling her cats, and exploring our beautiful world with her husband.
Lisa hails from the Philippines. Her degree in Management and Entrepreneurship has served her well, providing the foundation for her foray into the exciting world of small-scale home-based businesses. Her true passion, however, is in meeting people and experiencing the beauty of their land and culture. Her love for travel and adventure reignited in 2016 as she started working for GLA. She calls this a match made in heaven as she gets to serve in a company that believes as she does that travel and education infinitely expands one’s horizon and can serve as a catalyst of change in the world.
Victor is passionate about learning, and this has brought him to a few different places including Singapore where he finished his masters and currently South Korea for his PhD in Religion and Culture. He has also completed coursework in Master of Management, the learnings of which he has put to good use in his previous jobs managing teams in the areas of training and customer service. In 2014, Victor started working with GLA and he has not looked back since, embracing GLA’s vision to be an agent of transformation as something that resonates with his passion for economic and social justice.
Raised in Pennsylvania, it didn’t take long before Lauren hit the road in search of cultural adventure by means of service work. After earning her B.A. in anthropology, sociology and art at Guilford College, Lauren started her career in international education — teaching in schools in Thailand, Costa Rica, and Mexico. Sustainable community development has guided her global path. On that trail, she has worked variously to place and aid asylum seekers, to organize and empower women, to strengthen free libraries, to promote art and music, and to support artists in those fields. Lauren treasures her five years of experience with GLA as an International Director on programs around the world and is thrilled to join the Program Management team. In her free time, Lauren can be found enjoying Mexico City parks or dancing Cumbia with friends.
Lisamarie is a New Yorker residing in Germany. Her passions of connecting with people, learning about cultures and traditions, and traveling has guided her through many experiences such as, serving in the Peace Corps in Ghana, completing two GLA programs, as a mentor, held in Ghana and multi-county Europe, and traveling solo around South East Asia. Lisamarie is excited to be supporting families in the journey towards and through an amazing summer experience!
Director of Marketing
Brett describes his job as connecting people from digital spaces to real-life places. He graduated as a Journalism and Communications Fellow from Elon University and has been incredibly fortunate to travel to five continents so far – Europe, Africa and Asia, as well as North and South America – on his journey to visit them all. Brett began at Global Leadership Adventures in the spring of 2014, and his very first day on the job was during the annual Program Directors Training session in San Diego that year, an incredible start that combined meeting all the GLA HQ staff as well as all summer program team members getting ready to staff sites around the world.
A native Brit now living in San Diego, Hannah’s curiosity for exploring other cultures and world wide travel was established at a young age. Having embarked on a service learning program to Costa Rica as teen and then traveling independently throughout Latin America, South Africa, Australia and many European countries Hannah is a strong believer in the personal growth and priceless global perspective obtained from educational, international travel. With a background in sales and marketing from both the UK and the US Hannah brings expertise and passion to Terra Education.
Zak is from a small town in Michigan, and he stayed local to attend Siena Heights University. During his time there he was lucky to have a professor push him to leave the United States for the first time in his life and spend a semester in Costa Rica, where Zak discovered a love for travel. After graduating with degrees in Business and Spanish, he decided to return to Costa Rica as part of the Global Leadership Adventures team. Zak has most recently spent a couple years working in retail management, and he couldn’t be more excited to be returning to GLA to help the next generation of leaders broaden their horizons.
Elizabeth is originally from Belle Mead, New Jersey. She studied Leadership, Ethics and Organizational Sustainability at Saint Joseph’s University. She studied abroad in Santiago, Chile in 2014 and has been living there on and off for the past ten years, making it a second home. She is passionate about social and environmental sustainability, having worked as an international volunteer for non-profits dealing with homelessness and migration and also with Fair Trade Certification. In the summer of 2023, she was the International Director for the Surf, Sports and Sustainability program for GLA in Costa Rica. She’s a lover of the ocean and traveling and in her free time you can catch her dancing, doing yoga listening to music or connecting with nature in the outdoors!
Director of Program Operations
& Risk Management
With a degree in Natural Resource Management and a deep admiration for the outdoors, Carly believes the world is our classroom and the most effective type of education is through experience. Carly started working with GLA in 2010 and spent 4 consecutive summers abroad directing GLA programs throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Carly has been deeply moved by the transformation that occurs when one extends themselves beyond their borders and she works every day to ignite that passion while increasing empathy for every student and staff member who passes on through our programs each year.
Fred is a co-founder of Global Leadership Adventures and was honored to be named to the Time 100 list of the Most Influential People of 2019. 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 interdependent 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.
Programs Hiring Coordinator & Program Manager
Brayan is a native of Nicaragua where he earned a Bachelor of Social Work. Brayan has extensive experience managing leadership development and service-learning programs across Latin America. He worked with GLA for the first time in 2019 as a Program mentor in the Dominican Republic, and later in 2022 returned as Program Mentor in Costa Rica. He is passionate about traveling, Yoga, and gastronomy. He has lived in 6 countries including Ecuador and Guatemala.
Costa Rica Field Coordinator
Jose is from Costa Rica. He has worked with international service organizations since 2002. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He also taught US History in Civic Education in Washington D.C. He is now finishing his master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy. He has taught English as a second language and speaks Portuguese. He is passionate about International Education, history, and languages.
Marketing Operations Strategist
Ash was born and raised in San Diego and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Behavioral Psychology from UCSD. She has visited GLA programs in Guatemala and Costa Rica, and she believes in the power of experiential education and the valuable life experience teens can gain from volunteering abroad, embracing new cultures, and experiencing life from a new perspective.
Colette was born and raised in Atlantic Beach, Florida and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Resort and Hospitality Management from Florida Gulf Coast University. Travel has always been important to her and it has become her number one passion over the past few years. She has visited 20 countries and the rest are on her list! She is excited to join the GLA team and be a part of sharing the beauty of travel with others.
Airon is originally from southern Mississippi, and comes from a family of artists. She studied Sustainable Tourism and Development Management at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. After graduating, she stayed in Hawaii for seven years, working in various roles for some of the biggest hotels on Waikiki Beach… and learning how hard it is to be a surfer.
After Hawaii, Airon joined the Peace Corps in Costa Rica, where she worked in tourism development in small, rural areas and joined the GLA family soon after as the Local Director for the Beachside Service Adventure program in Costa Rica. She then went on to get a dual Master’s degree in Business Administration and International Policy and Development from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.
Airon has worked for several international education programs and has led over 400 students throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Asia and Africa. She owns and runs a small art and yoga retreat center in southern Mississippi. In her free time, she enjoys teaching and practicing yoga, a good relaxing beach day, exploring new cultures, and teaching the world’s travelers about the importance of responsible and sustainable travel.
Lisa first discovered Global Leadership Adventures in 2014, when she was looking for a way to combine her overriding passions for experiential education, travel and community engagement. After graduating from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Sciences, Lisa spent several years working and traveling in New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Australia. She has been a Mentor and Director for GLA in Tanzania, Costa Rica and Fiji, and is excited to continue supporting programs around the world.
With a Master’s of Education in College Student Services Administration, Lisa brings a holistic lens in creating curriculum and inclusive spaces for students to develop and express themselves. She feels fortunate to witness the discovery that takes place for both students and staff in understanding their strengths, interests and potential. Lisa loves jumping on her bicycle, swimming in lakes and is always up for a new adventure!
Director of Admissions
As a Green Bay, Wisconsin native, Korissa is a proud All-American Cheesehead! However, she found her home as a global citizen and uncovered a deep passion and curiosity for the new cultures and experiences found though education abroad while studying abroad in Mexico and Spain. She has since worked tirelessly towards helping others grow through international education and travel. She has worked with travel, tourism and university study abroad programs in both the US and Ecuador. She has been working with the GLA Admissions team since 2011 at both the San Diego Headquarters and in Costa Rica. She has had the pleasure of visiting many of the GLA programs and loves to see the process and transformation from a student requesting a catalog to then coming home with a new-found perspective and curiosity for the world.