Seema has over 20 years of experience in international development initiatives focused on positive youth development, gender equity, restorative justice, public health, ethical leadership, education, and democratic governance. She is the President and CEO of Up with People, a youth-led movement for change. Seema is also an advisor to various organizations and is passionate about building culturally competent and learning organizations. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Economics and is a certified coach, counselor, and trainer.
Dennis Walto is a social development leader with 30 years of senior leadership experience in not-for-profit organizations worldwide. He has worked in over 40 US states and 20+ countries. He currently serves as Chief of External Affairs & Executive Director for the Chiricahua Health Foundation, helping to sustain the work of the Federally Qualified Health Center. Dennis has also held leadership roles with prestigious global non-profits, including Save the Children and the International Medical Corps. He has a master’s degree from York St. John University and is a regular contributor to various publications.
Therese Carlbrand is an experienced international development professional and has worked with several organizations focusing on women’s rights as well as protecting children from armed conflict. Currently, as a program manager at the Delegation of the European Union to Libya, Therese manages projects focused on stabilizing Libya through local development. Therese has an undergraduate degree in Diplomacy and International Relations and subsequently continued with a postgraduate degree in Conflict Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Therese considers herself lucky to have been able to make her passion her full-time job
Tressa Rae Finerty is a senior diplomat, and foreign policy advisor, with extensive experience leading teams at U.S. missions to the United Nations and collaborating with ASEAN, EU, NATO, and AU organizations. She has managed billions of dollars of U.S. humanitarian funding and taught university courses at NYU and led crisis response teams. Tressa began her diplomatic career in 2002 and has also served at the U.S. embassies in Malaysia, Armenia, and Thailand. She holds a BA and MBA from George Washington University and is a member of the Board of Directors of Up with People. Tressa and her spouse, Christian Lilley, currently reside in downtown Washington, DC.
Jan Stjernström retired as the Country Manager for the SEB Singapore Branch in South East Asia and the Pacific region from 2014 to 2018. He was also the President of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, a board member of the European Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, and on the board of SEB’s Private Equity Opportunity Fund III in Luxembourg. With almost 40 years in corporate banking and life insurance, Stjernström held senior positions at SEB and worked for 21 years at Citigroup as a Managing Director in corporate banking. A Swedish national, Stjernström holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Stockholm and Doctoral level studies at the Stockholm School of Economics.
Michael is a seasoned team and community leader with experience in sales, operations, business development, and pastoral leadership. He has worked for several Fortune 500 companies in executive roles. After 20+ years in Corporate America, he pivoted to servant leadership as the Associate Pastor at the Chicago campus of the Willow Creek Community Church. Recently, he accepted a new role as the Director of Strategic Initiatives with Brightstar Community Outreach in Chicago. Michael believes in the strength of family, neighbors, and community advocates helping each other.
W. John Hall is the founder and president of Endless Horizons and its subsidiaries, which aim to be catalysts for individual and community growth and development. He also founded Horizons Learning Foundation, a non-profit supporting various programs. John has vested interests in over 30 companies, ranging from technology to real estate. He serves on the Board of Directors of Up with People and was a previous board member of the Explore More Discovery Museum.
Robin Lokerman is Group President at MCI Group, a global marketing and communication agency network. He leads the development of MCI Group outside of Europe and is responsible for the strategic & business development of MCI’s services to association, not-for-profit, and government markets. He was the first non-US member of the Board of Directors of the ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership and was the 2010-2011 Chairman of the ASAE Foundation. Robin traveled as a student with Up with People in 81D and obtained his Master in Science of Management from Boston University, Brussels while working with Up with People. Robin and his partner Bojan divide their time between their homes in Singapore and Barcelona.
Stuart Shepherd is the Executive Director of the Nebraska 4-H Foundation. He not only runs the private side of Nebraska’s largest positive youth development organization, but he is also responsible for raising and managing financial resources that support several University of Nebraska programs. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arizona and has worked for various organizations including Up with People, the University of Arizona, and Great Plains Health. Shepherd resides in North Platte, Nebraska with his wife and two sons, and is married to national children’s author Rajean Luebs Shepherd.