January 14, 2022

USGLC Welcomes Over 60 Young Professionals to the Next Gen Global Leaders Network Class of 2022

MEDIA CONTACT: Coby Jones, [email protected]


Program provides a platform for young leaders across the country to highlight local impacts of international affairs, global development, and diplomacy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 13, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) is announcing the 2022 class of the Next Generation (Next Gen) Global Leaders Network, a year-long program that will engage a group of diverse, bipartisan young professionals in leadership, skills training, and mentorship in support of their engagement on global development and diplomacy in their communities.

The class of young professionals from 20 states will participate in a series of sessions with USGLC leaders and special guests to immerse themselves in global policy issues while strengthening advocacy and engagement skills. Throughout the year, they will interact with policymakers and opinion leaders, have opportunities to share and publish their own stories and perspectives, and ultimately become members of the USGLC’s State Advisory Committees at the end of the program.

This year’s class includes 63 participants from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, representing a broad spectrum of political affiliations and emphasizing the bipartisan nature of this program. The program is free of charge to participants, who were selected through a rigorous written application process.

Following is the 2022 class of USGLC’s Next Gen Global Leaders Network (with titles and affiliations listed for identification purposes only).


  • Carissa Crayton: Special Projects Manager, Alabama Department of Commerce
  • Matt Simpson: Representative, Alabama House of Representatives District 96


  • Bastien Y. Andruet: Municipal Lobbyist, Capitol Consulting, LLC
  • Bethany Bennick: Director, International Affairs, Greater Phoenix Economic Council
  • Frank Thomas Epitropoulos: Account Executive – Media Sales, FOX Corporation
  • Jordan Gustafson: Director of Organizational Partnerships, Food for the Hungry
  • Rodney James Jr.*: Quality Assurance Manager, United States Army Aviation Missile Command
  • Carmen Ronan: Manager of Business Development & International Services, Molera Alvarez, LLC


  • Kevin O’Donnell: Assistant for Political Affairs, Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco


  • Chelsea Nunnenkamp: Political Chief of Staff, Englewood City Council Member; Unite America, City of Englewood, CO


  • Ryan Maclnnis: Senior Product Marketing Manager, Twitter


  • Rishen Patel: Entrepreneur, Self employed with operations in multiple countries
  • Justin Rodriguez: Sales Director – Corporate & Legal Services, CSC


  • Sonless Martin: Global Trade & Business Development, Port Miami
  • Danielle Mousseau: Lead Project Manager, Economic Development, Florida Power & Light Company
  • Zachary P. Pierce: Director of Development, J&B Solar
  • Kelly Quintero: Director of Policy, Feeding America
  • Jo Hanna Thompson: Executive Co-Director, Florida Restorative Justice Association (FRJA) & Co-Founder, Unity360 Institute & Community Peacebuilding Leadership Council, The Peace Alliance
  • Geneva Travis: Program Manager, Commissioned Integrations, Zendesk
  • Salomon Zaga: CEO, Argus Capital Group


  • Andrew Gasparini: Assistant to the City Manager, City of Kennesaw
  • Christabel Ghansah: Business Development Manager, City of Norcross
  • Jayanthi Narain: Senior Associate Director, Overseas Operations, The Carter Center


  • Christie Bowen: Coordinator of Sustainability and Compliance, Franklin Electric
  • McLean Karr*: Director of Global Market Development & Strategy, Franklin Electric


  • Taylor Wiliamson: Director of Government Affairs, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers/Kansas Wheat Commission


  • Caroline Poole: Communications and Operations Manager, Global Ties Detroit
  • Gordon Rooney: Senior Consultant, State & Local Government, Guidehouse


  • Gary Ly: Program Coordinator, Genesys Works
  • Peter Mayer: Master of Public Policy Student/Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs; and Government and Community Relations Analyst, Steve Rummler HOPE Network
  • Erin Moran: Project Manager, Books For Africa
  • John Patterson*: Regional Humanitarian Advisor, USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance
  • Isaac Russell: Director of Public Policy, Center for Economic Inclusion
  • Grace Waltz: Vice President of Public Policy, Minneapolis Regional Chamber


  • Kevin Rejent: Senior Counsel – Regulatory & Government Affairs, Energizer Brands


  • Reece Allen: Graduate Research Assistant, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

North Carolina

  • Thomas Persico*: Captain, Defense Counsel, US Marine Corps


  • Uriah I. Davis: Travel Support Specialist, Cxloyalty/JPMorgan & Chase
  • Benjamin Gottsch: Business Development, V. Alexander & Co., Inc.


  • Dennis J. Mahoney: Organizational Partnerships Officer, Food for the Hungry
  • Cassandra Wisdo: Digital Marketing Consultant

South Carolina

  • Juan Campana*: Intelligence Analyst, Frontline Training Group
  • James Eaddy III: Senior Business Analyst, American Red Cross
  • Courtney Meeks: Continuous Improvement Specialist, Milliken & Company
  • Marvin Pendarvis: Attorney, Self-Employed (Pendarvis Law, LLC)


  • Amanda Knarr: Global Account Manager, Forrester Research
  • Danny A. Mendoza: Science Teacher, Hillsboro High School


  • Carlos Colón: Executive Director, International Programs, Buckner International
  • Jeanelle Davis: Executive Director, Public Affairs, BNSF Railway
  • Claudette Jane Ferro: Marketing Manager, Medical Bridges
  • Chris Graves: Associate Director on Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence, Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence, Office of Mayor Sylvester Turner, City of Houston
  • Matthew Hall: Senior Regional Advocacy Director, Raise Your Hand Texas
  • Megan A.J. Kirk: Candidate, Master of International Affairs, Texas A&M University; English & Language Arts Tutor at James Earl Rudder High School
  • Austin Merkel: Candidate, Masters in Global Policy Studies, University of Texas
  • Tim Silvester*: Litigation Associate, Jones Day
  • Samantha Skory: Director of International Programs, World Affairs Council of San Antonio
  • Annette Whatley: Program Coordinator Texas Global, The University of Texas at Austin


  • Stephen LeFevre: Chief of Staff & Director of Strategic and Foreign Affairs, World Trade Center Utah


  • Farah Salim Eck: Senior Director of Programs and Policies, United Nations Association of the USA, part of the UN Foundation
  • Aaron J. Kleiman*: Lt Col, Policy Analyst NGB J52, USAF
  • Chad Martin: Councilman, City of Martinsville


  • Jonathan Kilpatrick: Founder and Owner, En-Syte Consulting LLC
  • Maddy Vonhoff: Advocacy Associate, Committee for Children

*indicates Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces



The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 500 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic, military, and community leaders in all 50 states who support strategic investments to elevate development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.