Exchange Matters / December 1, 2022

Congratulations and Thank You, Gail Shrott

Occasionally, an exceptional leader in the Global Ties Network retires after decades of service to their community, to the scores of international exchange alumni who visited their city, and to our members nationwide. This December, we bid farewell and congratulations to Gail Shrott, Executive Director of GlobalPittsburgh, who retires after more than 30 years with the Pennsylvania-based nonprofit organization

Gail is known within the U.S. Department of State, our National Program Agency partners in Washington, and throughout our nationwide Network as a tireless champion of international exchange programs, citizen diplomacy, and people-to-people interactions. She has helmed GlobalPittsburgh for 33 of its 63-year history, volunteered her time and talents to many, and made an indelible impact on scores of world leaders who have come to Pittsburgh via the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).  

Gail (right) at her retirement party on December 1, 2022 with Global Ties U.S. President and CEO Katherine Brown. Photo by Katherine Brown.

Gail has also been focusing on the future of our field. At the Global Ties U.S. 2022 National Meeting in March, she helped plan a session on expanding access to globally-focused opportunities for youth in international exchange. She also was an active member of the U.S. Department of State Forward Planning Working Group, which helped the Global Ties Network pivot back to the safe implementation of in-person exchanges during the global pandemic. Gail will be missed for her leadership, dedication, and passion for international exchange. Below, the Global Ties Network sends warm wishes and congratulations to Gail on her retirement.  

Gail (seated left) with 2016 Global Ties U.S. Board of Directors and two U.S. Department of State representatives.

Global Ties Network

Global Ties Miami | Annette Alvarez 

There are almost 2,000 miles between Miami, Florida and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But once a year something magical happens and that distance is erased when Gail Shrott and I see each other for the umpteenth time at the Global Ties U.S. National Meeting! I don’t remember when we first met, but I do remember when we first got to know each other. A few of us were at loose ends one evening and decided to venture into Chinatown together for dinner. I’m dating myself when I say this was before smartphones and the apps that steer you in the right direction, or give you suggestions and reviews of nearby restaurants. We wandered along until we agreed that the place with the Peking Duck in the window and hand-lettered sign advertising homemade noodles was worth a try. It turned out to be the perfect setting to discover what drew each of us to citizen diplomacy. By the time the evening closed, we had swapped stories, and become friends. Every year, and sometimes in between, Gail and I close the distance gap when we meet in DC, ask each other for advice via an email, or see each other on Zoom.  

GlobalPittsburgh was fortunate to have had her leadership for 30 years. Our Network was fortunate to have her as a champion for all of us, and I am grateful to know her as a colleague and friend. Gail, I wish you joy and wonder as you step into your new life!  

International Visitor’s Council of Los Angeles | Janet Elliott 

Congratulations on your retirement Gail! However, you will be greatly missed in the Global Ties Network. You and I are the few who have been involved FOREVER — since back in ancient times when Global Ties U.S. was the National Council for International Visitors, and the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) was the International Visitors Program (IVP), and the program was not under the U.S. Department of State but with the U.S. Information Agency (USIA). 😊  

You have been a driving force for GlobalPittsburgh. I have such great memories of the National Meeting that was held in Pittsburgh. It was my first visit there and I learned what a truly beautiful and interesting city it is – with great jazz clubs! I also have wonderful memories of me and my sister joining you for dinners during the National Meetings in Washington, DC.   

I can only imagine how much you will be missed at GlobalPittsburgh. I hope you will stay in touch. If you make it to L.A, please connect and I will do the same if I visit Pittsburg. Wishing you lots of fun, relaxation and exploration in your retirement! 

Very Best Wishes! 

Gail (left) with Community-Based Members from Nevada and Michigan at the 2019 Global Ties U.S. National Meeting.

World Chicago | Peggy Parfenoff  

Gail – you have been a voice of wisdom and a supporter of citizen diplomacy during my entire time with the Global Ties Network – it has been such a pleasure working with you and getting to know Pittsburgh better because of you!  The Global Ties U.S. board meeting in Pittsburgh had me bring my family back there for vacation – it is so cool!  Have a wonderful next adventure and please come visit us in Chicago!

Cheers to you Gail – a true leader in Citizen Diplomacy! 

Office of International Visitors 

Lindsey Bailet 

Gail, you provided a fantastic introduction to the IVLP when I was an intern at PCIV while I was a student at Pitt. I have fond memories of sitting in the office entering information in the Access database. It has been wonderful to reconnect with you, and GlobalPittsburgh, so many years later. I wish you all the best in this next adventure!  

Amy Carrdus 

Gail is a true dynamo and has been a stalwart colleague for many years.  Her dedication to the mission of the IVLP is inspiring and she will be so incredibly missed as a leader in the Network.  I have learned much from my time working with her and will miss her presence, enthusiasm, and wisdom during National and Regional meetings!  

Gina Cirino 

Gail, in the eyes of OIV, you have been the face of Pittsburgh for so many years. I always felt comfortable knowing if Gail was involved, the Pittsburgh city stop would be dynamic and organized, and that I had nothing to worry about. Thank you for all of your stellar work throughout the years. Being a native Clevelander, I was programmed to dislike Pittsburgh due to the Browns vs. Steelers rivalry. But I can thank you for turning me into a city of Pittsburgh fan.  You will be missed!!  

Gail (left) holding a City Proclamation that December 2, 2022 is officially Gail Shrott Day in the City of Pittsburgh in recognition of her contributions to citizen diplomacy and international exchange. Photo by Katherine Brown.

Jenny Eisenberg  

Gail, you introduced me to the glories of Pittsburgh, and allowed me to see your city through the eyes of visitors who shared stories of the many memorable meetings you arranged for them.  I’ll never forget our accident-prone group of NGO fundraisers this past Spring and the outstanding program they had due to you. Your cool tenacity sets the gold standard. I will miss showcasing Pittsburgh with you at the helm but wish you a well-deserved next chapter!   

Kim Havenner  

We’re certainly losing a Gold Star among our International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) community-based partners. One of my favorite memories of working with Gail was on behalf of a group of Korean women STEM leaders on the fiscal year 2019 single country IVLP project, “Women’s Economic Empowerment: Improving the Mechanisms and Policies to Enable Women to Succeed in Business.” Not only did she arrange meetings in Pittsburgh, she also arranged a meeting at NASA’s Independent Verification and Validation Program (IV&V) Educator Resource Center in Fairmont, West Virgina for the IVLP participants to examine STEM educational initiatives for K-12 that encourage youth to pursue science and technology careers.  

Jenn Karbowsky  

Gail – Congratulations on your retirement! I have great memories of IVLP projects we did together, but am especially grateful for your support, advice, leadership, and practicality during the early days of the FPWG. And perhaps my favorite memory is of sitting (semi-awake) at the airport Starbucks in the pre-dawn hours following the Kentucky Diplomacy Begins Here Summit. I’ll miss having calls and troubleshooting with you, but hope we might cross paths here or there. Wishing you all the best on this next chapter. 

Gail (pink shirt) with IVLP participants from Indonesia.

Tom Rathburn 

Gail has been an outstanding colleague for many, many years and we will miss her enormously during her retirement!  However, we wish her well and point out one of her enduring legacies in the OIV Community Relations Branch: our own Lindsey Bailet was once one of Gail’s valued colleagues in Pittsburgh!  

Dina Suggs 

Gail! So very glad I had a chance to work with you on the 2022 Global Ties U.S. National Meeting session, “Utilizing Our Network to Expand Youth Access to Global Experience,” and the Poland NGO project earlier this year. It’s truly been a pleasure. Please holler whenever you make it to NYC. Wishing you a fantastic, fulfilling retirement.