Announcements / January 4, 2022

Global Ties U.S. Welcomes New Members to Board of Directors

WASHINGTON, DC — The Washington, DC-based nonprofit Global Ties U.S. announces the addition of four new members to its Board of Directors: Crystal Kelch, Susan Lore, Benjamin Orbach, and Romesh Ratnesar. The appointments took effect on January 1, 2022. 

“I am so pleased that we are adding these new voices to the Global Ties U.S. Board of Directors,” said Jacqueline Miller, chair of the Global Ties U.S. Board of Directors, and President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Seattle. “Their expertise and diversity of backgrounds will strengthen the critical work of the Global Ties Network and our position as the infrastructure for U.S. public diplomacy efforts.” 

Crystal Kelch has been with MCID Washington since its inception and assumed the position of Director in January 2003. During her tenure, she has created countless programs for visitors from across the globe, and she continues to provide strong leadership for both the organization and its staff. Before joining MCID Washington, Crystal facilitated public-private partnerships and business linkages between U.S. and foreign companies and managed investor portfolios at a nationally recognized investment management firm. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration with a sub-specialty in International Management from American University and a Bachelor of Arts from Boston University. 

Susan Lore has an extensive legal background as a business and corporate attorney. Over the course of her 30+ year legal career, she has worked in higher education as the Assistant General Counsel at St. Louis Community College and as in-house counsel to companies such as Revlon, NW Ayer, and J.C. Penney. She now directs the International Visitor Leadership Program for and is a board member of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis, a Global Ties U.S. Community-Based Member whose mission is to share knowledge and build relationships to connect the St. Louis community to the world. She serves in these roles as a full-time volunteer. 

Benjamin Orbach is the founder and CEO of The Ascendant Athlete, an advisory group that supports professional athletes and teams to lead movements for social change. Previously, Ben worked as a U.S. Department of State (DOS) official and international development practitioner. He founded and directed America’s Unofficial Ambassadors (AUA), a soft power, citizen diplomacy initiative that increased the number of U.S. citizens who volunteer in the Muslim world, and developed partnerships with schools and NGOs in nine countries to enable volunteers to build mutual understanding. From 2004 to 2007, he served as the DOS Deputy Regional Coordinator for the Middle East Partnership Initiative, where he designed democratic reform programs in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Romesh Ratnesar is a member of the editorial board of Bloomberg Opinion, where he writes editorials about national security, education, economic opportunity, and the future of work. He oversees Bloomberg Opinion’s weekly “Big Question” interview series with policy makers, business executives, and global thought leaders. Romesh’s career spans journalism, government, and politics. From 2015 to 2017, he served in the U.S. Department of State as senior advisor and chief of staff to the Under Secretary for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy. He was also a senior policy adviser on Michael R. Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign. Prior to joining government, Romesh was the deputy editor and international editor of Bloomberg Businessweek. 

“I am thrilled to welcome these new members to the Global Ties U.S. Board of Directors for 2022,” said Katherine Brown, Ph.D., President and CEO of Global Ties U.S. “Their wealth of experience in public diplomacy and U.S. foreign policy will be vital to supporting the Global Ties U.S. mission to build trust through international exchange.” 

Global Ties U.S. extends our profound thanks to Peter Asaad, Partner, Potomac Law Group, PLLC; Barbara I. Keller, Principal, BIKConsulting LLC; and Cheryl Matherly, Ph.D., Vice President and Vice Provost for International Affairs, Lehigh University, who conclude their terms on the Board of Directors. We are grateful for their passion and commitment to international exchange and public diplomacy.  

The Global Ties U.S. Board of Directors is comprised of prominent leaders who provide thought leadership, strategic vision, and organizational direction for Global Ties U.S. Board members serve as advisors and ambassadors for Global Ties U.S., and help to drive strategy, assess effectiveness, and ensure adequate financial resources so that Global Ties U.S. can achieve its mission.  

As of January 1, 2022, the following individuals serve on the Global Ties U.S. Board of Directors:

Jacqueline Miller, Chair 
President & CEO
World Affairs Council – Seattle
Seattle, WA 

Patricia Harrison, Ph.D., Vice Chair 
Director of Global Programs (Professional Exchanges)
World Learning
Washington, DC 

Martin Baier, Secretary 
President & CEO
The International Center
Indianapolis, IN 

Diana Bucco, Treasurer 
President
The Buhl Foundation
Pittsburgh, PA 

Members 

Muddassar Ahmed 
Managing Partner
Unitas Communications
London, UK 

Anna Aleman 
Program Director, Development & Major Gifts
University Medical Center Foundation of El Paso
El Paso, TX 

Mariano Gutierrez 
Head of Global Marketing Operations
MetLife
New York, NY 

Crystal Kelch 
Director
MCID Washington
Washington, DC 

Elizabeth Kumbhari 
General Counsel and Vice President for Professional Exchange Programs
Cultural Vistas
Washington, DC 

Robin Lerner 
President & CEO
Texas International Education Consortium
Austin, TX 

Derrick Olsen 
President
WorldOregon
Portland, OR 

Benjamin Orbach 
Founder & CEO
The Ascendant Athlete
San Francisco, CA 

Tara Panek Bringle 
Partner & CFO
Development Innovations Group
Washington, DC 

Patricia Preston 
Executive Director
Vermont World Affairs Council
Burlington, VT 

Jonathan Quarles 
Founder & CEO
The BTL Group and Quartz Water Source
Detroit, MI 

Romesh Ratnesar 
Member, Editorial Board
Bloomberg Opinion
Washington, DC 

Christopher Washington, Ph.D., Ex-Officio 
Executive Vice President & Provost
Franklin University
Columbus, OH 

About Global Ties U.S. 

Global Ties U.S. powers individuals, communities, and nations to build trust and advance peace and prosperity through international exchange. It is a nonprofit partner of the U.S. Department of State and supports a Network of 120+ nonprofit organizations representing all 50 U.S. states and more than 20 countries. Global Ties U.S. members are exchange professionals who provide the domestic infrastructure for U.S. public diplomacy efforts, implementing the International Visitor Leadership Program and a wide variety of educational, cultural, and professional exchange programs.