Exchange Matters / February 22, 2019

Looking Ahead to the 2020 National Meeting

Katie delivers closing remarks at the 2019 National Meeting, giving a preview of what to expect at the 2020 National Meeting. All photo credit: A.E. Landes Photography


You’re the next Chair of the National Meeting Planning Committee. Why did you volunteer for the role?
When Franzi Rook (Global Ties U.S.) called me asking me to step into this role, I was flattered and completely shocked. There are so many bright and talented people in the Network that I was surprised to even be on the radar! I accepted the position, which I fundamentally view as a servant leader role, because I want to amplify the voices of our Network and make sure that the Network is doing all it can to support them – not just at the National Meeting, but throughout the year.


2018 was a busy year: you were part of the 2019 National Meeting Planning Committee, you hosted a Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summit and Learning Lab, and you organized dozens of international exchange programs at the Cleveland Council on World Affairs. What’s your secret to maintaining a healthy work-life balance?

Don’t forget starting a masters program, too! I know many people who would laugh at the idea of me and work-life balance (let’s just say I have been known to send my fair share of midnight emails). My secret to maintaining a healthy work-life balance is… to NOT keep it a secret! We kicked off a conversation on strategies to maintain work-life balance at this year’s National Meeting, and I want to continue to find ways to promote productive discussions on this in 2019 and 2020. After all, we can’t shape the culture we want without ongoing discourse.

2020 will be the 80th anniversary of the International Visitor Leadership Program. Any special ideas or plans to celebrate?

The more I read about this country’s legacy of exchanges, the more impressed I am by how much creativity goes into these programs. From jazz diplomacy to the U.S. Sports Envoy Program— which recently sent the incredible Misty Copeland to Cuba—to welcoming visitors to Cleveland who are changing the world with everything from Swahili rap to chicken wings (both real examples), I am constantly blown away by all of the forms that citizen diplomacy takes. I would love to find ways to celebrate the 80 years of creativity that have gone into making these exchange programs shine… that, and get a massive IVLP birthday cupcake sculpture in the shape of a giant “80.” A girl can dream.

At the 2019 National Meeting, Katie (far left) spoke on a panel on work-life balance in exchange programming.


In your opinion, what value does the National Meeting provide for members of the Global Ties Network?

When you’re in the thick of programming throughout the year, it is so easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. The National Meeting buoys my passion for the work, rekindles my creativity from hearing what others are doing, and allows me to re-tool for the year ahead. In these ways, the National Meeting has been incredibly valuable not just for me, but for everyone who I have spoken to in the Network.

How would you like to see the National Meeting grow and improve?

I have a lot of ideas, but the National Meeting is shaped by many voices working together – and is better for it! So, the way we can grow and improve is, first and foremost, having passionate and energetic people join the Planning Committee. It’s a shameless plug, but that giant cupcake sculpture is not going to create itself! I would encourage people to submit their application to join the committee sooner than later, or to reach out to me with thoughts and ideas—I truly do want to hear them!


Apply by March 1 to join the Planning Committee and submit theme ideas for the 2020 National Meeting.