Staff

Josette Sheeran
Ambassador Josette Sheeran

Executive Chairman
McCain Institute for International Leadership

Josette Sheeran
Ambassador Josette Sheeran

Executive Chairman
McCain Institute for International Leadership

Ambassador Josette Sheeran, a founding trustee of the McCain Institute, currently serves as Executive Chairman. In this role, Sheeran is overseeing a strategic evaluation of the Institute’s mission and programs with a goal of ensuring transformational impact in the U.S. and the global community through the vision of its namesake, Sen. John S. McCain.

Sheeran previously served as the seventh president and CEO of Asia Society. In the position, which she assumed in June 2013, she was responsible for leading and advancing the organization’s work throughout the United States and Asia, and across its disciplines of arts and culture, policy and business, and education.

Sheeran is former vice chair of the World Economic Forum, which hosts the annual Davos and Davos in China gathering of world leaders. In this position, she helped advance global initiatives and global, regional and industry agendas such as Grow Africa, which has attracted $4 billion in investment commitments to end hunger and malnutrition in Africa. She recently served at the Harvard Kennedy School as a Fisher Fellow in the Future of Diplomacy.

Prior to her tenure at the World Economic Forum, Sheeran was executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006. There she was responsible for managing the world’s largest humanitarian organization, leading a team of 13,000 people in more than 70 countries and managing an annual budget of more than $3 billion — including $1 billion in Asia.

Under Sheeran’s leadership, the WFP increased its donor base to more than 100 nations, and became the first global institution to include the so-called BRIC countries and the Gulf States among its top 10 donors. She put in place historic reforms of food aid, helping cut the cycle of hunger and malnutrition by purchasing nutritious food directly from developing world farmers. She also instituted emergency protocols that helped the WFP improve its ability to save lives and livelihoods in disasters and emergencies, most notably in Pakistan, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Haiti and in the Horn of Africa.

Sheeran has held senior positions in the U.S. government, and in those positions she conducted high-level diplomacy with virtually every nation in Asia. As U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, she led new State Department initiatives which supported economic transformation and reconstruction in Afghanistan and Central Asia and with APEC and ASEAN. Earlier she served for five years as deputy U.S. trade representative, conducting negotiations across Asia, including with China, Australia, Singapore, India, Korea, and Japan.

In 2011, Forbes named Sheeran the world’s 30th most powerful woman; Foreign Policy has listed her among its top 100 women on Twitter; and Sheeran’s TED Talk on ending world hunger has been viewed more than one million times.

Sheeran is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on its Washington Advisory Board. She has received several honors for her leadership in the fight against hunger and malnutrition: she was awarded Japan’s Niigata International Food Award; named Commandeur de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole by the government of France; and received Brazil’s highest civilian award, the Grand Official Order of the ‘Rio Branco,’ from President Lula Da Silva. Sheeran was also honored by the Huffington Post with its “Game Changer” award in 2011, along with Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson and economist Esther Duflo.

Betsy Gehrig
Betsy Gehring

Deputy Executive Director

Betsy Gehrig
Betsy Gehring

Deputy Executive Director

Betsy Gehring has helped organizations in the nonprofit and political sectors exceed their goals for more than 25 years. She leads and manages change, implements strategic direction, and creates optimal operating structures to enhance programs and improve revenue streams.

In January of 2017, Gehring joined the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University as the deputy executive director . In this role, she manages and facilitates the strategic leadership and oversight of all day-to-day operations. Prior to joining the Institute, she served as the director of delegate services for the 2016 Republican National Convention where she led a team of 10 to ensure an exceptional Delegate experience. She has participated in three additional National Conventions, served as the executive director for the March of Dimes and the executive director of The President’s Dinner Committee over the course of her career in Washington. Gehring has also held senior roles in health care, education, and non-profit development and is a certified Hospice care volunteer with nearly 10 years of service under her belt.

She has lived all over the United States, and abroad – from Texas, to California, to Costa Rica – and despite her professional achievements, considers her two children her most important life’s work.

Kristen Leanderson Abrams
Kristen Leanderson Abrams

Senior Director, Combatting Human Trafficking

Kristen Leanderson Abrams
Kristen Leanderson Abrams

Senior Director, Combatting Human Trafficking

Kristen Leanderson Abrams is the senior director of combatting human trafficking at the McCain Institute. In this capacity, she provides strategic leadership and operational management for the Institute’s program to combat all forms of human trafficking.

Abrams has extensive experience managing programs and advocating for solutions to prevent and end human trafficking and modern slavery around the world. Prior to joining the McCain Institute, she ran a consulting practice providing advice to non-profits working to end exploitation and promote human rights. She also served as the acting director of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST).

Earlier in her career, Abrams led international pro bono programs at DLA Piper. In that capacity, she developed and implemented interdisciplinary anti-human trafficking, rule of law, economic development, access to justice, and women’s rights projects in under-resourced regions in the United States and throughout Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. While at DLA Piper, Abrams also provided counsel on matters of public international law, political law and corporate social responsibility.

Abrams began her career as a legislative aide in the U.S. House of Representatives. She holds a juris doctor degree from The George Washington University Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University.

Caitlin Battey
Caitlin Battey

Special Projects Manager and Assistant

Caitlin Battey
Caitlin Battey

Special Projects Manager and Assistant

Caitlin Battey is the executive assistant to the deputy executive director, Betsy Gehring, and the special projects manager at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University.

Prior to serving in this role, Battey spent her time at the Institute contributing to the Next Generation Leaders program as the program assistant and the Humanitarian Action program as an intern.

Battey graduated with honors from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies and Sociology. A life-long Marylander, she is a proud fan of the Baltimore Orioles and supports all things Old Bay related. Battey currently resides in Washington, D.C.

Melissa Blum
Melissa Blum

Social Media Specialist

Melissa Blum
Melissa Blum

Social Media Specialist

Melissa Blum is the social media specialist at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. In this role, she develops creative social media marketing campaigns to highlight the Institute’s mission, programs and special events.

Blum graduated with honors from James Madison University in 2017 where she earned her degree in media arts and design with minors in sport communication and anthropology. In her free time, Blum loves spending time with her family and friends, snuggling with her cat Hazel, and rooting for the Washington Capitals. She currently resides in Rockville, Md.

Ashleigh Bowers
Ashleigh Bowers

Senior Program Coordinator, Preventing Targeted Violence

Ashleigh Bowers
Ashleigh Bowers

Senior Program Coordinator, Preventing Targeted Violence

Ashleigh Bowers is the education programs coordinator at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. In this role, Bowers works with the Leadership Development team to implement education programs including the Policy Design Studio and the Master of Arts in International Affairs and Leadership. Bowers also supports the senior director, Ambassador Michael C. Polt.

Bowers is an alumna of the McCain Institute’s Policy Design Studio where she focused on the diplomatic and military relationship between the United States and Germany. Previously, Bowers worked as the government affairs intern for the Arizona Board of Regents and the research intern for the Dean of Faculty at the Eisenhower School of National Security within the National Defense University.

Bowers is a graduate of Arizona State University where she received a master’s degree in global security and a bachelor’s degree in political science with certificates in international studies and political entrepreneurship. Originally from Phoenix, she currently resides in Washington, DC.

Cole Davis
Cole Davis

Special Events Coordinator

Cole Davis
Cole Davis

Special Events Coordinator

Cole Davis is the Special Events Coordinator at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University.

Prior to serving in this role, Cole worked with the Advance Office of the White House as a Press Lead helping to plan and execute events for The President.

Cole graduated from the College of Charleston in 2015, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Being a native of the area, Cole is an avid Washington sports fan and currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia.

Luke Englebert
Luke Englebert

Human Rights & Democracy Program Coordinator

Luke Englebert
Luke Englebert

Human Rights & Democracy Program Coordinator

Luke Englebert currently serves as the program coordinator for the Human Rights & Democracy Program at the McCain Institute for International Leadership.

Prior to rejoining the McCain Institute’s staff, Luke served as a program associate for Francophone Central Africa at the International Republican Institute. Previously, Luke worked as the Counterterrorism Center program assistant at the McCain Institute and also interned with the Institute’s Human Rights & Democracy program during the summer of 2017.

Originally from Claremont, Calif., Luke graduated from the University of Redlands with a B.A. in international relations.

Paul Fagan
Paul Fagan

Director of Human Rights and Democracy Programs

Paul Fagan
Paul Fagan

Director of Human Rights and Democracy Programs

Paul Fagan is the director of the Human Rights and Democracy programs for the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. Previously, he served as the executive director of the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), an organization founded by Ben Affleck that seeks to bring the world’s attention to the ongoing situation in that country but also highlight the abundant opportunities for economic and social development. 

Prior to joining ECI, Fagan worked at the International Republican Institute (IRI), an organization that promotes democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, democratic governance and the rule of law. He was IRI’s Africa director for nearly four years, overseeing IRI’s programs during South Sudan’s successful and historic transition to independence; led election observation missions to Nigeria and Somaliland; implemented IRI’s first programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and ushered in IRI’s return to Mali. He was also chief of party for IRI’s programs in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Earlier while at IRI, he worked on programs in the former Soviet Union and Latin America, serving as the Latin America and Caribbean division deputy director.

Addie Fairley
Addie Fairley

Program Coordinator, Preventing Targeted Violence

Addie Fairley
Addie Fairley

Program Coordinator, Preventing Targeted Violence

Addie Fairley serves as the Program Coordinator for Preventing Targeted Violence at the McCain Institute for International Leadership.

Prior to serving in this role, Addie served as the special projects & Next Generation Leaders program intern. Addie spent her undergraduate career as a student working in Arizona State University’s executive vice president’s office for Knowledge Enterprise Development, where she developed an interest in international development and science and technology policy.

Addie recently graduated with honors from Arizona State University, where she received a Bachelor’s of Arts in business law with a focus on sustainability and international business. Arizona-raised, she is a devout Sun Devil fan and an avid hiker.

Joe Finedore

Financial Manager

Joe Finedore

Financial Manager

Joe Finedore is the Financial Manager supporting the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University.

Finedore graduated from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Currently, he is pursuing his Masters in Finance with a concentration in Investments and Securities.  In addition to supporting the McCain Institute he also supports International Development and is a resource for the Global Security Initiatives and University Innovation Alliance programs at Arizona State University.

Amy Grappone

Senior Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement

Amy Grappone

Senior Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement

Amy Grappone is the senior director of communications and strategic engagement for the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. In this role, she oversees the Institute’s communications, branding, and media strategy.

Amy is a seasoned communicator with a strong record of providing communications counsel to elected officials, top-tier political campaigns, job-creators, and major federal and state agencies. Prior to joining the Institute, Amy served as director of communications for U.S. Senator Todd Young of Indiana, a leader on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She also served as a top communicator for U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

A Florida native, Amy began her career in the press offices of former Florida Governors Jeb Bush and Rick Scott. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida State University. Amy currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and son.

Rachel Hunkler
Rachel Hunkler

Program Manager, National Security & Preventing Targeted Violence

Rachel Hunkler
Rachel Hunkler

Program Manager, National Security & Preventing Targeted Violence

Rachel Hunkler is the Program Manager for National Security & Preventing Targeted Violence at the McCain Institute of International Leadership. In this role, she manages the Institute’s National Security and Counterterrorism fellowship program and the joint project with the Center for American Progress for developing and disseminating a National Policy Blueprint to End White Supremacist Violence. Prior to this, Hunkler spent two years managing the strategic design, execution, evaluation, and scaling of the McCain Institute’s global leadership programs.

Hunkler has a background in education, both domestic and international. In 2013, the U.S. Department of State awarded her a Fulbright Grant to teach English at a bilingual high school in Spain. She was granted a rare Fulbright renewal in 2014 to serve as the Global Classroom Coordinator for the Spanish Fulbright Commission, where she ran Madrid’s Model UN program for over 300 students and conducted training for 65 Fulbright English Teaching Assistants. Upon returning to the U.S., Hunkler taught English and Spanish literature at a high school in Nashville. She now continues to advocate strongly for education and training that creates more inclusive, peaceful societies and builds bridges of mutual understanding within and across borders.

Hunkler is originally from Nashville, Tennessee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and K-12 education from the University of Alabama and a master’s degree in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Joanna Jauregui
Joanna Jauregui

Program Coordinator, Arizona Combatting Human Trafficking

Joanna Jauregui
Joanna Jauregui

Program Coordinator, Arizona Combatting Human Trafficking

Joanna Jauregui serves as the Arizona Combatting Human Trafficking program assistant with the McCain Institute of International Leadership. In this role, she supports the senior director of Arizona Initiatives to increase statewide collaboration in combatting labor and sex trafficking in Arizona.

Prior to joining the McCain Institute, Joanna served as the Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention AmeriCorps VISTA with the Arizona Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith, and Family. During her year of service, she developed prevention and awareness training materials, provided human trafficking and intimate partner violence prevention training to hundreds of stakeholders across Arizona and assisted in the coordination of community engagement events, including the first Arizona Human Trafficking Council Symposium.

Joanna is a Phoenix native and graduated from Arizona State University with honors earning a bachelor’s degree in community health.

Jacob Kostrzewski
Jacob Kostrzewski

International Rule of Law & Security Program Coordinator

Jacob Kostrzewski
Jacob Kostrzewski

International Rule of Law & Security Program Coordinator

Jacob Kostrzewski is the International Rule of Law & Security Program Coordinator at the McCain Institute and the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University.

Prior to joining the McCain Institute, Jacob interned on the Foreign Policy team at Human Rights First; worked at the Office of the High Representative in Sarajevo; and helped coordinate foreign exchange programs for high school students at Educatius International. Originally from Chicago, Jacob has lived in the United Kingdom, Poland, Bosnia, Boston, and now Washington, DC.

Jacob holds a BA in Economics and International Relations from Northeastern University in Boston and a master’s in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. He’s an avid runner, reader, and world traveler.

Meghan Latcovich
Meghan Latcovich

Director of the Sedona Forum

Meghan Latcovich
Meghan Latcovich

Director of the Sedona Forum

Meghan Latcovich is the strategic advisor and the director of the Sedona Forum at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. Prior to this position, Latcovich was director of communications and programming at the Institute for two years. Before joining the Institute team, she was chief of staff for Cindy McCain. She travelled extensively throughout the world managing Mrs. McCain’s humanitarian missions. Latcovich accompanied Mrs. McCain during the 2008 Presidential campaign as her senior advisor. Prior to joining the campaign, Latcovich was a Naval Helicopter Pilot. She worked in the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs in the Senate, as well as flying armed combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Latcovich is a 1999 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, where she majored in economics and was captain of the women’s track team. Latcovich resides in Washington with her husband, Simon, and their two children.

Patrick McCann
Patrick McCann

Communications Coordinator

Patrick McCann
Patrick McCann

Communications Coordinator

Patrick McCann is the Communications Coordinator at the McCain Institute for International Leadership.

Prior to joining the McCain Institute, McCann worked at the Republican National Committee as the Deputy Regional Press Secretary during the 2018 midterm cycle. McCann spent the 2016 election cycle working on the Lindsey Graham for President campaign, and later at opposition research firm America Rising in Arlington, VA.

In the Spring of 2015, McCann graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Manhattan College. Raised in Cold Spring Harbor, NY, he currently resides in Washington, DC.

Staci McDermott
Staci McDermott

Assistant Director, Communications

Staci McDermott
Staci McDermott

Assistant Director, Communications

Staci McDermott is the assistant director of communications for the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. In this role, she works closely with senior leadership and the program staff to design, create and execute communications, events and media strategies dedicated to advancing the Institute’s mission and brand.

McDermott previously was a brand manager at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Phoenix, Ariz., where she developed, executed and evaluated internal and external communication strategies to engage stakeholders and strengthen the Phoenix Children’s brand. Prior to this, she was a sports writer for the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. and Larson Newspapers in Sedona, Ariz., and a broadcast intern for KCNC-TV in Denver, Colo.

McDermott graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and technical communication and a minor in history from Colorado State University. Raised in Tucson, Ariz., she currently resides in Alexandria, Va.

Claire Sechler Merkel
Claire Sechler Merkel

Senior Director, Arizona Programs

Claire Sechler Merkel
Claire Sechler Merkel

Senior Director, Arizona Programs

Claire Sechler Merkel is the Senior Director, Arizona Programs for the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. She served as director of friends and family and chief of staff to Mrs. Cindy McCain during the 2008 Presidential Election campaign, and worked for McCain for President 2000. Previously, she served as legislative assistant and special assistant to U.S. Senator John McCain and campaign coordinator for John McCain’s first U.S. Senate Campaign. Sechler Merkel was associate director in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs for President George H.W. Bush, senior intergovernmental officer at the U.S. Department of Labor and regional director for Eastern and Central Europe at the International Republican Institute.

Sechler Merkel served as PAC director for Congressman Jim Kolbe, associate director of surrogates, Bush/Quayle ’92, coordinator of volunteers at the 1988 Republican National Convention and director of volunteers for the public liaison for the 1989 Presidential Inaugural. She founded Sechler Merkel International to provide strategic advice to companies and foundations and focused on projects in the United States, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Russia. Prior to joining the McCain Institute for International Leadership, she lived for two years in Malmo, Sweden with her husband and children. Sechler Merkel holds a degree in public policy, with distinction, from Stanford University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She now resides in Phoenix with her husband, David, and their two children.

Scott Nemeth

Senior Program Manager for Global Leadership Programs

Scott Nemeth

Senior Program Manager for Global Leadership Programs

Scott Nemeth serves as the Senior Program Manager for Global Leadership Programs at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. In this role, Nemeth leads the global leadership team and focuses on helping prepare today’s leaders to meet tomorrow’s challenges through the Institute’s flagship program: McCain Global Leaders. He also leads efforts to expand the Institute’s leadership programs and manages both the MGL Global Advisory Council and the McCain Leadership Alumni Network.

Prior to the McCain Institute, Nemeth served as the Legislative Strengthening Specialist at the International Republican Institute (IRI). He founded and managed the legislative strengthening portfolio which included two global programs: the U.S. House Democracy Partnership and the Institute for Representative Government. He also advised the Institute on its work with parliaments, conducted country-specific technical assistance, and supported business development strategies and government relations. In this role, Nemeth operated in 25 countries and advised over 30 parliaments on issues related to transparency, national budgeting, citizen engagement, multilateral cooperation, security sector oversight, anti-corruption and parliamentary research.

Prior to joining IRI, Nemeth served as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Congressman David Valadao. In this role, he advised on foreign policy and defense in addition to overseeing Mr. Valadao’s work on the House Appropriations Committee. During this time, he concurrently served as Majority Staff Director for the U.S. House of Representatives Central America Caucus where he built support throughout Congress for aid to the Northern Triangle. Nemeth began his time on Capitol Hill as a Military Legislative Correspondent for U.S. Senator Dan Coats. He previously served as a Field Director for the Republican National Committee and has campaign experience at the local, state and federal level. His career in public service began during a term with AmeriCorps, where he developed and facilitated a program for at-risk youth in his home state of Indiana.

Nemeth received his BA in Political Science, with a concentration in International Peace and Conflict Mitigation, from Butler University and resides in Washington, D.C.

Berivan Orucoglu
Berivan Orucoglu

Human Rights & Democracy Program Manager

Berivan Orucoglu
Berivan Orucoglu

Human Rights & Democracy Program Manager

Berivan Orucoglu is a journalist by training and she has written extensively on U.S.-Turkish relations, Turkish domestic politics, good governance and freedom of press, publishing in major international print media, including the Washington Post, New York Times, and Foreign Policy.
Ms. Orucoglu is currently the Human Rights & Democracy Program Manager at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at ASU. In this role, she works with the Senior Director for Human Rights and Democracy to provide transition assistance to human rights activists forced to flee their surroundings because of threats – thus enabling them to remain engaged in the fight for human rights.

Ms.Orucoglu spent time with the McCain Institute as a Next Generation Leader (NGL) prior to joining the Institute as Program Manager. During her NGL fellowship, she continued her journalism career and wrote a weekly blog on foreign policy, security and freedom of press issues at the Foreign Policy magazine’s Democracy Lab.

Before moving to the US, she has served as the senior Communications Advisor to the American Ambassador in Ankara, Turkey for three years. She drafted the Ambassador’s talking points and speeches, and prepared him, other senior Embassy officers, and visiting senior US Government officials for their public appearances and interactions with Turkish and world media. During her time at the Embassy, she regularly organized and supported high level visits to Turkey, winning the commendation of former Vice President Biden, former Secretary of State Kerry, former Secretary Clinton.

Before joining the Embassy, Ms. Orucoglu has worked for various media outlets in Turkey, Europe and the U.S. covering major news stories of the last decade. As a diplomatic correspondent, she has traveled to Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Gulf States. While based in Brussels, she followed EU, NATO and international summits. Ms.Orucoglu broke several major news stories and interviewed many prominent politicians. Her reporting focused on international relations, and her opinion columns advocated for strengthening democracy, human rights and rule of law.
Ms. Orucoglu was born in Ankara and graduated with honors from Bilkent University’s Department of Communication and Design. She speaks fluent English in addition to her native Turkish.

Sara Perry

Program Coordinator, Core Functions

Sara Perry

Program Coordinator, Core Functions

Sara Perry is Program Coordinator for the Core Functions Team at the McCain Institute for International Leadership.

Prior to this role, Perry served as a Human Rights & Democracy intern for the Institute. In her undergraduate career, Perry worked as a Government and Politics Research Assistant studying Henry Shue’s nature and theory of threats to human rights.

Perry graduated with honors from the University of Maryland where she received a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and a minor in French. She currently resides in Denver, Colorado.

Pedro Pizano

Program Manager, Human Rights & Democracy

Pedro Pizano

Program Manager, Human Rights & Democracy

Pedro Pizano is a Program Manager for the Democracy & Human Rights Programs at the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Washington D.C. He previously served as the Northwestern-McCain Public Interest Legal Award Fellow and the International Criminal Law Fellow and Human Rights Journalism Fellow at the McCain Institute and ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s International Rule of Law and Security (IRLS) Program, under Amb. Clint Williamson.

In 2018, Pizano graduated cum laude and with honors with a dual J.D./LL.M. in international human rights law from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago, Ill. He was the executive editor of the Journal of Human Rights and the co-founder of a debate club: The Speakers Union. He was jointly appointed by the presidents of both the Northwestern Federalist Society and the Northwestern American Constitution Society, as the co-chair of the Civic Education Committee, as Northwestern Law was one of the law schools, if not the first, to cancel classes on election day so students, faculty, and staff could volunteer as poll watchers and officials, and reinforce our shared common civic liberal democratic responsibilities.

Before law school, Pizano earned a joint certificate in international human rights law from Oxford University and George Washington University’s law school. Prior to that, he worked for three years as the global media liaison and strategy and development associate at the Human Rights Foundation and Oslo Freedom Forum in New York City. In 2013, he was recognized as one of the 99 under 33 most promising young professionals in foreign policy by the Diplomatic Courier. His opinions and byline have appeared in, among others, The New York Times, The Washington PostThe EconomistForeign Policy, The New RepublicSlateForbesEl TiempoEl Mundo and the BBC. He was born in Bogotá, Colombia and is also a native Spanish speaker, fluent in French, and knows basic Arabic.

Susan Powell

Program Coordinator, Combatting Human Trafficking

Susan Powell

Program Coordinator, Combatting Human Trafficking

Susan Powell is the program coordinator for the Combatting Human Trafficking program at the McCain Institute for International Leadership. In this role she provides administrative assistance to support the Institute’s programmatic work.

Susan is originally from Chevy Chase, Maryland and has a bachelor’s degree in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University. She previously interned with the International Rescue Committee assisting survivors of human trafficking and conducted her undergraduate thesis research on the relationship between immigration policies and human trafficking.

Marlene Sallo

Director, Preventing Targeted Violence

Marlene Sallo

Director, Preventing Targeted Violence

Marlene Sallo serves as the Director for Preventing Targeted Violence at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. Prior to joining the McCain Institute, Sallo served as the Executive Director of the Disability Law Center (DLC) of Massachusetts, the Commonwealth’s Protection & Advocacy Agency. Under her leadership, DLC secured a critical victory in federal court that ensured Massachusetts voters with print and visual disabilities could exercise their right to vote privately and independently in the 2020 general election.

Before joining DLC, Sallo served as Deputy Chief of Engagement for the U.S. Countering Violent Extremism Task Force and as Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service.  Appointed by President Obama in 2013, she also served as Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Early in her career, Sallo served as an attorney with Florida’s Department of Children & Families and as a civil rights attorney/trainer with the Children’s Law Center, University of South Carolina School of Law.

Sallo has served on multiple Boards and Commissions throughout her career. In 2019, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker appointed her to serve on the Restrictive Housing Oversight Committee and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. She also served as Commissioner on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. Sallo graduated with a B.A. from Manhattanville College and a J.D. from Florida State University College of Law.

Brette Steele
Brette Steele

Senior Director, Preventing Targeted Violence

Brette Steele
Brette Steele

Senior Director, Preventing Targeted Violence

Brette Steele serves as the Senior Director for Preventing Targeted Violence at the McCain Institute for International Leadership. Prior to joining the McCain Institute, Steele served as the Regional Director of Strategic Engagement for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships. In that role she advised the State of California in the development of a statewide Preventing Violent Extremism Strategy and partnered with counties, cities, and nonprofit organizations to develop and implement Preventing Violent Extremism programs.

Steele established and served as Deputy Director of the U.S. Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, which coordinated all federal efforts to prevent violent extremism in the United States. Prior to establishing the Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, Steele served as Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General and coordinated the U.S. Department of Justice’s terrorism prevention and forensic science reform initiatives. Steele also chaired the U.S. Department of Justice Arab- and Muslim-American Engagement Advisory Committee and vice chaired the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities. Steele graduated with a B.A. from University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

Kelsey Syms
Kelsey Syms

Program Manager, Combatting Human Trafficking

Kelsey Syms
Kelsey Syms

Program Manager, Combatting Human Trafficking

Kelsey Syms serves as the program manager for the Combatting Human Trafficking program at the McCain Institute for International Leadership. In this role, she oversees the development and implementation of programmatic work, as well as advances the Institute’s convening power and external relations.

Prior to joining the McCain Institute, Kelsey interned for the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section assisting attorney staff in performing legal and factual research in support of the investigation and prosecution of complex criminal matters, including human trafficking.

Originally from Sun Valley, Idaho, Kelsey holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado – Boulder and a master’s degree in Global Leadership and Management from Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Anna Voloshin
Anna Voloshin

Senior Director of Development

Anna Voloshin
Anna Voloshin

Senior Director of Development

Prior to joining the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, Voloshin spent nearly six years at the Washington think tank Atlantic Council, serving the past three years as its Director of Outreach and Public Programs. She was a key member of the External Relations and Development team, where she actively contributed to the organizational growth of the entire institution. Voloshin managed donor relations, development, and strategic planning of the Council’s two main annual events – Distinguished Leadership Awards and Global Citizen Awards. In her native Poland, Voloshin worked at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, serving five consecutive administrations from 2000 to 2007. Her last position was that of the Head of the Prime Minister’s Foreign Visits and Meetings Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs. During her time at the Chancellery, Voloshin became an expert in international diplomatic protocol while working with her counterparts and senior foreign government officials. Voloshin’s experience also extends to the fields of external relations, communications and event planning. Voloshin holds a master’s degree in law from the University of Silesia, Poland. A native Polish speaker, she is fluent in English and has conversational knowledge of Russian and French. She resides in Virginia with her husband and daughter.

Clint Williamson
Clint Williamson

Senior Director for International Rule of Law, Governance and Security

Clint Williamson
Clint Williamson

Senior Director for International Rule of Law, Governance and Security

Ambassador Clint Williamson is the senior director for International Rule of Law, Governance and Security at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University and a professor of practice at the Sandra Day O’Connor Law School at Arizona State University. He served as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues from June 2006 to September 2009. Prior to this appointment, he served as Senior Director for Relief, Stabilization, and Development and as Director for Stability Operations at the National Security Council between January 2003 and June 2006. Ambassador Williamson has also served in a variety of senior roles with the United Nations and the European Union. Most recently, from October 2011 to August 2014, he served as the Chief Prosecutor of the EU Special Investigative Task Force in Brussels. From 2009 to 2011, Ambassador Williamson was a Special Expert to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. In earlier postings, he worked in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations as Director of the Department of Justice in the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and as a Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY). At the outset of his professional career, Ambassador Williamson served as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division and as an assistant district attorney in New Orleans. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University and a law degree from Tulane University.