Board and Committees
Prague Committee Chair
Akram Rosheidat completed his Ph.D. at Arizona State University in 2014, and has been an Associate Faculty teaching at the ASU School of Sustainability since 2015. He is also a practicing architect and an Owner at MRT Design LLC (WBE/DBE/SBE Firm) in Phoenix. After starting his university studies in Prague, Czech Republic, he received his B. Arch. from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and his M. Arch. from the University of Arizona in Tucson. His research focused on outdoor thermal comfort in hot arid environments. In both his practice and academic research, his focus is on sustainable green building design and technology, energy conservation and studying systems for assessing thermal comfort in outdoor spaces. He designed LEED certified sustainable projects, and worked on USAID projects internationally.
Anne Thorne has been actively involved in the Valley’s media business for more than 20 yeas. She spent several years as the public relations director for Channel 3TV. In addition, she founded a public relations agency and media buying business with clients such as METRO Light Rail, St. Joseph's Hospital and Southwest Airlines.
Currently, Anne is working in the residential real estate industry with the HomeSmart Elite Group where she is focusing on the historic neighborhoods in Phoenix's Central Corridor.
Calgary Committee Chair
Bob graduated the University of Alberta (Canada) with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1978. Prior to immigrating to Phoenix in 1985, he joined Xerox Canada for 4 years. He then ran his own construction company prior to joining ComputerLand of Edmonton at the outset of the personal computer era.
Shortly after transferring to ComputerLand of Phoenix, he partnered to found Computer Solutions/Valcom Southwest, growing that computer sales organization to 4 locations in Tempe, Tucson, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
He was recruited by MicroAge Computer Centers where he spent a 14-year career as a director, leading franchise development, and VP of sales for the West.
Bob joined US Web (the first national web development firm) in Santa Clara, CA in 1996. He led their franchise development efforts in the western US and Canada, culminating with a successful IPO, when he returned to Tempe and MicroAge HQ.
Bob joined Nextel Communications/Sprint in 2001, spending the next 13 years leading their local wireless data sales team in Arizona and New Mexico, before moving into account management of their wireless data sales at the Fortune 300 account level across the US.
In 2014, Bob created Right On Target Clay Guides of AZ (shotgun sports provider) and Southwest Mobile Apps, which he currently operates today.
Bob enjoys the outdoors, saddle horses, and coaching youth in shotgun sports.
Commission Member Chair-Elect
Mr. Foster is a Senior Partner at Snell & Wilmer where he has practiced law for the past 27 years. Mr. Foster’s practice is concentrated in commercial litigation with an emphasis on business disputes, real estate litigation, employment litigation, criminal defense and partnership and sale of business disputes. Mr. Foster is a frequent legal commentator on FOX 10 News and has made over 110 local and national appearances on various media outlets (FOX News & CNN) covering a variety of top news stories including the Jodi Arias trial. Mr. Foster represents individuals and businesses in a variety of state and federal court cases as well as appearing before administrative and other judicial bodies. Mr. Foster has obtained multiple multi-million dollar verdicts on behalf of his plaintiff business clients and has obtained numerous defense verdicts on behalf of the individuals and businesses he has represented. Mr. Foster has been consistently recognized by his peers as one of the Best Lawyers in America® as well as obtaining recognition as a Southwest Super Lawyer® which is a recognition given to less than 5% of the attorneys practicing in the Southwest. Mr. Foster has been passionate in his volunteer efforts including serving as a board member, board chair and capital campaign co-chair on behalf of the YMCA. Mr. Foster has also served as a member of the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee and as part of the City of Phoenix Parks and Library Bond Committee.
Bruce E. Meyerson is a mediator, arbitrator, and trainer in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center (1972) where he was an Editor of the Law Journal. He received his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University. Mr. Meyerson was the founder and first Executive Director of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. He served on the Arizona Court of Appeals for almost five years where he heard over 1000 appeals. He served as General Counsel of Arizona State University from 1986 to 1990. From 1990 through 2000, Mr. Meyerson practiced commercial and employment litigation in Phoenix. Since 2000, his practice has focused on conflict resolution. He is a Past Chair of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution and the State Bar of Arizona ADR Section. He is an adjunct professor at the Arizona State University College of Law teaching courses in all aspects of dispute resolution, including Mediation and Arbitration. He is a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, the International Academy of Mediators, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the College of Commercial Arbitrators. He serves as a board member of the American Arbitration Association Foundation. He is the Chair of the City of Phoenix Civil Service Board and a member of the City of Phoenix Police and Fire Pension Board.
Himeji Committee Chair
My name is Camille King and I came to Phoenix in 2003. I relocated from Maryland where I was a Health Scientist Administrator with the National Institutes of Health, in the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). I ran a study section for the government while I was in NCRR. I have a graduate degree in anatomy with my concentration in cell biology. I am a high school science teacher at Xavier College Preparatory, an all-girls high school in Phoenix. I teach Biology and the Honors Human Anatomy and Physiology class. I love teaching and am particularly passionate about teaching anatomy and physiology. My daughter was a Youth Ambassador through the Phoenix Sister Cities and her city was Himeji, hence my involvement with the Himeji Committee. She had such a life-changing experience when she visited Japan. Our family enjoyed having her cohort live with us and the overall experience was so phenomenal that my membership to the PSC remains active.
Commission Member, Executive Committee Member At Large
Chiko is an attorney with Copperpoint Mutual Insurance Companies. She has a Master’s degree in International Trade Law from the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. Prior to working for Copperpoint , Chiko worked for the Pima County Public Defender’s office in Tucson. She speaks Ibo (a Nigerian language). She has lived on three continents. She has two grown children. Her son lives in the UK and her daughter lives here in Phoenix. She loves to travel and meet new people and experience new cultures.
Grenoble Committee Chair
Claude Bobin has 20 years of experience in domestic & international growth strategies. He has demonstrated expertise in developing and implementing marketing & sales programs for both off-line & on-line markets. He worked for the Gerland Group, a subsidiary of British Petroleum. He progressed from Export Manager to International Marketing Manager, Executive Vice President / US subsidiary and Vice President of International Business. Claude served as Director of Marketing & Strategy for Ricon Corporation, a world leader in mobility equipment. As a management consultant, he conducted market assessments specialized in complex strategy and marketing analyses in a variety of industries (e.g. automotive, e-commerce). His clients have included such companies as TV5 (leading French speaking television), Seamagine Hydrospace (two-passenger tourist submarine), ACTT (four-wheel drive vehicle for the physically challenged), and I-Motion (French internet provider). Claude was Director of sales & marketing in charge of the Corporate Aircraft & General Aviation markets for the Zodiac Aerospace Group for five years. He recently worked for B/E Aerospace on Boeing 787 PSU program and Embraer Phenom 100 & 300 Programs, and as Product Director Aircraft Platforms with StandardAero, and Consultant in Business Development for Hutchinson Aerospace, PAL-V, Insiteo and Quividi.
- Adjunct Professor: “Economics of Multinationals” course, Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business & Management.
- Class Chair: Coach executives on their business plans and strategic projects, Pepperdine University, Executive MBA Programs.
- Technology Class Advisor: Manage all the virtual e-Rooms, introduce & manage Blackboard, Pepperdine University Executive MBA Programs.
- Marketing Instructor: Norwich University MBA Online.
- Book title: “Marketing Dashboards & The Art of ROMI” available on Amazon.com or http://www.createspace.com/3345597 It includes a Marketing Management Toolkit with 30 Interactive Dashboards and ROMI Optimization.
- Speaker at the “Carbon Economy” event organized by the “Economist” in Washington, D.C. Topic:”Offshore Wind Project to Produce Electricity & Fresh Water at Low Cost”.
- Graduate from the “Presidential & Key Executives” MBA Program, Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business & Management, CA.
- Bachelor in Business Administration with a major in Marketing from EDC, School of Business & Management, Paris La Defense, France.
I am currently the Assistant General Manager at Transdev Phoenix RCC. I have been in transportation for the past 32 years. I started my career in public transit and moved to the airport shuttle service. My experience includes, route planning, dispatching, radio communications, and operations management. I love working in transportation providing great customer service. I have volunteered for numerous student activities to help teachers to ensure teacher and student success. In my spare time, I enjoy crafting, traveling, and spending time with family. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with Phoenix Sister Cities.
City Chair Liaison
Dianna Noli Hill is a third generation Arizonan who grew up in Tucson. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Master’s degree in Public Administration and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from the University of Phoenix. Professional affiliations included the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA) where she served on the National Board, and the National and Arizona Associations for Court Management (NACM) and (ACA).
Prior to joining the City of Phoenix, Dianna spent several years as an accountant in the private sector. Because of her love of the law, Dianna found her niche at the Phoenix Municipal Court as a Court Administrator where she used her skills to implement many award-winning innovations and programs and is proud to have been a part of the team overseeing the building of the current Court building. She recently retired from the Court and looks forward to achieving her goal to visit all ten sister cities , with only four more to go!
Dianna became involved with the Chengdu Committee when traveling to Chengdu in 2002 as part of the delegation to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of our Sister City relationship and has served in the roles of Secretary and Vice-Chairman ever since.
Ramat-Gan Committee Chair
Born and raised in Israel, Edna graduated from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, following her military service in the IDF.
Upon arriving in the US, Edna obtained a Masters degree in Bible and Cognate Studies from the Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, and then a Doctorate in Education from the University of Cincinnati. She has devoted her professional life not only to teaching undergraduate and graduate level students, offering a variety of dynamic courses pertaining to Judaica, but also to serving as a school Principal within the Jewish communities in which she has lived. In that capacity she has worked hard to develop innovative curricula and engaging learning opportunities to children and adolescents. She has trained both parents and teachers, offering creative workshops, which aimed at establishing partnership between the school and the home.
Making Phoenix her home away from her native country, Edna is passionate about the betterment of her Phoenix community at large, and has lent her creativity and energy to a number of community endeavors. She joined the Board of Directors of Jewish Family and Children’s Service, where she has held several positions, including a two-time tenure as a board chair. With over 25 years of service to JFCS, Edna continues to find her work on that board both rewarding and inspirational. She is interested in the well functioning of non- profit boards, and is an advocate of the Governance Board Model.
Edna is proud to call herself a Phoenician. She is awestruck by the majestic beauty of the desert, the strength and resilience of our communities, and the ever growing and evolving Phoenix art scene. She is enthusiastic about the mission and vision of PSC. As chairperson of the Ramat- Gan Committee, Edna is looking forward to infusing the committee with new ideas and renewed energy, while collaborating with others for a more global impact.
Emilio Gaynor serves as International Director of Business Enterprises for Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC) where he heads the international relations and development effort for the organization. In this role, Emilio has accomplished great success in connecting Mexican businesses with resources to help make them successful in Arizona. He has launched efforts of collaboration between non-profit organizations and foundations on both sides of the border moist recently securing funding for a US Citizenship loan program. Emilio regularly contributes to Spanish publications in Sonora and Arizona including an OpEd piece featuring the Hermosillo Sister City relationship in the Arizona Republic. He has executed opportunities for the immigrant community to connect with their federal elected officials and support services. He has extensive experience in international relations and development having headed delegations and business efforts in Mexico and Latin America for over 20 years. Emilio worked in the executive branch for two governors as representative of the State of Arizona in Sonora, Mexico and as Executive Director of the Arizona Mexico Commission in the Office of the Governor. He also served as development director for Latin America for an aerospace design firm and a communications services company selling and providing services in Mexico and South America.
Emilio has created programs for non-profits and has managed large-scale public information and outreach programs projects such as Federal Aviation Administration housing relocation program for the city of Phoenix and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in Maricopa County. Emilio headed government and community relations for Arizona’s largest Hispanic advertising and promotions firm. Emilio served as general manager for Delaware North, one of the largest hospitality companies in the world. He also represented an international mining distribution and service venture that focused on Chile, Peru, and Mexico.
Emilio’s community and civic contributions include serving as Chairman of the Arizona Diamondbacks Los D-backs Ambassador Council. He is a former Chair and current member of the Phoenix Board of Adjustment, he is current Chair of the Phoenix Sister Cities Hermosillo Committee, and has served on the board of the Border Health Foundation and World Affairs Council and the Easter Seals. Emilio was born I Mexico City, has worked in Paraguay, Bolivia, Dominican Republic and Chile in addition to having lived in Mexico. Emilio has the fortune of being married to Monica, who is originally from Hermosillo and has two children, Samantha born in Hermosillo and Arturo born in Phoenix.
Francesca Miller is currently the Marketing Director for D.P. Electric, Inc. as well as a dedicated citizen of Arizona. She called Arizona home from 2000 to 2006, and spent her time developing her career in marketing and public relations. After moving to New York in 2006 and living there for ten years, Francesca has returned to Arizona eager to give back to her community.
From 2000 to 2006, Francesca was a passionate member of several boards and commissions. She travelled as a member of the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission to Ramat Gan, Israel in 2004 for the inaugural trip. She was also a member of the City of Phoenix Youth and Education Commission and sat on the boards of the Steele Children's Research Center and Phoenix Body Positive (Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS).
While in New York, Francesca sat on the Board of Overseers for the Katonah Museum of Art and was the driving force behind their highly successful annual galas for more than five years. She also was on the host committee for the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Research during their annual Race 4 A Cure events from 2014 to 2016.
While in New York, Francesca served as the Director of Operations for a global hedge fund, overseeing the hedge fund's New York office. She then acted as Chief of Staff for an investment professional's family office. Until her move back to Arizona in 2016, Francesca was the principal of her own business, FJM Marketing Communications.
Upon moving back to Arizona in 2016, Francesca worked for The RealReal, an online luxury consignment company, as a Luxury Manager, establishing a market in Arizona for the company. She rejoined the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission at that time and was on the planning committee for the 2017 Mayor's International Gala.
Francesca was recently featured in Scottsdale Modern Luxury for her work at The RealReal, detailing her previous work there as well as her love for Phoenix. She lives in Phoenix with her husband Mark, their daughter Hunter and their two dachshunds.
Henry is a vice president at US Bank. He is responsible for compliance and regulatory for the Retail Payment Services division at US Bank. He has over 20+ years in the financial industry and is certified in project management. He chairs the strategic team for the US Bank relationship with Visa, Mastercard and American Express. He is a voting member of the capital expenditure team for project initiation and is a member of various process improvement, compliance and regulatory steering committees. He had previously worked in technology management at Bank of America and was a product manager for American Express.
Henry holds a BS in business from the University of Arizona and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Professional Affiliations/Community Involvement
Henry is a scout leader for Boy Scouts of America since 2006 and is a BSA Hall of Fame recipient. He chairs the Finance Committee for Troop 41. He was a member of blue ribbon panel for technology at Madison School District where he provided private sector consulting on how to strategically use $6MM bond money for technology. He was also an advisory member for the finance sub-committee at Unity Church reporting to the board of trustees.
Commission Member Secretary
Mr. Sestak is an attorney with more than 35 years of experience in the areas of general business and commercial litigation and transactions. He is experienced in corporate, administrative, creditors’ rights, securities (litigation), real estate, employment, professional negligence and environmental matters, with an emphasis on litigation and disputes in these areas. He has appeared extensively before federal and state courts and administrative agencies.
Mr. Sestak has represented small, medium and large companies in all areas of business and business litigation. He has handled general contract disputes, shareholder and partner disputes, commercial litigation and arbitration proceedings. He has represented owners and contractors in disputes and lawsuits involving construction matters, has represented employers in employment litigation and EEOC matters, has litigated cases involving confidentiality and non-solicitation agreements, and has represented professionals, including law firms, accounting firms, engineers and architects, in negligence actions.
Professional, Civic and Community Involvement
- City of Phoenix Commission on the Economy (2001-2004)
- City of Phoenix 301 Committee (Block Watch Oversight, created by Phoenix City Council (1993-1996)
- Member, Litigation Section, American Bar Association (1975-present)
- State Bar of Arizona (1974-present)
- Member, Trial Practice Section
- Member, Corporate Banking & Business Section
- Member, Employment Section
- Member, Construction Section
- Member, Maricopa County Bar Association (1997-present)
- Member, Association of Trial Lawyers of America (1990)
Janielle is in international real estate as the lead project manager for a US-based investment group developing residential properties in Mexico. As a bilingual facilitator, she navigates all aspects of property development ranging from legal issues to zoning and taxation through her relationships with business and government entities.
Prior to her foray into international development, she spent the first decade of her career in Los Angeles as a Project Coordinator at the architecture firm of Frank Gehry, with The GRAMMY Foundation at NARAS, and with TBWA/Worldwide for Apple.
She was raised in Phoenix, graduated from Xavier College Preparatory and received her B.S. Degree in Global Finance from ASU. For 4 years she was a volunteer Patron Circle host at the Sundance Film Festival. She was also Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors of the S.P.A., a non-profit charity dedicated to the health and well being of animals. She credits her family and her education for developing in her a strong desire to connect with other cultures.
Signature Event Chair
Janine Bobin possesses 25 years of experience in fundraising and management of non-profit organizations. She has successfully developed and provided creative, well-planned and executed cultural events and educational programs. Her expertise in public relations and ability to identify and cultivate appropriate networking are assets to Phoenix Sister Cities. With numerous successful fundraising and volunteer activities accomplished, Janine is a current board member and President of the Alliance Francaise of Greater Phoenix
Her professional experience includes holding the title of Executive Assistant to the Senior Vice President Strategy and Business Development with the group SEB, a conglomerate with over 5 Billion Euros in revenus and 25,000 employees. Prior to this position, she was Assistant to the President of UTEI, a real estate group.
She received a BTS in Business Administration & Management in Paris, France, and studied at UCLA Extension to receive a certificate in Public Relations. Janine is also bilingual in English and French.
Janine's accomplishments include, but are not limited to the following: Co-Founding ‘The Sud-Ouest Américain”, a yearly magazine published by the French Consulate General in Los Angeles for the French Expatriate Community; receiving the “Chevalier de la Croix de l’Ordre du Mérite”, a unique medal and decoration given by the French Government in recognition of accomplishments as a volunteer and ambassador of France and the French culture in the United States; receiving the "Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques" award nominated by the French Prime Minister on January 11, 2017. The Order of Academic Palms is an order of knighthood of France for academics, cultural and educational figures .
Josh Rawitch is in his 22nd season in Major League Baseball and fifth as Sr. Vice President of Communications with the D-backs. In this role, he is responsible for the internal and external communication efforts of the organization, including player & media relations, corporate communications, publications, social media, photography and fan feedback. The Los Angeles native also teaches a course at ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and serves on the board of directors for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, ASU’s Sports Business Advisory Board and on the Desert Southwest Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He was recently named to So Scottsdale and Uptown magazine’s list of the “24 Most Powerful Locals” under age 40. He and his wife, Erin, reside in Scottsdale with their children, Emily and Braden.Josh Rawitch is in his 22nd season in Major League Baseball and fifth as Sr. Vice President of Communications with the D-backs. In this role, he is responsible for the internal and external communication efforts of the organization, including player & media relations, corporate communications, publications, social media, photography and fan feedback. The Los Angeles native also teaches a course at ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and serves on the board of directors for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, ASU’s Sports Business Advisory Board and on the Desert Southwest Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He was recently named to So Scottsdale and Uptown magazine’s list of the “24 Most Powerful Locals” under age 40. He and his wife, Erin, reside in Scottsdale with their children, Emily and Braden.
Judy Schumacher is an award-winning Fortune 500 executive in the fields of communications, public relations, advertising and board governance. A longtime Arizona resident, she has worked for some of the state's most prestigious firms.
Currently, she is Vice President of Corporate Communications & Governing Board Services for CopperPoint Insurance Companies, Arizona's largest workers' compensation insurance carrier. She is responsible for internal and external communications, advertising and community relations as well as governing services for the company's Board of Directors.
Most recently, Ms. Schumacher was Vice President of Marketing for Main Street Restaurant Group, a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. She was responsible for the marketing, advertising and communications programs associated with 57 T.G.I. Friday's restaurants and 3 proprietary brands located across the U.S.
Before joining Main Street, Ms. Schumacher owned and successfully operated a full-service communications consulting company. The firm provided services in the areas of marketing and advertising, public relations, financial communications, consumer and issues research, media relations, employee communications, mock jury focus group analysis.
Prior to Schumacher Communications, Inc., Ms. Schumacher held the position of Director of Corporate Communications for Arizona Public Service Company. As such, she was responsible for company-wide communications, managing a staff of 50 and an annual budget of $13 million. Her leadership in issues management, consumer brand repositioning and employee relations garnered such awards as a First Place Telly Award for her deregulation television ad campaign and a Top Ten Award from Andersen Consulting for the best website and intra-net site in the utility industry.
Prior to joining Arizona Public Service Company, Ms. Schumacher was Director of Communications and Investor Media Relations with Tosco Marketing Company/Circle K, from 1987 through 1996. In addition to serving as the national corporate spokesperson she was responsible for Circle K’s public relations, community relations and employee communications serving 23,000 employees in 28 states.
Ex-Officio Board Member
As Workforce Development Coordinator at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Katelyn supports the activities of five workforce collaboratives. She serves as a liaison between industry, education providers, and workforce development partners in Phoenix.
Katelyn pivoted into workforce development after working as a Behavioral Health Associate in an inpatient mental health and addiction clinic. She is a current distance student studying public administration at the University of North Dakota.
Her interest in serving on the Phoenix Sister Cities board comes from an interest in travel and cultural awareness as a way to build human connections across borders. She was captured by wanderlust and curiosity after traveling to Australia as a student ambassador in high school.
Lin Ling Lee’s motto is “Educate younger generations today to become leaders of tomorrow." Lee believes international perspectives, ties, exchanges, cooperation, and unity are important for the world. Lee has devoted more than 30 years to build leadership roles in Taiwanese, Chinese, Asian, and American organizations as President, Principal, Chair, Director, and Advisor. Lee’s specialties include Global Relations, Public Relations, Education, Arts, Culture, and Business. Lee is Taiwan Overseas Community Affairs Council Advisor, recognized by the Taiwan Government and President.
Lee’s awards include Phoenix USA Hometown Hero, US Congressional Recognition for Volunteer Service, Arizona Governor Recognition for Community Service, Arizona Dr. Martin Luther King Living the Dream Award, US Presidential Award for Volunteer Service, Medal of Honor from Taiwan Overseas Community Affairs Council, City of Scottsdale Diversity Champion Award, Phoenix Mayor’s Partnership Award, Outstanding Principal of the Year, Arizona Women Impact Award, Taiwan International Outstanding Woman Award, Outstanding Citizenship Award for Arizona Asian American Association, Volunteer Medal International Award of Circle of Distinguish Volunteer Global Citizenship Award from Phoenix Sister Cities International, Phoenix Sister Cities Taipei Sister Cities Volunteer of the Year, Friend of Taipei City Council Gold Plaque, and much more.
Marty is with Advanced Genomic Solutions since 2018, a genetic testing and analysis company focused on health, wellness, nutrition and pharmaceutical applications. He leads global business development and client facing operations.
Previously, he spent 11+ years with EXOS where he was its first VP of Sales and later VP of Strategic Business. He joined EXOS when it was about 30 employees and it grew to near 5000 staff at the time of his departure.
His business experience includes the telecom, wholesale distribution and pharmaceutical industries. Marty graduated Furman University (South Carolina) in addition to earning a MS and a MBA from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Marty’s international business experience includes 30+ countries including China, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Australia, Russia, Germany, UK, Colombia, Brazil, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Israel. As a services exporter with Marty's leadership, EXOS was recognized by the City of Phoenix as an inaugural winner of “Service Exporter of the Year” in 2015 and the “Export Excellence” Award from Arizona District Export Council the same year. In 2016, they were awarded the President’s (POTUS) “E” Award for Exporting Excellence. Fast Company magazine recognized EXOS in its “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies” lists in 3 different years of Marty's tenure.
Marty, born in Eastern Tennessee, has been married to Susan Speliopoulos, a Phoenix AZ native, since 2008. They have 3 daughters; Savannah, Alexandra and Makenna.
Ennis Committee Chair
Mary Hill-Connor is a native of Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland. She has served the Ennis Committee of Phoenix Sister Cities for the ten years, including the last four years as its Chair. She also served on the board of the Irish Cultural and Learning Foundation (ICLF) for 3.5 years, including 2 years as Secretary.
Mary has a 14-year background in real estate and a 30-year background in nursing and is a retired Realtor and a retired Registered Nurse with an extensive background in several medical areas.
As a young girl, Mary won medals in Irish dancing and has always loved the traditional dance, music, song, and the Irish language. Today she chairs Four Peaks Irish Arts, the local chapter of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, the worldwide organization that promotes and preserves these cultural gems.
Disability Awareness Committee Chair
Ms. Trunzo is the Clinical Director of the Arizona Institute for Communication and Cognitive Disorders and is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist and Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapist. She has worked extensively with children and adults with acquired and traumatic brain injuries for over thirty years. Her practice has specialized in a community-based rehabilitation paradigm with a clinical philosophy of empowerment for clients, family members and all stakeholders involved in an individual’s rehabilitation and return to maximum skill and independence.
Ms. Trunzo also has co-authored a clinical textbook entitled "Communication and Coping Skills" and has accomplished research in the area of neurogenic-based communication disorders. She has lectured and provided training and workshops on Traumatic Brain Injury (particularly in the area of Post-Concussive Disorders and Pediatric Brain Injury) throughout Arizona, United States, Europe, Asia, and Mexico. Ms. Trunzo has received numerous awards for her outstanding work in the area of Acquired Brain Injury and for her volunteer efforts to promote the capabilities of persons with disabilities across all disability categories. She also is a member of Valley Leadership, identifying her leadership role in the community.
In 1998, Ms. Trunzo co-founded the Disabilities Awareness Committee (DAC) of the Phoenix Sister Cities, which has received the prestigious National Disability Advocacy Award on multiple occasions for recognition of community leadership in the area of promoting disability awareness both in the United States and globally. Throughout the 20 years plus volunteering with DAC, Ms. Trunzo been actively involved in the development and ongoing continuation of ICAD, ICWD, the Bear and Book Holiday Fundraiser and other collaborative projects with both local disability groups and our fellow sister cities. Ms. Trunzo’s passion for improving the lives of persons with disabilities is her motivation for guiding DAC to even greater accomplishments in the future.
Commission Member Youth & Education Committee Chair
Melissa Werner is Director of University Ceremonies and Protocol Officer at Arizona State University and co-founder of the North American Association of Commencement Officers (NAACO).
A native of Tempe, Arizona and a long-time employee of ASU, Melissa has held positions as an academic advisor, program coordinator, development officer and event planner.
In 1999 Melissa and Carol Switzer (1944-2011), co-founded NAACO, a professional association for commencement and graduation professionals from across the United States and Canada. Melissa served as the NAACO Charter President, coordinator of the inaugural conference in 2000 and chair for the 2007 conference.
Melissa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University, Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and is a certified Protocol Officer through the Protocol School of Washington®.
Catania Committee Chair
Mike has been involved in Sister Cities through his extended families' participation with the Ennis and Taipei committees. Mike and his wife are the proud parents of three Phoenix Sisters Cities Youth Ambassadors (Taipei, Chengdu, and Catania). Mike is a Graduate of the University of Arizona majoring in Business/HR and Sociology. Mike currently is a Technology Product Manager for American Express Technology in North Phoenix, focusing on Cloud technologies. Prior to his Cloud Technology role, Mike built large-scale single global Oracle platforms, various mid-range Technology platforms and even mainframe. Through his long career at American Express, Mike has been part of the companies’ Authorizations, Middle Market Corporate Support functions, and Business- Tech liaison areas.
Mike spends a considerable amount of time outside of work supporting his Wildcats, cycling, skiing and gardening.
Hermosillo Committee Chair
Mike Rakowsky brings a diverse array of experience to his service as Hermosillo Committee Chair and Active Member of the Board, not least of which is well over 20 years of highly-active involvement with Phoenix Sister Cities, including leadership of both the Hermosillo Committee and the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission, which he headed as we welcomed our latest new city of Ramat-Gan, Israel. He has conducted and participated in a wide range of exchanges and activities, joined a number of Sister Cities delegations, including Chengdu, Ramat-Gan, Taipei, Hermosillo, and Calgary as well as Sister Cities International conventions, particularly the 50th Anniversary in Washington, DC.
Mike graduated with honors in History from Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio, and with a dual major in Urban Studies & Economics from Brown University. He developed and ran an extensive Youth Employment Program through Phoenix OIC, and did stints in both radio and concert promotion. Mike was for some 14 years President of Buckeye Rubber Products, Inc., Lima, Ohio, a diversified producer of rubber hose and sheet products . He also chaired the West Central Ohio Regional Development Board and served as President of Temple Beth Israel, both in Lima.
Back in Phoenix, he founded MR International, LLC, conducting international business, primarily in Mexico, and initiated significant marketing initiatives in both aerospace, where he served on the Board of the ATMA, and in solar energy.
Mike loves the opportunities afforded by Phoenix Sister Cities to spread friendship and understanding.
Misty Cisneros-Contreras is the Customer Service Manager at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. She enjoys working with a team to provide the best guest experience for all passengers and maintaining the reputation of being America’s Friendliest Airport. Misty recently celebrated 10 years with the City of Phoenix. During her tenure she has worked in the Street Transportation Department and the International Relations Office with Phoenix Sister Cities. She is a mother of two young daughters, Dolcé (5) and Luna (2) that keep her and her husband, Aaron, very busy. Misty is an Arizona sports enthusiast, enjoys thrifting and being a very involved mother in all of her daughter’s activities.
Commission Member Chairman Of The Board
Ralph Marchetta was promoted to the position of General Manager, Sr. Vice President of Sports and Entertainment Services in August, 2007. As General Manager, Ralph oversees all operations of the US Airways Center. In addition to servicing professional sports teams that include the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury, and the Arizona Rattlers, Ralph books all events at US Airways Center including working with the NBA, WNBA, and AFL to schedule all regular season and pre season games. Ralph has booked hundreds of concerts including Barbra Streisand, U2, Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, Vicente Fernandez, Juan Gabriel, Andrea Bocelli and many others. Ralph has extensive relationships with Feld Entertainment (Disney on Ice and Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus), World Wrestling Entertainment and many other family show and concert promoters. Ralph has been at US Airways Center since prior to the venue’s opening in 1992.
In managing US Airways Center as a key asset to the community, Ralph works with the leadership of the City of Phoenix, Phoenix City Council and Downtown Phoenix Partnership. In addition, Ralph serves as a board member of the Phoenix Police Department Reserve Foundation, the Phoenix Sister Cities and the Boys and Girls Club.
Ralph graduated from Arizona State University.
Commission Member Youth & Education Committee Co-Chair
Richard Marmor is an attorney. Now retired, in addition to practicing law, he has worked extensively in real estate investment and development. The founding president of the Arizona Self-Storage Association, he currently chairs its Legal & Legislative Committee. Richard is active in a number of community and philanthropic organizations, among them, Phoenix Sister Cities, in which he co-chairs the Youth & Education Committee. There he has been responsible for the development and implementation of many of the policies, tools and procedures of its Youth Ambassador Exchange Program. Richard lives in Phoenix with his wife Heather.
Taipei Committee Chair
Ethel Mary "Sadie" Wright was born in Plattsburgh, New York, in 1951. Ethel was nicknamed “Sadie” by classmates after graduating from Saranac Central High School in 1970. Sadie met and married SSgt Gregory Wright in 1979 while she was working as a Head Cashier at Plattsburgh AFB Dining Facility, where he was stationed. Sadie and her family were reassigned to Clark Air Base in the Philippine Islands in 1985 to 1989 where Sadie started her civil service career and worked as a Kindergarten Teacher Aide and a High School Education Teacher Aide and Secretary. In 1989, Sadie and Greg arrived in Phoenix, where Sadie continued to pursue her civil service career.
Sadie’s first job at Luke AFB was with the 944th Fighter Wing as a Travel Orders Specialist on which she quality controlled all orders for large deployments and Man-Days for Reservist assigned to the Fighter Wing. Sadie’s second assignment at Luke started in 1995. Her assignment was in the 56th Training Squadron International Program where she managed the Department of Defense International Informational program serving pilots in advanced Flying Training Courses and their families from several different countries and also worked with the Pilots and their families assigned to the Taiwan Squadron at Luke AFB. In 2000 until 2014, Sadie was an Administrative Specialist with 309th Fighter Squadron which specializes in the initial training for student pilots in the F-16 Fight Jet. On May 14, 2014, Sadie retired. During her career Sadie received several quarterly awards for Civilian of the Quarter, four “Civilian of the Year Awards” and the 56th fighter Wing “Woman of the Year.” She holds a Masters of Education, Counseling and a Masters of Arts, professional Counseling, and 75 hours post master studies in Psychology. Sadie is a longtime member of the PSC Taipei Committee and was appointed and approved as Taipei Committee Chair on July 1, 2016.
Born and raised in the heart of farmland in Ohio. Moved to Arizona in 1975 and have been a resident ever since.
Began career in beverage industry beginning with Pepsi Cola for 18 years. Then transitioned to the water business where I have been a manager for the next 20 plus years.
In early 2000 had an opportunity to serve on Surface Transportation Advisory Committee representing District 5 and Councilmen Claude Mattox. Also helped to support Maryvale Revitalization especially with water donations. Also previously served on school board in Tempe.
Very excited to be a part of the Sister Cities team and look forward to all of the opportunities that await.
Sebastien Reyes is a respected and award-winning strategist, advisor and business leader who has a breadth of experience working with public companies, nonprofit organizations and family businesses. As the Director of External Communications for AMERCO and its primary subsidiary, U-Haul International, Sebastien is responsible for Investor Relations, Media Relations, Public Relations and Community Relations for over 21,000 retail locations serving millions of U-Haul customers annually. U-Haul International, headquartered in Phoenix since 1967, is the largest do-it-yourself moving and self-storage company in North America.
A love for cultural diversity and travel was instilled in Sebastien from an early age by his parents. Having traveled extensively throughout the world, Sebastien is an advocate for cultural immersion.
Sebastien is a member of the Board of Directors for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix and the Alumni Association Board of Directors for Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is an alumnus of Phoenix Suns Charities 88.
Commission Member, Member at Large
Dr. Sherman Elliott’s passion is education, both on a personal level and a professional level. After earning a B.A. in Government and an M.A. in Theology from the University of San Francisco, he went on to complete his doctorate in Teaching Innovation and Leadership from Arizona State University. Currently, Sherman is the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Grand Canyon University. Prior to joining Grand Canyon University in 2011, he served as Assistant Clinical Professor of Secondary Education and Director of the Center for Civics Education at Arizona State University. Also trained as an Ignatian educator, Sherman joyfully served over 11 years as a Catholic educator at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix and as a Principal in the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.
Sherman was honored to be appointed to the Arizona Humanities Council by Governor Doug Ducey in 2016. In this capacity, he was afforded his dream of sharing his passion for education by providing individuals of all backgrounds with the opportunity to explore various aspects of the richness of the humanities through a journey of self-discovery. He also enjoys academic research, particularly in the fields of civic education, adolescent moral development, and Holocaust education. Working through the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Belfer Program, he shares his Holocaust expertise as a guest lecturer at universities and national conferences.
In his spare time, Sherman enjoys traveling the world with his family. Some of his favorite destinations have been England (particularly Cornwall), Ireland and Japan. Sherman’s travels have brought forth the importance and benefits of partnering with other countries to provide educational opportunities otherwise not available and to exchange the richness of cultures.