Menu

Our Staff

Liz Brailsford

President & CEO

214-965-8402          Email

Liz Brailsford is president & CEO of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, joining the office from the World Affairs Councils of America, the umbrella organization in Washington, DC, where she served as chief operating officer.

Liz’s career has crossed all sectors: nonprofit, private, and public. She joined the Council with a career in stakeholder relations, business development, program and event management, operations, and talent engagement. Her love of all things international began after undergrad during her years in the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Program, a Japanese government program that places native English-speaking teachers in public schools across the country. This experience cemented her desire to pursue a career in the international arena. Following Liz’s time in Japan, she led the international department at Relocation Today, a global mobility firm, where she headed operations, business development, client relations, and staff management of the department. After Relocation Today, she served as a consultant both to Panagora, a DC-based implementing partner of USAID, and the USDA’s Food for Progress Program, responsible for communications at the former and research and analysis at the latter.

Liz currently serves as an international task force member of the Dallas Regional Chamber; an ex-officio board member with the North Texas Commission; a board member of Asia Society Texas; and an advisory committee member of the U.S. Global Leadership Commission of the Southwest region. In the past, Liz served on the boards of multiple Japan-related nonprofits, such as the Japan America Society of Minnesota, the JET Alumni Association of Minnesota, and the Saint Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee. She also regularly participates as a mentor in programs for young women professionals seeking careers in foreign policy and international relations. Liz is currently a member of the Women's Foreign Policy Group, the UN Association of the U.S., League of Women Voters, and a sustaining member of the U.S. JET Alumni Association.

She holds an M.P.A. in global policy from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School (and served on the school’s alumni association board) and a B.A. in media arts from the University of South Carolina.

Zac Harmon

Chief Financial Officer

214-965-8405         Email

Zac Harmon is our Chief Financial Officer. He is responsible for the business management and financial oversight of the World Affairs Council. Zac brings to the Council 13 years of nonprofit accounting experience and more than 25 years of accounting experience throughout various industries. He most recently served as the CEO/CFO at the Old Red Museum of Dallas County. Zac is also an award winning musician. Zac earned a B.S. in Economics and Accounting from Jackson State University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Pepperdine University. A native of Jackson Mississippi, Zac spends his free time traveling and performing worldwide.

Emily Bastow

Director of Database Administration

214-965-7105         Email

Emily Bastow joined the council in September of 2018. She was born in Spain and was able to spend many of her formative years living in Costa Rica and Mexico. She cherishes the exposure it gave her to different cultures and ways of life, and the understanding that there are many ways to live well. Emily earned her B.S. from Brigham Young University. After graduation, she worked as an accountant in the aerospace industry but more recently has worked with nonprofits. Emily, her husband, and their three children recently relocated to Dallas. They love spending time together as a family in the great outdoors: backpacking, hiking, etc. She also loves traveling, trying new recipes and is always reading at least one book.

Jennifer Bowden

Director of Education

214-965-8415         Email

Jennifer Bowden grew up in DFW, between a home and sailboat on Lake Ray Hubbard, and attended UNT for her Bachelor’s degree. Before joining WAC, she had been a secondary fine arts and geography teacher for a decade in two DFW districts. She served as Director of Education at the Council from 2007-2016 and returned to this role in July 2019. During her Council break, she served as an International Affairs Coordinator for a large school district. Jennifer holds two Fulbright awards, has written six published articles and won several local and national awards for her work in education. Her Master’s Degree is in International Education from University of Illinois and her favorite pasts time are global travel (31 countries and counting), ethnic cuisine and the arts.

Alana M. Buenrostro

Vice President of Membership & Development

214-965-8417         Email

South Texas native Alana Buenrostro joined the Council in June 2014. She previously served as director of Membership for the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where she developed and implemented strategies for recruiting and retaining small business and corporate members, promoted business development, and managed seminars, networkers, and events. During her undergraduate studies, Alana completed a public affairs internship at Ross Communications in Austin in 2011 and served as a Commercial Service México Student Intern for the U.S. Department of Commerce at the U.S. Embassy in México City, México in 2010. She graduated from Southwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in communications studies in 2011. Her love for travel also led her abroad to study at Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires and in 2008 at the Universidad de Guanajuato in Guanajuato, México. As a Dean’s List student at Southwestern, she was president of the University Programming Council and a member of the Intercollegiate Track & Field and Cross Country teams. She enjoys music, reading and learning about different cultures.

Shelby Cantwell

Membership & Development Manager

214-965-8421         Email

Shelby Cantwell is the Council’s manager of membership and development. She graduated from Dallas Baptist University in 2017 with a bachelor of science and in 2019 with a master’s in business administration. While attaining her degrees, she worked at DBU in several different capacities such as assistant to the vice president for advancement, director of the Veteran Service Center, and as an adjunct professor. Before joining the Council, she was an associate technology analyst at Southwest Airlines. She enjoys spending time outside and traveling with her husband and two sons.

Bethany Dunn

Programs Manager

214-965-8411         Email

Bethany Dunn is the programs manager for the Council. After earning a BS in Human & Family Development, she served as an AmeriCorps member for one year before joining Catholic Charities Fort Worth as a refugee case manager. At Catholic Charities, she progressed to grant administrator and client navigator. Bethany worked concurrently at Starbucks for seven years during school and her early career. She also spent two years in marketing with the Chessher Group before leaving position during the pandemic to get a master’s degree in international relations in Spain from the Institut Barcelona Estudis Internacional. She enjoys cooking for friends, hosting, thrifting, and traveling in her free time.

Cynthia Dunn

General Accountant

214-965-8401        Email

Cynthia Dunn, our part-time general accountant, joined the Council in October 2021. She was born in East Texas but has lived in the DFW area most of her adult life. Her accounting experience has included financial services, retail, consumer staple products, automotive, and most recently local nonprofit. Most notably, Cynthia worked as a supervisor and accountant for over 25 years at Nissan North America. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from the University of Texas at Arlington and an Associate of Arts degree from Tyer Junior College. In addition to walks in the park, listening to music, and spending time with family, Cynthia is committed to volunteering in the community with organizations that promote financial literacy.

Meraal Hakeem

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

214-965-8416         Email

Meraal Hakeem graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2020, double-majoring in international relations and government. She also has minors in Arabic and creative writing, and a certificate in data analytics from the Wharton School. Prior to her time at the Council, Meraal was copyediting a book on human rights in relation to the global supply chain and writing a report on the status of women in South Asia in partnership with UN Women. During her undergraduate studies, Meraal interned at the Rapoport Center at Texas Law and conducted extensive fieldwork in rural Pakistan, studying the legal and labor rights of women. Meraal is an avid writer and loves bringing character to life on a page. She enjoys live music, reading, and trying her hand at the culinary arts.

Becca Higgs

International Visitor Leadership Programs Coordinator

214-965-8407        Email

Becca Higgs’s love for international affairs began in 2001 while studying literature at the University of Cambridge. Having spent her early career in communications roles, Becca earned a master of public affairs degree in 2021 from the University of Texas at Dallas and now works at the Council as the coordinator for International Visitor Programs. She enjoys reading, knitting, British TV, and learning home improvement skills from her dad. A Utah native, her favorite thing about DFW is the taco scene.

Alfi Joseph

Programs Coordinator

214-965-8406        Email

Born and raised in Houston, Alfi Joseph moved to the Metroplex in 2016 to pursue a BS in public affairs at the University of Texas at Dallas. While there, she pursued a wide variety of opportunities, including a three-month public relations internship in Lima, Peru, and a programs internship with the Council in 2019. Alfi has a fervent passion for human rights and has used her academic, professional, and volunteer experience to help others share their stories. She graduated from UTD in 2020 and most recently worked as operations manager of the Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network. Alfi has been traveling internationally since she was two years old! She spends most of her free time playing with her puppy, staying up to date on current events, and planning her next adventure abroad! She is our programs coordinator, rejoining the Council three years after completing her internship.

Kiersten Kullenberg

Director of Programs

214-965-8404         Email

Born and raised in Dallas, Kiersten Kullenberg graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and international relations. While in college, Kiersten studied abroad in Morocco and focused her studies on the Arabic language and women in world religions. After she returned from Morocco, Kiersten worked in the study abroad office for three years to educate her fellow students about the countless benefits of world travel. Kiersten was a proud member of The Golden Band From Tigerland and is a member of several music honor organizations. Kiersten joined the Council in May 2018, after completing an extended internship with the programs department. She enjoys college football, political podcasts, and mastering the metro system in new cities!

Cameron O'Bannon

Director of Membership & Development

214-965-8414         Email

Dallas native Cameron O’Bannon is the Council’s Director of Membership and Development. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, during which time he also earned an Attestation d’etudes politiques from Sciences Po Lyon. After college, he taught English at CMS College in Kottayam, Kerala, India. He attained a Masters in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2013. Upon returning to DFW he served as Program Director at the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance, an educational non-profit. Before joining the Council, he was a campaign staffer and freelance political consultant.

Martha Powell

Chief of Staff & Director of Administration

214-965-8409        Email

Martha Powell is Chief of Staff and Director of Administration. In these roles, she is responsible for supporting the President & CEO, board communication, office management, and human resources. Her administrative experience includes governmental relations, public relations, philanthropy, and media. Previously, she worked at Hunt Consolidated, Inc. and for the managing editor of the Dallas Morning News. For four years the Dallas native owned her own business in Oak Cliff. She majored in English literature at the University of Texas at Arlington and holds a Nonprofit Management Certificate from the Center for Nonprofit Management. Martha and her husband have a strong commitment to pet rescue and animal welfare. Martha volunteers with Paws in the City, serving on its board from 2008 to 2015 and as president from 2012-2014. Martha is webmaster of www.readlarrypowell.com.

Macs Reynolds

Protocol Manager

214-965-8418         Email

Macs rejoins the Council, now as full-time staff after being an intern in 2015. He graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a BA in International Relations and American Studies. In 2017 he lived in Madrid Spain, earning his Master’s in International Education from the Universidad de Alcala, and taught English and American culture as a part of the Teach and Learn program at Colegio Los Angeles in Getafe, Spain. Before joining the Councils ranks, he recently served as an Enrollment Advisor for the University of Texas at Dallas. In his free time, he likes to explore the outdoors and experience new foods, in addition to traveling around the world. Macs has a passion for all things music and as an accomplished jazz and classical musician, endeavors to promote cultural diplomacy through the arts and in everything he does.

Tory Tolar

Education Coordinator

214-965-7102        Email

Tory Tolar joined the Council in July 2021. Previously, she was an intern at EducationUSA of Tbilisi, Georgia and interned at the Council in 2020 in our International Visitor Programs department. Tory also served as a college advisor for the Trinity University College Advising Corps in San Antonio. She earned her BA in history from Trinity University and her MA in international studies and international relations from Dallas Baptist University. Tory is a member of Phi Beta Delta, Epsilon Phi Chapter for on significant international experience, academic excellence, demonstrated leadership, and service, as well as the Phi Theta Alpha, Omega-Tau Chapter, the National History Honor Society.

Elaine Tricoli

Director of International Visitor Programs

214-965-8403         Email

Elaine Tricoli officially joined the Council staff in January 2018 as part of the Council’s merger with Global North Texas. Before her work arranging local programming for State Department international visitors, Elaine enjoyed a career in education – both as a classroom teacher and a librarian. She spent her childhood overseas in Colombia, Venezuela, Libya, and England. Elaine’s daughter was born while she lived in London – one of the many reasons that she describes herself as an Anglophile. Elaine earned her B.A. from the University of Texas and her M.L.S. from Texas Woman’s University. Outside of work, Elaine enjoys crafting, flea marketing, decorating, entertaining, and spending time with her golden retriever, Mocha.

Christine Unruh

Institutional Membership & Grants Manager

214-965-7103         Email

Christine Unruh is a nonprofit development professional who joined the Council in 2022 from SMU, where she was an advancement researcher. Her skills include grant writing, major donor program management, donor acquisition, cultivation, and retention, and she has plied those skills at organizations such as KERA and the American Red Cross. She also has a background in both development communications and corporate communications. Christine is an alumni of Oklahoma Christian University. She is a community volunteer.

Daniel Wohlberg

Director of Marketing & Communications

214-965-8413         Email

Daniel Wohlberg is the Director of Marketing & Communications for the Council. He graduated in 2007 with a BA in Marketing Communications and worked for a variety of nonprofits as a marketing coordinator before returning to school for an additional degree in Graphic Design. Upon completion in 2016, he took a role Sprint (later T-Mobile) as a designer and art director, working directly with the CEO's communications team and the corporate brand. Daniel is passionate about the National Parks and musical theatre.

 

Home

Member of the

Contact Us

325 N. Saint Paul Street, Suite 4200
Dallas, TX 75201
Phone: (214) 965-8400
Fax: (214) 965-8419