Our Staff

James N. Falk

President and CEO

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Jim Falk has been president and CEO of the non-profit, non-partisan World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth since August 2001. For more than sixty years, the Council has been entertaining, enlightening and educating North Texans, bringing history-makers and experts face to face with its members and the community, and supporting DFW trade and economic growth.

Jim has conducted the Council’s public conversations and Q&A sessions with scores of heads of state and government ministers, authors, policy experts, and foreign and American diplomats - including Secretaries Jim Baker and Condoleezza Rice. He regularly interviews Council speakers for the iTunes podcast “Global I.Q. with Jim Falk.” Recent interviewees include General David Petraeus, authors Jeffrey Toobin and Joby Warrick, Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany, and His Excellency the Right Honorable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.

Jim began his international career as director of education at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. and then was a commercial banker for First City National Bank of Houston. Following his banking career, he was regional director in Houston, TX for the Institute of International Education and later worked as vice president of development for the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Jim has been an active community leader, serving on a number of national and local boards including the World Affairs Councils of America, North Texas Commission, Asia Society-Texas Center, and the Dallas Regional Chamber. Jim is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Dallas Assembly. He served as president of the Association for Fundraising Professionals Greater Dallas in 2010. In April 2013, he was appointed Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of Morocco for the state of 2015 and 2016 was named to DCEO Magazine’s 2016 and 2017 “Dallas 500” list of “most powerful business leaders in Dallas/Fort Worth.”

Jim and his parents lived in Tunis, Tunisia throughout Jim’s high school years where he attended a French lycée. He earned his French baccalaureate in philosophy and modern languages. He is a Washington and Lee University graduate and received his master’s degree in international law and organization and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Virginia. Jim is married to Terrell Falk. They have two adult children and four grandchildren. Jim is an avid cyclist and global traveler.

Beth Sabo Huddleston

Executive Vice President and Dallas Chief of Protocol

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Beth Sabo Huddleston is the executive vice president of the World Affairs Council of Dallas / Fort Worth (WAC) and serves as the chief of protocol for the City of Dallas through a partnership program between the City and WAC since 2003. In this capacity, she supervises the international relations of the City including its sister city partnerships and the State Department-sponsored International Visitor Leadership Program.

Beth is an active member of Protocol and Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association where she receives yearly training to hone her diplomatic skills. Beth is a sought-after speaker with her TED Talk-style presentation of Sun Tzu and the Art of Protocol.

Beth earned a B.A. in Spanish and English Literature from Vanderbilt University and a M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University. A Dallas native, she attended Hockaday and over the years, she has traveled to more than 60 countries.

Sally Pietsch

Chief Financial Officer

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Sally Pietsch joined the World Affairs Council in May 2017. She previously served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Perot Museum of Nature & Science (formerly known as the Dallas Museum of Natural History) for 16 years. Her major accomplishments during her tenure at the museum include managing the financial aspects of the merger with The Science Place and the construction and opening of the new building in downtown Dallas.

Sally earned her B.A. at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and her MBA at Southern Methodist University. She is the mother of two teenaged sons and enjoys watching sports and listening to all genres of music.

Julianna Allen

Manager, Protocol Services

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Julianna Allen joined the World Affairs Council in December 2015. Most recently, she worked as an events coordinator for the National Math and Science Initiative in Dallas and in visitor services at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Julianna recently earned her MS in Global Studies and International Relations from Northeastern University. She earned her BBA from Baylor University in 2012 with dual majors of international business and marketing. Her studies took her to London, England as part of the Baylor Great Britain program in the summer of 2010. She has a passion for world cultures, loves to travel and enjoys reading and the arts.

Emily Bastow

Staff Accountant

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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

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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), ethic cuisine and the arts. She is married with three children, from elementary to high school, and two Yorkies.

Alana M. Buenrostro

Director of Corporate Giving & Partnerships

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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.

Kate Daniels

Director of Development and Membership

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Kate graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Southwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Spanish. She spent her junior year of college abroad, splitting her time between Granada, Spain, and London, where she interned for the US-UK Fulbright Commission. Thus far, she has visited 22 countries and plans to continue her travels.

A native North Texan and Lewisville High School graduate, Kate joined the Council in 2015, following her internship with the Development department. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership Academy, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and Junior League of Dallas. She also serves on the board of yCPD, the young professionals auxiliary of Community Partners of Dallas and is a Class Giving Officer for Southwestern University. 

Anna Emery

Manager, International Visitor Program

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In 2014, Anna graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations and global studies and a minor in European studies and Spanish. During her undergraduate years, her study abroad experience in Granada, Spain allowed her to further cultivate her interest in European politics and foreign affairs. Anna interned with the Council in the spring of 2015, working in the Marketing and Communications department. Subsequently, Anna completed her Master of Science degree in international relations at the University of Edinburgh, taking advantage of the abundant travel opportunities throughout the UK and Western Europe while a student. In December 2016, Anna returned to the Council as Manager for the International Visitor Program. Anna is a sports enthusiast and avid Bostonian fan, as well as a keen Chelsea soccer supporter. She enjoys running, reading, coffee, anything Scandinavian, and her golden retriever, Sophie.

Caroline Fangman

Coordinator, Education

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Austin native Caroline Fangman joined the Council in June 2019 as the Education Coordinator, overseeing the Internship program and the Speakers-to-Schools program. Caroline interned with the Council starting in May 2018 with the Membership and Development department and finished in December with the Programs department. In December 2018, she graduated from the University of Dallas with a Bachelor of Arts in Business, and she is looking forward to starting a graduate degree within a few years. She studied abroad in Italy in the summer of 2017, where she took classes in art history and went into all the museums that she could. So far, she has been to 7 countries and hopes to increase that number soon! Caroline recently completed an AmeriCorps term with Texas Conservation Corps, where she conducted natural habitat restoration and invasive plant species removal. She enjoys learning about ancient history and archeology, sustainability (both in business practices and in the natural world), and trying new brands of tea and coffee from all over the globe.

Kiersten Kullenberg

Manager, Programs

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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!

Vina Lervisit

Manager, Membership

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Vina Lervisit joined the Council in 2018. After working in international journalism in Washington, D.C., she pivoted to a career in the non-profit sector in her hometown of Dallas. Previously, she worked at the North Texas Food Bank and the We Over Me Farm at Paul Quinn College. In college, she majored in International Politics and studied abroad in Beijing, China. She enjoys yoga, travel, and exploring new cuisines.

Kathryn Loper

Programs Coordinator

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Kathryn joined the World Affairs Council in July 2019 as the Programs Coordinator. She is a native of Washington, D.C., but moved to Dallas to attend Southern Methodist University. While at SMU, Kathryn studied abroad in both Poland and South Africa where she focused on the impacts of the Holocaust as well as topics related to Ethics and Human Rights. She also spent a semester in D.C. interning at the U.S. Department of State within the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. She graduated in 2018 with degrees in Human Rights and History. Before coming to the Council, Kathryn worked at a local nonprofit focused on providing advocacy services and education to community members who have been impacted by sexual violence. In her free time, Kathryn continues to volunteer within the community, travel whenever she can and spend time with her new kitten, Emmitt.

Martha Powell

Director of Administration and

Executive Assistant to the President

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Martha Powell is Director of Administration and Executive Assistant to Jim Falk. In these roles, she is responsible for board communication, office management, and human resources. Her twenty-plus years of 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.

Kara Brock Schectman

Director of Marketing & Communications

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Kara Schectman, an award-winning writer and reporter who has more than 10 years of marketing, journalism, and broadcasting experience, is Director of Marketing and Communications. Prior to joining the Council Kara was a management team member at Young Presidents’ Organization. She is also an active member of the Public Relations Society of America and serves as a member of the PRSA Dallas Chapter board. In 2016, Kara was awarded the President’s Award for her work with the chapter as programs chair. Prior to moving into the non-profit sector Kara worked as English teacher at Plano West Senior High, served as marketing director for a regional magazine, and worked as a television producer in Shreveport for the NBC affiliate.

When she is not hard at work she likes to work hard in the pool. A native of the Houston suburbs, Kara grew up swimming and was a three-time All American and recognized in Who's Who in Sports. She earned a full swimming scholarship to the University of North Texas where she was a four-year letter winner and captain in 2004-2005. She graduated from UNT in 2005 with degrees in journalism and political science. Kara also enjoys traveling, reading, stand up paddle boarding on White Rock Lake, and photography.

Kayla Smith

Manager, Marketing & Communications

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Kayla Smith graduated with honors from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Chinese Language. During college, she lived in Nanjing, China, as part of a Chinese language program. Before joining the Council, she worked on voter outreach with a local campaign in Fort Worth. Kayla joined the Council in 2017 after completing an internship with the programs department. She enjoys traveling, art, illustration and working on her blog, www.kalmari.co

NyJa Stevenson

Director of Database Administration 

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NyJa Stevenson joined the Council in April of 2019. Before joining the Council, NyJa worked at the Sixth Floor Museum. She has a BA in Business Marketing from Stephen F. Austin State University-Nacogdoches and an MBA from Amberton University.

Elaine Tricoli

Associate, International Visitor Program

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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.

Rachel Vogel

Vice President of Programs

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Rachel Vogel is the Vice President of Programs at the Council. She joins the Council after working as a program officer for the World Affairs Council of Houston. Prior to this, Rachel interned at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Following her graduation from the University of Dallas in 2006 with a BA in History, she worked for FourthWall Media as a product coordinator. She then completed her MA in International Political Economy at the University of Kent Brussels School of International Studies in 2009, while interning for Environmental Security International. She is the founder of the BSIS Volunteer Forum, specifically focusing on work with refugees living in Brussels, Belgium.



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