Our Staff

Liz Brailsford

President & CEO

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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

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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

Controller & Director of Database Administration

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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 the University of Illinois and her favorite pastimes are global travel (31 countries and counting), ethnic cuisine and the arts.

Alana M. Buenrostro

Vice President of Membership & Development

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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.

Shelby Cantwell

Membership & Development Manager

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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

Director of Programs

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Bethany Dunn is the director of programs 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.

Susan Finlay

Data Donor Coordinator

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Susan Finlay joined the Council in May of 2023. Before working at the Council, she worked at several museums and other nonprofits in Dallas. Susan has her BA in history from Colorado State University and her master’s in museum studies from the University of Oklahoma. In her free time, she fosters dogs for different dog rescues in Dallas and volunteers every Sunday at Dallas Animal Services with their D90 running program.

Mahalet Kefyalew

Programs Coordinator

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Mahalet Kefyalew earned a B.A. in international relations from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. As a student of international relations and political science, Mahalet developed a fuller understanding of foreign affairs and world politics. As a part of the Ethiopian diaspora, she’s passionate about international migration, specifically the plight of displaced populations, refugees, and asylum seekers. In 2019, Mahalet studied migration and transnational identity in Rabat, Morocco, where she spent six months conducting independent research on irregular migration in the region, policy reform, and transnationalism. This endeavor deepened her insight and intrigue into migration policy and geo-political relations. Before joining the World Affairs Council of Dallas Fort/Worth, Mahalet interned and volunteered at the Austin chapter. There, she worked in various research, writing, and program coordinating capacities. Now, Mahalet spends her time rediscovering her hometown of Dallas, writing, and being with loved ones.

Isai Moreno

Programs Coordinator

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Isai Moreno was born in Puebla, Mexico, and moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, when his father took a job as a head pastor. Throughout his childhood and high school, he joined missionary trips to indigenous communities in Mexico. This sparked a passion for people and learning about different cultures. He later received a soccer scholarship to play at Missouri Baptist University and later transferred to Texas Tech University to study architecture and mathematics. During his time in college, he worked at Starbucks and later became a store manager. His passion for people came knocking, leading him to work at United Way in Lubbock, Texas. He strives in the belief that “growth comes from listening to the stories that the world has.

Cynthia Dunn

General Accountant

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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.

Olivia Hernández

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

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Born and raised in Texas, Olivia Hernandez graduated from the University of Dallas with a bachelors of arts in comparative literature and a concentration in Spanish. She received her master’s in transatlantic relations from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland in 2019. The daughter of two immigrants (her dad from Mexico and her mom from Poland) she is fluent in Spanish and Polish and has always been interested in international affairs having studied and lived abroad in Italy, Spain, and Poland before returning to DFW. She also loves listening to reggaeton, getting boba, and traveling.

Becca Higgs

International Visitor Leadership Programs Coordinator

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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.

Angela Owen

Membership Manager

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Angela Owen has 10 years of experience in the non-profit realm. She previously worked with youth as a Prevention Specialist in the Houston Bay Area and Dallas and as a Student Support Specialist for Communities in Schools. Angela is driven by a passion for nonprofit work and is thrilled to be with the Council. She comes to World Affairs Council with a double Bachelor’s in English and Political Science and a Master’s in Literature from Texas State University in San Marcos (Go Bobcats!). Outside of work, she likes to read, hang out with friends, and play with her cat, Libby. 

Martha Powell

Chief of Staff & Director of Administration

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Martha Powell is Chief of Staff and Director of Administration. 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 live in Fort Worth and 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. 

Macs Reynolds

Protocol Manager

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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 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

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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 B.A .in history from Trinity University and her M.A. 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

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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.

Daniel Wohlberg

Director of Marketing & Communications

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Daniel Wohlberg graduated in 2007 with a B.A. 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.



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