Emma Harrison, born and raised in Missoula, developed a love for international travel at a young age. In addition to living in Toulouse, France, for a year — where she attended public school, made lifelong friends, and developed a passion for the study of foreign languages and cultures — she has traveled extensively in Europe and North America.
Emma has a long history with the Montana World Affairs Council. After competing in the Academic WorldQuest competition throughout High School she applied to serve on the Board of Directors in 2015. Through this experience, she grew more passionate about the Council and she knew she wanted a more hands-on role in the organization’s future. She worked for a while as an intern in the Council office, during which time her focus was on social media promotion and program coordinating. She is excited to take the skills that she developed working for the Council in various capacities and apply them to her new position as the Programs Coordinator where she can dedicate herself to providing Montanans with an access point to the world beyond. Contact Emma: firstname.lastname@example.org
A born and raised Montanan, Lindsey’s roots are firmly grounded in Montana’s Big Sky Country. She graduated from Missoula Big Sky High School and continued on to the University of Montana where she earned her BS in Business Administration focusing on Management and Marketing. After graduation Lindsey moved to Portland, Oregon where she worked for national sportswear companies, adidas and Reebok, in their Grassroots Basketball Sports Marketing departments. Her time with both companies had her managing national marketing initiatives and events.
In addition to Lindsey’s business degree, she earned an Associates Degree in Apparel Design from The Art Institute of Portland. Her schooling and interest in design, relocated her to Los Angeles and eventually back to Missoula where she worked as a Licensing and Product Line Manager for Campus Drive. Lindsey’s time with Campus Drive provided her the opportunity to travel abroad, which included multiple trips to China and Vietnam visiting international business partners.
Lindsey brings 14 years of career experience in management, marketing, events and design, as well as, experience in international business and travel. Growing up in Montana she knows first hand the importance of exposing our youth and communities to the world abroad through education, experiences, and travel. Her love of travel and first hand exposure to different cultures around the world makes this position and organization a perfect fit. She is thrilled to be joining the Montana World Affairs Council and looks forward to sharing the experiences she gained from her time in the private sector and international business world. Contact Lindsey: email@example.com
Kelcie Murphy – Programs Coordinator
A native of Butte and raised in Missoula, Kelcie Murphy attends the Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana and studies History and Central and Southwest Asian Studies on a pre-law track. Her interest in international affairs and travel began with her Arabic studies at Sentinel High School. Kelcie lived in Rabat, Morocco on the National Security Language Initiative scholarship studying intensive Arabic, the Palestinian West Bank where she worked as a freelancer and English instructor, and Izmir, Turkey where she worked as an au pair and observed the Syrian refugee crisis unravel. She’s travelled widely around Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Kelcie has worked with numerous non-profits and NGOs in the Missoula community and has always admired the World Affairs Council and its mission. She is eager to lend a hand to developing and promoting international education and the Council’s programs as the new Programs Coordinator. Contact Kelcie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosie is a rising sophomore studying International Political Economy and English at Fordham University in NYC. She loves the cultural diversity in the big city, but she is proud to call Missoula and the mountains home. In her free time, Rosie loves reading, hiking, running, golf, travel, and politics. At Fordham, she is a member of the Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs and The Ampersand literary magazine, as well as a tutor for young girls in the Bronx. Rosie is excited to spend the summer interning for WAC, as she has a passion for international affairs and wants to help Montanans connect with the rest of the world more deeply.
Born and raised in the small town of Lima, Melodee is a proud Montanan. In mid 2015, Melodee received a full-ride scholarship to study abroad for one academic year in Shijiazhuang, China during her senior year of high school (2015-2016). There, Melodee studied Mandarin Chinese to which she dedicated herself and became fluent after just one year. After her exchange year in China, Melodee received an acceptance letter to the University of Montana. Today, Melodee is a rising sophomore, dedicating her time and passion to her studies in East Asian Studies and Political Science at the University of Montana. When Melodee has time to spare, she enjoys reading, travel, learning new languages, baking, and taking long walks with her pet ferret, Pip. At the University of Montana, she is a member of the Global Leadership Initiative Program and Anime Club.
Melodee received first hand exposure to a different culture, unlike her own, which fueled her passion in international affairs and working towards strong relationships and connections from Montana to all over the world. Melodee is thrilled to spend the summer and next academic year interning for Montana WAC and looks forward to sharing her experience with others.
Ambassador Mark Johnson (ret.) is the Vice Chair of the US Center for Citizen Diplomacy and the former national Vice Chair of the World Affairs Councils of America in Washington, D.C. He has served as a Mansfield Adjunct Professor at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center of the University of Montana and in 2000, founded the Montana World Affairs Council, a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to connecting Montanans with the world around them. Ambassador Johnson retired from the U.S. State Department after serving 30 years in a variety of foreign policy positions. He was United States Ambassador to Senegal from 1993-1996. At the time of his retirement, he was Deputy Inspector General of the State Department.
Mr. Johnson began his diplomatic career in Kuwait as a Commercial Attaché. He returned to Kuwait in 1991 as Deputy Chief of Mission to reopen the Embassy during the Desert Storm military campaign. From 1989 – 1990, Mr. Johnson served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt and was engaged in the Middle East peace process.From 1986 – 1989, Mr. Johnson held the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs. His service in Africa includes postings in Kenya and Burkina Faso. He served in the Office of Iranian Affairs and on the Iran Hostages Working Group from 1977 – 1980. In 1992, President George Bush awarded him the President’s Meritorious Service Award. Mr. Johnson received a BSFS from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and an MA in International Economics from George Washington University. He is a fourth generation Montanan and is married to Sally J. Cummins who is an Attorney-Adviser with the US State Department. They live in Lolo, Montana.
Robert earned his B.A. at the University of Montana. Professionally, Mr. Seidenschwarz began as a registered representative at I.D.S. Financial Services in 1982. In the spring of 1987, he left I.D.S. to become one of the original founders of the predecessor firm to S.G. Long & Co. He is a licensed financial advisor specializing in Retirement and Estate Planning for individuals and businesses.
For thirteen years Robert served as Chairman of the Board for the Montana World Affairs Council. Mr. Seidenschwarz is an advocate for international education and is active in all aspects of program developments with the Council.
Charlie Oliver served the international engineering and construction industry for thirty-eight years. Thirty years were with the Fluor Corp where he retired as Group President. Two years were with the Washington Group Int’l where he was Sr. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He has worked, traveled and lived extensively in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. He and his family lived once in Singapore and twice in London.
He is a 1967 graduate of Auburn University (BSCE) and a 1989 graduate of the Stanford S.E.P. program. He was awarded a honorary Doctor of Science Degree and named Corp Citizen of the Decade by Cal-Poly Pomona University , awarded the Neil Bucklew Presidential Service Award by the University of Montana and he and his wife ( Charlotte ) were awarded the ” Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year ” award from the Western Montana Fund Raiser Association. He is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana and is an honorary member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Society. He serves on the Board of Directors for the International Heart Institute in Missoula, Mt.
He and his wife have two children, two granddaughters and reside in Hamilton , Mt. He is a member of the Board of Directors of ESP CORP (Energy Power Solutions), a clean tech/energy efficiency company headquartered in Costa Mesa, CA.
A fourth generation Montanan, Shelley was born and raised in Ronan in the heart of the Mission Valley and the Flathead Indian Reservation. Her childhood was filled with all the great things that a small town offers, highlighted with the opportunity to downhill ski race and travel throughout the country as a part of the United States Ski Team “Talent Squad”. Leaving competitive skiing behind, she attended college at Montana State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in March 1978. Her nursing career took her to Washington D.C. and the San Francisco Bay area with jobs at George Washington University Hospital and Stanford University Medical Center.
In the late 1980’s Shelley came home to Montana to marry Tim Geiszler. They have raised two children, Sam and Alex, and enjoy the great life that western Montana offers. During these 25 years she practiced nursing at St Patrick Hospital, and is now retired. Shelley spends time oil painting, enjoying competitive tennis, and attempting to keep her family organized.
Linnea Stanhope brings to our organization extensive experience in operations management, international business and sales & marketing, including several years with Oracle Corporation. She has a Bachelors Degree in International Business from San Francisco State University and a Master of Public Administration in International Development from University of Montana (UM). Linnea is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health at UM in hopes of increasing her work with underserved populations in the developing world.
Tom recently retired to Hamilton, Montana after having served for more than twenty years as a School Superintendent for International Schools around the world. Tom was Head of Schools in Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela, Brazil, Pakistan, Burma (Myanmar), Belarus, and, most recently, the Republic of Georgia. Prior to his overseas experience, Tom was a Secondary Guidance Counselor and Middle/High School Principal in the State of New Hampshire.
Tom is now settled in Hamilton with his wife, Alene Hollingsworth, a native of Hamilton, who was a teacher, Director of Gifted and Talented programs, and Curriculum Coordinator in the same international schools as Tom. Prior to her overseas experience, Alene was a teacher in Billings for several years. Tom and Alene met in Caracas, Venezuela more than twenty years ago.
Tom is a graduate of St. Francis College (now the University of New England) in Maine and has a Master of Arts Degree in African History from St. John’s University in New York and a Master of Arts in Teaching from John Carroll University in Ohio. He is the founding Superintendent of the International School of Port of Spain, Trinidad, a former Board member of the Near East South Asia Regional Association of International Schools, and member of the adjunct faculties for the University of New Hampshire and St. John’s University.
Mr. Tunny has served on a number of boards and committees over the years related to International Education. As a strong advocate for continuing professional development for teachers, Tom has initiated Master Degree programs for local and international teachers in four of the schools in which he has served as Superintendent.
Tom and Alene have four children and eleven grandchildren. Tom is a native of Brooklyn, New York.
Margot Belden born and raised in Wyoming on the historic Pitchfork Ranch, near Cody, Wyoming. College took her to California where she received her bachelor’s degree in Business/Accounting. She had a thirty year financial career in California as a certified public accountant, chief financial officer(s) of several public and private companies, and a self-employed financial consultant/investment banker. In 1990, she returned to Jackson Hole to manage a family real estate development company which developed a major condominium project at the base of Snow King Resort in Jackson, and subdivision projects in Alpine, and Pinedale, Wyoming.
Currently, she co-manages a real estate investment company with properties in Wyoming and Montana owned by herself and her son, Sean O’Brien, who lives in Hamilton. She is single with one son and two grandchildren, ages 13 and 15.
Dr. Leonard is a retired neuroscientist and past Director of The Neural Injury Center and the Motor Control Research Laboratories at The University of Montana. Dr. Leonard received his Bachelor’s degree from The University of Delaware, a Master’s degree from Duke University in Physical Therapy, a Doctoral degree in Neuroscience from The Medical College of Pennsylvania, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The Nobel Institute of Neurophysiology in Stockholm, Sweden. Prior to his academic career, Dr. Leonard founded and was CEO of Tri-County Rehabilitation Centers– out-patient physical rehabilitation centers located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. He sold this business in 1986. Dr. Leonard began working at The University of Montana in 1990. He has developed and patented several medical devices including a robotic device with tele-rehabilitation capabilities and a computerized electronic device that quantifies muscle properties. This device continues to be used by NASA to measure the effects of long-term weightlessness. Dr. Leonard founded a University spinoff medical device company, Neurogenic Technologies Inc., in 2001. His personal and professional life has been enriched by extensive international travel. He is a strong believer that student international awareness and travel is key to developing an informed citizenry with a better understanding and empathy of global issues. The Montana World Affairs Council is the perfect vehicle to put these ideals into practice.
Nancy Matthews, as the wife of a Foreign Service Officer, has spent most of her adult life in the international field. After returning from Cairo in 1980, where her husband served as Deputy Chief of Mission, she worked on a number of international conferences and exchanges. In 1983, she joined the staff of Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C. In 1992, she was appointed Vice President for Arts and Communication and then Vice President for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Mrs. Matthews directed the founding and growth of Meridian’s international exhibitions program and the establishment of the Meridian’s highly successful Traveling Exhibition Service. She organized major exhibitions from many countries, including Vietnam, South Africa, Iran and China, bringing them to the United States and sending them on tour throughout the U.S. She also organized exhibitions of American contemporary art which traveled abroad, including True Colors, a unique exhibition which toured both nationally and internationally, and sought to express the strength of the American spirit following 9/11. The underlying purpose of all these projects was to carry out Meridian’s mission to promote international understanding.
Mrs. Matthews is a graduate of Connecticut College. As the wife of Foreign Service Officer H. Freeman Matthews, Jr, she traveled and lived abroad extensively. She became involved in the arts in each of the countries in which they served. In 1979, she found a magazine, “Cairo Today,” while on post in Egypt. She has written and produced numerous exhibition catalogues and, as a freelance writer, has published a variety of articles.
She retired from Meridian in January 2008 and presently serves as a consultant on cultural exchange.
John McKay has a M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts, a law degree (J.D.), from Vermont Law School, and M.A. in Counselor Education from the University of Montana. His Bachelors (B.A.) is in Biology from Washington & Lee University. John is the President of The High Frontier, a residential treatment program for emotionally disturbed adolescents. He has lived and worked abroad for two years: one year in Kenya, and one year in Nepal. John traveled extensively through Mexico, Central America, Europe, Africa, and Asia (Nepal and Thailand). He enjoys everything about Montana’s rivers, lakes and mountains – skiing, cycling, rafting, hunting, fishing, backpacking, and has been interested in foreign affairs since high school. John believes strongly in the mission of the Montana World Affairs Council.
A native Chicagoan, Katie moved to Missoula in 1978 to attend U of M where she studied languages. Her Montana roots run deep as her ancestors homesteaded in the Helena valley in the 1860’s. She spent most summers of her formative years in Bozeman and Anaconda, where her father was raised, climbing trees, riding horses, and getting muddy.
Katie met her husband Bob in college and together, raised their son, Connor. She works as an esthetician and loves working with people. In her 38 years in Missoula, she worked extensively in the restaurant trade, created her own jewelry business, and has been an active community member and volunteer, serving on several boards and devoting her time and energy to community causes. She joined the Montana World Affairs Council board in the fall of 2016 and brings to MWAC her event planning expertise, graphic design skills, and unbridled enthusiasm.
Katie is a die-hard Cubs fan who loves bringing people together through cooking, conversation, and culture. She sings with the Missoula Community Chorus, loves communing with and photographing nature, and has a passion for language.
Linda began her career in the then budding computer industry. Her career grew along with the industry for the next 30 years. During a part of that time she was a principal with EY (Arthur Young) and owned a consulting practice. She became CIO/CFO and Secretary/Treasurer of Regions Insurance Group (Rebsamen Insurance, Inc) and helped to grow the company through acquisitions to be ranked as one of the top 25 insurance brokers in the US. After leaving Regions, Linda consulted with companies in Austin and LA before moving her consulting practice to Missoula in 2007 to pursue her MBA at UMT. She was asked to become an adjunct her second semester of graduate school and she continued to teach for the next six semesters in the School of Business. Linda is a CPA, CGMA, and CISSP.
Linda is a native Arkansan and has been known to call the Hogs and to cook a Southern meal. She plays the frustrating game of golf and loves Montana outdoors. She is the mother of two sons and the grandmother of two grandsons.
Lauren Davidson Descamps
A Montanan by birth, Lauren was raised in Great Falls, attended the University of Montana and then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area after graduation. During her years at the University Lauren traveled with Semester at Sea, which began her lifelong love of traveling. In the Bay Area she worked in the investment industry for many years before choosing to stay at home with her two boys, Nick and Ian.
Lauren met her husband Tim Descamps racing sailboats on the San Francisco Bay. In 2004, they decided to relocate from California back to her beloved Montana to raise the boys. In Missoula, Lauren has been involved with many community groups and activities such as Paxson PTA, Mount Sentinel Little League, Missoula Mavericks Baseball, Loyola Sacred Heart Foundation, University of Montana Foundation and many other volunteer organizations. Lauren’s boys have returned to California for college, but both have hopes of returning to Montana sometime in their future. Lauren currently is working at D.A. Davidson on a part-time basis. In her free time she loves to travel, ski, hike and spend time with her family and friends.
Lou brings extensive business management and marketing experience to the board, recently handling marketing and sales for a small software company based in Chicago. He has been involved in community service for many years, starting as a Director of the Northfield, IL, Park District and the Music Institute of Chicago, and in Missoula, he is Board President of the Partnership for Children and former President of the Missoula Sunrise Rotary Club.
Highlights of Lou’s interest in international affairs include managing a network of international correspondents for a news organization in Washington, D.C., and vicariously discussing homework assignments with two sons, now in college in the midwest. Lou received his BA from Hamilton College and graduate degrees from the University of Montana and The George Washington University. He lives in Missoula with his wife Lila and two dogs.