Board of Directors

Board of Directors

As a nonprofit organization, Xperitas is governed by a Board of Directors. Learn about our current board members below.

David Ernst

David is currently the Chief Information Officer in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. He holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies, as well as a M.S. in Education and a B.S. in Physical Science. He has traveled internationally, most recently to Nepal, Tanzania, Japan, China, Thailand and Peru.

Vicki Hooper

Vicki has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kansas and a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota. She is a practicing architect and has traveled extensively for business, education and volunteering. Her international travels have included Cuba, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, India, Tanzania, Guatemala, Cambodia, Turkey, Japan and locations throughout Europe.

Elizabeth Kelly

Elizabeth earned dual bachelor degrees – B.A. in German and B.S.B in Finance and International Business – from the University of Minnesota. She has lived and worked in Berlin, Germany, as a Finance Manager and has also spent significant time in Austria and Denmark. She enjoys sharing her experiences and creating cross-cultural immersion opportunities for others.

Rob Routhieaux

Rob is Associate Professor of Management at Hamline University School of Business. He served as Director of Nonprofit Programs at Hamline from 2011-2015 and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in nonprofit management. Over the past twenty years, he has worked with nonprofits on organizational change, succession planning, board development and staffing. 

José Schimming

José is Vice-President of Mortgage Insurance Relations at Wells Fargo and attended Yale University and the University of Minnesota Law School. He is passionate about traveling, improving cross-cultural understanding and community involvement. José has been involved with various community organizations, including United Way, Centro Legal, La Escuelita and Early Resource and Training Center.

Mandy Spiess

Mandy brings over 20 years of leadership and management experience in leading corporate and nonprofit organizations. She earned her Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Management at Denver’s Regis University and a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota. Mandy attended the US Army Aviation Center and is a Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt and Certified Business Architect. 

Alain Thiry

A native of Belgium, Alain brings more than 30 years of global corporate and nonprofit experience to Xperitas. Deeply committed to cross cultural education, international travel and “giving back,” he has served as CEO of Up With People and led many initiatives as an executive at Carlson Companies. He resides in Wayzata, Minnesota, with his wife, Shawne, and two children.

James Thomas

James brings over 30 years of professional experience building cross-border relationships to our board. He earned his Executive MBA from Stanford University and his MBAS from Thunderbird. He is a Tbird Chapter Leader for Minnesota and mentors two Tbirds presently. Jim has international business background in sales, marketing, product management, finance and strategic planning. Jim speaks French and has has hosted students from around the globe, including Guatemala, Panama, Germany, China, Colombia and Czech Republic.

Patricia Thornton

Patricia holds a B.A. degree summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a double major in Japanese and East Asian History, and an M.A. from the University of St. Thomas in teaching. She is a past director of Concordia Language Villages and still serves as a mentor to programs there. 

Peter Wagner

Peter has an accounting degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and an MBA in Strategic Management from the Carlson School of Management. He is currently an Associate Director of Finance for UnitedHealthcare Global. He also serves on the board for the Blaisdell YMCA and formerly of The LEAD Project.

Diana Yefanova

Diana earned her Ph.D. in Comparative International Development Education from the University of Minnesota and is now working with the Association for Orientation, Transition and Retention in Higher Education. She has worked as a study abroad adviser, researcher, instructor and international student specialist in the U.S. and Japan and speaks Russian and German.