Staff

Staff

Meet Xperitas' talented team of staff and partners

We pride ourselves on our team of passionate, dedicated individuals who work together to make Xperitas programs possible. Learn about our team below, or visit our Careers and Internships page to learn about opportunities to join us.

Meet The Team
Alain L. Thiry
President and CEO

Alain@xperitas.org

612-436-8291

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.

Amy Litman
Director of Advancement

Amy@xperitas.org

612-436-8290

Amy comes to Xperitas with more than 14 years of experience in community and donor relations and a passion for making the world a better place. She is excited about working with under resourced students and schools to ensure that Xperitas’ cultural and language immersion experiences are accessible to all.

Angela Shevchuk
Customer Experience & Systems Integration Manager

Angela@xperitas.org

612-436-8274

Degreed in International Communications and Human Resources, Angel has spent her life working for many large organizations within the Twin Cities in various customer facing and software development roles. Her hobbies include working on classic cars, snowmobiling and many other outdoor activities. She is also active in many volunteer organizations in the community.

Barb Thees
Senior Outreach Manager

Barb@xperitas.org

612-436-8263

Barb is constantly amazed by the growth and learning that occurs from immersing yourself in another language and culture. She has spent time volunteering, studying and working abroad in both Spain and Latin America, and she loves to try new foods while traveling. Her favorite international dish is pulpo a la plancha!

Beth Garland
Assistant Director, HR & Administration

Beth@xperitas.org

612-436-8275

Degreed in Journalism and Marketing, Beth’s non-profit operations & marketing experience includes the Jeremiah Program and Ecumen. Studying abroad, she traveled to Austria, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Scotland and Switzerland. She embraces cultural immersion, hosting students from France, Germany and Spain. Beth has 2 grown sons and lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Beth St. John
Director of Outreach & Marketing

Beths@xperitas.org

612-436-8295

Beth started her career at General Mills before transitioning to nonprofits. She received her MBA from Wharton and her Coaching Certificate from CTI. Beth enjoys Airstream adventures with her family, but her favorite thing to do is leave five kids, and various animals, at home and bike across Europe.

Courtney Faragher
Accounting Manager

Courtney@xperitas.org

612-436-8281

Courtney has a passion for international travel and learning about world cultures and is pleased to work for an organization that provides these opportunities for others. After spending time in France while pursuing her Bachelor’s degree, she understands the immeasurable value of being in the foreign country while learning the language.

Debby Bluem
Air Manager

Debby@xperitas.org

612-436-8282

Debby has worked in the travel industry for over 35 years. While growing up, her family hosted an exchange student from Israel and she has replicated this experience for her children by hosting a student from France. In her free time, Debby likes to travel and hike in the mountains.

Emilia Kaczynski
Outreach Manager

Emilia@xperitas.org

612-436-8276

After graduating from the University of Chicago with degrees in Anthropology and French literature, Emilia moved to France and taught English for three years in Lyon and Saint Étienne. Emilia speaks French and Polish and is finally tackling Spanish! She enjoys reading, hiking and learning new languages.

Emma Rojas
Program Manager, Spanish

Emma@xperitas.org

612-436-8297

Emma was born in St. Paul and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Family Social Science and Spanish. She spent five years in Costa Rica teaching English and serving as an Admissions Counselor. Emma speaks Spanish fluently, loves taking pictures and enjoys road trips!

Genevieve Boes
Director of European Operations

Genevieve@xperitas.org

00 32 478 46 16 39

Geneviève has training in marketing and business strategy. She worked for 15 years as an event organizer in “Château de Waleffe” in Belgium as well and as a manager of a supermarket. She also has worked as a management assistant for 15 years at NV Olphibel, a real estate company. She lives in Belgium and speaks French, Dutch and English fluently.

Grace Janssen
Community Partnership Program Manager

Grace@xperitas.org

612-436-8273

Grace studied Environmental Studies and Spanish at the College of Saint. Benedict, where she spent a semester abroad in Guatemala. She served as an Environmental Conservation volunteer for the U.S Peace Corps in Paraguay. She is fluent in Spanish and enjoys hiking, reading and riding her bike in her spare time.

Hans Nelson
Assistant Director, Program Development

Hans@xperitas.org

612-436-8262

Hans Nelson originally from South Dakota, received his B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of South Dakota. After graduating in 2007, he joined Up with People, where he performed, volunteered and traveled around the world for five years. During that time he lived with over 200 host families. This opportunity taught him the amazing benefits of the host family experience. Hans enjoys boating, skiing, cooking, singing and traveling. Favorite quote: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Jenny Behrens
Program Manager, Spanish

Jenny@xperitas.org

612-436-8267

After graduating from the University of La Crosse Wisconsin with a degree in Spanish and Geography, Jenny spent one year volunteering in Ecuador. She spent eight years in Spain where she taught English and opened her own English Academy. Jenny speaks Spanish fluently and loves travelling, spending time with friends and being active.

Judith Dorin
Program Manager

Judith@xperitas.org

612-436-8279

Judith was born in Lima, Peru. After working as a professor at universities in the Lima area, she moved to the U.S. and obtained her master’s degree in Hispanic Linguistics. Judith has taught Spanish for more than 15 years at various institutions including the University of Minnesota, University Language Center, Spanish Institute and Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Lindsay Nystrom
Marketing and Communications Manager

Lindsay@xperitas.org

612-436-8264

Lindsay studied graphic design and public relations at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She loves to explore new places and is so happy to work with people who appreciate the value of traveling. In her free time, she likes to play ultimate frisbee and watch Game of Thrones.

Lydia Murphy
Program Manager, German

Lydia@xperitas.org

612-436-8268

Lydia started learning German in 7th grade and enjoyed the language and culture so much that she lived in Germany for three years after graduating from UW-Eau-Claire. Upon returning to the U.S., she was inspired to encourage others to experience the benefits of cultural exchange and joined Xperitas in 2015. She speaks German fluently, loves traveling and enjoys outdoor adventures!

Rachel Cagle
Senior Program Manager, French

Rachel@xperitas.org

612-436-8265

After majoring in French at the University of Minnesota and spending her junior year at the Université de Montpellier III, Rachel spent two more years abroad, working in Lille and then in Brussels organizing linguistic exchanges. In 2010, she returned to the U of M to complete her Master’s in International Education and to continue her other passion, assistant coaching the university’s Hockey Cheerleading Team.

Sarah Dietman
Program Manager, English

Sarahd@xperitas.org

612-436-8294

A Minnesota native, Sarah studied abroad in Spain and Guatemala in college and lived in Ecuador for four years teaching English. She is an MBI-certified life coach and loves that her work at Xperitas supports her own desire to foster connection and transformation through language, cultural immersion and travel.

Susan Raynaud
Director of Language Programs

Susan@xperitas.org

612-436-8260

After a total of twenty two years in France, Mexico and Spain, Susan returned to her native Midwest with her French husband and two trilingual children in 2012. She speaks French and Spanish fluently and understands firsthand the joys and challenges of linguistic and cultural immersion, as well as how enriching it is for children and adults to be multilingual and multicultural.

Eden Rock
Regional Representative, California

Eden@xperitas.org

530-906-0986

Eden has worked with numerous nonprofit organizations concerned with international and community development issues, starting her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal. She has a Master of Public Administration (SFSU) and a B.A. in Psychology (U.C. Berkeley). When not working, you can find her hiking and running trails.