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.

The Xperitas Board has Board member openings and is seeking qualified applicants who reflect the organization’s values of deep respect for cultures, diversity, and learning. Learn how to apply here.

Leah Brink

Leah earned a BA in International Studies from the University of Iowa and an MA in Comparative and International Development Education from the University of Minnesota (U of M). She currently works at the U of M as a Director in the Global Opportunities (GO) Minnesota program which provides non-degree programs for short-term international students.

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.

Madeline Graham

Madeline is a graduate of Macalester College where she minored in German studies. After college she moved to Austria for a year to continue improving her German. She has worked in communications at a number of Twin Cities nonprofits and recently launched her own web development business, Significant Digits, and is excited to offer her valuable technical skills to Xperitas.

Mike Hirschberg

Mike has over eight years of investment banking experience. Prior to joining Quarton, he worked in Lazard’s Middle Market Food and Agriculture group. Prior to that, Mike served as a Vice President at Wipfli Corporate Finance Advisors, the investment banking arm of Wipfli LLP. He has worked on numerous sell side, buy side and capital raising assignments. Mike currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Corporate Growth’s Minnesota Chapter. Mike received his Master of Business Administration in Finance from American University’s Kogod School of Business in Washington, D.C. and his Bachelor of Science from Indiana University in Bloomington. He is a licensed securities representative, holding his Series 63 and 79 registrations.

Rao Konidena

Rakon Energy LLC is founded by Rao Konidena after nearly two decades of experience in manufacturing, consulting and electricity grid policy. Rao has Bachelor Degrees in Electrical & Electronics Engineering from Bangalore University, a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Texas at Arlington, and an MBA from Carlson School of Management. Rao is excited about learning from different travel experiences.

Daniel Kelley

Daniel earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting with a minor in both French and International Studies and his M.B.A. at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. During this time, he traveled throughout Europe, notably in London, northern France, and western Germany. Daniel is a Certified Public Accountant, currently works for CliftonLarsonAllen, and is passionate about traveling and learning from experiences in different cultures.

John Mattes

John recently retired after more than thirty years as a business executive holding leadership positions in the areas of strategy and corporate development at Taylor Corp., Liberty Enterprises, Matrix Financial and First Bank Systems. He comes to Xperitas with significant nonprofit experience as well, having held leadership positions on the boards of Lutheran Social Services, Simpson Housing, Temple Israel and the Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir. John is a graduate of the University of Minnesota.

José Schimming (Board Chair)

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.

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. 

Carolyn Vanous

Carolyn is a graduate of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and currently works for 3M Company as a Global Sourcing Manager. She recently returned from a two-and-a-half-year stint working in Singapore for 3M and found that her experiences working in Asia helped ignite her interest in intercultural learning and global connection.

Scott Vargo

Scott earned an undergraduate degree from Macalester College and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Humphrey School. He currently works at Hennepin County in workforce development where he is creating systems to track, measure and evaluate new collaborations between Hennepin County and the University of Minnesota.