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.

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.

Kate Buzicky

Kate Buzicky is an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Minnesota. She prosecutes crimes against children and computer-facilitated crimes. She is an Army veteran who deployed twice to Iraq, and a graduate of Princeton University, the University of Oxford, and Harvard Law School.

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.

Pam Harens

Pam is currently a high school Spanish teacher at Eastview High School. She graduated from St. Olaf College with a BA in English and a concentration in Spanish and has a BS in Spanish and Education and an MA in Education from the University of Minnesota. She has traveled to Mexico, Colombia, and various European countries, including Spain, where she studied and lived. Her first trip to Spain was with Xperitas (then ISE) when she was a sophomore in high school. Although over forty years ago, she still maintains close friendships with members of a Spanish family she met through that trip.

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.

Neha Markanda

Neha (Nay'-ha) has lived on and traveled to four of the seven continents and is trilingual. Having experienced a global upbringing, she enjoys learning from all cultures. In her spare time Neha likes to travel, run, volunteer and cook. She also holds a board position at the Hindu Society of Minnesota. Professionally, Neha is a management consultant specializing in strategy and operations. She holds a MBA from the Carlson School of Management and an undergraduate degree in Finance and Business Management from the University of Minnesota (Morris).

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.

Kurt Rempe

Kurt is an attorney at Fredrikson & Byron advising clients on tax, regulatory and commercial issues related to the development, financing, purchase and sale of renewable energy projects. After college, Kurt taught English in Japan and Poland. Kurt enjoys spending time with his family, traveling and cross-country skiing.

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.