Board of Directors
Thinking Beyond Borders is supported by a dedicated and talented Board of Directors. Board Members include respected specialists in the fields of nonprofit management, education, marketing, consulting, finance, international development, and law. Their professional support and guidance both strengthen and expand the Thinking Beyond Borders community and gap year programs.
Since joining Baker Hostetler’s legislative practice in 2001, Josh Alkin has served as government relations advisor to the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. In that capacity, Josh acts as liaison between the Commissioner’s office and Congress and the White House. He has worked with the House and Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, as well as the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee educating Members of Congress and their staffs on a diverse array of issues impacting Major League Baseball, including antitrust, immigration, intellectual property and homeland security issues.
Prior to joining Baker Hostetler, Josh served as a policy aide to Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), primarily advising the Senator on issues related to the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees.
Emily is a Business Development Coordinator at Cambridge-based Management Sciences for Health (MSH), a non-profit global health organization with ongoing projects in over 50 countries around the world. At MSH, Emily provides research, graphics and production support to the organization’s proposal teams. Emily recentely graduated from Bowdoin College with a B.A. in Government and Legal Studies. She concentrated her major studies in comparative politics and wrote an honors thesis about disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Her undergraduate coursework also focused on human rights, international development, and gender studies. At Bowdoin, Emily was involved in the Amnesty International and VDAY groups as well as the college’s Women’s Resource Center. She has held internships at several organizations in the areas of public health, community engagement, human rights and government, including with Women of Means; Siempre Unidos para Reforzar nuestro Futuro (Costa Rica); the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights; and her State Representative in Maine.
Emily loves to travel and has found many opportunities to leave the country since her first independent travel experience at age 17, when she spent two months volunteering in the Dominican Republic with the Amigos de las Americas program. This trip sparked Emily’s interest in studying development issues, and the following year, she embarked on Thinking Beyond Borders’ inaugural Global Gap Year. Participating in TBB greatly influenced the way Emily thinks about topics of development and globalization as well as the importance of experiential learning and cultural exchange. Emily also spent a semester abroad during her junior year in Mendoza, Argentina, where she loved having the chance to improve her Spanish and explore the country. In her free time, Emily is an avid photographer and loves to cook, play the guitar and sing.
Ethan is a Director with GeoMark Research, an upstream analytical services firm designed to help oil and gas companies maximize exploration and production efforts. Prior to GeoMark, Ethan spent 8 years with Deloitte Consulting LLP, where he focused on Growth and Operational Strategy for businesses within the Aerospace & Defense, Life Science and Consumer Business industries. In his personal time, Ethan’s passions are his wife and two sons, digital photography, biking, and being outdoors. An avid traveler for work and pleasure, Ethan has lived abroad in South Africa and Mexico, and has visited 20+ countries and 46 U.S. States. Ethan graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and Management Information Systems and earned his Master of Business at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Robert is the Director of College Counseling at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, TX. Before joining St. Stephen’s he was the Dean of Admissions at Middlebury College, where he was responsible for the college’s admissions policy. He served in that role for 6 years until 2011. Robert was also Senior Admissions Officer and Associate Director of Financial Aid at Harvard College for 21 years.
Robert received a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1973 and a Master’s in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1991. He taught German and history at The Governor’s Academy in Byfield, MA, before joining the Harvard Admissions Office in 1984. During sabbatical years, he served as a faculty member at the International School in Hamburg, Germany, and as Director of College Counseling at the Lincoln School in San José, Costa Rica. In recent years, Robert has shared his experience and research on the benefits of gap years for undergraduate academic achievement. His work has been highlighted in various major media outlets, including the New York Times Blog articles “As Jan. 1 Application Deadline Nears, an Argument for a Yearlong Breather” and “From the Mail Bag: On Taking a Gap Year”.
Jonathan Falker works in Partner Marketing at Intel Corporation. In this role, he plans and manages advertising campaigns that Intel runs with its many partners. He hopes you look for Intel inside your next device. Aside from marketing, Jon’s professional interests include sustainable development and entrepreneurship. After college he helped start up a software company in Washington, DC that provided membership management services to non-profit organizations. While getting his MBA from the University of Southern California, he helped sustainable home builder LivingHomes develop and implement a social media plan to boost sales.
Jon holds a BSBA from Georgetown University, where he majored in Marketing and minored in Spanish and a MBA from the University of Southern California. He also studied abroad at the La Pontificia Universidad de Chile in Santiago, Chile and La Universidad de Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain. He is nearly fluent in Spanish. He spends his free time skiing and traveling whenever and wherever possible.
Paul is a Vice-President at the Fidelity Foundation outside Boston working with non-profit organizations around the country. The Foundation encourages strong management and self-reliance in non-profits. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2000, Paul was in corporate real estate for 15 years, at Fidelity Investments, QVC Networks in Pennsylvania, and Citibank and Chemical Bank in New York City, managing people, projects, and properties. A Registered Architect, Paul has a degree in English Literature from Swarthmore College, a Master of Architecture from Columbia University, and an MBA from New York University.
Paul’s wife Debby is the Chief Investment Officer of Wellesley College. Their daughter Liz was on Thinking Beyond Borders’ inaugural trip in 2008-2009. She then graduated from Columbia University and works for McKinsey & Co. in Boston. Their son Stephen is at Carleton College in Minnesota. Paul travels often, for both business and pleasure. Having grown up without television Paul likes to read and enjoys outdoor activities.
All roads in Robin’s life lead to co-founding Thinking Beyond Borders. Born and raised near San Francisco, he discovered at an early age that youth can affect the disparities and challenges of our world. Robin also learned the need to truly understand a problem before proactive changes can be made. He sees Thinking Beyond Borders as the actualization of those lessons.
Robin equipped himself by earning a B.A. in International Development Studies from UCLA and a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has lived and worked abroad including a semester of research in Cochabamba, Bolivia and leading a conservation program in Costa Rica. His travels introduced him to the peoples and geography of southern and western Africa, Europe, and South America.
He spent ten years working and teaching in public schools where he challenged students to question their assumptions about themselves and the world. In addition, experiences administering youth programs of all sizes endow him with extensive management and supervision skills. Robin continues walking this road of learning and teaching. His goal is to empower future leaders who will create proactive change as a result of their travels with Thinking Beyond Borders.
Jackson is an associate in the Real Estate Finance and Lending & Structured Finance groups at Troutman Sanders LLP in Washington D.C. As an associate at Troutman, Jackson has assisted various national, regional, and local banks and other financial institutions in real estate construction financing including lending transactions to residential and commercial developers, permanent real estate loans, loans for health care facilities and loans to 501(c)(3) non-profit corporations. Jackson has also represented a broad array of financial institutions and mezzanine lenders in sophisticated secured and unsecured financing transactions including bridge financing, mezzanine financing, acquisition financing and asset-based financing ranging in transaction size from $1,000,000 to $1,500,000,000. Additionally, Jackson has served as pro bono general legal counsel for several 501(c)(3) non-profit corporations.
In his personal time, Jackson enjoys traveling including trips throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. During his free time, Jackson enjoys surfing and snowboarding and such passions have led Jackson to places such as Indonesia, Fiji, the Philippines, Tasmania, Mexico, Central America, Chamonix, France and Blackcomb-Whistler, Canada.
Prior to working at Troutman Sanders, Jackson graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and then Bowdoin College with an A.B. in Economics. At Bowdoin, Jackson played varsity basketball and was a James Bowdoin Scholar. After college, Jackson received his Juris Doctor & Master of Business Administration (JD/MBA) from Wake Forest University and served as a member of the Wake Forest Law School’s law review.
Chris has lived with a passion for community service and international travel almost his entire life. While growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, Chris was the president of his high school community service organization, worked for the United Way, and traveled to the Dominican Republic during his senior year to help build a hospital. During his four years at Harvard University, Chris grasped the importance of perspective and dedicated valuable time to experiencing the world. He studied abroad in Australia and traveled throughout Europe while earning an economics degree, playing on the Crimson varsity football team, and holding a part time job. After graduating college, Chris accepted a position as the Business Development Director for Rustic Pathways, an international education, community service, and adventure travel company. In 2007 Chris co-founded Thinking Beyond Borders with Robin Pendoley and Sandy Cooper. Thinking Beyond Borders is a cultivated dream for Chris, integrating education and international travel, providing service to communities in need, and mindfully developing future leaders who embody broad perspective and global compassion. Currently, Chris serves as the Chairman of the Board for Thinking Beyond Borders and also as the President of Operations for Rustic Pathways.
Rebecca Trobe, M.A. works with philanthropic organizations, families, entrepreneurs, couples and individuals. She advises and consults on stewardship, legacy, multi-generational philanthropy and succession planning with an emphasis on legacy development and next generation transitions for philanthropic families. In addition to design and strategy consulting, Rebecca facilitates the development of leadership, vision and mission including the dynamics and process involved in family business, family foundations, family offices and family philanthropy. Rebecca also subspecializes in the dynamics of couples negotiating their philanthropic decision-making and parenting process involving the successful transfer of values, skills and awareness of money and giving.
Over the last several years Rebecca has engaged in a range of roles, serving as a family wealth consultant with Wells Fargo’s National Family Office/Family Dynamics Division, as the co-founder and Managing Principal of The Wealth Legacy Group, and as a consultant and trainer with 21/64, a division of The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies. Prior to relocating to the Bay Area from New York, Rebecca was an executive coach with Leadership Strategies, a boutique coaching firm based in Princeton, NJ, working with C-level executives and their teams on leadership performance, vision and strategy.
As the founder of Impact Coaching & Consulting and a partner at Schaffer & Combs, based in the Bay Area, Rebecca works with organizations, family foundations and entrepreneurs who focus their stewardship, business and philanthropic process on the double and triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) and principles of sustainability. Rebecca has a passion for most things involving the principles of social venture, innovation and leadership.