The Foreign Service Youth Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors. By mandate, at least two-thirds of the members of the Board have worked for or been associated with U.S. diplomatic missions abroad. To the extent possible, the Board has a balanced representation of different groups, organizations and governmental offices concerned with issues relating to Foreign Service youth. At least one member of the Board is a young adult who grew up in the Foreign Service. All members of the Board are volunteers who serve two-year terms and do not receive compensation from FSYF.
How to Join the Board
Any employee or family member who has served under chief of mission authority and/or has a connection to the Foreign Affairs community by employment, marriage or upbringing is eligible to be nominated for the Board of Directors. Ideal candidates are committed to the mission of FSYF and to Foreign Service families and young people, are able to work collaboratively as members of a team, and have adequate time to contribute to FYSF. First priority shall be given to individuals representing groups that directly or indirectly deal with Foreign Service youth issues as well as organizations or offices not currently represented on the Board.
To read the job description, click here.
To complete a nomination form, click here.
Linda Garvelink, President
Linda Garvelink is a
member of the Board, holds BBA and MBA degrees in finance
from George Washington University in Washington, DC, and is
a banking industry specialist with more than 30 years of
management, finance, and marketing experience. As a USAID
PSC, she led mutual savings bank capacity building projects
in Bolivia where she advised the Bolivian Savings and Loan
system on financial planning, savings mobilization,
marketing, portfolio diversification, personnel management,
computerization and small/micro business lending. She
managed project use of PL 480 local currency designated for
small loan programs. In the private sector, she worked for
Grant Thornton LLP, NACHA-The Electronic Payments
Association, The Independent Community Bankers of America,
and State Department Federal Credit Union. She advised
clients and members regarding financial services industry
regulation, strategic and operations issues, work-process
improvement, and product development, bank charter
requirements, eCommerce, electronic business reporting,
electronic payments, and trends in community banking. She
has specialized in eBanking, EDI, electronic bill
presentment, electronic bill payment, and other payments
system issues. From 2007 – 2010 she served as the spouse of
the U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo. She
is an active volunteer .
Kristin Grasso, Vice President
Kristin is a TCK (third-culture kid) whose father served as a Foreign Service Officer for the Department of State. Kristin grew up in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Russia and Mexico. She is the mother of three daughters—one attending the University of Virginia and two in high school. Kristin graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Foreign Affairs (and quite often finds herself wishing she majored in child psychology). She has been a stay-at-home mother and currently works at the Department of State in the Office of Overseas Schools.
A twenty-eight year veteran of the Foreign Service, Tim is married and the father of three school-aged children. He has served in Islamabad, Lome, Belize, Asuncion and La Paz as well as Washington. Tim is currently a Financial Management Officer in the Bureau of International narcotics and law Enforcement Affairs.
Xenia Wilkinson, Chair Nominating Committee
Xenia Wilkinson is a retired Foreign Service officer. She served in Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, and the U.S. Missions to the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Her daughter Julia, and stepchildren T, Rebecca, and Jennifer grew up in the foreign service. Xenia earned a PhD. In Latin American history at Georgetown Unviersity in 2010. She has taught history at Georgetown University and the University of Mary Washington.
Xenia is married to Ted
Wilkinson, also a retired FSO, who served as AFSA president
(1989-1991) and has remained active in the organization.
Nadia Tongour, Chair Events
After a 27-year career as an FSO, Nadia retired last year to pursue some of her other and earlier interests—in education and travel – both teaching part-time and taking courses in the field of "travel and tourism.” Her Foreign Service tours were divided between overseas assignments in Latin American and the Caribbean (notably Brazil, Mexico, Barbados and Grenada) and Washington postings that focused on the former Soviet Union and Europe. She has one son, who accompanied her on many of her tours.
Dale Dean, Chair Scholarship
Dale Dean was a political officer and Arabist who served the first half of his Foreign Service career in the Arab World (Cairo, Kuwait, Jeddah and Riyadh) and was later the West Bank/Gaza desk officer in the Office of Israel Affairs. Other assignments were in the Africa Bureau (East African Affairs--Somalia Desk), in the PM Bureau as Deputy Director of the Office of International Security Operations, and later in EUR as Deputy Director for Strategy and Security, Office of European Security and Political Affairs. His last oversees post was in the Political Section of Embassy Ankara. After retirement in 1999, Dale earned a Master of Arts in Arab Studies from Georgetown University.
Dale was married to the late Michael Ann Hughes Dean, who had been an FSYF Board member, the CLO in Riyadh and Ankara, and the Publications Coordinator for the Family Liaison Office. Their children, Cat and Phil, spent much of their childhood in the Arab World. Cat served for a time as a youth representative on the FSYF Board.
Blanca raised her three children overseas during her husband's 28-yr career in the Foreign Service. She has lived in Thailand, Switzerland, Israel and Bermuda as well as Brazil and Uruguay. While posted abroad, Blanca volunteered her time working almost exclusively with youth projects and education, first with the Pearl S. Buck Foundation in Udorn Thailand and later as the founder of an international preschool in Tel Aviv, Israel. After returning to the United States, Blanca joined Public Diplomacy efforts focused on youth programs, administered by the Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. From 2006-2009, Blanca served as the President of the Foreign Service Youth Foundation. Blanca was married to the late Clayton F. Ruebensaal, Jr, (FSO, retired) and is the mother of three children. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in international economics from Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service.
Shirley J. McGee is a Human Resources Specialist and Consular Associate with broad-based international experience. She has extensive expertise in writing job descriptions and in negotiating classification standards. Her performance earned her two Department of State Superior Honor Awards and several Meritorious Honor Awards.
Shirley is a graduate of Indiana University with a BA in physical education. She taught and coached in East Chicago, Indiana, and in several American International Overseas schools over the past 30 years. She was the Ambassador’s representative on the American School of Madagascar’s school board and tutored students in math. Shirley lived in 11 foreign countries holding a variety of increasingly complex government positions. She coordinated and developed community outreach programs in support of US Government policy in four African postings.
Shirley volunteered her services successfully to raise funds in support of Pediatric Aids and Komen for the Cure. She worked with local charity organizations in Swaziland and Zimbabwe to provide scholarships for aids orphans. Shirley is married to Ambassador James D. McGee (Ret) and lives in Bradenton, Florida.
Jim was a Foreign Service Youth as he and his family accompanied his father, a Foreign Service Officer now retired from the Central Intelligence Agency, on many tours overseas. Jim, and his brother Tim, own and operate McGrath Real Estate Services in Northern Virginia. The McGrath’s understand the unique challenges associated with owning and managing real estate while balancing work that requires international travel. They started their company to assist others with the process. Since 1985 Jim has been the Principal Broker and President of McGrath Real Estate Service, Inc. He is a member of Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (“NVAR”), a Lifetime Member NVAR Top Producer Club, a Lifetime Member NVAR Multi-Million Dollar Sales Club. Jim is a past Chairman of the Property Management and Leasing Committee at NVAR, a past Delegate to the Virginia Association of Realtors as well as a member of the National Association of Property Managers (NARPM). Jim has a BS in Business Administration from George Mason University. Jim is also a recent Board of Director of the Southwestern Youth Association Little League Baseball Board and remains active in youth sports through coaching and is a member of the Positive Coaches Alliance. McGrath Real Estate Services is proud to Sponsor the FSYF Essay Contest.
A child of Arlington and graduate of Washington-Lee, Erik studied German literature at Harvard, completed a Ph.D. in English and comparative literature at Columbia, and taught English at colleges in New York, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the DC area before and after becoming a Foreign Service spouse and accompanying his wife, Alix, during her 20-year career and four overseas postings. Besides teaching, Erik was active in commissary and employee associations abroad and in the wine business at home. Now in the 12 years since his wife's retirement, he has struggled to achieve a balance between duty, as full-time associate broker with Peake Management, and far too many passions--European languages, opera, classical and renaissance literature, Arabic, wine, and French cooking. Erik and Alix have one daughter, Karin Alexandra, born in Paris in 1984 and enriched by sojourns in Bordeaux and Rabat.
Alexandra Lena Pomeroy
Alexandra is a program officer in the Office of Europe and Asia Programs in the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). She is a former TCK,
FSYF participant, and the daughter of a retired Foreign Agricultural Officer. Alexandra was born in London. She has attended international schools in Tunis, Lagos, New Delhi, and Cairo. She has a B.A. in International Relations from the College of William and Mary and is a Public Policy Masters candidate at Georgetown University. She also attended the Institut Politque d'Etudes in Lyon from 2006-2007.
Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Stuart grew up as the son of a Foreign Service Officer in Honduras, Spain, Mexico, Ecuador, and Niger, West Africa. In college, Stuart studied abroad at Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan and worked at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. He was also awarded grants to increase access to markets for women's cooperatives and build wells in rural Djibouti. Stuart was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received a BA in East Asian Studies, magna cum laude, from Yale University. He worked for the Rwandan Government's Development Board to market investment opportunities in Kigali, Rwanda while conducting research on the post-genocide legal system. He was an active member of the FSYF in high school and a recipient of the FSYF Award from former Secretary Colin Powell for his work in Niger. Currently, he runs online marketing and revenue strategy for SpanishDict.com, a company that teaches over 50 million annual visitors Spanish and English online for free.
The daughter of a Foreign Service officer and a Swedish politician, Anne was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and grew up in England, Botswana, Falls Church, Denmark, Burkina Faso, and Uganda. She is a recipient (with her sister, Eva) of a 2002 FSYF Community Service Award for her work with an orphanage and summer camp in Ouagadougou. After graduating from Swarthmore College with a joint degree in Political Science and Theater, Anne worked in Progressive politics in DC before succumbing to the call of the family business and joined the State Department as a Foreign Affairs Officer. She currently works in the climate change office in the OES bureau, focusing on the UN climate negotiations.
Gretchen Krantz Evans
Gretchen is an attorney, a TCK and the mother of two TCKs. Gretchen holds degrees in German and International Studies from West Virginia University, a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a linguist’s certificate from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. Although she has never lived anywhere for more than 4 years in her life, she considers West Virginia home.
Prior to attending law school, Gretchen was a German language instructor for U.S. Army soldiers in Schweinfurt, Germany and the Director of the Schweinfurt USO. She also worked at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center – Foreign Language School in Ft. Bragg, NC as the faculty coordinator.
Following graduation from law school, Gretchen clerked for the Hon. Joseph R. Goodwin, SDWV. She was an associate in the corporate department of Davis Polk & Wardwell for seven years and worked in the firm’s New York, Frankfurt and Hong Kong offices. Her most recent overseas posting was in Ghana, where she worked at the U.S. Embassy for the Bureau of Population, Refugees & Migration as the Assistant Refugee Coordinator, and for the Foreign Commercial Office as a trade specialist, focusing on intellectual property issues. Gretchen also served on the Embassy Accra AEA Board, the Board of Governors for the German Swiss International School – Accra, and co-founded Karma Yoga Accra, a non-profit organization which supported women’s’ and children’s charities.
Gretchen is married to Michael, a Foreign Service Officer. Gretchen and Michael are the parents of two young boys, one born in Frankfurt and the other during a medevac from Ghana.
Marie Gengler O'ConnorMarie is a social worker with a MSW in Nonprofit and Public Management from Rutgers University and a BS in Psychology from Fordham University. She has worked with a wide variety of organizations to improve their communications, use of technology and data management. Marie's husband, Kevin, is a Foreign Service Officer and they have two young children.
Alison is a third generation Foreign Service Officer whose father and grandfather worked for USIA. Now a public diplomacy officer herself, Alison has served overseas in Afghanistan and Pakistan and currently works in the Department's bureau of Public Affairs. Alison has a BA from the University of Virginia, an MA in Global Communication from George Washington University, and an MBA from the University of Oxford. She lived in Poland, New Zealand, Austria and Bolivia during her childhood.
Dr. Robert Beck
Director of Student Psychological Services
President Emerita of AAFSW
Ambassador Ruth Davis
Retired Foreign Service, Former FSYF Board
Kay Branaman Eakin
Founder of RNG International Educational Consultants, Former FLO Education and Youth Officer
Ambassador John Lange
Retired Foreign Service, Former FSYF Board
Director of Foreign Service Institute Transition Center
Dr. Keith Miller
Director of Dept. of State Office of Overseas Schools
Former President of AFSA
Lieutenant Alison Rose-Wood, USPHS
Senior International Health Analyst, Former Foreign Service Youth
Director of Dept. of State Family Liaison Office (FLO)
Congressman Chris Van Hollen
Former Foreign Service Youth