Our Leadership Staff
Marshall grew up in the small town of Paw Paw, Michigan and is the eldest of four, with one brother and two sisters. By the time he graduated high school, Marshall had come to strongly value independence and self-determination and knew he wanted to provide a good example to his siblings. He encouraged each sibling to seek out special interests and skills and to work to develop them. He urged them to set high goals and to work hard to meet those goals.
Marshall graduated with honors from American University in 2004 with Bachelor's Degrees in both International Relations and Political Science, as well as a specialized certification in Leadership. During his freshman year, he participated in American University's Freshman Service Experience. The next year, he headed the organization, which maintains more than 1,000 members and employees, and for which he coordinated over 15,000 hours of community service. He went on to earn a Masters Degree in Public Administration with a focus on Non-Profit Management from American University.
Marshall has extensive development experience working in the South African Parliament and has independently created several community development programs on the continent of Africa. After studying in the U.S., experiencing other cultures and communities studying abroad, and watching each of his siblings graduate high school and begin college, Marshall knew for sure that he wanted to continue to help people and communities on a wider scale; to encourage them to recognize and realize their potential, and to take it a step further.
Leadership Initiatives was created to empower men, women, and children around the world to determine their own futures, and to help break the cycles of poverty and dissatisfaction that plague so many communities worldwide. It also involves students in the United States by connecting our future leaders with those in other countries who have discovered, through Leadership Initiatives' programs, their ability to lead. Over the past decade, with Marshall as Executive Director, Leadership Initiatives has grown to help create and expand 54 independent businesses, raise over 1.5 million dollars for business creation in developing communities, and create hundreds of jobs-- thus affording parents the opportunity to send more children to school.
During this time Marshall has received distinction for his work with Leadership Initiatives from the Youth Action Network, the Starbucks Foundation, GlobalGiving, the International Youth Foundation, and Georgetown University, winning their distinguished Outstanding Partner for Social Justice award.
Under his tenure Leadership Initiatives has grown its fundraising base tenfold, been honored as GlobalGiving's Best All Around Nonprofit out of over 5000 organizations, and received endorsements and partnerships with the past two US Ambassadors to Nigeria, the Embassy of Nigeria in the United States, Omnilearn, IFast, Siemens, the US State Department and three members of Congress for their efforts to develop communities across the globe.
Jacob Arndt Ph.D.
Chief Academic Officer
Jake has lead Leadership Initiatives business creation programs in the Philippines in addition to creating and designing programs and mentoring business owners across the globe. He had a hand in creating the International Business Alliance Program and wrote curriculum for Leadership Initiatives’ IBAP and ILBS programs. Jake is a tenured professor of communication studies at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Kalamazoo Michigan where he teaches courses on public speaking, interpersonal relationships, and organizational/intercultural communication. He actively consults with institutions of higher education, and private/public entities on leadership, employee training and development, and conflict resolution. Jake enjoys working with the students and business owners of Leadership Initiatives in any capacity that he can. He truly believes that the time spent working with Leadership Initiatives has proven to be one of the most rewarding experiences of his career.
Youth Development Programs Director
Jessica graduated from American University with a degree from the School of International Service. She has lived and worked around the globe for the past decade. She has designed new education curriculums and lead development efforts for several organizations including Leadership Initiatives, the Millennium Cities Initiative, and the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.
Jessica has an enormous passion for helping provide change to those lacking opportunity. Some of her past positions have included educating Tibetan refugees in India, caring for orphans in Kenya, and fundraising for coral reef conservation in Indonesia.
She is currently working as a teacher in the Baltimore City Public School System and getting her masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University.
Youth Development Programs-International Director
Umar Muhammad is a Cisco-certified Computer Hardware Engineer who serves as Program Director of Business Creation and Expansion for Leadership Initiatives’ (LI) Nigerian operations. Umar’s resume credits include employment with Maida Business Center (2002) and African Petroleum Business Center (2004). Umar also worked NITI Technology as a Coordinator/Instructor in 2005 and with the Indian Nigerian Institute of Information Technology (INIIT) as Director of Training/Instructor in 2007.
Umar joined Leadership Initiatives - Nigeria as Project Officer in 2009 and was promoted to Project Manager in 2014. In 2016, he became Program Director of Business Creation and Expansion, overseeing the full scope of LI’s Nigerian office and its daily operations.
Since Umar’s promotion to his current role with LI - Nigeria, the organization’s national branch has grown significantly, becoming a locally registered non-profit with recognition and repute both in the Bauchi State, where it is located and more widely in Nigeria. Umar has guided LI –Nigeria in countless projects benefitting and uplifting local communities. Umar anchors the structure of the LI - Nigeria office in its administration, finance operations, personnel management, and the day-to-day running of all programs and projects.
Sarah Stiles Ph.D.
Georgetown Education Director
Professor Stiles currently teaches "Social Entrepreneurship: Leading Social Change" in the Department of Sociology at Georgetown University. She is Executive Director of the CORAL Network, a consortium of local universities in equal partnership with the nonprofits and the city government to direct the wealth of resources of the universities into our community. Stiles also directs DC Youth & Government, a program of the YMCA where college students go into participating high schools, teach civics, and lead a weekend youth simulation of DC government.
Sarah Stiles is a native Washingtonian, studied Spanish at Southern Methodist University, did a master's degree in Spanish literature at New York University in Madrid, completed a master's and PhD in political science at Boston University, and received a law degree from Northeastern University. Before teaching at Georgetown, Stiles was Director of the Leadership Program in the School of Public Affairs at American University.
Director of Student Leader Engagement
Kristen Wojdan is passionate about empowering and developing student leaders to unleash their potential and aspire higher as human beings. Kristen brings a unique perspective to her work through her vast experiences with public, private and non-profit stakeholders in education. Named “Rookie Teacher of the Year” during her first year as a HS history teacher in Baltimore County, Maryland, Kristen has completely committed her 20 years as a professional educator to students, learning and teaching.
She has influenced educators and students across the country and around the world as a facilitator, consultant, trainer, program developer, coach, mentor and leader, serving in a myriad of roles that demonstrate her commitment to connect students with relevant, meaningful experiences. Her ultimate goal is to inspire leaders and learners of all ages to strive for a life of significance, not just success.
Kristen holds a Master’s in Educational Administration & Supervision from McDaniel College. She resides in Maryland where she and her husband thrive on being active in the lives of their two children.
Media Site Director
Chris has been with Leadership Initiatives from its inception. He got to know Marshall while they were both attending American University, where Chris was working towards a bachelor’s degree in International Relations, as well as one in Economics, with a History minor.
After graduation, Chris went to work for the Safety and Health Department of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He works on a federal training grant, managing the database tracking student information and assisting in writing reports for the various grants, totaling nearly $4,000,000. He is also a freelance database developer.
Chris has worked for Leadership Initiatives in event management, fundraising, and as an IT consultant in varying capacities. In the summer of 2010, Chris was brought on to assist with accounting and bookkeeping. He has since worked with Marshall to develop a comprehensive plan for LI's future. A passionate supporter of LI's core principals, he is excited about the opportunity to apply his knowledge and skills to growing Leadership Initiatives.
Rashida Abba Kasim
Student Relations Manager
Rashida graduated from University of Maiduguri with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry; she served in Government Girls College Bauchi, Bauchi State - Nigeria under the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Program in 2011. She worked with United Bank For Africa (UBA) as an assistant to Customer Service Officer in 2015 under Graduate Internship Scheme (Sure-P GIS).
Rashida's passion towards community development, rendering social services and empowering the less privilleged led her to join LI Team as Assistant Program Director- Nigeria
Kendall Derber has been involved with Leadership for a number of years. Over the summer she worked as the Youth Development Program Assistant Director at Georgetown University. Here, Kendall held many responsibilities, including working and managing meetings with business men and women who are experts in their fields. Along with this Kendall also worked with a number of Embassies to coordinate times and dates that Leadership Initiatives students could come visit and explore the Embassies.
Kendall holds positions on multiple boards at Bryn Mawr including Public Relations Officer for the Student Athletic Association Committee. She is also a member of various clubs such as the engineering, pre-health, and skateboarding club. Kendall loves being apart of Leadership Initiatives and looks forward to working with more driven students at this next years International Leadership Business Summit.
Business Solutions Specialist
Auwal graduated with honors in 2004 with Bachelor's Degrees in both Education and Agricultural Science. He obtained a Master Degree in International Affairs & Strategic Studies.
To continue his education Auwal attended courses from The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Conflict Analysis, Interfaith Conflict Resolution, and Negotiation & Conflict Management. Auwal also obtained a Diploma in Human Relations.
Auwal began working with Leadership Initiatives to transform the communities he grew up within and help his fellow Nigerians unlock the potential within themselves and their communities. He is dedicated to making a better world for all.
Sarah Agar Bailly
Sarah Agar currently works as a Utilization Review Manager for Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic. She holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology from Gettysburg College and a Master's in Social Work (specializing in mental health) from the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and is licensed as a Graduate Social Worker. She has worked in every area of the health care spectrum and specializes in the creation of highly individualized treatment plans designed to identify goals and to develop clear, realistic and effective strategies to meet them. Her passion for helping others develop, recognize and reach their own goals drew her to Leadership Initiatives and its International Business Alliance Program. She firmly believes that one key to success is truly recognizing our own strengths and weaknesses and understanding the role they play in reaching our personal aspirations. Sarah places emphasis on communicating with IBAP on a one-to-one, personalized basis and looks forward to developing and enhancing her role in LI.
Program Recruitment Director
Christopher Klepadlo earned his Masters degree in International Relations with concentrations in Human Rights and Democracy & Governance from Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. He also received BA degrees in Italian and Spanish from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. He has lived and studied abroad in both Italy and Spain. In Italy at Università degli Studi Gabriele D’Annunzio, he researched European and Italian National Politics. In Valencia, Spain he studied European History and Mediterranean Culture.
He previously worked for the Bank of New York as a Senior International Account Administrator. He has raised thousands of dollars for numerous human rights organizations such as the Red Cross and UNHCR, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help provide for the needs of the estimated 59.6 million refugees currently in camps around the globe. In 2012, he was Galbraith Public Policy Fellow at Americans for Democratic Action, an organization started by Eleanor Roosevelt. Last summer he worked with different groups of students at some of the most prestigious universities in the country identifying and implementing solutions for international business partners. During the school year Christopher teaches Italian at a public high school in a suburb of Washington, D.C., where he serves as the World Language Department Chair and Coordinator for the Academy of Global Studies.
Gabby has been with Leadership Initiatives for a number of years and is an excited and passionate team member. Over the summer, she worked at Georgetown University for Leadership Initiative's International Leadership Business Summit. There, she was the Youth Development Programs Site Director. Her duties included coordinating with all the guest speakers and experts to make sure that they were well accommodated. She was also in charge of all communications with the Nigerian business partners and she organized trips for the students to visit the Nigerian Embassy.
Special Events Coordinator
Lauren Hensel has been apart of Leadership Initiative for over a year and has worked as an intern for Leadership Initiatives International Business Leadership Summit. As an intern, Lauren held the position of Media Chair, and took pictures and film that lead to recognition from Georgetown University. She also helped manage student teams that came up with twenty different solutions which won thousands of dollars in grants for their business partners.
In addition, Lauren has been a long-time volunteer in her community, most recently at a Washington State children’s literacy organization and as a tour leader at the Seattle Art Museum. She has participated in multiple programs with Leadership Initiatives, including the International Business Alliance Program and the International Leadership Business Summit.
Lauren is excited to be a part of Leadership Initiatives and looks forward to working with all those involved to change lives and improve our world through its programs and collaborations.
Over the Summer of 2017, Anthea worked on creating and building the team websites for the student participating in the 2017 International Leadership and Business Summit at Georgetown University. She worked with the students to collect information about their business partner, the different challenges they faced, and the solutions that the students came up with.
Currently, Anthea is works on creating and maintaining the team websites for the different International Business Internship Program teams from all around the world. She works on making sure that the information of the business partners and the International Business Internship Program teams are up to date.
Anthea is currently an undergraduate student at Illinois Tech as an Information Technology and Management Major. Anthea is a part of the Illinois Tech Leadership Academy: an undergraduate education initiative that trains students to be capable leaders and empowers them to inspire the same in others. In addition, she is part of the Illinois Tech Association for Computing Machinery-Women, whose purpose is to encourage and support women in computing so they may reach their full potential. Anthea’s lifelong goal is to help improve the lives of others through technology and innovation; she is excited to work with Leadership Initiatives and to continue to change lives!
Neal graduated Cum Laude from Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business in 2007. In the time since, he has worked in a variety of fields including customer service, accounting, music and public communications. He currently serves as Communications Coordinator for the City of Kalamazoo, Michigan where he is based. His role includes preparing digital content, maintaining web sites, photographing people & events, managing social media pages, writing media releases and preparing letters, speeches and talking points for public officials. Neal is also a musician who manages and regularly performs with bands throughout the midwest. He is also an instructor with the Kalamazoo Academy of Rock program which provides private lessons and performing experience to youth in southwest Michigan.
Community Engagement Team Lead
Meredith Karle has been with Leadership Initiatives for a number of years and has extensive experience budgeting and running youth programs with million dollar budgets. Meredith helps coordinate the Mentorship Program at Leadership Initiatives, shape the International Business and Leadership Summit, and ensure regular connection with Leadership Initiatives’ board members and contacts.
Over the summer, Meredith worked as an intern for the International Business Leadership Summit at Georgetown University. She held a multitude of responsibilities, including coordinating with mentors who helped students come up with their solutions which won thousands of dollars in grants.
Outside of Leadership Initiatives, Meredith is very involved with her community. Namely, she is the co-founder of Turning Pages, an organization dedicated to promoting education and wellness. Turning Pages has created multiple libraries for underprivileged afterschool programs, redistributing over 25,000 books. Meredith has also earned the Congressional Gold Medal Award for her commitment to community service, personal development, physical fitness, and exploration.
Meredith looks forward to combining her love of helping people with her interest in business at Leadership Initiatives.