Leslie Corn, Senior Director, Cultural Exchange Network Corporation (CENET)
What began as an Office Assistant job out of college turned into a challenging, zigzagging journey of 7 years. Working with people from around the globe, understanding cultural differences, and striving for a kinder, more humane world, has become Ms. Corn’s drive as she works, travels, and develops her acumen in this ever-important field. Hers has not been an Ivy League tract, but a Midwestern plodding, a learning and re-learning by doing, by failing, by learning some more, by overcoming, and, finally, by developing a deep driving empathy for those who are embarking on a journey. This empathy led her to create Culture in the Community, a program focused primarily on underfunded schools, with a mission to teach students the beauty of differences and the unity that can come through diversity. After wearing many hats at CENET, Ms. Corn became Senior Director. What years of dedication in the exchange community has taught Ms. Corn is the wonderful truth that there is always much more to learn.
“The Annual Meeting is a great opportunity to learn and connect within the exchange community. Despite being competitors, it’s understood that we’re much stronger together than we are as individual organizations. J. William Fulbright once said that exchanges “can turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanizing of international relations.” It was a privilege to gather in D.C. and to endeavor as a community to do just that– humanize international relations and advocate for programs that inspire a better world.”
Leslie Costa, CEO & Founder, The International Student Company
For the last six years, Leslie Costa has been the custodian for connecting students, graduates and young professionals, seeking to enrich their own career prospects, with valuable work experience opportunities throughout the United States. As a true cross cultural advocate and a recognized leadership expert, Ms. Costa can be found speaking about the benefits of getting out of comfort zone by engaging in cultural exchange experience at, corporate events, webinars at local and international universities. With the support of U.S. Department of State, Ms. Costa has recently founded the first international exchanges conference in the U.S.: International Exchange Summit (I.E. Summit) that connects awesome J-1 participants from all across the globe with local and international leaders across industries based in Florida. Ms. Costa holds a Master’s Degree in Corporate Finance from Group INSEEC in Paris, France.
“After receiving this award, I feel even more energized and motivated to advocate and fully embrace the responsibility of ensuring that we continue to foster mutual understanding between nations.I left the Annual Meeting with the confidence that what we do is important and highly beneficial for the world, I am positive that we will overcome the current challenges on the J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs, with the right determination and resilience.”
Janice Fox, Northeast Regional Account Manager, Intrax Work Travel
Janice Fox is the Northeast Regional Account Manager for Intrax Work Travel, based near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Growing up in a military family, Ms. Fox became accustomed to travel and cultural exchange at an early age, which later became two of her passions. Ms. Fox had her first cultural exchange experience when she studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in French, she spent a year teaching at English First in Changchun, China and, later, returned to Morocco as an English and Foreign Language Teacher at Amideast in Casablanca. The care and compassion her host communities demonstrated during her time overseas led Ms. Fox to pursue a career in the field of cultural exchange and inspired her to focus on enhancing the experiences of exchange visitors in the United States. In her current capacity, as a regional account manager at Intrax, Ms. Fox identifies ideal host employers and communities, and collaborates with local organizations to improve transportation and safety resources available to Summer Work Travel participants. Prior to her current position, she worked as an operations assistant and field support coordinator.
“Attending the annual meeting provided focus on long and short-term goals for myself and for the larger cultural exchange community. The panels and workshops offered excellent insight into the work we’ve already accomplished together and where we can go next. We all realize it won’t quite be “business as usual” for the next couple of years, and I gained valuable tools to apply to both advocacy and day-to-day operations work that will be critical in ensuring the future of our exchange programs. After listening to and speaking with many experienced and passionate colleagues, I left the meeting feeling reassured about our strength as an industry and community.”
Lisa George, Manager of Latin American Youth Programs, World Learning
Lisa George is a youth development professional, with ten years of experience in international exchange programs and training. She is an AFS-USA Returnee (Costa Rica) and longtime AFS-USA volunteer. She is a previous member of the AFS-USA National Council (2012-15; 2016-17) where she acted from a national perspective to make decisions for the good of the organization, while representing volunteer needs, views and opinions to the AFS-USA executive management team and the Board of Directors. Ms. George has studied, lived and worked in Costa Rica, Italy and Turkey. As Manager of Latin American Youth Programs at World Learning, she currently manages, implements and overseas international cultural exchange programs for youth participants funded by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassies worldwide. In this role she also oversees the Youth Ambassadors Consortium, composed of Georgetown University, SUNY Plattsburgh and Amigos de las Américas. Ms. George recieved an MA from SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont.
“Attending this year’s Alliance meeting was a wonderful opportunity to step back from the piece of International Exchange that I engage with on a daily basis and view our field from a broader angle. I appreciated the space to interact with IE colleagues and peers, while participating in relevant and relatable sessions. The benefits of likeminded organizations coming together to take part in these important dialogues is immeasurable; I left the event feeling reenergized, inspired and hopefully for the future of International Education in the United States.”