We are proud to announce that Amy Alice Chastain is now the Executive Director of Global Ties Iowa after serving in an interim role for a year! Amy, who teaches ESL at the University of Iowa, has been actively involved with Global Ties Iowa since the winter of 2017. Previously, she served on the Board of Directors as Membership Chair, Communications Chair, and President.
After stepping into the interim role in February 2022, Amy worked to set future directors up for success. To help reorganize, she brought on former intern Holly Harris as a full-time Manager of Programs and Operations. Holly’s experience with Global Ties Iowa, as well as her passion and great management skills, made her the perfect candidate for this position.
“I couldn’t just look at things around me and not act and do something, so I pitched bringing in Holly to the Board," said Amy. “All summer [Holly] and I and the rest of our amazing staff and community worked really hard bringing programs back, getting our name back out there, [and] re-welcoming new groups from around the world.”
Thanks to Amy and Holly’s hard work and dedication, Global Ties Iowa was able to hold 14 in-person programs in the summer of 2022. After gaining this momentum, Amy worried that hiring a new executive director would slow down our progress. In the end, Amy’s decision to step into the permanent executive director position was guided by her passion for Global Ties Iowa’s mission.
“The University of Iowa brought me to this community, but it is Global Ties Iowa that has kept me in this community. It is that important to me,” said Amy.
Moving forward, Amy is prioritizing the development of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) initiatives to allow Global Ties Iowa to be representative of all groups in eastern Iowa. She has already done work in this area, specifically through her involvement with the Global Ties US DEIA inaugural working group.
“We’re making global exchange accessible, and hopefully inclusive of everyone in our community,” said Amy. “We want every aspect of our organization [to] look like every part of our communities.”
Additionally, because Global Ties Iowa has historically been very Iowa City-centric, Amy hopes to expand our reach to other eastern Iowa communities. This year, Amy is also looking forward to laying the groundwork for future youth leadership exchange programs, starting by recruiting host families.
Amy has already made an insurmountable impact on Global Ties Iowa during her time on the Board and as an interim director. Her sheer dedication to Global Ties Iowa’s mission is apparent to everyone who interacts with her. We thank her for her hard work and are so excited to see what amazing things she will continue to do in this new role!