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OUR TEAM 2018-07-30T10:21:57+00:00
Sheryl Hill
Sheryl HillExecutive Director

Allen & Sheryl Hill understand that it takes grit to make a pearl. Tragically, their futures were forever altered when Tyler, their vibrant, athletic, leader and role model teenage son, died a preventable death on a People to People Student Ambassador trip to Japan. He was barely sixteen.

Sheryl and Allen turned their grief into a mission and founded the only nonprofit working on travel and tourism consumer protections. For ten years, they advocated on the problem side of travel abroad, and now they offer a solution: Travel HEROES Safety Certification. Sheryl passionately believes every person, especially students going abroad on programs, should possess super skills to get help and home safely.

Sheryl is publicly recognized as an industry expert, speaker, award winning author and advocate. “Depart Smart is the most important professional work I have ever done,” says Sheryl.

She has been seen in CNN, USA Today, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, Newsweek, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more. She pours her time and talent into Depart Smart’s four pillars of strength: Education, Awareness, Tools and Resources, and Advocacy. Through her efforts, Depart Smart achieved Guidestar Platinum Partner status for transparency, and passed the first ever state bill to put the “count” in “accountability” – safety reports on programs escorting our kids into foreign country for school credit.

Sheryl is also the mother of Alec Hill, as well as the host mom to eight international youth for more than twelve years. The Hills are proud to share their family with Sari of Finland, Caroline of Sweden, Sylvie of France, Gilly of South Africa, Nikita of Germany, Yusuke of Japan, Roberto of Chile and João of Brazil. The Hills have been in foreign countries with all of them and believe in the value of intercultural experiences.

Our Valuable Team Members

Julie Nekola
Julie NekolaDevelopment
Sarah Ashley
Sarah AshleyeLearning QA Specialist
Carla Scholz
Carla ScholzCreative Director
Michael Gorospe
Michael GorospeChief Technology Officer
Nick Nelson
Nick NelsonMySQL Database Developer
David Nelson
David NelsonChief Information Officer
Tracie Dewberry
Tracie DewberryDevelopment Manager
Keegan Bohn
Keegan BohnDigital Marketing
Rebecca Rausch
Rebecca RauschGraphic Design
Kim Beyer
Kim BeyerBusiness Development
Jack Sterne
Jack SterneSocial Media Intern
Landon Tselepis
Landon TselepisIntern

Our Prestigious Board of Directors

Allen Hill
Allen HillDirector, Founder, Chair Emeritus
Senior Vice President at Fraueshuh Commercial Real Estate
Robin Kocina
Robin KocinaChair
Owner, Media Relations, Inc.
Sarah Hague
Sarah HagueChief Development Officer
Tim Malecha
Tim MalechaDirector, Founder, Chair Emeritus
Amy Swedberg-Hagen
Amy Swedberg-HagenDirector
Partner, Maslon’s Financial Services Group.

Our Valuable Advisors & Experts

Annamarie Saarinen
Annamarie SaarinenCo-Founder, Board Member Emeritus
Amalia Moreno-Damgaard
Amalia Moreno-DamgaardBoard Member Emeritus
Dr. Vincent Johnson
Dr. Vincent JohnsonBoard Member Emeritus
Karen Gries
Karen GriesIRS Tax Law Advisor
Dr. Peter Tarlow
Dr. Peter TarlowSafety Specialist, Tourism
Dr. John Fletemeyer
Dr. John FletemeyerWater Safety Advisor
David Angueira
David AngueiraLegal Advisor
Jerome Fields
Jerome FieldsUnited States Department of State
Brent Barker
Brent BarkerSafety & Security Advisor
Tom Pasquarello
Tom PasquarelloPartner, Global Secure Resources
Malcolm Noden
Malcolm NodenHospitality Safety Specialist