HI USA Board of Directors

Glenn Azuma

Glenn Azuma - Chair at HIUSA

For over 30 years Glenn has engaged in the development of and investment in real estate. First, as an attorney and later as a developer and investor for his own account. He also manages a New Markets Tax Credit investment fund that finances environmental remediation projects. Current term ends in 2020.

Nick Andrade

Nick Andrade - Vice Chair at HIUSA

Nick is a retired business person with extensive senior executive experience in the recreation industry. He has started, owned and participated in the operations of several notable bicycle manufacturing, distribution and marketing companies with a nationwide footprint. His past experience includes the consolidation of multiple operations into a single marketing and sales company. Nick is active in charity and bicycle advocacy work. Current term ends in 2020.

Erika Byrnison

Erika Byrnison Board Member

Previously serving on the Board of the Girl Scout Council of Bergen County, Erika Byrnison values being an important voice for members. In her job as an Advertising and Promotions Manager for a community and cultural organization, she has build strong critical thinking skills, is able to cultivate great relationships with sponsors, and has experience managing partnerships, all which will be a key asset to the HI USA Board. Current term ends in 2020.

Joseph Chesler

Joe Chesler Board Member

Having been an AYH Member and HI USA Life Member since 1963, Joseph Chesler has participated at all levels of the organization (tripper, trip leader, council president) and has served to govern HI USA as regional vice president and national board member. Having most recently served as a member of the HI USA Transition Board and as co-chair of the Successor Board Nominating Committee, he is excited to play a part in the expansion of HI USA’s role as leaders in promoting world peace through hostelling. Current term ends in 2020.

Makeba Clay

Makeba Clay Board Member

Makeba Clay is President of Innovative Global Solutions Consulting Group LLC and has over 20 years of progressive experience in higher education focused on creating pathways for students to engage in meaningful intercultural dialogue and action. Most recently, she served as Chief Diversity Consultant to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art. A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, Makeba holds a master of art degree from Bowling Green State University. Current term ends in 2020.

Tom Courtney

Tom Courtney

Tom is a travel writer and author of Walkabout California, a series of guides to California hiking from inn-to-inn. He recently retired from a career of working with nonprofit organizations in the area of financial management where he served as VP Finance, CFO, and consultant with youth services, social welfare, educational and environmental organizations. Tom also taught graduate courses in nonprofit financial management at UC Berkeley. Current term ends in 2018.

Alexandra Escobar

Alexandra Escobar

Alexandra served in the Peace Corps teaching University English in Guizhou, China. She is the co-founder of two successful start-up organizations: Roar Into College, a website that motivates Latino students to apply to college, and Project Long Beach, an interactive web application that connects community members and encourages civic engagement. In 2013, California State Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal named Alexandra to her 30 Women Under 30 list. In 2014, she received Peace Corps' Franklin H. Williams award for exemplary commitment to service and for carrying out Peace Corps’ goal of promoting cultural understanding. Current term ends in 2019.

Lisa Gurwitch

Lisa Gurwitch

Lisa is President and CEO of K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers, a national nonprofit that provides people impacted by poverty and tragedy with new merchandise distributed through a network of agency partners. Her past nonprofit management experience includes Senior Vice President for World Learning, and as Executive Director of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. She previously practiced real estate and financial transactions law. Current term ends in 2018.

Erin Hamant

Erin Hamant

Erin is an Administrative Analyst for the City of Santa Monica’s Public Landscape Division. She works principally on policy, budget, environmental-benefit projects, and open space maintenance management analysis for the City’s parks, urban forest, beach and downtown business district. She also serves as a steering committee member for a local branch of the U.S. Green Building Council-LA Chapter. Current term ends in 2019.

Charles Hokanson

Vice Chair
Charles Hokanson - Secretary at HIUSA

Charles is Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer of Helios Education Foundation, an endowed public charity focused solely on education reform efforts in Arizona and Florida. Trained in law and public policy, Charles previously served as CEO of an education reform consulting company and President or Executive Vice President of three national education policy nonprofits, as well as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secretary Education. Current term ends in 2019.

James Kennett

James Kennett

Jim is the founder and operator of the HI Northwest Portland Hostel and a partner in HI Miami Beach Hostel. He has over 35 years of experience developing and operating hostels. Jim currently serves on the HI USA Board as a nonvoting member by virtue of his election as chair of the Affiliate Hostel Advisory Board, which represents hostels in the HI network operated by private and nonprofit owners.

Walt Knoepfel

Walt Knoepfel

Walt is a retired financial executive and certified public accountant with domestic and international experience in multiple industries, including not-for-profit. His international assignments included nine years in Indonesia and Korea. Most recently, he worked as an audit/assurance partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Current term ends in 2018.

Samir Kassar

Walt Knoepfel

Samir is a global management consultant with experience advising senior executives across sectors and geographies, including the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Asia. Sam has experience with a number of leading global consultancies namely Booz&Co, Deloitte Consulting, PRTM, PwC, and currently as a Director at Eagle Hill Consulting in Arlington, Virginia. Previously, he spearheaded research and development activities at three telecommunications companies. Sam holds an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Engineering from the University of Florida, Gainesville. He is fluent in Arabic. Current term ends in 2018.

Roseanne Landay

Vice Chair
Roseanne Landay - Vice Chair at HIUSA

Roseanne Landay, Vice Chair and a member of Executive Committee, chairs and serves on strategy and governance working groups. She has over 20 years experience leading strategy and corporate development for financial services, travel, and tech companies including Bank of America and City National Bank, and as a consultant with Montgomery & Co. and PwC. She has a M.A. in International Economics from SAIS-Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. magna cum laude from UC Berkeley. Current term ends in 2020.

Joanna Line

Joanna Johnson

Joanna is the Assistant Coach for Cross Country and Track and Field at Bowling Green State University. She received a Master of Science degree from Smith College, where she also served as Assistant Coach for Cross Country and Track and Field, and instructor for undergraduate Exercise and Sport Studies courses. She was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship which granted her a year traveling around the world to study women's empowerment through running. Joanna is an advocate for Girls Gotta Run Foundation which utilizes sport as an instrument for empowerment for young female runners in Ethiopia. Current term ends in 2018.

Marcella Mc Coy-Deh


Marcella is Director of the Honors Program at Philadelphia University. In that capacity, she has led students on international and domestic cultural exploration trips on five continents. She also serves as campus Fulbright Program Advisor shepherding student applications to conduct research and teach abroad. She has over 19 years of experience as a faculty member and administrator at universities in the mid-Atlantic and Southern regions of the United States. Current term ends in 2019.

Eric Oetjen


Eric is a senior executive at a leading international professional service firm with nearly 4,000 staff and $800 million in revenues. He leads a division which provides financial advisory, technical, training and research assistance to public agencies, commercial businesses and nonprofits in affordable housing and community development. Eric serves on the Board by virtue of his election to the board of the International Youth Hostel Federation.

Dean Papademetriou

Dean Papademetriou

Dean is legal counsel to the Boston Housing Authority, where he has extensive experience with tax credit financing, bond financing, public procurement, construction, and energy sustainability. Previously, he was in private practice as a real estate and corporate attorney. He is trustee of a large condominium trust and manages properties for a family business. Dean has participated in a learning exchange between professional and community leaders in Boston and Haifa. Current term ends in 2019.

Francis Pickford

Francis Pickford

Francis is the senior Finance leader at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. He is a certified public accountant and has over eighteen years of public accounting and auditing experience, and ten years in director/executive level positions mainly in the not-for-profit sector. Francis holds training and certifications in the areas of general management, operational effectiveness, lean six-sigma and board governance. Current term ends in 2018.

Cynthia Singer-Riordan

Cynthia Singer-Riordan Board Member

Cynthia brings 10 years of experience working in international and experiential education to the HI USA Board. As a Site Director for programs at AIC Boston, she has worked closely with college students to help them navigate and begin their careers in a global environment. Her ability to work with a diverse cohort of individuals is transformative for her students and inspiring to her colleagues. Current term ends in 2019.