US-Brazil Connect

Based on years of experience in Brazil, we have focused to find mutually-beneficial solutions that help emerging leaders from the US to go deep, give back and return to inspire to build solutions.

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Mary Gershwin, Founder
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Rich Rediger, Other
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Bri Erger, Director of Programs
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After serving US-Brazil Connect as the first leader of the OUTSpoken Program, Bri Erger's passion for and expertise in international grassroots development led to the position of Program Director.

Before joining US-Brazil Connect, she developed a love for service and working within the education system as an AmeriCorps volunteer in North Carolina, a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador and by working with 20KWatts-a nonprofit supporting development projects in Latin America.

These international experiences have helped to shape her professional goals. Bri recently completed her M.A. in International Development at the University of Denver. In addition to traveling for work and pleasure, she enjoys photography, practicing yoga, and various athletic, social and cultural activities

Linnea Chruscielski, Operations Manager
Start Date: 2015

Linnea has been involved with US-Brazil Connect since early 2015 when she participated in the Conexao Mundo program as a Team Leader in Paraiba, Brazil. When the program concluded, she joined the US-Brazil Connect staff as the Executive Administrator. While in her full-time position, she also participated as a Team Leader for the 2016 Conexao Mundo program in Porto Velho. After the program concluded, she began planning the programming and logistics for the two week Student Visit which took place in Denver in February 2017. Linnea manages day-to-day administrative and financial tasks as well as special projects for development, program, and events. Linnea's background includes English as a second language instruction and refugee resettlement and employment services. She holds a BA in Peace Studies from The College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota.

Mary Gershwin, CEO/Executive Director
Start Date: 2009

With more than 25 years of practical experience in strategic planning, workforce development policy, and public/private partnerships, Mary Gershwin has worked to expand educational achievement with a wide range of organizations. Clients include the Ford Foundation, the US Embassy in Brazil, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the US Department of State, USAID, the National Governors Association, the American Association of Community Colleges, National Council of State Legislators, and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Most recently, with funding from the Lumina Foundation and Joyce Foundations, Gershwin established Business Champions Inc. and oversaw development of a national strategy to engage employers as leaders in improving community colleges. As a part of this process, she facilitated a series of seven White House meetings for the Education and Training Committee of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. This work resulted in the establishment of Skills for America's Future at the Aspen Institute and a national action plan to create high-impact partnerships for jobs in the U.S.

On behalf of the US Embassy and USAID, she designed and facilitated the US-Brazil Partnership for Technical Education. Gershwin has taught at the graduate level and holds a B.A. in Economics and a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Denver. Fluent in Portuguese and conversational in Spanish and German, she serves on several international, workforce, and community-related boards. Gershwin has two grown children and lives in Denver, Colorado.


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