Learn more about our dedicated senior staff who lead an office of more than 80 staff members in Washington, DC.
Executive Director and CEO
Esther Brimmer, DPhil, currently serves as the executive director and chief executive officer of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Dr. Brimmer’s distinguished career includes three appointments within the U.S. Department of State, serving most recently as the assistant secretary for international organization affairs from April 2009 to 2013. Prior to joining NAFSA, Dr. Brimmer was professor of practice of international affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs where she served a two-year term as the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor. She was also an adjunct senior fellow for international institutions at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a senior adviser at McLarty Associates. She was previously deputy director and director of research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) from 2001 to 2009, and was a member of the SAIS faculty. She also taught at the College of Europe in Belgium, and from 1995 to 1999, she was a senior associate at the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. Earlier, she served on Capitol Hill as a legislative analyst for the Democratic Study Group in the U.S. House of Representatives. Immediately after earning her doctorate from Oxford University, she spent two years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.
Deputy Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer
Jane Hoffman joined the NAFSA staff in 2015 as deputy executive director for finance and administration and as NAFSA's chief financial officer. Before joining NAFSA, Hoffman served as managing director of finance at KIPP DC, a network of high-performing, public, college-preparatory charter schools in Washington, D.C., and as chief financial officer at the National Cooperative Business Association. She has held staff positions at the Washington Post, Cooperative Business International, and the Czech American Enterprise Fund in the Czech Republic. Hoffman earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of South Dakota and a master's degree in public and private management from Yale University. She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi, providing business and technical support to small local businesses.
Deputy Executive Director, Conference, Academic Programs, & Internationalization Services
Kevin Hovland is the deputy executive director of conference, academic programs, and internationalization services (CAPIS) at NAFSA. The CAPIS team is responsible for developing a rich, diverse, and stimulating annual conference program, as well as facilitating efforts to internationalize higher education and engage faculty members and other academic leaders in designing high-impact educational experiences around shared global learning outcomes. Hovland joined the NAFSA staff in 2014 as senior director for academic programs. Prior to that he served as senior director of global learning and curricular change at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). At AAC&U, he led the Shared Futures-General Education for a Global Century project funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. That project created a network of 32 colleges and universities using global learning outcomes as an organizing principle for coherent and comprehensive general education curricular designs. Hovland has written widely on global learning and international education, including most recently in Global Learning: Defining, Designing, Demonstrating, a joint e-publication released by NAFSA and AAC&U in 2014. Hovland earned a BA in Russian regional studies from Columbia University and did graduate study in history at Georgetown University.
Deputy Executive Director, Leadership & Professional Development Services
Sheila Schulte joined the NAFSA staff in 2011 as senior director of international enrollment management and international student and scholar services, working closely with the Knowledge Communities for both areas as well as the International Student and Scholar Regulatory Practice Committee. From 2014–2016, she served as senior director of professional learning services, which creates and facilitates NAFSA’s in-person and online training opportunities.
In 2016, Schulte became deputy executive director of the Leadership and Professional Development Services portfolio, which oversees the development and implementation of quality programs, products, and services for NAFSA’s 11 regions as well as those working in education abroad, international enrollment management, and international student and scholar services.
Prior to joining the NAFSA staff, Schulte worked as a campus-based international education professional for nearly16 years at Georgia Tech, Emory University, and the University of Idaho. During this time, she held several leadership positions on the state, regional, and national levels for NAFSA. She has a BA and an MA in anthropology from the University of Iowa.
Deputy Executive Director, Public Policy
Jill Welch is NAFSA's deputy executive director for public policy. She has been engaged in working with Congress and the Executive Branch on international education issues for more than a decade, and she leads a team of talented staff in promoting international education as central to constructive U.S. global engagement and to peace, security, and well-being in the United States and the world. In serving as a strong advocate for public policies that create a better world through international education, Welch and her team work to raise awareness of the significant contributions international students and scholars make in the United States, address the need for greater global competency on the part of U.S. graduates, and promote freedom of academic travel, among other objectives. Welch first came to NAFSA in 1998, having held previous positions with U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and the Institute of International Education. She holds an executive leadership MPA from American University and a BA in political science and French from Berry College.
Deputy Executive Director, Communications & Advancement
Alan Williams serves as deputy executive director for marketing, communications, and organizational advancement. In this capacity he provides strategic management of NAFSA's extensive marketing, communications, membership, global partnerships, fundraising, sponsorships, and program underwriting. Williams also leads NAFSA's new product development unit, which is aimed at identifying innovative new solutions that serve the field of international education. Prior to joining NAFSA, Williams served as vice president of the leadership and engagement center at the International Youth Foundation (IYF), where he provided strategic management for one of IYF's largest global corporate initiatives, the Make a Connection program. Williams also served as executive director of Quest International, an educational nonprofit dedicated to providing life skills, character education, violence prevention, and service-learning programs for young people. He has also served as the director of communications at the global headquarters of the American Field Service (AFS) student exchange organization in New York City. Originally from South Africa, Williams was an AFS exchange student from Cape Town to Schenectady, New York. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and media studies and a BA (Honors) degree from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa.