Our Board of Trustees, Staff and Award Recipients at 2023 Passport to Wine and Dine.

Our Mission

Global Ties Akron strengthens academic, corporate, organizational, and personal links between Northeast Ohio and the world.

Our Vision

  • Global Ties Akron will be recognized community-wide for developing international connections that benefit the Greater Akron community.
  • The Greater Akron community will understand and recognize the importance of Citizen Diplomacy.

Our Values

  • Representative – Global Awareness, Appreciation of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Diplomacy
  • Collaborative – Skill and Knowledge Sharing, Communications, Defining Mutual Goals
  • Professional – Result oriented, Dependability, Integrity, Initiates New Ideas

Our Impact

In 2021, Global Ties Akron hosted 8 virtual delegations of international leaders from 44 countries made up of 122 participants on topics ranging from Women Entrepreneurship to Cultural Outreach for Museums.

Our global education programs connected with 540 local students, 13 educators, 3 refugee cultural heritage presenters, and 12 students and educators from the Museum of Kikinda, Serbia bringing the world into the virtual classroom and engaging our community virtually too through our Global Threads Online Magazine project and Milkshake Man Book-  random acts of kindness project. 

One of our first returns to in-person events, our International Thanksgiving Dinner, welcomed 80+ people to Exchange House where our Peace Pole was installed during the summer of 2021.  

Our Staff

Michelle Wilson

Executive Director


Through my work, at Global Ties Akron and in the community my focus is on building mutual understanding and respect, helping others to realize the value of diversity, especially through global education and citizen diplomacy, and connecting the Akron area and Northeast Ohio to world leaders and changemakers to build a global network of community builders.

Adriane Clayton

Program Director & Bookkeeper


Through my work with Global Ties Akron, my focus is on developing impactful programs for international visitors that allow best practices to be shared by the visitors and by their counterparts in Northeast Ohio further building bridges between Akron, OH, and the world.

Our Board of Trustees and Staff

Holly Harris Bane, Board, About

Holly Harris Bane


Director of Economic & Entrepreneurial Development
City of Aurora, Ohio

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rima Muakkassa, about, board member, GTA

Rima Ghosn Muakkassa, PhD

Vice President

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Litsa Varonis


Hiram College

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Cynthia Robinson


Human Resources, Benefits Specialist
Akron Public Schools

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Juan Eduardo Contreras Barberena

Immediate Past President

Professor of Practice & General Manager of ZTV 
The University of Akron

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Amanda Johnson-Toala, PhD

Director, The Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education
Kent State University

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I am an accomplished leader and program/relationship manager with over 15 years of experience in international higher education capacity-building and international student programming. I consider myself a change agent skilled at providing innovative, entrepreneurial solutions to educational issues.

Samuel DeShazior

Deputy Mayor, Economic Development 
City of Akron

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Doug Hausknecht

Retired Associate Professor of Marketing and International Business
The University of Akron

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Nassim Mir

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I am well-traveled which provides me with a diverse experienced background working and being with people of different ethnic backgrounds. 

Gabriella Paár-Jákli

Associate Professor
Kent State University

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Gina Ioannitou

Research Associate Professor at Le Mans Université

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George Haritos

Retired: Dean, College of Engineering at The University of Akron

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Mahesh Srinivasan

Professor of Supply Chain and Ops Management, Executive Director – Global Engagement, Director – Institute for Global Business

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Connie Smoot Krauss

Retired – Director, Community and Economic Development County of Summit Ohio

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Rebecca Guzy Woodford

Immediate Past President at ATHENA AKRON INC

Retired Senior Vice President Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce

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Darlyn McDermott

Market Leader and Southern Region Director MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network

Sr Custom Account Underwriter IoT and Industry 4.0Sr Custom Account Underwriter IoT and Industry 4.0Hartford Steam Boiler

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