Our Team

Executive Director

WorldDenver’s Founding Executive Director Karen de Bartolomé brings significant experience in international education and program administration. As the Rocky Mountain Region’s Executive Director for the Institute of International Education (IIE), she oversaw the administration of the Fulbright and other scholarship exchange programs for the Rocky Mountain Region, as well as the Denver World Affairs Council, The Diplomats Ball, and the Department of State-funded International Visitor Leadership Program. Prior to this role, Karen had her own consulting practice in marketing and leadership development and worked with the University of Colorado in international development. Karen served as a White House Fellow in the Reagan White House and as part of the transition team for the Clinton Administration (first term). Karen spent 14 years in a variety of managerial and executive roles at the Port Authority of NY & NJ. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the School of International Service at American University and a master of public administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Karen has served two terms on the national board of the National Council for International Visitors (now Global Ties U.S.). She now serves as Vice Chair of the World Affairs Councils of America andholds a gubernatorial appointment to the StudyColorado Board. Karen was a finalist for the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce 2016 ATHENA award, which honors the Denver woman who best exemplifies exceptional professional achievement, devotion to community service and generosity in actively assisting other women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills. Click here to see the 2016 ATHENA award finalists video.




Director of Development & Communications

Prior to joining the team at WorldDenver, Melissa gained significant experience as a fundraising professional in both large and small nonprofit organizations. After making the switch from a marketing director in the corporate sector, she began her stint at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society working on their Team In Training campaign. From there she made the move the American Red Cross as a Manager of Donor Relations. Immediately prior to WorldDenver, Melissa ran a small global health organization called Comunidades Unidas Peru. Throughout her career Melissa has focused on relationship-building, communications and team leadership. Her passion for international relations is what drives her to support WorldDenver and other organizations both personally and as a professional. When not at work, Melissa spends her time in the mountains or with friends, as well as volunteering in the community through other wonderful organizations.



Director of Programs & Administration

Prior to joining WorldDenver in 2017, Matt Britton served as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. He also worked as a Health Education Volunteer with the US Peace Corps and as a volunteer with the Rio 2016 Olympics. His 12+ years of living abroad (United Kingdom, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, El Salvador, Burundi, & Brazil) make him feel right at home with WorldDenver members and fellow "citizen diplomats" working to build bridges that span cultural, linguistic, and geographic divides in our increasingly globalized world. His diplomatic career included assignments in embassy administration and management, immigration services, communications and media relations, and management of international exchange programs. Matt holds a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Tulsa and speaks French, Spanish, and Portuguese (as well as a smattering of Tok Pisin and Hassaniya, but you would be hard-pressed to find individuals who understand either of those languages!). Outside of the office, he enjoys spending time with his family, snowboarding, being out in nature, and collecting coins from around the world.



Program Manager, Professional & Youth Exchange Programs

Gergana Kostadinova joined WorldDenver in November 2014 as Program Coordinator for Professional Exchange Programs. Before becoming a staff member, Gergana served as a contractor, intern, and volunteer for WorldDenver for 2.5 years. She holds a M.A. in International Studies from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, and a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Denver. As a student, Gergana was very involved on campus and in the community, and worked in Undergraduate Admission. She also spent a semester studying abroad in Chile and later returned to conduct graduate research, and participated in short-term study abroad programs in Belize, Spain, Austria, and Nicaragua. She moved to the United States with her family from Bulgaria in 1999 and has proudly called Colorado her home since then. In her spare time, Gergana enjoys exploring everything that Denver and the Colorado mountains have to offer.




Member Engagement Coordinator

Naomi joined WorldDenver in 2018 as the Mission Support Coordinator. Prior to joining the team, she worked for the U.S. Peace Corps as a Community Health Advisor in Malawi. After serving, she continued her education earning a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver in 2016. While finishing her degree, she worked as a fellow at the Colorado Secretary of State's office, and for her final thesis developed a program in Cuba to bring Americans to the island to teach English and pursue cross-cultural exchanges. In her free time, Naomi enjoys cooking, reading, and exploring Colorado.




Administrative Assistant

Yasman Azimi as worked with WorldDenver since 2018 as the Administrative Assistant. Prior to that, Yasman worked with multiple non-profits doing Administrative work, Social Media, and Outreach within the Denver area. Yasman earned her Bachelor's of Science degree with a Music Business emphasis from University of Colorado at Denver. Outside of WorldDenver, Yasman is also a musician.



Homestay Coordinator

Mary Lou has worked with WorldDenver since 2012 as a consultant on the International Visitor Leadership Program.  Prior to that, Mary Lou worked with various programs at the Institute of International Education's Rocky Mountain Regional Center including the speaker series and both youth and professional exchange programs.  Mary Lou served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Moldova where she taught English and organized camps and programming focusing on girls' leadership.  She holds a B.A. from Colorado State University in Sociology and an M.A. in International Administration from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. In her free time she enjoys chasing her two children, leading her daughter's Brownie Girl Scout troop, gardening and hiking.