Board Members


The Board of Directors oversees all programs and activities of and sets the strategic direction for the Association. Its members reflect the rich geographic and experiential diversity of our membership.

Eleven persons are elected among qualified members to staggered three-year terms. A Director may be reelected to a second term. Directors serve on a voluntary basis, receiving no remuneration during their service.

From among their ranks, the Board selects officers to serve in specific leadership positions.

In addition to the eleven voting Directors, the Board is supported by three non-voting ex officio Directors: the immediate past president, the chair of the committees on governance and ethics, and the Association’s founder. Each of these individuals provides specific and timely counsel to the Board as it carries out its official duties.

Directors must be members in good standing and must have demonstrated ongoing commitment and service to the Association and its programs. Each January, if a position is open to be filled, the Committee on Governance sends an open solicitation for nominations to all members. Those nominees are vetted and considered in an election that takes place either in February or March. Newly elected Directors assume their post on 1 September each year.

Meet the Board

 
 

More Information About the Board

Melissa Werner

Melissa Werner

President

Melissa is Executive Director of the Office of University Events and Protocol and the Office of University Ceremonies Arizona State University (ASU). She is the co-founder of the North American Association of Commencement Officers (NAACO). Melissa has been producing University Ceremonies since 1999. She previously worked as Development Officer and Program Coordinator with Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism/Mass Communication, with a minor in Marketing from Arizona State University and a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.

Melissa joined PDI-POA in 2012 and has been a board member since 2016. She chaired the 2018 International Education Forum held in Boston, Massachusetts.


Darin Pfeifer

Vice President, Continuing Education and Professional Development
Darin Pfeifer is the Assistant Vice President for Administration and Protocol at Drexel University and serves as University Secretary. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, Drexel is a comprehensive global research university and is one of America’s 15 largest private universities. Darin has a background in hospitality, constituent engagement, and higher education administration. He is a graduate of The University of South Dakota, Bay Path University, and The Protocol School of Washington. He has worked in the event and protocol industry for over 15 years.

Lydia DeAngelo

Vice President, Events
Lydia DeAngelo serves as an independent protocol consultant, meeting and event planner. Prior to her current work, Lydia was with The Protocol School of Washington® focusing on the operational protocol management of international visits, meetings and training. Her extensive knowledge of U.S. and international protocol practices (including logistics coordination, VIP visits, and programming) has been critical to the production of numerous events involving U.S. and foreign government officials, diplomats, military officers, corporate executives, and other dignitaries. One of her proudest achievements was the production of the International Media Diplomacy Program, a combination of education training, bilateral meetings and site visits designed specifically for senior government communication specialists (VP level and Senior Director level) from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to meet, learn and benchmark from their US media counterparts at organizations like the Department of State and NASA. Lydia also organized and orchestrated in detail the School’s Global Education Summits hosting international officials from more than 15 countries and nearly 200 guests for an immersive opportunity for learning and networking through the format of keynote presentations, panels and workshops.

Lydia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Operations Management from the University of South Carolina and is a licensed protocol officer and international protocol and etiquette consultant through The Protocol School of Washington®.


April Harris

Vice President, Membership
April L. Harris is the former Associate Vice President for University Events, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, where she was responsible for the president’s and advancement events, academic ceremonies, and protocol. An expert on academic traditions, Harris is the author of three books: Special Events Planning For Success, 3rd edition; Etiquette and Protocol: A Guide for Campus Events, 2nd edition; and Academic Ceremonies: A Handbook of Traditions and Protocol.  She is a past president of the North American Association of Commencement Officers (NAACO) and the NEATAlumni Trust. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Harris also earned a certificate at The Protocol School of Washington. She currently serves clients in academia and business through her own company, Harris Etiquette Events Protocol.

April joined PDI-POA in 2011 and was a member of the International Protocol Education Forum committee in Atlanta (2016). She has co-chaired two regional workshops. She was elected to the Board of Directors in 2020. 


Catherine Wilson

Vice President, Communications
Catherine M. Wilson manages international visitor protocol and donor stewardship for Notre Dame International, working collaboratively with units across campus to develop strategic priorities for international visitors and to coordinate and execute event and protocol management for distinguished international visitors to campus. Before coming to NDI, she was director of special projects and media relations for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney for the 60th Judicial Circuit of Indiana. She earned both her bachelor’s degree in philosophy and her master’s in nonprofit administration magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame, as well as a certificate in hospitality and tourism management from Florida Atlantic University. She is a graduate of The Protocol School of Washington®’s protocol officer training, and is licensed through PSOW as an intercultural protocol and etiquette trainer. She is also certified in GlobeSmart Profile and Inclusive Behaviors Inventory through Aperian Global.

Catherine became a member of PDI-POA in 2016 and has served as a Forum volunteer, Member Buddy, Communications Committee Co-Chair and chair of the Silent Auction for the 2020 International Education Forum, as well as a member of the Events Committee and the Select Committee on Professional Behaviors, Ethics, and Responsibilities. Catherine joined the board in 2020, assuming the role of VP, Communications in April 2020.


Colleen Rickenbacher

Secretary
Colleen trains in the field of all areas of etiquette, protocol, civility and communication skills. She is a protocol consultant to several corporations and companies and in her role with the Global Protocol, Etiquette and Civility Academy, they provide training to individuals or companies the opportunity to become a high-level protocol, etiquette, and civility certified professional.

She is a magna cum laude graduate from Northwood University with a Bachelor of Business Administration and International Studies. Prior to that she taught and was the choreographer for the Penn State University Blue Band. She has been the etiquette trainer for the past 29 years for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, and appeared on Country Music Television (CMT) with them in the program “The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.”

Colleen has been a member of PDI-POA since 2011, and is a part of the Newsletter Committee, Continuing Education & Professional Development Committee, and Member Buddies. She formerly served as the Chair of both the Mentorship & Partnership Exchange Program and the Protocol Prose Book Club. She was elected to the Board in 2019.


Harlan Lee

Treasurer
Harlan was a career diplomat with the State Department from 1968 – 1995, serving at embassies and consulates in Thailand, Fiji, Nigeria and Egypt, as well as domestic assignments in Washington D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, and Honolulu. He was Assistant Chief of Protocol and Executive Director (chief administrative officer) of the Protocol Bureau. Following his retirement from the Foreign Service he founded Harlan Lee & Associates (HLA) which provides contract support services to the federal government and the private sector, including protocol and event management, financial management, strategic planning, visual information, and public affairs. After twenty-five years in business, Harlan and his wife Mary Jane closed the company in 2020. They reside in Fairfax, Virginia.

Harlan received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Stanford University and a Master of Arts in Pacific Islands Studies from the University of Hawaii. During his multiple careers, he has worked as Special Assistant to the Mayor of Seattle, as a consultant to the Hawaii State Department of Planning and Economic Development, and on the Washington staff of his Congressman from Hawaii. He is an associate member of the Hawaii Consular Corps.

Harlan has been a member of PDI-POA since 2008. He was chair of the International Education Forums in Chicago (2013) and Washington D.C. (2014). In 2015 he received the Ann Beard Board of Directors award for service to the organization. Harlan was elected to the PDI-POA Board in 2018.


David Attree

David Attree

Member of the Board
David is currently self employed as a lecturer and presenter. He previously served for 27 years as the Protocol Officer for the Office of International Relations and Protocol, Government of Ontario, Canada. For many years he was the Hospitality Coordinator and Coordinator for Incoming Business and Government Delegations to Ontario for the Office of International Relations and Protocol, Government of Ontario. David was the site coordinator and Protocol Officer for worldwide royal visits to Ontario, and Protocol Officer and administrator for the Consular Corps to Ontario and for the Diplomatic Corps to Canada on visits to Ontario. He has worked as a lecturer and presenter to VIP Security Forces, Provincial and Federal Government program areas including the Diplomatic Corps of Canada. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. He is also a graduate of The International Butler’s Academy, The Netherlands.

David joined PDI-POA in 2010 and subsequently chaired the International Education Forum in Toronto in 2011. He has enjoyed being a member buddy to new PDI-POA members for many years. David was elected to the Board in 2018.


Maria-Stella Gatzoulis

Member of the Board
Maria-Stella Gatzoulis is in charge Special Events and International Protocol at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has over 20 years of event planning and international protocol experience for a major foreign policy research institute. On a typical day, she interacts with and facilitates events for Heads of State, Members of Congress and other high level VIPs.  She also coordinates logistical and event support for over 1,200 meetings a year related to International Affairs.

She completed her undergraduate studies in Switzerland in International Political Studies, followed by a Masters’ Degree in International Affairs from The American University in Washington, D.C. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Event Management from George Washington University. She is fluent in Greek, French and Spanish.


Ginny Raderstorf

Member of the Board
Ginny Raderstorf currently serves as the Chief of Executive and Legislative Affairs at the Walter Reed National Military Medical, Bethesda, Maryland. Ginny’s unique portfolio includes responsibility for strategic engagement and support in diverse arenas to include Protocol, Legislative Affairs and Military Health Diplomacy.  Ginny is a graduate of Texas Women’s University and, prior to her military retirement, served over 20 years in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. 

Ginny joined PDI-POA in 2007, served on the planning committee for the 2009 Washington, D.C. Forum, was a presenter at the 2012 Denver Forum and was elected to the board in 2020.


Kim Starfield

Member of the Board
Kim Starfield is a Senior Protocol Officer for Visits with the Office of the Chief of Protocol of the United States, U.S. Department of State. She has worked in the Visits Division since February 2017, which plans, arranges and executes detailed programs for visiting Chiefs of State, Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers meeting bilaterally or multilaterally with the President, Vice President, their spouses, or the Secretary of State. She also travels internationally in support of official Presidential and Vice Presidential trips. Prior to joining the Visits Division, Kim worked for two years in the Ceremonials Division, responsible for organizing the ceremonies, official meals and other functions hosted by the Secretary of State. She formerly served as the Assistant Protocol Officer in the Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security prior to moving to State Department.  Since 2012, she has been actively involved in PDI-POA, serving as the 2020 Virtual Education Forum Chair, 2015 Salt Lake City Forum Program Chair, 2014 DC Forum Volunteer Coordinator, and Forum Assistant for both the 2012 Denver and 2013 Chicago Forums. She has also organized multiple PDI-POA regional programs in the D.C. area, from happy hours to day-long workshops.  Kim has a B.A. in International Studies from Dickinson College and a graduate certificate in Cross-Cultural Communication from American University. She is additionally a licensed protocol officer by the Protocol School of Washington and has received certification in soft diplomacy from ISPD Protocol and Diplomacy and in hospitality and tourism management from Florida Atlantic University.  She is fluent in French and Spanish.

Ann Beard

Ann Beard

Founder / Director Emerita
Ann presently owns and operates an international business consulting firm, Diplomacy and International Protocol. For many years, she served as the Chief of Protocol for the city of San Diego, California.  She also chaired the Mayor’s International Affairs Board and acted as the City’s principal liaison to the San Diego Consular Corps and San Diego Sister Cities International Board of Directors. Ann’s long career included organizing significant parts of a G-7 Economic Summit, two Kyoto Peace Prize Awards, two America’s Cup races, a national political convention, and even equestrian events for the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. She is an instructor on international business protocol and diplomacy at San Diego State University. Ann received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Communication Arts from Willamette University and completed post-graduate studies at University of California San Diego Extension in Business Administration.

In 2002, Ann led a group of global protocol professionals to create this Association, an organization to elevate our work, enhance our ongoing education and training, and enlarge our network.  Ann served as PDI-POA’s inaugural president and later as the chair of the Committee on Governance.  Currently she holds the title of Director Emerita and continues to share her wisdom and experience with the Board and all members.


Leslie Lautenslager

Leslie Lautenslager

Immediate Past President 
Leslie’s career in protocol began over 30 years ago when she joined the U.S. Office of the Chief of Protocol during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan. Leslie currently serves as the Executive Assistant to General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), and has supported the General for more than two decades. During his tenure as U.S. Secretary of State, Leslie was the Assistant Chief of Protocol for Ceremonials and Special Assistant to the Secretary of State. She is a graduate of the College of William & Mary, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree and double major in Psychology and Fine Arts.

Leslie first became involved with PDI-POA when the association first came to Washington, DC, for its first International Education Forum in 2002. She has served on the Board of Directors since 2011 and held officer positions of Secretary and First Vice President before being elected President in 2016.


Chris Young

Chris Young

Chair, Governance and Ethics
Chris is a senior public sector consultant in Accenture’s state and local government practice. His prior professional experience includes service as the Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Executive Director of a United Nations training arm for local governments in the developing world; Executive Director of The Protocol School of Washington; and Chief of Protocol and Director of International Affairs, the State of Georgia. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech and his law degree from the University of Georgia.

Chris has been a member of PDI-POA since 2005.  He was a voting Director from 2007 to 2014. He became PDI-POA’s youngest President in 2008 and continued that service through 2014, ushering in an era of unprecedented growth. In 2014, the Association honored him with the Ann Beard Board of Directors Award.  In addition to his present duties, he has also served the Association as First Vice President and Chair of the 2016 Atlanta Forum.