Kira Mendez is Director of the Iacocca Institute at Lehigh University, which creates and supports innovative programs and initiatives that challenge and develop the next generation of global leaders. She joined Lehigh after 30 years of strategy consulting and leadership experience and is a former partner of the Bridgespan Group, a firm specializing in social sector and philanthropic advising. Prior to her work in the social sector, she advised owners and investors of new ventures and mid-sized private companies.
She has served on and led a number of nonprofit boards, most recently serving on the board and executive committee of Bronxworks, a social services agency of the South Bronx in New York City. As a Lehigh alumna, she has served as president of the Lehigh Alumni Association and on advisory boards for the College of Engineering, Corporate and Foundation Relations, and the Zoellner Performing Arts Center. She was a member of the original design team for the Global Village for Future Leaders, the Iacocca Institute's experiential leadership program for young professionals, now in its 21st year with over 2000 alumni from 135 countries.
She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and electrical engineering degrees from Lehigh University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Trisha Alexy is Director of Curriculum for the Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry programs and assumes responsibility for providing the full scope of learning experiences for both the flagship program, Mandela Washington Fellowship program and also the International version that is titled Global Village on the Move.
Among her activities, she schedules and oversees the delivery of more than 50 courses, 60 executives, 14 business projects, 2 panel sessions, trips to local businesses and learning experiences in New York City and Washington, DC. Previously, Trish served as the Director of the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Global Entrepreneurship, an Iacocca Institute program hosted by Lehigh University to educate U.S. high school and International high school students (ages 15-18) to the topics of global entrepreneurship, effective business practices, leadership and cultural understanding.
Trish has her Master of Education from Lehigh University, and graduated Kappa Tau Alpha from the University of Hawaii with degrees in Journalism and Political Science.
Jim Harper served Lehigh University as director of University Relations and University Events for over 25 years. Prior to coming to Lehigh, he was vice president for advertising and communications for a multi-location building supply company.
Mr. Harper's community experience is wide ranging. He has been chairman of the board of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, chairman of the Health Systems Council of Eastern Pennsylvania and was appointed to two national committees of the American Red Cross. He was also chairman of the board of AAA East Penn and continues service on the AAA board of directors. Currently he chairs the governance committee of Discover Lehigh Valley and advisory board of East Central AAA, Pittsburgh. After retiring from his full time Lehigh position he joined Northampton Community College as their consultant for corporate relations.
He has a Master of Science degree in journalism from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. Mr. Harper is an adjunct professor in Lehigh's Department of Journalism and Communication. He has also taught communication studies and public relations at Muhlenberg and Moravian Colleges. His role at the Global Village encompasses print and other media relations.
Mary Frances Schurtz Leon
Mary Frances Schurtz-Leon has served as the Global Village Candidate Manager for 19 years. As a licensed attorney, veteran teacher, and international connoisseur, Mary Frances is a source of leadership and passion at the Iacocca Institute. Since assuming her position as head of enrollment for the Global Village, Mary Frances has also taken on the roles of Director of Residence Life, Director of the Global Village Guide Team, and Global Village Alumni Relations.
Mary Frances graduated summa cum laude from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1973. During her time at Loyola, Mary Frances embraced travel opportunities with study exchanges in Puerto Rico, New Orleans, and Guadalajara, Mexico. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in modern languages with a focus in Spanish, Mary Frances moved to El Paso, Texas, to work for VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). After a year with VISTA, a natural aptitude and familial persuasion brought Mary Frances back to New York, where she began legal training at St. John's University School of Law, receiving her Juris Doctor degree in 1977. After graduation, she worked in New York as an Immigration attorney.
Diana Shepherd is the Director of the Pennsylvania School for Global Entrepreneurship, a highly successful program hosted by Lehigh University to educate American and International high school students (ages 15-18) about global entrepreneurship, effective business practices, leadership and cultural understanding, and the tools to build a global network.
Diana received her master’s degree in Global Educational Leadership from Lehigh University and bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico. Diana arrived at Lehigh University after working in the public corporate sector for over 25 years in negotiation and finance.