Peggy Parfenoff, President
Peggy has been leading WorldChicago since 2001, meeting emerging leaders – young and old – from all over the world and sharing our amazing city of Chicago with them. Citizen Diplomacy has become a way of life for our team, as we welcome over 800 international visitors to Chicago each year. Peggy is a board member for Global Ties U.S., the national network promoting Citizen Diplomacy nationwide. Before joining WorldChicago, Peggy worked at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs as Director of Development. While at the Department of Cultural Affairs, she earned her M.B.A. from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. International travel is her passion, meeting our visitors back home in their countries within Europe, Eurasia, South America, Russia, Cuba, and China!
Donna Sadlicki, Director of Operations & IT
Donna has been with WorldChicago since 1998. In addition to bookkeeping and technology, Donna also coordinates the following programs: Community Connections, Open World Leadership and Shanghai Management Fellows. Before coming to WorldChicago, Donna was the Artistic Director of The Opera Factory in Chicago. Her passion for WorldChicago’s mission of citizen diplomacy has led her to travel extensively to international destinations such as Jordan, Israel, Georgia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Turkey to name a few. As a classically-trained singer she performed for the International Committee for Artists for Peace for honoree Carlos Santana and for numerous orchestras and opera companies in the US. Donna majored in Music Performance at Eastern Illinois University.
Brian joined the WorldChicago in 2016 where he develops U.S. Department of State youth and professional exchange programming. In this role, Brian works closely with volunteers, hosts and students to ensure visitors experience the best of Chicago. Prior to joining the WorldChicago team, Brian taught English in Hokkaido, Japan, advised international students on the admission process at Brandeis University and most recently, interned for the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, one of WorldChicago’s flagship programs. In a volunteer role, Brian also served as the President of the New England JET Alumni Association (NEJETAA) where he oversaw the Boston Chapter of a 65,000 alumni network. Brian developed his passion for intercultural exchange while living in an international dorm while studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. He believes that public diplomacy is a powerful tool for fostering mutual understanding and cooperation across communities and cultures. He has a M.A. in Public Administration and M.A. in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey and a B.A. in English from Wheaton College (Massachusetts).
Angela Mughal, Senior Program Manager
Angela is the Senior Program Manager for the US Department of State Professional Fellows Program. She has been working in the International arena for more than a decade. Her most recent work was with the Institute of International Education (IIE) where she managed USAID participants from developing countries selected to complete their graduate degree in the United States. Prior to IIE, she was responsible for managing partnerships between Higher Education institutions between US and Middle East/North Africa region. Angela has lived abroad in France and Switzerland as well as traveled to several countries including Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, and several European countries. Originally from Pakistan, she enjoys traveling, classic film and global cuisine.
Lindsey Travers, Marketing & Development Manager
Lindsey works on communications, member relations, fundraising, special events, organizational outreach, social media content, and manages the Young Professionals Committee. Lindsey is from the Chicagoland area and has a B.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in Tourism. After college, she lived in Tallinn, Estonia for two years teaching English and working at the American Chamber of Commerce. She has also traveled to Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Austria, Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Turkey, the Netherlands, the U.K., and Italy. She is currently completing a Professional Certificate in Nonprofit Management at the University of Illinois Chicago and continuing to learn the Estonian language. In her free time, she enjoys trying new food, spending time with family and friends, and doing Zumba.
Caheri Aguilar, IVLP Program Officer
Caheri Aguilar is the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Officer at WorldChicago. She has an M.A. in International Studies, and a B.A. in Political Science and Italian, from DePaul University. Before joining WorldChicago, she managed an English as a Second Language program at the Vietnamese Association of Illinois. Caheri enjoys learning languages, dancing tango, traveling, and volunteering at film festivals around the city.
Desmond Iriaye, Program Associate
Desmond manages the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) and supports the business development team in proposal and grant writing. In this position, he works in tandem with young people, community organizations and students to develop skills in leadership and civic engagement. Before joining the team, he worked with Population Council where he managed social behavioral change communication projects with expertise in monitoring and evaluation, abstract presentations in international conferences in South Africa, Canada, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and the United States. He recently graduated with an M.A. in International Policy and Development from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, holds a Master’s in Public Health from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria and a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from University of Benin, Nigeria.
Jessica Castellanos, Program Associate
Jessica supports a range of programs at WorldChicago. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2018 with specializations in Religious Studies, Russian, and International Studies. Jessica spent her junior year of college studying the Russian language in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and the summer of 2017 as a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholar in Vladimir, Russia. She has also travelled to France, Uzbekistan, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Georgia. In her free time, Jessica enjoys yoga, Sudoku, her dog, and mozzarella sticks.