Our Faculty

GLA faculty live, work, communicate and lead across cultures and geography.

Chie Aikawa square

Chie Aikawa

languages: Japanese, German, English
pronouns: she/her/hers
homebase(s): Bonn, Germany & Tokyo, Japan

Chie has two passions in her life: learning and speaking languages and working with international youth; she has been involved in international youth exchange for nearly three decades, first as a participant, and later as a staff. A trained interpreter and translator, Chie now focuses on being an effective conduit between cultures and languages in the field of civil society, as well as promoting the sense of global citizenship among students and young professionals as a diversity facilitator of Japanese organization GiFT (Global Incubation X Forstering Talents).


Mya Fisher, PhD

languages: English, Japanese
pronouns: she/her/hers
homebase: Washington DC, USA

Mya has spent more than 20 years as an international education professional, specializing in exchange programming related to Japan and China. Embedded in her work and program designs are creating spaces for people to ask hard questions, find their “voice” to engage in these conversations and equips them to be active and critical thinkers who will contribute to the reimagining of societies grounded in principles of equity and inclusion. Mya is a fierce supporter of next-generation talent. Encouraging young people to embrace their leadership potential, pursue interests in international opportunities, and discover their place and purpose in the world motivates and inspires her every day.

Mya is a proud alum of Williams College (B.A. Psychology and Sociology), New York University (M.A., International Education) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (M.S. and PhD, Sociology). Based in the Washington DC area, in her free time, she enjoys watching movies on opening night (pre-coronavirus), spoiling her two pet guinea pigs, listening to audiobooks, taking road trips, practicing yoga and doing Zumba.


Natsumi Mishio

languages: Japanese, English
pronouns: she/her/hers
homebase: Okazaki, Japan

As a teenager, Natsumi experienced social withdrawal from Japanese society (hikikomori) and, as an adult, has committed her life to helping young people lift their confidence as they find their way in life. Studies in the United States and work in Southeast Asia were particularly formative in her growth and, since returning to Japan, she has worked with tens of thousands students from ages 7 to 22 in various leadership and educational positions. Natsumi sees her work with the GLA as a way to further advance her commitment to empower young people in the pursuit of their goals and dreams, despite what challenges they may face.

Sunny temporary profile

Sunny Watts, MA

languages: English, Italian
pronouns: she/her/hers
homebase: Lake Garda, Italy

For over twenty years, Sunny has been an educator with a passion for creating dynamic learning environments for individuals from diverse international backgrounds. When developing curriculum, she focuses on incorporating arts infused disciplines, so as to facilitate active learning where individuals fully participate in their growth and development. She works with GLA participants with a level of devotion, playfulness and flexibility in order to best light up their learning experience.


Marlou Cornelissen, MSc

languages: Dutch, English
pronouns: she/her/hers
homebase(s): London, England & Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Marlou loves to work with young people and to help them realize their fullest potential as leaders and change agents. For many years, her professional focus has been on leadership development and program strategy, with a special emphasis on youth mobilization and community building. This has led her to work around the world in leadership positions with World Merit, Humanity Lab Foundation, Run for Life, and iWoman, and with global institutions like the United Nations.


Kei Kasukawa Eriksen, MA

languages: Japanese, English
pronouns: she/her/hers
homebase(s): Tokyo, Japan & Seattle, USA

Kei brings her two decades of experience in working with international students, young professionals, and leaders for their personal and professional development. Over the years of working at iLEAP and other colleges, she has guided youth and young professionals on their leadership journey, career paths and life transition with her deep listening and inquiry. Kei holds a Master’s degree from the School for International Training (SIT) in International Education specializing in student advising and cross cultural advising.


Yuka Kitajima

languages: Japanese, English
pronouns: she/her/hers
homebase: Osaka, Japan

Yuka earned a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from DePauw University, specializing in collective memory and intercultural conflict transformation. Over the course of her career, she has worked with more than 1,000 high school students teaching entrepreneurship and art education. As a researcher at a think tank and a learning designer, Yuka’s mission is to help students cultivate self-determination and their social awareness.

Russel Watts

Russell Watts, ML, PCC

languages: English, Italian
pronouns: he/him/his
homebase(s): Lake Garda, Italy & Washington DC, USA

For over thirty years, Russ has worked with young international leaders on their journey of self-discovery and personal growth. His leadership journey has been broad and far-ranging from hanging off bridges, dams and wind turbines to being a professional photographer to coaching and training world leaders to be more dynamic and powerful in their formation and execution of mission and vision. As a long-distance runner, who recently ran across four countries in the Alps, Russ is committed to designing learning experiences that help others to elevate their focus and flow in their pursuit of personal and professional growth. In addition to being the Chief Learning Officer at iLEAP, Russ is also an adjunct professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, an adjunct professor in the Health and Wellness Certificate Program at Georgetown University, and a Founding Partner of Solutions for Online Integrated Learning (SOIL).


Britt Yamamoto, PhD, MSc

languages: English, Japanese, Spanish
pronouns: he/him/his
homebase: Seattle, USA

Britt has three decades of teaching experience at all levels (from elementary aged to post-graduate students) and, in addition to being the President of iLEAP, is currently also a Clinical Associate Professor in the University of Washington Department of Global Health, a Founding Partner of Solutions for Online Integrated Learning (SOIL), and the CEO and co-founder of Perennial, a leadership training organization that designs and facilitates transformational experiences for seasoned social leaders from around the world. Britt holds degrees from the University of Michigan, the University of California at Davis, and the University of Washington.