Global Leadership
an international experience

July 22-27 2019
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Make a WORLD of difference.


Global Leadership Initiative (GLI) convenes young adult leaders who offer a new vision for the future. We see this primarily as an opportunity to help young adults grow into stronger community leaders. Our conference is designed for maximizing all activities and resources, accepting ONLY 54 participants per year. This allows for the personal attention and focus without becoming a convention.We have a partnership with the United Nations and Rotary International, creating great potential and opportunity for this to have a ripple effect with generations to come.

With a new global economy, and a job market that is as competitive as ever, now is the time to act. The objective is to tap the energies of this highly motivated generation of 19 – 29 year olds and to further inspire them to lead by Passion, Purpose, and Action – the motto for GLI.

Global Leadership Initiative IS for a New Generation of Change-Makers.


Our History

GLI has stemmed from a Rotary based leadership program, ARYLA (Advanced Rotary Youth Leadership Awards).

In 2009, a brainstorming committee from District 7980 (Southern Connecticut) recognized that the age group of 19-29 had been widely under-supported within the district. Three years later, the stressed economy and the job market were both reaching a record low and becoming as competitive as ever. Now is the time to act. A steering committee was formed and the idea turned into a passion and took flight. Justin Phillips, Alan Hurst, Mukund Nori, Dave Wolfe, Dennis Wong, Kathy Owens and several others involved with the RYLA program created this dynamic, new program. The objective was to tap the energies of this highly motivated generation and to further inspire them to lead by Passion, Purpose, and Action – the motto for Advanced RYLA.

After the ARYLA conference in 2014, Justin Phillips, the Chairman recognized the need to better address the quickly growing international presence at the conference. Additionally, recognizing that the ARYLA name was unattractive to the world outside of Rotary, GLI was born.

GLI is a group dedicated
to crafting meaningful life-changing experiences

Leadership Team

Justin Phillips, CEO

jp3Justin is currently a pilot for United Airlines and flies the Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft on international and domestic flights. Additionally, he has retired from Umpiring Baseball for the NCAA where he umpired 11 seasons.

Justin was raised in Oregon and was selected to be a Rotary Exchange Student to Brazil spending his 16th & 17th birthday abroad. After his exchange he attended the University of Oregon receiving a Bachelors of Science. During this time he also attended Rotary’s Leadership Conference (RYLA) at the age of 19. He continued his education in Florida, at the ‘Flight Safety Academy’ earning his instructor wings and was hired by the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado working as both a Flight Instructor and a Ground School Instructor. After one year he became a mountain check pilot and evaluator for the cadets. Being a ground school instructor Justin taught a variety of courses including Crew Resource Management, a leadership course within the aviation community. After just two and one-half years Express Jet (formerly Continental Express) hired him in the year 2000. Justin continued working his way up the flight ranks and umpiring for college baseball as well.

In the airline industry, Justin attended many different leadership courses. In November 2011 Justin was asked by the Rotary International District 7980 to assemble a personal and professional Leadership Course designed for young adults, which is how Advanced RYLA (ARYLA) took flight. The overnight international success with ARYLA paved the path for Gobal Leadership Initiative, GLI.

Justin is a Rotarian at the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club residing in Westport, Connecticut with his son Will, and his daughter Alexa.

Philip Sharlach, VP of Strategy and Development

Phil has thirty-plus years of experience at Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (G.A.O.) highlight his career in management and consulting. At PwC Phil was the lead manager developing the organizational and financial management plan for the breakup of A.T.&T.

Independently he advised Weight Watchers International develop the program for their permanent retail weight loss centers and for their franchisees financing of these locations. Also, for NutriStstem he revised the sourcing for all of their microwave meals. This saved NuriSystem $30m annually, and resulted in their’​ sale to Black Rock Capital.

As the Ct Democratic Party’s State Senatorial Candidate for Fairfield County allowed Phil the opportunity to tackle inefficiencies of the state budget, government operations and tax burdens faced by constituents of the 26th district. In the 2016 legislative session Phil was asked to find savings that amounted to over $200m, without any reductions in state employment roles. It is policy and procedures that can make this happen.

Phil currently represent Wilton, CT on the Area 9 Cable Council, where he has been an advocate for greater transparency in government. I am an active adviser for SCORE, a non-profit business consulting service, under the Dept. of Commerce, Small Business Administration, that trains and advises entrepreneurs to launch small businesses.

As a member of ROTARY INTERNATIONALS Board of Directors, I serve on their International Service Committee; and am an advisor to the Board of Directors of FINANCIAL EXECUTIVES INTERNATIONAL for Fairfield and Westchester Counties.

As a volunteer to Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County I was the recipient of the 2014 Patient Support Award.

Michael Nichols, VP of Business Development

Frank Kuchinski, VP of Entrepreneurship

Frank Kuchinski is a systems thinker who brings a fresh perspective to new initiatives at large and small organizations.  Frank advises companies on rethinking and simplifying their product management processes so they can build products that customers love and deliver a great customer experience.

Frank takes companies with many stakeholders from needs analysis to commercial launch on time and in budget. To do this, he uses lean startup, design thinking, and behavioral science. From working with startups designing digital products to managing the implementation of large enterprise platforms such as ServiceNow, his approach is to use the best parts of lean startup, design thinking, and Kaizen to make initiatives successful.

Frank goes beyond technology skills and have subject matter expertise in many areas such as: continuous personal improvement, leadership, digital engagement, behavioral science, positive psychology, and developing an entrepreneurial mindset having collaborated with thought leaders in these spaces.

I have helped organize two Startup weekends and two Yale CBIT-CORE Patient Experience Hackathons.

Tom Brown, VP of Programing

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 10.21.15 PM

Tom grew up in Southbury Connecticut, graduating from Pomperaug High School, where he developed his love of Theater, Music, Athletics and Community Service. He went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Theater from Ohio Wesleyan University. In college Tom continued his involvement with Theater and was a dedicated member of the Ultimate Frisbee team. His passion for helping others in the community also grew through his membership in the Chi Phi Fraternity and mentoring in the local juvenile probation court. After two years of working as a sales and marketing associate for a startup business, Tom decided to change directions back toward his passion of helping others. He went on to complete his Master’s degree in School Counseling from the NEAG school of Education at the University of Connecticut. Tom is currently working as a School Counselor in Westport Connecticut, where he also coaches the Volleyball team.

Carly Wolfe, Secretary

carly headshotHumanitarian projects have always been integral facets throughout Carly’s life. From a young age, Carly’s parents exposed her to various service organizations, such as Rotary International, in which her father was and still is largely involved. As a result of such exposure, a love for helping was instilled. At the age of 9, Carly became one of the youngest volunteers at the American Red Cross of Southeastern Fairfield County, and was also named a Millennium Dreamer through a partnership between the McDonald’s and Disney Corporations.

While attending Masuk High School, Carly took full advantage of the Rotary Youth Service programs. Carly became the president of her Interact Club, attended both Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) and Next Generations, and traveled to Italy as a short-term exchange student. Additionally, she placed 3rd in the state for the Rotary 4-way speech contest. Following High School, Carly attended Cedar Crest College, a liberal arts college with strong roots in women’s leadership. Carly attended events sponsored through the school’s Lutz Center for Community Service, participated in Habitat for Humanity’s alternative spring break, and became an active brother and Vice President of Service of Alpha Phi Omega- a co-ed service fraternity.

During the summer of 2014, Carly attended the Advanced RYLA program, which became a springboard for many more leadership and service opportunities. Shortly after the conference, Carly stepped into the role of Director of Next Generations for Rotary District 7980. Currently, Carly teaches 5th grade in Stamford, Connecticut where she has begun to instill within her students a love for helping others, applying some components from her ARYLA experience. In addition, Carly coaches a middle school winter guard team, in which she developed, for the Monroe Public School System.

Greg Garofolo, Area Representative & Facilitator

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 11.45.44 PMGreg currently works as a Program Manager within a leading IT company’s Global Healthcare Strategy team. He juggles work with his commitment to family (a fellow Rotarian wife and three young children) and to Service through Rotary, ShelterBox, and his role on Boards for two other non-profit organizations. Greg is an out-of-box thinker who has considerable experience in leadership training, program management, mentoring, and youth-driven and youth-focused organizations.

Greg’s journey to Rotary began as a Rotary Youth Exchange student in 1987-88 from his home district in Indiana to the Ballina, NSW region of Australia. He returned to the US and joined AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run international organization, and became a leader in developing leadership and program management training. Greg served as a trainer in over 30 regional, national, and international AIESEC events including conferences in Yugoslavia, Poland, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Ireland, Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany, throughout the United States, and as a co-chair for leadership conference in Senegal. He served as a founder of his university AIESEC organization, and helped pioneer his University’s launch of an International Business program including the creation of student role on the International Business Advisory Board and university Business School Curriculum Committee.

Greg is currently the Secretary of the Rotary Club of Sharon and founding Chair of the Rotary E-Club of New England, a satellite Club of the Rotary Club of Sharon in District 7950. He serves as the Vice Chair of the RYLA Committee of Rotary International and is among the leaders planning the next International RYLA to be held in Sydney, Australia in 2014. He has served as a member of Rotary Internationals 2011-12 RYLA Committee, and as a member of its 2010 RYLA Council. Greg is also the Co-Chair for his District RYLA program and serves as an Ambassador for ShelterBox USA (one of the world’s largest disaster relief agencies) Greg was awarded the 2012 ShelterBox USA ‘Beyond the Box Award’ for program innovation.

Sarah Martin, Area Representative & Facilitator

DSC07747 In 2010, Sarah graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Resource Management. In the two years after graduation Sarah lived and worked in Alaska, Washington, Utah and Montana pursuing a myriad of jobs and experiences as well as completing training to become a Commercial Driver and Nutritional Therapist. One of the constant things in Sarah’s life was her constant involvement and commitment to RYLA in both District 5050 and 7950 as well as the international platform. Sarah’s Rotary career began in 2009 as a participant of district 5050’s RYLA program. The year after Sarah was invited back to be part of the facilitating team, which she did for two years. In 2012, Sarah accepted the position of Head Facilitator for district 5050 RYLA program and re-structured the program to include a weekend facilitator training, guide book, and generation-based leadership goals. Also in 2012 Sarah attended her first Rotary International Convention in Bangkok, Thailand. In the months after the convention Sarah joined Rotary as a member of the E-Club of New England. In 2013, Sarah started her own business, SUNN Health (, which produces organic health products and also customized nutritional testing. In 2013, Sarah hiked the El Camino de Santiago (550 miles trail from France to Spain). After completing the trail, Sarah attended the Rotary International RYLA Pre-con in Lisbon, Portugal as a speaker and facilitator. After returning to the states, Sarah enrolled in post-graduate studies to become a Doctor of Chiropractic at Life West Chiropractic College outside of San Francisco, California. Sarah served as a facilitator and supporter of ARYLA 2013-14 and a member of the planning committee for International RYLA in 2014.

Sarah is currently in the process of publishing a book on her experiences hiking the El Camino de Santiago called “Seeing Magic”. Sarah is also a current Chiropractic Intern in the Life West Chiropractic College with plans to graduate in Dec 2016.

Ipek Tekdemir, Turkish Operations and Programming Director

Ipek Tekdemir is the Director of Business Development and International Operations for a2 International Education Fairs. She works with Atlas Study to promote Turkish Universities abroad and providing marketing strategies for both local and universities abroad.

Ipek Is a professional Tennis player and is a former professional volleyball player. She began her international exposure as an exchange student at 14 years of age in Iowa, USA. She has also created the start up ‘Business Tennis Cup’ in Turkey raising funds for challenged Youth.

Additionally Ipek Tekdemir has worked as the Director of Career Planing and Director of Development and Placement in the Cooperative Education Department at Atılım University, Ankara Turkey.  Ipek serves Turkish and International students in career services at Atılım University and has implemented Cooperative Education into their curriculum (on the job training) for long term internship programs to the university for the first time.

With 7 years of experience in the field of career and talent management in higher education, she is a frequent presenter of Career Congress and Trainer for ISKUR (The Turkish Employment Agency), and other international educational organizations. Her area of specialization includes;

  • Career planning services for international students
  • International education and recruiting
  • Intercultural communication and lifelong learning
  • Transitional training from student life to professional life

Marcos Ricardo Klitzke, Area Representative & Facilitator

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 11.50.05 PMMarcos is a fairly refined quick multidirectional vision professional. He began his professional career graduating in business administration at the Regional University of Blumenau (FURB). Specializing in international trade relations his early career was marked by his great participation in international exhibitions of Marble and Granite that provided him with strong growth in its international networking.

With his entrepreneurial skills since 1996 manages two information technology companies participating in the physical structuring and developing software solutions for many companies. Marcos also gained great prominence in the field of construction, which since 2012 keeps a scaffolding distributing company of the Franco-German ALTRAD Plettac Assco GMBH for the South American market.

Scout since his teens and Rotarian since 2000 Marcos had many experiences that forged his leadership characteristics. Scoutmaster Chief, RYLA Coordinator in District 4650, GSE Team Leader in 2010 (England), member of the Comittee World RYLA and Board Member of the International RYLA program in Sydney in 2014. Marcos resides in Timbó SC, Brazil with his wife Alexandra, his daughter Katarine and the twins Mark and Mariana.



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