Marisa_copyMarisa Moreira Woehlert

Marisa Moreira Woehlert was born in the northeast of Brazil but grew up in the most southern State of the country. Both States, Pernambuco and Rio Grande do Sul could not be more different in terms of food, accent, ethnic background, customs and folklore. Living with these differences since early age raised lots of interest on traveling around the country and learning even more about cultural diversities. Her desire to enjoy different cultures also made her travel around the world and learn different languages. She graduated at PUC/RS – Brazil – B.A Languages – Portuguese and English, studied French (Alliance Francaise – Porto Alegre), and easily engages in conversational Spanish. She first volunteered when she was only 14 years old teaching second grade students how to read and write. While in Brazil she worked for private companies such as Credicard (Citibank Group) and later managed 3 small businesses of her own. In 1997 she moved to the US, and today she is not only the Chairman of Youth, Education & Volunteer Committee but also of the Membership Committee. In 2008, she also became an Ambassador of Partners of the Americas for the Olympic Games, Beijing. In her home town, Oak Brook, Marisa is a Board Member/Economic Development Director of the FWAA (Fullersburg Woods Area Association), and recently she was part of the Caucus (2008/2009 elections). As a private citizen she has been organizing a Brazilian Group to be part of the Columbus Day Parade, including POA members. She is a well known face around the events organized by the Brazilian Community and by the Brazilian General Consulate in Chicago.

Immediate Previous President

Jan_copyJan Hertzberg

Jan leads Baker Tilly’s Technology Risk Consulting Practice in Chicago. He has held a number of leadership positions with Fortune 500 companies including IBM, Abbott Laboratories, Ernst & Young LLP and Grant Thornton.He has been an active member of the Illinois Chapter of the Sao Paulo-Illinois Partnership since 1995. He has served as a Board Director since 1996 and held a variety of leadership positions including First Vice-President (2001-2002), Second Vice-President (2003-2004) and President (2003-2004 and 2005-2006). He served on the POA International Board 2006-2007.


Michael_copyMichael Lofstrom

Michael Lofstrom has been a long-time member of the Board of Illinois-São Paulo Partners, and currently serves as co-president.  He is principal of a small management consulting business working in international development assistance programs primarily in Latin America.  Prior to that was a US Foreign Service Officer for project developments in Latin America, and a former Peace Corps volunteer. Mike is also co-chair with Dan Anderson and Carmen Vidal-Hallett for the International Business Sustainable Practices (IBSP) project, focusing on São Paulo small enterprises, university participation in both states, and municipal government involvement with recycling and composting initiatives.  Mike has been elected Committeeman in Vernon Township, Lake County IL, for two year terms since 2004.  A key accomplishment of IBSP included participating in the initial technical exchanges between Illinois and São Paulo for the Enviro-Agro Technology Transfer activities (together with Len Harzman, John Santas and Ciro Croce among many others), which received the POA/Washington award for best project in 2006.  Mike was a POA American Fellow in 2007 and last year 2013, working in the Dominican Republic in sustainable environmental and agricultural community development workshops and applications.


Nan_copyNan Bjork Sullivan

Nan’s first experience with Brazil was as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bela Vista, Mato Grosso (do Sul, a small town on the Paraguayan border.  When she returned, she joined the Sao Paulo–Illinois Partners and has been a board member, president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, newsletter editor, and host to many Brazilian guests. She is a licensed professional counselor and for the last 16 years has worked at Truman College. Nan is married to Bill Sullivan; they have four children and two granddaughters.