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CEA CAPA Leadership Directory

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Leadership

Matthew Gold
Chief Executive Officer

Matthew Gold is the CEO of CEA CAPA Education Abroad. Throughout his career, Matthew has used technology, partnerships, and innovative strategies to help companies grow. He began his career as a consultant at McKinsey & Company and has held innovation focused leadership positions at several global companies, including Google, cars.com, and RedCAT Systems. He has worked internationally, primarily in the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. 

He is passionate about education and is excited to help CEA CAPA to continue to positively impact the lives of thousands of students each year. Matthew has experience as a professor at the Hult International Business School’s San Francisco campus, where he designed and taught business analytics courses to a primarily international student body.  

Matthew holds a B.A. from Princeton University and MBA and Doctor of Law (JD) degrees from Northwestern University. He has held several board positions and is the former Treasurer and current Member of the Board of Trustees of Princeton ReachOut, a nonprofit that helps Princeton students and alumni make a difference in the world around them. In addition to spending time with his family, Matthew enjoys cooking, reading, and photography. 

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Shawn Coover
Executive Vice President of Human Resources

Shawn Coover is the Vice President of Global Operations and Human Resources. In this role, he oversees the development and implementations of policies, processes, and best practices to ensure CEA continues to be a great place to work. This includes consultation on strategic business initiatives, employee relations, staffing plans and recruitment, compensation and benefits, communications, training and development, and legal compliance. Most importantly, Shawn and his team work diligently to make sure that everything we do is true to the organization’s Core Values, Mission, and Vision.

Shawn earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics and MBA from Northern Arizona University. He joined CEA in 2018 and brought with him 19 years of international leadership experience, including 8 years in Human Resources. His professional background also includes leadership experience in operations, project management, development, customer service, and purchasing with Honeywell, AT&T, and Belden Wire and Cable. 

An avid traveler, Shawn has traveled to over 30 countries.

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Dr. Martha Johnson
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Martha Johnson is the Executive Vice President and Provost for CEA CAPA.

She has worked in education abroad since 1991, including onsite at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and as the Study Abroad Coordinator at Leeds Metropolitan University in Leeds, England. She managed institutional relations for several U.S.-based educational organizations and consortia including Regent’s College in London and AustraLearn previous to going to the University of Minnesota in 2001.

From 2009-2022, Martha served the Assistant Dean for Learning Abroad at the University of Minnesota and oversaw one of the largest education abroad offices in the U.S., sending over 4000 students abroad annually. She played a key leadership role in the highly successful and internationally recognized Curriculum Integration initiative, as well as developing the Career Integration project and subsequent conferences.

Martha holds a PhD in American Studies with an emphasis in drama and the performance of gender, race, and cultural identity from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Martha has presented and chaired numerous sessions and workshops at national and international conferences, served on a variety of education abroad program boards, and authored articles and chapters for publications including Frontiers and NAFSA guides and resources. She previously served in leadership roles and chaired multiple committees in NAFSA, the Forum on Education Abroad, Diversity Abroad, the Global Leadership League, and the Fund for Education Abroad. She is currently serving a term as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the Forum.

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Andrea Knappich
Chief Financial Officer

Andrea Knappich is a senior finance executive with 25+ years of experience in high-growth organizations, including private equity held, public, and private companies. She has a demonstrated record of driving business transformation, growth, and operational performance, and enjoys collaborating across all areas of an organization. She has served as a key strategic finance partner to senior business and operational leaders across various business units and functional areas (technology, strategy, product development, marketing, client revenue, and human resources), and has significant experience leading due diligence and integration activities, as well as with mergers and acquisitions.

She has experience working in the US, Canada, and France, as well as extensive experience leading virtual, global finance teams. Her past roles include 20 years with Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a global leader specialized in business travel, and most recently as CFO for Celerity Consulting Group, a provider of information management and litigation support solutions. She holds an Honors Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada and also studied at a Consortium of International Business Schools (University of St. Gallen, Cranfield University, Esade, Bocconi, EM Lyon).

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Ricardo Valencia
Chief Global Inclusion & Impact Officer

Ricardo Lopez Valencia has honed his corporate and executive acumen over twenty-five years and knows that exemplary executive teams are robust, effective social systems. He is known for developing a virtuous cycle of respect, trust, and candor to create well-functioning, successful teams who have chemistry that cannot be quantified; where one superior quality builds on another.

Ricardo is an experienced executive with a strong entrepreneurial spirit whose professional success has been achieved through a commitment to people, equitable access, social betterment, and bottom-line results. He blends inspiration in teams with strategic skills rooted in the following disciplines: collaborative leadership, multiple team coordination, market insight and research, disciplined communication and public relations, cultural literacy, development of comprehensive distribution platforms, and brand development resulting in successful and executable business strategies. Following his principles, he has done well for himself and his family. As a leader, Ricardo continues to achieve for his family, the company he works for, and for those he cares about.   

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Ben Werth
Chief Revenue Officer

Ben Werth brings over a decade of experience leading strategic and operational transformation for growth and spent the past six years within the private equity ecosystem. He joins CEA CAPA from LogicMonitor, where he served as Vice President of GTM Operations and Growth Strategy and was a member of the Senior Leadership Team. Throughout his tenure, Ben held several senior leadership positions at LogicMonitor, across pre- and post-sales, helping scale global operations from 250 employees to 1,100-plus. Prior to LogicMonitor, Ben delivered consulting and strategy services with Vista Equity Partners in VCG, and at Deloitte Consulting.

Ben graduated from the University of Washington and earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance. Instrumental as a founding team member of a Bellevue Washington area non-profit, Rainier Athletes, Ben focused on creating equitable opportunities through mentorship for youth, in and out of the classroom. For over eight years, Ben worked to grow the organization to now serve 100-plus students annually, across 12 schools, supported by a team of 70 mentors.

As a business leader and community member, Ben is passionate about personal development, and creating equitable opportunities for those around him to reach their full potential.

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Chris DeRusha
Senior Vice President of Information Technology
Chris DeRusha joins CEA CAPA with over 16 years of IT management experience. His career path in IT started at a young age while helping a neighborhood computer shop build new PCs. This led to his desire to pursue his bachelor's degree in computer science. Since then, Chris has worked for manufacturing, engineering, and medical organizations. He now has extensive experience designing and leading in the implementation of robust corporate networks with the security and redundancy required to maintain business stability. Maximizing interdepartmental collaboration, efficiencies, and productivity through thoughtful and smart use of IT resources is his passion. Chris recognized early on in his career that IT was not just a service, but a provider of tools and ideas to help company departments work better, together.
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Craig Kench
Senior Vice President of Global Career and Internship Programs
Based in London, Craig is responsible for the strategic growth, development, implementation, and quality assurance of career and internship programs across all of CEA CAPA's global destinations. Since joining the organization in 2011, Craig has created a network of over 2,000 internship partners across the globe and created diverse experiential frameworks that have served over 500 U.S. institutions. Craig oversees the delivery of CEA CAPA services to maximize our students' personal and professional development and growth of employer related skills and competencies. Craig is an active member of the international higher education community and regularly presents at conferences and writes publications for the field. 

Prior to joining CEA CAPA, Craig managed educational facilities around the London area, worked for the UK government, and spent 10 years working and studying in the U.S. He holds a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Walsh University. Craig is originally from Gibraltar, raised in England, and is a former professional football (soccer) player. Learn more about Craig's leadership and the Global Internship Program in this overview video.
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Caroline Walsh
Senior Vice President of Program Development

Caroline Walsh is responsible for the alignment and growth of CEA CAPA’s current product portfolio and expansion into new markets. She works closely with leadership within University Relations to identify university needs and trends and collaborates with Academic Affairs and CEA CAPA staff worldwide to design and deliver new programs and academic partnerships that are best suited to meet the needs of our U.S. university partners.

Prior to joining CEA CAPA, Caroline worked in the Public Information Office for the Santa Clara Water District, at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco, and at the Office of International Student Scholars at UW-Madison. She has a Master of Arts in Latin American studies from UW-Madison (Wisc.), a certificate of global leadership from the Thunderbird School of Management (Ariz.) and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Santa Clara University (Calif.).

While living for a year in Madrid, Spain, Caroline used her school breaks and weekends to travel throughout Spain and many other countries within Europe. She also lived in Bolivia and Brazil, and traveled throughout Peru, Chile, and the Amazon. Caroline thinks it's OK for students to be uncomfortable when traveling abroad: "It is in these moments we learn about ourselves and the new culture we are visiting. When you leave your comfort zone, you grow. You'll feel awkward and out of place many times, but that's OK. Don't shy away from difficult moments or stay where you are comfortable, you may be surprised at how strong you are."

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA)
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators

PRESENTATIONS/PUBLICATIONS

  • "Planning Quality Short-Term Study Abroad Programs," Co-Presented at NAFSA: Association of International Educators Region II and III, Bi-Regional Conference 2005, Colorado Springs
  • "Crisis Management in Study Abroad," Co-Presented at Arizona International Educators Conference 2002, Tucson

HONORS/AWARDS

  • Recipient of a University Fellowship as well as the Intensive Foreign Language HEA Title VI Fellowship from University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Recipient of an Intensive Foreign Language HEA Title VI Fellowship (Portuguese)
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