Meet The Team in the U.S.

Check out the amazing team that works to promote and carry out our mission from the U.S.

Key Staff

Judy Wheeler

Co-Founder and Chairman

With more than 30 years in executive positions within retail sales, Ms. Wheeler has overseen all retail activity, leasing, operations, marketing and management of high-end and luxury brand retail stores and multi-store centers. Ms. Wheeler is currently a consultant to a highly recognized, cutting-edge personal flotation device firm. She has served on the boards of numerous cultural, arts, and educational non-profit organizations and has provided pro bono development consulting for such non-profit groups as the Manchester Arts Partnership, the Manchester Film Festival, Southern Vermont Arts Center, the Vermont State Craft Center, and the Frog Hollow Board.

Chester J. Opalka


Chet Opalka is co-founder of Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI), located in Albany, NY, a full-service chemistry services provider focused on applications for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences industries. Prior to founding AMRI, Chet worked for Sterling Drug Inc. in various capacities in the Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Development Departments. He has been named as inventor or co-inventor in nearly 30 patents, co-authored several scientific publications relating to his accomplishments in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry. One invention led to the marketed product, Inocor, a drug used to treat congestive heart failure. Chet received his BS in Chemistry from Niagara University. Since his retirement, Chet has become very active in the local business and philanthropic community. He serves on the Board of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, non-profit Boards of Trustees for the Sage Colleges, The Freddie Institute for Philanthropy Education and Northeast Health. He and his wife, Karen, are founding members of The Global Child.

Karen Opalka


Karen Opalka was an elementary educator for more than 30 years. During that time, she was involved with curriculum development and its implementation in all areas of academics and the arts. Since she retired, Karen has been a philanthropist involved primarily in the areas of children, education and the arts. She serves on the board of directors for the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Capital Repertory Theater and the Averill Park Education Foundation.

Michael McClurken, Ph.D.


Mike McClurken is the retired Vice President of Research and Development for Salient Surgical Technologies, Portsmouth N.H. He has 30 years of experience managing the design and development of medical devices in small start-ups and large organizations. He has eleven issued US patents and has published 13 technical papers on medical technology. Dr. McClurken has developed disposables for American Hospital Supply, implantable vascular grafts for Impra, Inc. (C R Bard), the first transvenous defibrillation lead for CPI (Guidant/Boston Scientific), and most of Salient Surgical’s electrosurgical products. Dr. McClurken received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from M.I.T. in 1980.

Jacqueline M. Eastwood


Jacqueline Eastwood is the retired President and CEO of Salient Surgical Technologies, Inc., in Portsmouth, N.H., a global leader in devices and techniques that use proprietary technology to enable surgeons to simplify surgery and provide superior care to their patients. Ms. Eastwood was formerly employed by Medtronic Inc., the world’s largest medical technology company specializing in implantable and interventional therapies, from 1987 to 1998. She served in the roles of VP Corporate Ventures, VP Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery and VP General Manager of Medtronic BioMedicus.

Victoria Kisekka, Ph.D.


Dr. Victoria Kisekka is an assistant professor at the University at Albany, SUNY. She attained her doctorate in Management Science and Systems from the University at Buffalo, SUNY. She has expertise in cybersecurity risk analysis, cybersecurity education, and behavioral research in security and privacy.

Elisabeth Dubois

Director of Marketing & Strategic Initiatives

Elisabeth Dubois, MBA is an Information Science Ph.D. Student in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity (CEHC) at the University at Albany as well as the Director of Marketing & Strategic Initiatives for The Global Child. She also works as a Research Assistant with CEHC and volunteers in a variety of capacities on and off-campus.  In her work at TGC, she is charged with monitoring social media and web design, writing and applying for grants, and helping plan, fundraiser for, and run a number of initiatives. Given her graduate studies, Elisabeth has expanded her research interests from socially vulnerable populations, diversity, and education to include emergency preparedness and public health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Courtney Opalka

Board Advisor

Courtney Meyer has worked in both Development and Administration for domestic violence agencies since 2007. Her focus has been fundraising, event planning, and communications from a social justice lens. She has a B.S. in Psychology from St. Lawrence University.

Emily Wheeler

Board Advisor

Emily Wheeler is the owner of E Wheeler & Compandy LLC Consultant and Bookkeeping Services. After graduating with a BS in Accounting from Russell Sage, she spent over 17 years working in corporate and public accounting. In 2008, she opened her own business, to allow her more time with family and volunteering in the community. She serves as a Board Advisor at TGC and working to provide free consulting services to enhance the fundraising endeavors at the school. 

Dennis Li

Social Media and Website/UX Design Intern

Dennis Li is an undergraduate student from The University at Albany. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Informatics with a concentration in Interactive User Experience. He volunteers as an intern at The Global Child and manages its social media accounts, creating content to interact with our community. He is also responsible for redesigning The Global Child’s website and improving the user experience for its users.