Kathy Benemann experienced a culturally rich and diverse upbringing in the Bay Area of San Francisco. Ethnically Iranian, Kathy studied Farsi as a child, enjoyed Palestinian festivals, and celebrated Persian new year’s. Her adoptive parents are white but they engendered Kathy’s connection to her Persian heritage.
Her professional career spans cultures as well. Kathy studied genetics in college, taught English in Japan, taught high school science, earned an MBA, and brings vast expertise in educational technology. Over a 25-year career, Kathy has fueled growth for venture capital-backed startups, growth stage companies, and multi billion dollar conglomerates. An expert in using artificial intelligence for the benefit and safety of consumers, Kathy now serves as Vice President of Product Marketing at H2O.ai, where she drives strategic initiatives, product marketing, and empowers teams to achieve revenue. The company’s mission is to democratize AI.
Kathy formed a connection to Global Nomads years ago. She was living and working in Brooklyn, NY, volunteering with a group focused on Syrian refugee youth, when she befriended a neighbor who worked for Global Nomads. “We clicked right away,” says Kathy, who consulted on the development of the organization’s science education program and later partnered to connect a classroom of Syrian refugees in Jordan with a classroom in the U.S. in a cross-cultural dialogue.
A marketing specialist at her core, Kathy was “eager to get Global Nomads programs to teachers hungry for high quality tools to engage their students and develop critical skills.” She is determined to correct educational inequity and notes that, “Travel is not accessible for everyone. Virtual exchange provides an alternative, accessible way for young people to connect – regardless of their resources – and experience global perspectives.”
“Global Nomads is uniquely positioned to get people out of echo chambers and foster dialogue without judging,” says Kathy. Global Nomads deeply appreciates that her investment has evolved into a leadership position on the Board, and looks forward to growing with her impactful presence in our organization.