Americans in Alsace Board of Directors
“Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.”-Erma Bombeck
In 2018, Rebecca met a charming French man while waiting for an island ferry in Thailand and within 3 months, left her life in Los Angeles to move to the beautiful Alsace with her dog, Alabama. In 2020 they welcomed a daughter, Loretta, to their Franco-American family.
With a 20+ year career in public relations and marketing working with brands like Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Jaguar, Land Rover, Yahoo, and more, she brings a wealth of marketing knowledge to Alsace.
After arriving in France and meeting the AIA board, Rebecca jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the marketing efforts then took on the role of President in 2020.
Description of Position:
Attends all Association and Executive Board meetings. Participates in the organization of at least two major AIA events per year. Replaces the President if he/she steps down. Assists the President with all pertinent Executive Board business and decisions as necessary. Purchases gifts for AIA individuals and other organizations as needed. Responsible for organizing and managing storage facility. With the President and other Board Members as needed, helps to welcome new members to the association.
Renée was born in Montréal and grew-up just north of the city. She worked in the Engineering department of Bombardier Aerospace. Later she moved to Toronto and continued in project coordination at “DeHavilland Aerospace”. Eventually Renée chose to work with children in a Montessori school in a bilingual environment. Renée and her family returned to Montréal at the end of 2004, and finally accompanied her husband to Strasbourg in 2013. Renée has been an active member of AIA serving on several committees, and is on the board of YATS. This year she joined the board of AIA. Renée enjoys cooking, traveling, entertaining and spending time with family and friends.
Chris Peltier moved to Alsace in 2018, enjoys its food, wine and feistiness. Reach out if you want to learn or share more about biking to work, hikes (to food ideally) and how students choose a university or study abroad experience. I'd love to learn more about the local (cultural) history, how to blend in sometimes and, when not to. I also have a strange hobby of strange stork picture collecting (story for another time).
Born in Ireland and born to travel, Ann studied languages (B.A. Spanish/Italian) and later international business (M.B.A.), spending 30 years as a strategic planner and marketing consultant to global communications technology firms in either North America or Europe. Living several years in Boston, MA, she explored much of the natural beauty of the USA and Canada, a love of the outdoors she now continues in the Vosges and the Black Forest. When she’s not walking in the hills with her husband, or taking part in a French or German language class, she can often be found doing yoga, creative writing or meditation.
A Cleveland native, Laura attended Kent State University where she studied nutrition and dietetics. She later relocated to Boston, Massachusetts where she practiced as a dietitian and lactation consultant working in community health.
Laura speaks fluent Spanish and has spent a good amount of time travelling and volunteering with public health initiatives throughout Latin America.
She is married to a Frenchman who was born and raised in Alsace and in the summer of 2012, Laura moved to Strasbourg to be closer to her husband’s family. She is the mother of three young children.
Community Outreach Director & Secretary
Alyssa has been living in Strasbourg since the start of the New Year, 2019. She grew up in Northern California, and continued to the University of California, San Diego, for her undergraduate career, where she studied Biochemistry, with an Emphasis in Chemistry. She began working in the biotechnology industry in San Diego after obtaining her degree, where she met the man of her dreams during his 6 month internship at her company, through the end of 2018. Her vacation plans to ‘meet the family’ turned into a more permanent stay, as they wanted to continue to grow themselves and their careers together.
Alyssa now has a clinical contract with medeuronet and has come to love ‘le type de vie’ in France and Strasbourg. She looks forward to getting to know more AIA members, as she just began her membership this past year, and looks to continue her knowledge and practice of the French language, through the Community Outreach Director position. What better way to become involved than in the AIA community!
Gracie moved to Strasbourg in 2015 after one spending year in Ardèche, and previous exchanges in Carcassonne and Angers. Born and raised Mississippian, she has now brought her southern charm to Alsace. After studying International Relations and French at the University of Mississippi, she moved to France for what she thought would be 9 months, and has now been almost 7 years. She started by teaching English and then achieved her Master’s in Business Administration from the Ecole de Management Strasbourg, where she specialized in Wine Marketing. Gracie now works in export marketing.
When not promoting wine, Gracie loves to enjoy a glass at home or at some of the great bars in Strasbourg. She also loves hiking in the beautiful Vosges mountains and exploring the fairy tale villages of the region. She has an Alsatian cat, Kougelhopf, and continues to give private English lessons.
Gracie joined the board in 2021.
Social Media Director
Claire grew up in Mundelein, Illinois and attended Kenyon College in Ohio, earning a BA in English Literature. Generally more enthusiastic on the move than in the classroom, Claire studied abroad in Wellington, New Zealand (the Coolest Little Capital in the World!), moved to South America after graduation and volunteered as an English teacher in Peru before exploring a bit of Argentina, and came to France in 2018 as an au pair in Paris.
In fall 2019, she moved to Strasbourg and enrolled in French language classes. She spent the winter back in the US working as a field organizer for Amy Klobuchar’s presidential campaign, then moved back to Strasbourg, joined Democrats Abroad as a candidate researcher, and landed a job as a business developer in nearby Schiltigheim.
When she’s not making spontaneous international moves, Claire enjoys writing on her blog, “The Millennial Abroad,” reading, traveling (obviously), sashaying around social dance evenings at Barco Latino, trying new restaurants, and exploring the running trails around Strasbourg.
Events & Activities Director
Claire grew up in Durham, North Carolina and fostered her love of travel with a degree in International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) that included her first experiences living abroad in Argentina and Paraguay. After undergrad, Claire joined a public health research firm in the Research Triangle Park, where she worked as a researcher and proposal manager.
While working and completing a Master of Public Health at UNC, Claire found a way to squeeze in a trip back to South America to hike through Patagonia. And she’s really glad she did! At a bar in Chile post-hike, she met a Frenchman named Sébastien. After traveling together in the United States and Asia, Claire joined Sébastien in the south of France. They moved to Strasbourg together in January of 2018. In her free time, Claire enjoys exploring Alsace, hiking, shaking up new cocktails, caring for her many houseplants, practicing yoga, and playing with her American cat and Romanian rescue dog.
Landmark Events Director
Bénédicte is a franco-american, born and raised in Strasbourg. She graduated from ESCP Europe and holds an MBA from Drexel University. She worked for SC Johnson for 20 years in Marketing, Sales and General Management. Her career took her to Germany, Madrid, the US (Wisconsin and Arkansas), Italy and Switzerland – great opportunities to learn the art of adapting to new places.
She settled back “home” in 2010 to care for her mother, a founding member of AIA. She now has a Coaching Practice called Bright Odyssey, specializing in Team Transformation. In her spare time, she enjoys nature, discovering new places, singing in choirs or “spa-ing”.
Children's Activities Director
Attends all Association and Executive Board meetings. Coordinates all children’s activities or delegates the responsibilities for various activities. Ensures the Newsletter Editor has all the pertinent information by the print deadline. Presides over a committee of at least two (2) to help facilitate the scheduling and coordination of activities. Provides ideas to the Board for new activities for the club. Contacts venues for activities and manages follow through on event logistics. Evaluates and communicates event activity and attendance to the Executive Board at monthly Board meetings. Participates in the organization of at least two major AIA events per year.