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Rick Thomas

board chair 

International travel and experience has always played an influential role in Rick’s life. A native of Southern California, his love of travel was originally planted by the frequent camping trips his family made into Mexico’s countryside in their wood-paneled station wagon. His interest in travel was further inspired by a transformative experience in a Peace Corps family program. By his tenth birthday, Rick had lived in South America and Africa, as well as visiting multiple countries in between.

Rick’s desire for travel continued during college and after, frequenting Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean countries on business and pleasure. Rick has since passed on his love of diverse culture and experiences to his children, encouraging study abroad experiences to broaden their life perspectives.

Rick has equally had a diverse career in engineering, leadership development and wealth management. He is a partner and business advisor at Pilot Wealth Management, Inc. in Portland and resides on his property in Washougal, Washington with his wife of twenty-seven years. In between his travels, he enjoys stalking the local rivers for steelhead and sails competitively on the Columbia.

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Tyler Piumbroeck

Board treasurer

Travel and cultural experiences have always played a vital role in Tyler's life.  Traveling is something that was deeply motivating and fulfilling.  But, traveling in it of itself was only a piece of a larger puzzle.  More important than the places visited or the flights taken was the discovery that  it was possible to "learn by doing" and develop a greater perspective for what life is all about.

As a native of Minnesota Tyler always had a love for exploring the outdoors.  Tyler's older sister headed off to explore Europe and her experiences overseas paved the way for his desire to learn and travel.  Post high school graduation Tyler participated in a Gap Year program and spent a long period of time in Central American counties before returning to finish his undergraduate degree in Finance for Augsburg College.

Today Tyler spends his time working for Nike as a strategy and financial manager.  He resides in Beaverton, Oregon with his wife Callie Piumbroeck and corgie Calvin.  Any free time he has left goes back into exploring the world, or cheering on his favorite soccer clubs (Timbers & Arsenal FC).

Drew Edwards

board Secretary 

Drew Edwards is the Director of People and Partnerships for Carpe Diem Education (CDE). He started working for CDE in 2008 leading trips. He has led four amazing semesters to the South Pacific, South America and India. He has also done a lot of solo exploration which has taken him to almost all 50 states, traversed across Canada, explored much of Mexico, trekked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, and backpacked across East Africa (where he is pictured above cooking Ugali) and Western Europe. Feeling equally at home doubled over in an outhouse in the Himalayas or a shack in Fiji, sharing chai and samosas while playing cards with some people on the streets of Rajastan, or sleeping in a swag in the outback, travel and experiential education are what drives his passions.

Drew is thrilled to bring this passion and love of life to the Carpe Mundi Board. Drew enjoys making use of the lessons he has learned both on his own and in leading trips to make the programs the very best they can be. He also continues to learn and grow through being surrounded by people he loves, delicious coffee, good food, and all the wonderful outdoor opportunities that abound in this very green part of the country.

Ethan Knight


Ethan is the founder and Executive Director of the American Gap Association - a nonprofit standards, equity, and resource hub recognized by the US Department of Justice, for Gap Years.  Ethan is also the founder of Carpe Diem International Education and its sister nonprofit, Carpe Mundi. He has been working in the International Education sphere for the past 15 years, and worked with more than 3,000 domestic students on their journeys. He is also a Gap Year taker who, at the age of 19, traveled to India, Nepal and Tibet for 7 months... much to his mother's initial chagrin (his mother is proud now though, oft he time he took and the impact it's had on his life). 

Ethan has been invited to speak at the City of Portland's Tri-County Diversity Conference; is a founding Board Member of the Wayfinding Academy (a two-year college in Portland); has been a guest speaker in the UK and Canada, and at more than 30 conferences around the country. He holds certificates from the ManKind Project and Byron Katie, and has received formal training in Drs. Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks and Gary Zukov's works. He is a graduate of Willamette University in Portland, Oregon, with a degree in English and Philosophy. 

Geoffrey Garner

I’m Geof Garner and I was born at a very young age. After that, I grew up in Astoria, Oregon and have lived in Portland since 1993, (with a few years traveling in Germany and Europe and studying in Eugene, Oregon at the U of O). In my travels I’ve learned that chocolate doesn’t ask questions, chocolate understands. I earned a masters of arts in teaching from Lewis and Clark College.

I’ve used my 20 years of teaching experience and directing educational programs to help homeless and low-income/first-generation college students graduate with a bachelor’s degree. There’s nothing better as a profession than being part of a great team and working with resilient students toward the goal of equity through higher education and life long learning. I wake up happy knowing that my team and students are crushing their goals. 


Joe Wagner

Joe Wagner is a Portland native. Growing up, he loved subjects like geography and anthropology that tapped his curiosity about the world, though family trips were Oregon bound, involving a tent and galoshes. After earning a BA in history at the University of Oregon, he studied web design at Pacific Northwest College of Art and saved travel money working in the kitchens of several Portland restaurants. At 23, he took his first overseas trip to travel, mostly alone, for three months in Thailand, Malaysia, and Sumatra. This inaugural international journey expanded his worldview and gave him a new confidence. 

Today, Joe is Director of User Experience at Puppet where he works with a crackerjack team of researchers and designers who strive to understand the work experience of Puppet's customers so they can design tools that work well for them. The work is part science, part craft. In the end, when it goes well, the result is something that feels just a little magical. 

Joe lives in Northeast Portland with his wife, Julia, and their two hilarious daughters. 

Marshawna Williams 

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Marshawna was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and graduated from the University of Portland with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing Management. As a Portland native, Marshawna enjoys trying new restaurants, volunteering in the community, and connecting new people to all that Portland has to offer. As a first generation college student, Marshawna is determined to help all students find their path to higher education. She believes that learning is connecting. In the Office of Admissions and New Student Programs, Marshawna is committed to multicultural recruitment, outreach and finding new community partnerships to connect more life learners to PSU.

Pamela Blumenthal

Pam believes in the life changing impact of international travel. A trip to Europe in the 4th grade ignited her own passion for travel and led her to seek out more opportunities. These included studying abroad in both high school (Finland) and college (France), teaching English in Japan, studying Spanish in Mexico, and taking a family trip to Israel.

Pam is the Director of Links Programs at Portland Community College. PCC Links is comprised of four programs: two serving high school age, at-risk students and two supporting first generation, low income college students. Pam has a background in counseling and has worked in education for more than 17 years. Before working at PCC, Pam worked in K-12 education as a counselor and administrator. Pam is committed to creating opportunities and supporting the success of under-represented young people.  

Pam lives in NE Portland with her husband Patrick, and daughter Georgia. In her free time she enjoys cooking and gardening.