Our People

The Chief of Staff Association is composed of a diverse, experienced group of global thought, business and academic leaders.

Board of Directors

Cassie Crockett
Chair (New York, USA)

Cassie Crockett is Vice President of Talent Engine at Schmidt Futures. In this role, Cassie leads Schmidt Futures’ talent programs, as well as overseeing the development of new programs for approval and high-priority partnerships. Prior to Schmidt Futures, Cassie worked for McKinsey & Company, where she specialized in education technology and served as Chief of Staff of the Social Sector Office, and at Pearson, the world’s largest learning company. Cassie earned her J.D. from Yale Law School and is a member of the Colorado Bar Association.

Trent Smyth AM
Executive Director (London, UK)

Trent served as the Honorary Consul for Malawi for nine years and the Secretary of the Consular Corps Melbourne between 2014-2021. Trent is the founder of the Sports Diplomacy Foundation and a former Director of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and holds a Bachelor of Commerce and an MBA from the University of Melbourne.​ In 2021, Mr Smyth was awarded an Order of Australia for services to international relations, motorsport and business.

Santiago Perez Teuffer
Director (Mexico City, Mexico)

Santiago’s strong Latin-American network and diverse business experience between Latin America and the US, provide a valuable edge for him to serve on the Board of the CSA. Santiago has an extensive banking career, and after pursuing his graduate studies at Stanford, went back to Mexico to pursue an entrepreneurial career in the energy industry. Santiago has an MS in Energy from the Stanford School of Energy, and an MBA from the Stanford GSB.​

Dr Aron D’Souza
Director (London, UK)

Dr Aron D’Souza has had a career across diplomacy, academia, finance and law. He served as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Moldova in Australia until 2019. Aron was educated at Harris Manchester College in the University of Oxford, where he read law, and also holds a PhD in intellectual property law from the University of Melbourne. He is the editor of The Journal Jurisprudence and has written three books.

Editorial BoardThe Chief of Staff

Dr Katherine Firth
MA Ph.D (Oxford Brookes)
Chief Editor

Dr Firth is an award-winning and innovative educator. Currently, Katherine is the Academic Coordinator at International House, within the University of Melbourne where she manages the academic program including academic advising, teaching, the library and graduate student academic development. Dr Firth has successfully managed small and large projects, particularly in building digital systems and resources, and in developing collaborations across institutions to support student learning.

Dr Chris Howard
D.Phil.(Oxford) MBA (Harvard)
Member of the Editorial Board

Dr. Chris Howard is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the ASU Public Enterprise. Howard works closely with President Crow and the other executive vice presidents to coordinate enterprise-wide initiatives and advancement, oversee ASU Enterprise affiliates, advance new enterprise relationships and opportunities, and integrate ASU Enterprise planning and strategy. As a Rhodes Scholar, he earned a doctorate in politics (D.Phil.) from the University of Oxford. He also has an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School. Dr. Howard earned a Bronze Star for service in Afghanistan, and also served with the elite Joint Special Operations Command and as the Reserve Air Attaché to Liberia.

Dr Carolyn Kissane
Ph.D (Columbia)
Member of the Editorial Board

Dr Carolyn Kissane serves as the Academic Director of the graduate program in Global Affairs at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University. Dr Kissane is a Clinical Professor where she teaches graduate level courses examining the geopolitics of energy, comparative energy politics, energy, environment and resource security. She serves as the Academic Director for the MS in Global Affairs and the new MS in Global Security, Conflict, and Cybercrime.

Keith Ferrazzi
MBA (Harvard)
Member of the Editorial Board

Keith Ferrazzi is a #1 NYT bestselling author, who wrote Never Eat Alone, Who’s Got Your Back, and most recently published Leading Without Authority. He’s an entrepreneur, Founder & Chairman of Ferrazzi Greenlight and an executive team coach to some of the most prominent organizations in the world. He’s a thought leader and frequent contributor at publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, WSJ, and Fast Company.

Operational Team

Jeremy Costa
Chief of Staff to the Executive Director

A master’s graduate of international relations at the University of Melbourne, Jeremy is an experienced writer on Australian foreign policy, previously working for international affairs think tanks Asialink and the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA). Jeremy is passionate about connecting people and believes strongly in the power of diplomacy.

Abigail Martiner
Member Relations Manager

Abigail is a recent master’s graduate of public policy at King’s College London. Before joining The Chief of Staff Association, Abigail worked in research and advocacy roles with a variety of nonprofits. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, she is passionate about global politics, particularly the influence of digital media.

Alexandra Atkeson
Product Manager

Alexandra is a soon to be graduate of the University of St Andrews, focusing primarily on security studies. Prior to joining The Chief of Staff Association, Alexandra gained experience working for a Bay Area Congresswoman. She is passionate about international relations and communication.

The CSA is fortunate to have a network of Fellows who support our community with experience, influential connections and mentorship.