Worldly Perspectives: PCFR Members Take Flight

  • 18 May 2021
  • 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM
  • Online

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Worldly Perspectives: PCFR Members Take Flight

A Members-Only Program


May 18, 2021

5:00pm - 6:15pm MST

8:00pm - 9:15pm EST

Virtual Event


How many times has your perspective on the world been influenced by fellow members of PCFR? Now is your chance to learn more in the new PCFR Worldly Perspectives Program series — featuring PCFR members who have led fascinating lives working and traveling around the world.

Each quarter, we will gather featured speakers to share their stories. Following the moderated discussion period, the conversation will continue in smaller groups. Expand your perspective and your network through PCFR Worldly Perspectives — the world’s stories told from our own backyard.


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Featured Storytellers


Claire Sechler Merkel is the Senior Director, Arizona Programs for the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. She served as director of friends and family and chief of staff to Mrs. Cindy McCain during the 2008 Presidential Election campaign, and worked for McCain for President 2000. Previously, she served as legislative assistant and special assistant to U.S. Senator John McCain and campaign coordinator for John McCain’s first U.S. Senate Campaign. Claire was associate director in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs for President George H.W. Bush, senior intergovernmental officer at the U.S. Department of Labor and regional director for Eastern and Central Europe at the International Republican Institute. Prior to joining the McCain Institute for International Leadership, she lived for two years in Malmo, Sweden with her husband and children. Claire holds a degree in public policy, with distinction, from Stanford University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She now resides in Phoenix with her husband, David, and their two children.

Warren Salinger came to the U.S. as a refugee from Nazi Germany in February, 1939, two months shy of his seventh birthday. Warren graduated from Goddard College with a degree in Political Science and spent most of his working life with NGO's on international development issues. As Director of the Greeley Foundation for Peace and Justice, Warren worked with former President Jimmy Carter, helping him start the Carter Center's International Negotiation Network. Improving relationships between the U.S. and the Soviet Union took Warren to the USSR and then Russia more than 80 times, including spending the entire week of the August, 1991 coup that toppled 72 years of communism, in Moscow. As a Development Director of the Unitarian Service Committee, Warren spent considerable time in Central America, especially in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, during the wars there. Warren is a seven-year veteran of USAF Intelligence (1951-58), including spending three and a half years in Germany at the height of the Cold War interviewing German POW's from the USSR.

Bus Obayomi is a digital consultant with a global risk management firm, Willis Towers Watson. He is also the President of New Zeal Consulting. Bus Obayomi has a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the State University of New York at Albany, a Master's degree in International Affairs from the City University of New York, and a Masters' degree in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. Bus has worked as a Council Aide for New York City Council and a legislative aide for New York State legislature. Bus is a world traveler who has studied abroad in Argentina and had lived in both Africa and the U.S. He is currently involved with the local government in the Town of Gilbert, providing input on community issues. 

Maria Houle is the Program Director of the Thunderbird SHARE Fellowship, a graduate-level scholarship/mentorship program at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Maria joined SHARE in 2009 after 20 years' experience in the banking, fashion and non-profit sectors. A fourth-generation Phoenician, she has an MIM from Thunderbird, degrees in Political Science and Italian from the University of Arizona, as well as the CELTA ESL certification. She has worked and studied in eight countries, speaks several European languages at wildly different levels and has been a proud member of the PCFR since 2015.


Have your own story to share?

Reach out to Luke, PCFR Program Committee Co-chair and Board Director, to share how your perspective can benefit our membership as a whole.



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