The Team

About Us > The Team

Connecting people from different nations and cultures around the world, using education as a tool for the next generation to understand the importance of the sustainable development, inspiring people to become part of a better and more giving society – this is really exciting and different and why I love working for this organization.

Emilian KerchevGeneral Manager

Stone & Compass was co-founded by husband and wife team Julie Kiernan & Rob Goodwin.  They created Stone & Compass as a platform to allow others to challenge their own perceived limitations and reach beyond their dreams. Everyone on the Stone & Compass team is here for one reason and one reason only…to create spaces for people to come together to have cross-cultural experiences that allow them to learn more about themselves and others; ultimately creating friendships and life altering experiences.

Robert Goodwin

Co-Founder & President

A teacher, businessman, and environmentalist, Rob has either lived or created business opportunities in London, Puerto Rico, Cambodia, Eastern Europe, and throughout the United States. His interests are human history, cultural preservation, natural resource governance, social harmony, and business development.

Some of his most unique work includes opening a school in Cambodia, creating a restaurant chain in California, national environmental mitigation, archaeological preservation, and landscape design on large estates.

Holding multiple degrees in various fields including Archaeology, geography, and history, Rob strives to bring together cultures from around the world to dialogue and collaborate on a host of issues.

Julie Kiernan

Co-Founder & Executive Vice President

As an actress, a faculty leading students, presenter, and consultant Julie has traveled extensively around the US and world. She brings a combination of curricular expertise and creativity to the programs at Stone & Compass.

In addition to her role at Stone & Compass, Julie is an Associate Professor of Theatre & Speech Communication at Salem State University where she received the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2016. She regularly directs main stage productions and is a founding faculty of the Veteran Scholars Learning Community and is the Artistic Director of the annual National 10-minute Veterans’ Playwriting Contest & Festival.

Kiernan’s TED Talk, “Setting the Stage for Human Connection,” focuses on her theatre education research. Her other research interests include contemplative pedagogy, value-creation education, building intercultural competence, and creativity.

Franco Zuccoli

Director of Outreach

Franco’s work with Stone & Compass currently includes supporting business development and strategic planning.

Franco Zuccoli is a holistic healer and health & wellness expert with 25 years experience helping people to recognize and realize their true potential. By focusing on the whole person from soul to cell, Franco is able to apply his skills as an intuitive healer and his proprietary Genetic Based Training Method™ in a way that transforms lives from the inside out.

Franco holds a B.S. in Exercise & Wellness from Arizona State University and has used his abilities extensively, working with everyone from high level executives to professional athletes. For decades, Franco has trained, consulted, and assessed the needs of NFL, NBA and NHL players.  While Franco is a sports fan, his goal is to bring health, wellness and healing regardless of background or ability.

Sarah McDermott

Executive Assistant to the President

Since her childhood, Sarah McDermott knew she wanted to direct her career towards community outreach. Growing up, Sarah received classical violin training from the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Intensive Community Program. During her studies, Sarah performed around New England and participated in the Boston Youth Symphony’s tour in Germany in 2018. This experience, alongside several high school exchange programs, inspired Sarah to travel the world and make global connections.

Lisa Fiala

Vice President of Global Programs

Lisa Fiala is the Vice President – Global Programs with Stone & Compass. Dedicated to working with people in low-income communities and creating global connections, she comes to Stone & Compass with extensive grassroots development and international education experience. She previously held positions as Director of the International Center at Flagler College, Director of International Programs and Outreach at the Northwest School and Regional Director for Southeast Europe with American Councils for International Education, among others.

Lisa has also consulted for NGOs and IO’s including The Global Fund for Children, UNCTAD and UNICEF and has worked in 30 countries around the world on programs focused on youth and education. Lisa served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bulgaria (’01-’03) and Ghana (’03-’04) and has lived in Switzerland, Tajikistan and Serbia as well, and was a 2019 Fulbright IEA Fellow to France.

She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Miami University of Ohio and a master’s degree in international sustainable development from the School for International Training in Vermont.

Lisa is originally from Ohio, but currently resides in St. Augustine, Florida with her husband, two young boys and rescue dog, Pineapple.

Stoycho Dimitrov

European Manager, Logistics & Tour Guide

Stoycho was born in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. He is currently living in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, with his fiancée. He has graduated with master psychology with pedagogics diploma from St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo. He has experience in hospitality and public relations areas. He was living in the United States, /Vermont & Florida/ for more than 10 years. He met his fiancee in states and they decided to come back to their homeland and form a family. His interests include fishing, reading books and traveling and meeting people from all over the world. “The best thing about being part of Stone & compass team is the opportunity to meet many and different people from around the globe! It’s a great feeling and an awesome experience!”

Boris “Borko” Nachev

Global Facilities Manager, Logistics & Tour Guide

Borko was born in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria where he now lives happily with his daughter, son, and loving wife.

He graduated from St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo with a Master’s degree of Management and Business Administration. As a master beekeeper, he has helped keep the Bulgarian tradition of beekeeping alive while sharing his passion (and honey) with guests.

Borko loves meeting people from all over the world and is excited to be part of the Stone & Compass team.

Jessica Muncey

Director of Social Media

Jessica is from just outside of Philadelphia, PA and grew up exploring the East Coast with friends and family. For higher education, she attended Long Beach State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelor’s in Communication Studies and a minor in Anthropology in 2019. While there, she got involved with S&C by studying Modernization in Global Perspectives in Bulgaria. Since then, she has continued traveling with a passion for culture, community, and new experiences. Jessica is excited to be a part of the Stone and Compass team and looks forward to helping others give back to communities while discovering the treasures the world around them has to offer.

Kathryn Cooper

Director of High School and Internship Programs

Katie Cooper resides in Marblehead and focuses most of her time teaching and spending time with her loved ones. Her parents encouraged her to travel and embrace adventures from a young age. Learning about new cultures, traditions, and different ways to approach the world is something that she embraces.

Katie has a passion for bringing together people and being a true community member. She believes that everyone’s gifts are needed in this world. Her vision to see the big picture is one of her biggest gifts.

Katie is also an animal lover and has two cats and a dog. It is not unusual to find Katie running, hiking, swimming, or sharing a special meal with someone. She feels very grateful to be part of the High School Internship and Service Programs that Stone and Compass has created.

Alma Paige

Tour Coordinator

Ali is thrilled to be working with Stone & Compass.  She began her journey back in the Poconos in Pennsylvania.  From there, she attended Emerson College receiving a B.A. for Theatre Education and later Lesley University where she received her M.Ed. for Integrating the Arts into the Curriculum.  For over ten years she has been the middle school drama teacher in Saugus, MA where she teaches sixth-eighth grade students during the day and runs the after school drama club, which regularly has more than 100 members. Ali has been the Senior Camp Director for the Chestnut Hill School Creative Arts & Sports Program.  Recently, Ali can be found at the Marblehead Little Theatre as the Youth Program Director.

Michael Ribar

Director of Technology & Website Designer

Michael was born in Colorado and moved to Boston to complete a B.A. in Theater Education and New Media at Emerson College. He moved to Washington, DC to attend the Graduate School of Education & Human Development at The George Washington University where he received his M.A. Ed./H.D. in Education Policy Studies. For over ten years, Michael has worked in public policy at both the Federal and local level.

Andy Trasher

Tour Guide

Andy has been involved in Stone and Compass from the early years. A longtime resident of Marblehead, he has been lifelong friends with Rob Goodwin. Now Andy is making the move to Bulgaria and the Center.

Andy had a long career as a Service Engineer and worked with youth throughout his life. He has been the director of many youth camps and certified as a camp director. He is also trained in project management and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification.

Andy loves leading tours, meeting the wonderful travelers that use Stone and Compass and working with the Stone and Compass team.

Anil Tirumala

International Tour Operative Leader

Anil Tirumala is an International Tour Leader for Stone & Compass. Anil has extensive experience traveling and living abroad. He worked as a manager for ExxonMobil in the UK from 2002-2010 and the USA between 2013-2020.

When not traveling with Stone & Compass he and his family run a real estate company in India where he resides with his wife and 9-year-old son.

Neil Stewart

Tour Guide

Neil was born in Dunfermline Scotland and still resides not far from there now in a town called Glenrothes.

After starting his working career as a mechanical engineer he soon found himself driving coaches and touring, an industry that he has been in ever since. He likes to think if it has wheels he can drive it.

In his free time he likes listening to most types of music, reading books or working on cars when he’s not watching his favourite football team Newcastle United. Neil loves meeting people from all over the world and is absolutely thrilled to be part of the Stone and compass team.

Mihai Vataselu

Tour Guide

Mihai is a licensed tour guide and travel agent, born and raised in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. He graduated the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest with a masters degree in Marketing and worked for several years in market research and product management.

With a long passion for history, particularly the ancient Dacian and Roman heritage of Romania, he had the opportunity to switch to the travel industry in 2014, getting his tour guide license and starting his own boutique agency. Currently, his main work with Stone & Compass includes organizing tours in Romania, from the Danube Delta up to the Carpathian Mountains and across into the mythical region of Transylvania with its iconic castles, UNESCO Saxon fortified churches, medieval towns, ancient roman ruins and breathtaking landscapes.

Eli

Tour Guide

Eli was born in Long Island, New York but has spent a majority of his life in Lynn, MA and Washington DC. He is a fun loving , charismatic & outgoing guy.

From working in the restaurant business for over 6+ years after getting out of the Maryland National Guard in 2016, Eli has always wanted to see the world. He plans on taking the time to learn more about the destinations and also assure a great experience for all on the trips as well!