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Meet Our Team at ELI

ELI is more than just an organization; it’s a vibrant community devoted to cultural exchange and global understanding. Our mission is to offer cultural programs that provide life-enriching experiences. Meet the visionary leaders who embody our spirit and drive our purpose forward.

With over 16 years in field of Education, Julie Hejl's illustrious path as an educator and innovator has been marked by her unwavering commitment to cultural exchange and educational diversity. After an inspiring tenure as an Elementary Teacher and later as a Special Education Teacher, her focus expanded beyond the traditional classroom into the vibrant tapestry of cultural exchange programs.

Julie's educational foundation is solid, grounded in her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with a major in English Teaching. Her quest for knowledge didn't stop there; she furthered her expertise with a Diploma in Special Education Teaching and a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction, focusing on Teaching English as a Second Language. She is also on the cusp of completing her doctoral degree in Administration and Supervision. In 2014, she was a scholar of National Endowment for the Humanities program in Glasgow, Scotland - which supports research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities (History, Language, Literature, Philosophy, and Art).

Before taking the helm at Exchange Leaders International as Founder and Chief Advisor, Julie played a pivotal role as the Program Coordinator of iTeach America - an agency that collaborates with J1 Visa Sponsors, international teachers and K-12 accredited schools in the US. Her prior experience in the J1 Visa Program stands testament to her innovative bent, connecting international teachers with K-12 US schools to diversify and enrich the educational landscape.


Julie’s current role at Exchange Leaders International—as Founder and Chief Advisor—channels her zeal for cultural diversity, mentorship, and educational excellence, shaping programs that resonate globally. Her efforts pivot on nurturing a world that embraces sustainability and celebrates peaceful collaboration through the power of education.

Leah Oliva stands out as a seasoned professional in the realm of compliance and program support, currently making her mark as the Chief of Compliance and Program Support at Exchange Leaders International (ELI). With a robust career that pans two decades across various industries, Leah has cultivated an in-depth understanding and expertise in the nuances of international human resources management. Her role at ELI is crucial, ensuring the seamless operation and success of all inbound programs, a testament to her unparalleled dedication and skill.


Leah's academic background is as impressive as her professional trajectory. She holds an MBA in Management and International Business from Our Lady of the Lake University in Texas, which has provided her with a solid foundation to excel in her field. The blending of management principles with the complexities of international business has been a guiding light in Leah's career, enabling her to face and overcome challenges with strategic finesse.

Leah's professional journey is a narrative of growth, leadership, and continuous improvement. She honed her expertise at several Fortune 500 companies, managing International Human Resources with an emphasis on global operations. Her responsibilities were vast, including overseeing benefits, payroll, legal and immigration collaborations, and addressing the intricacies of cross-border family relocations and ancillary employee issues.


Her tenure in international HR was marked by strategic insights that streamlined operations, enhanced collaboration, and improved overall efficiency. Within her broad experience, Leah has been involved in multiple exchange programs, where her strategic acumen and dedication have led to significant internal process enhancements. She has been pivotal in redefining workflows and implementing new operational policies that bolster the organization's capacity to manage programs efficiently and ethically.


Five years ago, Leah embarked on an entrepreneurial adventure by launching her own insurance brokerage business. This venture reflects her dynamic spirit, driven by a passion for continuous growth and learning. 

Beyond her professional and entrepreneurial endeavors, Leah is passionate about giving back to her community. She actively supports volunteering activities in her childhood town in South Texas, highlighting her grounding in and commitment to her roots. 


Carmela Martinez is our revered Vice President of Marketing & Account Management. Hailing from the enchanting landscapes of New Mexico, Carmela's academic and professional journeys are a testament to her unwavering commitment to education, empowerment, and exceptional leadership. With a foundational Bachelor of Arts in K-8 Education, Carmela has built an impressive portfolio grounded in pedagogy, augmented by endorsements in Technology, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), Bilingual Education, and Visual Arts. This diverse educational background has equipped Carmela with a unique lens through which she approaches marketing and relationship management, always prioritizing clarity, innovation, and inclusivity.


Carmela's quest for knowledge did not pause with her undergraduate achievements. Her thirst for continuous improvement led her to attain a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, further specialized with a Reading Endorsement. This pursuit showcases her dedication to not just understanding content deeply but also to mastering the means through which knowledge is best delivered and absorbed.


The classroom was Carmela's first arena of impact, where she dedicated 16 years to shaping young minds in New Mexico. Within this period, she carved out a niche for herself as an educator who not only teaches but also inspires and motivates her students to achieve their highest potentials.


It is this rich background in education that Carmela brings to Exchange Leaders International, infusing a learning-centric approach to marketing and account management that values every client's growth and success as paramount. In her current role, Carmela orchestrates marketing strategies that resonate with our diverse clientele, bridging the gap between their needs and our solutions. Her leadership in account management is characterized by a personal touch, ensuring that all clients are not just heard, but understood and supported throughout their journeys with us. Her contributions are not merely transactions but are transformative experiences that foster long-lasting relationships and mutual growth.

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