Meet the Board
Executive Board Officers
Wendy has lived in Italy for nearly four decades with her Italian family and has been a member of AWAR since she first moved to Rome. She has served on the AWAR board numerous times in various capacities over the years and has also chaired activity groups, including cooking, photography, film, Fact Forum, hiking and walking, burraco, and wine-tasting. Wendy is deeply committed to AWAR and its growth and importance within the international Rome community. Professionally her strength lies in sharing Italian stories, recipes, and unique travel insights through her Flavor of Italy weekly podcast, newsletter, website, trips, and tours. In the past, she owned a baby products company and was vice president at the PNC Financial Corp.
Liz Grauman was born and raised in Montana and studied photojournalism at the University of Montana. She first came to Rome in 2005 for a college course in history and, like any good American student, promptly fell in love with a local. After returning to Montana to graduate, she worked as an art director at the San Diego Union-Tribune and later moved east to design and edit at The New York Times. She married that Italian guy, returned to Rome with him and their baby girl, and is now the visual director for their portfolio of commercial real estate and vacation rentals in Rome and Florence. They have since added another daughter to the family, and Liz spends her free time cooking, eating, and traveling throughout Italy.
Megan Todd, originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts, first came to Rome in 1992 after her graduation from Harvard University and has lived on and off in Italy ever since. After several years in Asia and the Pacific (Cambodia, East Timor, Vietnam) on postings for her husband’s work, she returned to Rome in 2017 and joined AWAR. She is the Program Director for Context Travel and oversees operations in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Married to a Roman, she is also the mother of two teenage daughters, students at St Stephen’s School and the University of Cambridge (UK). Megan served as Vice President of the Hanoi International Women’s Club and was the Chair of the Community Aid Committee.
SecretaryVictoria moved from London to Rome with her family in July 2022. She owns and operates POP Florist, a sustainable floral design studio she first started in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Originally from Ohio, Victoria has worked around the world in various political and humanitarian roles for the United Nations in Afghanistan, Sudan, and Turkey. She is excited to contribute to AWAR and champions the experience and strength of women working together to support one another and their wider communities.
Membership ChairA native of Chicago, Jennifer, known as Jenn, is a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University with a Master of Business Administration from North Park University. She moved to Rome in 2015 and is self-employed as an operations management consultant and real estate manager. Over the past two years, Jennifer has worked to update the AWAR website, social media and database. She hopes to continue that work while incorporating the AWAR traditions and values that mean so much to the members. Jennifer previously served three terms as AWAR's president.
Melanie hails from Indianapolis, Indiana, and relocated to Rome in mid-2022. Before she retired, in 2022, Melanie was a regulatory lawyer for Duke Energy, where she litigated cases before regulatory agencies on all aspects of electricity generation, delivery, and customer usage. Melanie joined AWAR soon after arriving in Rome and is enthusiastic about joining the Board and working on the Forum.
Ute has lived in Rome since February 2022. Rome offers what she was looking for—warmth, a beautiful landscape, an immersion in history, and a good and relaxed lifestyle. Her passion has always been always connecting women, and she founded a successful, business-related network group in Hong Kong. She now works as an animal communicator, specializing in horses. In her free time, she likes jogging, hiking, exploring Italy, and enjoying good food.
Kathy Principi is originally from Ohio, went to medical school in Washington DC, and trained in emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She moved to Seattle and, after a decade of emergency work there, opened a 'working women's' practice in downtown. She later moved to northern California and worked for Kaiser for several years. She has done medical relief work in Haiti and the Amazon. After retiring she became an Italian citizen and began spending time in Rome now her second home. She joined AWAR in 2016 and was Membership Chair for two years. She enjoys walking, hiking, biking, and spending time with her artist daughter, who recently moved to Joshua Tree, CA.
Sustaining Membership Chair
Karin has been migrating to Rome from Los Angeles since 2019 fulfilling a lifelong dream to live and retire in the most beautiful city there is. She tries to take full advantage of the richness in arts, architecture, and history Rome has to offer and enjoys the dolce vita, Italian lifestyle, and the Mediterranean climate. Karin is an enthusiastic member of AWAR and has made many wonderful friends through this unique organization.
Susanne, the owner and founder of ROB Galleries, is known in her field as a champion of female artists. Having dedicated her career to giving this underrepresented category of creatives a place to exhibit their art, she has tapped into the art scenes of Rome, Orlando (Florida), and Brooklyn, each city lending a letter to her Gallery’s name: ROB Galleries. Through her foundation A Few Good Womyn, LLC, Susanne transformed her gallery spaces from bleak, lifeless buildings to vibrant homes of original and colorful art.
Erica Zmitrovitch is a two-time vice president of AWAR. She holds degrees in Marketing and International Relations from New York University and a master’s degree in Marketing Science from Columbia University. Erica has worked in advertising and film production for more than two decades. Today she represents a group of internationally renowned photographers and directors. She recently founded a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sustainability in our communities.
Parliamentarian, Constitution & Bylaws
Michelle was born in Hong Kong, but has lived and studied in the U.S., Canada, and now Italy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Occidental College and a Master of Arts in Graphic Communications from University of Hertfordshire. She currently works in communications and international development in Rome. She is also the mother of two children, ages 16 and 19. In her free time, she enjoys arts and crafts, hiking, and learning about new cultures and customs. She has been an AWAR member for many years.
Archivist & Historian PRO TEM
Julia was born and raised in NYC but quickly discovered the world beyond the USA which led her to study multiple languages and allowed her to work around the world starting very early, including teaching in Japan and later working in film and photography in Rome, Milan, New York, and Paris. After a back injury, she had to stop shooting and took a class in professional egg pasta rolling in Bologna that set her on her most recent path. In 2017, she moved back to Rome and joined her Milanese husband in his professional kitchen, where they started their Culinary Training School & Test Kitchen called Grano & Farina. Her collaboration with the Pasta Grannies project and use of the Encyclopedia della Pasta (translated by our own Maureen Fant) has allowed her to expand her knowledge and expertise in hand made and traditional pastas to a repertoire of over 80 different kinds/shapes using no machines at all. In 2021, she and her husband moved to the Sabine Hills north of Rome to offer a more ecologically sustainable service and live as much as possible off their land.
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