Director of Virtual Exchanges
Launching a new global initiative to bring intercultural learning opportunities to underserved communities around the world, Erin Helland is YFU’s first Director of Virtual Exchanges. Driving program development, partnerships and overall execution of this historic endeavor, she is responsible to pilot mission-driven virtual interactions that bring cross-cultural awareness and understanding those who might otherwise never travel outside of their home communities and to displaced youth living in temporary settlements. Programs will aim to be inclusive in nature, ensuring a voice is given to young women, minorities, migrants, and academically vulnerable or socially underrepresented students.
Helland established YFU’s Marketing and Communications department, serving as its Director for four years, supporting valuable strategic change to YFU and its stakeholders and spearheading the adoption of a global brand in 60 countries. An advocacy professional, her public relations and media efforts led the organization through a unique public-private partnership in a ground-breaking trip to Cuba one week before diplomatic relations were restored, and she was a principal champion of a coalition that urged legislators on Capitol Hill to restore funding of a popular German-US exchange program.
An entrepreneur and community activist, Helland founded an independent coffeehouse and volunteers with several nonprofits. She completed an exchange year to Germany in high school with YFU as a Congress-Bundestag (CBYX) scholar and later to the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Helland holds a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Germanic Language and a Master’s of Science in Business: Global Marketing Management from Virginia Commonwealth University.