Clodagh Lyons-Bastian, Executive Director

Clodagh  was raised in Dublin and Berlin before moving to the US in early adulthood. She holds a BA in Sociology and Psychology and an MS in Communication from North Carolina State University. Clodagh has worked extensively in foreign language acquisition and cross-cultural discourse in Europe and the US. Her executive experience across for- and non-profit sectors and her expertise in intercultural communication have equipped her to negotiate multicultural settings in a variety of business, community, and diplomatic environments. 

Leila Bekri, Director of International Visitor Leadership Programs

Leila was born in New York City and raised in Tunis. Her father’s service with the UNDP ​took her family to the U.S., Europe, and West Africa before moving back to Tunis. Being exposed to a multitude of cultures, languages and places at an early age, she developed and cultivated a sense of diversity and pluralism which she later reinforced through her education, work and her passion for people and world affairs.

Fluent in French and Arabic, Leila graduated from the Faculté des Sciences Juridiques, Politiques et Sociales de Tunis, Tunis II; and North Carolina State University, where she earned a master’s degree in International Studies with an extensive focus on comparative legal systems.

Leila has sat on several panels locally and nationally on a variety of topics focusing on public diplomacy, peace building, and intercultural dialogue. She advocates for women’s issues, education, freedom of speech and opinion, and information in the media. In addition to her work at International Focus, Leila is involved with humanitarian organizations. She enjoys the outdoors, literature, music, and films and she is a fan of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina.

Maria Adoskina, PhD, Director of Special Projects

Maria is from Moscow, Russia, where she was a professor of English at the prestigious Academy of Sciences. After emigrating to the USA, she directed the Slavic department of New Life Ministries (NLM) in Apex, NC.

Maria has been International Focus’ Director of Special Programs since 2000, where she has directed more than 25 successful programs via Community Connections, Open World, Youth Leadership Programs, and the Young Leaders of Americas Initiative.

Wanda Capps,  Administrative Support and Bookkeeper

Wanda, a native North Carolinian, has over 30 years of experience in bookkeeping, financial and office management in the nonprofit and private sectors. Before coming to International Focus, she worked to support the International Visitors’ Leadership and Open World Programs at the International Affairs Council of NC. Wanda is a life-long learner and has continued to build upon her mastery of her chosen profession. Outside of work, she volunteers her time in the community and at her church in support of various causes both local and abroad. Most importantly, however, Wanda dedicates her time to her family, her children, and her grandchildren.

DeAnne Dotson, Volunteer and Event Coordinator

DeAnne is a native North Carolinian who has lived and traveled all over the world. She grew up in tobacco country in Stokes County, studied in Finland and Russia (ultimately graduating from UNC-G with a Communications BA in 1995), taught English in South Korea, and worked for the USO on US military bases in Kuwait and Afghanistan.  Along the way, she has backpacked across five continents, enjoying the food, the culture, and the people she encountered.  Her commitment to non-profits began at a young age, inspired by her mom who was a Den Leader for both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.  DeAnne translated this commitment into a stint with AmeriCorps where she worked with disadvantaged youth in Austin, Texas.  She has continued to volunteer in a varienty of ways with various organizations throughout the years, such as recruiting alumnae to adopt residence halls at The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (her alma mater), staffing the USO center at the at RDU Airport, and leading a group of friends to set up an apartment for an incoming refugee family with US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.


Isbah Baloch, Programming

Isbah is a Senior in Communication at North Carolina State University with a concentration in Media .

Why she is interning with International Focus:

“I am interning at International Focus because it’s an organization that fosters growing international relationships with our country – but more importantly, with the City of Raleigh. The work that’s being done at International Focus is important in its promotion of multiculturalism and I feel honored to be a part of that endeavor.”

Carson Collins, Social Media and Programming

Carson is a Senior at Wake Christian Academy High School.

Why he is interning with International Focus:

“I am volunteering with IF because I want to connect with those from other cultures within my hometown. After I returned from India on an exchange program, I knew I wanted to continue to work towards cultural diplomacy and understanding in some way.”

Hannah Gatlin, Communication and Research

Hannah is a Junior at North Carolina State University studying English with a concentration in Creative Writing and Poetry and a minor in Horticulture.

Why she is interning with International Focus:

“My love for travel and fascination with other cultures is what immediately drew me towards International Focus. I am ecstatic that I can use my passion for writing and language to encourage understanding and harmony amongst the diverse community of the Triangle as well as around the world..”

Delaney Rhodes, Marketing and Design

Delaney is a Junior at Merddith College where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree with a major in English and minors in marketing, professional writing, and graphic design. .

Why she is interning with International Focus:

“I wanted to intern with International Focus to learn from an organization that values creating a connection and understanding between all people regardless of cultural or historical differences.”

Tomeeks Spruill, Social Media and Programming

Tomeeka is a Masters Degree candidate in Communication at North Carolina State University.

Why she is interning with International Focus:

“I enjoy volunteering with International Focus because I am passionate about cross-cultural communication and global exploration.”