Sebastian Fries, PhD, President & CEO
Sebastian Fries joined I-House as President and CEO in May 2021. Prior to I-House he served as the inaugural Executive Director of Corporate Partnerships at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, where he led industry relations between Columbia faculty and Fortune 500 corporations. Prior to Columbia, Fries was the Chief Giving Officer at TOMS Shoes in Los Angeles, CA, where he led the company’s social impact strategy with partnerships in more than 70 countries. Earlier, he held various international leadership positions at Pfizer, including Senior Director of Global Access and Director of Strategic Planning for the Emerging Markets Business Unit. He received a PhD in International Relations from the Free University in Berlin, spent three years as a graduate student at Harvard University as part of his doctoral studies and holds an MA from the University of Cologne. Born and raised in Germany, he and his family have enjoyed living abroad in Egypt and Italy and now reside in New York.
Larry Palfini, Sr. Vice President, Operations
Responsible for Facilities, Public Safety, and Resident and Guest Services, Larry Palfini leads a team of over 50 dedicated professionals who provide operational support services to our residential community of postgraduate students. Larry is responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s annual and long term year strategic capital project plan. In this role he works very closely with the Residents, senior staff, and the Trustees through the House, Finance and Executive committees, to ensure alignment with the organization’s vision, mission, values and strategic plan. Prior to joining International House, Larry worked for the iconic luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. for 25 years. He was the Vice President of Global Facilities and Store Construction, managing over 200 capital projects per year and responsible for leading a team of over 75 professionals. Some of his most significant accomplishments included the design, construction and relocation of Tiffany’s corporate offices in New York City and the ground-up construction and site development for two distribution/ fulfillment centers in New Jersey. Larry is a graduate of the City University of New York and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Management.
Kim Misevis, Vice President, Programs & Resident Life
Kim Misevis joined International House in November 2021 as the Vice President of Programs and Resident Life. Prior to I-House, Kim spent nearly 12 years at NYU College of Dentistry, first as the Assistant Director of International Admissions & Recruitment and for the last five years as the Senior Director of International Programs. She retains her adjunct faculty appointment at NYU Dentistry, focusing on leadership and professional development courses. Kim has dedicated her professional career to supporting the professional and personal development of international students. Kim received her MS from NYU in Global Affairs and a BA from Pace University in Communications and Political Science. In addition, Kim spent 13 months in South Korea as a Fulbright Scholar.
Megan Amouzou, Vice President, Admissions
Megan Amouzou leads the operations of recruiting and selecting the best and brightest young professionals from across the world to build an engaged and diverse community of residents. She also is chair of the committee that awards more than $500,000 in need-based financial aid to ensure that the diversity of community extends beyond the geographic to socioeconomic diversity. Born in Missouri, Megan was a young child when her family moved to Guatemala, where her parents worked as missionaries providing health care and job training to local villagers. After three years in Guatemala, her family moved to Ossining, New York. Megan holds a BA from SUNY Oswego in Spanish and Russian and spent her entire senior year abroad, studying one semester in Moscow and one in Madrid. She came to International House as Admissions Coordinator in May 1997 and was promoted to Assistant Director of Admissions just a year later, becoming Director of Admissions in 2001.
Nanette Francia-Cotter, Director, Organizational Development & Human Resources
Nanette Francia Cotter is a human resources/ organizational development executive with over 18 years of comprehensive experience including recruitment and retention, conflict resolution, change management, labor relations and benefits administration. Prior to coming on board as part-time Human Resources Manager, Nanette was Deputy Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union for nine years, working closely with the Executive Director on all organizational development and management issues. Prior to that, she was Director of Administration & Personnel for three years at the Food Bank for New York City. Before this, over a period of six years, Nanette held a number of positions at Open Society Institute/ Soros Foundations, including Deputy Director of the Central Eurasia Project. She was also a founding board member of the Common Language Project (now the Seattle Globalist), whose mission is to elevate diverse voices through media. She was part of the pioneer group of the United States Peace Corps in Kazakhstan, working as an ESL teacher. Nanette attended the MPA program at Columbia University/School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) and received her BA from Rutgers University with a major in Political Science and a double-minor in Spanish and Philosophy.
Anthony Gordon, Director, Public Safety & Guest Services
In this role, Anthony Gordon leads a devoted team of Front Desk attendants who welcome residents home each day and House Managers who ensure residents receive a safe and secure experience of I-House life. The International House Department of Public Safety exists to support the goals of the International House, promoting its core values–Respect, Empathy and Moral Courage–while fostering a safe and secure environment in which members of the I-House community can learn, work and live together. Anthony joined I-House in 2000. International House continues to be extremely proud of its safety record.
Vincent Melito, Vice President, Facilities & Site Operations
Vincent Melito holds a degree in Architecture from New York Institute of Technology and has completed Graduate studies at Adelphi University and Harvard Graduate School. With 29 years of experience in Design, Construction, Facilities Management and International Business, Vincent’s career includes positions at illustrious organizations such as NatWest Bank, British Airways, Tiffany & Co. and now, International House. His design and construction experience varies from residential design, luxury retail, commercial real estate, health & wellness and hospitality design, and his graduate studies focus on environmental design in the corporate workplace. He has worked on numerous LEED certified projects and energy reducing initiatives with a continued interest in driving sustainability for the global environment. In his current role, Vincent manages the day to day operations, facilities & project management for both the North and South buildings, comprising of over 340,000 square feet of dormitory and resident meeting and dining spaces. His team of over 30 dedicated and experienced staff maintain the overall appearance and functionality of the I-House facilities, as well as the management of Public Safety and Resident & Guest Services. His team also manages the vendor relationships with over 14 dedicated facility service providers, including the Resident Dining Services vendor. Vincent and his wife, Aracelis, reside on Long Island, NY and have two daughters currently attending college.
Lorraine Pirro, MA, LCSW, Director, Global Health & Wellness Services
As Director of Global Health and Wellness Services and International House’s Resident Social Worker, Lorraine Pirro oversees the counseling services available 24/7 to all I-House residents, which include guidance on cross-cultural communication and interpersonal integrity in global environments. Her responsibilities include the selection and supervision of I-House Resident Fellows, Peer Counselors, and Graduate Interns in mental health, public health, and related fields, and the development and implementation of Resident Life policies and procedures. She serves on the COVID-19 Response Team and the South Building Reopening Committee at International House. A member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, she is a Certified Grief and Loss Counselor, a licensed clinician in NY and CT, and has been a Senior Lecturer, Advanced Clinical Electives, at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Social Work since 2011.