What motivated you to serve on the IRC board of directors?
I moved to KC after 21 years of living abroad, and was grateful to learn of IRC. I was glad to find a community of persons who, like myself, were interested in international affairs and continuing to learn more and stay current on foreign policy and international issues. This IRC community had also traveled extensively, and many had lived in other countries and shared my experiences. After a year or two as a member, I was delighted when asked to be nominated for the Board so that I could become even more involved, and do my part to ensure the sustainability of the organization and its mission.

What is your most memorable moment of board service?
I don’t have a single most memorable moment as a Board member. Because all Board members share my passion for IRC and its mission, everyone is very compatible and cooperative. Members enjoy celebrating successes of the organization, and pull together calmly and cooperatively when the inevitable challenges arise from time to time. I’ve enjoyed the Board’s genuine operating mode of commitment and respectful cooperation.

Why do you think the IRC matters?
Without some effort, our lives become very myopic and overwhelmed by daily local issues and activities. I believe we cannot limit our interest and concern to just the local community. Every American citizen needs to be knowledgeable about the other countries and persons with whom we share this planet, and then work together cooperatively for the global good. Our local environment (city, state, region and even our country) only thrives peacefully within the larger global environment.

What advice would you give individuals looking to get more involved with the International Relations Council? 
For individuals wanting to be more involved with IRC, I would say take the initiative. Non-profit, volunteer organizations are always short on time and resources. Lean in, and let the organization know about your interest, skills and time available.

About Holly Nielsen
Holly Nielsen joined the team at Baring Vostok in 2006. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and finance law, including more than 20 years living and working in Moscow. From 1992 to 2006 she was a partner or had senior positions in the Moscow representative office of Baker Botts (1992 to 1994), Millbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy (1997 to 2000) and Debevoise & Plimpton (2001 to 2006). As part of a Harvard University project from 1995 to 1997, Holly worked as a senior advisor to the Chairman of the Russian Securities Commission. In addition, she took part in the creation of the first Russian investment fund in 1994. Holly has a doctorate in law from Kansas University and a Bachelor’s degree from Vassar College.