Get to know the dedicated members of Holt’s leadership team and Board of Directors
The many people who work for Holt International at our Eugene, Oregon headquarters and in locations around the globe have a passion for helping children and families. Below are bios of our executives and board members who lead our outstanding programs with great heart and ensure integrity in our trusted Financials & Accountability.
President & CEO
Phil Littleton is a passionate and determined advocate for children, and firmly believes that every child deserves to know the love and security of a family. As president and CEO, he brings clear vision, strong leadership and a commitment to the children, adoptees and families served by Holt International.
Phil came to Holt in 2004, hired as the vice president of marketing and development, in response to a strong calling that he and his wife, Julene, felt to the mission.
Staff, management and the board of directors recognized Phil’s impact and influence on the mission, and soon Phil took on the role of chief operating officer. In 2011, the board of directors asked Phil to become the eighth president and CEO in Holt International’s 65-year history. As Skip Hanson, Holt’s former board chair, says, “Phil embodies Holt’s core values and has demonstrated his commitment to the mission of Holt International since he joined more than 15 years ago.”
Phil is a nonprofit executive, child welfare advocate, humanitarian and adoptive father of three. He leads the organization’s activities to engage donors, corporations, foundations, governments and the public in Holt’s work; and guides the organization in developing programs that serve the global community and achieve Holt’s mission of strengthening families, and finding families for children who need them.
At Holt, Phil has successfully grown international operations into 15 countries, including the U.S., and expanded Holt’s global reach to impact the lives of more than 330,000 children annually. He led efforts to launch Holt programs for children and families in Africa and South America, and helped to expand Holt’s long-standing child welfare programs across China, India and Southeast Asia. In his time as CEO, Phil has also led the organization in the acquisition and merger of several well-respected child welfare organizations, leading to the expansion of Holt’s social service work — including domestic adoption in the U.S.
Phil has enjoyed a highly successful 30-year career in a variety of senior leadership positions in industries including investment banking, entertainment, advertising and humanitarian relief and development.
Prior work included serving as group vice president at the Russ Reid Company, the largest marketing and advertising company in America serving the nonprofit sector, where he managed a group of nonprofit accounts including World Vision. During his tenure, World Vision experienced significant growth from $300 million to one of the largest U.S. charities at $800 million, serving more than 40 million children annually.
He currently serves as the treasurer and an executive board member for the National Council for Adoption (NCFA), the leading global adoption advocacy organization headquartered in Washington DC.
Phil has received numerous awards, including an Angels in Adoption honor awarded by the United States Congress in 2018.
Vice President, International Programs
Thoa implements Holt’s vision and strategic leadership to ensure growth in Holt’s programs for vulnerable children in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Thoa has more than 20 years of experience in advocacy, financial and international program development and management, fundraising and grant proposal development, and developing family strengthening and adoption services for vulnerable children in developing countries. She holds a master’s degree in social work awarded by the Fulbright Scholarship and had direct field work experience at the Holt Vietnam office prior to coming to Holt International. This experience gives her a unique perspective and understanding about the needs and challenges faced by vulnerable children and families, and the possible solutions that will bring holistic and sustainable change.
Vice President, China Regional Programs
Jian has played a crucial role in expanding services to children and families throughout China, building and maintaining critical collaborative relationships with Chinese officials, and creating and training a highly dependable in-country staff. Through these efforts, Jian has helped grow the China program to one of Holt’s largest, serving thousands through child welfare programs and placing hundreds of orphaned and abandoned children in loving homes every year. Jian holds a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and cultural anthropology from Oregon State University, focusing on cultural differences between China and the U.S. A native of China, Jian raised her two children in the U.S. In 2005, she received an Angels in Adoption award from the U.S. Congress.
Chief Marketing & Development Officer
Eric has a 30-year career in marketing, communications and brand development with a diverse group of entrepreneurs and visionaries, high-growth Silicon Valley companies, and impact-driven not-for-profits and initiatives. Eric spent seven years leading marketing communications alongside Dr. Anita Borg and her Institute for Women and Technology. Most recently, he led strategic marketing and communications for Israeli-based Wix.com through their successful 2014 IPO (Nasdaq WIX) and award-winning Super Bowl ad campaign. Eric has traveled and worked in more than 60 countries, including living in East Java, Indonesia as part of the Stanford University-affiliated post-graduate program Volunteers in Asia.
CFO & Vice President, Finance & Administration
Dan is a seasoned executive known for successfully integrating people, process and technology for mission-service organizations. Before becoming the CFO and VP of finance and administration at Holt, Dan worked for 12 years in the corporate sector followed by four years in Tanzania serving as a missionary — where he was finance director for the Lutheran Mission Cooperation. After returning to the U.S., Dan has served as VP of finance and administration and CFO of an adoption and international child welfare agency, as CAO of a behavioral health organization, and as CFO of a home care, public health and hospice agency. Dan and his wife have three adult children, the youngest of whom was adopted from China.
Vice President, Marketing and Development
Rick has over 15 years of experience as a fundraising professional, focused on empowering fundraising teams to grow donor pipelines, implement donor-focused strategies and communications, and leverage technology and digital mediums to fuel philanthropic growth. Before becoming vice president of marketing and development at Holt, Rick worked for a decade in higher education advancement, most recently as the director of annual philanthropy at his alma mater, the University of Oregon. Rick has served as a speaker and panelist at conferences and events including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, PNW Engage Conference and Pacific Northwest Annual Giving Consortium.
Senior Executive, U.S. Programming
Susie is a licensed, master’s degree-level social worker with 25 years of experience in international child welfare, including family strengthening, domestic adoption and international adoption. Susie provides leadership and strategic direction for Holt’s U.S.-based programming, growing Holt’s services to children and families domestically. Susie has served as a peer reviewer for the Council on Accreditation and strives to build collaborative relationships with other child welfare professionals so together they can help transform the lives of children and families around the world. Susie and her husband are parents to two children, a son and a daughter both adopted from Thailand.
Senior Executive, CALEE and Asia Programs
Sarah Halfman is a compassionate international relief and development professional with more than 18 years of program management experience overseeing multicultural teams and navigating the complexities of working with stakeholders in a myriad of cultural and political contexts. Before joining Holt, Sarah served in a number of roles, including senior leadership roles in Latin America and East Africa where she was responsible for managing diverse and innovative portfolios slated for growth as well as supporting global, regional and country-level strategic planning processes from design and implementation to monitoring and evaluation. In her role at Holt, Sarah is responsible for program performance and quality, ensuring our teams implement high-impact programs that lead to transformational change for children and families in the communities we serve.
Senior Executive of International Adoption
Lisa provides guidance and leadership for every step of the adoption process — from family intake to post-adoption — and continually seeks creative ways to develop Holt’s services to children and families. Lisa is a licensed, master’s degree-level social worker with over 25 years of experience in international adoption. Lisa began her Holt career while still in college, as a summer volunteer in Korea, and worked for Holt in Thailand and Ecuador — giving her a unique perspective on all parts of the adoption process. She has several family members who were adopted internationally, and she stands committed to elevating the voice of adoptees and drawing upon their experiences to inform Holt’s work and practices.
Holt International Board of Directors
The Holt International Board of Directors is a governing board with a geographically diverse group of directors representing adoptees, adoptive parents, and functional experts with experience in child welfare and special needs, finance and business operations. These board members volunteer their time and resources to support the Holt mission of ensuring a loving, secure home for every child.
Margaret was Holt case number 324 in 1957 and came home to the United States in 1958. As a first-wave adoptee from Korea, Margaret is honored to serve on the Holt board and hopes to help other children find loving families and live their dreams. She is currently an emeritus professor, retiring from Auburn University. Margaret has also served as a trainer and consultant to numerous organizations on the subjects of managerial and leadership communications, and public relations. In her spare time, Margaret reads, grows roses and takes landscape photographs. She is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University and the University of Oklahoma.
Derek and his wife, Danielle, have three children and live in the San Diego area. In 1973, Derek was abandoned at the gate of Holt’s Ilsan Center in Korea. He was personally picked up by Molly Holt and was adopted in 1976. Derek holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix and has worked in finance for over 20 years. He currently owns and operates two businesses in Southern California. Derek feels honored and privileged to serve on the board of Holt International. He is grateful for the Holt family and wants their vision and commitment to children to continue through their organization.
Becca and her husband, Kim, are Holt parents with six adopted children and two birth children. As a board member and family physician, Becca has visited Russia, Hong Kong, Haiti, China, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Ukraine, Korea, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Mongolia, Vietnam, Colombia and Thailand. She does volunteer work with a Down syndrome parent support group and is a member of various committees in her church. She also enjoys gardening, traveling and quilting. As a Holt board member, Becca enjoys “involvement with Holt on so many levels, getting to know other board members and strengthening my faith.” Becca says, “I was deeply touched by knowing Grandma Holt. I always try to remember, ‘What would Grandma Holt do?'”
Steve Banta is the executive director of Literacy Texas, a statewide literacy coalition connecting and equipping adult and family literacy providers through training, networking and advocacy. He was formerly a regional president for Verizon Communications before moving to the nonprofit sector. After having three children biologically, Steve and his wife, Julie, adopted four children with special needs through Holt’s Brazil, Hong Kong and Thailand programs. Over the 12 years that Julie served on the Holt board, Steve traveled alongside her to visit Holt programs in Romania, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Thailand and China. He is passionate about the mission Harry and Bertha Holt started in the 1950s, and he firmly believes that there is no mission more worthy than helping children grow and thrive in stable, loving families.
Yolaine is a judge in Chicago and she volunteers extensively with legal organizations in the area. She is a member of the Illinois Judicial Council, the Black Women Lawyers’ Association, the Cook County Bar Association, and the Illinois State Bar Association. As the second vice president of the Haitian American Lawyers’ Association, she has organized Help Haiti Rebuild — an ongoing dinner fundraiser that raises money to help rebuilding efforts in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake devastation. Yolaine actively participates in community organizations and at her church. She has served as a member of World Vision Chicago’s Vision Council, where she acted as a child ambassador. In 2007 and 2008, she chaired the planning committee for the World AIDS Day walk and concert, to raise awareness about the plight of orphans around the world. Yolaine is also a member of the operations team at her church. Yolaine is a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Chicago Law School.
International adoption is a cornerstone of Dan’s life and family. Adopted from Korea through Holt, Dan and his wife, Megan, have eight children, two of whom are adopted from Korea. Megan is also a Korean adoptee and both Dan and Megan are active in the adoptee community where they live in the Denver, CO area. A technology innovator who developed the thermal traffic detection system used worldwide, Dan is also a strategic business developer and has served in leadership on numerous committees and within Christian organizations. Dan leads the Colorado Korean Adult Adoptee group, participates in the local Korean Adoptee Camp and hosts the annual Holt Picnic in Colorado. Both Dan and his wife have a strong commitment to serving Holt’s mission.
Tom and his late wife, Mindy, adopted their daughter Sarah Rose through Holt in 1990. Tom has been a member of the Holt family since that time and now sponsors a child in China. Tom received his bachelor’s degree from Portland State University and his master’s degree in business administration from Willamette University. He spent his career in the public sector working for the Oregon State Legislative Assembly and for 26 years at the City of Portland — specializing in finance functions as well as a wide variety of other management activities. Tom retired from public service in 2009. He has dedicated much of his personal time to helping children, and his favorite volunteer activity has been tutoring students at his own children’s former grade school. Tom also serves in the House of Delegates of the Oregon State Bar as a citizen member. He is thrilled to join Holt’s board of directors and is looking forward to assisting wherever he can contribute.
Donna and her husband, Andy, are the parents of two adult children. Donna spent her professional career as a pharmacist and an executive in the pharmacy software industry. As a Holt donor, supporter and friend, Donna has traveled extensively with the organization and has seen the many programs and services Holt provides. She is grateful for the opportunity to serve Holt as a board member and feels privileged to help carry on the mission of Harry and Bertha Holt — helping orphaned and vulnerable children across the world. Donna says that her role on the board will allow her to give back and help guide Holt as it expands and adapts, while ensuring the organization remains true to the mission God inspired in Harry and Bertha.
Kim was among the “first wave” of Korean adoptees and was escorted to the U.S. by Harry Holt in 1956. As an adoptee and parent through adoption, she has a unique appreciation and perspective regarding both sides of adoption. She has been an avid supporter of Holt through her involvement and participation as a Holt sponsor since 1978, Heritage Camp counselor and a volunteer escort with more than 40 trips — escorting newly adopted babies and toddlers to their families in the U.S. and Europe. Her final escort trip brought her son home in January 1991. Kim is humbled and honored to serve as a board member and is committed to the original mission of Harry and Bertha Holt.
As a first-wave Holt adoptee and through extended family, Cheryl is grateful for the many ways adoption has touched her life and is honored to contribute to Harry and Bertha’s ongoing legacy. Her background includes policy, organizational and economic development, education/youth advocacy and a history of assisting organizations to construct equitable cultures and embed collaborative practices. She is currently the Oregon Deputy Secretary of State and her prior public service includes operations and engagement director for the Educator Advancement Council, chief of staff for the Higher Education Commission and as director of economic and business equity on the Oregon governor’s cabinet. She is also a longstanding private sector business owner. Cheryl has served in a variety of community roles, including eight years as an elected school board member for a large Oregon school district and in numerous local and national nonprofit board roles.
Susan M.W. Tahir
Susan has over 20 years of experience with Fortune 500 companies and start-ups, including founding her own company catering to endurance athletes. She is a product leader in tech and passionate about addressing challenges in health and wellness and early childhood development. Her international perspective stems from building products for global markets and living as an expat in Hong Kong and Korea. Susan received a BA in international studies from the American University and an MBA from the University of Michigan business school. Susan’s history with Holt began with her own adoption from Korea in the ‘70s. She has two younger sisters who are also adopted, one from Korea and one adopted domestically. Susan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family, including two young children who are adopted from Korea through Holt. She holds a very special place in her heart for Holt and is humbled and honored to serve children all over the world as a member of the board.
Zoe Thompson McDaniel
Zoe holds a degree in religion and economics from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She lives in Houston with her two sons, both adopted from South Korea through Holt, and her daughter, adopted from China. Zoe’s relationship with Holt International goes back generations, as her grandmother was an escort for Holt in Korea in the early 1970’s. Zoe is honored to be a part of Holt International and is a passionate supporter of the three pillars of Holt’s strategy: to strengthen families, provide care for the world’s orphans and most vulnerable children, and provide adoption services for families. Zoe is a principal with KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory services firm. She has more than 20 years of consulting experience working in a broad range of change management, operational and organizational performance areas, including workforce improvement, corporate culture and competency assurance. In her free time, Zoe enjoys outdoor sports, serving as scorekeeper and cheerleader at her kids’ lacrosse games, and travel.
As the sister of a Holt adoptee and a sponsor for nearly 40 years, Linda holds Holt close to her heart. She has a master’s degree in social work administration and spent her career with both non- profit and for-profit organizations before now enjoying retirement. She remains active in her church and also serves as treasurer of Transform African Ministries. Linda has visited Holt programs in Korea, Mongolia, Thailand and Uganda and loves seeing children grow and be placed with adoptive families or be reunited with and supported by their birth families. Linda is committed to Holt’s mission and is humbled to serve children and families through sponsorship and her participation on the board of directors.