Meet the men and women who are shaping the present and future of your government agency or business.

Meet Our Team

Our employees are our number-one asset. Our diverse backgrounds and expertise allow us to deliver top-quality language and cultural training, design innovative curriculum, and provide qualified linguists for a range of translation and localization requirements. 

View Our Team Members

  • Jim Bellas
    Jim Bellas
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    Jim Bellas

    Jim Bellas

    Chief Executive Officer

    Jim Bellas is our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. He assures that we adhere to our purpose and core values and leads the team that provides strategic and financial leadership at all levels. Jim works directly with partners, clients and vendors in both the government and private sectors. Because DLS is committed to continual improvement, we have become the premier provider of language services, including training, testing, and curriculum development. Beyond his day job, he enjoys performing at open mic nights and spending time with his four children and three grandchildren.

  • Chris Bellas
    Chris Bellas
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    Chris Bellas

    Chris Bellas

    President

    Chris Bellas joined DLS in 2007 and has been leading us as President since 2010.  He directs our strategic and financial planning.  Chris has had a strong interest in foreign languages since his college years, where he studied Mandarin Chinese.  Chris holds a BA in Economics from Ohio State University.

  • Mohammad Hamid
    Mohammad Hamid
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    Mohammad Hamid

    Mohammad Hamid

    Language Training Assistant

    Hamid is the Language Training Assistant for our Afghanistan/ Pakistan program. Prior to this position, he taught Dari and Pashto languages here at DLS and also other Defense Language Institute (DLI) facilities around the country. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Kabul University and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Financial Economic Policy at American University in Washington, DC.

  • Eleanor Knight
    Eleanor Knight
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    Eleanor Knight

    Eleanor Knight

    Business Development Coordinator

    Eleanor Knight joined the DLS team in April of 2017 as the Business Development Coordinator. She is passionate about foreign language acquisition and excited to be part of a diverse company invested in language and cultural training. Before coming to DLS, Eleanor worked in legal administration as well as the non-profit sector. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a Master’s Degree in French and Francophone Studies. Eleanor has several years of experience teaching both English and French language, as well as classical trumpet and swimming.

  • Will McGuire
    Will McGuire
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    Will McGuire

    Will McGuire

    Contracts Administrator

    Will McGuire graduated from George Mason University with a BA in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. He joined DLS in March of 2017 as the Contracts Administrator where he acts as a point of contact for DLS customers and subcontractors alike, and ensures compliance of contract regulations by all parties involved.

  • Lalaine Chaisarn
    Lalaine Chaisarn
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    Lalaine Chaisarn

    Lalaine Chaisarn

    Accounting Manager

    Lalaine Chaisarn joined DLS in June of 2016 as an Accounting Manager.  She has over 14 years broad based experience in all aspects of Accounting in which eight years in GovCon environment.  She holds a BS in Accounting from George Mason University.  Lalaine is fluent in Tagalog as she migrated to the US from the Philippines in her teen years. 

  • Katia Anderson
    Katia Anderson
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    Katia Anderson

    Katia Anderson

    Program Administrator

    Katia Anderson is a Russian speaker with a Master’s degree in Foreign Languages earned at a Linguistic University in Minsk. Katia taught Russian at DLS for approximately 5 years. Before that, she taught Russian at GMU and worked as a Contract Translator. She has also worked as an administrative support assistant at the Defense Attaché Office in Kiev. Her passions are languages, travel and reading. At the moment, she manages one of the language training programs for DLS.

  • Kelsey Pettit
    Kelsey Pettit
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    Kelsey Pettit

    Kelsey Pettit

    Curriculum Development Coordinator

    Kelsey Pettit joined DLS in January, 2017, as a curriculum development coordinator. She manages several languages for the DLI GLOSS project, and assists with other projects. Prior to DLI, she worked as an editor, transcriber, and held several teaching positions. She earned her Master of Sciences in Linguistics from Georgetown University, and her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington.

  • Lindsey Weaver
    Lindsey Weaver
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    Lindsey Weaver

    Lindsey Weaver

    Executive Assistant

    Lindsey Weaver joined DLS in February of 2017 as our Student Services and Event Coordinator and within a few months transitioned to Executive Assistant. Her main focus, as the Executive Assistant, is to provide support to our CEO Jim Bellas and other executive team members. She holds a BA in Exercise Science and a Master’s in Business Administration. Her passion is any activity outdoors, especially soccer, golf and scuba diving.

  • Leila Harriss
    Leila Harriss
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    Leila Harriss

    Leila Harriss

    Project Manager

    Leila Harriss is a Curriculum Development Project Manager who partners with Government and private sector clients to develop online language training courses. She comes to DLS with nearly 5 years’ experience working with language programs and start-up companies, both domestically and abroad. She is eager to improve students’ learning experiences in her role at DLS and help make their language learning more efficient.

    Leila holds a M.A. in Italian Studies from the Florida State University and a MPhil in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics from the University of Cambridge, UK.

  • Jordana Anderson Lodge
    Jordana Anderson Lodge
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    Jordana Anderson Lodge

    Jordana Anderson Lodge

    Language Training and Project Coordinator

    Jordana Anderson Lodge started at DLS in February of 2017 as a Student Services and Purchasing Coordinator and has since transitioned to Language Training as the Learning Management System (LMS) Coordinator. She also assists with materials and curriculum development projects. Before joining DLS, Jordana worked for eight years as a middle and high school English teacher. Her favorite thing about teaching is how much she learns from her students! Jordana earned her bachelor’s degree in English from University of California, Berkeley and master’s degree in education from Stanford University. In her spare time she enjoys reading, running, and traveling.

  • Amy Murphy
    Amy Murphy
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    Amy Murphy

    Amy Murphy

    Recruiting Project Coordinator

    Amy Murphy joined DLS in 2015 as a Regional Expertise and Culture Coordinator for a MARSOC curriculum project. She now assists DLS recruiting for projects and classes. Amy has a Master’s Degree in Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies and speaks both Ukrainian and Russian. Before starting at DLS, Amy lived throughout Eastern Europe for 4 years, first as a volunteer, next as a student, and then worked on State Department sponsored educational programs.

  • Pim Tovanabutra
    Pim Tovanabutra
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    Pim Tovanabutra

    Pim Tovanabutra

    HR and Project Coordinator

    Pim Tovanabutra joined DLS in 2014 as a Thai Language Instructor. She then became an HR and Project Coordinator. She earned BA in English Literature in Thailand before continuing Master’s Program and received MA in Human Resource Management.

  • Valerie Matagne
    Valerie Matagne
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    Valerie Matagne

    Valerie Matagne

    Language Training Manager

    Valerie Matagne is the Language Training Manager in our location in Elkridge, Maryland. She has a degree in Linguistics/ Contemporary Literature from France. Valerie has worked as a French instructor and an academic director in the Washington D.C. area before joining DLS. When she is not working, she enjoys traveling.

  • Maryna Baranyuk
    Maryna Baranyuk
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    Maryna Baranyuk

    Maryna Baranyuk

    Payroll Specialist

    Maryna joined DLS in April 2016. She holds an MS in Accounting and a BS in Economics both from Strayer University. Prior to joining DLS team Maryna was working as an accountant for several small businesses. In her spare time she is an avid explorer of DMV area and always looking for the new festivals, shows and activities for her and her family to enjoy.

  • Faraidoon Saadat
    Faraidoon Saadat
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    Faraidoon Saadat

    Faraidoon Saadat

    AFPAK Language Training Supervisor

    Faraidoon Saadat joined DLS as an instructor in 2011. He was then promoted to Pashto Language Training Supervisor in 2012 due to his educational background and professional expertise in areas of teaching methodology and linguistics. He showed continued success in providing language learning counsel to students and  capacity building and professional development trainings to the AFPAK Program instructors. Therefore, he was promoted to AFPAK Language Training Supervisor in 2016 helping Pashto, Dari and Urdu instructors and students.  Mr. Saadat has more than 10 years of experience teaching adults students. He has been an evening faculty member at Northern Virginia Community College since January 2012 teaching English as a Second Language. He is fluent in four languages. He has a BA in English Linguistics and Literature and an MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Kansas State University.

  • Shruti Shrestha
    Shruti Shrestha
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    Shruti Shrestha

    Shruti Shrestha

    Junior Accountant

    Shruti Shrestha has been working with DLS  as a Junior Accountant since February 2014. She is from the beautiful country Nepal. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Accounting. She also has four years of experience in customer service and accounting.

  • Natalia Stepanov
    Natalia Stepanov
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    Natalia Stepanov

    Natalia Stepanov

    HR Generalist

    Natalia Stepanov joined DLS in May 2013 as an HR Generalist. She holds an MA in Psychology from Moscow University and MA in HR from Marymount University. She is fluent in Russian. She loves diversity and the DLS culture.

  • Simona Westlund
    Simona Westlund
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    Simona Westlund

    Simona Westlund

    Language Training Supervisor Romance and Arabic Languages

    Simona Floris Westlund has been working with us as the Language Training Supervisor for Romance and Arabic Languages since 2010. She is originally from Guspini, a little town in Sardinia, Italy. She holds a BA in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Cagliari and an MA in Modern Languages and Intercultural Studies from the University of Siena.  During her studies she lived in Glasgow, Scotland and Stuttgart, Germany.  She loves living among all the language groups at DLS. 

  • Paul Adetunji
    Paul Adetunji
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    Paul Adetunji

    Paul Adetunji

    IT Systems Administrator

    Paul Adetunji is our Information Technology Systems Administrator. He graduated from Herbert Lehman College with a B.S in Computing and Management.

  • Karla Sorenson
    Karla Sorenson
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    Karla Sorenson

    Karla Sorenson

    Marketing Associate

    Karla Sorenson joined DLS in 2016. Her main focus, as the Marketing Associate, is our Marketing Initiatives and primarily works on our Social Media platform. Prior to joining us, Karla worked in both the non-profit and private sectors. She has a B.A. in Spanish and a Master’s in Public Administration, both from Brigham Young University. Her passions are traveling, yoga, and health.

  • Molly Sampson
    Molly Sampson
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    Molly Sampson

    Molly Sampson

    Director of Language Programs

    Molly Sampson joined our Language Training Department in 2007.  She worked as the Program Manager of the Curriculum Development Department prior to becoming the Director of Language Programs. Molly has also worked as an English instructor in the Washington DC area, San Francisco, and Kenya. She brings a unique perspective through her academic background in Anthropology and Education from Bucknell University and a M.A. in Anthropology from American University.

  • Kate Marden
    Kate Marden
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    Kate Marden

    Kate Marden

    Recruiting Manager

    Kate Marden started with us in 2011 as a Recruiter and became the Recruiting Manager a year later.  After earning a BA in German from Georgetown University in 2003, Kate started her career in the language services industry with a family-owned interpretation company in Minneapolis.

  • Janet Chou
    Janet Chou
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    Janet Chou

    Janet Chou

    Language Training Manager

    Janet Chou joined DLS in 2006.  Currently Janet is the Herndon Language Training Manager, overseeing the operations of Herndon location. She has a MA in Chinese-English Translation and Interpretation from Monterey Institute of International Studies.

  • Holly Mueller
    Holly Mueller
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    Holly Mueller

    Holly Mueller

    CD Project Manager

    Holly Mueller started here as the Editor of a curriculum development project for Army Special Forces. Not long after, she began managing the Russian, Pashto and Dari development teams. Currently, she manages the Persian-Farsi team on a curriculum project for Naval Special Warfare. She earned a BA in English and an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, both from Brigham Young University.

  • Dudley Hagen
    Dudley Hagen
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    Dudley Hagen

    Dudley Hagen

    Language Training Supervisor for Eastern European and West Asian Languages

    Dudley Hagen has been with us for many years. Before joining DLS, he was part of a company selling pipeline equipment requiring extensive travel in Russia.  He gained insight into the Russian business culture and went on to receive his B.A. in Russian from Dartmouth College, M.A. and C.Phil. (ABD) in Slavic Linguistics from UCLA. He also has an M.A. in English and TESOL from George Mason University.

  • Christina Hayes
    Christina Hayes
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    Christina Hayes

    Christina Hayes

    Language Training Supervisor for Asian and African Languages

    Christina Hayes arrived at DLS in 2010 and spent her first year working as a Mandarin Chinese instructor. She then earned a full-time position as a Language Training Specialist. During that time, she hosted professional development trainings and workshops for foreign language teachers.  In 2013 she began working in her current position as the Language Training Supervisor for Asian and African Languages. Christina was born and raised in Shijiazhuang, China. Later on she moved to Nanjing, China to attend university and obtained her B.A. in Finance and a second major in Business English. 

  • Alma Sadikaj
    Alma Sadikaj
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    Alma Sadikaj

    Alma Sadikaj

    Registrar and Client Relationship Manager

    Alma Sadikaj has several years of combined experience in international development, program management, logistics and operations, education, sales and client relations. Prior to joining us, Alma worked in both the non-profit and private sectors. Her passion is travel and acquiring insights about how cultures and languages are linked.

    Phone: 703-243-4855 ext. 149

  • Raluca Angelescu
    Raluca Angelescu
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    Raluca Angelescu

    Raluca Angelescu

    Executive Vice President

    Raluca Angelescu is Executive Vice President. She has been with us since the company was acquired in 2006.  Her focus is overseeing new business development through the capture, bid, and post-bid phases of the process. Part of that is integrating new lines of business into operations. Her successes include assimilating curriculum development and OCONUS linguist deployment. Raluca earned her MBA from the University of Maryland.

  • April Bellas
    April Bellas
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    April Bellas

    April Bellas

    Marketing and Salesforce Specialist

    April Bellas was part of the DLS team from 2008-2010 as Student Services Coordinator Intern. She rejoined the DLS team in October 2015 as Marketing Coordinator. Prior to rejoining April worked extensively in marketing and office management to help recently graduated chiropractors build their medical practices. She believes in empowering people to share their languages and cultures to increase understanding. 

  • Liz Redd
    Liz Redd
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    Liz Redd

    Liz Redd

    Translation & Interpretation Manager

    Liz Redd started at DLS in September 2014 as Student Services and Facilities Coordinator and now manages the Translation and Interpretation Department. She loves learning about and organizing new tasks. Prior to DLS, she studied Psychology at Brigham Young University and School Counseling at Loyola University Maryland. She has worked with people in a lot of different helping scenarios and enjoys learning about other cultures and people.

  • Haylie Peacock
    Haylie Peacock
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    Haylie Peacock

    Haylie Peacock

    Language Training Assistant, DLS Herndon, VA

    Haylie Peacock joined the DLS team in September 2015.  Her appreciation of diverse cultures and passion for language is what she enjoys most about working at DLS; a place where she feels diversity, understanding and, above all, communication is embraced.

    Haylie has over ten years of management experience in the service industry.  Currently as a Language Training Assistant, Haylie assists in the operations and facilitation of our student’s training programs. She strives to provide a friendly and efficient environment for learning.

  • Patsharee Herdes
    Patsharee Herdes
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    Patsharee Herdes

    Patsharee Herdes

    Lead Thai Instructor

    Patsharee Herdes has been with DLS since 2011.  Patsharee is from Bangkok, Thailand and received her Bachelor’s Degree in law studies from Ramkhumhang University in Bangkok. She has been a Thai language instructor since 2007 teaching government officials with assignments to Thailand.  Patsharee also administers student progress assessments and language proficiency tests (OPI and FSI).

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