William L. Gertz, AIFS President and CEO
Since 2005, Bill Gertz has served as the President and CEO of AIFS, a leading cultural and educational exchange organization. A native New Yorker with more than 30 years of experience in International Education, Bill has a wide range of diverse interests. He is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton, where he majored in European history and journalism. Shortly after college, he worked as a freelance writer, investigative reporter and editor. More recently, he completed the Strategic Marketing Management Program at Harvard Business School.
Bill's early career in journalism allowed him to cultivate an interest in world affairs and foreign cultures. In 1973, he spent the summer backpacking through Europe with friends. Greatly inspired by his travels, Bill then moved to France, where he was able to experience European life first hand. Upon his return stateside, he entered the field of International Education and in 1976, became marketing manager for the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE). Later, he founded a marketing and public relations company, where he served clients as diverse as the artist Peter Max as well as numerous youth and student travel organizations, including the British Tourist Authority. In the early 1980's, he was the travel editor of Transitions, an international education publication.
In 1985, Bill joined AIFS as Associate Marketing Director. During his tenure at AIFS, Bill has led many initiatives that have been instrumental to the growth and direction of the company. In 1986, Bill helped AIFS launch the Au Pair in America program, which today is one of the largest Au Pair placement agency in the world. He was promoted to Vice President of AIFS in 1990 and Chief Operating Officer in 1998 before becoming President and CEO in 2005. Total annual worldwide participants on AIFS educational programs, including Au Pair, Camp America, Summer Institute for the Gifted, Cultural Insurance Services International and College Study Abroad, are approximately 40,000.
Bill's other major accomplishments at AIFS include the creation of a Customer Relationship Management system in 1993, the establishment of the first AIFS website in 1995, and organizing the Diversity in International Education workshop in Washington, D.C. in 2010. He has published numerous articles in educational publications including the IIE Networker Magazine and Youth Travel International. Under his leadership, AIFS was voted the fourth best place to work in Connecticut for mid-sized companies by Workplace Dynamics and Hearst Newspapers in 2011.
In addition to his role as AIFS President and CEO, Bill also serves as Vice Chairman of the AIFS Board of Directors and as an AIFS Foundation Trustee. He was formerly on the Executive Board of the International Au Pair Association (IAPA) and EDU Educational Services, Inc. Bill has also served on the Development Committee of NAFSA: Association of International Educators and currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee for the Alliance for International Educational & Cultural Exchange.
Father of a gifted child, Bill is also active in the field of gifted education and serves as a Trustee for the National Society for the Gifted and Talented, a non-profit organization. He previously served on the State of Connecticut Board of Gifted and Talented Students.
Bill currently lives in Fairfield, Connecticut, with his wife Evelyn, a classical guitarist. Their son Matthew is a senior researcher at MediaMatters.org, and their daughter Susannah is a teacher’s aide in Ithaca, NY. Bill enjoys traveling, writing, music and movies.
Read Bill's article from Youth Travel International about traveling in a simpler era.