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Meet the Leadership Team

Get acquainted with the dedicated professionals at Ad Astra. Our leadership team brings together a wealth of expertise and a shared passion for bridging language barriers. Together, we are committed to delivering exceptional language services that connect communities and cultures across the globe.

Founder and CEO

Elena Petrova

Founder and CEO

Elena is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ad Astra. Her company was born out of her passion for promoting cultural understanding.

She began her career providing spoken language interpretation and language instruction services to high-level diplomats, schools, the Zenit soccer team, media organizations, and more. When she moved to the United States, she served in various language services management and business development roles.

Elena considers language interpretation, translation, and other related services necessary to facilitate communication among all people in all activities of their lives. Every day, she works harder to ensure Ad Astra’s services reflect the best offerings and current industry standards to serve the needs of both organizations and individuals.

I have built Ad Astra with a diverse team of professionals who, like me, also profoundly care about people and communities across the nation and the globe and find ultimate satisfaction in creating stronger connections among disparate communities. Along with my employees, I am deeply involved in many pro bono initiatives that provide language services to nonprofits and the community.
Iwona Michaj

Iwona Machaj

Chief People Officer

Throughout my two-decade journey in HR leadership, I have been on a mission to reshape the People Operations landscape, introducing innovative ideas that redefine our role in organizations. My passion lies in nurturing talent and fostering teams that celebrate diversity, reflecting the beautiful diversity of our world.

I firmly believe that the essence of any thriving company lies in its people. Guided by this belief, I have led companies' inspiring expansions, both locally and globally. These achievements are rooted in a culture that values different perspectives and thrives on collaboration.

In the dynamic world of global markets, I have played a pivotal role in initiatives that propel companies to new heights. By aligning our workforce strategies with business goals, I ensure that our growth is not just about financial gains but also about enriching our human capital.

As a trusted partner, I work closely with leadership teams to drive initiatives that enhance efficiency and elevate team members' satisfaction.

My journey, marked by an MBA Essentials from The London School of Economics and executive development from Wharton School, symbolizes my unwavering commitment to brilliance in HR leadership.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.

Gbenga Adeleye

Financial Controller

Gbenga is responsible for Ad Astra’s financial affairs, and he works closely with the accounting team to ensure all transactions are recorded accurately in accordance with GAAP. He also helps develop and monitors the budget, and areas of financial risk. In his free time he loves cooking and spending time with his family.

Ad Astra has allowed me to be part of work I’m very proud of, and above all, enjoy.

Nicolás Calleri

Director of Production

Nico has a background in Business Administration, and he enjoys helping Ad Astra create jobs around the world. When he’s not working, he likes going to concerts and camping. You can also find him skydiving on any given Saturday. He is an avid adventurer and loves to push himself to try new things.

Ad Astra is everything to me. This company has helped me become who I am and improve as a person. It’s special to help build language access and community, especially as a multilingual person yourself.

Lynn Dixon

Head of Translation Operations

Lynn has a background in Industrial Psychology and Management, and enjoys helping others realize their potential. Her first introduction into the word of translations was as a DTP Artist and over the years has progressed to managing translation teams and learning more about the industry, the processes and technologies with a particular interest in how we humans can use technology to enhance processes and productivity. Having travelled around South East Asia in her youth (before the days of google maps and MT), she truly understands the challenges in communication barriers.

I am a firm believer in working smarter not harder and maintaining human connection through all processes.

John Eick

Director of Administration

John has extensive experience in recruiting, HR, and operations. Before joining Ad Astra he worked for an interfaith, intercultural nonprofit and has had experience recruiting in a university setting. He enjoyed assisting young people with finding their passion and path in life. In his free time, John enjoys hiking, cooking, and exploring ghost towns in the New Jersey pine barriers.

Ad Astra inspires me to build bridges between cultures and communities which previously may not have been there and help those who struggle to get help because of language or cultural barriers.

Matias Gunn

Head of Client Success

I am a dynamic professional committed to delivering exceptional customer support and building robust relationships. My passion for continuous learning and development enables me to empower clients, helping them achieve their objectives through strategic collaboration and applying my diverse experience across multiple sectors.
With a proven track record of managing global operations and leading customer success initiatives, I have cultivated a rich network of contacts and developed invaluable tools. These resources are instrumental in guiding clients and uncovering new business opportunities, positioning me to drive growth and success effectively.

I love being able to work with bilingual people and help them start their futures in linguistic careers. Seeing them use this to contribute to their own communities is extremely rewarding. Ad Astra is constantly investing in training to help linguists improve and develop their careers.
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Stephen Isbell

Director of Sign Language Services

I've moved around a lot and have found that every place can be home. Grew up around sign language and have been in the industry for close to 20 years. Certified interpreter Multipotentialite passionate about bridging communication gaps. I love to entertain.

Bridging worlds with words and a wink. Because sometimes, the most profound conversations happen in silence.
Emily Leyher

Emily Layher

Director of Government Sales

With over a decade of experience in the translation industry, Emily first started her career as a freelance German translator. She holds a degree in translation studies from the University of Chicago and enjoys volunteering as a mentor to other localization students who are following in her footsteps. She has a vast background in supporting both government and Fortune 500 corporate clients. Emily is based out of the windy city of Chicago. Outside of work, Emily enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter. She enjoys traveling, gardening and reading.. As a foodie, she loves discovering new restaurants of any cuisine in the city.

It’s a wonderful feeling to help facilitate communication between cultures. The world has so much to learn from one another and building a bridge for that communication is so rewarding each and every day.
Paris Moeini

Paris Moeini

Director of Interpretation

Paris has over 17 years of award-winning expertise in language translation leadership, operation management and customer satisfaction in the private and government sectors. She speaks 5 languages fluently and has a track record of garnering accolades from Fortune 500 customers, galvanizing team performance, leading a military linguistics training program, and serving as a change catalyst in advancing service quality. She is a US Army veteran, a Purple Heart recipient, and former Command Language Program Manager of her unit with 4 years of experience serving as a Non-Commissioned Officer in charge (SGT- E5) at Fort Irwin, CA, and a recent graduate from Stern School of Business NYU with an Executive MBA degree. 

Languages do not just describe reality. Languages create the reality they describe.

Keith Perera

Director of Government Sales

Keith is a Government Business strategist with more than eight years of experience. At Ad Astra he often leads RFPs, proposals, partnering efforts and contract implementations. When he’s not focused on business, he enjoys reading about economics, taxes, and real estate. He also enjoys keeping up with the latest gadgets and is not immune to the desire to have the latest iPhone.

The Ad Astra story inspires me because of how far we’ve come. Providing communication access to everyone is important, but staying profitable while providing a service to the community is difficult. I think achieving that balance is an art.

Vadim Petrov

Director of Client Solutions

Vadim has had 5 years of experience in operations and sales at Ad Astra. He is the current leader of the corporate sales team and hopes to continue growing the company. During his free time, he enjoys being outdoors, hiking and riding his motorcycle. He has been known to look for treasure in antique shops from time to time.

Working at Ad Astra is a fulfilling experience because it provides me with the opportunity to collaborate with professionals from diverse regions to provide essential services to our communities.
Director of Marketing

Alina Ruzmetova

Director of Marketing

With nearly 15 years of experience, Alina specializes in creating innovative marketing strategies that drive growth and seize market opportunities. She is committed to mentoring her team, focusing on their skills and professional development.

Alina holds a Master’s degree from a joint program between the Elliott School of International Affairs and the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. She also earned a Bachelor's degree from Ohio Wesleyan University.

Outside of work, Alina is passionate about exploration and self-enrichment. She enjoys traveling, writing, and gardening, as well as spending time with her beloved pets, Luna the dog and Gary the cat. 

I'm proud to be part of the Ad Astra community - where diversity drives our creativity and teamwork inspires innovation and high-quality outcomes.

Amparo Villar García

Director of Learning and Development

Amparo started working as an interpreter in 2010 and has worked in various sectors, including court interpreting. She also has a background in finance and IRS work. Amparo is Ad Astra’s head of training and quality control department. When she is not all business, cars, motorcycles, basketball, and soccer are her passion. Loves to travel and learn from different cultures.

I love being able to work with bilingual people and help them start their futures in linguistic careers. Seeing them use this to contribute to their own communities is extremely rewarding. Ad Astra is constantly investing in training to help linguists improve and develop their careers.
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