GALA Board of Directors

The GALA Board of Directors is comprised of volunteer members who are elected by the GALA membership to serve for two-year terms. Their mandate is to drive the strategic direction of the association.


María Jesús de Arriba Díaz (Chairperson)
Senior Manager, Global Language Services at Workday, Ireland

As a localization leader with 20+ years in the industry, María has held multiple positions supporting the international growth of global companies of all sizes and industries.

María's localization journey started as a translator and interpreter, then leading translation teams and championing quality. From there, she took on leadership roles in both program management and vendor management. Subsequently, María progressed to leading strategic language service operations and developing customized customer localization programs. She is currently Senior Global Language Services Manager at Workday.

As an industry leader, María is committed to developing strong partnerships based on collaboration and mutual trust, always seeking to understand and align. She thrives on turning challenges into opportunities, and finding innovative ways to provide more value.

She plays an active role in leading the GILT industry into the future through her volunteer roles as elected Chairperson of the Board with the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), and Program Director with Women in Localization.
In addition, she is an active mentor and an advocate for knowledge sharing within the industry.

Britta Aagaard

Britta Aagaard (Vice Chairperson and Governance Committee Liaison)
Chief Business Officer, Semantix

Britta is the Chief Business Officer at Semantix where she is responsible for the total business within localization and advanced language solutions. She is an enthusiastic leader of a passionate team of language professionals, technology experts, and innovative minds. Semantix is the leading player in the Nordics and is constantly expanding its own comfort zone, trying harder and achieving more. Britta thrives on working with great people who firmly believe in communication and technology as an important contribution to our modern world.

Edith Bendermacher

Edith Bendermacher (Secretary and MarCom Committee Liaison)
Director of Globalization Strategy and Localization Operations at NetApp, United States

Edith is Head of Globalization Strategy and Localization Operations at NetApp, based in San Jose, California. Under a Center of Excellence, her team is responsible for the strategic planning of globalization across all departments, including delivery, innovation, uptake and return of the globalization investments.

Edith is a regular speaker on globalization in panels and globalization industry events. Edith is also a member of the Women in Technology Group at NetApp and Program Director of the Women in Localization Marketing Program. Additionally, Edith’s passion is developing and mentoring rising localization professionals through collaboration with MIIS.

Patrick Nunes

Patrick Nunes (Treasurer and Finance Committee Liaison)
Director, Global Communications & Design at Rotary International, USA

As somebody who has been actively involved in localization for over 20 years, Patrick is passionate about the strength of our industry and also the constant need for us to keep evolving how we position ourselves and how we do things.

From owning an LSP in Brazil, to leading localization and interpretation programs and many strategic global content and brand positioning initiatives, he believes the best results are accomplished when we can truly engage, inspire, and activate those around us.

Dave Ruane

Dave Ruane (Finance Committee and Member Programs Committee Liaison)
Digital Content and Partnerships Manager at XTM International, Spain

Dave Ruane started his 25-year localization industry journey in technology and solutions roles, followed by operations management, consultancy and then designed globalization business solutions for enterprises. He currently manages digital content and partner strategies at XTM International. Dave is a moderator and speaker at industry events, and runs the Process Innovation Challenge. He is a self-confessed techie, based in coastal Spain and more often than not can be found near fly fishing water.

Jose Palomares

Jose Palomares (Standards Committee and Program Committee Liaison)
Director of Localization at Coupa Software, United States

Jose is the Director of Localization at Coupa, the software company leader in the enterprise Business Spend Management category. With a trajectory in our industry spanning more than 25 years as a translator, technologist, business leader, and entrepreneur, Jose brings to the table his combined experience from the vendor and buyer sides, a keen interest in all things technology, and an outspoken attitude toward how to empower our community, do more, and do better.

Shirley Yeng

Shirley Yeng (Governance Committee and Rising Star Committee Liaison)
Chief Strategy Officer at Successglo Pte. Ltd., Singapore

Shirley has 30 years experience in the localization industry and has performed nearly every role along the way. She started as an i18N engineer and technical consultant before joining the localization industry where she worked at well-known companies such as LMI, Berlitz GlobalNET, Bowne Global Solutions, and EC Innovations. She also served as program manager, account manager, business development director, and global strategist. Today, she is the Chief Strategy Officer at SuccessGlo, a leading Asia provider with offices in Singapore, China, Vietnam, and Japan.

Shirley is an active volunteer in the leadership team of Women in Localization Singapore Chapter as Events Manager and also serves on mission trips to developing countries and teaching Sunday school kids.