Volunteers Leaders in PDI-POA

PDI-POA is an entirely volunteer-led professional membership association. Without the dedication of our volunteers, particularly those who have stepped up to take leadership roles in the association, PDI-POA would not be able to deliver the high quality educational, networking, and professional development programming that our members expect.

In addition to our volunteer Board of Directors, PDI-POA members take on leadership roles across our committees to deliver educational programs as well as opportunities for members and friends of PDI-POA to get to know one another, learn more about protocol, and develop connections with others in the field.

Meet our Volunteer Leaders!

Valerie DalatiMentorship & Partnership Exchange Program Chair 
Valérie Dalati
Hope LamanSocial Media Coordinator 
Hope Laman
Atlanta, GA, USA
Eric DickenProtocol Prose Book Club Chair 
Eric L. Dicken 
Cleveland, OH, USA
Katelyn Wilcox SurmannVirtual Programming Chair 
Katelyn Wilcox Surmann
Lansing, MI, USA 


More Information About our Volunteer Leaders

Valérie Dalati

Mentorship and Partnership Exchange Program Chair

Valérie is a trilingual (French, English, Arabic) accredited capacity building consultant with 15 years of experience in the fields of learning and development consultancy, human resources consultancy, communications consultancy, events design, and international relations.  She is a Team Management Systems Development International (TMSDI) accredited consultant, and a licensed trainer and consultant in Intercultural Business Etiquette and Protocol through The Protocol School of Washington (PSOW), as well as having earned a master's degree at the Lebanese American University in International Affairs and Diplomacy.
Valérie guides her clients with her stretched experience across various fields, whether corporate, educational, or NGO, on how to direct personal, corporate, and team energy to reach peak performance and successful results.
Through her experience, Valérie created learning and development (L&D) solutions for environments that engage more than 1,000 learners, also leading the design, delivery and return on investment (ROI) of several learning methodologies and technologies. She also created and planned several learning and corporate events such as conferences, career fairs, and gala dinners, and has a particular dedication in her career to wellness and wellbeing through team outings and retreats.

Eric L. Dicken

Protocol Prose Book Club Chair

Eric L. Dicken manages the Protocol Prose Book Club. During his career, he has orchestrated hundreds of ceremonies and events for universities, nonprofits, and cultural arts organizations. 

Eric believes his best work is imbued with creativity, which appears through designing memorable experiences, selecting meaningful gifts, and fostering new connections among partners.

A storyteller at heart, Eric derives great joy in shaping the narrative arc of events and how they affect all those involved.

Hope Laman

Social Media Coordinator

Following a successful dance career, Hope Laman began work as an administrative assistant in the corporate sector. People in her care were often in need of organization and improved processes and it was here that Hope’s inherent passion met up with purpose. While she enjoys undertaking improvement projects to allow the team to focus on the work that matters most, she has also organized many unglamorous office closets and even a CEO’s gift inventory.

After attending Protocol Officer training at the Protocol School of Washington in 2016, she saw the benefit of protocol firsthand and joined PDI-POA shortly thereafter. A few months into her membership she volunteered on the newsletter team, and a few years later at the encouragement of her mentor, she self-nominated and was accepted into the board of directors where she served as VP of Communications and of Membership during her tenure. She currently volunteers as PDI’s social media coordinator, working with a team across the globe to curate content.

Hope currently supports the President of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Katelyn Wilcox Surmann

Virtual Programming Chair

Katelyn Wilcox Surmann assumed the role of Assistant Chief of Protocol for the State of Michigan in 2016 and currently serves as the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) Board Liaison for the Michigan Economic  Development Corporation. In this position, Katelyn handles a variety of protocol and international business issues for the State of Michigan. The Protocol office is the primary point of contact with the diplomatic community both in Michigan and worldwide and is responsible for addressing the needs and concerns, diplomatic or otherwise, of this group. Katelyn’s responsibilities entail planning foreign trips for the Governor and other state officials and assisting with arrangements for visits by heads of state and other dignitaries when state government is involved. Katelyn serves as a resource for protocol, international and cultural issues and interacts with legislators, department directors, top corporate and industry executives, U.S. and foreign leaders as well as university and local government officials on a regular basis.  

Katelyn has over fourteen years of legislative experience, specializing in international affairs since 2014.  She holds a B.A. in French and a B.A. in Finance with a Specialization in International Business from Michigan State University.