US Leadership Team

Ensuring your voice gets heard, and communities get connected.

Spanning three countries and eight industries, these four leaders work every day to build common ground for people in every industry and walk of life — so ideas flourish, and communities move forward.


 

TESSA ZAVALA
CHAIR TGL-US, STRATEGIC AND LEGAL DIRECTOR TGL GLOBAL

Before moving to Texas, she practiced law in the San Francisco Bay Area. After arriving in Texas, Tessa served for twelve years as general counsel to some of the highest positions in the House of Representatives. She served as counsel to the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Texas House of Representatives for two years, and for six years as committee counsel to the powerful House Calendars Committee. Tessa was privy to high-level meetings and discussions that few inside the Capitol ever see. 

Tessa’s service to the Legislature provided her an opportunity to build strong, trusted relationships with legislators, agency officials and staff. Transferring the skills she honed in the Legislature, Tessa began a legal consulting practice as a legislative lawyer offering procedural and strategic advice as well as lobbying services. 

Tessa is recognized for her straightforward policy advice, creative strategic solutions, and thorough institutional knowledge of the legislative process and procedure. 

Tessa earned her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and her J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She is licensed to practice law in California and Texas. Tessa speaks Swedish fluently and is conversant in Norwegian and Spanish.


SARAH SUAREZ
PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER

Sarah has years of experience in large and small non-profit fundraising offices including a local humane society, a private law school, a library foundation to one of the country’s largest library systems, and a premier international museum. 

For the majority of her non-profit career, she has specialized in Stewardship, Donor Relations, and Donor Engagement providing a unique perspective into the minds of donors. By reporting to and caring for the donors who share her passion for helping others and improving the community, Sarah knows that all philanthropy boils down to respecting the donor, communicating their impact, and maintaining an open dialogue regarding their interests.

Sarah earned her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the Association of Donor Relations Professionals. 


The Great Listening US - Niklas Wass
The Great Listening US - Caroline Nyberg Wass
The Great Listening US - Niklas Wass

Niklas and Caroline wass, Co-Founders

Niklas Wass and Caroline Nyberg Wass, long-time influencers of Sweden’s Almedalen Week,  a political festival dedicated to the positive and free exchange of ideas, have spent years listening to Americans requesting to bring the forum to the U.S. They took this call to heart, tirelessly working, and founding The Great Listening to provide a platform for the people. People need a space where different ideas can come together, be welcomed, and a discussion of positive solutions can emerge — free of attacks from the people on the other side of an issue. 

The time is now to stop fighting and start working on improving our communities, economies, and democracies.

Like most people who work in and around politics, Caroline realized that when politicians bicker nothing gets better. Even the simple problems of roads with potholes or how to allow the newest sharing economy mode of transportation becomes more complex than rocket science. As a practical woman, Caroline knows it shouldn’t be this way.

As a reformed politician, she is inspired to find the best way to bring people together to solve today’s problems so that we’re ready for the issues of tomorrow.

Niklas’ vision is to bring the Great Listening platform to the United States and the world. As a man who has worn many hats in his life, from concert promoter to restauranteur to political operative, he has helped thousands move their businesses, NGOs, and their political affiliations forward. Because, as he will tell you, positive forward momentum is the future. 

At the heart of it, we all want to be kind to each other. We all want to help our businesses grow, our governments help those in dire situations, and to see our neighborhoods thriving.

Niklas and Caroline built on the Swedish concept of Almedalen to launch The Great Listening in 2018. They are making their dream, our reality. 

The Great Listening is the platform to bring listeners with ideas together and allow we, the people, to have a voice.