Board & Staff

Our Founder 

Carolyn Manning-Giedraitis, Founder of WTAP

Current Roles: Currently, Carolyn has taken her experience working with the refugee community to Dunlap & Magee. She also participates in the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic, Maricopa Integrated Health Systems.

Education: She has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Public Administration from Seattle University.

Charity Experience: She has worked in the social service field with elderly, seriously mentally ill, abused children, and for refugees as a volunteer, crisis worker, case manager, and director since 1987. She founded WTAP in 2001.

Community Recognition: She has won numerous awards for WTAP and most recently was selected as a CNN Hero of 2009.

Board of Directors

Matt Berens, Board President

Founding partner, Berens, Kozub, Kloberdanz & Blonstein, PLC

 

 

 

Francesca Thomas, Board Vice President

Francesca joined WTAP as a volunteer 13 years ago. She has served as a home visitor, a packer and has gone on numerous welcomes with her family. This is her fourth year on the board. She is passionate about the cause of refugees and knows the impact a warm welcome can make in delivering hope to our new neighbors. Francesca also volunteers with other Valley organization to further support the transition of refugee families to self- sufficiency. Francesca has a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a MS from ASU in Justice Studies. She enjoys visiting her 3 grown children, scattered across the USA, cooking and hiking with her husband, reading and crafting.

 

Dana Herdt, Board Treasurer

Bookkeeper/HR, contractor

 

 

 

Lauren Keeler, Board Member

Lauren is the Director of Community Engagement at University of Phoenix, developing strategic partnerships and employee service opportunities nationwide. She has a passion for giving back to the community, reflected in her role as a community volunteer with causes she cares about. She began volunteering at WTAP in 2016 and has been a supporter ever since.

 

Martin Perez, Board Member

Vice Principal, Academia del Pueblo

 

 

 

Nina Melic, Board Member

Catering Sales Manager, Gainey Suites Hotel

 

 

 

 Aline Lindeman, Board Member

Faculty Associate, Master of Liberal Studies Dept, ASU

 

 

 

 Renee Neier, Board Member

Senior Procurement Officer, AZ State Retirement System

 

 

 

Staff

Mike Sullivan, Director of Programs and Outreach

Mike, who was hired in 2017, is familiar to many refugees, volunteers, and WTAP personnel. He helped at his first WTAP weekend welcome/delivery in 2008 and became a lead volunteer in early 2016. Mike now recruits, trains and schedules volunteers/groups who help WTAP with our home visits, refugee welcomes/deliveries, donation in-take, packing and Clothing Closet. He is also our point of contact for the referral agencies and entities who help to settle refugees in Arizona. Mike is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, with a B.A. in Economics. Prior to his WTAP work, Mike had a successful career in biotechnology, helping people with chronic illness. Mike’s interest in WTAP came from a sincere desire to help the world’s most vulnerable people. His favorite part of deliveries are the group conversations at the end of each visit, “when, with a warm welcome, we as volunteers can help refugees know how very happy we are that they are in our country and safe from harm.”

 

Ryan Martin, Lead Driver and Donation Coordinator

Ryan graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Planning (B.S.P.). He has a passion for helping people, no matter who it may be. Previously, Ryan worked as an AmeriCorps Member for Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun, which provides home healthcare to low-income, senior citizens at little or no cost. In 2017, Ryan also worked as an AmeriCorps Member for Refugee Focus, a refugee resettlement agency in Phoenix, as a Housing VISTA (Volunteer In Service to America).

 

JC

Jean-Charles Maniraho, Assistant Mover