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
James Carroll, Board President
Management Consultant, RF/Microwave Consulting
Francesca Thomas, Board Vice President
Dana Herdt, Board Treasurer
Anne Cortland-Wald, Board Secretary
Advocate for refugees and girls
Matt Berens, Board Member
Founding partner, Berens, Kozub, Kloberdanz & Blonstein, PLC
Martin Perez, Board Member
Vice Principal, Academia del Pueblo
Susie Wilkins-Corrie, Board Member
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
Katie Thorson, Executive Director
Katie Thorson Wasson is a Master’s of Elementary Education graduate from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. After working with many refugee families in the Minneapolis School District and some extensive travel, Katie found her passion in interacting with individuals who bring culture, perspective, and understanding to the world. She has held numerous paid and volunteer positions and has loved serving her neighbors in our diverse and vibrant Phoenix community. She is excited to further the work and impact of WTAP and bring this culture and understanding to the United States. In her spare time, Katie loves hiking, yoga, attempting to cook, and enjoying time with her husband, Garrett, two cats, Gerald and Spaghetti, and dog, Chula.
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.”
Kayla Frost, Operations and Administration Coordinator
Kayla joined WTAP’s team with a passion for promoting cultural understanding and creating a welcoming environment for refugee families. Before WTAP, Kayla worked at a Portland-based non-profit that fostered international homestay programs. An Arizona native, she has a B.A. in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Kayla has traveled to many countries around the world and has volunteered as an English teacher in Peru and Cambodia. Now she is happy to make a positive impact on families closer to home!
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).
Jean-Charles Maniraho, Assistant Mover