Our Team

Dorothy Taft

Dorothy Douglas Taft

Executive Director

Dorothy has 30+ years’ experience engaged in US and international policy to advance human rights protection, democratic governance and civil society program development, as well as issues related to trauma healing.  She has worked in the United States Congress, the US Agency for International Development, and the nonprofit sphere. Representing the US Government and Members of Congress, she has defended the human rights and dignity of men and women in virtually every continent around the globe, with particular focus on violence against women and children, torture of political and religious prisoners, accessibility for those with disabilities, and the crime of human trafficking. Her commitments have taken her to more than 60 countries. Dorothy serves as a lay counselor and family mediator. She and her husband James live in Alexandria, Virginia.  In addition to serving as the Executive Director, Dorothy serves as the trauma program coordinator and is also an ex officio member of the Board of Directors.

James Dirksen

James Dirksen

Founder And Director Of Business Creation

James has over 20 years’ experience bringing products and services to the global market. He began his career as a consultant working at Northrup Grumman and PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 1997 he began working in the computer and network security industry and has started, grown, and sold companies and technology to companies including Microsoft, Symantec, Telefonica, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Citrix, and Cisco. James has founded two non-profit organizations that operate around the world. James has a degree in biology and chemistry from Point Loma University. He lives with his wife Dana and six children near Portland, Oregon.

Brad Jones

Brad Jones

Director of Field Operations

Brad strongly believes that creating jobs is an effective and holistic way to care for people. With 10 years of entrepreneurial experience, Brad has started and managed several social impact businesses. In North Africa, Brad and his family lived cross-culturally and spoke Arabic, and as a compassionate and engaged small business employer, helped improve many of his employees’ lives. Brad completed training in Disciplined Entrepreneurship from MIT’s Leadership Institute for Entrepreneurs with a focus on accelerating business growth, scaling a business and driving revenue. He has a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Clemson University and a seminary degree from Columbia International University. He is also an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church of America. Brad and his wife April live in Greenville, SC with their four children.

Sophia Papadimos

Program Operations Officer

Sophia served as the State of Ohio’s Anti-Trafficking Coordinator from 2017-2021 and prior to that as Anti-Trafficking Program Specialist at the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services. Previously, she worked with the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking. Before joining the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Sophia worked on regulatory issues for Ohio’s Lt. Governor. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from DePaul University and a Master’s Degree in Slavic and East European Studies with a concentration in human trafficking from the Ohio State University.

Courtney Santonicola

Director of Communications

Throughout her career, Courtney has devoted herself to working on strategies to help vulnerable people around the world. Her focus is on communications, strategic planning, and performance reporting. Previously, Courtney served as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Peace Corps, which included overseeing the daily operations of the agency and its 8,000 Peace Corps Volunteers in 74 countries. Courtney also worked at the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and on Capitol Hill, where she advanced issues ranging from education to foreign affairs. She graduated from Mary Washington College with a degree in International Relations. Growing up as an Army kid, Courtney values community and is always looking to connect people with communities of support. She believes that every human being is uniquely gifted and loves to see individuals understand themselves, embrace their talents, and flourish. Courtney lives in Vienna, Virginia with her husband and three children.

Shelley Thames

Shelley Smith Thames

Organizational Development and Operations Consultant

Shelley serves as a consultant coming alongside early-stage nonprofit leaders to help operationalize a vision and provide practical guidance and tactical execution along the way. Prior to beginning her consulting career, Shelley served for over 17 years with International Justice Mission (IJM). There Shelley provided leadership and support for a nonprofit start-up of five employees through various stages of organizational growth and maturity, ultimately being a senior advisor to an international organization of nearly 1,000 employees, $50m budget, and over a dozen foreign locations. Shelley led the strategic planning function, the content planning and supervision of the organization’s service to the Board of Directors and served as a utility player covering various functions and gaps for the organization. Prior to IJM, Shelley served with World Relief Atlanta, recruiting and training church sponsors for new refugee families from Somalia, Bosnia, and Iraq. Shelley has a BA in Social Work from Baylor University and a Master of Public Administration from George Mason University. She and her family live in Falls Church, VA.