Our Team

Dorothy Taft

Dorothy Douglas Taft

Executive Director

Dorothy has decades of experience engaged in US and international policy to advance human rights protection and advocate for the most vulnerable, as well as engage with issues related to trauma healing. She has worked in the United States Congress and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and in partnership with a variety of nonprofit organizations. 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. Dorothy in 2021 completed the Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery course from Harvard Medical School’s Program in Refugee Trauma, and in 2014, Missio Seminary’s Global Trauma Recovery Institute CE training. She and her husband James Taft live in Alexandria, Virginia.

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.

Eric Ranck

Business Improvement Manager

As Business Improvement Manager with The Market Project, Eric supports and strengthens business and field operations and trains dairy farmers. Eric is passionate about cows, vegetables, and helping farmers support themselves through improved farming practices. He has lived in Uganda twice previously, managing a small dairy farm and performing small-scale agronomic research on crop practices to maximize yields. Eric has also managed corn, soybean and wheat production at his family’s organic farm in Pennsylvania and oversaw the milking, feeding, and treating of over 300 dairy cows and heifers. Eric is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Agroecology and a Masters of Science in Animal Science, focusing on dairy economics and nutrition. Eric is married to Lauren and is the father of two children.  He is a volunteer firefighter.

Rebecca Hickey

Rebecca Hickey

Senior Advisor

Becky serves as a consultant with experience developing and implementing fundraising plans and cultivating relationships for all funding streams. She has had careers in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. For over a decade she worked in the Community Development Financial Institution field where she helped establish new programs that involved State and/or Federal Governments, lending institutions, and community development organizations. She is a co-founder of Hope for New York, which provides financial and professional support to those working with the poor and marginalized of New York City.  Becky has a BA in English Literature from Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, and a Master in Urban Planning from New York University, Robert F. Wager School of Public Service. Becky volunteers as a court-appointed special advocate for children in the foster care system.  She and her husband share their time between Lancaster, PA, and New York, NY. They have two grown 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.

Dawson Aichholz

Administrative Assistant

Dawson serves as the Administrative Assistant for the Market Project and desires to help bring leverage to those who have been mistreated or do not have agency. He is a native Cincinnatian and a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where he majored in International Studies and led leadership training seminars for student athletes. He also traveled to Israel as a member of the Johns Hopkins Building Bridges program. As an intern on Capitol Hill, in addition to liaising with constituents, he researched legislative initiatives including human trafficking issues. In his free time, Dawson enjoys spending time with friends, working out, hiking, watching critically acclaimed films, fishing, and scuba diving.