Kristen Bloom, Executive Director & Founder
Kristen was born naturally curious and is always interested in meeting and learning about new people. She pursued an education in international studies and global education. After serving in South America as a Peace Corps volunteer, Kristen lived in Japan or four years where she taught English to Asian children and finished her master’s degree. She returned to the U.S. and settled in Mississippi where she taught English as a Second Language to students from around the world at Mississippi State University. She later worked in MSU’s Office of Study Abroad developing international study programs for university professors and students. As the spouse of a career military officer, she has moved many times and learned to understand and appreciate the cultural nuances associated with working with people from different parts of the country and world. She holds a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish/Latin American Studies from American University and an M.S. in Global and International Education from Drexel University.
Jamie Scotti Everett, Director of Operations
Jamie joined RAA in the summer of 2018. She has experience working with refugee women for the International Rescue Committee’s Women’s Empowerment and Protection program. Jamie serves on the Board of Directors for Set Her Free, a Ugandan non-profit which rescues (from brothels), shelters and educates girls. She circumnavigated the globe in 2015 on a study abroad Semester at Sea ship with her husband, 6-year-old son and 600 undergrads, where she mentored students and led Impact Travel Excursions in places like China, India, Myanmar (Burma) and South Africa. Prior to that, Jamie lived in the Brazilian Amazon for several years, where she worked with indigenous women to create a micro-enterprise for the women’s economic empowerment. She holds a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.A. in Theology, where she studied Liberation and Feminist Theologies, and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami, where she studied poverty and development, human rights and non-profit management.
Allison Insley-Madsen, President
Allison Insley-Madsen is a former career Foreign Service Officer who served primarily in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Paris, France. After 18 years overseas, she moved to Miami. She worked in the private sector before joining the State Department. Allison served six years on the board of Union School, the American school in Haiti, as both chair and secretary of the board. She helped found a therapeutic riding program for disabled orphans in Haiti which continues to send riders to compete in Special Olympics programs in Florida. She started with RAA by tutoring a family and then joined the board. Allison holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan with advanced studies at the Foreign Service Institute of the Department of State in Washington, D.C.
Mirva Cadet, Secretary
Mirva Cadet is the President of Cornerstone Global Collaborative, whose mission is to improve outcomes for children and families by providing support to community-based organizations in the areas of program design, development, and implementation. She is a grant writer who uses her skills to support the vision and mission of her clients. Mirva has an M.S. and an Education Specialist Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling with a concentration in mental health, multicultural issues, assessment, and evaluation from the Florida State University. She holds a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) certificate, a national certification in rehabilitation counseling. Mirva served as the COO for Gang Alternative, Inc., helping the organization secure $18 million in local, state and federal funding to sustain seven major departments, which were created under her leadership. She credits her effective leadership skills to her experience in direct services and her passion for children.
Cynthia Ow, Treasurer
Cynthia R. Ow is a partner of Prager Metis CPAs, LLC, a member of Prager Metis International Group. Cynthia has worked in the accounting industry for over 20 years, specializing in the areas of freight, logistics, and construction accounting. Prior to joining Prager Metis, she was a partner of Vizcaino Zomerfeld, LLP, joining the firm in 1998. Cynthia is fluent in English, Spanish, and Cantonese. She is a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Cynthia holds a B.A. and M.A. in Accounting from St. Thomas University.
Amelia Gowdy, Board Member
Bio coming soon.
Nada Halwani, Board Member
Born and raised in Baghdad, Nada Halwani left Iraq in1997 with a B.Sc. in Architectural Engineering. She worked as an Architect Designer and Project Manager in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, before moving to Miami in 2001. Nada manages a family-owned real estate property and a water well drilling company. She is the mother of four and an active member of the school Parent Teacher Association. Nada is fluent in Arabic and English and knows some Spanish. She is passionate about working and helping refugees since she lived through wars in her own country. She believes helping refugee families is life changing.
Todd Heustess, Board Member
Todd Heustess, VP of Development at Museum of Latin American Art, has worked in the non-profit/NGO development sector for more than 12 years, focusing on corporate sponsorships and fundraising events. From 2014-2019, he ran corporate development at New World Symphony. He served in the Peace Corps in Botswana, working in HIV/AIDS prevention and education with Botswana Ministry of Health and teaching business to refugees at a UNHCR site in Dukwi, Botswana. Todd directed corporate development at San Francisco Opera and produced large scale fundraising events for non-profits in South Florida. He has an M.B.A. in International Marketing from the Thunderbird School of International Management and has served on the Board of Directors for National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco and Lifeworks Mentoring in Los Angeles. He is a passionate volunteer for First Descents, an organization that offers outdoor adventure therapy programs to cancer survivors and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. After living, working and volunteering around the world, Todd is proud to be back in Miami working for America’s Orchestral Academy.
Miriam Potocky, Board Member
As a childhood refugee from the former Czechoslovakia, Miriam Potocky experienced first-hand the stressors that impact refugee families in resettlement in the U.S., including low English proficiency, economic uncertainty, labor exploitation, social isolation, and differential acculturation of family members, among many others. In graduate school, Miriam decided to devote her career to helping other resettled refugees through higher education and research on this population. She has been engaged in this work for over 25 years. Dr. Potocky is presently a professor of social work at Florida International University in Miami, where she teaches a graduate course on the subject, and has authored many publications including the book Best Practices for Social Work with Refugees and Immigrants, the second edition of which will be published fall 2019.
Ashley Price Swick, Board Member
Ashley Price Swick is Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement at the Miami Business School. In her role, Ashley focuses on donor and alumni stewardship and engagement. Ashley holds a Bachelors degree from Southern Methodist University in Political Science with a focus on american government and international relations as well as a minor in Sociology focused on class and minority struggles. She moved with her husband to Miami four years ago and has enjoyed embracing the community and culture. She is passionate about fundraising specifically for undeserved communities like the refugee families in SWFL.
Sophie Thomashausen, Board Member
Bio coming soon.
Joanna Tooke, Board Member
Joanna Tooke has a background of leading marketing efforts for the arts and museums in England. She began her career at London's National Army Museum, quickly rising to direct its marketing department, and then also adding the Events, Membership and Grants divisions to her purview. She then became the development and sustainability manager for the Museums, Libraries and Archive Council, the governmental body responsible for policy planning for all United Kingdom museums. Joanna authored a report commissioned by the UK Minister for Culture, Media and Sport on post-2009 governance models for the arts. She later served as a consultant to the leadership and innovation team of the Arts Council of England, the largest UK arts governmental body. Joanna holds an English Literature degree with post grad courses in marketing. She moved to Miami with her family in 2014.
Tere Florin, Referral System Coordinator
Tere was born and raised in Miami, FL and has worked in local government and non-profit agencies for more than 20 years. She is passionate about making her hometown a welcoming place to all and enjoys helping people find the information and resources they need.
Martine Dherte, Advisor
Originally from Belgium, Martine studied in Switzerland, the U.K. and Senegal before completing her college in Canada. Traveling reinforced her keen interest in understanding the dynamics of divergent societies and sparked her volunteer work. She has worked to support victims of female genital mutilation (MFG) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, empowering new Muslims through educational group series, caring with children living with HIV/AIDS at the Francis house, and feeding families staying at the Ronald McDonald House charities. Martine’s experience with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and refugees in Miami started in 2009 when she first volunteered in the resettlement program. In 2010, she began working as a case worker with clients from Africa.
Renee Gifford, Advisor
Ms. Gifford has nearly two decades of experience providing business development, grant management, and project management services for international development firms and non-profit organizations, including FLAG International, the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance, the QED Group, International Relief and Development, and World Learning. Her areas of expertise include economic development, private sector development, small and medium enterprise development, access-to-finance, community stabilization, poverty alleviation, and humanitarian assistance. She has managed projects throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa, Central Asia, West Africa, and Eastern Europe. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.B.A. in International Business from the George Washington University.
Nida Khan, Advisor
Nida is a displaced Brit, who moved to Miami in the summer of 2017 with her husband and children. Nida worked for Ernst & Young in London for many years, where she was an economic and business consultant working with large multinational corporations. She dabbled in the non profit sector from early on in her career. Examples include working on developing an internship programme for students in the U.K. and U.S. with charities and NGOs in Pakistan, and working with a private equity backed social venture partnership in London to select social enterprises to support with grants and pro bono capacity-building consulting services. In Miami, alongside her role with the Refugee Assistance Alliance, Nida is a Partner with the Social Venture Partnership (SVP Miami). Nida has an MA Hons (Cantab) in Economics from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental & African Studies (part of the University of London). Nida enjoys reading, learning about history, and setting the world to rights over tea and biscuits.