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Meet The Team

Founders

Seth Stanton Co-Founder

Pronouns: He/Him

Seth, an optometrist from New Orleans, LA, is immensely proud to be a co-founder of Miles4Migrants. His road to the charity’s inception is paved by an obsession with points and miles and a healthy amount of Redditing. On both sides of his family, Seth is descended from immigrants who fled in the name of religious freedom: his father’s mother came from Lebanese Christians who fled the Ottoman Empire, and his mother’s family were Russian Jews who fled the pogroms. Early on, Seth’s commitment to fulfilling flight requests became a personal obsession, and his waking up to photos of another family reunited drove him to work deep into most nights. As a result, he feels a personal sense of relief that Miles4Migrants now has staff so he can get some sleep and eat actual meals with his wife and children. Seth’s talents revolve around sarcasm, an ability to fire off a small flood of messages in free moments between seeing patients, and a semi-encyclopedic knowledge of the best miles to use for any route around the world. He is a proud husband to Erin and father to Marie and Sylvie.

Andy Freedman Co-Founder

Pronouns: He/Him

Andy proudly serves as one of the co-founders at Miles4Migrants, supporting the work of the dedicated team and celebrating the heroism of the families Miles4Migrants has the opportunity to support in their journey to their new community. His personal inspiration for helping to launch the organization came as he was searching for a way to make a meaningful impact on the global refugee crisis after spending time living in the Middle East. After attending an event on the topic of ways to support refugees at the headquarters of TripAdvisor (now a Miles4Migrants funder), where he learned about the financial burden faced by resettled refugees due to travel loan repayment, he thankfully stumbled upon the like minded and fellow miles-obsessed co-founders, Seth and Nick. Andy serves as a volunteer director, and outside his work with Miles4Migrants, he maintains an executive role at Assured Allies, a technology company helping to address the financial strain of a global aging population. Andy lives outside of Boston, MA with his wife and two young children, Nora and Grant.

Nick Ruiz Co-Founder

Pronouns: He/Him

Nick serves as a co-founder at Miles4Migrants, supporting the technology development that powers our mission. Nick also piloted the original idea of using points and miles to reunite families by flying the family of a Pakistani Christian personal friend in Europe. He later shared this idea on with other online reward point enthusiasts on Reddit, where Seth and Nick later sparked the movement. Nick is passionate about developing technologies that bridge cultural boundaries and overcome language barriers to improve lives. Outside his work at Miles4Migrants, Nick is a natural language processing research scientist at Interactions, working on virtual assistants for customer care. Nick lives near New Providence, New Jersey with his wife Jennifer and his daughters, Julia and Chiara.

Staff

Diane Padilla Executive Director

Pronouns: She/Her

Diane is our inaugural Executive Director. Prior to joining Miles4Migrants, she practiced immigration and civil rights law. She previously served at Wheaton College to establish their first Equity and Title IX office to address social justice disparities. Prior to working in non-profit/higher education, Diane worked for 15 years at JPMorgan Chase & Co. She created their first immigration practice, worked in various HR leadership roles, and managed the pre-litigation employment-discrimination practice group. Early in her career, Diane represented migrant farmworkers, served as an Asylum Officer, and practiced immigration law at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy in Chicago. In addition, Diane served as a pro bono lawyer representing asylum seekers, undocumented victims of domestic violence, and naturalization applicants, as well as advancing immigration reform. Diane is thrilled to serve at Miles4Migrants and return to her passion for helping refugees, asylees, and immigrants. Diane lives in the western suburbs of Chicago, IL with her husband and two children, Aiden and Catarina. She loves spending time with family and friends, mentoring students of color, hiking, traveling, reading, yoga, and her dog Beary.

Annette Ross Director of Communications/Public Relations

Pronouns: She/Her

First serving in a volunteer capacity with Miles4Migrants beginning in 2018, Annette has assisted hundreds of donors through the process of pledging their miles to help refugees reunite and is ever-inspired by the outpouring of altruistic acts from our supporters. Her interest and concern for the welfare of others was born in a household built on the concept of “hygge” and the influence of her Northern European father, who assisted the Jewish people during WWII to escape to Sweden. She became more intimately aware of how one’s life destiny can be influenced by a single fortuitous event, when she and her husband traveled to Russia to adopt their daughter in 2007. With a background in human services serving marginalized and socially excluded populations, as well as working with other prospective adoptive families, Annette was thrilled when a full-time position became available at Miles4Migrants that offered her an opportunity to contribute to our global society. In her free time, Annette enjoys collecting vintage Hawaiiana and spending time with her family at the beach, rescuing wayward animals, and caring for a menagerie at home, including dumbo rats and two ornery goats.

Dan Moore Technology Solutions Manager

Pronouns: He/Him

Dan loves traveling and has taken advantage of award travel to explore all 7 continents. Previously involved in neuroscience research, he stepped away from the lab to make a tangible difference in underserved global communities. His work since then has focused on disaster relief and recovery, where he has worked in logistics and volunteer leadership, rebuilding homes and schools in disaster stricken regions including Peru, Nepal, Indonesia and the United States. His passions for award travel and humanitarian work came together in 2017 when he discovered Miles4Migrants and used his own miles to reunite 3 refugee families in the UK. He started on the team as a volunteer booker before becoming a full-time booking coordinator in 2019. Dan has since taken an active role in improving our systems and processes to help scale our operations to reunite more refugee families. Currently based in Southwest England, when he’s not booking flights or solving tech issues you’ll find Dan climbing hills, petting dogs or finding new beers to try.

Arthur Stevens Booking Consultant

Pronouns: He/Him

Arthur books Miles4Migrants’ flights, coordinating with donors, partners, and the Miles4Migrants team, reuniting displaced persons using donated frequent flyer miles. He has spent the past few years immersed in the world of award travel, redeeming about 4.5 million points and personally traveling over 150,000 miles. When he was offered the opportunity to put the knowledge he had gained to help reunite families with their loved ones, he was over the moon. Every day working for Miles4Migrants, he is moved by the stories of the immensely brave heroes seeking asylum, and the impact of donated miles; miles that reunite loved ones who have sometimes been separated for years, or help individuals escape persecution in their home countries. He feels it is a privilege to contribute one small part to these heroes’ incredible journeys. In his spare time, Arthur enjoys games of problem solving, listening to music or podcasts, and dreaming up his next trip.

Cat Cooke Marketing and Content Manager

Pronouns: She/Her

Cat oversees the marketing and content efforts at Miles4Migrants. She is an award miles enthusiast herself, having used them to assist in her two years of full-time travel across six continents. During this time spent discovering new cultures, she also worked as a social media and content marketing freelancer for nonprofits and social good organizations. Prior to her full-time travels, Cat lived in South Africa and assisted an after-school program for youth affected by HIV/AIDS. She also worked on the marketing team at Kiva where she traveled to many developing countries to cover the stories of economically disadvantaged individuals. One of her more impactful trips was interviewing Syrian refugees in Lebanon, an experience that solidified her desire to work more closely with refugees to help them reunite with their families and feel welcomed to their new homes. Now settled in Texas, Cat enjoys volunteering at a local ESL program with migrants from over 80 countries and is on a quest to try out all the immigrant-run restaurants in the area– especially if they involve tacos or Asian noodles!

Mary Novak-Caskey Booking Consultant

Pronouns: She/Her

Mary has worked in the travel industry for 30+ years, first in airline reservations and later in a luxury
travel agency. She has always had a love of travel, especially experiencing new places and cultures with
family and friends. Mary had been contemplating a departure from luxury travel, wanting to find a way
to use her skills to support people in need and make an impact in their lives. After being laid off from
her agency during the pandemic, she came across a Miles4Migrants job posting and immediately felt
fate had intervened. Being the granddaughter of immigrants who spent years bringing their family to
the U.S. one or two people at a time, re-uniting families sounded like an incredible way to make a
difference. Mary is thrilled to be part of such an important mission and amazing team. In her spare
time Mary loves hiking, spending time with her family and finding the best cat memes.

Patrick Stouffer Booking Consultant

Pronouns: He/Him

Patrick is a musician, writer, and points and miles fanatic currently based in Los Angeles. A freelance trumpet player by trade, he first discovered airline loyalty while traveling the world as a performer for cruise ships and various Broadway musical tours. For nearly ten years, he traveled non-stop to all 50 states and over 70 countries between work and leisure – using points and miles to fund and elevate his experiences. Patrick is overjoyed to be a full-time member of the Miles4Migrants Booking Team, where he gets to use his passion for frequent flyer miles to help reunite families and aid refugees on their journey to their new forever home. Between the remarkable tenacity of the travelers and the overwhelming generosity of the donors, he finds himself inspired and thankful every day to be a part of such a worthy cause. When he’s not booking flights, playing trumpet, or writing for AwardWallet, Patrick enjoys traveling with his wife, sampling new whiskeys, and spending time at the lake with his family.

Cara E. Duffy Booking Consultant

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Cara Duffy is an avid traveler and coffee drinker originally from New York. Cara received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 2019. She has worked as an ESL teacher in Washington, D.C., Ecuador, and Belgium. During her time as an undergraduate, she focused on studying border policy and volunteered at the U.S.-Mexico border, which inspired her to pursue a two-year Fulbright grant in Mexico. As a daughter of an immigrant, Cara is passionate about fighting for just and humane immigration policies. She feels fortunate for the opportunity to reunite families with FWD.us and Miles4Migrants. In her free time, she enjoys cycling and hiking with her dog, Benito.

Caitlin Kwan Booking Consultant

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Prior to joining Miles4Migrants, Caitlin worked as a Brand Marketing Tour Manager for over 15 years. In this role, she traveled the country extensively with well-known organizations like the United Nations Foundation, the American Idol Tour, and with celebrities such as Oprah. Driving the Wienermobile for weeks on end was an experience she cannot forget. Caitlin’s passion for travel with points and miles started as a teenager when she got her first credit card with a mileage bonus. These travel rewards have taken her to over 50 countries around the world where she experienced other cultures and volunteered her time in various projects, including helping start a dog rescue in Costa Rica. As an immigrant herself, Caitlin draws on her travel experience to assist refugees and asylum-seekers on Miles4Migrants reach a better and safer life for themselves and their families. When Caitlin is not booking flights or traveling, she spends time with her rescue dog, Ruby Roux, and attends sporting events and concerts in her beloved New Orleans.

Philippe Gaspard Booking Consultant

Pronouns: He/Him

Originally from Haiti, Philippe went to Canada and attended the University of Montreal (H.E.C) where he earned a bachelor degree in administration and finance. He then moved to the USA where for the past 30+ years, he worked for two major airlines in various roles (frontline and management) with increased responsibilities and project management. In recent years, he was pivotal to the success of the Global Services program at United airlines; he efficiently executed the roll out of the Polaris product. Philippe also participated in several disaster relief efforts such as: New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 devastating earthquake in Haiti, and in San Juan following hurricane Irma. He also worked closely with the Make A Wish Foundation chapter in Chicago and coordinated seamless assistance to their “special travelers”. A year or so into retirement, the opportunity to join Miles4Migrants presented itself and Philippe was elated to be part of this humble and compassionate team. To have the opportunity to contribute to such a meaningful and enriching mission makes Philippe feel even more fulfilled in his purpose. In his spare time, Philippe enjoys reading, gardening and traveling worldwide but more importantly, spending quality time with his wife, two daughters and babysitting his two grandchildren.

Thom Mulhern Booking Consultant

Pronouns: He/Him

In 1990 I switched careers from running a catering company to learning the ropes at a travel agency. I went from stoves to airline computers. Remarkably, I’m still with the same agency after 30 years.My career has been rewarding beyond all expectations. I’ve been a food enthusiast for 40 years, combining that with my love for travel has been an absolute blast. The pandemic gave me lots and lots of time to relook at what I wanted to do. When a friend told me about Miles4Migrants it looked like my experience in the travel industry could be put to very meaningful use. I am in awe of the team here, what they provide for refugees is invaluable and the systems they’ve
created to keep things operating is impressive. My partner Hugh and I recently moved to Jamaica Plain after almost 30 years in nearby Brookline. Turning our house into a home is a big – and fun- project. I’m fortunate that I love to read and take naps!

Volunteer Ambassadors

Amy Yu Volunteer Ambassador

Pronouns: She/Her

Amy’s experiences as a first-generation Chinese-American led to a desire to help underrepresented communities and families improve their lives. Her background, coupled with a few years of working in management consulting, led to a stockpile of travel miles and to Miles4Migrants. Her own rewarding experiences as a donor – helping two teenage girls flee conflict-stricken areas to reunite with family – inspired her to join the Miles4Migrants team as a volunteer, where she works on marketing and partnerships. She currently works at an early-stage e-commerce start-up in Los Angeles and is an avid camper, hiker and coffee junkie in her spare time.

Ken Robbins Volunteer Ambassador

Pronouns: He/Him

Ken has always had a passion to find ways to marry his core tech geek nature with ways to help people. This started early in his career when he created an aviation weather service to help pilots reduce weather-related accidents. More recently, Ken led an engineering organization supporting scientists who were performing drug discovery research on cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases, and other major unmet medical needs. This role required frequent travel from Boston to Switzerland, and as a result, many frequent flyer miles were accumulated. Ken was thrilled to discover Miles4Migrants, which provided a way to help the refugee crisis by donating his miles to make a direct impact in reuniting multiple wonderful and deserving families. After experiencing the donor side of the Miles4Migrants process, Ken saw that many of the automation lessons that helped accelerate scientists’ discovery of new medicines could be applied to the complex logistics problems of efficiently scaling Miles4Migrants’ ability to fulfill a virtually unlimited demand for family reunifications. Ken and his wife Debbie are proud parents of 3 sons, two of whom are tech focused, while the eldest is saving the planet, so he gets a pass for not picking up the geek gene.

Interns

Michelle Mariaca Flight Booking Intern

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Michelle Mariaca is a young professional currently residing in California. She is originally from La Paz, Bolivia. She grew up surrounded by beautiful mountains and cultural dances. She graduated with a Business Administration from Universidad Privada Boliviana. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, camping around California, hiking, and practicing yoga. She is very excited to join the FWD.us and Miles4Migrants team.

Please note: Your contribution helps support refugees, asylees, and asylum seekers from many parts of the globe who are in need of airfare. All donations will be used to support our most urgent flight requests, which includes, but is not limited to, Afghanistan.

  • Pledge Miles/Points

  • Pledge Miles/Points