Our Team

Say hello to the amazing collection of people who make Free for Life go.
Meet Our People

Meet Our People

Colette Wise, founder of free for life international.

Colette Wise


After seeing a television show in 2005 featuring the buying and selling of a young woman in Romania, Colette was completely heartbroken by the travesty of what she had seen.  She was immediately compelled into action and started a partnership with Lana Matei, who runs a safe house in Romania.  By turning a single experience into action, Free for Life International was founded in 2006.

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gabrielle thompson executive director of free for life international

Gabrielle Thompson

Executive Director & CEO

At a young age, Gabrielle’s heart was drawn towards women in developing countries. Once she knew how to place that into action, she pursued avenues to engage in helping and empowering women in developing countries. Thompson believes that empowered women, empower women. Thompson holds a Masters of International Affairs, with a specialization in International Gender Development from Middle Tennessee State University. Her master’s thesis titled “Perceptions in Development: Costa Rican Policy Initiatives and Pathways to Socioeconomic Accessibility” is available to read here.  She has worked in gender policy development in Istanbul, Turkey, and in Costa Rica for an INGO on grants for impoverished female entrepreneurs. 

Thompson has a love for adventure, which has taken her to over 20 countries – and when she is not fighting trafficking you can find her lost in nature.

Let it not be said that I was silent when they needed me” – William Wilberforce 

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Sarah Weeks

Art & Media Coordinator

Sarah Weeks is Free for Life’s Art and Media Coordinator. Having a heart for equality and seeing justice for those who are wronged has led Sarah to working with various international anti-trafficking organizations in Southeast Asia and the United States.  She is currently working on receiving her Bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University.  Sarah is passionate about creating fun and creative environments everywhere she goes.  Her love for Beyoncé is always a conversation starter. 

I believe your purpose is at the intersection of your passion and your success.”-Denise Marcia

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katie thompson administrative specialist for free for life international

Katie Thompson

Administrative Specialist

Katie Thompson is Free for Life’s Administrative Specialist. Growing up in the D.C. metropolitan area, Katie developed a passion for the nonprofit sector and issues of social justice. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from George Mason University, Katie moved to Nashville and brought her heart for international work and unique skill set to the Free for Life Team.

Katie is a live-music photographer and coffee shop regular in her moments of down time.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others” – Nelson Mandela

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Chantha Sapkota founder of peace rehabilitation center in nepal.

Shantha Sapkota

Founder of Peace Rehabilitation Center (PRC)

Shantha Sapkota began her work in anti-trafficking in the late 80’s when she founded PRC. By the early 90’s, PRC had established a safe shelter for trafficking victims. Shantha is a powerhouse of leadership and love; she is a mother to all in her rescue home. Without Shantha and PRC Free for Life could not do the work we do.

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Mission 64

International Liaison

In an effort to protect the identity of our International Liaison we have chosen not to disclose any personal information. Please email Gabrielle if you have any questions.

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Darlene Palwik

Darlene Pawlik

Trafficking Survivor and Advisor

Darlene Pawlik was sold into human trafficking at the young age of 14.  She now uses her life experience to advocate for those who are victims of human trafficking.  She is a survivor, a motivational speaker, and inspiration to us all.

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Lauren Bradish

Business and Processing Assistant

Lauren Bradish is Free for Life’s Business and Processing Assistant. Her connection to Free for Life began with an internship and quickly grew into a passion for the organization and its cause. She is a recent graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, and is currently pursuing a Masters in International Affairs. In her free time, Lauren enjoys cuddling with her two dogs, Freya and Raven, and binge-watching Netflix.

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” -Charlotte Bronte

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Josh Rickerman

Spring Intern

Free for Life

Board of Directors

Katie Peters-Settje

Board Chairperson

Rachel Harmon


John Geyerman


Rick Miller


Mark Hooper