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.

Free for Life

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 

Read Free for Life’s Blog Posts

Free for Life

Katie Thompson

Operations Supervisor

Katie Thompson is Free for Life’s Operations Supervisor. 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

Free for Life

Lauren Bradish

Business and Programs Specialist

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

Darlene Palwik

Darlene Pawlik

Trafficking Survivor and Advisor

The Darling Princess

Preston Collum

Marketing and Analytics Coordinator

Syndiket Marketing, LLC

Davis Griffin

General Counsel

Sherwood Litigation

Country Directors

Bonita Thompson & Ann Thongves

Founder & Director, Home of New Beginnings

Board of Directors

Rachel Harmon

Board Chairperson

PhD Student – Emory University

John Geyerman

Board Secretary

Vice President of Franchise Sales – Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc.

Rick Miller, CPA

Board Accountant/Treasurer

Firm Principal – Miller Advisors

Mark Hooper

Southwest Airlines

Sister Ellen Hagar

Daughters of Charity, Province of Saint Louise
Principal – Elizabeth Seton High School

Tasha Lemley

Founder – The Contributor
Executive Director – Justice Ministries


Program Committee:

Rachel Harmon, Dr. Jim Chaney Ph.D, Caylen Santos, Tasha Lemley, John Geyerman

Fundraising Committee:

Sister Ellen Hagar, Annabelle Farrow, Mark Hooper, Christie Wilkins, Rachael Lesniewski

Organizational Finance Committee:

Rick Miller, Davis Griffin