People Behind the GoAbroad Foundation

Meet the GoAbroad Foundation Team



Troy Peden

He is the founding father of and the charitable GoAbroad Foundation. Troy’s extensive travel experience have included studying, working, and volunteering throughout Europe and Russia, Africa, Latin America, South America, and Asia.

Troy currently lives in Colorado with his wife and children, though he continues to advise and influence all the organizations he has helped develop throughout his career as well as provide advising for new organizations.


Elsa Thomasma-Alingasa

Her international career began when she started volunteering in Southeast Asia, which was followed by years of fundraising and traveling between Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Eventually, Elsa became an intern at a local nonprofit in the Philippines and then began working full time for

A survivor herself, Elsa helped organize relief operations following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013. Following this experience, she became Director of the GoAbroad Foundation, devoting herself to increasing the span of the organization’s reach in order to help small nonprofits around the world fulfill needs in their communities. Elsa spends her weekdays at the office, her evenings with her husband, and her weekends conducting feedings and activities for children at a local community center.



Marketing – Kayla Patterson

Joining the team in January 2011, Kayla’s role has evolved over the years, but she currently works as the company’s COO. After volunteering in the Philippines in 2012, Kayla’s interest in philanthropy came to the forefront and she began getting more involved with the GoAbroad Foundation.

In November 2013, in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, Kayla drove online fundraising and social media efforts for the GoAbroad Foundation. Through various fundraising campaigns and events, and the generosity of countless individuals and donors, she helped raise over $150,000 for Typhoon Haiyan relief. Kayla’s passion for raising awareness for causes around the world and her knack for online marketing and social media make her an ideal Marketing Advisor for the GoAbroad Foundation.


Financial Management – Rachael VanDerWerff

A world traveler and esteemed baker from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Rachael first experienced the world of travel while receiving her undergraduate degree from South Dakota State University, through a study abroad program in Sweden. After that experience she fell in love with travel, culture, and the outside world, and knew those necessities would always be a part of her life.

In January of 2012, she started working for, as Operations Manager, and also for the GoAbroad Foundation. She enjoys having a hand to play in the organization and is overcome with gratitude to each and every donor that makes the GoAbroad Foundation’s efforts possible. Rachael is in charge of donation tracking and management in the U.S.


Social Media – Joy Moreno

Her social media skills help keep the GoAbroad Foundation’s social media community engaged and growing. Joy’s social media expertise has become a huge asset to the GoAbroad Foundation team over the past few years. She serves as our in-house social media guru, in addition to her day job as a Social Media Community Manager for


Content Marketing Intern – Hannah Sorila

Hannah graduated from Providence College in 2017 with a degree in Global Studies and a Concentration in Community, Culture, and Care. During her undergraduate career, she was able to study abroad for two semesters. This experience led her to study Global Health, with a research focus on Mental Health, in India, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco, and Switzerland.

After returning from studying abroad, her work continued to focus on intentional and purposeful international immersion experiences. This passion for meaningful travel (and her love for Colorado) brought her to the graces of none other than Hannah is currently living in the Philippines while serving as the Content Marketing Intern for and the GoAbroad Foundation.



Lead Ambassador – Shelby Lisieski

All her life Shelby knew she wanted to work with people, which led her to get her degree in Travel/Tourism and Destination Management. Shortly after graduation from Niagara University—where she also spent time studying abroad in Scotland—she took the leap to South Vietnam to work as a Project Coordinator and shortly after hopped over to the Philippines to become part of the GoAbroad team as a Content Marketing Intern.

Shelby currently lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts, where she chose to veer off the path of Tourism and focus her career more on International Education. Shelby is a lover of life, and all things peanut butter. She hopes to one day live abroad again and keep exploring this beautiful world while helping the people on it.

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