MEET

Our Team

Troy Peden

Founder

He is the founding father of GoAbroad.com 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

Director

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 GoAbroad.com.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.

Rachel Cerna

Partnerships & Marketing Coordinator

The newest member of the GoAbroad Foundation team, Rachel brings with her an energy for helping communities in need and making a difference in the world in any way she can. With a background in accounting and experience volunteering with our partner in the Philippines, Rachel works closely with our Beneficiary Organizations to help bring their partnership to life. She's also responsible for overseeing all outreach programs, managing our social media marketing, and supports a range of other strategies.

Rachael VanDerWerff

Finance Coordinator

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 GoAbroad.com, 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 assists with donation tracking and management for all donors in the U.S., as well as coordinating all our legal and accounting needs.

Kayla Patterson

Marketing Advisor

Joining the GoAbroad.com 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

Cathryn Fortuna

Content & Social Media Advisor

Cathryn joined the GoAbroad Foundation alongside her role with GoAbroad.com, where she started as a content writer in 2017. She recently began contributing to GAF’s content creation and social media efforts. Her personal volunteering experiences have been focused back home in Ohio, mostly with environmental organizations like Adopt-a-Highway.Cathryn has traveled around four continents, most extensively in New Zealand and India. Her passions include animal welfare, zero waste living, environmental sustainability, and women’s rights.