Founder and President
Brad Riley is the Founder, President, and Lead Advocate for iEmpathize (iE), an international child advocacy and media non-profit. iEmpathize’s mission is to eradicate child exploitation while engaging culture in creative solutions. iE has an international impact with a focus on the US and Mexico. In addition to leading iE and the team, Brad oversees our field projects/partnerships and serves as executive producer of media and events. The organization is known for empowering grassroots solutions and immersive mixed media experiences featuring film, photography, artifacts, and sounds. These experiences impact diverse audiences including inner city high schools, the trucking industry, government leaders, universities, the general public, and more. Brad’s unrelenting advocacy comes from his personal connections to the people he serves. He often reminds people that the children are the true CEO’s of this organization. He has been a non-profit innovator for 20 years and his concepts and work are written about in books as well as shared in university classrooms and at conferences. He is a sought-after speaker and is passionate about inspiring people to empathize and engage. He lives in Boulder, CO, with his family.
Mary Wade – mary@iEmpathize.org
Administration and Project Management
Mary Wade is an abolitionist from a small town in Western Colorado. She enthusiastically joined iEmpathize as an intern and now manages projects and administration. She is passionate about justice, mercy, beauty, efficiency, writing, and gluten free cinnamon rolls. When not working, you can find Mary playing Old Time fiddle, rock climbing, or hanging with her best friend and husband Lyndon. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in ethnomusicology.
Helen Van Dam – helen@iEmpathize.org
iEmpathize Events and Communications
Helen successfully worked her way west from Iowa to study at CU Boulder where she recently graduated with a B.A. in International Affairs. While at CU she volunteered with and then led a student abolitionist organization which introduced her to iEmpathize. Since then she volunteered, interned and completed a research project in Russia with iEmpathize. Currently she is excited for her work engaging culture in innovative solutions to eradicate the exploitation of children by becoming the newest full time iE staff member. Helen’s other passions include dancing, especially swing dancing and spontaneous dancing parties in her kitchen and growing in a community of family and friends in Boulder.
Mike Smith – mike@iEmpathize.org
WE Empathize Director and Donor Development
Mike Smith came on board with our team in February of 2013. Having served as an intern previously, Mike is stepping into his role as our WE Representative with a solid understanding of the organization and a passion to see iEmpathize continue to increase its influence. Mike holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Grand Valley State University, and an M.A. in International Human Rights as well as a certificate in Humanitarian Assistance from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School. Mike worked in the non-profit sector for four years prior to signing up to serve in the Peace Corps. He spent two years in Panama where he focused his efforts on youth development. This experience inspired Mike to enroll into a graduate program at the University of Denver in an effort to increase his effectiveness in what is sure to become a life long pursuit of serving those in need. Mike is blessed to have an amazing wife, Amanda, that supports taking risks, living simply, and taking life one step at a time. The most recent step in their life was the addition of a handsome son named Levi. Mike is based in Denver, and is excited to talk with you more about ways to support and partner with iEmpathize.
DENVER REGIONAL HUB
Mark Brende – mark@iEmpathize.org
Mark works with iEmpathize to engage universities, faith communities, and the public in the fight to end child sexual exploitation and trafficking. Additionally, he leads the internship program for iEmpathize. Mark experienced a personal life transformation at the age of 23. He was a high school dropout and was leading a destructive and exploitive lifestyle. In 1997, 4 years later, Mark graduated from the University of Kansas with a BA in communications while performing as a freelance musician. Mark has extensive non-profit experience working on college campuses for 11 years mentoring students and developing leaders. Mark led and worked with programs on Kansas City metro campuses, the University of Kansas, the University of Colorado and internationally in Hungary, Turkey, Spain, Mexico and China. Recognizing the great need to better address the increasing suffering and injustice in the world, Brende turned his attention, time, and resources to be a catalyst for culture to engage. Mark and his wife Jennifer have four children, Samuel, Benjamin, Abbey and Ethan. They live in Erie, CO. Brende is a powerful communicator and is always down for some international karaoke, frisbee anything, and 80′s music.
Candace Joice – candace@iEmpathize.org
Candace Joice volunteered with iEmpathize for almost three years before joining the iE team in June of 2013. Prior to that, she worked for six years both as a secondary/post-secondary educator and as a theater artist, focusing on arts for social justice. Now, as a native Coloradan, Candace is joining the fight against human trafficking here in Denver as the Denver Representative for iEmpathize, utilizing her background in academic and social research, curriculum development, and production management. When kicking back, Candace enjoys spending time with her hilarious husband, attending theatre, reading, cooking up new recipes, and playing with her rather spoiled but loveable dog, Smokie. She holds a B.S. in Communication from Southwest Baptist University and an M.A in Theatre from the University of Central Missouri.
LOS ANGELES REGIONAL HUB
Guido Hajenius – guido@iEmpathize.org
Guido works with iEmpathize to manage our programs in Southern California and to engage the region in the fight to end child sexual exploitation and trafficking. After 17 years of non-profit work with university students and community outreach throughout the Southwest and Southern California, Guido and his wife and children moved to west Los Angeles. In April 2011, they started the local branch of the human rights non-profit iEmpathize. Guido and Katie have been married for 13 years and have two sons, Julien and Tristen. Besides Guido’s heart for vulnerable children, he just loves people. Being with his family is his favorite past time and so is his love of soccer, soccer and more soccer — playing, coaching and watching. Guido has an engineering degree from Chico State University.
Bobby Vaughn – bobby@iEmpathize.org
Bobby Vaughn, a native Californian, has a long resume that has provided ample preparation for his hands on role within the Los Angeles Hub of iEmpathize. Bobby’s career began as a surfer and at a very young age he transitioned to a behind the scenes role marketing clothing brands within the surf industry. Bobby’s professional résumé includes co-founder of the wildly successful and celebrity driven fashion brand Von Dutch. With his professional successes in surfing and fashion came the pitfalls of living the wild party lifestyle. From these experiences Bobby Vaughn understands how marketing sex builds the stepping stones that breeds victims and victimization and contributes to the demand for human trafficking. Bobby has transformed his life, feeling convinced he has been led to a life of service. A family man with two daughters, Bobby feels passionate about ending child exploitation and human trafficking. Bobby appreciates the lifetime of experience he has accumulated that can now be of benefit with iEmpathize.
Shauna Potrawski – shauna.intern@iEmpathize.org
Shauna grew up in a suburb of Chicago. After graduating from Elmhurst College with a B.S. in psychology and Spanish, she spent 2 years working as a case manager for children in foster care. In January 2013 she moved to Southern California to be an intern with iEmpathize and is working to engage the region in the fight to end child sexual exploitation and trafficking. Her work includes planning for public engagement events, education on the problem of child sex trafficking in the United States, and partnering with safe homes in Tijuana and Mexico City. Her internship includes travel to Mexico to coordinate with iEmpathize partners, and participation in four major annual U.S. truck shows to raise awareness about child sex trafficking at truck stops. Her involvement as a volunteer in the children’s ministry of every church she has attended as well as 5 years of experience teaching piano lessons, are a reflection of her lifelong heart for kids. Her other passions include running, reading, playing the piano, violin, and guitar.
MEXICO CITY REGIONAL HUB
Paty Anaya – paty@iEmpathize.org
Mexico City Representative
For 15 years, Paty has worked as a social researcher on poverty, community development, and family, and as a lecturer and trainer primarily in family strengthening, cultural transformation and leadership. Throughout her professional and personal career she has dedicated herself to understanding and communicating how people get ahead and how we cope with the difficulties of life, a concern that began in the 90s with two publications; the first Mexico and Its Misery, the second Mexico and Its Hope, both from interviews conducted throughout the Mexican Republic. She has participated as a consultant in various national and international institutions such as Loyola University of Chicago in family and migration matters and in the Dominican Republic for the Ministry of Family, among others. In the area of civil society, she works as an Advisor of the United Commission against Human Trafficking and has collaborated with various institutions in prevention and training. She joins the iEmpathize team as our Project Manager for the Norma Bastidas project. This project tells the story of a woman running the race of her life so that survivors of sex trafficking in Mexico can run the race of their lives- to freedom and restoration.
Alejandro Gutierrez – alejandro@iEmpathize.org
Mexico City Representative
Alejandro received a bachelors in Industrial Administration from the National Polytechnical Institute of Mexico City. In 2011, he studied at the University of the Nations and YWAM, in Mazatlan. During his studies he traveled throughout Latin America working with at risk kids, human trafficking victims, and teaching values in schools. He eventually joined the leadership team with YWAM Mazatlan and then the pioneering team to establish a new base in Mexico City. He lead teams working with street kids, collaborating with anti-human trafficking foundations and safe homes, teaching values in different schools and rehab centers as well as sharing hope in the streets of Mexico city. When he was 23 he met the love of his life, Kia. They got married a year and a half later. He his deeply motivated by his faith. He loves playing and watching soccer and he really loves being at home with his wife and spending time with her. Alejandro works as a representative of iEmpathize in Mexico City, handling logistics of different iEmpathize projects in Mexico, especially on the Norma Bastidas Project.
iEmpathize has many collaborators and volunteers that dramatically strengthen our impact. We wish we could credit them on our team page but there would not be enough room! We are very grateful for all of you.
Tre’ is a proven leader, innovator and social entrepreneur. Motivating and understanding people have proven to be indispensable while defining, developing, and communicating an organization’s vision for the future. His ability to create and lead high performing organizations is foundational to his success. After graduating from Ouachita Baptist University in 1993, he founded two faith-based non-profits, growing these organizations to memberships of 100+ people. After moving to Colorado in 1996, he founded a technology sales company in 1997. As the CEO, he facilitated the growth of this organization to annual revenues of $36 million+, 100+ employees and a publicly-traded company with offices in four states and sales internationally. His company was recognized two times as one of the fastest growing companies in the US on the INC 500/5000 list and won several top company awards in the state of Colorado. He has received multiple awards including Entrepreneur of Distinction in Boulder, CO and two-time semi-finalist of Ernst &Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He is active in his community by serving on the board of several companies including multiple non-profits. Tre’ has a BA in Philosophy from Ouachita Baptist University and a MA in Theology from Southwestern seminary.
Dan Fortune is a founding member of the iMPACT Group with Keller Williams Realty. He has a diverse background in real estate, business development, the military, and community outreach. Dan has a long history of leadership that includes being an Air Force Academy graduate, an Officer in the Air Force developing satellite communication systems, and a Systems Security Program Manager for Lockheed Martin. In addition to graduating from the Air Force Academy, Dan received his MBA from the Colorado Leeds School of Business. He is a disabled veteran and newly married to his beautiful wife and iMPACT partner, Rachel. In his spare time Dan enjoys volunteering with Inception365 and iEmpathize, traveling to foreign countries to learn and conduct humanitarian aid, and snowboarding in fresh powder.
Mr. Stanton is the Chief Investment Officer for Prima Capital Holding, Inc. In this role, he leads Prima’s Investment Committee and oversees all investment research and manager due diligence, covering both traditional and alternative strategies. In addition, Mr. Stanton manages Prima’s Wealth Management Solutions business, including asset allocation, portfolio construction, and product development. Prior to joining Prima in 2007, Mr. Stanton was a Principal with Innovest Portfolio Solutions, LLC, where he managed the research team and process and directed manager due diligence. Previously, he was a Senior Analyst with INVESCO Private Capital, Inc. (formerly Sovereign Financial Services), and the Director of Research for Portfolio Management Consultants, Inc. Mr. Stanton has also served as an Associate in the public finance division of Sutro & Co. Incorporated’s investment banking department. He holds a BS degree in Business from Miami University in Ohio and an MBA from the University of Colorado at Denver. Mr. Stanton has earned the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst, and is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Colorado.