For over a decade, Jeremy has served families who’ve been terrorized by war in Iraq and Syria. Jeremy and his wife Jessica founded Preemptive Love Coalition after moving to Iraq in the middle of the war. A sought-after speaker, Jeremy has appeared on CNN, BBC, NBC, and other news outlets. He’s the author of the book Preemptive Love and is currently working on his second book, Love Anyway. Jeremy lives in Iraq with his wife Jessica and their two children.
Jessica founded Preemptive Love Coalition with her husband Jeremy in 2007. She has long believed we should do more than just help refugees survive; we should empower them to reclaim their future. Today, Jessica leads our refugee empowerment program. In 2016, she spearheaded the launch of Preemptive Love’s Sisterhood Collective, bringing refugee-made soap, candles, and more to North America—and putting thousands of dollars into the hands of Iraq and Syrian women.
JR serves as Preemptive Love Coalition’s Vice President, providing operational leadership and strategic plan implementation for the organization. JR comes to Preemptive Love Coalition following an 11 year tenure with AT&T in sales and sales leadership for retail and small business channels. JR has been a part of Preemptive Love Coalition from the beginning; embarking with Jeremy on the very first trip into Iraq which forever changed the trajectory of his life. He served on the Board of Directors from 2011 until leaving the board to join the team full time in 2015. When JR is not waging peace around the world with Preemptive Love, he can be found spending time with his wife and three kids, making/recording/mixing music, and occasionally playing a round of golf.
Yemisi has over 25 years in Finance and Accounting, with experience overseeing Human Resources. She earned her Bachelor’s in Accounting from the University of Houston and her MBA from Pepperdine University. Yemisi has spent her life volunteering on numerous mission trips, mentoring at-risk kids, and looking out for the underdog. Her desire to align herself with an organization whose purpose mirrored her heart is what led her to Preemptive Love Coalition. In her spare time, Yemisi loves to rollerblade, try new recipes or create her own, and she’s been known to compete in Spartan obstacle course races a few times.
After doing a two-week assignment for us, Ben just refused to leave. So we made him our communications director. Ben loves telling stories that cut through the narrative of fear and violence—stories that prove the world can be remade. He still doesn’t believe he gets to do this every day. Ben is also a husband, a dad, an occasional children’s book author, a runner, and an amateur brewer.
Skip has spent the last 15 years crafting digital media strategies and building glorious websites…including this one. He’s also part of the band Roman Candle, which has three studio albums to its name and has toured across the US and Europe. He and his wife/bandmate Timshel and their five children live in Nashville. And because they apparently don’t have enough to do, they also host the “Drinks With” interview series for Paste Magazine, featuring musicians, writers, and comedians like Dolly Parton, David Sedaris, Mumford & Sons, and Arctic Monkeys.
Fred spent many of his early years in the Middle East, including Syria, and has incredible memories of his time. Fred and his wife, Angie, first joined Preemptive Love as donors. Having lived in eight countries and growing up a citizen of the world, he has spent the majority of his life living abroad or working in an international field. Fred loves to help bridge cultures and see people from diverse backgrounds discover what they have in common. Prior to joining Preemptive Love, Fred led the international development efforts for Indiana University and helped develop and manage international capacity building projects in the Middle East, West Africa, South East Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America. He believes strongly in the power of collective philanthropy and the opportunity we all have to make the beautiful world we all know is possible through sharing our time, talents and our treasure for the love of humanity and one another. In his free time, you can find Fred spending time with his wife and two teenage kids or working to reverse the effects of aging by training for his next triathlon.
Matt is a firm believer in the power of stories and their ability to remake the world. After seeing first-hand how the Preemptive Love team goes beyond theorizing in their love for people, he and his wife decided to move to Iraq full-time to help share these stories. As the leader of our field communication efforts, he puts his love for the written word and photography to use providing on-site reporting for our programming happening in places of conflict around the world.
As an Iraqi boy growing up under Saddam’s regime, Ihsan only had access to a couple of TV channels, most of which just aired regime propaganda. But some evenings, one channel aired movies like Star Wars and Star Trek—little Ihsan was transfixed. Being moved by some of these movies, he knew what he wanted to do with his life. After the regime fell, Ihsan immediately bought a computer and began learning anything he could about multimedia. Today, Ihsan works as our Program Documentarian, working in the field with our program team to document our programs through interviews, photographs, video and anything that will help communicate the stories of the people we serve and the work we’re accomplishing. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, playing video games, watching movies, and and he’s pretty sure he’d survive the zombie apocalypse longer than you.
Dane’s passion for our volunteers, donors, fundraisers, and online community makes getting out of bed each morning a joy. He is a midwesterner through and through, he believes any problem can be solved with good conversation around a bonfire and a strong cup of coffee. He is excited at the daily opportunity that his role has in bringing peace to conflict, encouraging others (and himself) to love anyway, and helping our donors remake the world around them.
Erin first came to Iraq to work with children on the margins, teaching them photography as a form of personal development. Follow Erin around Iraq today, and she knows young people wherever she goes—many still call her “teacher!” Today, Erin’s love for children and families is as strong as ever as she documents your impact in Iraq, Libya, and beyond by telling stories of hope and healing. Erin is also a savvy exhibit designer and installation maven, a student and teacher, a trained carpenter, vegetarian, feminist, and is a perpetual outlier, presumably because that’s where the marginalized live.
Wendy joined Preemptive Love Coalition with 17 years of experience in housing and community development. With her passion for storytelling, she enjoys writing about the lives of people in the conflict zones we serve, and helping the rest of the world see not only their urgent needs, but also their amazing beauty and significance to our global family.
Jon serves as the Community Insights Manager. After following PLC from the beginning, his heart grew to love PLC’s mission to the point that he wanted to do more to help. Prior to PLC, he worked at Evernote as Sales and Support Analyst providing insight into customer interactions as well as being a Zendesk administrator. When not working, he loves spending time with his wife, daughter, and son playing in their yard. He loves technology and using it to help improve the world around him.
In the early days, we either Googled our way to design work or outsourced it. Then Grant came along and took almost all of it off our plates! As our go-to visual artist, Grant loves design, illustration, and all things creative, and he is thrilled to put those passions to work to serve people on the margins. When he finds slivers of free time, Grant also enjoys drawing, board games, and French-pressed coffee.
After college, Scott started working as an auditor for an accounting firm. With a strong interest in microfinance and poverty alleviation, he was on the lookout for a nonprofit doing life-changing work when he came across Preemptive Love. He was immediately hooked on the mission and the vision through conversations with Jon and JR, and was excited to get an opportunity to use accounting for a purpose. Outside of work, Scott loves playing all sports, especially tennis and golf. He jumps at the opportunity to go on a cool hike, adventure, or simply go paddle boarding on the river with his wife.
Inas spent years serving her community as a volunteer before coming to work for Preemptive Love. In her hometown of Baghdad she helped women impacted by violence, and later helped families displaced by the war with ISIS. Along the way, she earned a degree in IT and Business Administration. As part of our Programs team, Inas brings the heart to care about people first and foremost, the brains to make programs function like clockwork, and the life experience–growing up amidst the bombs of Baghdad–to understand what the people we serve are experiencing. When she isn’t coaching new business owners, finagling access permissions, or translating the heart-rending stories of those we serve, you might find Inas dancing in her living room with her mother and niece.
Diana is no stranger to pain and the reality that our world desperately needs to be remade. As a former Iraq War Army Combat Medic and a sexual assault nurse examiner, Diana has committed her life to staring pain in the face and choosing to love anyway, to lean in, and to remake the world around her. Diana is also an aspiring author of the book “Why War Wrecked me for Peace,” and is usually the one laughing when everyone else is trying not to.
Jessica comes to Preemptive Love Coalition after nearly a decade in journalism and with several years’ experience in fundraising. With a life-long passion for social justice and peacemaking in the world, she does her best to live out the principles of love and mercy on her own frontlines and believes compassion should be extended to all life. Stories of pain transforming into redemption, unlikely reconciliation, and real life applications of “enemy” love are quick to make her cry. The work she gets to do daily with Preemptive Love is what she believes her heart has been preparing her for most of her life.
Jessica loves spending time with her husband, three sons, and gaggle of pets (cats, chickens and whatever other random animal “needed a home” that week). In her alone time, you can generally find her exploring the lovely little city of St. Petersburg, Florida, in the kitchen – cooking up a new vegetarian dish, singing, learning to play the cello, or curled up with a good book.
Michel Tannous had a nice job. He wore a tie and made good money. But a few years ago, Michel just had enough. He put on his tie, inched through traffic, arrived at the bank, and he quit. He got out of the rat race and retreated to his ranch for a little peace. This is when we met him. Today, Michel lives in a sort of race as our Syria Country Representative, traveling and working throughout Syria to make sure families get what they need to hold on and hold out, surviving and thriving against all odds. When he isn’t overseeing your lifesaving impact across Syria, Michel enjoys his new baby, hiking, gardening, skiing, and taking care of his animals.
With a background in journalism and design, Erica was drawn to Preemptive Love’s dedication to tell overlooked stories of resilience and courage. She loves to imagine creative ways to communicate stories and is often pointing out how restaurant menus could work better. When she’s not designing, she’s most likely traveling or discovering new music where she lives in Nashville.
Brooklyn studied International Relations at college and interned at an immigrant rights advocacy organization assisting citizenship and DACA applicants in Nashville. She also fundraised and ran communications for a refugee resettlement agency in her home of Indianapolis. With a passion for igniting activism in people for real change, she loves speaking with donors who believe in Preemptive Love’s work of bringing hope to difficult situations. Her favorite part about Preemptive Love’s mission is its desire to return power that was stripped from displaced peoples due to war and conflict. Brooklyn loves to talk about everything that’s happening in this crazy, beautiful world. On a normal day, you can find her jamming to R&B music or at a concert with friends in Nashville.
Since 2013, Valerie has been working on engaging the community in serving those that are often marginalized. She is passionate about mobilizing people to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others. When she discovered Preemptive Love’s message and how it goes hand in hand with the gospel she wanted to live out in a time of fear and hate—she had to join the team. Today she is constantly asking herself how she can push the envelope in her own life to expand in love. Married to her best friend, she is always looking for the next adventure together, whether its ministry, missions, or vacation. She also enjoys doing ministry with her female gang.
Empowerment and storytelling are what drew Virginia to Preemptive Love. She loves how personal relationship, love, listening, dignity, and empowerment are woven into every single aspect of Preemptive Love’s work and actions. Virginia enjoys weaving those same elements into the way Preemptive Love supports, equips, and treats its internal team. When she isn’t sifting through resumes (or helping her friends edit their own), Virginia can be found building relationships with the women and children at her local Rescue Mission, cooking with friends, and spending time with her close-knit family.
Dana works in Iraq and prefers to work outside the office as much as possible. He loves to think outside the box when it comes to programming. If you visit Dana in Iraq, you will find him building, driving, eating, fixing, and sometimes sleeping. He hates his phone and wishes he could live life without it. Dana loves working with Preemptive Love to help unmake violence.
A native of Sulaimaniya, Iraq, Rawand and his family became refugees in 1990, after Saddam’s attacks on Kuwait and Kurdistan. Rawand’s family benefited greatly from the NGOs that began to provide food and rebuild schools and hospitals. These NGOs inspired Rawand and instilled in him a desire to help others in similar situations. Rawand graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering. After ISIS came in 2014, Rawand saw an influx of refugees and internally displaced people arrive in his city and immediately desired to serve them. He spent 2 years working inside refugee camps, providing water and promoting hygiene. Rawand came to Preemptive Love in 2017 to help with finance and managing projects. He was drawn to Preemptive Love’s work on the frontlines and loved how they empowered people to become owners of their own businesses. In his free time, Rawand also enjoys watching football, documentary films, and, most importantly, spending time with family.
Lindsey believes with her whole heart that the gritty work of justice must begin with connection–preferably over a cup of coffee. For the first part of her career, she worked with children and families overcoming trauma, with refugees building new lives in the US, and with community resilience building initiatives. Now, as our Grant Officer, Lindsey loves helping grantmakers connect to the heart and work of Preemptive Love—sharing stories of our work and dreams with donors and organizations and inviting them to join us in creating a more beautiful world together. If you can’t find her grant writing or blogging in a coffee shop, you’re likely to catch her gardening in her Des Moines backyard, hiking with her fiancéé, Rachael, or belly laughing over reruns of The Office.
Nathan comes to Preemptive Love after almost four years at Chip and Joanna Gaines’s company, Magnolia, where he worked in the warehouse, customer service, and ecommerce. After following Preemptive Love’s work for years on social media, he found a place where his passions for people and product could merge as the Shop’s Ecommerce Merchandise Coordinator. His favorite items in our store are the Kinsman Lemongrass and Sisterhood Fig & Date Soaps. Outside of work, Nathan loves cooking new recipes, reading a good book, pop culture, and all things Star Wars.
Lindsay comes to Preemptive Love from a medical practice where she worked to provide the best daily experiences for both doctors and patients. She loves her work at Preemptive Love because she gets to share with customers how their purchases are helping change the lives of those who need it the most. She also enjoys seeing the beautiful items the women in Iraq and Syria consistently produce for the store; they are incredibly talented! When she is not working she prefers to be outdoors playing with her family, which she can do year-round in the sunny state of Florida.
Grace joins the Preemptive Love team after designing projects at Sony Music Nashville and later serving as the Creative Director for the Nashville Convention and Visitor’s Corp. Although her creative skills shine in the areas of art, design, and photography, her heart’s desire is to use those gifts for the deeper purpose of showing God’s love while serving others. In her spare time, you’ll probably find her on an outdoor adventure, capturing film photographs, cooking, or hanging with family.
Abigail was initially drawn to Preemptive Love because of their commitment to peacemaking as a central tenant of relief work. She has always desired to work alongside marginalized and overlooked people groups and developed a passion for the refugee community while pursuing her undergraduate degree in human rights. Abigail loves utilizing her experience in marketing and communications to connect with Preemptive Love’s compassionate and inspiring donors on a daily basis. Abigail lives in Nashville. You can find her most often at the cinema or deeply invested in a podcast.
Kim first came to Preemptive Love Coalition as a donor and immediately resonated with the messages of loving people and showing up in tangible, practical ways. Prior to Preemptive Love, she worked for twelve years in higher education as an Instructional Designer. Kim lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids, a cat, and a hamster. She loves to run long distances, read, go for walks with her family, and spend time with friends.
Anna was drawn to Preemptive Love’s Sisterhood Collective and was quickly inspired by the mission of peacemaking. Growing up as a missionary kid in Kenya and Zimbabwe, Anna learned to celebrate people from all cultures at a young age. Formative experiences in childhood, such as drought relief for orphans and widows, forged a passion for reaching and raising awareness of underserved communities and marginalized people groups. Through a career in non-profit work and ministry, Anna has always been motivated by a strong desire to empower others. She believes that despite our differences, everyone has a story that needs to be heard. Helping others to reach out and love anyway to bring peace to communities is one of her biggest passions. She enjoys hanging out with her husband and two kids, reading books that inspire change (never just one at a time), attempting to garden, watercolor painting, singing, and being with family and friends.
After graduating as an Environmental Engineer, Saadia worked for the government to ensure compliance of landfills and power generation facilities. She took a pause to raise her family and volunteer for several non-profits, ultimately discovering herself by being an active, responsible citizen in her hometown of Oviedo, Florida. Saadia believes meaningful friendships can be found in unexpected places. Her work to show neighbors how similar we are regardless of ethnic or religious differences led her to Preemptive Love. As a Frontline Chapter Coordinator, Saadia hopes to spread this message to communities nationwide. If she’s not participating at an event around town, you may find Saadia picking up after her two girls, reminding her husband where he left his wallet, or saving the last three bananas for her famous banana bread.
Rachel has been working for non-profits for the past 6 years. She found out about the Executive Assistant job when her Mom (one of Jeremy and Preemptive Love’s biggest fans) sent her the job description. Rachel looked closer at the opportunity and immediately felt passionate about Preemptive Love’s mission. She is thrilled to use her organizational talents to further the mission of Preemptive Love. In her free time, Rachel enjoys running, teaching swim lessons, and going on adventures with her husband and beloved boxer mix.
Matt graduated from West Point and served Active Duty in the Army for two years; in 2018 he left the military as a Conscientious Objector. After experiencing profound shifts in his personal convictions regarding war and violence, Matt wanted to serve those he once trained to fight in combat. He believes that no one is beyond love and everyone is worth listening to. He resides with his wife and daughter in Nashville, TN.
Jen has seven years of experience in the humanitarian sector serving in the Middle East, Asia, and Central America. She is passionate about coordination, women’s health, and combatting issues of gender-based violence. Intrigued by the posture Preemptive Love takes toward humanitarian action, she is excited at the endless opportunities to make a more beautiful world. When Jen is not fighting injustice, you can find her in a local coffee shop, at a sporting event or enjoying the outdoors.
Kayla Craig believes in the power of story. Passionate about making the more beautiful world, she brings a journalism background to her belief that love is worth the risk. Along with her husband, she’s raising four young kids who joined her family via birth and special needs adoption. Kayla and her husband chase their spirited children and rambunctious puppy across the Midwest, leaving trails of crushed Cheerios wherever they go. She’s stubborn in hope and has a penchant for deep mugs of coffee, deeper belly laughs, and even deeper questions. She hopes to listen and learn from those on the margins, weave stories that cross divides, and sow love instead of hate. You can find her making space for “just one more” old book on the shelf or adding “just one more” new friend to the table. Kayla co-founded and hosts Upside Down Podcast, a place for conversations on spirituality and culture.
Billy was first a vocal supporter of Preemptive Love, then a donor and constant buyer of refugee-made soap at all holidays, before ultimately stepping up to join the coalition full-time. He is a creator and storyteller with experience in film, design, music, marketing, app development, street food consumption, cocktail mixing and, of course, social media. Each night, after his young kids go to bed and before Billy falls asleep on the couch, he can be found watching Criterion movies or sports, writing, reading, or googling pictures of sneakers.
Chelsea came to Preemptive Love after several years spent working with refugees and in global humanitarian support. She earned her Bachelor’s in Anthropology from the University of Kansas and, after winning a Fulbright to Indonesia with the U.S. State Department, she completed her Master’s in International Migration and Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. After seeing firsthand the gaps that large-scale humanitarian aid and development can often leave, she is thrilled to help Preemptive Love try to challenge the way that aid is traditionally done by listening carefully and zeroing- n on the needs of overlooked communities. When she’s not waging peace, Chelsea can often be found playing tennis, learning new languages, experimenting in the kitchen, and shamelessly reading political graphic novels.
Fighting against injustice, standing up for the overlooked and marginalized, and daring to go where others will not makes Alissa’s heart beat faster. From the moment she first heard Jeremy Courtney tell the story of Preemptive Love, she knew she had to be involved with their mission. A year later, Alissa found herself living in Iraq, having joined the team in making the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. When she isn’t loving people, you can probably find Alissa climbing a mountain, writing honestly about life, wishing she had an oat milk latte, or pretending she can dance.
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