Maria is a product manager in Silicon Valley. She was a refugee from Vietnam. When she was three, her parents fled with her on a boat and were rescued by the Hong Kong Coast Guard. They were later sponsored by a family in Oregon and she grew up in the United States.
On Sept. 2, 2015, like hundreds of millions of other people around the world, Maria saw the picture of Aylan Kurdi's body washed up on a Greek beach. Seeing that picture motivated her to begin telling her own refugee story, to raise awareness of who refugees are. She spent 2 weeks traveling through Europe to follow the refugee path, including spending 5 days volunteering in Lesvos. She was shocked at the humanitarian crisis that was unfolding and the lack of NGO aid.
She started SoS with the other founders in order to raise the necessary funds to keep the humanitarian work at the Skala camp going. Maria was tremendously touched by her experience at Skala. She returned in November and stayed for another 3 weeks, helping in Moria, Skala, Mitilini, Chios, and Athens
Fiona Gallagher-Payet is a Dublin based mother of two and works in the technology sector. As a parent, the escalating crisis on the borders of Europe, and in particular the plight of often very young children has prompted her to find ways to spread awareness and fundraise to alleviate some of the worst hit. Knowing how deeply her European based friends and colleagues felt, Fiona reached out to Maria to assist with efforts to collectively fundraise and have a positive impact on the operations at the Skala landing site where Maria and Adam had both been active volunteers.
Adam is a Washington, D.C.-based immigration lawyer and Partner with Hunton & Williams LLP, a large international law firm. In late September 2015, Adam arrived on Lesvos on vacation with his father. He witnessed the large number of refugee arrivals and was shocked at the complete absence of any government agencies or major aid organizations. Adam returned for three weeks in November 2015 to volunteer with A Drop in the Ocean, and to initiate SoS projects. He regularly speaks to audiences in the United States about his experiences, serves on the Executive Committee for #DCRally4Refugees, marshals support for refugee projects within the American Immigration Lawyers Association, pursues various refugee-related pro bono projects, and is developing a new SoS initiative to support critical legal aid work on Lesvos and mainland Greece.
Peter is a 20 year veteran of Silicon Valley. In Silicon Valley he built technology teams and was the Product Manager for platforms at Guidewire, Box, and Airware.
A former life-guard and wilderness first-responder, he felt a desire to give back to society, and follow in the footsteps of his godparents and parents.
In November Peter resigned from Airware and went to Lesvos. He wanted to witness history, know what was really happening, and use his startup and technology skills for social good.