Freedom Cafe Board of Directors:
Bryan Bessette, President / Executive Director
Bryan's commitment to ending human trafficking was solidified after leading a service trip to Nepal in January 2011, where he and a team of students spent time working with families recovering from life-long bonded slavery. Following the trip and the realization that human trafficking is a much more board and under-resourced issue than he had imagined, Bryan helped initiate and co-found the Freedom Cafe in 2012.
As a teacher in multiple contexts, Bryan understands that educating a community requires more than just presenting information. He has the ability to create a genuine learning environment for both professional and community groups and enjoys the process of developing content. Bryan is passionate about bringing people together in community to learn from one another and translate ideas and beliefs into beneficial action for all.
Bryan is a long time tea drinker and has come to equally enjoy coffee since experiencing the tastes and culture of the specialty coffee world. Bryan has a BS in Education from Plymouth State, is Ordained by the Assemblies of God and serves as a Chaplain at the University of New Hampshire.
Theresa Trombley, Secretary
Over the past 10 years, Theresa has been dedicated to the mission of ending human trafficking through research and advocacy. Through her time spent at UNH earning a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, she had many opportunities which led her to care deeply for this cause and for survivors. After graduating from UNH in 2010, she went on to obtain her Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of New England. She currently works as an administrator and clinician at a community mental health agency in Massachusetts, where she has the opportunity to provide training and consultation about human trafficking and domestic violence to her colleagues and others in the community.
Theresa has been a member of the Freedom Cafe Board of Directors since September 2014. She has been blessed to watch the Cafe grow from being an idea to a reality, and is excited to see the impact that it will have in the years to come.
Dan is the founder and owner of D Squared Java (Espresso Bar and Coffee House) in Exeter, NH which opened it's doors in 2012. The focus of D Squared Java is on quality and continuing to push the envelope of specialty coffee on the New Hampshire Seacoast. Dan has accumulated nearly 10 years of coffee and barista experience, holds a Level 2 Barista certificate through the Barista Guild of America and is a certified Lead Instructor for the Specialty Coffee Association.
As a frequent speaking guest and trainer at Freedom Cafe, Dan has offered Seed to Cup seminars detailing coffee's journey from the farm to the coffee shop as well as providing training opportunities for motivated volunteers to learn about the brewing process.
Noticing the connection with the coffee industry and human trafficking, Dan became a board member in 2015 to help educate consumers through the Freedom Cafe on how to purchase coffee in an ethical manner.
Colie has a BA in English from Alfred University and an MS in Recreation Management from UNH. She heard about the café in a non-profit management class at UNH, and thought the idea of a charitable café was a great way to help people connect with the cause of human trafficking. Her love of coffee brought her in soon after, and she learned more about human trafficking in New England- a place where many people assume that trafficking is not present. Like many café customers, she was very impressed by the knowledgeable volunteers at the café counter, and wanted to get involved.
Colie has worked in the non-profit field for the last ten years, and has led international service leadership programs for teenagers through the YMCA. She has also run after school, camp, and outdoor education programs for low income families. She is currently the STEAM and school aged programs coordinator at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. She joined the Freedom Café as a volunteer board member in January 2017.
Katrin is a UNH alum who has lived in the area since 1991. She brings multiple experiences as a business owner, board member, and community organizer to The Freedom Café. She loves working with people and building a cohesive team and is hopeful that our corner of the world can make a big impact in the lives of people all over the world; especially people right here in New Hampshire. Katrin would like to help the entire community of students and year round residents become involved in The Freedom Cafe so that the impact of the cafe can be as strong and helpful as possible. She strongly believes that a cup of tea can make almost anything a little bit better.
Rachel's involvement in the mission to end human trafficking has slowly increased over the last 15 years since meeting a friend's father, who in the late 1990s bought a few hundred people out of slavery in far west Nepal. After hearing stories of the freed slaves, Rachel took steps to increase her awareness of modern-day slavery such as paying attention to trafficking issues in local news and talking to those involved in anti-trafficking causes. She quickly came to the uncomfortable realization that slavery still exists in many forms all over the world, even in our own backyards. She progressed to making financial donations whenever possible to anti-trafficking causes, such as the Freedom Cafe, Bridge to Nepal, or Love146, to consciously selecting ethically sourced goods whenever possible, and most recently, to visiting the Freedom Cafe regularly for Open Mic nights and during the day to work in a community-minded comfortable space.
Rachel is currently the Director of Financial Planning for a technology startup in New York City, is a Certified Financial Planner professional, and holds a Masters of Science in Financial Planning from Bentley University. She received a crash course in branding when she joined her first technology startup (a women's finance blog-come-financial planning firm) five years ago and enjoys all aspects of clearly communicating the Freedom Cafe's mission to our community and supporters.