Our Team

We're a diverse team, but we share a deep commitment to human rights, gender equality and freedom of movement. We believe passionately in the mission of Free to Run and together we’re working to create a positive impact on the lives of women and girls who are living in regions of conflict.

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Board and Leadership

 
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Taylor Smith

Executive Director

Taylor Smith is a committed human rights advocate with extensive experience leading education, sports, youth and community development programs in active conflict zones. As Executive Director of Free to Run, she is responsible for implementing, overseeing, and coordinating programs globally, and assisting with strategic development. Prior to Free to Run, Taylor was a Programme Manager with a local NGO in Iraq. While in Iraq she also worked as a freelance journalist, covering social issues in the region for international and local media outlets.

Taylor graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with two B.S. degrees in Journalism and Political Communication. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in International Relations through Harvard University's Extension School and is studying Dari, Arabic and Kurdish languages. Taylor is an avid runner who was part of a team that ran across the United States to raise money for the Ulman Foundation. She has also competed in multiple international marathons, including the Marathon of Afghanistan.

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Stephanie Case

President and Founder

Stephanie Case (BA(H), JD, LLM)* is a human rights lawyer and women’s rights advocate with expertise in conflict settings and humanitarian emergencies. In 2009, she gave up a career in corporate law to assist some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. She has since worked for the UN in Afghanistan, the International Rescue Committee in South Sudan, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Kyrgyzstan, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Gaza, Palestine. Today Stephanie is back in Kabul, working for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Stephanie has witnessed first-hand the harmful effects of conflict and the disproportionate negative impact on women and girls. She founded Free to Run to use the power of sports to transform lives and communities in the places where it's needed most.

As an avid ultra-runner, she has won or placed in a number of international running events, ranging from 250 km multi-day desert races to 200-mile non-stop mountain races. Stephanie is a passionate advocate for women’s rights, and a TEDx speaker.

 
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JAMES WILLCOX

Board Member

James Willcox, is the co-Founder of the adventure travel company, Untamed Borders. This unique travel group specializes in trips to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Middle East, East Africa, former Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus. James has travelled extensively through all of these regions as well.

In 2013 he was awarded a personal commendation by the Governor of the Bamyan Province, for his part in bringing ski tourism to Afghanistan. Since 2015, Untamed Borders has been a key partner in the annual Marathon of Afghanistan, the only international marathon in the country.

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ALEX BANCROFT

Board Treasurer

Alex Bancroft, Board Treasurer, is a certified public accountant (CPA) with Garvey, Steele & Company in Mystic, Connecticut. She has almost 15 years of experience in auditing governments, businesses and not for profit organizations.

Alex is also a race director with the Berkshires Ultra Running Community for Service (BURCS). This amazing community of runners has been fundraising for Free to Run since 2015. Alex is a passionate runner who has competed in a number of races including 10 ultra-marathons.

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LEAH ANATHAN

Board Member

Leah Anathan is a marketing leader in the software industry. She has over 20 years of experience in brand and product strategy, and growth marketing for technology startups. Passionate about product innovation, Leah has helped multiple software companies to launch award-winning products. Today she is the Chief Marketing Officer at Qubit in London.

Leah also spent 15 years as a competitive equestrian where she learned first-hand the positive impact that sports can have on the lives of women and girls. She was an early advisor for Free to Run, and joined the board officially in 2016 to help lead marketing and comms for the charity.

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DUNCAN WILSON

Board Member

Duncan Wilson* works for the United Nations in Myanmar where he serves as an advisor to a number of governments. His work with the UN has taken him all over the world including assignments in South and South East Asia, East Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific.

Before joining the UN, Duncan worked in journalism and communications in New York, Washington D.C., and his native New Zealand.


*All board members currently working for the United Nations volunteer for Free to Run and act in their personal capacity.

Ambassadors

The Free to Run Ambassadors are an elite group of athletes from around the world who represent the spirit and strength of our organization. They are recognized as role models, trail blazers, and pioneers in the realm of sports and outdoor adventure. Each ambassador has generously volunteered their time and effort to support the work of Free to Run.