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Jeremy Courtney

President & Founder, Iraq

Jeremy and his family moved to Iraq hoping to serve the poor. One day while working on his computer his waiter asked: “Please, mister, can you help my cousin? She was born with a huge hole in her heart and there isn’t a doctor in Iraq who can save her!” More investigation revealed this little girl was one of thousands of children needing heart surgery, and Jeremy now does everything he can to make sure they get it.

Read Jeremy Courtney's story
@JCourt

 

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Jessica Courtney

Program Director & Founder, Iraq

Jessica’s passion for fairness and justice compels her toward the broken, forgotten people of the world. It’s what carried the Courtneys to Iraq during the height of war and what led them to establish the Preemptive Love Coalition. Today, Jessica oversees aspects of our field programming, while helping to guide our strategy and long-term vision.


 

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JR Pershall

Vice President, USA

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 joining 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 two kids, making/recording/mixing music, and occasionally playing a round of golf.


 

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Jon Esser

Vice President, Finance and HR, USA

Jon joined our team as the Vice President of Finance and HR after working for Preemptive Love in an advisory role for several months. He brings a wealth of accounting and leadership experience, having served at a Big 4 accounting firm and as the director of finance for a nonprofit organization. Jon and his family lived and worked in Tanzania for two years, and they have a continuing passion for serving others in their community and around the world. In his free time, Jon can be found hanging out with his wife and two daughters and coaching youth soccer.


 

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Ben Irwin

Communications and PR Director, USA

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, and an amateur brewer.

@benirwin

 

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Matthew Willingham

Senior Field Editor, Iraq

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.

@mattswillingham

 

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Ihsan Ibraheem

Program Documentation, Iraq

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.


 

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Summer Barjas

Program Director, Iraq

A long-time friend of our staff, Summer puts her years of experience serving families on the margins to work as a program director. Once a refugee herself, Summer is passionate about making sure people forced out of their homes are cared for, that they have someone to sit with them, hear them, and get them back on their feet. Ask her why she does it, and she doesn’t even blink: “I just can’t see myself sitting at home, I’m too full of energy. I love to give back!” An Iraqi-British dual citizen originally from Baghdad, Summer has experience working with the U.S. Army during the Iraq War and for fantastic organizations like MercyCorps. She spends her free time with her husband and two sons, preferably picnicking with friends close to a large body of water.


 

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Dane Barnett

Development Officer, USA

Dane’s passion for strategy, caring for donors, and the oxford comma makes each day working as our Development Officer a great one. 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, and he wakes up everyday excited at the opportunity that this role is helping bring peace to conflict, encouraging others (and himself) to love anyway, and helping our donors remake the world around them.


 

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Erin Wilson

Communication Officer, Iraq

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.


 

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Kristin Giuliani

Program Development Director, USA

Kristin lost her heart to Preemptive Love Coalition one night as she sobbed over a video of Baby Noor. Kristin’s daughter had also received lifesaving open-heart surgery and Noor’s video inspired her to love first by giving other families this same gift of life. Before joining PLC, Kristin wrote grants, compiled reports and synthesized data to bring healing to refugees, immigrants, and other marginalized groups. When not waging peace with her writing, Kristin enjoys the BBC’s Masterpiece, pilates, roasting coffee with her husband, and photographing their three rambunctious girls.


 

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Jessica Holst

Volunteer & Fulfillment Coordinator, USA

For Jessica, there is an unrivaled beauty in forming community and being resolved to simply show up for one another. Having stood in the gap for the broken and helped empower people in Haiti, Ukraine, her local rescue mission, and several places in between, her heart has connected seamlessly with the mission of Preemptive Love Coalition: to love anyway. Jessica and her husband live in Nashville and love to hike, explore waterfalls, and travel to new cities. Good music, hummus, quality time, and collecting experiences are among her favorites.


 

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Grant Willingham

Graphic Designer, USA

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. He and his wife live in Texas and have two little girls, Aurora and Scarlett. When he finds slivers of free time, Grant also enjoys drawing, board games, and French-pressed coffee.


 

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Diana Oestreich

Key Relationships Officer, USA

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.


 

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Molly Goen

Executive Assistant, USA

With a collective 10 years experience teaching around the world in places like China, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Molly has a soft spot for kids. After meeting the Preemptive Love team in Iraq, she jumped in to help and has become our resident life-organizer, keeping appointments and calendars up-to-speed. Outside the office, Molly enjoys learning new phrases in Kurdish, hiking and getting out of town, and those incredible chocolate mints from Trader Joe’s.


 

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Jayme Ingraham

Finance Administrator, Iraq

Jayme first came to Iraq to teach and help manage a school, and she does it well! This passion for changing lives and knack for administration that she brings to school work translates well to her other job: making sure our finances are in order. Ask any of our staff about Jayme, and they’ll probably tell you about her kindness. She is a quiet comforter, loyal, and incredibly tough. She has been hit by a car, shipwrecked, gored by a goat, and she’s the oldest of five!

Our Staff
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