Our Team


Welcome to the Treetops Collective family

Treetops Collective is a team of creatives, dreamers, entrepreneurs, community organizers, and neighbors. We're serious about creating a more welcoming world for refugees, starting right here on the west side of America's High Five.

Our Team

Our Treetops Collective team comes from far and wide. And while the majority of our team has never actually lived as refugees, we’ve each spent time in other countries where we’ve experienced the struggle of being an outsider -- and also the warmth of being welcomed in.

Dana Doll
Dana Doll
Executive Director

15 years ago Dana gained three Sudanese refugee siblings which introduced her to their world, stories, and the process of making a new place home. In the years since, Dana has become fully invested in connecting refugees to people and opportunities, including volunteer work in East Africa and Australia around Community Development, a BA in International Development Studies from Calvin College, working with entrepreneurial women in Northern Uganda on small business development, and in refugee resettlement in West Michigan.

Places she’s felt welcomed: Mexico, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Turkey, Egypt, Ethiopia, Australia, and the U.K.

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Tarah Carnahan
Tarah Carnahan
Director of Sustainability

Tarah received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Business from Lee University in 2008. Upon graduation, she settled in Asuncion, Paraguay where she started a small social enterprise with 17 women living and working in the city garbage dump.  After moving to Grand Rapids, Tarah worked in a number of non-profits developing community programs and building marketing and fundraising campaigns.  She also entered the stationery and gifts industry, creating products and doing sales and marketing. In an effort to fuse her two loves of community work and conscious brand production, she went on to complete a master’s in Sustainable Business from Aquinas College. In her personal life, Tarah has befriended local refugee families, walking alongside them through the resettlement process and connecting them with people and opportunities in Grand Rapids. 

Places she’s felt welcomed: Ghana, Paraguay, UK, Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, China, and Mexico.

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Shadia Mbabazi
Shadia Mbabazi
Director of Community Development

Shadia met Dana the day she arrived in Grand Rapids as a Rwandan refugee, over dinner in a small Lutheran church. With a degree in Human and Social Development from the University of South Africa and firsthand experience of the challenges of resettling, Shadia brings an informed, compassionate and needed perspective to the work of Treetops Collective -- she was also our first board member. In her everyday life, Shadia works in the refugee community both with an educational organization and a translation service. She plans to pursue a Masters in Counseling in the near future.

Places she’s felt welcomed: U.S. and Botswana.

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Lauren Rahman Thompson
Lauren Rahman Thompson
Director of Operations
While studying Marketing and Writing in undergrad, Lauren traveled to Guatemala where her interest in business as mission and community development was born. After graduation she managed Digital Communications for an international economic development organization where she was involved in storytelling, fundraising, communication strategy, and event planning. She then moved to Project Management at a Grand Rapids based digital creative agency to learn more about brand and business strategy while working with a variety of organizations. She's passionate about economic and community development, and always curious about what it means to create justice and true peace in a good yet broken world.

Places she's felt welcomed: Guatemala, Haiti, India, Nepal, and Ecuador.
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Sylvia Nyamuhungu
Sylvia Nyamuhungu
Community Connector
Born in Tanzania of Rwandan parents and raised for 14 1/2 years in Kenya, Sylvia considers herself an East African rather than a particular nationality. Coming to the US as a refugee 6 years ago, she met Dana upon arrival through Lutheran Social Services. Fortunately, providence brought them together again in 2017 when Sylvia was introduced to Treetops Collective by a friend. She fell in love with the mission and now leads the teen girls' group, a program she wishes had existed when she was a teenager new to America. Studying International Development at Calvin College, Sylvia has a passion for personal and community development and a strong drive to lead and inspire. 

Places she’s felt welcomed: Tanzania, Kenya, U.S
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Rosine Hounakey
Rosine Hounakey
Community Connector
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Nadia Hamad
Nadia Hamad
Lead Sewer
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Elizabeth Balck-Monsma
Elizabeth Balck-Monsma
Board President

Elizabeth (Liz) is a graduate of Cooley Law School and St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana.  Liz spent two years in St. Paul, Minnesota as an Americorps volunteer, co-directing an after-school program for immigrant children and interning with the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. During law school, Liz externed at the Immigrant and Refugee Appellate Center, a boutique law firm in Northern Virginia. After graduating in 2007, Liz practiced civil litigation at a Troy, Michigan law firm, while volunteering as a pro bono attorney at the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School. In 2009, Liz returned to her native Grand Rapids to become the Staff Attorney, and later the Legal Services Director at Justice for Our Neighbors West Michigan. Liz is a passionate legal advocate for refugees and immigrants and an attorney at Monsma Law Office, a private immigration law practice she founded in 2016.

Places she’s felt welcomed: Cuba, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Canada.

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Rev. Kate Kooyman
Rev. Kate Kooyman

Board Secretary

Kate is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America, and works for the Christian Reformed Church's Office of Social Justice. She has worked on educating and organizing Christians on various issues, including immigration reform. She is a graduate of Calvin College and Western Theological Seminary.

Places she’s felt welcomed: Honduras, Japan, Guatemala, Mexico, France, Israel/Palestine, Kenya

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Roland Hoksbergen
Roland Hoksbergen
Board Treasurer

Roland earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Notre Dame and has served as Professor of Economics at Calvin College since 1983, where he is also director of the International Development Studies program. He lived for seven years in various countries of Central America and from 1986 to 1989 was the founding director of the Latin American Studies Program of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. Roland has also led Calvin College semester programs in Ghana and Honduras and has completed research on civil society, non-governmental organization (NGO) partnerships, and business development in roughly 10 developing countries. He is very interested in helping make Grand Rapids a city where everyone, especially immigrants and refugees can find a home. 

Places he’s felt welcomed: Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Ghana.

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Edna Mbangukira
Edna Mbangukira

Board Member

 

Edna came to West Michigan from Rwanda as a student in 1993 and received her B.S. in Health Science from Grand Valley State University. She started translating for Swahili and Kinyarwanda speaking families over fifteen years ago.  She was one of the first Rwandan women in Grand Rapids and remembers the challenges of making West Michigan her home. She is passionate about helping fellow women get acquainted with their new community.  Edna’s firstborn son is currently a student at Howard University and her youngest son is a Junior at East Kentwood High School. 

Places she’s felt welcomed: Congo, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Kenya, U.S.

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Roland Nyamoga
Roland Nyamoga
Board Member

Roland was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and lived in Uganda and Rwanda for a total of 9 years before coming to Michigan as a refugee in 2011. In West Michigan, he is involved with different community building efforts through programs sponsored by the Bahai Faith, specifically programs aimed at empowering youth by forming safe spaces for them to discuss current topics and build trust. Professionally, Roland has worked in Sales, Customer Service and Information Technology. His interests range from Customer Service to Product Management, People Operations, Brand and Business Strategy. At Amway, his current workplace, Roland is a member of the Multicultural Inclusion Network and has been involved with Diversity and Inclusion efforts.

Places he’s felt welcomed: Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, U.S.

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