Adam Miles-Founder, Executive Director
In 2017 Adam Miles left the soul-sucking environment of big Wall Street firms after nearly 20 years of working as a successful financial advisor serving venture capitalists, corporations, and high net worth individuals. Prior to his career as a financial professional Adam worked for global powerhouse, Honda Motor Co. in both the USA and Japan in various capacities including new model cost control and government relations. While staying very busy as an advisor, Adam founded Bridges To America, Inc. (the entity behind Refugee Soccer) and enjoys the extreme challenges of building the company’s programs to maximize positive impact on the world-one family and one child at a time. His for-profit venture, Bridges To Your Best, aims to provide success-seeking individuals with the motivation and tools to break through barriers to become their very best self. Now that he has left the “day job” Adam’s sole focus is growing Refugee Soccer into a sustainable venture maximizing positive impact around the world.
Adam has lived numerous years outside the USA on several expatriate assignments, and is fluent in spoken and written Japanese. His home base is Utah but he travels extensively. He has four amazing children, and two great sons-in-law. He became a very young grandfather in late 2016. He loves running, skiing, mountain biking and tennis and loves spending time with his children and often includes them in his business ventures. He is a published author and loves to write and speak publicly. Adam loves to say “In Africa, it takes so little to do so much.” It is this view that provides him and his team the most extraordinary and fulfilling return on investment of time, capital, and heart.
BOARD of DIRECTORS
Gil Kuruneri-Advisory Board Member
Gil Kuruneri has vaulted his way to the top of the advertising industry on the back of one unalienable personalty trait: relentless curiosity. With more than 30 major advertising awards to his credit, it’s clear that his impassioned pursuit of knowledge and understanding has given him an edge, allowing him to carve his name into the annals of creative history.
His advertising career began in 2007 with an invitation to use science and creativity to launch platforms that still drive sales today. Gil’s entree into purpose-driven creative work began at Ogilvy & Mather, where he cofounded the shadow network of activist-creatives called “The Pirate Team”.
Gil’s innovative form of creative leadership has led to culture-shaping campaigns that address social injustice, such as The Refugee Nation. Today, the iconic orange & black refugee flag is part of the permanent collection of several design museums including MoMa (NY) and V&A (London).
It doesn’t matter if he’s finding a third life for leftovers, or discovering new ways for technology to empower people to enact change, Gil lives the values that the pirate code preaches: use creative intelligence to help each other make a better world for every one.
Angel Maroto-Advisory Board Member
Angel is an accomplished senior marketing and sales executive leader who has had an extensive and successful career spanning international management, business development and client relationship management for Fortune 1000 companies. A versatile and decisive executive with strong strategic, operational and leadership skills. He has also been cited for expertise in developing and executing business plans and strategy for large strategic clients. Angel is bi-lingual (English-Spanish), and throughout his career has demonstrated a passion for communication, relationship-building and negotiation.
Most recently, Angel was Vice President and General Manager for American Express’s Large Commercial Card Business, where he managed sales and account development of Fortune 1000 companies in the Western region, a $300M+ revenue market for global commercial payments.
Previously at American Express, Angel led the Global Client Group Commercial Card business where he held global management responsibility for the largest and most strategic clients in the company’s technology and online travel agencies segments. Earlier roles with the company in the merchant business include Vice President, Client Management in the U.S. Western Region and Country Manager for Spain. Angel held numerous leadership roles with Cigna and for Citibank in both the U.S. and Spain.
Angel holds an MBA in Business Administration and Marketing from the I.E.S.E. Universidad de Navarra in Barcelona, Spain, completed an MBA Exchange Program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Law from Complutense University in Madrid, Spain.
Angel’s favorite soccer team is Atlético Madrid.
Carla Swensen-Haslam- Advisory Board Member
Carla comes to Refugee Soccer with an immense desire to provide opportunities for both refugees and immigrants. A dual-citizen of the United States and Colombia, Carla began playing soccer at a young age. It was through the beautiful game that she was able to travel the world, play with the Colombian U-20 National team, and be a part of an NCAA Division One soccer program at Brigham Young University.
Since graduating from BYU with a degree in News Media (Communications) in 2018, Carla has been accepted to law school, and is planning on studying immigration law. Outside of school, Carla has pursued a career in sports broadcasting, becoming the first female in the state of Utah to call a men’s professional sport (Real Monarchs 2016-2017). Carla now works full-time for Utah’s newest female professional soccer team, Utah Royals FC, as the radio and TV on-air broadcaster, and Media Relations Manager.
In her free time, Carla loves to read historical biographies–especially on Abraham Lincoln. She would love to write a book — if only she could choose one topic to write about. She enjoys memorizing poems from her favorite poet, T.S. Eliot, and can often be found whistling a show tune from Mamma Mia or La La Land. Carla is married to her sweetheart, Daniel Haslam, and credits her desire to help refugees from her loving parents, Jason and Josefina. Carla also has one younger brother, Christian, who is currently serving and LDS mission in Taiwan, but will return in one year to finish his study at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Sean Ziyong Li-Advisory Board Member
Sean is a successful attorney in Quinn Emanuel’s San Francisco office. His practice focuses on high-tech industry involving intellectual property and competition laws. Sean has experience in diverse fields including consumer electronics, medical devices, telecommunications, semiconductor devices, and computer hardware and software. He has represented clients in all phases of litigation, successfully briefed and argued motions, negotiated with opposing counsel to reach early, favorable settlements, and bayonet charged at trial.
Sean is a first generation immigrant living in California. He likes soccer, and his favorite team was the Argentina National Football Team before they were ordered to cut their long hair.
Nik Diederich-Refugee Outreach Coordinator
Nik is currently a full time student at the University of Utah majoring in Russian with a focus on Pre-Dental coursework. He plans to have a future specializing in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Nik lived a few years abroad and speaks Russian fluently. He has previously worked as an EMT and currently works at a Brain Balance Achievement Center working with kids who struggle behaviorally, socially, and academically.
He is also the current president of the Operation Smile Student Association at the University of Utah. Nik is a Utah native and loves trying new things with friends and family and has a passion for skiing, the mountains and baseball. His love for volunteering and leading to help others connect and live better lives is what has drawn him to be a part many different organizations, such as, Refugee Soccer.
Karinne Kehl-Refugee Outreach Coordinator
Karinne Rachelle Kehl is currently attending Brighton High School with plans to attend Utah Valley University next year. She is pursuing a degree in psychology. From a young age she has had an innate ability to reach out to others and connect by being a friend to everyone. She thrives on service which led her to volunteer with Bridges to America and Refugee Soccer.
She is an avid soccer player and fan and enjoys promoting the sport with the refugees. She is also currently serving weekly as a “special needs” activity assistant for her church group. Karinne puts the needs of others above herself which cultivates an environment for philanthropic service. She was raised in Sandy, Utah in a large family. Her interests are soccer, skiing, hiking, wake surfing, pickle ball, extremely outdoorsy and spending time with her friends & family.
Jackson Bennion-Special Refugee Projects Coordinator
Jackson Bennion is currently attending Olympus High School. He plans to serve a two year LDS mission after high school. Following that he plans to go to the University of Utah and study accounting. Jackson got involved with volunteering for Bridges by interviewing a refugee soccer team and putting their information on the RefugeeSoccer.com site. Jackson has gotten involved further by fundraising to raise 100 One World Futbols to help execute the Balls for Borno mission to deliver soccer balls to thousands of kids in refugee camps in Borno, Nigeria.
Jackson likes to be outdoors and playing sports. He is on the high school golf team. As a kid, Jackson played competitive soccer. Jackson has been involved in many service projects as well. He was raised in Holladay, Utah and is the oldest sibling of his family.