Rachel Briggs, OBE
Rachel is the Founding Executive Director of Hostage US. In 1996, Rachel’s uncle was kidnapped in Colombia while he was working as an engineer. For seven and a half months, she and her family were thrown into an alien world of fear, isolation and helplessness as others negotiated for his release. This experience left her determined to learn more about kidnapping and ultimately to help set up and then run Hostage UK, which was established in 2004.
Rachel moved to the US from England in September 2015 to stand up Hostage US and is proud to lead its brilliant team. She remains actively involved in supporting families and former hostages.
Rachel has a long and distinguished career as a policy advisor working on national security issues with governments and the private sector around the world. She was awarded an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) by Her Majesty the Queen in 2014 in recognition for her work with hostages and their families. Rachel serves on the Board of Directors of The Global Center on Cooperative Security and is an Associate Fellow of Chatham House.
“I’m passionate about ensuring that hostages and their families get the care and support they need. I know from experience how frightening, lonely and helpless you can feel when a loved one is kidnapped. I also know that many families face practical problems that normal lawyers, financial advisors or health professionals might struggle to provide. Hostages and their families have a right to this support – free of charge, entirely confidential, and independent of any other interest. I’m honored to be able to do this vital work.”
Liz Frank is the Program Manager at Hostage US. Prior to joining Hostage US, Liz spent time working as a teacher in Madrid, Spain and more recently as an event planner in Alexandria, Virginia. After deciding to focus her career in the nonprofit sector, Liz spent time volunteering in Nepal on part of a post-earthquake rebuild team.
Liz earned her Bachelors in International Business from the University of Delaware.
“I am honored to be a part of an organization surrounded by passionate people who care solely about the support for families and hostages. It is clear that there is a need for the type of independent support that Hostage US provides to family members. Kidnapping is a growing issue in today’s world and Hostage US is able to provide services to address some of the human aspects that families face during a kidnapping.”
Jen Walia is the Development Manager at Hostage US. Prior to joining Hostage US, Jen worked as a Development Director in San Francisco and then as a Development Consultant in the DC area for several years. Jen’s career has been spent in the nonprofit sector working with HIV/AIDS, Child Education, Homelessness and Human Trafficking. She received her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Boston University and Master’s degree in War Studies from King’s College London.
“It’s been my privilege to work within the nonprofit sector and support organizations who commit themselves to serving our community and working in earnest to make it a better place. The services, compassion and commitment that Hostage US provides free of charge to hostages and their families as they work to rebuild their lives after such trauma is incredible. I am so proud to support this vital work alongside a wonderful team of professionals.