Meet the Passports with Purpose Team

Current Board Members

Michelle Duffy (founder) is Seattle-based IT professional currently working at Google. For full details of Michelle’s technical career see her LinkedIn profile.With their natural passion for travel, Michelle and her husband left Dublin, Ireland in 1995. After exploring much of the Western U.S., they settled in Seattle with their two boys. Parenthood did not preclude Michelle’s intent to wander far and wide while working full-time she managed to travel extensively in the U.S., Europe, South and Central America with her family. In 2010 this family left Seattle and backpacked around the world for a year visiting 26 countries on four continents. On Michelle writes about these adventures and provides tips on traveling with children including advice on flying with an infant.Michelle is a co-author of Wanderlust and Lipstick: Traveling with Kids.

Mara GormanMara Gorman (board member starting 2013)  doesn’t know when or where she got bit by the travel bug – perhaps it was in Italy when she was nine? In France when she was nineteen? Or India when she was twenty nine? But having children did nothing to cure her of it. In fact between June of 2003 and July of 2004, she and her husband took their (then 1-year-old) son Tommy on a trip across six states, three countries, and two continents.

Mara is the founder of the family travel blog The Mother of all Trips and is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in AOL Travel, Matador Network, CiaoBambino!, Minitime, the Room 77 blog, and the USA Today Guide to Philadelphia. She is also the author of The Family Traveler’s Handbook.

A participating blogger in Passports with Purpose since its inception in 2008, Mara served as the Social Media Manager for the 2012 campaign and joined the board in the winter of 2013. She lives in Delaware with her husband and two sons.

Meg PaynorMeg Paynor (board member starting 2009), met Pam, Beth, Michelle and Debbie at various Seattle travel-related events. After meeting the four PwP founders in person and participating in the first fundraiser, Meg was honored to join the team and help with public relations.

With a father in the foreign service, Meg has traveled the globe from age 2 and has never lived in one place for long. She calls home wherever her husband and two young daughters are, or wherever her extended family and friends are. Currently, home is San Francisco, where she owns a boutique public relations agency specializing in travel & lifestyle PR.

Katie Aune (board member starting 2014) is a longtime Chicago resident who recently spent 13 months traveling and volunteering in the former Soviet Union – a journey that included running a marathon in Estonia, traveling the length of the Trans-Siberian Railway, teaching English in Russia and Tajikistan, volunteering with the national tourism board of Armenia, living with local families in Azerbaijan, and trying her best to speak Russian on a daily basis. She writes about her travel experiences at and is also a regular contributor to, writing about Chicago, Russia and the Baltic States. Now back in Chicago, she works in alumni relations and development for a local law school while planning her next adventures.

A participating blogger for Passports with Purpose in 2011 and 2012, Katie volunteered for PwP in 2013 and joined the board in 2014.

Current Volunteers

Alexandra Vander Weele HeadshotAlexandra Vander Weele (public relations volunteer staring 2015) has executed public relations campaigns for both Fortune 500 companies and boutique consumer brands over the last six years. She has dedicated her career to delivering the best communication strategies to a variety of clients in the fashion, beauty and consumer-technology industries. When she is not pitching media or working with her team on the next big idea, she is enjoying the sites, food, and yoga San Francisco has to offer.


pam-photo-sm-thumb-240x240-4Pam Mandel (founder; emeritus) founder of Nerd’s Eye View, is a freelance writer  and photographer who lives in Seattle. Her travel stories have appeared in  Conde Nast Traveler, Afar, World Hum, Gadling, BlogHer, National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog,  Perceptive Travel,  Practical Travel Gear, and more. She’s done radio stories for NPR’s WGBH Boston station, spoken about Hawaii and Antarctica for This Arctic Life out of Anchorage, had a micro-second of time on Rudy Maxa’s World, and been a repeat guest on the This Week in Travel podcast. She’s worked on two guidebooks — BC and Hawaii — for Thomas Cook. And she’s spoken about travel  — and blogging and social media –  at Book Passage, SxSW, Blog World Expo, BlogHer, TBEX, The Adventure Travel Show, The Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism, and Travel and Words.She’s currently working on a book about the ukulele. When she’s not writing about travel, she makes her living as a technical writer and content strategist.

Beth Whitman (founder; emeritus) has logged hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe as a contemporary Wanderer: combining her love for travel with volunteer work, adventure trips, travel writing and business.

After teaching travel-related workshops in the Seattle area for nearly 15 years, Beth decided to get her message of encouragement and inspiration to more people. She started her own publishing company (Dispatch Travels) and began writing the Wanderlust and Lipstick guidebooks for women travelers (now including The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo, For Women Traveling to India) and is the publisher of Traveling with Kids. She is the editor of and the women’s travel columnist for Transitions Abroad. Beth leads trips to India, Bhutan, Vietnam & Cambodia.

Debbie Dubrow (founder; emeritus) is the founder of DeliciousBaby is for parents who want to travel with their children, but don’t know how to start. On the website she shares her own travel stories (in the how to keep kids busy on a plane, surviving jet-lag, and flying with carseats.

Debbie’s  iPhone app TripDoc helps you plan your trip by putting everything you want to do on a single map.  Once you are at your destination, you can see which of your places are nearby, get directions, and take notes about what you liked.  You can even send your favorite places to friends in email.

Debbie lives in Seattle, WA with her husband and three children.


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