Our Teams

MFR is composed entirely of volunteers from different nationalities and backgrounds.

Meet the executive committee members:

President

Christina Samson

A California girl at heart, Christina has been an adopted madrileña since 2010. She works as a Communications Specialist at the United Nations SDG Action Campaign. She started MFR in 2015 after meeting refugees in Madrid and hearing about their powerful experiences firsthand.

Vice-President

Ivan

Born in Spain to American parents, Ivan is an English teacher and a Psychology student. As the child of migrants, he has long been interested in issues related to immigrants and refugees and has been involved in MFR from day one. He is the association’s key liaison with the Centros de Acogida a Refugiados (C.A.R.) in Madrid.

Treasurer

Murari Perumalsamy

Born in India, Murari moved to Madrid in 2011. He has been involved with MFR since its early days, where he manages its budget and orients its strategic development. He currently works as a Manager in Corporate Strategy and M&A, and when not at work he can be found on the cricket field.

Secretary and Volunteer Manager

Talia Gerstle

Originally from Michigan, Talia has resided in Madrid since 2015. A recent graduate in international studies, she is passionate about helping immigrants and has enjoyed seeing MFR grow over the past year and a half, while meeting many inspiring members of the Madrid community interested in helping out. While not attending meetings or in the classroom, she loves escaping to the mountains near Madrid, listening to live music, and trying new food.

Donations Manager    

Kaelyn Cincotta

A native New Yorker, Kaelyn moved to Spain several years ago and has since been living all over the country. Now in Madrid, she works with MFR to help carry out donation drives, coordinate specific requests with donor offers, and facilitate volunteer efforts; all with the aim of aiding families as they transition into their new homes. When she’s not working as an English teacher or with MFR, she likes to travel, go to museums and attend local cultural events around the city.

Special Events Manager

Mackenzie Austin

Mackenzie Austin is originally from Hermosa Beach, but after a four years at the University of Virginia, she moved to Madrid in 2016. In Spain, she is a high school English teacher and coordinates the Events team for Madrid for Refugees. When she isn’t in the classroom or booking venues for MFR, Mackenzie enjoys traveling about Europe, reading, cooking and going to concerts in Madrid. After this year, she plans to return to the United States and eventually attend law school.

Project Head and Co-Manager Chefugee

Natalia Diaz

Natalia is a Filipina journalist who moved to Madrid in 2008. She has worked as a teacher, a communications manager, and a speechwriter for a UN Specialized Agency. She first conceptualized Chefugee while helping refugees look for employment as the former head of the MFR Jobs Team. She currently co-manages Project Chefugee with Felicia Beltran and Eyad Dado.

NGO & Civil Society Manager

Cayte Cozad

Cayte moved to Madrid from Indiana in 2013 to study Bilingual Education. She has been teaching high school science here for the last three years. With over 10 years of experience in NGOs, she is manages collaboration with local and international organizations in order to compile available resources for the refugee community and facilitate partnerships for fundraising and community awareness projects. In her free time, she likes hiking, theatre, and exploring Spain.