Board of Directors
Ann Zoller is a life-long Clevelander who joined the Refugee Response Board in 2017 and who currently serves as the Chair of the Board. Ann currently works as a strategic planning and organizational development consultant for Strategy Design Partners. Prior to joining SDP, Ann Zoller served as Executive Director of LAND studio for over 20 years, where she led an ambitious agenda of urban parks, greenspace and public arts projects. Over the course of her tenure, the organization grew significantly, taking on projects of increased size and impact that enhance the public realm and bring vitality and growth to Cleveland. Ann is known for her strategic, entrepreneurial approach to civic endeavors and for her ability to convene partners around shared goals. She lives in Gates Mills with her husband John Mueller.
Vice Chair / Co-Founder
Paul Neundorfer co-founded The Refugee Response in 2009. Paul is the founder, president and principal designer at Aristotle Design Group, a landscape architecture firm that has completed residential and institutional projects in 12 states, Thailand, Kenya and Belize. Paul graduated with honors with a Bachelors in Landscape Architecture from Ohio State University and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Mr. Neundorfer worked for several multidisciplinary firms in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Cleveland, Ohio before starting Aristotle Design Group in 1992.
Paul has travelled extensively for work and pleasure and is a visiting lecturer and senior thesis studio critic at Chulalonmgkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Co-Founder / Honorary Board Member
Mr. David Wallis is the Founder, Owner and President of Bedrock Contracting, LLC, a company that specializes in stone craftsmanship and hardscape development. Mr. Wallis has extensive international experience, including serving as a mediator and developing and implementing training workshops on human rights and other topics. Mr. Wallis holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Hillsdale College and holds multiple certificates in Conflict Management and Peace Studies.
Art Thomson is retired, following a career of over 30 years in healthcare. His last position was at Cleveland Clinic, where he was Administrator for the Digestive Disease & Surgery and Head & Neck Institutes. In addition to supporting The Refugee Response, he volunteers for Transplant House of Cleveland and PFLAG Cleveland. He also enjoys running and spending time with his family and pets.
Mukul is a Senior Director at Gartner. He advises clients to enable faster, smarter, and stronger performance on clients' most critical priorities based on the People, Process, and Technology framework.
Prior to joining Gartner, he played senior leadership roles at various consulting firms, such as Senior Principal Director at Accenture, co-founder and Managing Director at Transcend+ Consulting & North America Strategic Digital Consulting Services Leader with Dynatrace/Gomez/Compuware. Mukul received BSBA from the Ohio State Univ and an MBA from Baldwin Wallace Univ. He has been serving TRR since March 2019.
Murlan Murphy Jr.
Murlan Murphy Jr. attended University of Notre Dame with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He served two years as an infantry sergeant during the Vietnam Conflict although stationed in Korea. He worked alongside his brothers and father managing The Murphy-Phoenix Company until a sale to Colgate Palmolive Company in 1991. In addition to The Refugee Response, his Board service has included Gilmour Academy, Malachi House, Julie Billiart School, and Catholic Charities. He lives in partnership with Molly Dixon and has three daughters and five grandchildren.
Jamie joined the TRR Board in the Spring of 2017, taking the vacant seat opened when his wife Nina stepped down after a 6-year tenure. Jamie has had close ties to the organization since its inception. He was introduced to co-founders Paul and David by his father Dudley who assisted TRR with developing its initial strategic plan. Since that time -and prior to his joining the board- he has supported TRR by recruiting friends and relatives to the annual benefit and other farm events and by continuing support from the Sheffler Foundation where he serves as an advisor. Jamie’s other community service work includes organizing the annual AT&T “Kicks-It” Corporate Kick-Ball team that raises funds for children’s cancer research and coaching CYO Basketball at Urban Community School. He is a Technical Sales Manager at AT&T and lives in Shaker Heights with his wife and two children Christian (former TRR Tutor) and Brooke.
Emily Honsa Hicks is a Senior Financial Regulatory Attorney with DLA Piper. She has over a decade of experience in financial services regulation, compliance, and mediation, and practices in the areas of electronic transactions, real estate, financial services, blockchain, and cryptocurrency. She has participated in volunteer legal services clinics aimed at providing services to refugees and does pro bono work in the space of climate change and climate finance. Emily attended Hiram College for her undergraduate studies and Cleveland State University’s College of Law for her law degree, and holds an Executive Certificate in Negotiation from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. Emily also serves on the Board of Directors for both the Chagrin Valley Little Theater and Les Delices.
Tom Gill is the President of Urban Community School in Cleveland, Ohio. Gill has served UCS since 2010, initially as the Development Director, then Chief Operating and Development Officer, and as Associate Director from 2015- July 2017. He became President in July, 2017.
During Gill’s time at Urban Community School, the school has grown from 450 to 600 students in 2014, and along the way has forged many partnerships to benefit UCS students and families. The UCS campus is home to a 32,000-square-foot health center built in collaboration with MetroHealth that serves 85,000 patient visits annually.
Previously, Gill was a Cleveland Executive Fellow at the Cleveland Leadership Center where he went through four rotations including: Cleveland Metropolitan School District, The Cleveland Guardians; Cuyahoga County Land Bank; and St. Martin de Porres High School. He also served as a Community Coordinator for the Casa de la Solidaridad at the Jesuit University of Central America in San Salvador, El Salvador from 2005-2007.
After stints in several restaurants in the Cleveland area, Karen Small opened The Flying Fig in Ohio City in 1999. A self taught chef and a staunch supporter of local farms, she culled a vision to open a restaurant with a neighborhood vibe that furthered her commitment to local farms, artisanal food producers, and the growth of the downtown area.
The Fig, as it is affectionately called by its customers, is in its 19th year and has long been at the forefront of the farm to table movement. The restaurant continues to garner praise, both nationally as well as locally for its farm to table cuisine. It has been featured in Food and Wine, Gourmet, and the New York Times, as well.
Small has received a 2018 James Beard nomination for the Great Lakes Region.
Alex R. Frondorf is an experienced labor and employment law litigator and advisor at Littler Mendelson. Alex devotes his practice to a broad range of labor and employment related matters. In 2018, Alex won Littler's community service award for his work with nonprofits, including TRR.
Prior to joining Littler, Alex served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ann Aldrich and the Honorable Kathleen M. O'Malley in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. In law school, he was managing editor of the Saint Louis University Law Journal. He is also an adjunct professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where he teaches courses on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and scholarly writing, and at Bowling Green State University, where he teaches a course on health care law.
Melissa Laubenthal is an Underwriting Counsel at Old Republic National Title Insurance Company in Independence, Ohio. Prior to joining Old Republic, Melissa was in private practice at Giffen & Kaminski, LLC where she litigated real estate and financial services matters throughout Ohio. Melissa began her career as an immigration attorney, first as a student at Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s Milton A. Kramer Immigration Clinic, and later in private practice. Melissa has routinely participated in volunteer legal services clinics aimed at providing counsel to immigrants, and won the Cleveland Legal Aid Society’s Access to Justice Award in 2015. In addition to her service to The Refugee Response, Melissa serves on the Board of Visitors for her alma mater, Hiram College. Melissa resides in Avon, Ohio with her husband, two young sons, and badly behaved pug.
Sandra Schoepf Sauder is a native of Cincinnati who spent much of her adult life living in NW Ohio, but now calls Lakewood home. As the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of immigrants, she has always felt drawn to those starting over in a new place. In 2015 she began tutoring two young Afghan women in English through Refugee Response, and together they helped to start TRR’s Adult Tutoring Program. She’s inspired by how creatively the staff of Refugee Response serves clients’ needs as they unfold and evolve. Including clients in priority-setting for the organization is one of the keys to making good decisions.
Sandra also serves on the Board of the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, where she has been a co-chair of Beck’s $6.7 million Capital Campaign and serves on the Governance Committee. In Toledo she was a director of the Board of Toledo Opera and served as Board Secretary and Board Chair and led an Endowment Campaign. As the parent of a neurodivergent son, she looks forward to becoming more connected to resources in NE Ohio for adults with autism. Her joys include cooking (especially Italian), learning about wine, reading, and all kinds of music, especially jazz.