Video by Michael Zeligs, Founder--

Boomerang Communities leverages the power of the short-term volunteer experience and transforms it into long-term impact.
— Emily Tangen

On many occasions while serving in Benin, Liberia and a public-housing community in Washington, D.C., I was faced with the difficult question of how do you really help someone? At that time, I thought the answer was to provide low-income people with higher paying jobs, so I went to business school. After consulting in the corporate world, I went back to serve in Sierra Leone, but realized afresh how hard it would be to run successful small businesses in a city like Freetown. I returned home again to a corporate job, still dreaming. In the summer of 2013, the seeds of Boomerang Communities were planted. My contribution to international development would be involving more people, bringing more talent, resources and passion to the sector.

My primary international experiences have been working with Mercy Ships, a group providing free medical care to West Africans. I served from 2004-2005 in Benin and Liberia, and again for four months in 2011 in Sierra Leone. In addition, I spent a semester of college teaching English in Seoul, South Korea, five weeks running a summer English camp in Wuhan, China, and two weeks serving in a disabled boy's home in Neszmély, Hungary.

Throughout my career, I have gained financial analysis, consulting, and non-profit program management skills. I earned my BA from Wheaton College, and my MBA from Georgetown University.

I’m deeply motivated by the outcomes of international collaboration and the unique solutions generated when diverse groups of people come together to solve challenges. I joined Boomerang because I was inspired by its emphasis on both learning from local communities and working together on community-led solutions.

I’ve spent the last nine years working as an international educator, focusing much of my work on under-served communities in China and SE Asia. For the last five years, I’ve been a senior director at VIA, a nonprofit that has been connecting the U.S. and Asia for over 50 years through education and service programs.  My team and I design and manage experiential learning programs for students and professionals on behalf of the Department of State, Stanford University, and the University of California Education Abroad Program. Our programs have ranged from social entrepreneurship training for Tibetan entrepreneurs, to training Americans to work at schools and NGOs in Myanmar, and sports and leadership training for youth in the Mekong Delta.

Previously, I completed a BA and MA in International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service, concentrating on development and governance in sub-Saharan Africa. My personal and professional travel has taken me to over 40 countries and I’ve been fortunate to spend long stretches of time in Asia, Latin America, and Southern Africa.