Our Team


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Ellen Peterson

Executive Director


Ellen is a proud Tennessean born and raised in Nashville. After completing a degree at Auburn University, she moved to Houston, TX where she lived for 17 years. While there, Ellen worked as the Director of Global Missions for a local church, working with mission partners around the globe and leading mission teams to serve in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, Croatia, Budapest and Kenya. She has been working in nonprofit for almost 20 years doing everything from fundraising and operations to communications and staff development. Ellen joined the OH team in September 2017, and resides in Franklin, TN with her husband and two children. Read More


Kelly Putty



When Kelly Putty, Founder of Ordinary Hero, first turned her gaze to Ethiopia, it was to adopt her son. But when she got there and saw the precious faces of the orphaned children left behind at her son’s orphanage, she knew she had to do more. This eye-opening trip led to the eventual launch of Ordinary Hero. Kelly and her husband, Shane Putty, co-founder of Ordinary Hero, reside in Brentwood, Tennessee with their nine children, five biological and four from Ethiopia. They continue to strive passionately toward helping children in need.


Julianna Evans

Sponsorship Coordinator


Born and raised in Northern California near the Napa Valley, Julianna completed a degree at Point Loma Nazarene University and spent 8 years in San Diego where her passion for non-profit began as the Senior Wish Coordinator for Make-A-Wish San Diego. During a brief move to Chapel Hill, North Carolina she gained experience as a Campaign Manager for a national marketing agency, and learned the ropes of for-profit business and advertising. After relocating to Nashville in June, Julianna joined the Ordinary Hero team in October 2017, and resides in Bellevue with her husband and their puppy. Read More

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Lauren Putty

Trip Coordinator / Operations


Lauren is the daughter of founder, Kelly Putty, and has been involved with OH since the very first trip. She officially joined staff in 2014 as field director, living in Ethiopia for 10 months. Now she resides in Nashville, living out her passion and continuing to visit Ethiopia often. She will graduate with a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership in May 2017.


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Jeff Williams

Chair of the Board

R. Jeffrey Williams is the Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Tri Star Services, LLC in Nashville, TN. Tri Star Services is an $800 million, privately-held fuel services and convenience store company. Jeff is a certified public accountant with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Jeff, his wife Kelley and their three children Jordan, Braeden and Halle (adopted from Ethiopia in May 2014) make their home in Arrington, TN. This past Fall, Jeff and his family were blessed to welcome a 16 year old girl from Ethiopia named Dibora into their home on a student visa. Jeff says, “I joined the OH team, having been involved and watched from afar the growth and momentum that OH has seen, with the hope of being able to take part in helping grow the organization in a stable manner and allow it to reach more children and families in Ethiopia.”

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Ray Guzman


Ray Guzman is the Chairman and CEO of WPC Healthcare, a leading healthcare data science provider, where he is responsible for setting the company culture, defining strategy and direction, building and leading the senior executive team, allocating capital to the company’s priorities, and leading the board of directors.  Ray is the ultimate “connector.” He is skilled at connecting people and resources in ways that benefit everyone involved-whether in business or in the community. Under his direction, WPC is leveraging data science to address healthcare’s most pressing issues. His unique combination of leadership, business acumen, technical experience, and industry expertise have led to his selection as a delegate to represent the state of Tennessee on a healthcare economic development trip to Israel, a Nashville Business Journal 40 under 40 award, a Nashville Business Journal Healthcare Hero award, a Nashville Health Care Council Fellow, and a gubernatorial appointment to explore the feasibility of the state government utilizing an open data policy.

Ray, his wife, and 20 year old daughter have all traveled to Ethiopia with Ordinary Hero, and Ray is an evangelist of all things Ethiopia. His favorite things to do are spend time with his family and enjoys sports whether participating or watching. Ray resides in Brentwood, Tennessee with his wife of 21 years and five daughters, ranging in age from 8 to 20.

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Linda Howard


Linda Edell Howard has almost 30 years of experience in the areas of entertainment, new media and technology, and domestic and international intellectual property law and is the leader of the Entertainment/New Media team. She joined Adams and Reese in 2001 and opened the firm’s Music Row office. Linda Edell Howard is proud to count among her clients many members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Songwriter’s Hall of Fame;Canadian Music Songwriter’s Hall of Fame; Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame; Musician’s Hall of Fame; and Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as many Grammy winning producers and artists.

In 2016, Linda Howard was named Billboard Women in Music: 100 Most Powerful Executives. To read more, click here.

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Melissa Smith

Melissa grew up in Athens, Georgia, but has been a Nashville resident since 2006.  She was first introduced to Ordinary Hero in 2014 and immediately became interested in the organization. It wasn’t until her first trip to Ethiopia in 2015 that she realized how special this organization truly was and that she was meant to play a larger role in helping people change the world for one. Each time Melissa travels to Ethiopia she is reminded of what an incredible organization Ordinary Hero is and how blessed she is to be a part of this family.

Melissa’s time in Nashville has included obtaining a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Lipscomb University and working in the Healthcare industry for the past nine plus years. She is currently working as the Acquisitions and Infrastructure Services Manager at HCA Healthcare. When she is taking a break from the corporate life and OH items,  you will find her cheering on her hometown team, the Georgia Bulldogs, and spending time with her close friends.


Colleen Parker

Colleen Parker has served Ordinary Hero faithfully since 2010. She served as a volunteer for 2 years, as Business Manager for 4 years, and today serves on the Board. Colleen says, “I was inspired by the fact that the impoverished children around the world need an advocate and a voice. If we don’t stand up for them, who will? What will become of them? How will the cycle ever be broken? It’s a responsibility that is given to each of us and Ordinary Hero is a clear avenue to live out God’s purpose for my life.” Colleen is an Associate Advisor with Webb Pickard Business Services and lives in Mt. Juliet with her husband and two children.


Ryan Dorr

Ryan Dorr is the Chief Information Officer at PhyMed Healthcare Group. Ryan adopted his youngest daughter from Ethiopia, which sparked Ryan’s heart for orphans and hurting children in Ethiopia and around the world. Ryan was deeply impacted by hearing how Ordinary Hero was making a difference in the lives of children and families in Ethiopia, and is excited to play a part in making a difference. Ryan grew up in Johnson City, TN and now resides in Franklin, TN with his wonderful wife of 15 years and four children.


Matt Macconnell

Matthew MacConnell resides in California with his wife, Gina, and their ten children.  Matt’s family has a deep passion for adoption and Ethiopia. He became involved in Ordinary Hero two years ago after spending time at the guest house in Addis.  Matt is the Director of Golf for Discovery Land Company and uses his business, creative, and personal background to support OH in all of their endeavors.