Our Staff

Stephanie Giddens

Founder & Executive Director

Laura Laywell

Programming Director

Naomi Davis

Operations Manager

Emily Dillard

Production Supervisor

Mursal Rahmaty

Training Manager

Meet Stephanie

Stephanie Giddens founded Vickery Trading Company in 2015 after a planned move to Africa with her family fell through, but her desire to help underserved populations was stronger than ever. Through her preparation for the move, she gained understanding about how to help marginalized people, especially from developing nations, and she decided to apply those learnings in her own community. After discovering the large refugee population living close to her home, she got to work looking for opportunities to empower women through business and Vickery Trading was born.

Early in her career, Stephanie was a health specialist for Head Start, giving her experience working with underserved, low-income populations. She co-founded and led the board of directors for Polished, a ministry that serves young professional women, and also worked in the private equity industry. The combination of these experiences helped prepare her to bring the vision of Vickery Trading Company to life.

A DFW native, Stephanie grew up in Arlington, graduated from Texas A&M University and received her Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2009. She lives with her husband Brad and their three young children. She is actively involved in her kids’ activities and their local church. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys time with girlfriends, reading and spending time with her family, usually with a Sonic Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper in hand.  

Meet Laura

Laura is our Programming Director and heads up all of our education and volunteer programs. She began teaching with Teach for America in Arlington, Texas and mentored refugee youth during that time. After two years, she transferred schools to teach in Vickery Meadow and be closer to the refugee community. While teaching, she developed a passion for creating joyful and empowering curriculum for ESL students and wrote ESL curriculum for Dallas ISD. She holds her Master's degree in ESL Curriculum and Instruction and loves to create tailored and hands on programming to empower refugee women.

Laura grew up in Texas and married her high school sweetheart. She, her husband, and her son all live in Vickery Meadow and are passionate about their community. When she is not at work, Laura loves being outside on the trails with her family. Her favorite part of working at Vickery Trading Company is getting to share life and laughter with everyone in the office. 

Meet Naomi

Naomi is a native Texan who is passionate about helping refugee women discover their inner worth. After two years of college, she worked behind the scenes in an administrative role at e3 Partners & I Am Second. As a side hustle, Naomi later pursued her yoga teacher certification through Holy Yoga. In June of 2015, Naomi’s heart was awakened to the refugee crisis while volunteering at a refugee apartment community in Germany with e3 Partners & I Am Second. Since her time spent in Germany, Naomi’s compassionate heart comes alive when speaking with and befriending refugees. Naomi’s love for refugees inevitably led her to meet the founder of Vickery Trading Company, Stephanie Giddens. Naomi was drawn to VTC from the very first conversation with Stephanie due to Stephanie’s servant-hearted leadership and passion for women’s empowerment within marginalized people groups.

When Naomi isn’t at work, you can find her sipping on cozy drinks at your local coffee house, reading lifestyle blogs, and driving with her windows down. She enjoys being outdoors with her husband, having heart-to-heart conversations with her close friends, and journaling lofty dreams. Naomi daydreams about one day living in the mountains, and in time, aspires to use yoga as a holistic resource to help refugee women heal their mind, body and soul through meditative stretching. Naomi hopes to always work in the non-profit & social enterprise sector, empowering marginalized women and advocating for refugees world-wide.

Meet Emily

Emily joined the Vickery Trading team as Production Supervisor in the Fall of 2020. Although American by birth, she has spent most of her life in countries in Central Asia and the Middle East. In 2015 she transitioned to Texas to study Fashion Design at the University of North Texas. She worked on the production team for a couture designer in Dallas before deciding she was interested in a different part of the fashion industry.

Emily considers herself a “third-culture kid,” which means she does not feel like she fully belongs to one culture or place, but instead has a mixed cultural experience. This makes the question “where are you from?” uniquely difficult to answer. Throughout her fashion design program, the concept of “home” and “roots” became central themes and she started gravitating towards the plight of refugees as they deeply resonate with concepts of wandering, homelessness, resettling, and transition. Joining the Vickery Trading team and vision became a beautiful way to combine Fashion Design and serving refugee women.

As the oldest of seven children, Emily learned how to manage responsibility from a very young age and was homeschooled kindergarten through high school. She currently resides in Denton and loves spending time with her family, cooking healthy food, playing strategy board games, and joining in on some ultimate frisbee on Sundays. She also enjoys making wedding dresses for her closest friends every now and then. 

Meet Mursal

Mursal moved to Dallas as a refugee in 2015 to escape war, and she hit the ground running. She didn’t know how to sew when she arrived, but quickly enrolled in classes through Disciples of the Way at a local Lutheran church. There, she learned the basics and soon after, she joined Vickery Trading Company in the first class of Associates. She rose through the ranks and is currently our Production Director and Training Manager.

Mursal has a passion for learning and teaching. She holds a bachelors in Accounting and Finance and a Masters in Computer Science. Once she realized how much she loved sewing and teaching others to sew, however, she never looked back. She teaches sewing and English classes to refugee women in the Dallas community in the evenings and on weekends.

When not making VTC fabulous, you can find Mursal jogging around the lake (something she’s not allowed to do in her home country), doing yoga, teaching exercise groups, creating new products, helping newly arrived refugees or visiting any number of her friends from different cultures and languages (including her many American friends). She’s been married to her love for over 5 years.

Mursal believes that all people are worthy of love and anything worth learning is worth sharing. (See why we love her?!)

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