Organization and Leadership

The Transcaucasian Trail Association, Inc. (TCTA) is a non-profit corporation registered in Washington, D.C.

The TCTA currently supports two locally registered NGOs in the Caucasus, the Transcaucasian Trail NGO of Georgia and the Transcaucasian Trail Tourism Support NGO of Armenia. These local organizations are coordinating the development of the trail in Georgia and Armenia respectively. They are independent from the TCTA, but share the same vision.

In addition to financial support, the TCTA works to coordinate activities between the local NGOs and enable joint planning for the development of the trail, helping to ensure unity and consistency in the trail network and the experience for hikers. Want to learn more about our work? You can read our annual reports here.

Transcaucasian Trail Association Leadership

Matt Stephens
Board Member

Matt is the co-founder of Impact Nano. He has an MBA from INSEAD and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. He first traveled to the Caucasus in 1989 and has been interested in the region ever since. 

LinkedIn Profile

Lizzie Schneider
Board Member

Lizzie is head of strategy and product operations at Google. Before joining Google in 2007, she was a Peace Corps volunteer in Georgia. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School. 

LinkedIn Profile

Laura Linderman
Board Member

Laura is a manager at Splunk, a data software company, and a research fellow at the Atlantic Council. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Georgia and has an M.A. in cultural anthropology from Indiana University. 

LinkedIn Profile

Paul Stephens
Co-Executive Director

Paul co-founded the TCTA in 2016. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Georgia from 2005-2007. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School, he has written extensively on international affairs and global development. 

LinkedIn Profile

Laura Santos-Bishop
Board Member

Laura worked in Armenia and Georgia for several years as a Fulbright Fellow and school administrator. She has worked on trail crews in the U.S. and is currently pursuing her J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center. 

LinkedIn Profile

Meagan Neal
Co-Executive Director

Meagan joined the TCTA in 2020 after serving as a trail crew leader in Georgia. Previously, she worked in development economics research at MIT’s Poverty Action Lab. She studied economics and Russian at Middlebury College.

LinkedIn Profile

Transcaucasian Trail Armenia NGO Leadership

Tom Allen
Founder & President

Tom is a professional explorer and travel writer. After independently envisaging a similar project, he led the Transcaucasian Expedition in 2016, supported by the Royal Geographical Society and Land Rover, to explore the southern route of the TCT. He founded the TCT Armenia NGO in 2016 and has served as the organisation’s president since 2017.

Ashot Davtyan
Director & Vice-President

Ashot is a mountain guide and tour operator in Armenia and Georgia, now specializing in trail building and design. He also holds a masters’ degree in finance. He worked at FINCA Armenia before joining the TCT as the local volunteer coordinator for the Dilijan National Park trailbuilding project in 2017. 

Transcaucasian Trail Georgia NGO Leadership

Sopo Bagauri
Outreach Coordinator

Sopo’s interest in the Caucasus Mountains led her to work and volunteer in remote villages of Georgia, where she also collects local folk tales and legends. She has a B.A. in psychology and experience working with underprivileged children through IREX, World Vision, the U.N., U.S. Peace Corps, and Ilia State University. 

Giorgi Jmukhadze
Project Manager and Crew Leader

Giorgi leads project development and scouting for the TCT NGO of Georgia. He was an Earth Corps crew member in Seattle, Washington in 2018. Previously, he volunteered on TCT trail crews and for an ecological organization in Romania. He holds a B.A. in Food Technology.

Vakhtang Chkhitauri
Project Manager and Crew Leader

Vakhtang leads trail crews and manages project development for the TCT NGO of Georgia. He was an Earth Corps international crew member in 2019. Previously, he was an Assistant Crew Leader for TCT trail crews in Georgia. He holds a B.A. in IT Engineering from Ilia State University.

Transcaucasian Trail Azerbaijan Project Leadership

Nazrin Garibova
Project Manager

Nazrin joined the TCT team in 2021 and leads partnership development and route scouting in Azerbaijan. She is also currently teaching in Baku on a Fulbright fellowship. She holds a B.A. from the College of William & Mary, and previously worked on trail crews in the U.S. 

Want to be part of the TCT? Find out how to hike the trail, join us as a volunteer, or become a member.