Meet the Team

STEPHEN GABAUER


Founder & Creative Director

While living and working in Kenya, Stephen witnessed the hardships faced by children without safe drinking water. Inspired by the cultural influence of sports globally and the vibrant styles in Kenyan fashion, Stephen founded Underdogs United. Stephen has a Masters in International Sports Management and 7 years of experience working across professional sports, engineering, and sustainable forestry.


MARIAM NAIPANOI

Lead Designer & Apparel Coordinator

Mariam has 7 years of professional design experience. She designs the Underdogs United apparel and manages operations in Kenya. Born in Nairobi, her family heritage comes from the Maasai tribe. Mariam is passionate about promoting artisans from her hometown and sharing her culture through fashion.  


BEKAKA KAGUNDA

Lead Tailor - Hockey Jerseys

Bekaka holds a degree in Fashion Design & Garment Making Technology from the NYS Technical Training Institute. In addition to Bekaka's passion for fashion and garment making, he is a rising musician in the Nairobi dance hall scene. Bekaka and his wife have a 6-year old daughter named Patience.  


MADELEINE BALESTRIER

Digital Media Specialist

Madeleine is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism at Penn State University. She has experience working in digital media for Penn State Athletics, the National Organization for Women, and the Cape Cod Baseball League. Madeleine is passionate about environmental advocacy and all things Boston sports.


VINDAH KANANA

Lead Tailor - Basketball Jerseys

Vindah specializes on making the Underdogs United basketball jerseys. She is happy to share her work with some of the world's most famous basketball players, male and female! She is self-taught and has been tailoring professionally for 8 years. Vindah and her husband have three young boys.


JAKE TEPPERMAN

Operations Coordinator

Jake specializes in logistics and inventory management, holds a B.S. in Supply Chain and has experience working for a Fortune 500 sporting goods retailer. Jake is passionate about solving socioeconomic issues, working towards eradicating homelessness in his community and around the world.


LUCAS AKA TAIFA

Lead Tailor - Baseball Jerseys

Taifa pursued tailoring directly after school and now has 21 years of experience. His shop is a source of pride for him in the community. He loves tailoring because he finds the process relaxing, and it provides a consistent income for his family. He enjoys reading and has six children.


MERCY MUTUA

Tailor - Soccer Jerseys

Mercy holds a Certificate in Tailoring and Dress Making from Mwingi College and has 2 years of experience. She enjoys collaborating and joking with the other tailors, including her sister! She shares a shop with Josephine, and together they specialize in the soccer and baseball jerseys for Underdogs United.


BRYAN DOUGHERTY

Production Specialist

Bryan holds a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Penn State and supports the team with filming, editing, and video production. Bryan also teaches Career & Technology Education at a local middle school.


JOSEPHINE NDANU

Tailor - Soccer Jerseys

Josephine holds a Certificate in Tailoring and Dress Making from Kibwezi Polytechnic and has 2 years of experience. She is excited that her work is reaching athletes and customers from other parts of the world.


TOM JUMA

Tailor - Soccer Jerseys

Tom has 30 years of tailoring experience. Growing up, he was a striker on his local football team and is still an avid fan of the sport internationally, so he's glad to merge his passions for tailoring and football. Tom and his wife have three children.