Our Team

OUR TEAM

Alesia Frerichs

President & CEO

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Sarah Dobson

Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy

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Christopher Findlay

Senior Manager of Marketing & Communications

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Deborah Hoesly

Chief Mission Advancement Officer

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Renada Johnson

Senior Director of Children, Youth and Family Initiatives

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Bill Kallestad

Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Lutheran Services in America-Disability Network

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Kent Mitchell

Vice President of Strategy & Innovation

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Susan Newton, Ed.D.

Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives

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Sue Pechilio Polis

Vice President of Public Relations and Government Affairs

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Kimberly Roque

Director of Leadership Development and Growth

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Bola Sodeinde

Senior Director of Business Operations

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JoAnn Theys

Chief Financial Officer

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Elizabeth Vetter

Senior Program Associate

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Ashley Washington

Senior Director of Aging Initiatives

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Cristina Zegarra-Valente

Senior Program Assistant to the President & CEO

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OUR BOARD

Colleen Frankenfield

Board Chairperson

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Eric Gurley

Board Vice Chairperson

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Bill Andrews

Board Treasurer

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Dr. Kristen Gay

Board Secretary

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David Duea

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Jane Isaacs Lowe

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Rev. Barbara Lund

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Rev. Michael Meyer

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Dr. Antonio Oftelie

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Paula H. Phillippe

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Elizabeth Sullivan

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Rev. Jeffrey Thiemann

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David Trost

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CHURCH LIAISONS

Naomi Sonne

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Dorothy Krans

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

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Colleen Frankenfield

Board Chairperson

Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey

President & CEO

Colleen Frankenfield is the President & CEO of Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey. She has worked in faith-based healthcare and senior services for over 30 years. While in law school, she worked for the CMS/Maximus as a Medicare Appeals Adjudicator. In addition to practicing law in the area of professional liability, she had the opportunity to work with healthcare providers and educational institutions in matters related to workers compensation, special education, school law and other general corporate practice areas.

Colleen served as a member of several boards, including as the Chair for Leading Age NJ/DE, the Co-Vice-Chair and board member at Felician University and a member of the advisory committee for the College of Arts and Sciences at St. Joseph University. She has been instrumental with several health systems in developing and implementing plans to improve financial viability, while improving the quality of care and services.

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Eric Gurley

Board Vice Chairperson

Immanuel

President & CEO

Eric Gurley is a skilled financial and operational professional with decades of senior housing and healthcare experience, excelling in the areas of strategic planning, implementation and reporting.

Under his leadership, Immanuel grew from 300 employees to 1,400 and expanded missional service to underserved populations through the implementation of three innovative models of care. Eric also oversaw the creation of the Immanuel Vision Foundation and the Immanuel Community Foundation.

He is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association Board and Finance Committee, Omaha Symphony Board and Finance Committee, Lutheran Giving Board and Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Finance & Audit Committee.

 

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Bill Andrews

Board Treasurer

Bill Andrews is a retired business executive with over three decades of multinational financial and business leadership experience. During his business career at Rohm and Haas Company, he spearheaded initiatives focused on improving the quality and effectiveness of work processes, as well as developing key strategic alliances to better serve customer needs.

Since he retired, Bill has focused his passion for continuous improvement and strategic thinking to help nonprofits deliver better outcomes. These efforts have included acting as a board member at the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and at Silver Springs-Martin Luther School, where he facilitated a strategic merger in 2019 with theVillage to form Gemma Services. Andrews is a longstanding member of Lutheran congregations, including St. Luke Lutheran Church in Devon, Pennsylvania, and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Bill earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Gettysburg College and an MBA, with a focus on accounting and finance, from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Dr. Kristen Gay

Board Secretary

Gemma Services

President & CEO

Dr. Kristen Gay serves as President & CEO of Gemma Services. She has devoted her career to care for children and families, previously at Silver Springs – Martin Luther School prior to its merger with theVillage, and now at Gemma Services.

After receiving a B.A. in psychology from Franklin and Marshall College, and an M.Ed. in psychological services and a Ph.D. in school, community and clinical child psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, Kristen joined the Silver Springs staff in 1999. Kristen has clinical experience in Counseling and School Psychology and has served as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Kristen’s diverse experience informs her passionate vision for the future of the organization and the myriad of ways through which Gemma Services brings hope and healing to children and families.

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David Duea

Lutheran Community Services Northwest

President & CEO

David Duea is the President & CEO of Lutheran Community Services Northwest. LCSNW provides services to people in Oregon, Washington and Idaho with support to meet life’s most difficult challenges and thrive in communities that are healthy, just and hopeful. David led significant growth for the organization over the past seven years, including bringing Compass Housing under the Lutheran Community Services umbrella, expanding their services to include emergency services and affordable housing.

He holds a B.A. from Pacific Lutheran University in social work and an M.B.A., with a focus on total quality management, from City University. David and his wife Jane live in Tacoma, Washington. They have two adult children that live in Seattle and San Diego.

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Jane Isaacs Lowe

Jane Isaacs Lowe has had an extensive career in philanthropy, academics and social work. Prior to her retirement, Jane served on the program staff of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She was formerly a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Work where she focused on health care practice and non-profit management. She began her career as a social worker at Mt. Sinai Medical Center (New York City).

Jane has served on the boards of several youth-serving community organizations and earned her doctorate in social work from Rutgers University, a master’s in social work from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from Cedar Crest College.

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Rev. Barbara Lund

Evangelical Lutheran Church Service and Justice Home Area

Senior Director for Operations and Innovation

The Rev. Barbara Lund serves as Senior Director for Operations and Innovation for the Evangelical Lutheran Church Service and Justice Home Area, which leads the ELCA’s engagement in service, promotes efforts to call and act for justice and supports the freedom of Christians to love and serve their neighbor globally and locally. Under her direction, the ELCA’s global and domestic ministries deepen and extend the ELCA’s faith in action.

Pastor Lund has served the ELCA Churchwide Organization as the Asia Pacific Desk Director, Global Education Events Director, and as a pastor in Tokyo, Japan. Pastor Lund holds a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

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Rev. Michael Meyer

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Managing Director, Congregations and Districts

The Rev. Michael Meyer serves the LCMS Office of National Mission (ONM) as managing director, Congregations and Districts. In this role, he designs, develops and implements ONM strategic and operational plans and ensures their faithful execution by the various programmatic departments that serve districts, congregations, schools and Recognized Service Organizations (RSOs) throughout the Synod. This includes the supervision of the RSO program, School Ministry, Youth Ministry, Campus Ministry and Disaster Response Training. In each of these programs, Meyer facilitates collaboration with district leadership to increase local capacities throughout the Synod.

A graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Meyer also holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Meyer and his wife, Heather, a doctor of physical therapy, reside in Chesterfield, Mo., with their three children.

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Dr. Antonio Oftelie

LISTEN to Dr. Antonio Oftelie’s story on why he was called to join Lutheran Services in America.

Leadership for a Networked World

Executive Director

Dr. Antonio Oftelie conducts research, teaches and advises on how leaders create exceptional environments for organizational innovation and adaptation. Based in the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard University, Antonio has developed and taught in more than 60 Harvard executive education programs.

Antonio advises senior government and business executives on organizational transformation. In this capacity, he has directly advised three governors, public and private organizations and two White House administrations. Antonio is the current U.S. Federal Monitor for the consent decree overseeing the Seattle Police Department.

Antonio holds a B.S. in Management and Ethics from Crown College, an M.P.A. with a Business and Government Policy concentration from Harvard University and a doctorate in Law and Policy from Northeastern University.

LISTEN to Dr. Antonio Oftelie’s story on why he was called to join Lutheran Services in America.

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Paula H. Phillippe

Paula Phillippe is a board director and progressive executive recognized as an enterprise thought leader, building and growing new business segments, with expertise in human resources, social responsibility, communications, and external relations. She serves as a change agent by building strategies that engage leaders and teams to align and successfully deliver to organizational goals.

Paula has a long-standing commitment to diversity, with demonstrated leadership in multiple roles, integrating internal DEI work alongside market and community equity efforts.

Paula has focused on executive leadership as a key driver of strategy and performance. Paula is a strong partner with CEOs and boards to ensure succession, culture, and rewards are connected to outcomes.

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Elizabeth Sullivan

Elizabeth Sullivan recently retired from a distinguished career in philanthropy, where she served in program leadership roles with Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, the Kresge Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan. Prior to her work with foundations, Sullivan’s work centered on aging services. Sullivan has served on the boards of national and community-based nonprofit organizations and has been active in professional associations throughout her career. She holds an MPA from Michigan State University.

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Rev. Jeffrey Thiemann

LISTEN to Rev. Jeffrey Thiemann’s story on why he was called to join Lutheran Services in America.

Portico Benefit Services

President & CEO

The Rev. Jeff Thiemann is Board Chair for the Church Benefits Association and is on the Steering Committee of the Church Alliance. He was executive pastor at Saint Matthew Lutheran Church in Walnut Creek, California.

Prior to answering a call to ordained ministry, Jeff worked in a variety of business settings including as President and CEO of Portico Benefit Services, a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that provides innovative health and retirement programs to those who serve, as President and CEO of a Silicon Valley startup and nearly 20 years at Hewlett-Packard. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master of Divinity from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and graduated from Harvard Business School’s The General Manager Program.

LISTEN to Rev. Jeffrey Thiemann’s story on why he was called to join Lutheran Services in America.

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David Trost

St. John's United

President & CEO

As president and CEO of St. John’s United, David Trost leads a health and human services organization of more than 700 associates who support older adults, children and families. He has served in various executive roles in his 29 years at St. John’s United, including as the executive director of Mission Ridge, the largest continuing care retirement community in Montana.

Trost also served in a leadership role during the formative years of the Eden Alternative, a culture change movement that improves the well-being of older adults and their care partners. He maintains strong governance experience, serving as the chair of the Big Sky Economic Development Corporation. Trost brings expertise in the areas of adoption, family stabilization and mental health. Moreover, he is responsible for expanding the St. John’s United Family Services program to embrace living opportunities within nurturing environments.

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President & CEO

Alesia Frerichs is the President & CEO of Lutheran Services in America. Alesia previously served as the chief strategist for the network’s collaboration and innovation efforts. During her tenure, Alesia launched several groundbreaking initiatives, including the Results Innovation Lab, Rural Aging Action Network, Reimagining Diversity Collaborative and other programs that connect national partners with social sector leaders and empower older adults, children, families and others experiencing need.

Prior to joining Lutheran Services in America, Alesia was an entrepreneur who launched and led an independent consulting practice for 10 years, providing strategic management support to nonprofit executives. She also held senior leadership positions at MCI WorldCom and Sapere Consulting. She currently serves on the board of Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing and the Lutheran Financial Managers Association and is a member of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, DC.

Alesia earned an M.S. in statistics from The George Washington University and a B.S. in economics from St. Olaf College.

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Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy

Sarah Dobson serves as Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Lutheran Services in America. In this role, she leads the pursuit of sound public policies that improve the health and well-being of people in America and strengthen the nonprofit sector. Sarah represents the Lutheran Services in America network before Congress, the Administration, regulatory agencies, national organizations and coalitions.

Sarah began her career working on legislative policy for two different members of the House of Representatives, making policy and funding recommendations on issues from healthcare and social security to education and the arts. After moving to the private sector and working for two small lobbying firms, Sarah most recently served as the Senior Government Relations Representative at Independent Sector.

Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from the University of Toledo.

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Christopher Findlay

Senior Manager of Marketing & Communications

Christopher Findlay serves as Senior Manager of Marketing & Communications at Lutheran Services in America. Chris develops and implements integrated marketing communications strategies and campaigns that center on digital and print marketing, branding, advertising, social media, website management and media relations.

Chris previously managed communications and marketing efforts for seven client associations at the management services company Verto Solutions and the Renewable Fuels Association, the leading trade association for the U.S. ethanol industry. Prior to moving to the nation’s capital, he worked on independent film productions in Los Angeles.

Chris holds a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in film and television from Boston University.

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Chief Mission Advancement Officer

Deborah Hoesly is the Chief Mission Advancement Officer at Lutheran Services in America. Deborah joined Lutheran Services in America in October 2014 as Vice President of Development. Deborah is responsible for individual, corporate and foundation giving, as well as donor relations and development strategy.

Prior to joining the organization, Deborah served as Director of Development at George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts in Fairfax, Virginia, where she was responsible for securing and monitoring compliance of $2 million in annual support for the college’s seven academic disciplines as well for the “Great Performances at Mason,” the university’s premiere presenting series of national performances, and ARTS by George!, the College’s signature annual benefit event.

Deborah earned an M.A. in arts management from George Mason University and B.A. degrees in political science and Spanish from the University of South Carolina.

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Senior Director of Children, Youth and Family Initiatives

Renada Johnson serves as the Senior Director of Children, Youth and Family Initiatives at Lutheran Services in America. In this role, Renada supports the Results Innovation Lab in empowering families and transforming policy and practice in the child welfare system.

Renada has more than 20 years of experience in child welfare, nonprofit, social justice and community engagement. She previously served as the Director of Youth and Birth Family Engagement at the National Center for Children and Families in Washington, DC where she led evidence-based and evidence-informed practices and programs concerning issues of trauma, child abuse, substance abuse and poverty. Renada also has trained and mentored over 400 youth and young adults to create a pipeline of community leaders and mental health professionals with expertise on communication, mental health, civic engagement and racial equity.

Renada has an M.A. in Counseling Psychology and a B.S. in Psychology, both from Bowie State University.

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Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Lutheran Services in America-Disability Network

Bill Kallestad serves as the Disability Network Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Lutheran Services in America.

Bill has a long history as an effective advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through his work at Lutheran Services in Iowa and the Iowa Developmental Disability Council, Bill led outreach and shaped policy to improve the lives of those he serves. He has advocated at the state and federal levels on issues including changes to special health care respite rates, updated voting laws, addressing the staffing workforce shortage, addressing Iowa’s growing waiting list, and making Iowa more accessible to all. Bill’s career includes more than 25 years working in the nonprofit sector.

Bill holds a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University and a bachelor’s degree in human services from Grand View University.

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Vice President of Strategy & Innovation

Kent Mitchell is Vice President of Strategy & Innovation at Lutheran Services in America. Kent leads the development and implementation of high-impact partnerships and collaborations that empower nonprofit leaders, build organizational capacity and incubate learning and innovation.

Kent has more than 20 years of experience expanding evidence-based education and health and family strategies on a national scale. Kent directed state government affairs for the National Head Start Association where he led the Early Head Start Rising initiative. Prior to that, he designed research and policy initiatives at the Pew Charitable Trusts. During his tenure with the Corporation for National and Community Service, Kent co-led the launch and first year of the Obama Administration’s Social Innovation Fund.

Kent earned a master’s degree in public policy and nonprofit management from the Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor’s degree in politics from Earlham College.

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Susan Newton, Ed.D.

Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives

Susan Newton serves as Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, leading cross-cutting programs focused on race, equity and inclusion, operational efficiencies and senior services.

Prior to joining the organization, Susan served as Senior Vice President at the National Park Foundation, where she developed programs to protect the natural, cultural and historic resources of the national parks and connect all people in America to the parks. She worked closely with the National Park Service and partners, awarding more than $250+ million to parks and partner organizations. Prior to NPF, she worked for 10 years in telecommunications, during which time she oversaw $1.2 billion in operational savings from the merger of Sprint and Nextel.

Susan holds a doctorate at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, with research on increasing diversity in the national parks, an M.A. in public policy from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in public administration from Miami of Ohio.

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Sue Pechilio Polis

Vice President of Public Relations and Government Affairs

Sue Pechilio Polis is Vice President of Public Relations and Government Affairs at Lutheran Services in America. Prior to joining Lutheran Services in America, Sue was the Director of Health and Well-being for the National League of Cities (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education, & Families. Sue founded and developed Cities of Opportunity, a multi-year effort to engage mayors and city leaders in addressing the root causes of poor health (social determinants of health).

With expertise in health policy, Sue’s work spans the connection to housing, economic opportunity, mental health, substance use disorders, obesity, trauma, systems alignment, and data for well-being. Prior to NLC, Sue led the development and management of the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) external relations and strategic partnership efforts in support of the organization’s public policy goals. Sue’s background includes work with AARP on health and financial security-related issues with an emphasis on advancing policy to address the needs of vulnerable 50+ populations. She was also the founding National Director of Advocacy for the American Heart Association.

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Director of Leadership Development and Growth

Kimberly Roque serves as the Director of Leadership Development and Growth at Lutheran Services in America. In this role, Kim provides programmatic support for the CEO Summit and the Strength and Service webinar series, as well as corporate partner and member engagement.

Kim brings decades of programmatic nonprofit leadership back to Lutheran Services in America, where she worked for several years as Director of Member Engagement. She joined Lutheran Services in America from the Foundation for Women & Girls with Blood Disorders and a nonprofit consultancy. Prior, she also served as Director at the Council on Foundations, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and First Book.

Kim has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Davidson College and a Master of Public Administration degree from George Mason University. Kim is an active volunteer with community organizations serving older adults and children.

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Senior Director of Business Operations

Bola Sodeinde joined Lutheran Services in America in November 2013 as the Business Operations Manager and provides financial, administrative and operational support to staff members. Part of his role also includes overseeing financial management of Managed Network Funds for all Lutheran Services in America networks. He serves as the point of contact for finance/IT-related issues and is responsible for overseeing daily office management functions.

Before joining the organization, Bola was an accountant at Park Associates, a consulting company, and Dreammaker International, a lifestyle company. Bola has an M.S. in accounting from Western Governors University and a B.S. in accounting from Southeastern University.

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Naomi Sonne

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Social Ministry Organization Engagement Manager

Naomi Sonne started in October 2021 as the Social Ministry Organization Engagement Manager for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), overseeing the affiliation process, endowment grants and support for social ministry organizations. She previously worked as Manager of Homeless Services for Pathways to Housing PA, where she oversaw partnership building and outreach for all new program members.

Naomi lives in Philadelphia and has a background in social services, mental health, environmental sustainability, global development, housing equity, theological studies and gender justice. She has an M.A. in International Development from Eastern University.

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Dorothy Krans

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Director of Recognized Service Organizations

Deaconess Dorothy Krans serves as the director of Recognized Service Organizations (RSO) for The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), overseeing the processing of RSO applications, relationships with the organizations and managing networks and resources.  She previously served as a teacher, worked in campus ministry and as a deaconess in LCMS aging facilities.  She has served internationally in volunteer positions working with LCMS missionaries and volunteering with the British Aid Society in Panama, providing home visits to the elderly.

Dorothy has a bachelor’s degree in theology and deaconess certification from Valparaiso University. She also holds a master’s degree in family life education with a concentration in aging ministry, from Concordia University, Nebraska, Seward, Neb.

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Chief Financial Officer

JoAnn Theys is the Chief Financial Officer at Lutheran Services in America. JoAnn is a financial and administrative executive with more than 30 years of expertise in international non-profit management. JoAnn served as the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO at Lutheran World Relief. She is a strategic business partner to executive leadership and board members and is an experienced mergers and acquisitions leader. JoAnn is experienced in calculating complex indirect cost rate agreements and negotiating the rates with USAID. She has managed teams in finance and accounting, treasury, information technology, grants and contracts, legal, procurement, human resources, internal/external audit, cost proposals, facilities management, risk management, and corporate insurance. She is a current board member and the treasurer of the International Law Institute – South African Centre for Excellence. JoAnn earned her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

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Elizabeth Vetter

Senior Program Associate

Elizabeth Vetter serves as a Senior Program Associate at Lutheran Services in America. In this role, Elizabeth supports the member engagement team through various activities, including program support for member initiatives, newsletter curation and distribution, and impact reporting and data management.

Previously, Elizabeth was a Supply Chain Associate Analyst at PepsiCo Beverages North America, where she managed weekly demand forecasts and developed data-driven insights. Elizabeth also served as the Digital Media and Marketing Intern for the Center of Social Value Creation at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Elizabeth has worked closely with several nonprofits, serving as a digital marketing consultant, social media marketing intern and event planner.

Elizabeth earned a B.S. in marketing and supply chain management from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Senior Director of Aging Initiatives

Ashley Washington serves as the Senior Director of Aging Initiatives at Lutheran Services in America. In this role, Ashley supports the work of members who provide home- and community-based programs to support the healthy, independent aging of older adults in America

Ashley previously served as the Director of Healthcare Forums at The Health Management Academy where she managed peer-learning programs for C-suite healthcare executives. Prior, she was a Health Systems Manager for the American Cancer Society where she co-led a national workgroup working with VA Medical Centers on veterans’ cancer care and partnered with health systems to identify interventions for their patient populations. Ashley also served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant with the U.S. State Department in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Ashley has a Master of Public Health from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and a B.A. from Wake Forest University.

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Cristina Zegarra-Valente

Senior Program Assistant to the President & CEO

Cristina Zegarra-Valente is the Senior Program Assistant to the President and CEO of Lutheran Services in America. In this role, she provides logistical support and office coordination to the organization, as well as delivers comprehensive support and assistance to the President & CEO.

Before joining the organization, Cristina was the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO, Administrative and HR Coordinator at Global Foundation for Democracy and Development. She also served as the Filmmakers and Special Guests Liaison and Logistics Coordinator for the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival.

Cristina earned a B.S. in Management from Purdue University and a Master of Human Resources from the University of Phoenix.