Lutheran Services in America Staff

President and CEO


Charlotte Haberaecker

President and CEO

Charlotte Haberaecker is the President and CEO of Lutheran Services in America, a network of more than 300 Lutheran health and human services organizations across the country that serve 1 in 50 Americans each year. Lutheran Services in America is ranked #13 on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of “America’s Favorite Charities,” and #16 on the Forbes list of 100 largest non-profit organizations in the United States. The Lutheran Services in America network has annual revenue over $22 billion. Lutheran Services in America members serve a broad range of people from children and youth to veterans and people with disabilities and the elderly.

Charlotte was the recipient of the 2018 Rebrand 100 Global Award for one of the top 100 brand transformations in the world, the 2017 Humanitarian award from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the 2015 NonProfit Times Magazine’s “Power & Influence Top 50” listing that recognizes 50 of the nonprofit sector's leaders for innovation, influence on the sector and for developing organizational models that can be replicated. Prior to joining Lutheran Services in America in 2012, Charlotte was the #2 Executive at Global Impact, a $110 million non-profit organization that provides funding for critical humanitarian needs at home and around the world where she led two of the world's largest fundraising campaigns raising over $80 million a year. Previously, she held senior leadership positions at Price Waterhouse where she helped strengthen organizations providing children and family services and health care and Fannie Mae where she led an industry transformation initiative.

Staff Members


Sarah Dobson

Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy

Sarah Dobson serves as Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy. In this role, she leads the pursuit of sound public policies that support vulnerable Americans and represents the Lutheran Services in America 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 health care 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, a membership coalition for nonprofits, foundations, and corporate philanthropies committed to advancing the common good by advocating public policies that support a dynamic nonprofit sector and providing resources so that nonprofits can improve their organizations and better serve their communities.



Josh Dubensky

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

Josh Dubensky serves as Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for Lutheran Services in America’s Disability Network. In this role, he works with a group of dedicated organizations from across the country committed to advancing disability policy, and represents the Disability Network in Washington, D.C.

Prior to joining Lutheran Services in America, Josh spent six years working in a variety of roles in the U.S. Senate for one of the Chamber’s disability policy leaders and then directly for the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. He covered a broad range of disability and aging issues that touched on everything from financial security, Medicaid, and home and community-based services to voting access, LGBT rights, and guardianship reform. His work focused on guaranteeing individuals the right to access the services and supports they need in order to live in the community of their choice.



Christopher Findlay

Senior Marketing Manager

Christopher Findlay guides the development and implementation of marketing efforts for Lutheran Services in America. As Senior Marketing Manager, Chris leads the organization’s promotions by producing content for email marketing, social media, and other digital properties. He supports public relations initiatives and assists the events team by managing logistics. Chris coordinates with the advocacy, development, and member services teams for integrated marketing communications campaigns.

Chris has worked with non-profit organizations in Washington for several years. Before joining Lutheran Services in America, he managed communications and marketing efforts for seven client associations in the agricultural science field at a management services company. Chris previously worked for the Renewable Fuels Association, a prominent trade association representing biofuel producers in the United States, where he managed strategic communications and marketing activities. 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.


Alesia Frerichs

Vice President, Member Engagement

Alesia joined Lutheran Services in America in September 2014 to lead the member engagement function as VP, Member Engagement. Membership engagement supports Lutheran Services in America members by building strategic, fruitful connections, inside and outside the network. The member engagement team strives to identify critical funding sources and key partnerships for Lutheran Services in America members, advance leadership development, and foster the unique bond of trust members have developed through fellowship within a strong community of faith and a shared call to serve.

She brings more than 20 years of strategic management consulting experience and corporate leadership, most recently, as a Senior Consultant with Sapere Consulting, Inc., where she worked with Lutheran Services in America Strategic Planning Task Force and staff to develop the multi-year strategic plan. A graduate of St. Olaf College with a BS in Economics, and an MS in Statistics from George Washington University, Alesia has been actively engaged and served many roles in several local nonprofit organizations including service as board chair and interim executive director for Southeast Ministry, a Lutheran social ministry organization and member of Lutheran Services in America.



Elizabeth Gillum

Program Associate

Elizabeth Gillum serves as a Program Associate at Lutheran Services in America. In this role, Elizabeth supports the member engagement team through various activities, including member and corporate partner outreach, newsletter curation and distribution, as well as programming for our Strength and Service Series.

Prior to joining Lutheran Services in America, Elizabeth was a Supply Chain Associate Analyst at PepsiCo Beverages North America, where she managed weekly demand forecasts and developed data-driven insights. Earlier in her career, Elizabeth served as the Digital Media and Marketing Intern for the Center of Social Value Creation at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, a hub that educates and empowers students to create a better world through business. Elizabeth has also had the opportunity to work closely with several nonprofits, serving as a digital marketing consultant, social media marketing intern, and event planner. She 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.



Deborah Hoesly

Vice President of Development

Deborah joined Lutheran Services in America in October 2014 as Vice President of Development. In this role, Deborah is responsible for individual, corporate and foundation giving, as well as donor relations and development strategy. Prior to joining Lutheran Services in America, 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 $2M 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 a M.A. in Arts Management from George Mason University and B.A. degrees in Political Science and Spanish from the University of South Carolina. Deborah is an active member of the community in Northern Virginia. Currently, Deborah serves on the Development Committee for the "Fall for Book" festival.


Susan Newton

Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives

Susan has more than 29 years experience delivering effective program services in both non-profit and for-profit sectors. In August 2019, Susan received her doctorate at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, with research focusing on increasing under-represented populations’ visitation to the national parks. Prior, she worked at the National Park Foundation for more than a decade, responsible for leading NPF to achieve its strategic impact, providing thought leadership on opportunities to protect the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the national parks, connect all Americans to the parks, and build the next generation of stewards of our public lands. She worked closely with the National Park Service to identify the highest priorities for philanthropic support and managed the Foundations grants and programs department, awarding more than $250+ million to parks and partner organizations. At NPF, she also served as Vice President of Operations, leading the 2010 Strategic Planning initiative, and overseeing several system implementations.

Susan holds a BA in Public Administration from Miami of Ohio and a MA in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. Prior to NPF, she worked for 10 years in telecommunications, during which time she oversaw $1.2B in operational savings from the merger of Sprint and Nextel. Additional previous experience includes 5 years as an environmental policy consultant, as well as employment with the National League of Cities, the Government Finance Officers Association, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Susan lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband, Christopher Rau, and two children.


Bola Sodeinde

Director, Business Operations

Bola joined Lutheran Services in America in November 2013 as the Business Operations Manager at LSA 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 he is responsible for overseeing daily office management functions. Before joining Lutheran Services in America, Bola was an Accountant at Park Associates, a consulting company, and Dreammaker International, a lifestyle company. Bola has a Bachelor's in Accounting from Southeastern University. His academic background also include disciplines in Physics and French Language, while his professional experience revolves around Accounting, Human Resources, Database/IT and Relationship Management.


Ethan Terrill

Philanthropy Associate

Ethan is a Philanthropy Associate at Lutheran Services in America where he supports a wide range of fundraising activities, including: managing gifts processing, serving as a point of contact for donors, and conducting prospect research. He joins us from Northern Virginia Community College where he’s been an Adjunct Instructor. Prior to joining Lutheran Services in America, Ethan previously served as a Research Assistant for the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity and as a Development and Alumni Relations Coordinator for the School of Engineering and Applied Science at The George Washington University. Ethan graduated with a BA in Philosophy and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and went on to earn an MA in Public Policy from The George Washington University.


Ashley Washington

Director, Aging Initiatives

Ashley Washington serves as the Director of Aging Initiatives at Lutheran Services in America. In this role, Ashley supports the work of LSA members who provide home and community-based programs to older adults to support the healthy, independent aging of America’s seniors- particularly people struggling with limited resources, isolated or rural settings, and challenging social determinants. Ashley’s responsibilities include leadership of our Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative and Connect-Home Collaborative.

Prior to joining Lutheran Services in America, Ashley served as the Director of Healthcare Forums at The Health Management Academy where she managed peer-learning programs for C-suite health care executives. Previously, 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 BA from Wake Forest University.


Paula R. Young

Director, Strategy and Implementation for Child, Youth, and Family Initiatives

Paula R. Young is the Director of Strategy and Implementation for Child, Youth, and Family Initiatives. She has 15 years of experience in systems change, program development, and community engagement. In her current role, she leads results-based leadership initiatives to support members in improving outcomes for children and families involved in the child welfare system.

Previously, Paula led public-private partnership development and community engagement at KABOOM! as an Associate Director. Prior to KABOOM!, Paula worked at the Annie E. Casey Foundation and was responsible for youth advocacy and engagement, technical assistance, and the fellowship program for the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative and served as a strategic consultant with the Child Welfare Strategy Group where she supported assessments and strategy development for state child welfare agencies. Earlier in her career, Paula worked at the Michigan Department of Human Services managing older youth policy, data systems, grants and statewide program management.

Paula also works as an independent consultant as a racial equity facilitator. She is originally from the South Side of Chicago and has a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh.


Cristina Zegarra-Valente

Program Assistant to the President & CEO

Cristina is the Program Assistant to the President and CEO of Lutheran Services in America. In this role, she is responsible for providing logistical support and office coordination to the organization. Cristina is also responsible for delivering comprehensive support and assistance to the CEO & President. Before joining Lutheran Services in America, 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. She earned a B.S. in Management from Purdue University and a Master of Human Resources from the University of Phoenix.



Jayleen Velez

Jayleen is the intern for this fall semester at Lutheran Services in America. In this role, she is responsible for assisting on a variety of projects with the member engagement team. Jayleen is responsible for helping rebrand the Lutheran Services in America website and assisting in revamping the newsletters. Jayleen is a senior at Gettysburg college getting her bachelor's degree in Anthropology. She plans on going to medical school after she graduates to become a pediatric oncology nurse.


Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rebecca Duerst

Senior Director of Building Resilient Communities
Service and Justice Unit
8765 W. Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631


The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Dorothy Krans

Director of Recognized Service Organizations
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295
Phone: (800) 248-1930 ext. 1636