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 #25 on the Philanthropy 400 and provides over $21 billion in services annually. Lutheran Services in America members serve a broad range of people from children and youth to veterans and people with disabilities and the elderly.

In 2015, Charlotte was named to The 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

 Jennifer Beltz

Jennifer Beltz

Vice President, External Affairs

Jen Beltz is Lutheran Services in America’s VP of External Affairs. Jen has 24 years of experience in public affairs, media relations and legislative roles in political, corporate and advocacy settings. In her current role, she works with Lutheran Services in America’s communications and advocacy teams to build awareness of and support for the organization’s priority issues and projects. In previous years, Jen led public affairs and media relations efforts for Boston-based global health firm Best Doctors, Inc., and served on legislative and speechwriting teams at AARP headquarters in D.C. She also led communications for two members of Congress, managed a 2014 gubernatorial race in Massachusetts, and founded a New England PR firm.

In addition to delivering coverage in national outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Washington Post, TIME and USA Today, Jen has earned placements on a variety of television and radio outlets including the CBS Evening News, NBC’s TODAY show, CNN, NPR, and several nationally syndicated radio outlets. Her speeches and statements have been featured in Vital Speeches of the Day, Executive Speeches and The Congressional Record. Jen earned her Master's degree in Communication from The Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Belmont University.



Sarah Dobson

Director of Public Policy and Advocacy

Sarah Dobson serves as 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.



Christopher Findlay

Senior Marketing Manager

Chris 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.



Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Senior Manager, Program Development and Outreach

Caitlyn Gudmundsen serves as Senior Manager Program Development and Outreach at Lutheran Services in America. She is responsible for leading the work of the Mission Leaders group, designing and planning the program for the annual CEO Summit, and orienting new members to the network. In addition, she works alongside Sheila Weber in Children Youth and Family engagement to develop and implement programming and build relationships with corporate partners. Caitlyn is also responsible for database management and other projects in member engagement.

Before joining Lutheran Services in America, Caitlyn completed a Master of Divinity and a Master of Public Health, both from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She brings a strong research background, having done both qualitative and quantitative research collection and analysis on various topics, including antimicrobial stewardship, health equity for Indigenous populations, and the role of faith in the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Kenya. Caitlyn is also an ordained Baptist minister, and spent three years serving in Global Missions at the headquarters for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Atlanta. She previously worked for America’s Essential Hospitals and the Optical Society, both in Washington, DC, and has a BA in Public Policy from the College of William and Mary.



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. 


Leigh Legare

Director of Business Development

Leigh serves as Director of Business Development for Lutheran Services in America. Her responsibilities include leading business and product development activities focused on addressing the health needs of the diverse populations members serve. In addition, she works with member organizations, healthcare partners, and other stakeholders to enhance Lutheran Services in America’s impact throughout their communities. Leigh most recently served as Director of Business Development for Airrosti Rehab Centers, a value-based provider group, where she developed partnerships with payers, Accountable Care Organizations, specialist groups, and Independent Physician Associations. She also led and trained sales teams, managed high-priority customer accounts, and worked with community partners to launch additional company clinics to expand Airrosti’s footprint throughout the country.

Leigh comes with 12+ years of healthcare experience which began when she provided program oversight for those suffering from spinal cord and/or other neurological disorders. Her desire to help clients reach the most functional outcomes led her to Airrosti where she started her career there as a rehabilitation specialist. Having hands-on clinical experience paired with her business development background within the industry ignited a passion for healthcare, of which led Leigh to pursue her Master of Healthcare Administration degree where she graduated with honors from The George Washington University. She also holds her BA from Grove City College. 


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.


Doug Walter

Director of Policy and Advocacy, Disability Network

Doug Walter advocates for the Lutheran Services in America Disability Network before Congress, the Administration, regulatory agencies and national organizations and coalitions.  In this role he works with the network to promote policies that improve the lives of persons living with disabilities.

Formerly a senior advocate for the American Psychological Association, Doug was a principal stakeholder negotiator that led to passage of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Affordable Care Act.  He worked with Congress and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to formulate health records’ privacy protections in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and he helped promote the professional interests of psychologists in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health programs.  Doug holds a Juris Doctorate from Penn State Dickinson Law and Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Music from the College of William and Mary.


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.


Sheila Weber

Director, Strategic Initiatives 

Sheila joined Lutheran Services in America in July 2018 as Director of Strategic Initiatives in Member Engagement. Her responsibilities include leading the Children Youth and Family Community of Practice and the newly formed Results Innovation Lab. Sheila most recently served as Vice President of Children and Youth Services at Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, responsible for leadership, personnel management, contract and regulatory compliance, financial management and operations of multiple statewide services. While at LSS, her program portfolio included pregnancy counseling, adoption services, treatment foster care, kinship services, psychiatric residential treatment, group care, shelter care, alternatives to detention and independent living services. 

Sheila began working in the human services field 25 years ago at a residential program for adults with developmental disabilities. She has also served clients with serious mental health and emotional needs ranging from childhood through adulthood in residential and outpatient treatment settings. For over 17 years, Sheila provided clinical and administrative oversight of treatment programs for children and youth.

Sheila holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from South Dakota State, a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Nebraska in Omaha, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Trident University.


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.



Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Domestic Mission Unit
8765 W. Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631


Joe Young

Director for Poverty and Justice Ministries
(800) 638-3522 Ext. 2683

Joe Young serves as Director for Poverty and Justice Ministries for the ELCA. He has been with the ELCA for the past 15 years, serving as Program Director for Community Development Services through the end of 2017. Joe completed his undergraduate work at Wartburg College, in Waverly, Iowa, with a major in Social Work. He went on to earn his Master’s Degree from the University of Iowa. He and his wife Debra, have five daughters, one son, and four grandchildren. Hobbies: he loves hiking with his wife, and fishing with grandkids.

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295

Dorothy Krans

Director of Recognized Service Organizations
Phone: (800) 248-1930 ext. 1636