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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.