CWS Board of Directors
REV. PATRICIA DE JONG an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, has served as Senior Minister at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley and the Urbandale United Church of Christ in Des Moines, Iowa. She also served as the Minister of Education for Christian Discipleship at The Riverside Church in New York City. Patricia’s roots in social justice began as a campus minister, serving on university campuses in Michigan, Oregon and California. She currently teaches at the Omega Institute, Esalen Institute and the Theater School in Sonoma, California. Rev. de Jong is Chair of the Board of Directors.
DANIEL HAZMAN has extensive experience in strategy, supply chain, sustainability and business start-ups in many parts of the world. While working for Walmart he made key contributions to their sustainability strategy. Presently, he is the Asia Regional Director for IDH Sustainable Trade based in Indonesia. He has received several honors and awards for both his professional as well as his volunteer work. He is First Vice Chair, as Chair of the Planning Committee.
KATY KECK'S career is in the culinary field, with an emphasis on hunger and the effect of poverty on food security. Her strong skill sets lie in the areas of board governance, fundraising and partnership development. She spent the last nine years intimately involved in the launch of the organization Infinite Family, an international non-profit which uses video technology to connect adult mentors with South African teens affected by HIV/AIDS. She received her BA in Liberal Arts at DePauw University and is the Career Services Chair on the Alumni Board there. Katy is also a Team Member at AMPATH/Indiana University and obtained her MBA in Finance & Marketing from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. She is a two-time Daytime Emmy Awards honoree and ordained Deacon at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. She is Second Vice Chair, as Chair of the Nominations and Board Development Committee.
LAURA ROBERTS is co-founder and chief executive officer of Pantheon Enterprises, which was honored with Ethisphere’s 2012 World’s Most Ethical Companies Award. She also serves on the Conscious Capitalism National Board of Directors, promoting higher purpose in business, and is a member of the American Sustainable Business Council and the Young President’s Organization (YPO). Roberts is Secretary of the CWS Board.
ROLAND FERNANDES is the General Treasurer of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. He is also the Treasurer of the United Methodist Committee on Relief and the United Methodist Development Fund. Prior to working for Global Ministries, he was the chief auditor of the Methodist Church in India for eight years. Fernandes is Treasurer of the CWS Board and Chair of the Administration and Finance Committee.
PAUL CHAN is an M.D. (Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Cardiology) living in Kansas City. He has raised significant funds for CWS through fundraising walks in the Grand Canyon. He has served on the board of a Guatemalan development organization, and is the founder and has been director of Community Impact, an umbrella organization at Johns Hopkins Medical School for initiatives in inner city Baltimore. Dr. Chan was named one of "50 Missourians You Should Know 2018" by Ingram's.
HAL CULBERTSON is the associate dean for operations at the University of Notre Dame's Keough School of Global Affairs. Prior to becoming associate dean, Culbertson worked at Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies for 17 years, serving as its executive director from 2007-2014. In addition to his administrative role at the Keough School, Culbertson teaches international NGO management, and has contributed to projects focusing on design and evaluation of peacebuilding initiatives, inter-organizational collaboration, and peacebuilding and the arts. Culbertson is an attorney, and a member of the Episcopal Church.
DR. ELIZABETH FERRIS is a Research Professor at Georgetown University in the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) and a non-resident senior fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. She served for nine years as a Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Brookings Project on Internal Displacement. She has extensive professional background in the areas of refugees and migration specifically, and justice and peace more generally. Dr. Ferris notes that she believes “in ecumenism and in the power of churches to bring about change in our troubled world.” Dr. Ferris spent 20 years working in the field of international humanitarian response, most recently in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Council of Churches. She was an earlier Director of the Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program in New York. Dr. Ferris is a Quaker (Friends General Conference) and has attended a United Church of Christ congregation for the last ten years.
CAROLINE S. GESAMI is Senior Legal Researcher in the Judiciary of Kenya (Court of Appeal) by appointment of the Judicial Service Commission. She graduated from the University of Sussex (U.K.) with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and received her Post-Graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law, and a Masters in Oil & Gas Law (LL.M) from the University of Aberdeen (U.K.). She is fluent in English and Swahili with a working knowledge of French and Spanish. She is a member of the Young Lawyer’s Committee of the Law Society of Kenya and the International Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenyan Chapter. Caroline brings long-term fundraising strategies; strategic networks; and ability to advise on regulatory compliance matters. Her religious background is as a Catholic.
BETH HOULE has nearly 25 years experience building nonprofits dedicated to community development, microfinance, women’s issues, youth development and civic engagement. Prior to serving as Executive Director with the Taproot Foundation, she served for 13 years with Opportunity International. She has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. As a Ford Foundation fellow, Beth lived in India researching the social impact of U.S.-based companies. She is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
REV. JOHN L. MCCULLOUGH is President and CEO of Church World Service. Since joining CWS in 2000, Rev. McCullough has been at the forefront of agency efforts to press for human rights and the empowerment of civil society in developing countries and to expand upon the role of the church as a compassionate and prophetic voice for justice.
LENANN MCGOOKEY GARDNER is an Executive Coach and business-growth expert working in 53 countries around the world. She is a Harvard MBA and former Par Club President (#1 sales representative worldwide) at Xerox Corporation, holds the American Marketing Association’s “Professional Services Marketer of the Year” award and the “Top Performing CEO” award for her state, and is profiled in Marquis’ Who’s Who in the World. She is President of Lenann McGookey Gardner Mangement Consulting, Inc., is a Stephen Minister and Stephen Ministry Leader, and a member of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).
KIMBERLY MITCHEM-RASMUSSEN is the President and Founder of both the Girls in Politics Initiative and the Political Institute for Women. She provides strategic direction for both organizations with an emphasis on program development and global growth. Kimberly brings 20 years of legal, business, political, non-profit and entrepreneurial experience to her positions. Kimberly got her formal start in the political sector at the White House Project, where she was responsible for corporate partnerships, development and campaign training. Kimberly has worked as a political consultant specializing in campaign strategy and fundraising for congressional campaigns in the United States. She is a graduate of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA where she earned her BA and MBA.
REV. VY NGUYEN is Executive Director at Week of Compassion with the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church). He places special emphasis on connecting younger generations to the faith-based humanitarian and development work. Vy formerly served as a CWS staff member in the fundraising office based in Northern California. A former refugee himself, he has volunteered at various refugee organizations in Chicago & Dallas and has served on both his Church’s National & Executive Boards.
HIS EMINENCE, METROPOLITAN ZACHARIAH MAR NICHOLOVOS, is the ruling Metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. His Eminence currently serves as a Central Committee and Executive Committee member of the World Council of Churches, Governing Board member of the National Council of Churches in the United States, and as a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, New York. Most recently His Eminence was appointed by the Malankara Church to serve as the President of the Department of Ecumenical Relations.
PETER PERSELL has extensive experience in integrated rural development and humanitarian and refugee response throughout Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. He began his career as a Peace Corps Volunteer water well constructionist in West Africa and went on to work in front-line design and management of water, agriculture, health, livelihoods and refugee assistance programs for the U.S. Peace Corps and for the nongovernmental organization Africare. He was Acting Africa Regional Director for the Peace Corps and Vice President of Africare.
DR. SHIRLEY CASON REED currently serves as International President of the Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She is a member of the Tullie Quinn Missionary Society of Ward AME Church in Washington, D.C. She has served the Women’s Missionary Society for more than 34 years, as Connectional Recording Secretary, Connectional Chair of Membership & Recruitment, Connectional Chair of Special Missions, and President of local societies.
CARL THONG is an entrepreneur who founded the Sunstone Group, headquartered in Singapore. Carl is currently completing his Doctorate in Strategic Leadership. He has a Master of Arts in Theological Studies. He is often engaged as a strategy consultant by NGOs and government organizations to drive innovation and leadership initiatives. Clients include Credit Suisse, the Singapore Tourism Board and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. He sits on a number of boards, and his hobbies include practicing Tae Kwon Do with his family, reading the Bible and playing musical instruments.
MARSHALL TOPLANSKY helps organizations to use information to make better, faster decisions, bringing insight to management decision-making. Most recently, he led the development of KPMG’s thinking around the value of data and analytics, as managing director of its Center of Excellence. Marshall is a Harvard MBA and spent his early career at Ogilvy & Mather in New York and Washington, D.C. He currently lives in California and speaks Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish, and conversational French.
REV. DR. EARL TRENT, JR. serves as Senior Pastor of the Florida Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., the fourth pastor at this 101-year-old historic church. His ministry rests upon five pillars: Stewardship, Education, Evangelism, Missions and Social Justice. Under his leadership of 19 years, Florida Avenue Church is a vibrant, vital, joyful, and challenging congregation making a difference in the lives of people, the community and the world. Dr. Trent is Chair-Emeritus of the CWS Board.