CWS Board of Directors

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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 of the CWS Board.

Rev. Patricia De Jong is Senior Minister of First Congregational, Berkeley, California. She served as Minister of Education for Christian Discipleship at The Riverside Church in New York City, and as Senior Minister of the Urbandale United Church of Christ in Des Moines, Iowa. She is ordained by the United Church of Christ, and has served on several national church and local community boards. Rev. de Jong is the Board’s First Vice Chair, as Chair of the Planning Committee.

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 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 Executive Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Culbertson is the creator of several publications on peace-building. He has given numerous presentations related to business-NGO collaboration in zones of conflict, peace studies, peace-building and board strategic planning. Culbertson is an attorney, and a member of an Episcopal Church.

Silvana Faillace is an international public health and development leader with over ten years of experience in fundraising, design, management, implementation and evaluation of development programs in maternal, child and newborn health, nutrition and micronutrients, education and eye health programs. She obtained her Masters in International Relations from the London School of Economics and another Master’s in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. As a native Colombian, Silvana has dedicated her career to helping the underserved. This is reflected in her current position at Alive & Thrive FHI360, as well as previous positions held as the Country Director in Indonesia for Helen Keller International and as Executive Director at the Colombian Red Cross, working with the internally displaced in conflict areas.

CAROLINE S. GESAMI is Director of UK Trade, Kenya, & Energy Lead, East Africa with the British High Commission – Department for International Trade. 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.

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.

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

Lenann McGookey Gardner is a Harvard MBA and international expert on state-of-the-art sales research. She is a former Par Club president (#1 sales representative worldwide) at Xerox Corporation, holds the American Marketing Association’s “Professional Services Marketer of the Year” award for her state, and is profiled in Who’s Who in America. She is the President of Lenann McGookey Gardner Management Consulting Inc.

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, from Kerala, India, is the ruling Metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church. His Eminence currently serves as a Central 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 broad experience in grassroots, result-oriented development and humanitarian response work in various parts of the world. He has served in numerous settings and positions for Africare. His programmatic expertise covers water, sanitation, child survival, refugees, food security and HIV/AIDS prevention. Persell was a Peace Corps volunteer.

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

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

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.