About Us: Leadership

Leadership 2017-08-28T14:28:17+00:00

Leadership Council

The Leadership Council serves as the governing body for the Initiative. Members support the Initiative in their areas of expertise, and member organizations amplify the messaging within their own networks.

CAROLINE BISHOP
Senior Technical Advisor for Vulnerable Children, Catholic Relief Services

Caroline serves as Senior Technical Advisor for Vulnerable Children for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) where she has worked for 15 years, including eight years of service as a regional technical advisor for health and HIV in West Africa.  Caroline also serves as a co-chair of the Washington, D.C.-based interagency OVC Task Force whose purpose is to bring state of the art technical support to individuals and organizations supporting vulnerable children overseas. Prior to CRS, she supported research in the United States at two major cancer centers and worked with immigrant populations through local county health departments.  She holds a Master’s of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist.

JOHN DERRICK
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Instructor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine/The Children’s Hospital

John is currently serving as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Instructor of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine at the University of Colorado. Prior to that, he served as a Nurse Practitioner at the Marcus Autism Center. He has served as Field Personnel and as the Training Specialist with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) Global Missions; and consulted on projects related to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and coordinates CBF’s Vulnerable Children Care Network, including the involvement of network churches in the pilot of Journeys of Faith. John’s educational background includes a Master of Divinity and an MSN as a pediatric nurse practitioner from Vanderbilt University. He recently completed the Certificate in Tropical Medicine through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This training includes the care of immigrants, refugees, and those living in extreme poverty. John’s focus and passion in nursing are on the global needs of children affected by trauma, poverty, war, human trafficking, and institutionalization. John and his wife are the parents of two sons – Jonah and Toby.

KRISTI GLEASON
Director of Global Programs, Bethany Christian Services

Kristi Gleason serves as Director of Global Programs at Bethany Christian Services. In this role, she manages Bethany’s portfolio of programs, including family preservation, domestic and intercountry adoption and family-based care. She has worked in the arena of child welfare and child rights for the past 15 years in Albania, China, Tibet, Haiti, and the United States. She has experience in community development, foster care, and working with vulnerable children. As a Fulbright Fellow, she researched domestic violence and its effect on family systems in Eastern Europe. Kristi’s areas of expertise include program development in international settings, project management, and grant writing.

C.H. DYER
CEO/President, Bright Hope

C.H. has been CEO/President of Bright Hope since 1993. After graduating from Talbot Seminary with a Master of Arts Degree in Theological Studies in 1989 and a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing from Northern Illinois, C.H. has led Bright Hope to focus on assisting the extreme poor, including the orphan, widowed, and disenfranchised. He has developed partnerships with over 900 indigenous churches in nine countries; each program includes relief aid (food, clothing, medical, shelter, and education), development programs (micro-lending and skill and wage increasing programs), and evangelism and discipleship programs. C.H. has traveled to over 50 countries and thrives on visiting the people he serves. He belongs to the Christian Leadership Alliance Association, The Chicago Council of Global Affairs and The Master’s Program. He has been a frequent featured guest on radio programs and an invited keynote speaker at numerous seminars, churches and conferences. C.H. loves cooking and is a persevering Cubs fan. C.H.’s wife, Anne and he live in Hoffman Estates, Illinois with their three children. The Dyers adopted their two youngest children from Russia.

MARK LOREY
Vice President, Child Development and Programme Effectiveness, World Vision International

Mark has worked with World Vision for more than a decade. His first role with WV included leading co-creation of WV’s approach to community-led care for orphans and vulnerable children. A subsequent role focused on leading co-creation of WV’s development approach: working with communities and partners toward the sustained well-being of children within families and communities – especially the most vulnerable. Mark has lived and worked in Malawi, South Africa, and Zambia. He currently lives near Washington, DC, with his wife and two daughters.

FLORENCE MARTIN
Director, Better Care Network

Florence is a human rights lawyer and a clinical social worker with 20 years of experience in child protection and children’s rights in both emergency and development contexts. Her work has focused on reforming and strengthening national child protection systems, including the framework for the delivery of social services and social work practice with children and their families. Prior to joining BCN, she worked as child protection adviser to the Ministry of Social Affairs in Indonesia where she supported major reforms of the child welfare and social work systems. Florence also worked as global adviser on child protection for Save the Children UK, adviser in child protection to the East Timorese Ministry of Social Welfare, and legal adviser to the Human Rights Unit of the UN Transitional Administration for East Timor. Florence also represented Amnesty International at the United Nations for five years. Florence holds an MSW from Columbia University and a Master of Public International Law from the London School of Economics.

REBECCA NHEP
CEO & Head of International Programs, ACC International

Rebecca Nhep is Joint CEO & Head of International Programs at ACC International (ACCI), where she runs the ACCI Kinnected program, which focuses on upholding children’s right to a family through deinstitutionalization, family based care and family preservation. Kinnected currently has programs in 10 countries. Rebecca has been working with ACCI for 16 years, 11 years field based in Cambodia working on community and family strengthening and family-based alternative care programs. Rebecca serves on the board of Children in Families, a Cambodian NGO providing family-based alternative care. She holds as master’s degree in International Development, and a post-graduate certificate in Missiology and Anthropology.

JON SINGLETARY
Dean, Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, Baylor University

At Baylor University, Jon’s teaching, research, and practice focuses on Christian responses to global poverty from the perspective of strengthening families through building communities. Before coming to Baylor, Jon served as a Mennonite pastor in Virginia. As a volunteer advocate with Bread for the World, he had the opportunity to participate in a ONE Campaign delegation to the G-8 summit in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2005. He currently serves on the Family and Children committee of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and edits the journal Family and Community Ministries.

ADVISORY GROUP

The Advisory Group offers input, ideas and expert advice to the Leadership Council on key topics and issues as needed.

KELLEY BUNKERS
Child Protection and Welfare Systems Technical Director, 4Children, Catholic Relief Services; and Senior Associate, Maestral International

Kelley McCreery Bunkers is an international child protection and social welfare consultant with over twenty years of experience working and living in East Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Kelley has worked with a wide range of actors including international organizations, private foundations, government ministries, USAID, and UNICEF. Her most recent work has been in Moldova, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, and Rwanda focusing on strengthening child protection systems, identifying and promoting linkages between child protection and programing for children and families affected by HIV and AIDS, and supporting child care reform, including expansion of family-based alternative care. She has an advanced degree in Children’s Rights and is a regular contributor to peer reviewed articles and books covering international child welfare. Kelley is an advisor for the Better Care Network and Global Health Promise. Ms. Bunkers currently resides in Nairobi, Kenya with her family.

MICHAEL DOURIS
President, Orphan Outreach

Michael has managed children’s services domestically and internationally for over 35 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has developed childcare programs including therapeutic foster care, assessment centers, residential treatment, and international programs including adoption, foster care, baby homes, residential care, and transitional living.

KARMEN FRIESEN
Executive Director, CoMission for Children at Risk

Karmen has led CoMission since 2001, networking, resourcing and equipping Christian leaders, organizations, churches and individuals in Russia and Ukraine to minister more effectively to orphans and children at risk. Since 2007, a major focus has been equipping Russian and Ukrainian Christians for adoption and foster care. As a result, Karmen has been involved in developing the Russia Without Orphans Alliance and supporting Ukraine Without Orphans, movements that are engaging the Church in their own countries for family-based care. He is also on the steering team of World Without Orphans, a movement of Christian organizations and leaders working globally to mobilize national movements like the ones in Russia and Ukraine. As part of his work, Karmen has coordinated numerous conferences and led the development of online directories of orphan care resources and events, in both English and Russian. Karmen currently lives in Pennsylvania with his family.

MARK LAMB
Church Partnership Director in the Northwest, World Relief

Mark Lamb serves as Church Partnership Director in the Northwest for World Relief, an organization devoted to equipping local churches to come alongside vulnerable people. In addition to his work at World Relief, he and his wife Erin have a daughter and are joyfully tired foster parents as well. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Texas A&M University, and a Master of Arts degree in Cross Cultural Ministries from Dallas Theological Seminary.

WENDY MCMAHAN
Director of Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care, Olive Crest Foster and Adoption Agency

Wendy serves as Director of Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care for the Olive Crest Foster and Adoption Agency in Orange County, California. Prior to this, she was with Food for the Hungry as Director of Church Engagement, equipping American followers of Christ to advocate for the world’s most vulnerable people. Wendy hosts Poverty Unlocked, an audio program exploring the Christian response to poverty and injustice. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Systems & Environment, and a master’s degree in International Agricultural Development. Wendy lives with her family in Southern California, where they are active in the local orphan care community.

JEDD MEDEFIND
President, Christian Alliance for Orphans

Prior to his current role, Jedd served in the White House as a Special Assistant to the President, leading the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. In this post, he oversaw reform efforts across the government to make community- and faith-based groups central partners in all federal efforts to aid the needy. He has worked, studied, and served in more than thirty countries, with organizations ranging from Price-Waterhouse in Moscow to Christian Life Bangladesh. Jedd is also an accomplished author and a father of five.

JOHN WILLIAMSON
Senior Technical Advisor, Displaced Children and Orphans Fund (DCOF)

John helps organize the Better Care Network, the Children and Youth Economic Strengthening Network, and the Washington Network for Children and Armed Conflict. He has collaborated in writing many published articles, including Families, Not Orphanages (Better Care Network) and A Generation at Risk: The Global Impact of HIV/AIDS on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (Oxford University Press). In the past, he worked as a consultant and been on the staff of the Christian Children’s Fund and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

STAFF

SARAH GESIRIECH
Executive Director

Sarah has worked in the field of child and family protection for more than 20 years. She was a member of the White House Domestic Policy Council, an Education Advisor to the Office of the First Lady at the U.S. Department of Education, and Director of the Department’s International Affairs Office. She also served at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, assisting the Secretary and Deputy Secretary in policy development, oversight and approval of Department regulations for priority areas including child and family services and youth development, international HIV/AIDS, and trafficking in persons. Sarah also worked on Capitol Hill as a senior advisor to U.S. Senator Grassley. In addition to her public service, she has been on staff for several child focused foundations including Casey Family Programs and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

ELLI OSWALD
Associate Director of Engagement

Elli Oswald recently served as Director of Mission and Outreach at Bethany Community Church in Seattle, where she guided Bethany Community Church as they pursued God’s kingdom work daily, through various ministries to the poor and vulnerable in Seattle and around the world, including partnerships in Uganda, Rwanda and Costa Rica. Before being called to Bethany, Elli served as the Children in Crisis Research and Communications Coordinator for World Vision International’s Child Development and Rights Technical Team, specializing in community-based care for children deprived of parental care. She has a B.A. from Pepperdine University and a M.A. in Cross Cultural Studies and International Development from Fuller Theological Seminary. Elli has also worked with a wide variety non-profit organizations in the Los Angeles area, including, Union Station Homeless Services and Habitat for Humanity. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Forrest, an Economist with the U.S. Treasury Department, and her two sons.

ALLISON COBLE
Project Manager

Allison serves as the Faith to Action Initiative’s Project Manager. She has over six years of experience overseeing family-based care initiatives. Prior to joining the Faith to Action Initiative, Allison served as Senior Director of Programs for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), managing CCAI’s core programs including the Foster Youth Internship program and the annual Angels in Adoption Gala. Additionally, she provided oversight and direct support for their global initiatives in Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Haiti. Her areas of expertise include project management, program development, marketing, and large-scale event management. She previously worked for U.S. Senator Don Nickles as his Deputy Press Secretary, and then as the Associate Director of Marketing for a Washington D.C. based trade association.

Translate »