Our Leadership | LIRS

Our Leadership

Vice President for Human Resources

Geri O’Donoghue

Chief Financial Officer

F. Andrew Pepito

Chief of Staff

Marc Soloweszyk

Vice President for Development and Outreach

Andrew G. Steele

President and CEO

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah

Vice President for Programs

Lee Williams

Vice President for Human Resources

Geri O’Donoghue

Vice President for Human Resources Geri O’Donoghue has committed her career to helping build strong organizations by creating welcoming, diverse, and inclusive environments that foster employee collaboration and growth. She has spent most of her career working in nonprofit organizations, where she has contributed to the mission of building a healthy and strong society that celebrates everyone. Geri has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in Human Resources and Organizational Development. She is the mother to two amazing little girls that remind her to keep an open mind and never stop learning.

Chief Financial Officer

F. Andrew Pepito

Mr. Pepito has 20-plus years of executive experience. He returned to LIRS as Chief Financial Officer after working with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a government instrumentality recognized as one of the top 10 international thinks tanks in the world, serving as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to that, Pepito worked in the DMV area as Vice President for Achieving the Dream, the Sr. Director of the Bainum Family Foundation and Vice President for Finance and Operations for the U.S. Grains Council.  Before joining the nonprofit world, he held key finance positions with Fortune 500 corporations in Southern California. He has an MBA from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business.  He was a recipient of an international traineeship program at PriceWaterhouse Coopers in the U.K. and has completed continuing education in Investment and Risk Simulation at the Stanford Center for Professional Studies.

He is passionate about civic involvement and has held many volunteer work and leadership positions in local school boards, parish councils, and community-based organizations in the Silver Spring and Washington, DC area. Pepito, his wife, and 10-year old son live in the Silver Spring area of Maryland. The family enjoys traveling and has visited more than 30 countries.

Chief of Staff

Marc Soloweszyk

Marc Soloweszyk serves as Chief of Staff at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. In his role, he focuses on the implementation of the strategic plan and making the organization function as effectively as possible. As the son of a refugee, he is passionate about the work LIRS does on behalf the most vulnerable. He has over 15 years of experience in both the nonprofit and corporate worlds, including positions at the NAACP and the Foundation Fighting Blindness. He is the proud father of three wonderful children.

Vice President for Development and Outreach

Andrew G. Steele

As Vice President for Development and Outreach, Andrew G. Steele leads a dynamic team responsible for all development, fundraising, church relations, and outreach efforts. Prior to joining LIRS, Andrew was the Assistant Vice President for Advancement & Director of Campaigns at his alma mater, Wittenberg University. Before serving in that capacity, Andrew was the Director for Global Mission Funding at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), overseeing $30+ million of revenue as part of a successful five-year, $250 million comprehensive campaign. An avid traveler, Andrew annually returns to South Africa and Lesotho where he once lived and co-founded BLOOM Africa, a 501(c)(3) organization.

President and CEO

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah

Krish is the President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. She previously served in the Obama White House as Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama and at the State Department as Senior Advisor under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Krish has committed her career to public service because she knows how differently life could have turned out. Krish was nine months old when she and her family escaped a country on the brink of civil war and built a life in Maryland. Her parents came to this country with no jobs and $200 in their pockets.

Read her full biography here.

Vice President for Programs

Lee Williams

Lee Williams joined LIRS as the Vice President for Programs in August 2020. Before coming to LIRS, Lee was Senior Vice President at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. During his tenure at USCRI, Lee was responsible for its refugee, unaccompanied children, and human trafficking victim assistance programs, MIS, and field office operations. Lee also served as Chief Financial Officer for seven years. Before USCRI, Lee was the Executive Director of the International Institute of Akron, Ohio, a nonprofit that serves the refugee and immigrant communities of northeast Ohio. Lee’s earlier career was in financial services in the U.S. and Europe. He holds a Graduate Certificate of Non-Profit Management from Case Western Reserve University, a Master’s degree in International Management from The Thunderbird School of Global Management, and a Bs.L. in Arabic from Georgetown University.

LIRS Directors

 
  • Controller — Shannon Kief
  • Director for Children and Family Services — Lorie Davidson
  • Director for Grants Finance — Chris Bizimungu
  • Director for IT — Maria Maskell
  • Director for Loans Operations and Management — Terry Holthause
  • Director for Outreach — Kristin Witte
  • Director for Prospect Development & Research — Julie Fregetto
  • Director for Public Policy — Jill Marie Bussey
  • Director for Refugee and Migrant Services — Megan Bracy

LIRS BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The board is composed of members who have knowledge of and commitment to refugees and immigrants. LIRS believes strength is found in diversity and that refugees and immigrants need a voice at the table of influence.  There are three former refugees or first generation immigrants on the board. The LIRS president is an ex-officio member of the board.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Board Chair

Ms. Elizabeth Wagner
Senior Vice President and Director, Institutional Wealth Management
Bryn Mawr Trust Company (Princeton, NJ)

Vice Chair

Mr. Eddie Resende
Co-CEO
World Trade Center Institute (Baltimore, MD)

Board Treasurer

Mr. Dennis Wieckert
CPA, Retired (Alpharetta, GA)

Board Secretary

Ms. Virginia Hultquist
Manager for Lutheran Engagement, Retired
Thrivent Financial (Greensboro, NC)

Executive Member at Large

Mr. Jan Engkasser
Director, Member Engagement Strategies
Thrivent Financial (Minneapolis, MN)

AT-LARGE MEMBERS

Mr. Matuor Alier — Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Moorhead Public Schools (Fargo, ND)
Mrs. Faith Ashton — Retired (Chapel Hill, NC)
Ms. Diane Batchik — Independent Advisor, Diane Batchik Consulting (Columbia, MD)
Ms. Selena Besirevic — Feldmann Nagel, LLC (Denver, CO)
Bishop Paul Erickson — Bishop, Greater Milwaukee ELCA Synod (Milwaukee, WI)
Dr. Viji George — President Emeritus, Concordia-Bronxville, Retired (Bronxville, NY)
Mr. Ted W. Goins, Jr. — President, Chief Executive Officer, Lutheran Services Carolinas (Salisbury, NC)
Rev. Dr. Yared Halche — Facilitator for Mission Engagement, Southeastern District LCMS (Ellicott City, MD)
Mr. Randel Johnson — Partner & Government Relations Chair, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (Washington, DC)
Mr. John R. Moeller, Jr. — CEO, Inspiritus (Atlanta, GA)
Ms. Bryn Parchman — CEO, Port Discovery Museum (Baltimore, MD)
Mr. Carlos Peña — Founder and President, Kleen Supply Company (Galveston, TX)
Dr. Diana Pohle — Associate Director, Market Intelligence, Jazz Pharmaceuticals (San Jose, CA)
Ms. Evelyn Soto — Director, Unit Operations and Programs, Domestic Mission Unit, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Chicago, IL)
Ms. Michele Speaks — Co-Chair, Warnock Foundation (Baltimore, MD)

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