Established in 2020, the LIRS President’s Council is an advisory committee that includes business and nonprofit leaders, policy experts and advocates, and faith leaders of varied backgrounds and sector experience.
The Council provides LIRS President & CEO Krish O’Mara Vignarajah with strategic advice related to the organization’s key priority areas and its efforts to effectively fulfill its mission and vision.
Susan Aplin is one of two World Trade Center Institute Co-CEOs. Susan’s career has spanned retail/eCommerce, product development & design, supply chain, sustainability, entrepreneurship in public and private sectors. She has broad responsibility in running the institute, which spans over 5,000+ global leaders and members, including many iconic brands. She is also Co-Chair of the World Trade Center Ambassadors.
A purpose-led and impact CEO, Susan has held executive roles in large global brands and key management roles taking start-ups to exit. She founded a leading sustainable home goods brand that incorporated climate science, style, and breakthrough innovation and created the first climate index for home decor and furniture products.
Susan is an outspoken corporate leader and advocates for sustainability and the environment, diversity, equity and inclusion, and the advancement of women’s and human rights. She has been an inspirational leader throughout her career and believes leaders possess unique opportunities to leverage their professional platform for growth and good.
Appointed by Secretary Jack Lew, she served on the United States Department of Treasury CEO Roundtable Commission during the Obama administration. Susan is a frequent speaker on leadership, entrepreneurship, sustainability and conservation, global strategy, impact management, and living your purpose. She has shared her expertise with top media outlets and serves as a leading voice on sustainability and entrepreneurship. Susan has been a keynote speaker and speaker at top women’s leadership conferences and at premiere sustainability, climate, and industry conferences.
Diane E. Batchik
Diane is a national security professional, with over three decades in government and industry supporting mission. She is an entrepreneur and was the CEO and Co-Founder of a high-end cyber analytics and engineering firm, successfully sold to one the country’s leading data analytics companies. She is active in national and regional organizations, also serves on the LIRS national board, and is President of the Board for one of the few emergency shelters for homeless women and children in Baltimore.
Sindy M. Benavides
Sindy Marisol Benavides is a Honduran-American immigrant who has experienced the American dream, and now devotes her career to public service, ensuring that countless young people, women, and immigrants have the same opportunity. She is currently Chief Executive Officer for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the country. She previously served as the Chief Operating Officer and National Director for Civic Engagement and Community Mobilization for LULAC, Vice President of Field & Political Operations for Voto Latino and as Northern Virginia Political Director for the 2012 Kaine for Virginia senatorial campaign. She has also been National Director of Community Outreach for the Democratic National Committee, and Latino Liaison and Director of Gubernatorial Appointments for Governor Timothy M. Kaine. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, where she graduated Valedictorian of her class and studied Political Science with a minor in Spanish. She has also attended American University for her master’s degree in International Affairs.
Betsy is an executive with more than 20 years of non-profit organizational leadership experience with an expertise in all aspects of fundraising, encompassing board recruitment and development, capital campaigns ranging up to $1 billion, major gifts, grants, and events. Betsy is the current CEO of the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area Foundation, one of the largest chapters in the Make-A-Wish enterprise, which covers 17 counties in northern California. Make-A-Wish grants wishes to children ages 2 ½ to 18 with life threatening illnesses. Betsy serves on the Board of the East Bay Business Leadership Council, the Jobs and Housing Coalition in the SF Bay Area and is the Senior Warden of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Orinda, California. Betsy previously served as a Trustee of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and continues to serve the school as an active class agent and alumni admissions representative. Betsy holds a BA from Mount Holyoke College and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Tom is Chairman and Co-Founder of The Bozzuto Group, a diversified and full-service real estate company that recently celebrated its 32nd year in business. An entrepreneur, builder, philanthropist, and veteran of the Vietnam War, Tom is a longtime supporter and champion of the Baltimore community, is actively involved in national housing policy, and is very dedicated to higher education. He is a graduate of Hobart College and has a master’s degree in Metropolitan Studies from The Maxwell School at Syracuse University.
Angela is a media/communication coach, keynote speaker, creator of YOU, Amplified!®, host of “The Power Of The Only” podcast, and an award-winning former TV news anchor and reporter. Angela leverages her 20+ years working in the media and speaking industry, her personal development work and experience coaching corporate and entrepreneurial leaders to help people step into the spotlight and their YOU, Amplified!® leadership.
Rev. Bart Day
Bart is currently serving as President and CEO of Lutheran Church Extension Fund. He has served as a parish pastor, headmaster of an elementary school, executive to oversee domestic mission work, and now head of the church’s financial institution. Bart received his bachelor’s degree from Concordia University, Nebraska, a master’s degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and an MBA from Washington University, St. Louis. He enjoys running, attending sports event and concerts, and spending time with his wife, Julie, and their six children and three dogs. He believes in the satisfaction that comes from hard work, the enjoyment of a job well done, and the beauty of joy and laughter in working alongside similarly motivated people. Bart serves on various nonprofit boards that serve the church and world.
Chris Davis has been a lawyer for more than 45 years. His professional focus has been on issues related to financing for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). He worked in the US, and in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Central and South America.
A graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School, in the US Chris worked as a corporate finance lawyer and as Resident Counsel for the Ford Foundation. He also served as a legal consultant to US agencies on issues related to SMEs, including the SBA and USAID.
Outside the US, Chris served as a legal consultant to institutions working on the development of SMEs, including the World Bank, the IFC, and the InterAmerican Investment Corporation. He has also been a volunteer for international projects of the Financial Services Volunteer Corp related to SMEs and entrepreneurship. His international activities included participation in drafting laws and regulations related to venture capital and SME finance.
Since 1999, Chris has spent substantial time in China working on matters related to the development of the Chinese venture capital industry. He has served as a lecturer at Fudan University, an advisor to a state-owned provincial financial group, and an advisor to other projects related to the venture capital industry throughout China.
Together with his wife Mary Forell, Chris has been a long-time supporter of the Lutheran World Hunger program and LIRS.
Mary Forell is the daughter of a refugee. Before she retired in 2013, she served as pastor in urban immigrant communities in northern NJ for over 40 years, beginning her ordained ministry in Jersey City. She is now a member of a small, mostly Spanish-speaking congregation in her neighborhood whose membership (at last count) included people born in over twenty different countries. In retirement, Mary volunteers as a CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) for foster children. She and her husband have been active supporters of ELCA World Hunger, and worked with the staff to engage other donors in that work. She is committed to expanding awareness of and support for LIRS in the ELCA community.
Rev. Tom Grevlos
Pastor Tom was born and raised in Sioux Falls, SD. He graduated from Augustana College in 1979 with a B.A. in History. Following college, he coached the Augie Tennis Team and worked as a Youth Director in California before going to Seminary at Luther in St. Paul, MN. God’s ministry journey for Pastor Tom has taken him to Missouri City, TX. (New Hope), Addison, IL. (Prince of Peace), The Woodlands, TX. (Spirit of Joy! a church plant), Naperville, IL. (Our Saviours), and to Shepherd of the Hills. His hobbies include tennis, golf, music, reading, and travel. His family is wife, Jeanne and son, Tommy.
Chris Grumm is the daughter of a Lutheran missionary with generations of pastors and bishops in her family tree. She has worked with secular and faith-based organizations to build an agenda of social change and justice. One of her focuses is investing in women and girls to bring change to whole communities. Her company, Christine Grumm Consulting Group, aims to leverage organizations and leaders who can bring solutions to scale and to create true social impact around the world. Chris sits on the Board of Landesa, which develops pro-poor and gender-sensitive laws, policies, and programs to strengthen land rights.
Muhsin Hassan is an Awards Director at Lever for Change, where he serves as the client lead and primary relationship manager for donor partners who sponsor customized competitions or wish to fund proposals through the Lever for Change Bold Solutions Network. Muhsin has spent his career working at the intersection of philanthropy, international development, and strategy. Prior to Lever for Change, Muhsin worked at a global strategy consultancy firm in the U.A.E. advising HNWIs, foundations, and international NGOs on advancing socio-economic and political development in the Middle East, Eastern Africa, South and Southeast Asia. Muhsin began his career at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where he served as a Conflict Advisor in the Kenya and Ethiopia Missions working on issue areas including economic growth, governance, as well as conflict mitigation and peacebuilding. Muhsin is fluent in Arabic, and Kiswahili, and conversant in Amharic, French, and Oromo. He received both his master’s (MPA in International Development) and bachelor’s (A.B. in Public Policy) degrees from Princeton University.
Ed Hatcher founded The Hatcher Group in 2000 after more than 15 years of working in the media and legislative arenas. Based in the DC area, The Hatcher Group is a national communications firm that works with foundations and nonprofits to advance social change. Ed has recently served as chair of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
Daya S. Khalsa
Now partially-retired and focused on devoting time and talent to the well-being of the people of New Mexico, Mr. Khalsa is a successful entrepreneur whose career has included senior executive leadership roles in business management, marketing and business development, strategic planning, and the development of non-profit organizations. As the co-founder and President of Akal Security, Inc. – a firm that has provided over $8 billion dollars of protective services to local, State and primarily Federal Government, Mr. Khalsa helped grow the largest privately held company in New Mexico. He has served on Boards working toward economic development, public health, and the alleviation of poverty in New Mexico for over 30 years.
Donna provides consulting to clients in the healthcare field to support development and implementation of value-based payment arrangements and models of care through DK Healthcare Consulting. Donna is a CPA, and she was an audit and consulting partner at Arthur Andersen where she worked for 25 years. She also served as a Managing Director at Navigant Consulting and Berkeley Research Group where she provided consulting services to the health care field. In 2013, Donna took leave from the private sector to lead one of the most successful health care payment and delivery demonstrations in the U.S., involving more than 800,000 Maryland Medicare beneficiaries. During the 5-year demonstration model, the federal government saved $1 billion. After leading negotiations for a new 10-year model focused on population health outcomes, Donna returned to the private sector.
Lori has worked with scores of global organizations to manage their strategic agendas and implement large-scale change throughout their enterprise. She worked with Accenture for 25 years culminating her career as the Global Executive Director of the Office of the CEO. Lori has had a heart for missions since college and has served in Thailand, Eastern Europe, and Haiti. As President of The Vessel, Lori finds great fulfillment is helping send individuals on mission and humanitarian trips worldwide.
Bill McKibben is a contributing writer to The New Yorker, a founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org and the Schumann Distinguished Professor in Residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. He was a 2014 recipient of the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel,’ and the Gandhi Peace Award. He has written over a dozen books about the environment, including his first, The End of Nature, published 30 years ago, and the recent Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?.
Paul C. Miles
Paul has a 30-year history of working to develop strength and impact in the nonprofit sector. After two decades working with the largest international consultancy serving the philanthropic needs of charitable organizations, he assumed the role of Chief Development Officer at Make-A-Wish America. He accepted the role of President and CEO of We Raise Foundation in 2015 and has since moved the organization toward a focus on racial equity and community development. He has served on numerous nonprofits boards including the DuPage Foundation, Lutheran World Relief and Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity. Paul and his family live in the Chicagoland area.
Evan Moilan is a speaker and consultant with GSB Fundraising, bringing over 23 years of Executive leadership and Board service for non-profits. His professional service includes large Social Service agencies, Foundations, Global relief agencies and Synodically-based ministries. Evan is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and brings expertise in Strategic planning, Fundraising, Governance, Marketing, and Organizational growth.
Dr. Olin Oedekoven
Dr. Olin Oedekoven is President & CEO of Peregrine Global Services. Peregrine provides programmatic assessment services, online instructional modules used to develop business acumen and essential soft skills, and a variety of leadership development services. Dr. Oedekoven has co-authored four books on leadership and has published articles on leadership, higher education, and business management. Dr. Oedekoven is a Fulbright Specialist, and he teaches parttime in graduate programs.
Dr. Oedekoven earned his MBA and Ph.D. in business and public administration from Northcentral University, and later a post-doctoral specialization in human resource management. He also has a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College and a MS degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Wyoming. Olin earned his bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences from South Dakota State University. Brigadier General (Retired) Oedekoven served in a variety of staff and command positions during his 33-year military career with the US Army, the Army Reserves, and the Wyoming National Guard.
As President & CEO of Port Discovery Children’s Museum, Bryn Parchman is a leader, influencer, and advocate for Baltimore – and for all the children and families that call Maryland home. Bryn also serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, is a member of the Executive Alliance, Maryland’s leading businesswomen’s network, and is currently a member on the LIRS national board.
Bryn earned her undergraduate degree from The Colorado College and her MBA from The Carlson School of Management/University of Minnesota. Prior to Port Discovery, Bryn held positions with Norwest Corporation/Wells Fargo, The Martin Agency, and Trahan, Burden and Charles.
She has been recognized as one of Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs by the Daily Record, one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women, and inducted into the Circle of Excellence for Sustained Achievement by the Daily Record. She was also inducted into Smart CEO’s Brava! Hall of Fame and named an Enterprising Woman by The Baltimore Business Journal.
LeRoy is the Founder and CEO of Great Elm Solutions (‘GES’), a management consulting firm based in the DC area. LeRoy has held senior executive positions in entrepreneurial as well as Fortune 100 financial services and telecommunications companies. He has envisioned, built, managed and controlled major organizations and large-scale multi-year capital and operating budgets. LeRoy has specific expertise in executive management, planning and analysis, and applications development/implementation. In addition, he has been responsible for turn-around opportunities, M&A activity, recapitalizations, budget development and control, marketing and branding, and resource management.
Sridhar is a partner in The Bridgespan Group’s Boston office. Sridhar has worked with a number of nonprofits, foundations, and philanthropic collaboratives, with much of his work has focused on building successful platforms to harness and direct philanthropic capital in order to both reduce perceived barriers for aspirational philanthropists and increase access to scale capital for high-impact change agents.
Sridhar has co-authored “Philanthropy Bets Big on Sustainable Development Goals” (Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2018), “Pay-What-It-Takes Philanthropy” (SSIR, 2016), “A National Growth Plan Rooted in One State’s Success” (SSIR, 2015), and “Lessons for Nonprofits Seeking to Grow a Promising Program” (Bridgespan.org, 2014).
Prior to Bridgespan, Sridhar worked as a project leader at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in San Francisco, working across a range of practice areas, including health care, education, and technology, media, and telecom. Before BCG, Sridhar served as a program analyst for the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Task Force. He also has worked for the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative (now the Clinton Health Access Initiative) in Delhi, India, as well as for the Sewalanka Foundation, a local Sri Lankan nonprofit focused on issues of economic empowerment and community mobilization. Sridhar started his career as an associate at Katzenbach Partners LLC (now part of Strategy&, the strategy consulting group of PwC).
Sridhar holds a BA in history from Columbia University, a JD from the Harvard Law School, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Anne C. Richard
Anne C. Richard served as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration in the Obama Administration (2012-2017). In this position, she was responsible for a $3.4 billion budget and was the Administration’s top diplomat on refugee issues as well as a leader on humanitarian and migration policies for the US Government. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Ms. Richard was the vice president of government relations and advocacy for the International Rescue Committee (IRC). She was also a non-resident Fellow of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University/SAIS and a board member of the Henry L. Stimson Center.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Richard served in other senior positions at the State Department, at Peace Corps Headquarters, and at the US Office of Management and Budget. As an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations (1993-94), she was part of the team that created the International Crisis Group. She also was a fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation in Germany and a Presidential Management Intern. Ms. Richard is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and has a master’s degree in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago. She has lived overseas in Austria, Germany and France and traveled extensively to crisis zones around the world.
Rev. Eric C. Shafer
The Rev. Eric C. Shafer is Senior Pastor at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica. In 2015 he helped open the Bruin Shelter at Mt. Olive, the first shelter for homeless college students in the USA. For this work he was awarded the “Community Service Appreciation Award” for “Interfaith Humanitarian Service” by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the “4-Way Test Award” by the Santa Monica Rotary Club. His previous positions include Senior Vice President for Odyssey Networks in New York City and Director of Communion for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Chicago. Shafer has taught in South Africa and Madagascar and made multiple trips to Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Michele serves as Co-Chairman of the Warnock Foundation, which supports innovative ideas and people who are thinking outside the box to improve the lives of the citizens of Baltimore, Maryland. She is a member of the Board of Directors at Baltimore Center Stage, an Advisory Board member of University of Maryland School of Social Work, and a member on the LIRS national board.
Linda, a graduate of Concordia College, St. Paul, Minnesota, has taught in Lutheran schools and was a mathematics teacher in schools with immigrant children for 18 years in Mesa, Arizona. She earned a Masters’ Degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona. She retired as Director of Curriculum from the Orange Unified School District in July 2013. She has served the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod for nine years as a member of the Commission on Worship and for six years as a member of the Board for National Mission. She is a recent member of the Board of Directors of LIRS, having served two three-year terms from 2014-2020. Linda is married to Larry Stoterau, retired LCMS pastor and former President of the Pacific Southwest District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. The Stoteraus have two adult sons.
Antonio is president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, which focuses on education, workforce, leadership, and culture through service and innovation. Under Tijerino, HHF is recognized as a creative, agile, impact-focused organization boasting a network of 150,000 vetted 15-35-year-old Latinos mobilized in the tech and STEM fields, entrepreneurship, finance, media, and other priority areas for America. Tijerino also serves as executive producer of the star-studded Hispanic Heritage Awards at the Kennedy Center, which are broadcast on PBS stations. HHF’s dynamic programs have been recognized by The White House, US Congress, Fortune 500 companies, other nonprofits, and the Government of Mexico. Prior to HHF, Tijerino was an executive at Fannie Mae Foundation, Nike, and Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe under the Young & Rubicam umbrella.
Laurel Vicklund serves as Vice President of International Operations at Peregrine Global Services. She has over 30 years of experience in the private sector from technician to Senior Environmental Scientist, and with non-profit organizations as Chair and board member. Laurel has assisted with various reclamation studies and co-authored several journal articles and conference proceedings.
She received the Reclamationist of the Year from the American Society of Mining and Reclamation, and the Wyoming Woman of Influence in the Energy and Utilities sector. Laurel served as project manager for several environmental and archaeological projects, which received state and national reclamation awards. Laurel holds a Bachelor of Science with a Major Concentration in Soils from Colorado State University and is a graduate of Leadership Wyoming.
Debbi has been the Founder & Director of Girls’ Empowerment Mission (GEM), a Living Classrooms Foundation program, for the past fifteen years. She started her career as a teacher with Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) in 1984 after graduating from University of Maryland – College Park. Debbi went on to receive her master’s degree in Counseling from John’s Hopkins University and then served as a Guidance Counselor for BCPS for fifteen years. In 2004, after working with a drop-out prevention program, she started GEM. She has served on many boards over the past twenty years and is currently a Board member of the National Women’s Philanthropy Board of Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and chair of the GEM board. She is married to Glenn Weinberg and has two adult sons, Tyler and Jesse.
Reinhard Ziegler, PHD
Reinhard has a background in higher education with a PhD in Cognitive Psychology, concentrating on adult learning. He taught at The University of Iowa and at Southern Methodist University. At Accenture, he held a global leadership role as Managing Partner for the Human and Organizational Performance practice. Reinhard has participated in short-term missions to Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, and Haiti. For the past 14 years, Reinhard has served as Co-Founder and Treasurer of The Vessel (www.thevessel.world). He is also the Creative Director of “Gardener of Peace” (www.reconcile.world), a project of The Vessel.