The Team

ZOE’s multi-national Leadership team includes respected professionals from a range of background and specialties including business, economics, social justice, international law, academia, theology, and Christian ministry.

Leadership

Epiphanie Mujawimana

Empowerment Model Founder and Rwanda Country Manager

Epiphanie Mujawimana

Epiphanie Mujawimana

Empowerment Model Founder and Rwanda Country Manager

Epiphanie helped to develop the model at the heart of ZOE’s Empowerment Program. Epiphanie and her husband have four children and are also raising four nieces and nephews.

Gaston Warner

Chief Executive Officer

Gaston Warner

Chief Executive Officer

Rev. Gaston Warner is an elder in the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Gaston has led congregations in inner-city, multi-ethnic, and suburban settings, from Chicago to Bristol, England.  He has consulted with and served on a number of non-profit boards and as staff for Habitat for Humanity, Duke Divinity School, and Duke University Chapel. Gaston joined ZOE as a board member in 2007 and currently serves as CEO.

ZOE currently facilitates the empowerment of over twenty-eight thousand orphans and vulnerable children in seven countries and across three continents including:  Africa, India, and Guatemala.  Gaston earned a BA from Brown University; a MDiv from Duke Divinity School, and a MBA from The University of Durham in England.   He lives outside of Abbot, TX (population:  356) with his spouse, the Rev. Dr. Laceye Warner, who teaches at Duke University Divinity School, their daughter Clare, and various pets and livestock.

Randy Wiersma

Chief Operating Officer

Randy Wiersma

Chief Operating Officer

Randy has over 35 years of management experience.  He was a co-founder of College Bookstores of America which grew to over 100 locations and served 16 years as Chief Operating Officer.  Randy received a BS from Vanderbilt University, an MA from North Park Theological Seminary, and an MBA from the University of Chicago.  He lives in Wilmington, NC, with his wife Nancy.  He has one daughter who is married and has three granddaughters.

Reegan Kaberia

Chief Program Officer and Kenya Country Manager

Reegan Kaberia

Chief Program Officer and Kenya Country Manager

Before joining ZOE, Reegan served both local and international child-centered community development organizations. In March 2007, he joined the staff of ZOE, opening and growing the empowerment program initiative in partnership with Maua Methodist Hospital. He holds an MBA in strategic management from Kenya Methodist University. Reegan is married and has two daughters.

U.S. Staff

Elena Ballam

Travel and Event Coordinator

Elena Ballam

Travel and Event Coordinator

Bill Cummings

Director of Strategic Development

Bill Cummings

Director of Strategic Development

Toni Cole

Director of Administration

Toni Cole

Director of Administration

Ruth Hillmann

Administrative Assistant

Ruth Hillmann

Administrative Assistant

Lyndsey Lessner

Regional Development Associate

Lyndsey Lessner

Regional Development Associate

Kristin Magee

Program Reporting Coordinator

Kristin Magee

Program Reporting Coordinator

Laura Nemecek

Director of Program Communications

Laura Nemecek

Director of Program Communications

Tina Schmidt

Director of Midwest Region

International Program Leaders

Barbara Matsanga

Zimbabwe Country Manager

Barbara Matsanga

Zimbabwe Country Manager

Carla Gonzalez

Guatemala Country Manager

Carla Gonzalez

Guatemala Country Manager

Isaac Dowah

Liberia Country Manager

Isaac Dowah

Liberia Country Manager

Jabez Williams

India Country Manager

Jabez Williams

India Country Manager

Mercy Chikhosi

Malawi Country Manager

Mercy Chikhosi

Malawi Country Manager

Board of Directors

Ann Eppinger-Davidson

Ann Eppinger-Davidson

Ann Eppinger-Davidson is currently the President of Eppinger & Associates, LLC, a municipal finance advisory firm located in Windermere, Florida. Previously, Ann was an investment banker at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette in New York City, and Prager, Sealy & Company, LLC, in Orlando, Florida. In her 21-year investment banking career, she assisted a number of real estate developers with funding their infrastructure needs, and was responsible for the issuance of over $2 billion of tax-exempt debt. Ann has a MBA degree from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, and Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting and Economics from Shepherd University. Ann has had the privilege of visiting ZOE in both Rwanda and Kenya. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Florida United Methodist Foundation, where she is on the Executive Committee and chairs the Board Governance and Nominations Committee. Ann is passionate about working with educational ministries in local Title 1 public schools and is Circles ally for a Circles community in East Winter Garden, Florida. She is married to Scott Davidson and is the mother of two children and stepmother to three grown children.

Reverend Donna Banks

Reverend Donna Banks

Rev. Donna Banks serves Lead Pastor for St. Francis United Methodist Church in Cary. She has previously served as the District Superintendent for the Corridor District of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Upon graduation from Duke Divinity School, she joined the staff as the Associate Pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill. She also served appointments as the senior pastor at Evergreen United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, NC and as Director of Student Life at Duke Divinity School. She has previous experience from her 16-year career in the chemical industry which afforded her the opportunity to have a succession of roles as a research chemist and in corporate sales, marketing and management. Donna is married with two daughters.

Chris Graebe

Chris Graebe

Chris Graebe is a founding member of the Raleigh law firm Graebe Hanna & Sullivan, PLLC and has been practicing law throughout North Carolina since 1990. Chris has been named among Business North Carolina magazine’s Legal Elite in business litigation and as one of the Best Lawyers in America. Since 2012, the peer-selected North Carolina Super Lawyers has recognized Chris as one of the Top 100 lawyers in North Carolina. Chris regularly represents disadvantaged clients in housing and consumer cases without charging a fee. In 2008, Chris received the North Carolina Bar Association’s highest honor for an individual attorney’s pro bono service, the William L. Thorp Pro Bono Award. He has served on the board of directors of the North Carolina Justice Center for several years. Chris is married to Susan Graebe, a former ZOE staff member, and has two grown children.

Dr. Abbie Shipp

Dr. Abbie Shipp

Dr. Abbie Shipp is an Associate Professor of Management (with tenure) at Texas Christian University where she teaches and conducts research on organizational behavior, with a particular emphasis on individual development over time. She is currently a member of the executive committee of the Academy of Management’s Organizational Behavior division as well as an editorial board member for several top-tier research journals in her field. Prior to joining Texas Christian University, Dr. Shipp taught at Texas A&M University, the University of North Carolina, and Oklahoma State University, as well as working in human resources for The Boeing Company and TV Guide. Dr. Shipp has also consulted with firms such as Ernst & Young, Marriott International, Halliburton, Texas Transportation Institute, and AT&T on issues of employee engagement and retention, person-environment fit, employee relations, organizational change, and survey design. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, during which time she was introduced to ZOE and admired its clear results using the empowerment program. She is married and has one son.

Dr. Mark La Branche

Dr. Mark La Branche

Dr. Mark La Branche was appointed the twenty-seventh president of Louisburg College in 2008 after serving as Senior Vice President at Huntingdon College in Alabama. Previously, Mark spent eighteen years in parish ministry, serving churches in the Alabama – West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He also spent ten years in the health field, eight of those years as a neonatal respiratory therapist. Mark has served on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Franklin County, and served as United Way Campaign Co-Chair in 2009. He is a member of the Louisburg Lions Club, and its past president. Mark is a member of the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Association of Independent Colleges, and a board member of the National Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities of the United Methodist Church. He received his Doctor of Ministry from Boston University, his Master of Divinity from Emory University, and his B.A. from the University of South Alabama. Mark is married to Mona Maxwell La Branche. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Erik Ross

Erik Ross

Erik Ross currently serves as a Sales Executive with Accenture. He has over 20 years of experience in information technology and management consulting. Erik has served on the board of the Methodist Home for Children in Raleigh, NC and was their Chairman for three years. He is married to Jenny and they have two sons, Nick and Noah.

Rev. Emmanuel Jackson

Rev. Emmanuel Jackson

Emmanuel Jackson is head of staff and lead pastor of Living Word Lutheran Church, a thriving and vibrant ELCA congregation in the suburbs of Houston. As Lead Pastor, he oversees the spiritual health and vitality of the community, ensuring that Living Word remains focused on its God-given mission and vision. God first called Emmanuel to Living Word in 2008 as Associate Pastor, then in 2012 as Lead Pastor. He is gifted preacher and visionary; always exploring new ways to be church in a changing world. Emmanuel is a native Liberian who survived a brutal civil war, lived for 7 years in refugee camps along the West African coast, and migrated to the United States as a refugee in 2001. Emmanuel has a compelling life story that celebrates hope, the courage of the human spirit, and God’s deliverance. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Carthage College in Kenosha Wisconsin, and a Masters in Theology from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. Pastor Emmanuel is married to Annick and they have two sons, Rod and Matrix. He is also an avid sports fan who believes that “real football” is played with your feet, not with your hands.

Linda Folger

Linda Folger

Linda Folger is Executive Vice President for HUB International Southeast, Cary, NC, the seventh largest insurance and risk management broker in the world. Linda specializes in designing and managing insurance and risk management programs for non-profits, healthcare organizations, financial institutions, biotechnology/technology, and a wide range of miscellaneous businesses. She is a member of many professional organizations and has achieved the prestigious professional certifications of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Associate in Risk Management (ARM), and Certified Risk Manager (CRM). Linda is on the Board of Directors of The Miracle League of the Triangle, currently serves her church First United Methodist Church of Cary on the Board of Trustees, and is a group leader in the Western Wake Bible Study Group in Cary. Over the years, Linda has served on the ZOE Team at First United Methodist Church of Cary, organizing fundraising breakfasts and traveling to Africa on five occasions to visit ZOE groups. Linda Is married to Cleve Folger and has one grown daughter and a 10 year old granddaughter.

Mark McAndrew

Mark McAndrew

Mark McAndrew was raised in Kahoka, Missouri. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri in Columbia, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He is the retired CEO and Chairman of the Board of Torchmark Corp. Additionally, Mark serves on the Boards of The Samaritan Inn and the McKinney Education Foundation, both non-profit agencies.

Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson is passionate about helping children “trapped” in generational poverty see themselves as change agents in their communities. He has been fortunate enough to make several trips to India and Africa to encourage kids and finds himself changed and challenged even more after every visit. Michael worked with PepsiCo for 22 years in a variety of management/leadership positions and is now working as a Client Alignment Executive for Netsmart Technologies in Overland Park, Kansas. He is very involved in the local community and also serves on the Board of The Kansas City Rescue Mission. Michael is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri State.

Stan Bradshaw

Stan Bradshaw

Stan Bradshaw serves as Chairman of the Board of Pulaski Financial Corporation, the St. Louis-based holding company of Pulaski Bank. He also serves as the principal of Bradshaw Capital Management, LLC, an asset management and advisory firm serving institutional investors and eleemosynary organizations since 1998. Mr. Bradshaw also serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Roosevelt Group, LLC, an investment company specializing in bank stocks since 1999. He was the founding chairman of the board of Square 1 Financial and its wholly-owned subsidiary Square 1 Bank, which is a nationwide bank specializing in serving emerging growth companies funded by venture capitalists. Mr. Bradshaw also served as a director of Community First Financial Group, Inc., the holding company for Harrington Bank, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He currently chairs the Bradshaw Charitable Foundation, which provides funding for religious, educational, scientific research and social stewardship organizations since 1997. Related thereto, Mr. Bradshaw has served as chairman or director of Family Promise (Sandhills Interfaith Housing Network), Sandhills Community College Foundation, the O’Neal School, Webster University and the Kilo Diabetic Research Foundation.

Mark Konen

Mark Konen

Mark Konen has 35 years of experience in the insurance industry. Prior to his retirement in February 2017, Mark Konen was President of the Insurance and Retirement Solutions division of Lincoln Financial Group and a member of the company’s Senior Management Committee, reporting directly to the CEO. Under Konen’s leadership, the life and annuity businesses realized record growth, achieved industry-leadership based on third-party rankings, and became recognized for product innovation and responsiveness. Additionally, as a member of Lincoln’s Investment Committee and Enterprise Risk and Capital Committee, Konen helped guide and monitor the Company’s $100+ billion investment portfolio, as well as the $140+ billion of assets managed by outside mutual fund companies within the variable annuity and RPS platforms. He resides in Texas.

Rev. Matthew Williams

Rev. Matthew Williams

Rev. Matthew Williams’ chief desire is to assist others in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. As a follower of Christ and an elder in the United Methodist Church, Matthew has served churches in Tallahassee and Pembroke Pines. He is presently the Senior Pastor of Lighthouse United Methodist Church in Boca Grande, FL — a hallmark congregation for missional involvement internationally, regionally, and locally. Upon answering the call to a vocation in ministry, Matthew quickly was drawn to missional initiatives. Matthew and his wife Joy are personally active in international and local missions both in and outside of the church. Under Matthew’s leadership, Boca Grande UMC has entered into a partnership with ZOE and Matthew visited ZOE Rwanda in June of 2017. He resides in Florida where he is viewed as a visionary leader in the Florida United Methodist conference.

Mike Mandl

Mike Mandl

Mike Mandl is President & CEO of Mandl & Co., LLC, an innovative company that advances the mission of research universities and medical centers by identifying opportunities and the helping guide execution to “unlock” assets for greater economic impact. Mandl retired in 2016 after 13 years as Executive Vice President for Business and Administration at Emory University. He began his accounting and finance career at KPMG Peat Marwick, followed by positions at Duke and Penn. Mandl is a passionate supporter of ZOE, having seen the program in Zimbabwe and committed financially through his church. He has extensive board experience throughout his career and has already brought in a new partner to ZOE. He resides in North Carolina.

Ex-Officio

Jaye White

Jaye White

Jaye Nesbitt White currently serves as the Outreach Ministry Coordinator for the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. She graduated from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL and had a variety of jobs over the years, to include counseling juvenile offenders who had been sent to a halfway house by the court system, and being the director of a U.S. military run daycare center in Germany. She then graduated from Duke Divinity School in 2010 and was ordained a Deacon in full connection in 2014. She worked as the NC Conference BRAC Mission Developer for two years. She then served St. Luke UMC Sanford as the Coordinator of Nurture, Outreach and Witness for three years.

Nancy Van Antwerp

Nancy Van Antwerp

Nancy Van Antwerp is a Deaconess in the United Methodist Church, appointed to the Outreach Ministry of the North Carolina Conference. She promotes missions by maintaining an Outreach Ministry Facebook page, writing mission articles for the conference website, teaching mission studies, and speaking on behalf of various ministries supported by the church. She serves on the NC Conference Board of Church and Society and the Methodist Federation for Social Action (NC Chapter). She is particularly passionate about economic justice and access to healthcare. Nancy holds master degrees in social work, public administration, and divinity. Her professional background includes teaching, school counseling, child welfare, state agency and nonprofit healthcare administration, and private consulting. Nancy has served as a team leader and participant on numerous mission trips, including India, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Russia, Cambodia, Mexico, and El Salvador. Nancy lives in Cary, NC.

ZOE

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