Staff

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Ken Sparks
President & CEO

As HopeChest President and CEO, Ken encourages staff, volunteers, sponsors, and donors in fulfilling the vision and mission of HopeChest: to seek to respond to the revelation about God’s heart in James 1:27. He is a graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington, where he majored in Political Science with a minor in Business and a certificate from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Although Ken’s “official” workspace is the hayloft of the Barn in Palmer Lake, he works anywhere there is anyone willing to listen about what God is doing through HopeChest!

Erin Blad
IT Director

Erin is responsible for keeping HopeChest’s data and systems running as smoothly as possible. She is also continually looking for more efficient and user-friendly ways to use technology to further HopeChest’s mission and vision. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Southern Nazarene University and an MBA from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. When she isn’t in the office, Erin is most likely to be found on a long hike in the mountains with her dog.

Rachel Andrews
International Program Director

Rachel works directly with HopeChest field staff overseas to shape programmatic design and field implementation. Based in Palmer Lake, Rachel is frequently on Skype or phone calls with in-country staff, reviewing CarePoint and Management Team reports, stories, and testimonies. She also travels frequently to CarePoints around the globe. If she had one day completely free, she would happily spend it on a beach!

Tom Jennings
International Program Director

Tom splits his time between HopeChest Headquarters in Palmer Lake and CarePoints in Guatemala and Swaziland. He works to improve programs and strengthen relationships with CarePoints, both through his course “Transformation that is Holistic, Integrated, and Sustainable (THIS),” as well as through frequent communication with and travel to CarePoints. He graduated from Upper Iowa University with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Biology. His favorite movie is “Shawshank Redemption.”

Lynnae Supplee
Community Partnership Manager, Uganda

Lynnae seeks to walk alongside, empower, and encourage HopeChest Partnership Leaders in Uganda. This includes (but is certainly not limited to!) helping with sponsorship, advising partners on the community’s Development Plan, and acting as a liaison between the Program Team in Palmer Lake and the Uganda Partnership Leaders. She received her BA in Social Work from Bethel University. In her free time, Lynnae loves to hike and read, likely from her favorite books “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken and “Les Miserables.”

Wendell Geary, Jr.
Vice President of Finance

Working from the Barn in Palmer Lake, Wendell provides financial leadership and oversees the Finance and IT teams to maximize the value of HopeChest resources. He holds a BA in International Relations (magna cum laude) from Bethel University, an MA in Divinity from Bethel Seminary, and an MA in Accounting from the University of St. Thomas. In his spare time he enjoys skiing (and apres-ski).

Sharon Gray
Director of Finance and Human Resources

Sharon provides direct oversight of the Finance and Human Resources departments at HopeChest. She received her degree in Behavioral Studies from The Master’s University and is currently pursuing a degree in Accounting from Colorado Christian University. A prolific reader, Sharon counts among her favorite books “The Quotable Lewis” by C.S. Lewis, “Tess of the D’Ubervilles” by Thomas Hardy, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte, anything by Jane Austen, and, most importantly, her Bible.

Rick Wright
Vice President of Marketing & Investor Advancement

As Vice President of Donor Relations and Marketing, Rick supports and partners with the President and CEO and HopeChest board members on all major fundraising initiatives. He is also responsible for donor acquisition and retention and oversees the strategic marketing direction of the organization. Based in Palmer Lake, he also travels across the country to meet with donors and partners. His ideal day off would be spending a day at the beach enjoying God’s work.

Leona Strait
Accounting Manager

Leona holds a BS in Business Management from Arizona State University and an MBA with a dual emphasis in Finance and Service Management from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. She serves HopeChest’s sponsors and donors by ensuring that funds are recorded and applied as intended. An avid hiker, one of her favorite books is “The Blue Bear” by Lynn Schooler.

Hannah Eloge
Communications Director

Hannah is a creative and helps to encourage sponsors and donors and anyone with a heart for vulnerable children by creating engaging campaigns and marketing strategies. She also oversees HopeChest Insights, print materials, and manages HopeChest social media. She can be found reading any book on creativity – her favorites are “Creativity Inc.,” “The War of Art,” and “Linchpin.” Based in Chicago, Hannah enjoys exploring the city with her husband, Josh, and twin daughters, Ezra and Olive.

Wil Crooks
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

As Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Wil builds relationships with HopeChest partners and potential partners. When he’s not in his office in Portage, Michigan, Wil can be found playing board games, eating nachos, and visiting the zoo with his family.

Nate Kaunley
VP of Community Partnerships

Nate introduces communities to each other for the purpose of local and global transformation. Primarily focused on relationship development, Nate enjoys meeting new people and strengthening existing relationships. If you happen to be at Kingdom Coffee in Springfield, Missouri during the weekday, please stop and say hi – he’ll be at the bench at the southeast window.

David Perry
Director Investor Advancement

David helps people and organizations realize the significant impact of the ministry, encouraging them to identify for themselves how they can best invest in hope for children around the world. He graduated from Western State Colorado University with a degree in Business Administration and counts both “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien and the Bible among his favorite books.

Stephanie Mutert
Community Partnership Manager, Guatemala

Stephanie works to facilitate the relationship between U.S. based churches and community partners in Guatemala, in turn strengthening their efforts to help Guatemala’s orphaned and vulnerable children. Stephanie’s favorite things to watch are action movies and Duke basketball games.

Bethany Parker
Community Partnership Manager, Swaziland/Russia

Bethany holds a degree in Psychology from Auburn University and coordinates with U.S.-based partners and their corresponding orphanages and CarePoints in Swaziland and Russia. Her favorite movie is “Lord of the Rings,” ideally viewed while eating Thai food.

Justin Petrochko
Community Partnership Manager, Ethiopia

Justin supports Community Partnership Leaders in Ethiopia, encouraging them and sharing in their journey. He has a BA in Psychology and Nonprofit Administration, which makes his talents an excellent contribution to the HopeChest team. When HopeChest has a snow day, Justin is likely to be found either watching “Gladiator,” diving into “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis, or skiing with his wife and ending the day with a meal at Quiero Arepas.

Kendyl Berger
Community Partnership Manager, Russia & Swaziland

Working directly with Russia and Swaziland, Kendyl is an essential part of the community connection that happens between North America and our Community Partners. Showing a continuous interest in global awareness, Kendyl received an International Studies BA from Loyola University Chicago with a double minor in Latin American Studies and Spanish Language. When she is not working from HopeChest’s location in Palmer, CO., she loves spending time in the mountains hiking with her dog, Franklin, or riding her horse, Belle.

Meegan Dobson
Sponsorship Administrative Assistant

Meegan oversees all of the correspondence between sponsors and their children—an indispensable part of the community that is created at HopeChest. She graduated from Ozark Christian College with a BA in Christian Ministry, and loves the classic novel “Pride and Prejudice.” On days that she has completely free, she fills her time with all of the great things that Colorado has to offer, such as great coffee, a trip to Denver with friends, and hiking.

Anna McConnell
Travel Manager

Anna helps HopeChest partners and communities plan their trips to CarePoints. These trips are essential to the HopeChest mission of connecting North American communities to communities all around the globe. She is a University of Northern Colorado graduate with a BA in Business Administration (emphasis in Marketing). An ideal movie day for Anna means watching “The Proposal” or “Forever Strong.” She works out of the Palmer, CO. office and loves exploring and adventuring all around Colorado!

Katie Walter
Travel Manager

Planning trips between HopeChest partners and communities at HopeChest’s Ethiopian and Russian CarePoints is part of Katie’s job position as Travel Manager. Katie has a variety of skills from her degrees at Iowa State University (BS in Apparel Merchandising and Design, International Studies) and Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MA in International Education Management). An ideal day to Katie is going hiking with her fiancé and her pup and ending the day at a winery at sunset.

Kimberly Woodridge
Community Partnership Manager, Ethiopia

Kimberly is the bridge of communication between the Ethiopian and North American partners. She is an artistic soul, and earned her degree in Visual and Performing Arts at University of Colorado. Her favorite book is “Walking on Water; Reflections on Faith and Art” by Madeleine L’Engle. She describes her perfect day beginning with setting no alarm. Then she would take her time journaling and reading, enjoying a cup of coffee. Next she would drive west for a while, go back home, get on her bike or longboard, and spend time with people she loves.

Chris Nelson
Sponsorship Systems Analyst

Chris supports every employee at HopeChest as a member of the IT Department through the management, interpretation, and distribution of information. Chris is a maker and a creative. He earned his BA in Media Education and an MA in Theology and Film. Chris’ ideal day includes sleeping in, having a big breakfast, brewing a batch of beer, going hiking with my family, eating a nice dinner at home, and watching a movie with his wife before going to sleep. His favorite book of all time is the sci-fi classic, “Dune!”

Erin Mihelic
Sponsorship and Project Accounting Coordinator

Erin performs the indispensable role of Sponsorship and Project Accounting Coordinator. She is currently enrolled at Regis for an MA in Accounting and a certificate in Nonprofit Management, and already holds a BA in Accounting. Her favorite movie of all time is “Good Will Hunting,” a soulful Robin Williams film. The perfect free day for Erin looks like spending time with her family and her horses.

Dana Bright
Content, Donor Reporting, and Copy Manager

Dana, the grammar police of HopeChest, supports the company by writing and editing various texts. She received her BA in English Literature at University of Colorado and aspires to also earn a Linguistics degree in the future. Her favorite novel is “Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak and in her free time she is reading, exploring, and snapping film photos with her fiancé.

Brian Ergle
Strategic Partnership Director

As Strategic Partnership Director, Brian builds relationships with partners and potential partners. He graduated from the University of Georgia (Go Dogs!!), and he loves stories about hope and determination. His most recent favorite book is “Unbroken,” and his favorite all-time movie is “Remember the Titans.” An ideal day for Brian is spent with his family, Gena, Landon, and Lillie Cate, going to Athens, Georgia for a University of Georgia Bulldog football game. (For those not familiar with UGA football, we call them the DAWGS.) Before the game, the meal that Brian requests is a burger and milkshake from The Grill in downtown Athens, followed by a trip to the campus bookstore. During the game they cheer like crazy and “Call the Dawgs.” After a Dawg victory (unfortunately not always the case) a quick stop at the Varsity on the way home is a must. Gamedays are long, but they are Brian’s favorite way to spend a fun day with the family.

Ken Stewart
Strategic Partnership Director

Ken, or “KStew” as we call him at The Barn, builds relationships with partners and potential partners for Children’s HopeChest. He graduated from Biola University with a BS in Organizational Leadership and an MA in Business Administration. His favorite film is the comedy,“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” featuring Michael Caine and Steve Martin. An ideal day for KStew is a mid-morning round of golf, followed by dinner with his family in the evening.