Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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Rick Wright
Vice President of Marketing & Business Development

As Vice President of Marketing & Business Development, 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.

Rachel Andrews
Vice President of Community Partnerships

As Vice President of Community Partnerships, Rachel leads the team responsible for managing all aspects of community partnerships, both locally and internationally. Based in Palmer Lake, Rachel is frequently on Skype or phone calls with in-country staff, reviewing Management Team reports, budgets and proposals, development plan creation and assisting with facilitating training overseas. She also travels frequently to our overseas offices and CarePoints around the globe for ongoing relationship building and program evaluation. When she is not working, she is spending her time with her husband, three kids hiking at their family cabin or cheering for Denver Broncos. If she had one day completely free, she would happily spend it on a beach!!

Wil Crooks
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

As Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Wil builds relationships with HopeChest partners and potential partners. Wil started out as a pastor partnering with HopeChest, and now he shares the same vision that he caught with other 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
Vice President of Donor Advising

As Vice President of Donor Advising, Nate educates HopeChest’s current and potential donors on unique ways to support the HopeChest mission. He graduated from Evangel University with a Bachelor of Science in sociology and is working on his M.O.L. degree. Based in Portland, Maine, he also travels across the country to meet with donors and partners. “Captain Fantastic,” which is Nate’s favorite film, is a great representation of his own family’s love of spending time together in the woods or on the water.

Ana Brown
Controller

As the Controller, Ana is responsible for all high-level accounting. She has an integral role in ensuring HopeChest’s financial transparency! Ana graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in accounting, and when she is not working she is out in the Colorado mountains camping or hiking. Being near the ocean holds a special place in her heart, and if she had an ideal day off it would be spent at a beach in the Caribbean.

Tom Jennings
International Program Director | Swaziland/Eswatini, Guatemala, Moldova, India

Tom splits his time between HopeChest Headquarters in Palmer Lake and CarePoints in Guatemala and Swaziland/Eswatini. 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.”

 

Tesfatsion “Tesfa” Tsegaye
International Operations Director | Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Russia

In addition to extensive hands-on experience, Tesfa earned his Bachelor of Business Management as well as two master’s degrees in business administration and business economics. He works directly with our in-country staff and oversees the in-country implementation and management of our programs at our CarePoints. If he had one day completely free, he would spend the day with his wife, who he met at Children’s HopeChest, and his kiddos playing at home or taking them out to enjoy time outside together. His favorite book is “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren.

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David Edson
Strategic Partnership Director

As Strategic Partnership Director at Children’s HopeChest, David’s work includes telling people about how their communities can partner with the awesome children and CarePoints we serve. He started college in Prague at University of New York Prague. Then he shifted course and went to the National Outdoor Leadership School in the Patagonia region of Chile, where he completed an outdoor education/wilderness course and got certified as a Wilderness EMT/Search and Rescue Specialist from the Wilderness Medical Institute. After that he studied Business Management at Missouri State University. Now David works in the world of building partnerships, connecting with people who have a passion for alleviating global poverty. If David was stuck on a deserted island, he would bring the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but he would probably figure out how to be sought and rescued pretty quickly.

Whitney Scholtens
Partner Development Manager

As Partner Development Manager, Whitney advocates on behalf of the marginalized and impoverished of this world by seeking partners who want to participate in the transformation of these communities into thriving entities who would otherwise be vulnerable to oppression. She is a part of offering both trainings and opportunities for engagement to businesses, churches and networks who seek to engage. Having attended Hope College for her undergrad in Social Work, and achieving her Masters in Social Work from Michigan State University, Whitney’s heart for advocacy is ever-growing. If she could take any famous person to brunch it would be Harriet Tubman, because even as a child Whitney was inspired by her awareness and action toward righting injustices. On an off day you might catch Whitney watching one of her favorite movies (Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting, or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) with her family. She has four boys – “two adopted, two biological – all nuts!”

 

 

Leona Strait
Accounting Manager

Leona holds a Bachelor of Business Management from Arizona State University and an M.B.A. 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.

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Aurora Flores
HR Generalist + Accounting Specialist

Aurora is a jack of all trades, master of many. She is bringing extensive experience to HopeChest from previous human resources roles, as well as contributing her accounting experience and educational background to our finance department. While at National American University, she earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting. An ideal day off from work would include having all of her kids and grandkids together, enjoying a family day.

Chris Nelson
Sponsorship Systems Senior Manager

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 bachelor’s degree in media education and a master’s degree in theology and film. Chris’s 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!”

Atkelt Simon
Operations Specialist

Atkelt facilitates numerous aspects of the sponsorship process at Children’s HopeChest. He received his Bachelor of Information Systems from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and MBA from Colorado State University. If he had a whole day free, he would would take his wife and son out — enjoying nature, eating out, and spending time with them. His two favorite texts are the Bible and Francis Chan’s “Crazy Love.” When he’s not working or spending time with his family, he enjoys playing soccer and running.

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Teri Roberts
Special Projects Manager

Teri’s direction and exceptional project management skills contribute to HopeChest by helping our organization execute and complete projects that help us grow and expand our mission. She earned her bachelor’s degree in information systems and accounting at Emporia State University, and later graduated from Denver University with a master’s in telecommunications. Outside of work, a perfect day for Teri would be spent in nature, doing a long, hard hike in the mountains or kayaking on a mountain lake. After walking her two big dogs, she might unwind by watching her favorite movie, “Young Frankenstein.”

Bethany Kerstetter
Marketing Manager

Bethany graduated from John Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, and also holds a Master of Business Administration from University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She oversees HopeChest’s design work, print materials, and organizes marketing campaigns. When Bethany is not working, she can be found spending time with her husband and daughter, playing board games with friends, or eating at unique “hole in the wall” restaurants.

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Dana Owens
Content, Donor Reporting, & Copy Manager

Dana, the grammar police of HopeChest, supports the company by writing and editing various texts. She manages the blog, HopeChest Insights, as well as the social media and grant process. She received her bachelor’s degree in English literature at University of Colorado and aspires to also earn a linguistics degree in the future. She is studying Russian and loves language. Her favorite novel is “Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak and in her free time she is reading, exploring, and snapping film photos with her husband.

 

Justin Petrochko
Supervisor of Community Partnership Managers, and Community Partnership Manager | Ethiopia

As Lead Community Partnership Manager, Justin facilitates greater efficiency and innovation within the Community Partnerships Team. Justin also supports HopeChest Partnership Leaders in Ethiopia, encouraging them and sharing in their journey. He has a bachelor’s degree 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.

 

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.

Kimberly Woolridge
Community Partnership Manager | Ethiopia, Russia

Kimberly connects communities in Ethiopia and Russia to their 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.

 

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Michelle Smith
Community Partnership Manager | Uganda, Kenya, Eswatini

Michelle guides the relationships between North American partners and CarePoints in Uganda, Kenya, and Eswatini. She studied at the University of Maine at Augusta, where she earned a bachelor’s in English, and attended University College Cork in Ireland to study international development. Her ideal day off would be spent skiing fresh powder at Winter Park or Copper Mountain with friends and family, but if she got stuck on the mountain forever she’d want to bring “Asgeir: In the Silence” to listen to.

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Kathy Duncan
Community Partnership Manager | Eswatini, Guatemala

As Community Partnership Manager, Kathy guides the relationships between North American partners and CarePoint communities in Eswatini and her home country, Guatemala! She attended Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas and achieved a double major in international business and global economic development. Kathy describes her perfect day off as being in beautiful Guatemala, surrounded by family and enjoying an amazing meal cooked by her grandmother. But she also loves spending a day with her husband exploring the city and nature. If she had a superpower, she would choose flying, so she could quickly visit all kinds of places!

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Nina Westcott
Travel Manager | Guatemala, Eswatini

Nina’s role at HopeChest connects North American communities to their partnered communities overseas through planning and managing partner visits. She graduated from Whitworth University with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. If Nina was stranded on a desert island with one album to play on repeat, it would be “Staying at Tamara’s” by George Ezra. An ideal day off for Nina would be spent fishing, hiking, and reading in Eleven Mile Canyon with her family.