Board of Directors
Board Chair, Ms. Zoë Jasper, presenting Mr. Damyn Kelly as LSSNY’s new President & CEO.
Mr. Andis Akerfelds – Development & Nominations Chair
Mr. Andis Akerfelds is the Chair of the Development & Nominations Committee, which governs fundraising and board relations for LSSNY. He specializes in entrepreneurial pursuits, engineering, construction, and for the past twenty years, fashion branding and licensing. He is responsible for operations in the family-owned fashion business, as well as its photography needs. He is a member of Village Lutheran Church in Bronxville, New York, where he has served on the Board as the property Trustee. Mr. Akerfelds contributed, as Clerk of Works, to the development, planning and construction of the Village Lutheran Church/Chapel School addition. Mr. Akerfelds was a member of the Board of Governors of the Bronxville Field Club, a recording secretary for the Westchester County Swim Conference and a United States-certified national swimming referee. He has also been an active member of the Bronxville school community. Mr. Akerfelds is a husband and father to two daughters.
Mr. Randell Beck
Mr. Beck has been working in real estate for over 20 years, and is currently Associate Real Estate Broker with Daniel Gale/Sotheby’s International Realty. A native of Texas and a former Naval Special Warfare officer, Mr. Beck received his MBA from the University of Texas and was a key figure in land investment and development in Austin prior to his current work in investment real estate in the New York area. He is a member of the Life Management Committee at The Life Lutheran Church in Old Westbury, NY, where he lives with his wife in a century-old home he renovated himself.
Mr. Chris Brown
Mr. Chris Brown is a seasoned fundraiser who currently serves as the Director of Development & Alumni Relations for the Martin Luther School in Maspeth, NY. In that role, he cultivates new relationships with alumni, former school parents, local businesses and community leaders in support of the school’s work and mission. Mr. Brown’s experience extends to the areas of education administration and corporate finance, and he served as the Assistant Vice President of the Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation (Jersey City, NJ). He currently serves on the board of the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce and is a Past President of the Queens Alumni Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
Dr. Julie Butler, DVM
Dr. Julie Butler, DVM, is an entrepreneur and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in her practice at the 145th Street Animal Hospital in Manhattan. In addition, Dr. Butler is a key figure in her community, serving as an Executive Board Member and President of the Veterinary Medical Association of New York City, and Founder and Vice President of New York SAVE (Save Animals in Veterinary Emergencies). She is a member of Mount Zion Church in New York City, and she sings with the South African Harlem Voices Choir.
Dr. LuJuana R. Butts, Ed.D. – Mission Services Committee Chair
Dr. LuJuana Butts is a Commissioned Minister (teacher) of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and has been a full-time professor at three LCMS colleges and universities. She currently teaches third and fourth-graders at St. Mark’s Lutheran School in Yonkers, NY. Dr. Butts holds a Doctorate from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and has an extensive teaching background, together with experience as a Lutheran school principal, a public school assistant principal, and a director of curriculum and instruction in an international school. As a member of Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx, Dr. Butts serves as co-director of Homework Help, an after-school tutorial program, and as a Bible study leader for Ladies in Prayer and Service (LIPs).
Ms. Twila Evanson
Ms. Twila Evanson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who currently works at the Lutheran Counseling Center of New York (Mineola, NY). She provides individual, family and group assessment and psychotherapy services to children, adolescents, adults and couples. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor on Social Welfare Policies to undergraduate students at Concordia College-Bronxville. Ms. Evanson is a member of the Atlantic District Lutheran Women’s Missionary League.
Zoë E. Jasper, Esq. – Board Chair
Ms. Zoë E. Jasper, Esq., Chair of Lutheran Social Services of New York’s Board of Directors, is a partner and founding member of Jasper & Jasper, PLLC. Before joining the board of directors, Ms. Jasper worked as outside counsel to LSSNY. She has worked in both volunteer and professional capacities with other Lutheran organizations and churches, numerous faith-based charities and religious groups from many religious traditions, and secular not-for-profits. Her professional and volunteer work are part of a multigenerational family tradition — four generations of her family have worked with New York’s families and children in employment, housing, foster care and education.
Ms. Jasper is a member of St. Bartholomew’s Church, a past member of the Social Justice Commission of The Riverside Church of New York and former staff member of Riverside’s Social Justice Ministries. She is a former board member of Concord Family Services and with other charities serving children and families. Ms. Jasper is a native New Yorker and raised her children in Brooklyn.
Ms. Lois C. Jenkins
Ms. Lois Jenkins is a retired workers compensation specialist who is highly involved in her church community. As a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Middle Village, NY, she serves as one of the assistant ministers in the church, and is a member of the church choir. Prior to attending Trinity, she was a member of St. Peters Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, NY, where she was president of the church council. In addition, Ms. Jenkins prides herself on the value of family. She spends the majority of her time caring for her aging mother and brother, who has Multiple Sclerosis. She also spends quality time with her son and daughter-in-law. Ms. Jenkins earned an Associate’s Degree from the Borough of Manhattan Community College in NY, and later continued her education in the area of insurance at The College of Insurance in NY, and Pace University in NY. Regarding her involvement as an LSSNY board member, she says, “Lutheran Social Services of New York is a faith-based organization committed to providing service to those who are under-served in the community. I am happy to be a part of such a progressive organization that creates change in the lives of those who have suffered severe obstacles.”
Rev. Marva Jenkins
Rev. Marva Jenkins is Pastor of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Laurelton, Queens. She is a former faculty member at Queens College, The City University of New York. Rev. Jenkins has been the director of the SEEK Program’s (Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge) counseling unit for over thirty years. In addition, she has had various roles in her community and career, including: The Salvation Army, Director of Programming; Lower Eastside Neighborhoods Association, Staff Member; Riverdale Children’s Association, Staff Consultant; Lutheran Ministries in Higher Education, Board of Directors Member; Multicultural Commission Metro NY Synod, Chair; Church Council, President; Commission for Evangelical Outreach Metro NY Synod Interrelations Collaborative, Board of Directors Member; Parish Resource Center, Board of Directors Member; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Member; and Addisleigh Park Civic Association, Member.
Ms. Jennifer Mcburnie
Mr. Harrison D. Oellrich
Mr. Harrison Oellrich is the founder, president and managing principal of Ottauquechee Risk Consultants, created to leverage the risk management communities’ expertise by facilitating its accessibility to both the private and public sectors. He served as the managing director of Guy Carpenter, LLC, and Marsh, Inc., where he was employed for over 30 years. He coordinated the risk management communities’ contribution to the “National Plan for Cyberspace Security,” released by President Bush. He is a consultant to members of the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government.
Mr. Oellrich is also a commissioned, installed deacon of the Atlantic District/LCMS. He is a member of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Garden City, NY, and The LIFE Lutheran Church in Old Westbury, NY. Mr. Oellrich has served in numerous leadership positions, including congregation president. He chaired call committees and is the lay delegate to the Atlantic District/LCMS. He led Resurrection’s assimilation of Redeemer in Old Westbury, NY, and the planting of The LIFE Lutheran Church there. Mr. Oellrich has a B.A. in political science from Hofstra University, and an M.B.A. in management and marketing. He and his family reside in Garden City, NY, and Quechee, VT.
Mr. Dave Reid - Secretary
Mr. Reid is a Major Account Executive for Konica Minolta Business Solutions, with over 25 years of experience in key areas including, Operations, Business Development/Sales, Human Resources and Information Technology. Mr. Reid, a former U.S. Army Captain, served as a Battalion Communications Officer and is a two-time recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal. He is currently the 2nd Vice Chair on the Executive Board and a member of the Housing and Land Use Committee for Community Board 3 in the Bronx. He serves on the Board of Trustees for Mt. Zion Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in the Bronx.
Rev. Dr. Johnson Rethinasamy
The Rev. Dr. Johnson Rethinasamy is the Senior Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Whitestone, NY, which is a growing, mosaic ministry parish. He is also a Mission Executive and identifies and initiates new church plants and mission endeavors of the Atlantic District-Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), and is an entrepreneur creating small business initiatives. Rev. Rethinasamy serves Lutheran Social Services of New York on behalf of the Bishop/President of the Atlantic District-LCMS. “Serving joyfully on the board is a God-given opportunity to engage in a hands-on context of Lutheran understanding of the two kingdom distinctions. Thank God for Lutheran Social Services of New York and for all its services,” he says.
Ms. Robin L. Robin, SPHR – Treasurer
Ms. Robin is the Vice President of the Human Resources Professional Association of Nonprofit Organizations, and a judge for the New York Community Trust and NY Magazine Nonprofit Excellence Awards. Ms. Robin sits on the Diversity & Inclusion Council and HR Council for the National Assembly for Human Services and is a member of the Children’s Arts Guild Women’s Group Planning Committee. She is a member and former Council President of Christ Lutheran Church in New Hyde Park, NY, and president of its associated entity, “Little Sprouts Pre-School.”
Dcs. Raquel A. Rojas
Deaconess Rojas is a Deaconess at Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx. She is part of the Concordia Deaconess Conference and serves on the Task Force Five (Youth) at the Atlantic District-Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. Dcs. Rojas received a Master of Arts in Deaconess Studies from Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne, IN) and received her clinical pastoral education at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx.
Mr. Paul R. Saueracker – Vice Chair
Mr. Paul Saueracker is the former Chairman & CEO of Minerals Technologies Incorporated (MTI). Prior to joining MTI, he served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy, as a Naval Aviator. Mr. Saueracker is a member of the Advisory Board for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. In addition, he is an active member at Grace Lutheran Church in North Bellmore, NY. Mr. Saueracker has a Bachelor’s degree in Geology from Hunter College in Manhattan, a Master’s in Geology from the University of Kansas, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Hofstra University. Regarding his experience on the board, Mr. Saueracker says, “I enjoy working with the other talented board members, as we assist Lutheran Social Services of New York to help individuals and families to improve their lives.”
Mr. Donald Thorsen – Finance Committee Chair
Mr. Donald Thorsen is a retired relationship manager and commercial loan officer of a large money center bank and a regional bank in the New York area. He is a past church council president, Sunday school teacher, youth leader and member of the finance and management committee of a local Lutheran Church. He is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and the New York Institute of Credit. “The Bible speaks often of the responsibility to address the needs of the poor. I am glad and honored to be able to have the opportunity to serve on the Board of Lutheran Social Services of New York, as it serves the poor and needy in the New York area,” says Mr. Thorsen.
Mr. Darrel Upson
Mr. Darrel W. Upson has been the Managing Partner at Hudson Peak Wealth Advisors, one of the nation’s top planning practices at Ameriprise Financial, since 2003. Every year, since 2009, he has had the distinct honor of being awarded a Westchester Magazine Five Star Wealth Manager Award. Mr. Upson has helped his clients define and pursue their vision of financial success. He is a former Chairman of the Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Progress of Peoples Affordable Housing and Development Group, the organization that created over 3,400 units of affordable housing in Brooklyn and Queen. He dedicates time to a number of causes, including Calvary Hospital, Life’s WORC, Lifting Up Westchester and Phelps Memorial Hospital.