Board of Directors

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.
Lavonne Bost-Barksdale

LaVonne Bost-Barksdale is a real estate agent with eXp Realty and has been since 2019.  In that capacity she also mentors new agents joining the company and teaches Matrix classes for OneKey MLS.  She has closed on 29 properties and has 4 currently listed for sale.  She is also an employee of 30 years by the Human Resources Administration (HRA) with the Homelessness Prevention Assistance (HPA) unit as the Director of the Landlord Management Unit (LMU), both which are very rewarding positions.

Ms. Bost-Barksdale enjoys helping people to reach their goals whether it is helping to purchase or sell a home or helping them to remain stably housed after experiencing homelessness. She prides herself on being able to work with everyone and her leadership and expertise in starting up new programs or initiatives which she has done on several different occasions in her capacity as a director.

Ms. Bost-Barksdale holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Bernard Baruch, CUNY as well as a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Fordham University. She is in the process of obtaining her broker license and certification in Property Management to be able to better assist her clients in all facets of the real estate process. And she will soon be a published author.

Ms. Bost Barksdale loves to crochet elaborate graphgans in her spare time and she is an avid reader.  She is the proud mother of two a son, 34, a Navy Veteran and a daughter, 33, a licensed mental health counselor.  She is responsible for payroll for her church and was a member of the board at the same church for 2 years, which was an extremely rewarding experience. In addition to being a board member she was a head usher and was responsible for counting and accounting for all offerings collected each week.

Diana Auer, Esq

Diana Auer is a member of the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Garden City, NY. For the past 5 years, she has been employed full-time by Resurrection as the Director of Youth and Family ministry.

Ms. Auer graduated from the University of Virginia in 2011, with a Bachelors of Arts. During her time at Uva, she served as the Vice President of her sorority, Delta Zeta, as well as the President of the Sexual Assault Peer Advocacy (“SAPA”), through which she met with all the sororities and fraternities on Grounds to train them in bystander intervention and how to support survivors of intimate partner and domestic violence.

During the summer of 2010, Ms. Auer was granted a 100-ton US Coast Guard’s Master Captain’s license, which awarded her the opportunity to meet with the Executive Board of the Semester at Sea program at Uva and was subsequently asked to create a curriculum for a mandatory sexual assault training program for the entire faculty of the Semester at Sea program (over 200 members across 10 countries). The process of writing and creating this curriculum allowed her to explore many aspects of maritime law, including jurisdictional complications and injury to passengers.

Directly after undergraduate school, Ms. Auer was enrolled in the Hofstra University School of Law where she was elected the President of Hofstra Law Women and was a Dean’s List student. She was accepted as a summer law clerk for the Hon. Arthur D. Spatt, in the Eastern District of New York Federal Court system. Ms. Auer was selected for membership to the Hofstra’s Family Court Review journal and served as the article’s editor. During this time, she submitted her note for publication on the current state law loopholes pertaining to marital rape. In addition, she was chosen to serve as a research assistant for Professor Herbie DiFonzo, and their collaborative research on the legal standards for child custody was published in an academic journal.

Upon graduation, Ms. Auer passed the New York State Bar and was admitted to practice law in the state and federal courts in New York State. She then began practicing full-time as a litigator, focusing on insurance fraud and federal RICO violations. She was also recognized by Hofstra Law School as one of their “Outstanding Women in the Law.” 

Despite a promising legal career, Ms. Auer knew that something was missing in her life. After much prayer and consideration, she quit her job as a litigator and began working full-time at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Garden City, NY. She has since been installed as a lay deacon and continues to seek ways to advance her impact within the church.

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.
Mr. Harrison D. Oellrich - Chair of the Board

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.

Ms. Robin L. Robin - Board Secretary

Ms. Robin is the Chief People and Administrative Officer for the Corporation for Supportive Housing, 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.”

Mr. Paul R. Saueracker
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.”
Laura Bauer

Since 2018, Laura Bauer has been the Manager of Corporate and Foundation
Relations for God’s Love We Deliver in New York City. She previously worked as
a patent attorney at Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto in New York City, as well as a site developer/administrator at The LIFE Lutheran Church in Old Westbury, New York. Ms. Bauer obtained her Juris Doctor at St. John’s University as well as a Masters degree in Public Administration through the Executive Program at the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College. She has had extensive experience serving on boards of Lutheran organizations including The Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Garden City, New York; The Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School (LUHI) in Brookville, New York; and the Lutheran School Association (LSA).

Daryl Goodwin

Daryl Goodwin is Vice President, Global Technology Portfolio Manager at Chubb
Insurance, where he manages multiple IT portfolios in support of the CIO's
business objectives. Daryl is specifically focused on human resources technology
projects in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. He has a long and illustrious career in
IT project management and development across various industries. At New York
Life Insurance, Goldman Sachs, Honeywell, and Wakefern Food Corporation, he
was responsible for managing large-scale, technology-focused projects and
implementations across the globe.
Daryl received his bachelor's degree from New York University and his MBA from
Pace University. He resides in West Orange, New Jersey and enjoys photography.

Jennifer Smith Esq.

Jennifer Smith is the principal partner in the law firm of Jennifer Smith, PLLC,
where she represents small businesses, union members, and religious institutions.
Prior to starting her own firm, Ms. Smith was a partner in the firm Robinson Brog,
She also serves as Treasurer of the Grenfell Association of America, an 18 million-
dollar charitable organization providing health, education, and community
wellness grants.
Prior to her election to the board of LSSNY, Jennifer served on the board of the
Related Entities of LSSNY, and the board's program and finance committees.

Georges Ramalanjaona, MD, PhD

A board-certified physician in practice in New York State, Dr. Georges
Ramalanjaona serves as Regional Medical Director for a multistate healthcare
organization. He is currently a member of both THE LIFE Lutheran Church in Old
Westbury and the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Garden City. Dr.
Ramalanjaona is a past member of the mission committee of The Atlantic District
and Lutheran Church of the Resurrection and member at large of the Malagasy
Lutheran Church in Madagascar.
At the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Garden City, Dr. Ramalanjaona
launched a CPR/AED course. He is involved in special mission projects at a school
for the deaf and the blind in Madagascar.
He is married and a father of three children who have been baptized and
confirmed in the Lutheran faith.

Samantha Williams Esq.

Samantha Williams currently serves as Commercial Counsel at Colgate-Palmolive.
Prior to moving to New York and working in her current role, she practiced as an
associate attorney at two large law firms in Washington, D.C. and Houston, Texas.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Ms. Williams obtained her bachelor’s degree in
International Relations from Brown University and her Juris Doctor degree from Vanderbilt University Law School. Her communication and legal skills, attention to detail and organization, and eagerness to work with all types of people are all competencies she will bring to her position as a member of Lutheran Social
Services of New York’s board.

Rachel Monroe Cohen, Esq., - Board Vice Chair & Program Committee Co-Chair
Ms. Monroe-Cohen is a member of The LIFE Lutheran Church in Old Westbury, New York.  She serves on the Church Council and her Council designated area of service is Missions – both locally and abroad.  She has encouraged, solicited, gathered and facilitated food, clothing and baby item donations for Lutheran Social Services as the primary focus of the Church’s Missions work.  LSSNY has recognized the Church as one of its primary sources of support and donations throughout the year. 


Rachel founded the Reagan and Jax Cohen Memorial Fund with her husband, in April of 2014 after the unexpected passing of her two children and her mother in an accident.  The purpose of the Fund is to raise money to benefit the health and welfare of children.  To date, the Fund has raised over $1 million dollars.  Sample beneficiaries include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Save the Children’s Early Education initiative and The Brooke Jackman Foundation’s literacy and healthy food initiative. Most recently, LSSNY was the recipient of $60,000 from the foundation. 

Mrs. Cohen says of her passion for serving on LSSNY’s board; “Having witnessed the work of LSSNY, via my role at the Church, I can think of no greater honor than to play a small part in the incredible effect that it is having on those in need.  After experiencing great loss, my heart’s desire is to minister to those who experience suffering of any kind – especially children and families.”  

Barbara Johnson - Program Committee Co-Chair
Barbara A. Johnson spent more than 30 years as an educator with the New York City Board of Education, the present-day Department of Education.  Educated in the New York City Public School system, she chose education as her career, because of the invaluable education she received. She taught grades K-5 and volunteered to mentor colleagues new to her school and the school system because she understood how important the first year of teaching is to both teacher and students.   Ms. Johnson was a teacher, assistant principal, and principal during her professional career.

She earned a Citation of Merit (Feb. 2003) for leadership in the NYC public school system from Adolfo Carrion, Bx. Borough President, and the Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award (2002) from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, Inc.

During her retirement, she has continued to hold leadership positions as President of her church based Federal Credit Union (now merged) and is currently President of her Co-op Board of Directors.  She is the recipient of an Outstanding Discipleship Award from the Black Pastors’ Group of the Metropolitan New York Synod (MNYS) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  She has received in 2019, Certificates of Recognition from Bronx Community Board 9 -Senior Symposium, Certificates of Recognition from Senator Luis Sepulveda, Senator Alessandra Biaggi, and Citations from Assemblyman Hon. Marco A. Crespo and City Council Member Rev. Ruben Diaz for her community leadership and involvement.

Barbara A. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University (N.J), a Master of Science in Education from Hunter College, New York City, (1974) and an Advanced Certificate in Education in Supervision and Administration (1993) also from Hunter College, NYC.

Rebecca Johnson
Ms. Rebecca Johnson has a MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and a MSCED from New Hampshire College. She is the organizer and consultant for numerous social justice organizations She is also a consultant on fundraising and organizational development. Ms. Johnson is also an adjunct professor at Sarah Lawrence College, and she is the Principal at Rebecca Johnson Consulting, Inc., a fundraising consulting firm that works with grassroots organizations. She is a a published author on areas related to public health. 
Steven Jones, CPA - Board Treasurer & Finance Committee Chair
Mr. Steve T. Jones, Jr. was born in Jamaica, N.Y., and baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church of Locust Manor where he remains an active member. Steven is a graduate of Grace Lutheran Day School in Queens Village and Martin Luther High School in Maspeth, NY.  Upon graduation, Steven attended Boston University and Queens College.  He eHis a Certified Public Accountant and began his public accounting career at Loeb & Troper CPAs and then continued at the professional services firm Deloitte LLP.  At both firms he specialized in not-for-profit, healthcare, and higher education services.

In 2003, Steven joined Project Renewal, Inc., a 53-year-old homeless services organization that touches the lives of over 15,000 of New York City’s most vulnerable men and woman a year.  Project Renewal’s mission is to end the cycle of homelessness by empowering individuals and families to renew their lives through health, homes, and jobs. Steven is the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer and is responsible for the financial operations that include seven homeless shelters that total approximately 1,000 beds a night.  In addition, there are 239 transitional housing beds, 459 permanent supportive housing beds and a Federally Qualified Health Center program consisting of 3 brick and mortar clinics and a mobile medical program. The organization’s annual budget is over $120 million.

Steven’s commitment to Christian service has continued through the years. He remains an active member of Trinity’s Men’s Organization, serves as the Treasurer of the Board of Trustees and he represents the congregation as a member of the Lutheran High School Association of New York. In 2008, he became the first president of the newly formed Martin Luther School and continues to serve the school in that capacity.

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 several causes, including Calvary Hospital, Life’s WORC, Lifting Up Westchester and Phelps Memorial Hospital.