Board of Directors
Mr. Andis Akerfelds – Development & Nominations Chair
Ms. Twila Evanson
Ms. Lois C. Jenkins
Rev. Marva Jenkins
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.
Mr. Dave Reid - Secretary
Ms. Robin L. Robin, SPHR – Treasurer
Mr. Paul R. Saueracker
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 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
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.
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.”
Eddie Fergus, PhD:
Dr. Eddie Fergus is an Associate Professor of Urban Education at Temple University and lives in New York. He spent many years with the Children’s Aid Society and helped develop their Community School Program, which is one of the biggest initiatives of the DeBlasio administration. Eddie Fergus’ research interest is education and urban youth. He is a former Board member of the Leona Hemsley Foundation.
Dr. Fergus is an author and co-author of 5 books and has authored numerous research articles focused on Urban Education. He is a consultant to the Education Departments of Texas, New York, California, and Maryland. He has a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan School of Education and a Bachelor’s degree from Beloit College. Mr. Fergus also serves on several philanthropic and educational boards.
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.
Rev. John Saraka:
Rev. John Saraka is the Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Staten Island. He received his BA from Wagner College and his Master of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Seminary. He has also served as the Senior Pastor at Atonement Lutheran Church and the Pastor of Christ Ascension Lutheran Church. He has vast experience in social service program development and has served on the Board of several nonprofits.
Since August of 2006, Mr. Peter Labenberg has served as the Atlantic District Executive for Finance and Stewardship in combination with serving as Vice President of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund.
Born and raised in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, Mr. Labenberg, his wife Dr. Laura Labenberg (a professor at Hofstra University), three children and two dogs make their home in Wantagh on Long Island. They are members at both Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Garden City and The Life in Old Westbury.
A masters’ level graduate in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in marketing, Mr. Labenberg has over twenty years of experience in the banking industry. He served as Vice President and Marketing Officer for Roosevelt Savings Bank and Roslyn Savings Bank. Peter’s marketing efforts in growing the bank were captured in numerous awards and publications as the bank grew from $500 million to over $20 billion in assets during his tenure.
In both 2012, 2015 and 2016, under Peter’s direction, the Atlantic District received the LCEF National District Award in honor of outstanding efforts in promoting mission and ministry. The Atlantic District became the first and only District to ever receive the honor in consecutive years.
As the District Vice President of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, Mr. Labenberg oversees a balance sheet of $35 million in assets and $15 million in District loans.
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.