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.
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.
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.

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.
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.”
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,
PC.
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.

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. 

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. 

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.  

Peter Labenberg

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.   

 

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.

https://www.ameripriseadvisors.com/team/hudson-peak-wealth-advisors/financial-advice-team/darrel.w.upson/