Leadership

Board of Directors

Nell Becker-Sweeden

Nell Becker Sweeden has been serving in Nazarene Compassionate Ministries since 2004 and is presently the international director and CEO of NCM, Inc. She has conducted trainings and lectured in over a dozen countries. Nell holds a Ph.D. in practical theology from Boston University and is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. Nell’s research is on hospitality practice and the life of the Church in light of transnational migration and specifically U.S. Latino/a immigration. She is the author of Church on the Way: Hospitality and Migration.

Nell and her husband, Josh (academic dean of Nazarene Theological Seminary), most recently served as assistant professors of theology and Richard B. Parker co-chairs in Wesleyan Theology at George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon, before returning to Kansas City. In their spare time, Josh, Nell, and their sons, Elias and Asher, spend as much time as possible outdoors, camping, biking, and hiking.

Catherine Penrod

Catherine has served as the Executive Director of Alfalit International since 2017. Ms. Penrod began her career at the PA State House of Representatives in Harrisburg as a Legislative Research Analyst for the Health & Welfare and Professional Licensure State Committees. Her nonprofit career includes leadership and management positions at the United Way, ActionAIDS, Arthritis Foundation, and American Red Cross – all in Pennsylvania.  Upon joining the latter, she moved through various roles with the organization in Washington, DC; Columbia, SC; Green Bay, WI; and Orlando, West Pasco, Miami, and the Keys in Florida. A trained disaster relief operations administrator, she assisted in the aftermath of a number of disaster relief operations in the U.S. and the American Virgin Islands and also served as the State of Florida’s Hurricane Watch Manager. She headed Switchboard of Miami, one of the largest informational and referral and crisis counseling organizations in the United States before coming to Alfalit.

Her many awards and honors include, but are not limited to, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce – Business Woman of The Year Award (2015), South Florida Business Journal Influential Business Women Award (2015), Outstanding Human Services Professional Award Finalist (2015), Florida International University President’s Council (2015), and Top Ten Women Leaders in Florida Nonprofits-2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 (The Commonwealth Institute). She was also selected to attend the prestigious “Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management” at Harvard Business School. Deeply involved with her church, she has served as a deacon, a member of the Church School Commission and the Sustainability Commission as well as the Personnel Committee.

Herb Ehresman

Herb joined Compassion International in 2006. He has held a variety of program director roles focusing on program design and delivery throughout Compassion’s network of field countries and partner churches. He currently serves as the program development principal for strategic alliances, a new global function intended to increase Compassion’s collaboration and engagement with like-minded organizations. Prior to Compassion, Herb has worked in both corporate and military settings, holding jobs as a civil engineer, university professor, and business consultant. He holds a BS in civil engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy, an MS in geotechnical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Duke University.

Herb, his wife Dawn, and their four children live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where they enjoy raising goats, being outside, and attending a church planted by the Anglican Church of Rwanda.

Mike Mercer

Mike is the founder and CEO of Compassion First, a Christian relief/anti-trafficking organization that has pioneered holistic, long-term care and rehabilitation for survivors of child sex trafficking in Indonesia. Their work is also supported by peer-to-peer law enforcement training efforts, legal advocacy for survivors, and community development work in severely vulnerable communities.

Prior to working for Compassion First, Mike was the co-founder of Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR) and served in various pastoral roles in Beaverton, Oregon, following his graduation from Multnomah University in 1995. Mike remains an advisor to FDR International and an ordained minister in the Foursquare Church. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Kymra, their three children, and an Australian Labradoodle. He loves golf and martial arts and is good at neither.

Micah Payton

Micah has the ‘pleasure’ of serving as a Chick-fil-A Owner/Operator in Manteca, CA.  Prior to his new mission to see lives impacted through serving a delicious chicken sandwich, he served as an attorney representing nonprofit organizations, charter schools, and churches, and as Assistant General Counsel for Compassion International, focusing on HR matters, contracts, marketing, and religious freedom issues.

He is a graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and James Madison University. He lives, serves, and plays in the Central Valley in California with his wonderful wife, three children, and his Newfoundland dog.

Nathan Bult

Nathan is the vice president of public and government affairs at Bethany Christian Services. Prior to joining Bethany, he served as a senior communications adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services. Nathan began his career working for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served seven years. As Bethany’s vice president of public and government affairs, Nathan helps Bethany execute on strategy, policy, and communications that is essential to their ability to serve children and families. Nathan and his wife, Laura, live in Washington, DC’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Lara Lambert

Originally from South Africa, Lara serves as the Director of Program Development for Water Mission, leading a team of subject matter experts in WASH service delivery models, behavior change communication, and monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning. With 10 years of professional experience within the WASH sector, Lara has provided both technical and program support in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Lara holds a master’s degree in both Higher Education and community-based Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation.

Staff

Chad Hayward

Chad Hayward serves as Executive Director for Accord Network. Prior to this role, Chad served  as the senior adviser for the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at USAID.

Prior to joining USAID, he spent several years on Capitol Hill, where he served as communications director & policy aide to members of Congress. Before his time in Washington, Chad worked as director of operations for an organization working to encourage engagement with persecuted Christians worldwide, as well as for a development/consulting firm that specialized in helping nonprofits. Chad holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Wesleyan University and resides in Southwest Michigan.

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