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Board and Staff

Board Members

Bridgette KellyBridgette Kelly, St. Paul, MN
Board Co-president

Bridgette currently works as a Program Coordinator for the St. Joseph Worker Program, a year long volunteer program for “Women committed to Social Change!” Bridgette mentors and supports the personal and professional growth of the program participants. Participating in Just Faith led her to make bolder moves as a proponent for social justice, leading to working in classrooms with children on the Autism spectrum and teaching English Language Learners. Having been raised in Iowa and educated in South Dakota, Bridgette considers the Midwest home and has a heart for justice issues involving food and land, women, equality and community. She lives in St Paul, MN in her century-old house where she enjoys history, singing and exploring her communities.

Rita Lampe, Pittsburgh, PA
Board Co-president

Rita is a licensed clinical social worker working in a group holistic practice focusing on providing integrated care. She has been in the mental health field for over 30 years providing counseling to individuals, couples and families. She has also worked in domestic and international adoption for the past 15 years. Rita’s interest in social justice started while volunteering at the Catholic Worker House in St. Louis, Mo for 4 years during college. She believes her values were very much shaped by Catholic Social teaching. She considers herself a feminist and has always been particularly interested in working to improve the lives of women and children. Most recently, she was on the board of Casita Copan for 1 ½ years, an organization in Honduras focusing on providing child care for mothers and foster care for orphans. Rita served on the Mary’s Pence Grant Review committee for 4 years before accepting a board position. Rita speaks Spanish fluently and loves traveling abroad.

Katie Lacz, Boulder, CO
Katie has worked in several programs supporting young adults who choose to encounter people on the margins through service, including the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers and the Romero House at Regis University. A former Jesuit Volunteer, she holds a M.Div. from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, and is now a stay-at-home mother with her young son, Isaac.

Barbara Battista, SP, Terre Haute, IN
Barbara is a physician assistant (PA-C) with an Occupational Medicine practice in Terre Haute Indiana. Additionally she teaches an undergraduate course in Bioethics at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Barbara has undergraduate degrees in pharmacy and medicine and a Master’s in Education. Promoting gender equity and equality across social and church systems is Barbara’s most passionate concern. She is a Sister of Providence of St Mary-of-the-Woods Indiana.

Shelley Coppock, Oakland, CA
Shelley recently retired after 26 years at the National Labor Relations Board’s Oakland regional office, where she was responsible for unfair labor practice investigations and union representation elections as an investigator, supervisor and assistant regional director. Prior to her career at the NLRB, Shelley worked in California as an organizer with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union and in Mexico with the Mexican Friends Service Committee. She has a BA in Sociology and Women’s Studies and an MS in Industrial and Labor Relations specializing in collective bargaining, labor history and labor law. Shelley has also served in a variety of roles at the national and local levels with the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization, in which she focused on communityrelations, immigration, labor, LGBT, and peace issues.

Julie Fertsch, SSJ, Philadelphia, PA
Julie Fertsch SSJ, a Sister of Saint Joseph, is currently serving as the Director of the St. Joseph Worker Program in Philadelphia. She holds a master’s degree in Theology from St. Michael’s College and has experience in education, foreign mission work, counseling/social work, retreat work, and spiritual direction. Sister Julie loves working with all people—and especially young adults! She sees and believes in their great potential!

Karen Hurley, Cincinnati, OH
Karen Hurley has served for the past five years as vice president for development andcommunications at 4C for Children, a child care resource and referral agency in Ohio and Kentucky. In the past 25 years, in addition to editing the national, award-winning magazine, Glenmary Challenge, and the Glenmary Web site, she also served as director of communications at Glenmary Home Missioners,as communications director for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, and as a communications consultant. She is a long time supporter of CRISPAZ, Christians for Peace in El Salvador, and is a former member of their board. The first 20 years of her career she was manager editor of the book division and assistant editor of St. Anthony Messenger. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, Dan, and has two adult children.

Andreen Soley, Los Angeles, CA
Andreen was born in Jamaica but now splits her time between Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Her first foray into non-profits was as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a drug and alcohol prevention collaborative in Northern California. As a result of her work exploring the links between tobacco advertising and teen smoking, Andreen pursued and earned a MA in Media Ecology at New York University. For the past fifteen years, she has worked as a researcher, grant writer, and program administrator in various educational organizations. She currently works at a development professional for a small Catholic high school in Los Angeles, California.

Claudia Preza, Los Angeles, CA
Claudia is a fundraiser specializing in planned giving and is currently enrolled in theCertified Specialist in Planned Giving Program offered at Cal State Long Beach. Claudia has a B.A. in English from Mount Saint Mary’s University and has a deep love for literature. She has a master’s degree in international studies from Claremont Graduate University. She focused her studies on the Latin American region as this is her area of passion. Claudia is of Salvadoran descent and lives in Southern California with her 14 year-old daughter.


Gilda Larios, Mexico City, MexicoGilda Larios
ESPERA Facilitator

Gilda was very deeply involved in the refugee and migration issues in the 1980s and 1990s during the armed conflicts in Central America. She is a professional social worker, and was a co-founder of Women’s Income Generation and Empowerment, a three-time grantee of Mary’s Pence, working with women in Xiutepec, Mexico to create local savings and loan programs. Gilda served on the Mary’s Pence board for several years, participating in the strategic planning process that ‘birthed’ ESPERA in 2008. Now Gilda is Mary’s Pence ESPERA Facilitator, serving as the key liaison and coach to the ESPERA groups in Central America and Mexico. She spends many weeks on the road each year, and loves to dialogue on alterative economies and the circulation of money.

Katherine Wojtan, St. Paul, MNKatherine Wojtan
Executive Director

Katherine came to Mary’s Pence with a background in strategic planning, project management and training/facilitation, mostly in a corporate setting. She has facilitated retreats on nonviolence, was a founding member of Conversation with Other (cross-conflict facilitation), has volunteered for Nonviolent Peaceforce, and served as a core team member founding the Minnesota Peace Team which was created to provide a nonpartisan presence during the Republic National Convention.

Gabriela Bandini, Mexico City, Mexico
ESPERA Business Facilitator

Gabriela has been involved with various NGOs working with rural women in Mexico to support the formation of social enterprises. In 2014 she founded the organization PiXKA Integral Participation with a group of young Mexican professionals to provide services to individuals, groups and organizations working for justice from a gender perspective. Gabriela has a degree in International Business from the University of Monterrey and an International Masters in Rural Development from a consortium of four European Universities under the Erasumus Mundus program.

Eva Martinez,Suchitoto, El SalvadorEva Martinez
ESPERA Promote
Eva Martinez Menjivar supports ESPERA Funds in El Salvador and Honduras .She is from Suchitoto, El Salvador and previously worked with Concertaciónde Mujeres de Suchitoto. Eva was elected by the women of the Concertación to be the first coordinator of the ESPERA Fund in Suchitoto, Mary’s Pence’s first ESPERA project. Eva is a survivor of the armed conflict of 1980-1991 and a trained nurse.

Grace Garvey-Hall, St. Paul, MN
Development and Communications Liaison

Grace graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA where she studied English and Hispanic Studies. She became interested in global feminism and solidarity after studying and living in Peru, Ecuador, and Spain. She worked as the summer 2014 Communications Intern for Mary's Pence. Grace enjoys reading, cooking, singing in her church choir and traveling when she can.

Nadine Sehnert, St. Paul, MN

Nadine came to Mary's Pence with a passion for community. After many years working in the corporate world, she made a change and has worked in several local non-profit organizations in program, finance and management positions. She volunteers at her local parish, St. Albert the Great and is a member of the Woman's Club of Minneapolis. She and her husband also manage the Twin Cities Board Games Meetup group, which advocates for building community through playing board games.

Aline Fillipo, St. Paul, MN
Office Coordinator

Aline is from Viçosa, Brazil. She holds a degree in Computer Science from the University of Minas Gerais and a specialization in Project Management from Fundação Dom Cabral. She is delighted to contribute to the social justice movement as part of the Mary's Pence team, and she aspires to use her organizational skills and a hands-on approach in her work. Apart from her commitments at Mary's Pence, she is busy spending time with her family and raising three boys, instilling in them a sense of justice and feminist values.

Svitlana Iukhymovych, St. Paul, MN
St. Joseph Worker volunteer/Development and Communications

Svitlana is a recent graduateof Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, where she studied literature and psychology. As a 2016-2017 St. Joseph Worker, she will bring her curiosity for writing and world issues to her job in communications at Mary’s Pence. Svitlana is from Shepetivka, Ukraine and previously worked with the Center for Victims of Torture and Open Farms-Open Arms in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. She breakdances in her free time.

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