Meet Our U.S. Staff

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Emily Blackledge 
President

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Bill Sullivan
VP Finance & Operations


Meet Our Board of Directors

JERRY HEFFEL
Chairman

As a university student, Jerry Heffel entered a business internship program with the Southwestern Company that proved to be the beginning of a 42 year career with the publishing company founded in 1855 in Nashville, TN.  The last 27 of those years Jerry served as President of the company.  During that tenure the company grew and expanded internationally.  
A leader in the direct selling industry, he has served as Board Chairman of the Washington DC based Direct Selling Association and has been inducted into the DSA Hall of Fame. He has also chaired the 501-c3 Direct Selling Education Foundation. 

Mr. Heffel has always had a passion for building character in young people coupled with a strong commitment to education, both formal and experiential.  He has served on a number of boards of educational institutions including Belmont University, Brentwood Academy and Oak Hill School.  He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the Vanderbilt Owen School of Business.
He has been an active supporter of the Nashville community providing leadership in the United Way and Better Business Bureau.
Mr. Heffel earned a BA from Oklahoma State University where he has been designated an Outstanding Distinguished Alumni.  He holds an MBA from the University of Oklahoma and an Honorary Doctorate from Central Penn College.  

Currently he serves as Board Chairman of African Leadership Inc. and frequently travels to the African continent.  Jerry and his wife Sonnie live in the greater Nashville area.  He is an investor who spreads his time between TN, FL and OK where he raises Angus cattle.


JANE CARROLL

Since she was a teenager in Indianapolis, Jane Failey Carroll has felt drawn to the people of Africa.  As a student at Vanderbilt University, Jane continued to pray for and support friends and others who were ministering throughout Africa while she herself worked with children and families in Nashville's struggling neighborhoods. 
 
After graduating, she married Carlyle Carroll and spent many years being involved in church activities and acting as a busy mom of four. In 2006, Jane took three of their children on a three week trip around Kenya to visit various missionaries, a clinic, and an orphanage. While there, Jane was convinced that the structure that African Leadership uses -- strengthening local church leaders and supporting them as they help their communities -- is the best way to affect Africans for good and for the long haul. She has since traveled back to Kenya and South Africa, as have her now grown children who are involved in various missional activities. Jane is also one of the founding Fabulous Friends for Africa.


BRENT HOPPE

Brent Hoppe is a Certified Public Account with over 30 years in the health care industry, most of which were spent with HCA working on mergers and acquisitions. A graduate of Baylor University, Brent has been a member of Brentwood Baptist Church for 34 years and served in numerous leadership roles: chairman, trustee, deacon, Sunday school teacher, member of the stewardship team, and several others.

Now retired, Brent likes to travel and focus on short-term mission opportunities. He and his wife, Mildred Ann, have been married for over 45 years and have three sons and seven grandchildren


REVEREND WILLIAM MUGFORD

Bill Mugford has served as a Senior and Associate Pastor in multi-denominational settings in the United States and Canada, radio and television speaker/host, adjunct college educator, liaison to government, journal author and substantive editor of the Encyclopedia of Christian Worship, and founder of the Philip Aziz Centre for Hospice and Palliative Care, Toronto, Canada. In occasional roles as church consultant and seminar speaker, Bill has broadened his experience and served the larger church.
Bill has been serving at Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, California since August 2011 alongside Rick and Kay Warren as program visionary, director and primary educator/trainer to build a global/local HIV&AIDS Initiative that ministers to people living with HIV&AIDS and their friends and families in Orange County and surrounding counties in California.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Bill met Rose - his Italian-born sweetheart, spouse and ministry partner of 33 years - in Toronto, Canada. They have two married children and Fenway, a gregarious Maine Coon kitten who lives to play tag, hide-and-seek and snag flying objects off the wall like an outfielder.

Bill loves music of all kinds and plays competitive sports; is a railroad steam-engine aficionado and train collector; and hunts and collects fossils as an amateur paleontologist.
Over and above all, Bill's life has been and is dedicated to presenting Jesus Christ, the Hope of the World.


JAMES O'DONNELL

Jim O’Donnell spent 30 years at ConAgra Foods, Inc., where he rose to become Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary. Prior to that, he was Manager of Cash and Banking Operations for Borden, Inc., and a Commercial Banker with First National Bank of Cincinnati. Throughout his career, Mr. O’Donnell has served on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards. He currently is Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Williamson College and a Board Member of African Leadership, Inc. He holds a B.S. in Finance and Economics from the University of Kentucky and an M.B.A. from Xavier University.  Jim and his wife Pam live in Franklin, TN and are the parents of three sons. 


PETE RATHBUN

Pete Rathbun is General Counsel of American Bible Society and Immediate Past President of the Christian Legal Society. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Mr. Rathbun has counseled nonprofit religious organizations for over 20 years, first in private practice and now in-house. Prior to law school, he spent 15 years in corporate IT management in California. Mr. Rathbun and his wife Peggy now reside in New Jersey and are members of an Evangelical Free Church.

Pete plans to retire from American Bible Society mid to late 2017 with his wife’s full support. 


CLEMENT SASEUN

Clement Aderemi Saseun is currently the Director of Quality Assurance for DineEquity, Inc. (the parent company of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and International House of Pancake - IHOP). Since coming from his homeland, Nigeria in 1982, he earned B.S. degrees in Agricultural Science, Foods and Nutrition, a Masters in Food Science and an advance degree in Business Management. Dr. Saseun is very active in several Food Science professional organizations such as the Institute of Food Technologists (with a designation of Certified Food Scientist), Food Safety Summit Professional and The American Society of Quality. He has also served as the Chairman of the Southern California Section of the Institute of Food Technologists and the Chairman of the organization’s By-Laws Committee. 

In 1989 he joined the African Christian Fellowship (ACF) where he has served in various capacities in the Southern California Chapter as the Secretary, Financial Secretary, Vice President and President of the Chapter. He has also served as the Secretary of the West Region of ACF, and finally on the ACF National Board of Directors as Director of Membership. 

He served for several years on the Board of Director of Global Missions International (as the Chairman) and on the Board of Director of The Institute of Biblical Ministries. 

Recalling the words of Prophet Isaiah: “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shall raise up of many generations; and thou shall be called, The Repairer of the breach, The Restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:12), Clement is a passionate believer that African Christians in the diasporas have a huge responsibility not only in giving back to the home land, but also in building (and rebuilding) the broken walls of the continent. To this end, he supports several ministries on the continent, especially in the Franco-phone Central African Republic. 

Clement lives with his wife of 31 years, Catherine Oluremi in Rancho Cucamonga, California. They are blessed with three grown up children Christopher Adekunle, Christine Aderonke and Charles Ademola.


DR. CATE LOES

Dr. Cate Loes, is an Assistant Professor of Management at the Jack C. Massey College of Business Administration.

Dr. Loes has taught courses in management, services marketing, non-profit marketing, service learning, business communications, and multi-culturalism in business. She is also an instructor for the Center of Executive Education at Belmont University specializing in Business Communications, Listening, and Writing, Generations.

She is a Sam Walton Fellow for the international student organization, Enactus. Through this organization, she mentors students and the greater business community in developing sustainable social enterprises. She enjoys traveling both domestically and internationally with her students. She currently works on projects with students in Ethiopia and Guatemala and across the United States.

Dr. Loes graduated from North Dakota State University with a B.S. in Mass Communications and Speech Communications. She earned an M.B.A. from the Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business and her Doctorate of Management from University of Maryland.  Her research focused on Organizational Selection of Expatriates.

She is an active member of the Nashville non-profit community having served on the boards of The Our Kids Center, Nashville's Table, and The Virtual School of Music, and as an examiner for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence. Dr. Loes is also a certified State of Tennessee Rule 31 Listed Mediator.


STEPHEN GAUSE

Stephen Gause has lived in Nashville since 1993, working professionally in the music business for 20 years as a producer, engineer, mixer, artist, and songwriter. He studied studio production, studio engineering, and music performance at Belmont University for his first four years in Nashville, graduating in 1997. After graduation, Stephen toured full time with various musical acts, his longest tenure being with the band Jars of Clay with whom he crossed 48 states, Canada, Europe, and Africa. By the early 2000s, Stephen had come off the road to settle into his studio business.

As a music producer, Stephen has been honored to mentor and develop many young musicians over the years, helping them to refine their artistic voices and reach their greatest potential. These experiences birthed a passion beyond his vocation for discipling young men in their Christian faith, whether through business or the church. Stephen also has a heart for the continent of Africa, having spent some of his formative years (in the early 1980s) living in Zambia, where his parents served as missionaries.

He and his wife Kara married in 2002, and together, they have 8-year-old twin girls, Odette and Rowan. Their family has called Midtown Fellowship (PCA) their church home since 2004, where they have enjoyed serving in various capacities.


DUANE MURRAY

Duane Murray is currently serving as the Executive & Missions Pastor of Thompson Station Church. In addition, he is working with C12 Group, a Christian CEO peer advisory group, where he leads business leaders to build great companies for a greater purpose. His life purpose is to help others fulfill all that God has imagined through them for his glory.

He and his wife Kristen have two sons, Stephen and Matthew and a daughter, Amanda.  They have lived in Thompson's Station, TN for over 18 years.


TIM HUMERICK

Tim Humerick serves as President of Humerick Environmental Construction, Inc., a full service site development company established in Ohio in 1993 which he relocated to TN in 2007. His focus on integrity has led to great success for the company.

Tim has traveled to Africa multiple times and has invested heavily in Congo with Sister Alvera's Flame of Love orphanage and African Leadership's South Sudan program.

Tim and his wife Serena have 5 children, Travis, Samantha, Tabby, Heaven, and Kolton.  Heaven's adoption from Ethiopia is a story of great faith and miracles!

The Humericks are active members of Thompson Station Church where they serve in multiple ways including the special needs program.