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Meet Our Speakers

Kerry Alys Robinson

President & CEO, Catholic Charities USA

Kerry Alys Robinson is the newly appointed president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and the second woman and second layperson to lead the domestic humanitarian arm of the Catholic Church in the United States. She has devoted her entire professional career to strengthening and serving the church.  For nearly two decades, Kerry was the founding director and executive partner of Leadership Roundtable, the influential organization of laity, religious and clergy working together to promote best practices and accountability in the management, finances, communications and human resource development of the Catholic Church in the U.S.  Robinson was also the executive director of the Opus Prize Foundation, which awards an annual million-dollar prize honoring those whose ministry is dedicated to alleviating human suffering. A member of the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities and FADICA (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities), she has been an advisor to and trustee of more than 25 grantmaking foundations, charitable nonprofits and family philanthropies. She served for 15 years on the national committee for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development. A sought-after Catholic writer and speaker, Robinson is the prize-winning author of “Imagining Abundance: Fundraising, Philanthropy and a Spiritual Call to Service.” Her work also has appeared in America Magazine, Chicago Catholic and other leading Catholic publications, and she has been quoted extensively in the Catholic and national media.

Brian G. Bachand

Founder, evolution evolution

Brian G. Bachand is Founder and CEO of Evolution Evolution in Toronto. As a highly respected member of the advancement and philanthropic communities in both Canada and the United States, Brian has an unparalleled knowledge of the people and organizations who are at the intersection of private sector investment, academic research, and public policy globally.

Brian received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Steubenville, and his Master of Divinity from Saint John’s in Boston; he received the John King Mussio Award for alumni in leadership. Brian is active in the Toronto community, currently serving as Board Chair for ACCES Employment, assisting job seekers of diverse backgrounds.

Derek Bechtel

Founder & CEO, RDK Philanthropy

God gave Derek a heart to encourage and lead people to achieve great things through kindness and a drive for excellence. He work’s toward this goal every day as a follower of Jesus, as a husband, as a father, and as a non-profit executive leader.

As founder and CEO of RDK Philanthropy, Derek’s expertise incudes:

  • Developing and conducting fundraising campaigns at all levels of giving, specializing in gifts of $10 million and greater

  • Developing life-long donor relationships through all types of fundraising and stewardship plans

  • Creating and conducting local and national income-generating events

Rose Feerick

Co-Director, Wisdom & Money

Rose Feerick grew up in a family that emphasized kindness, ethics, integrity and generosity.   As a young adult, she decided to live simply and work with women who were homeless.  About the same time, she received the unexpected gift of a financial portfolio. The paradox of that moment awakened questions related to wealth, spiritual wisdom and social justice. Rose has been offering retreats related to money and Christian spirituality since 2003.  She has a BA from Georgetown University and an MDiv from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University.  She lives in Santa Cruz, California and is delighted to be the mother of two young adult sons who share her love of music, nature and conversation about stuff that matters.

Jon Hokama

Associate Director, Wisdom & Money

Jon Hokama, third-generation Japanese-American son of an Episcopal church organist and medical school professor, serves as both teaching assistant with the Center for Action and Contemplation and as Associate Director of Finance and Fund Development with Wisdom and Money. After mentoring university students with an interdenominational evangelical campus ministry, he’s followed his intertwining passions for contemplative prayer, executive coaching and finance in Fortune 100 companies, through small businesses and the Financial Planning Association (FPA), and into the community of Wisdom and Money. Jon and his wife Susan have a ministry of hospitality and love the mountains, trees and the ocean. They are current students in the Living School and have four adult children, their partners, and four grandchildren.

Jon occasionally still plays cello, was educated at Iolani School and UCLA, earned graduate degrees from Denver Seminary and the University of Colorado Boulder (economics) and is a retired EPC campus pastor.

Ben Keesey

Director of Development, Center for Action & Contemplation

Ben Keesey graduated from UCLA with a degree in Applied Mathematics with the goal of becoming a rich guy. But life – thankfully – had other plans. Ben’s life changed after spending time in northern Uganda in 2005 and helping to start the international non-profit organization Invisible Children, where he served as Executive Director for ten years. After being deeply impacted by the writing of Fr. Richard Rohr, Ben joined the Center for Action and Contemplation’s executive leadership team in 2016 overseeing the expansion of CAC’s programs, creative, and communications capacities.  Ben shifted into the role of Development Director in 2019 to develop a values-aligned system of fundraising and financial stewardship to guide CAC’s future growth in line with CAC’s formal Financial Philosophy. Ben works remotely from San Diego, CA with his partner Tiffany Keesey and their beautiful & rowdy 19-month-old son Cassian Gabriel Keesey.

Mark Petersen

Founder, Stronger Philanthropy

Mark Petersen is the founder and CEO of Stronger Philanthropy, a firm founded in 2016 to provide philanthropic management services for Canadian foundations and major donors to facilitate strategic and visionary generosity. He has a BA (History) from University of Waterloo, an MDiv from Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, and a DLd from George Fox University in Portland OR where he focused research on navigating succession within family philanthropy. Mark is the author of “Love Giving Well: The Pilgrimage of Philanthropy” (2017)

Wendy
VanderWal Martin

Director of Development, HNS

Wendy VanderWal Martin joined the HNS team in May 2023. She was introduced to Henri Nouwen as a teenager and counts him as one of her primary spiritual guides. From 2002 – 2021, Wendy served as Executive Director of Generous Space Ministries. Wendy lives in the liminal space at the intersection of a mystical heart and visionary strategist and is passionate about cultivating spiritually vibrant communities. Wendy holds an M.Div. from Tyndale Seminary and D.Min. from Knox College, Toronto School of Theology.

 

 

 

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