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Jeff De Cagna is a respected association and nonprofit community strategic advisor, speaker and contrarian thinker. For more than 20 years, he has been challenging orthodoxy and inviting senior decision-makers to pursue the generative work of transformation. Jeff was named a Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) in 2001. He is the Chief Strategist and founder of Principled Innovation, which provides high-impact consulting services to associations and nonprofits in the areas of business models, innovation and the new work of governing.
Jeff has served as a director on multiple nonprofit boards, including RedRover, a national animal welfare organization for which he served as board chair and vice chair, and ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership.
A graduate of the Johns Hopkins and Harvard universities, Jeff is an alumnus of the Governing for Nonprofit Excellence program at Harvard Business School, and holds the BoardSource Leadership Certificate for Nonprofit Board Chairs.
Dr. James Johnson, Jr. is the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Kenan-Flagler Business School, as well as the director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.
The center focuses on innovative approaches to revitalizing urban areas and on teaching government, community, and nonprofit leaders and managers to become more entrepreneurial and business-like in their operations and service delivery.
Jim is an expert on community and economic development, the effects of demographic changes on the U.S. workplace, urban poverty and public policy, and workforce diversity issues. Fast Company magazine named Johnson one of the "17…brightest thinkers and doers in the new world of work."
Previously, he spent twelve years on the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles, before coming to UNC-Chapel Hill. He received a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University, master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Ph.D. from Michigan State University.
John Arthur Nunes is a professor at Valparaiso University, where he holds the Jochum Chair professorship, supporting the study of Christian values in public and professional life. He teaches in the departments of English, International Studies and Theology. From 2007 to 2013, he served as the President and CEO of Lutheran World Relief, where he led staff in 17 countries working with communities working their way out of poverty. Prior to LWR, John taught at Concordia University Chicago and served in inner-city churches in Buffalo, New York; Detroit, Michigan; and Dallas, Texas.
John is the author of numerous articles and the book, "Voices from the City: Issues and Images of Urban Preaching." He and his wife Monique Nunes, Assistant Director of Multicultural Student Programs at Valparaiso, have also authored the book "Little Things Make Big Differences: A Story about Malaria."
John received a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Mich.; a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada; and both a Master of Theology and a Doctor of Philosophy from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He has also received honorary doctorates from Concordia University, Ann Arbor, and Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis. At Valparaiso, he is affiliated with Christ College—the honors college of the university; Campus Ministries; and the Departments of English, Theology, and International Studies. John also currently volunteers part-time as an Assistant Pastor on the staff of First Immanuel Lutheran in downtown Chicago.
Samuel M. Sipes, LCSW, BCD, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lutheran Services Florida. Sam joined LSF in September 2007. As President and CEO, he manages 1,300 employees who oversee more than 60 programs with an annual budget of more than $200 million. Sam has a background in leadership roles in nonprofit organizations, as well as experience in child welfare, social services and programs for senior citizens.
Prior to joining LSF, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Lutheran Social Services of the South, based in Austin, Texas, which became the largest provider of children's residential services in Texas with an annual operating budget of more than $100 million. LSSS’s foster care program grew from serving 13 children to nearly 3,000 children during his tenure. Sam was instrumental in expanding residential and non-residential services to senior citizens as well as leading disaster response efforts across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Sam was elected to the Lutheran Services in America Board of Directors in 2009, and in October 2014 he was elected Chairperson of the LSA Board. He is active with several LSA Networks and as the host LSA member in Florida, has shown great hospitality and enthusiasm in welcoming our conference attendees to the Sunshine State!
Vickie Thompson Sandy, is the President of Lutheran Social Services of Michigan. Vickie guides a staff of nearly 1,900 in her quest to serve 20,000 clients annually, all driven by the belief that we have the innate ability to overcome obstacles by working together in community. She has built a career in faith-based social services and quickly ascended to powerful leadership roles within Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, one of the largest nonprofits in the state.
Vickie's career began, after earning a bachelor of science from Western Michigan University, with Lutheran Adoption Service, working with children with developmental disabilities and community health programs. Later, she moved on to become program manager for adoption and foster care at the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center, with a goal to see every child placed right for their situation.
After earning a master's degree in social work at Eastern Michigan University, Thompson-Sandy returned to LSSM, focusing on administration and public policy. She created the "One Church, One Child, One Family" program and the white paper, "Integrated Redesign: Child Welfare Continuum of Care Proposal," which led the state of Michigan to apply for and receive a federal waiver for a cutting-edge pilot program to revolutionize child welfare. As a result, LSSM was awarded 2 of the 3 available contracts, resulting in additional revenue of $1.6 million.
In July of 2012, she became Chief Service Officer, a position that was created by the CEO specifically for her to focus exclusively on internal leadership, strategic planning, new business development and overall operations. Vickie spearheaded LSSM's 2014-2018 Strategic Plan Initiative, determining the organization's direction for growth and expansion which resulted in an estimated revenue growth of $23 million.
Thompson-Sandy is an executive board member of the Michigan Federation for Children and Families, a board member for Lutheran Adoption Service and a board member for Christian Home Health Care. She has presented to National Leading Age, Lutheran Services in America, Michigan Association for Foster, Adoptive and Kin, and Michigan's State Court Administrative conference.
We are fortunate to also have the following speakers and panelists presenting at the Lutheran Leadership Summit, representing the depth and breadth of the LSA Network:
- Michael Alden, Vice President of Business Development, Ascentria Care Alliance
- Mike Bertrand, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois
- Mike Buck, Vice President of Administration, Lutheran Services in Iowa
- Louis Finney, Vice President of Head Start/Early Head Start Services, Lutheran Services Florida
- Rich Gitlen, Liberty Lutheran’s VP of Community Services and Executive Director of Lutheran Children & Family Service
- Scott Habecker, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer, Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries
- Glenn Miller, VP for Philanthropy, SpiriTrust Lutheran
- Shawn Reid, VP Operations, Lutheran Services Florida