President & CEO
Chris Palusky is Bethany's fifth president, joining Bethany in January 2018. He began his career at World Relief and most recently served as U.S. Vice President of Private Funding and Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs at World Vision, a global Christian humanitarian organization partnering with children, families, and their communities to tackle the causes of poverty and injustice. He brings over 20 years of nonprofit experience to Bethany, having implemented and established multi-site teams that have flourished and grown to meet the needs of vulnerable populations around the world. As Bethany’s President and CEO, Palusky is developing long-term strategy and direction, leading innovative change, and building relationships and partnerships for one of the largest global Christian social services organizations.
Chief Operations Officer
Lorita Shirley is Bethany's Chief Operations Officer. In partnership with the CEO, Lorita works to align all of Bethany's programs, processes, and resources with our strategic framework, equipping us to accomplish our mission today and realize our vision for the future. She is a recognized leader in the social services field, with over 31 years in the public and private sectors. Her experience includes managing media relations, fundraising, corporate oversight, quality, and process improvement for national organizations. Lorita excels at driving executive-level projects, building teams, and establishing systems within complex organizations. She obtained her BSW and MSW at Florida State University. Lorita and her husband have four children and reside in Florida.
Senior Vice President Corporate Counsel
Nhung provides leadership to all legal aspects of the organization including legal transactions, contracts, risk management, and mattes of regulation and compliance. She most recently served as the Senior Associate Counsel/Data Privacy Officer for Samaritan’s Purse providing legal advice and guidance to management, both domestically and internationally, in the areas of employment and labor law, privacy and data protection regulations, child protection, bribery and corruption, anti-trafficking and aviation law. Nhung, her husband, and daughter live in West Michigan.
Senior Vice President of Domestic Programs
Serving in the role of Senior Vice President of Domestic Programs, Cheri is passionate about caring for children and families in need and has spent her career advocating for those who have been overlooked or ignored in our society. She received her Bachelor degree in Family and Child Sciences from Florida State and her Master’s in Public Administration from Troy University. Originally a Florida native, Cheri, her husband and three children now reside in Michigan.
Senior Vice President of Donor Engagement
Cheryl joined Bethany in 2019. She brings a wealth of philanthropy and donor engagement expertise from her time leading the World Vision development teams. She leads our fundraising efforts, national campaign strategy, and donor relations team. Cheryl brings great joy and compassion to her work to support the families and children that Bethany continues to serve.
Senior Vice President of Global, Refugee, and Immigrant Services
Tawnya has worked in child welfare and refugee services for over 27 years. During her career at Bethany she has served in a number of roles including as the Branch Director, Regional Director, National Development Director for Refugee Services, Vice President of Regional Operations, and Vice President of Refugee & Immigrant Family Services. Tawnya is a strategic leader in growing programs and services specifically designed to meet the greatest challenges facing children and families. She holds a Master of Social work degree and is clinically licensed. She and her husband have two sons and reside in Maryland. In all things, Tawnya is motivated by her faith and seeks God’s purpose daily as she speaks up and stands for people in vulnerable situations around the globe.
Scott De Vries
Senior Vice President of Finance
Since 2001, Scott has served a variety of roles within the Finance team. He now leads a team of dedicated financial professionals whose mission is to promote stewardship of the resources that God has entrusted to Bethany. Scott strives for financial transparency and accuracy in every aspect of managing the business activities of Bethany.
Senior Vice President of Operations
Since 1998, George has provided direct clinical services and oversight to a broad range of family strengthening programs. He has also directed branch strategic planning and various cultural diversity initiatives. George earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan and his master’s degree in social work from Grand Valley State University.
Vice President of Global Services
Leena Hill joined Bethany in 2021 as the Vice President of Global Services. She has more than 15 years’ experience leading global humanitarian responses and international operations involving institutional and private donor engagement, partnership development, project design and delivery, and cross-functional collaboration and accountability. Leena lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband and daughter.
Vice President of Governance and Culture at Bethany
Annie Osburn is the Vice President of Governance and Culture at Bethany. Annie is passionate about helping organizations be their best by building their internal capacities to fulfill their mission through a strong workplace culture. As a certified Human Resources professional, and holding dual Master of Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership and Master of Education degrees, Annie brings a people-first approach to her work of evolving culture, spearheading internal communications, facilitating organizational change, and overseeing executive engagements. She lives with her 3 children and husband in West Michigan.
Vice President of Information Technology
Mike Bruxvoort leads a team of twenty members who support and build Bethany’s technological services, websites, and internal applications to advance Bethany's mission. A graduate of Dordt College, Mike brings 20 years of information technology experience with a passion for working in organizations with a strong mission.
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Juan Fernandez leads a diverse team of talented individuals whose goal is to share with others about God’s work through Bethany. A native of Argentina, Juan is a marketing professional with a global mindset and a passion for social justice. As a husband and father of four, Bethany’s mission to change the world through family is dear and near to his heart. His background in pastoral ministries, international marketing, fundraising and design make him a ideal fit to lead Bethany’s communications efforts into the future. Juan’s life verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17 which reads: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (NASB).”
Vice President of Refugee and Immigrant Services
Kristi Gleason manages Bethany’s portfolio of international programs, including family preservation, adoption around the world, and family-based care. She has worked in the arena of child welfare for 17 years in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Americas. Kristi’s areas of expertise include program development in international settings, community development, and child protection.
Vice President Refugee & Immigrant Child Placement Services
Dana Anderson manages Bethany’s child placement services for refugee and immigrant youth, including the unaccompanied refugee minors program and transitional foster care. Her faith drives her to give vulnerable children protection and support. She lives with her husband and three children in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dana earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wheaton College and her master’s degree in counseling from Cornerstone University.
Vice President of Regional Operations
Jeff Carlson manages the operations for Bethany’s pacific and mid-western regions. He and his wife live in Southern California with their three boys, all of whom joined their family through adoption. He credits his adoption experiences with his motivation to ensure all Bethany families receive the same level of love, care, and professionalism. Jeff earned his master’s degree in clinical psychology from Azusa Pacific University and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
Vice President of Regional Operations
Brad Keller, VP of regional operations in Michigan, has supervised teams at Bethany for more than 26 years. Brad enjoys helping teams build on their individual strengths, negotiating outcomes so everyone knows their role and what is expected of them, moving things in a positive direction, and using humor and joy to fulfill Bethany’s mission of serving vulnerable children and families. He earned his master’s degree in social work and has worked in child welfare, foster care, and adoption since 1995.
Vice President of Regional Operations
Luke DeLaVergne manages the operations of four Bethany regions, covering 18 states throughout the eastern and southeastern United States. He enjoys the ability to empower vulnerable children and bring them into safe, loving homes through Bethany. He lives with his wife, two children, and two dogs in Nashville, Tennessee. Luke earned both his bachelor and master’s degrees from Harding University.
Vice President of Regional Operations
Emma Schab manages the operations of the Grand Rapids/East Lansing, Michigan, region. She was case manager for the first two youth in Bethany’s transitional foster care programs and has played an integral role in the development of the foster care and shelter programming for unaccompanied children. Emma earned her master’s degree in social work from Western Michigan University. She and her family live in West Michigan.
Mark earned his bachelor’s degree in finance, as well as his master’s degree in business administration from Grand Valley State University. In 1997, Mark, along with five other founders, started Mercantile Bank of Michigan where he currently serves as its senior lender and west region president. He has been married to his wife, Julie, for over 27 years, and they have four children. Mark also enjoys coaching, running, and biking.
Larry is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who lives in Florida. He has two grown children and has served on Bethany's board in Florida since 2003.
Joel Rahn has been a banking professional in West Michigan for 30 years; he currently serves as regional president for Independent Bank. He graduated from Central Michigan University with degrees in finance and economics. He has been married to his wife, Nancy, for 30 years and has two adult daughters: Katelyn and Sarah. They worked with Bethany to adopt Sarah from South Korea. They attend Grace Community Church, where Joel is active in the music ministry.
An emerging faith leader Marben is a pastor, writer, and entrepreneur who is committed to humbly serving the Lord while being a successful business leader as a bivocational pastor. Marben is a military veteran, retired businessman and recent second-career graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA. He is currently serving the New Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dublin, Georgia, while also assisting business and faith-based clients achieve success.
Brian serves as the CEO of National Heritage Academies, a for-profit charter school management company that consists of 87 K-8 schools in nine states. Before moving to the midwest, Brian spent fifteen years at The Walt Disney Company in multiple leadership roles. He is a proud graduate of the United States Naval Academy, serving the country for nine years as a Naval Flight Officer. Brian is the adoptive father of three children.
Kafi Mashariki Carrasco is a 3rd generation community organizer working at the institutional and grassroots levels to empower communities to solve their own problems. Kafi’s experiences include working in incarnational Christian Community Development in urban Los Angeles, under Dr. John Perkins' ministry, running a community-based non-profit leading the church's antiracism effort, and working in the public and private urban Christian schools as both a teacher and a principal. Kafi is a facilitator and coach for faith organizations. She holds a BA in Psychology/Public Policy Analysis from Pomona College, a Masters in Elementary Education from Claremont Graduate University, and a Master's in Educational Leadership from California State University, Los Angeles. Kafi is currently working on a PhD in Innovative Urban Leadership at Bakke Graduate University, a global Christian university.
Children have always been at the center of Lori Hockema’s life. Four children, two grandchildren, several Safe Family host children, and hundreds of school children have blessed her with rich experiences and insights. Lori also served on the Bethany's board in Indiana for nine years.
Susanne Jordan served as an adoption social worker for Bethany in Fremont and Muskegon, Michigan, for 31 years before her recent retirement. Her expertise is in the areas of domestic infant adoption, pregnancy counseling, foster care adoption, and refugee transitional foster care. She enjoys bicycling, camping, traveling, and reading.
Peter is the director of client relationship management at Vocera Communications in Knoxville, Tennessee. He has also served as an elder at Redeemer Church of Knoxville and as an associate pastor at Community Church in California.
Steve lives with his family in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is a Program Director for Cornerstone Trust. He gives oversight to the Trust’s engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to Cornerstone, Steve served for 10 years in a local church where he led their international and local outreach efforts. He has two masters degrees with one in Historical Theology and the other in International Development, focusing on Monitoring and Evaluation.
Daniel is an insurance agent and agency owner at Buiten & Associates. Besides serving on Bethany’s national board, he has also served on the boards of Good Samaritan Ministries, Western Seminary, Holland Hospital, Care for Uganda, Christ Memorial Church, Camp Geneva, Holland Home, and Benjamin's Hope.
Maegan serves as the Chief of Staff for Meet Copper, Inc, an online platform for book clubs bringing people together in meaningful communities. A social worker by trade, she has spent over a decade in various leadership roles and working with adoptive families and vulnerable children. Maegan is the host of The Post Adoption Podcast and serves with Equality for Adopted Children. She finds enjoyment helping organizations, companies, and authors launch products or books they love to bring positive change to the world. She and her husband TC believe their most meaningful work is parenting their three children, two of which came to them through International Adoption. Her family resides in North Alabama.
Dr. Deborah Sturtevant
Deb’s professional background is in social work practice, social welfare history, child welfare, and nonprofits. Her educational background includes a BA from Hope College, MSW from Western Michigan University, and PhD from Michigan State University. Deb is a Professor of Social Work Emerita at Hope College where she recently retired after 33 years of teaching and research. She is grateful for her working relationships, over all these years, with many staff at Bethany Christian Services that resulted from placements of social work interns, participation at BCS conferences/workshops, and completion of global trainings, program evaluations, and research projects. Deb is looking forward to interacting with staff (some of whom are former students), board members, and stakeholders in her role on the corporate board. She is honored to serve on the corporate board for Bethany Christian Services, an organization that is recognized worldwide for its programs and services that protect, promote, and support vulnerable children and families.