GBHEM Board of Directors 2016-2024

Louis Aboua

National President of the Laity, The United Methodist Church Ivory Coast, West Africa Central Conference
Louis Aboua is a published professor at the University Felix Houphouet in the Ivory Coast. His areas of research include agronomy, biodiversity, energy and sustainable cities. Prior to serving in his current role as national president of the laity, he served as president of Abidjan-Lay North District and chair of the Education and Training Board for The United Methodist Church Ivory Coast (EMUCI). Aboua serves on GBHEM’s Global Education and Ministry Committee and Racial and Ethnic Concerns Committee.

Sandra Steiner Ball

Bishop, West Virginia Annual Conference
Bishop Steiner Ball presides over the West Virginia Annual Conference and has served the church in a number of areas, including the Interjurisdictional Episcopacy Committee, the United Methodist Endorsing Agency and the Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy. Steiner Ball served as a district superintendent and a director of Connectional Ministries prior to her election to the episcopacy in 2012. A graduate of Dickinson College, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in religion. She later received her Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary. Steiner Ball serves on the agency’s Executive/Personnel and Policies Committee, Global Education and Ministry Committee and Audit and Review Subcommittee.

Lindsey M. Baynham

Associate Director of Clergy Excellence, Virginia Annual Conference
Rev. Lindsey M. Baynham was appointed as the associate director of clergy excellence for the Virginia Annual Conference in July 2016, focusing on call, candidacy, and discernment. Prior to this position, she served as an associate pastor at Fairfax United Methodist Church in Fairfax, Virginia for three years. Baynham was ordained in June 2015, and in July 2015 she began her service as the minister director at Arise Campus Ministry at George Mason University. While at Arise, Baynham initiated a student leadership team, led a group in mission to Louisiana, and led weekly worship for the students. Baynham earned her Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina and a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. She serves the Global Education and Ministry Committee and Legislation Subcommittee for the board.

Dr. Andrew L. Foster, III.

Dr. Foster began serving as the East District Superintendent of the Eastern PA Conference on July 1, 2020. He served as the District Superintendent of the Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts (RISEM) District in the New England Conference from 2017-2020. Under his leadership, Dr. Foster has empowered the laity and clergy of the district to be more mission-focused. He has served the connection faithfully and continues to demonstrate the importance of excellence in ministry.

Bishop Laurie Haller

Bishop Laurie Haller is the Resident Bishop of the Iowa Area of The United Methodist Church. She has served as the episcopal leader of the Iowa Conference since 2016 and served as the interim bishop of the Dakotas Conference in the year 2021. Bishop Haller has served the church in a number of areas prior to her election to the episcopacy in the Michigan area as district superintendent and a pastor of several churches, the Board of Ordained Ministry, director of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and chaired the Study of Ministry Commission. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Then she went on to receive a Master of Music degree from the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music and School of Music, and a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School. Bishop Haller serves on the agency’s Administrative Matters Committee, Global Education & Ministry Committee, and Audit & Review Sub-Committee.

James E.K. Hildreth

President and CEO of Meharry Medical College, Tennessee Annual Conference
James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D., serves as the 12th president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College. Hildreth is internationally recognized for his work in HIV and AIDS research over the last three decades. He has also led efforts to engage churches and faith leaders in the fight against AIDS. Hildreth was the first African-American to earn full professorship with tenure in the basic sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He later served as director of the National Institutes of Health-funded Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research at Meharry Medical College and dean of the College of Biological Sciences at University of California, Davis. An American Rhodes Scholar, Hildreth earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Harvard University. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy in immunology at Oxford University in England and M.D. at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Hildreth is a member of the agency’s Global Education and Ministry Committee.

Kim Tyree Ingram

Director of Ministerial Service and Conference Secretary, Western North Carolina Annual Conference
Rev. Kim Tyree Ingram serves as the director of Ministerial Services and conference secretary for the Western North Carolina Annual Conference. An ordained deacon, she was co-pastor of Highlands United Methodist Church before joining the conference staff. She served in the role of interim conference director of youth and young adults for one year and has served in her present role since 2008. Ingram graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. She received a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Ingram has served in ministry for more than 20 years. She chairs the Legislation Subcommittee and serves on the Administrative Matter Committee and Nominating Committee for the board.

Heecheon Jeon

Conference Superintendent, Iowa Annual Conference
Rev. Heecheon Jeon, Ph.D., has served in his role as conference superintendent since 2016. Prior to that position, he served as lead pastor at Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church (UMC), and as associate pastor at Iowa City First UMC and Corning UMC. He is an ordained elder and full member of the Iowa Annual Conference. Born and raised in Kwangju, South Korea, he earned his Bachelor of Arts from Hoshin University. He later earned a Master of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Philosophy in philosophy of religion and theology from Claremont Graduate University. Jeon is a published author, currently working on his second book. Jeon serves on GBHEM’s Administrative Matters Committee, Nominating Committee and Racial and Ethnic Concerns Committee.

Forbes Matonga

Pastor in Charge, Nyadire Mission Centre, West Zimbabwe Annual Conference
Rev. Forbes Matonga is the pastor-in-charge at Nyadire Mission Centre in Zimbabwe. He is a member of the Commission on the Future of Africa University and a board member of Murewa Hospital. Matonga is a former national director of Christian Care, a Zimbabwean partner for the World Food Program and other humanitarian agencies in Harare. He previously served on the Connectional Table and on the 2012 General Conference Study Committee on the Worldwide Nature of The United Methodist Church (UMC). He was a UMC delegate to the World Council of Churches in Brazil. He has been a Central Conference delegate to General Conference since 2000. Matonga teaches courses at Africa University. He is chair of the Global Education and Ministry Committee, and serves on the Executive Committee/Personnel and Policies Committee and Legislation Subcommittee.

Lallene Rector

President, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Northern Illinois Annual Conference
Dr. Lallene Rector has served as president of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary since 2014. Rector most recently served as the seminary’s vice president for academic affairs and academic dean. She is the first woman president and the first lay president in Garrett-Evangelical’s 160-year history. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Texas Christian University, a master’s degree in theological studies from Boston University’s School of Theology, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Boston University’s Graduate School for the Arts and Sciences. She serves as chair of GBHEM’s Personnel and Policies Committee and member of the Nominating, Administrative Matters and Legislation committees.

Rev. Virna J. Solis Ortiz

Rev. Virna J. Solís Ortiz, is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico. She has pastored the Methodist Church Meson de Amor in Puente de Jobos community in Guayama, PR, the Rev. José Espada Marrero Methodist Church in Puerto Nuevo, PR and served as Director of the Chaplaincy Office at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Puerto Rico and a Master’s degree in Divinity from the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico. She is currently studying for her doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership Education at Nova Southeastern University. She works as Administrative Manager of the Conference Offices of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico.

Erin Hawkins-Smith

Ms. Erin Hawkins-Smith is the Executive Director for Connectional Ministries with the California Pacific Annual Conference.

Prescilla Soriano

President, Aldersgate College, Inc., North East Philippines Annual Conference
Dr. Prescilla Soriano serves as the president of Aldersgate College, Inc. She has served the university in this capacity since July 2015. Soriano previously served on the faculty of college, as well as a preschool teacher and deaconess in The United Methodist Church. Soriano earned a bachelor’s degree in kindergarten education at Harris Memorial College. She also received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a Master of Arts in education at Aldersgate College. She later earned her Doctor of Philosophy in educational management at the University of La Salette. Soriano serves on the Global Education and Ministry Committee and Loans and Scholarships Subcommittee for GBHEM.

Rebecca Trefz

Director of Ministries, Dakotas Annual Conference
Rev. Rebecca Trefz serves as the director of ministries for the Dakotas Annual Conference. Prior to her appointment, she served as the lead pastor of a growing, young and contemporary church in Brandon, South Dakota. She has a wide range of service to the Dakotas Conference, including director of ministries, chair of Visioning Link and the Committee on Episcopacy, as well as work on the Common Table and Board of Congregational Development. In addition to her pastoral positions, Trefz worked as an admissions counselor at Simpson College and leadership consultant for Pi Beta Phi International Fraternity. She is a graduate of Simpson College and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Trefz serves on GBHEM’s Global Education and Ministry Committee and the UMEA Endorsement Committee.

Alice Williams

President, Williams Consulting of Florida, Florida Annual Conference
Alice Williams is the president of Williams Consulting of Florida and serves as Flotilla Staff Officer – Public Affairs in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. She is dedicated to supporting faith-based and nonprofit organizations in achieving their mission through human resource and leadership development consulting. Williams was the former associate lay leader for the Florida Annual Conference and former lay leader for the East Central District. A lifelong Methodist, Williams has served on the Bishop’s Strategic Leadership Team, as a member of the East Central District Committee on Ordained Ministry, and member of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in marketing from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business. Williams serves on the Administrative Matters Committee, Investment Subcommittee and Loan and Scholarship Subcommittee for the board.

Jane Boatwright Wood

President, The Foundation for Evangelism, Conference Lay Leader, Western North Carolina Annual Conference
Jane Boatwright Wood serves as the president of The Foundation for Evangelism and conference lay leader for the Western North Carolina Annual Conference. She has more than 25 years of healthcare, business and foundation management experience, and has served in a variety of positions including, consultant, vice president, executive director and chief operating officer. Wood joined The Foundation for Evangelism, a grant-making organization with the mission to promote, encourage and provide resources for Wesleyan evangelism, in 2004. Prior to her role as conference lay leader, Wood served as district lay leader for the Smoky Mountain District from 2012 to 2016. Wood earned a Master of Business Administration from Western Carolina University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She serves as chair of GBHEM’s Loans and Scholarships Subcommittee and is a member of the Administrative Matters Committee.

Rachel Wright

Director of Global Missions & Community Impact, Tarrytown United Methodist Church, Rio Texas Annual Conference
Rachel Wright serves as the director of global mission and community impact for Tarrytown United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas, and executive director of FreeStore Austin. Wright has a passion for connecting young people in mission to the world through the church. In 2010, Wright co-chaired the Imagine No Malaria campaign’s denominational launch event and currently serves on the Unification Implementation Team for the Rio Texas Annual Conference. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of Arts in creative writing from the University of London. She is recording secretary for GBHEM’s Executive Committee and a member of the Nominating Committee and Racial and Ethnic Concerns Committee.