Leadership

Gaston Warner

Gaston Warner
Executive Director

gaston@zoehelps.org   ·  919.414.4167
Rev. Gaston Warner is an ordained elder in the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.  He has led congregations in inner-city, multi-ethnic, and suburban settings, from Chicago to Bristol, England.  Gaston has served on numerous non-profit boards and as a staff member for Habitat for Humanity, Duke Divinity School, and Duke Chapel.  After serving on its board, Gaston was appointed as executive director for ZOE in 2013, facilitating the empowerment of over 20,000 orphans and vulnerable children in multiple African countries.  Gaston received a BA from Brown University; a MDiv from Duke Divinity School, and a MBA from The University of Durham in England.  He lives in Durham, NC with his spouse, the Rev. Dr. Laceye Warner who is executive vice dean for Duke University Divinity School, and their daughter Clare.

 

US Staff

Randy Wiersma
Randy WiersmaDirector of Engagement
Randy has over 35 years of management experience.  He was a co-founder of College Bookstores of America which grew to over 100 locations and served 16 years as Chief Operating Officer.  Randy received a BS from Vanderbilt University, an MA from North Park Theological Seminary, and an MBA from the University of Chicago.  He lives in Cary, NC with his wife Nancy.  He has one daughter who is married and a granddaughter.
Mandie Sellars
Mandie SellarsDirector of Communications and Technology
Mandie is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill in Journalism and Mass Communications. For eight years, Mandie served Duke University Chapel, most recently as Assistant Director for Communications. She has extensive experience working with local non-profits on communications strategy, website development, and graphic design. Mandie lives in Durham with her husband Ben and two sons.
Toni Cole
Toni ColeProgram Manager
Toni brings over 20 years of administration and relationship management experience from AARP. Her career there began with administration and progressed expeditiously to senior program management. She has taken courses in marketing and management. Toni is originally from Maryland and currently resides in Wake Forest with her husband.
Laura Nemecek
Laura NemecekHope Companion Coordinator
A native of Oregon, Laura attended Georgetown University and then moved to Raleigh where she earned a master’s degree at North Carolina State University.  She has worked for the N.C. Dept. of Cultural Resources, served as executive director for a small heritage tourism non-profit, and held board positions with several non-profit organizations. She and her husband have two high school-aged children.
Elena Ballam
Elena BallamTravel and Event Coordinator
 Elena earned a degree in Sociology from Gordon College in Wenham, MA and a Master’s Degree from Iowa State University. She has worked at Iowa State University, Iowa Resource for International Service, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, and Community Thread. She has attended and/or led a number of mission trips throughout the US and beyond, including Mississippi, Arkansas, Mexico, Wales, and more. Elena lives in Cary with her husband.

Kenya Staff

Reegan Kaberia
Reegan KaberiaKenya Country Director and Training Coordinator
Before joining ZOE, Reegan served both local and international child-centered community development organizations. In March 2007, he joined the staff of ZOE, opening and growing the empowerment program initiative in partnership with Maua Methodist Hospital. He holds an MBA in strategic management from Kenya Methodist University. Reegan is married and has two daughters.
Halima Abduba
Halima AbdubaSocial Worker
Halima assisted Reegan Kaberia in starting ZOE’s Empowerment Program in Kenya. Before joining the staff at ZOE, Halima worked with the Christian Children’s Fund as a Social Welfare Officer, and as a Food Monitor for the World Food Program. In addition to her work at ZOE, she is also an active volunteer with the Kenya Red Cross. She is pictured here with a young member of a Working Group.
Carolyne Gitonga
Carolyne GitongaSocial Worker
Carolyne K. Gitonga recently joined ZOE in 2013 as social worker. She is a holds a diploma in education from Kenya Technical Training College and a diploma in clothing technology from Kenya Technical University. Carol is married to Rev. Douglas Gitonga and has two children.
Agnes Kendi
Agnes KendiSocial Worker
 Agnes Kendi (left) joined the ZOE staff in June 2012, and holds a B.A. in sociology. Agnes worked with Kenya Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Services as a social development officer for two years before becoming a tutor in African Institute of Development. She later joined Maua Methodist Hospital Financial Department before coming to ZOE. She is married and has two children. 
Josephine Makena
Josephine MakenaSocial Worker
Josephine joined the ZOE staff in Kenya in 2010, after working as a credit officer for Bimas Microfinance. She previously served the Kenya government in the Ministry of Social Services as a Social Development Officer. She is pictured at left with a ZOE program participant named Martin.
Doris Kendi Mutuma
Doris Kendi MutumaSocial Worker
Doris joined the ZOE staff in September 2013. She holds a diploma in community development and social work. Before joining ZOE she worked with St. Clare Children’s Home as a social worker and children development officer.
Moses Mwongera
Moses MwongeraCommunications Assistant
Moses Mwongera assists the ZOE Kenya office with communications needs. Moses hold a diploma in mass communication and has worked as communications and logistics officer in a local marketing company. He has also worked in the media industry as a news writer. He is pictured at left with the other Kenya ZOE staff.

Malawi Staff

Mercy Chikhosi Nyirongo
Mercy Chikhosi NyirongoMonitoring and Evaluation Coordinator and Malawi Country Director
Mercy Chikhosi Nyirongo, a graduate of Africa University in Nursing, serves as ZOE’s program coordinator for Malawi. She uses her skills and expertise in nursing and public health to work with vulnerable children. Mercy has served as Health Coordinator for the Malawi United Methodist Church, creating community-based health care strategies. She is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Public Health. Mercy is married and has two daughters and a son.
Esther Chinkhadze Kumwenda
Esther Chinkhadze KumwendaSocial Worker
Esther Chinkhadze Kumwenda is a graduate of the Skyway Institute of Development Research and Development, holding a Diploma in Rural and Community Development. Previously, she served as an Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Program Officer at Nkhoma Synod HIV/AIDS Program and Nutrition Health Coordinator for OVC under the age of five at the Nkhoma Synod Orphan Care Program. Esther is married and has a son.

Rwanda Staff

Epiphanie Mujawimana
Epiphanie MujawimanaRwanda Country Director
Epiphanie helped to develop the model at the heart of ZOE’s Empowerment Program. Epiphanie and her husband have four children and are also raising four nieces and nephews.
Jean Pierre Ndahayo
Jean Pierre NdahayoDeputy Director
Jean Pierre serves a dual role which includes assisting in oversight of empowerment field work and finance administration. He and his wife have one child.
Esperance Mukandepanda
Esperance MukandepandaSocial Worker
Esperance received her bachelor’s segree from the National University in Rwanda in Social and Economic Sciences. She is married, has four children of her own, and is raising two orphans. Esperance brings 19 years experience as a primary school teacher, nine years as a Head Teacher, and held an internship in ZOE’s Orphan Empowerment Program.
Beata Mukaremera
Beata MukaremeraSocial Worker
Beata has been working with ZOE’s Orphan Empowerment Program in 2009, and holds a bachelor’s degree in social and economic sciences. She brought to ZOE Ministry over 20 years experience working with children, first with a child development program for 11 years, and then as a head mistress at a vocational school for 13.
Albertine Umbeyeyi
Albertine UmbeyeyiSocial Worker
Albertine holds a bachelor’s degree in development studies, and has been working to empower orphans with ZOE Ministry since 2008. Prior to joining ZOE’s staff, she was a secondary school teacher for five years. She is married with three daughters.
Alice Umulisa
Alice UmulisaSocial Worker
Alice has six years experience working with orphans. She believes that living in the community where orphans are living enables social workers to build closer relationships with those children to promote positive changes in their lives.
Celine Usenga
Celine UsengaSocial Worker
Celine is a social worker for the ZOE empowerment program in Rwanda.
Germain Hagumakubaho
Germain HagumakubahoCommunications Assistant
Germain holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications studies. He served as a journalist at local radio stations and has been an English and Swahili teacher at various secondary schools in Rwanda for eight years.

Zimbabwe Staff

Chikonde Nsama
Chikonde NsamaSocial Worker
Before joining ZOE in 2011, Chikonde worked for the government of Zimbabwe first as an advance level teacher and later as a community development officer under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development. Chikonde has worked with vulnerable children as a family worker for four years with Simukai Child Protection Programme, and helped launch ZOE’s Orphan Empowerment Program in Zimbabwe in 2011. Chikonde holds a degree in social sciences and is currently pursuing a master’s degree program in Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University. He is married to Cecilia Nsama.
Evans Magumise
Evans MagumiseSocial Worker
Evans started working with vulnerable children as a student intern with Simukai Child Protection Programme in 2006. In 2008, Evans became an Outreach Officer with Simukai and later a Drop-In Centre Coordinator, working with vulnerable children in Rusape and Mutare. In 2011, Evans and Chikonde and helped launch ZOE’s Orphan Empowerment Program in Zimbabwe. Evans holds a BS honours degree in psychology from the Midlands State University and is completing his masters of science in population studies at the University of Zimbabwe.
Janet Chiruka
Janet ChirukaCommunications Assistant
Janet Chiruka, communications assistant at ZOE-Simukai, holds an honors degree in English and Communications studies. Prior to joining ZOE in 2013, she worked for the Family AIDS Caring Trust for eight years. Janet is married and has two daughters.