2019 ESR Leadership Conference

Strategy & Ethics for Quaker Business

August 16-17, 2019


Anne Houtman, President of Earlham College
Luvisia Molenje, President of Mastermind Media Corp.

*Registration for this event is now closed

Click HERE for the PDF brochure

Strategy and ethics together hold a vital space within any organization. A firm with the highest ethical standards but with no strategic vision for the future could, for instance, find itself out of business as others better discern the needs of those they hope to serve. Likewise, an exclusive focus on strategically outmaneuvering competitors without any ethical underpinning can lead to Enron-like implosion resulting in significant harm to employees and customers.

While not alone in asking these questions, Quakers bring a unique lens to this conversation as they seek to apply the testimonies to their work – whether that work is in ministry, business, education, politics, or elsewhere. With a strong history of successful entrepreneurship and industry innovation often tied explicitly to ethical commitments, Friends can offer a rich perspective on the subject. How do we best hold ourselves accountable not only to those who expect us to make short and long-term decisions for the organizations we work with to survive and thrive, but also to do so in ways that align with ethical principles as well as our commitments to simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship? The purpose of this conference is to gather a group of presenters and participants from a wide range of professional backgrounds interested in wrestling together with this question and identifying principles and practices that can inform behavior and decisions at the intersection of strategy and ethics. You are invited to join us for this conversation and to bring your unique experience and reflection to this important work.

This conference is designed especially for...

  • Business professionals
  • Higher education leaders
  • Quaker organization employees
  • Nonprofit administrators
  • Ministers
  • Students
  • Life-long learners and kindred spirits


  • Find affirmation for your calling
  • Build supportive relationships
  • Experience fresh energy and new resolve
  • Learn practical ideas to benefit your work
  • Contribute to a body of shared knowledge


  • Teaching that stirs the mind and resonates with the soul
  • Rich workshops led by skilled presenters
  • Stimulating conversations with interested peers

Plenary Presentations

Strategy and Ethics in Quaker Higher Education: Navigating Turbulent Waters - Anne Houtman

Anne Houtman, a distinguished educator, scientist, author, and higher education leader, became the 20th president of Earlham College and the Earlham School of Religion on July 1, 2019. She was previously Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford in Zoology and a master’s degree in Anthropology from UCLA. She earned her bachelor of arts degree from Pomona College. Houtman is a Quaker, and she will be the first woman to serve as President of Earlham.
Houtman is married to Will Prouty and has two adult children, Abigail and Benjamin.

Strategy and Ethics after Graduation: Putting Principles into Practice -
Luvisia Molenje

Luvisia Molenje earned his B.A. from Earlham in Economics, and a B.S. in Computer Science from University of Maryland University College in College Park. He has over 15 years of experience in the information technology field. He presently serves as the President of Mastermind Media Corp and works extensively with the Department of Homeland Security as a Subject Matter Expert in Washington D.C. He has expertise in areas that include enterprise system design, service oriented architecture, business process engineering, systems integration, IT security, cloud native design and statistical data analysis. His strength is his ability to reengineer business processes by analyzing and translating user requirements and into working systems that bring business value. He makes his home in Washington D.C. and has served on the Earlham Board of Trustees since October 2017.


Can a Quaker Organization be Faithful? with Douglas Bennett


Especially over the past century, Quakers have created dozens and dozens of organizations: schools, colleges, camps, retreat centers, retirement homes, service and advocacy organizations. It is likely that many more people first encounter Quakerism through these organizations than through Quaker Meetings or Churches. But can these organizations be spiritually vital? Does the turn to organizational form undercut faithfulness? Can a true spiritual leading ever be shared among members of a hired staff? In their missions, governance and operations, can these organizations embody the spiritual understandings of Quakers? Can organizational authority ever be legitimate? Can significant financial resources be amassed and deployed in ethically responsible ways? These are some of the questions we will explore together. As a resource we will look at some fruits of 50 recent interviews conducted with individuals who have borne significant organizational responsibility among Friends.

Douglas Bennett served as President of Earlham from 1997 to 2011. Previously he served in positions at Temple University, Reed College and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has a B.A. from Haverford College, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University. A member of Durham Friends Meeting (NEYM), he currently serves on the Board of Pendle Hill, and has previously served on the governing boards of Haverford College, Germantown Friends School, Friends Committee on National Legislation, and on the Corporation and various committees of the American Friends Service Committee. He is currently writing a book tentatively titled A Faith and Practice for Quaker Organizations.

Young Adults and the Non-Profit Industrial Complex: Building Resiliency While Breaking the Wheel with Oskar Pierre Castro

Many young adults, lacking the real world experience of working in a nonprofit organization coming out of college, find that their age and lack of experience in the work world exposes them to challenges such as being dismissed as "green" or encountering injustices from older colleagues associated with things like gender bias, or racism at their new movement jobs. The impact can be compounded if a young professional experiencing nonprofit disillusionment is a person of color. This workshop will examine ways to discuss the frank reality that nonprofits can be as toxic as for profit enterprises while building resiliency within young professionals so they can help to break the wheel of toxicity in the non-profit workplace.

Oskar Pierre Castro is an artist/non-profit professional with over twenty years of service in the non-profit sector working on youth development, career development, peace activism, and labor rights. A 1992 graduate of Rowan University where he majored in law & justice, he currently serves with Quaker Voluntary Service as the Philadelphia City Coordinator and the Director of Equity & Inclusion. A member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, Oskar is married to a like-minded soul, has two daughters, the best dog ever, and two cats.

Cultivating Effective Congregational Engagement with Bob Henry & Beth Henricks

Bob Henry and Beth Henricks, pastors of Indianapolis First Friends Quaker Meeting will lead an engaging workshop on developing effective tools for attracting and maintaining new attenders. The workshop will explore perceived identities within the congregation, valuable methods for creating contacts and engagement, and effective means for tracking attendance and financial contributions. The goal will be to help participants create a multifaceted approach that is supported by social media platforms and database systems, while relying heavily on innovative personal interaction. 

Bob Henry is pastor of Indianapolis First Friends Quaker Meeting. He is a speaker, writer, activist, neighborhood collaborator, and avid artist. Bob has a plethora of experiences in a variety of churches and organizations in several different denominations (Lutheran, Anglican, Mennonite, and Quaker). Next year, he will celebrate 25 years in ministry. In 2011, Bob received his doctoral degree in Leadership and Spiritual Formation from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Currently, he lives in Fishers, IN with his wife and their three boys.

Beth Henricks is associate pastor at Indianapolis First Friends Quaker Meeting for the last seven years. This is a second career for Beth as she was in thebusiness world for 23 years. Beth received an undergraduate degree in business administration from Taylor University and an MBA from Butler University. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Divinity from the Earlham School of Religion. Beth was recorded as a Quaker minister in 2016. Beth serves on the boards of Right Sharing of World Resources and Quaker Voluntary Service as well as a financial trustee for Western Yearly Meeting.

The Creative Tension Between Faith and Strategy with Alicia McBride

Quaker discernment is powerful because it points toward the next right action, without forcing a particular outcome. Developing strategy seems to call for the opposite approach, establishing the end goal and working backwards to determine the steps required to reach it. Yet, at the Friends Committee on National Legislation and in other Quaker institutions, strategy is necessary to move our work forward. In this participatory workshop, we’ll discuss and look at examples of how Quaker process can inform and strengthen strategy work and work toward a Quaker model of strategic planning. Bring your own experiences to share with strategic planning from a Quaker perspective.

Alicia McBride is the Director of Integrated Strategy and Impact at the Friends Committee in National Legislation in Washington, DC. She focuses on developing and improving systems for collaboration and on leading FCNL’s efforts to systematically track, share, and learn from the impact of its work and programs. Alicia is a member of Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting (Baltimore Yearly Meeting) and serves on the Earlham School of Religion’s Advisory Board as well as the board of Friends Community School in College Park, MD. She lives in Takoma Park, MD with her husband, Sam Garman, and their two children.

Turn into the wave: Facing Crisis and Challenges with Quaker Ethics with Jaimie Mudd

When running the white-water river rapids there will be those moments when the big wave before you is roaring warnings of danger ahead. The very human instinct to protect or even flee the danger is understandable but the wise navigator knows that safety is possible when the front of the raft is turned to face the wave. This workshop explores how each of us can cultivate the wherewithal to face the waves of crisis that confront us in our faith communities and work places. News of ethics violations, improper actions or sex abuse scandals seems fill the news outlets with increasing frequency. We might watch this from a distance with some sense that this what is occurring is outside our daily lives but when the crisis strikes in our inner circle, our organization or community how will we behave? This workshop will explore lessons learned from current events and case studies. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to encounter a Quaker Way of facing into the turmoil of crisis as well as practical guidance for communication during and after difficult times.

Jaimie Mudd is the founder of Watershed Ways providing ministry consulting, spiritual direction, and coaching. She leads workshops that strengthen the heart and soul of Friends and other faith communities. Now in her 27th year as a Friend she brings a disciplined Christian practice to 21st century faith communities and has a deep wellspring of tradition and creativity that informs her life and work. Jaimie currently serves as Pastor of Congregational Ministry for Greensboro First Friends. She holds a master’s in counseling psychology degree from Arizona State University and is currently an MDiv. candidate at Earlham School of Religion (ESR) having completed ESR’s Certificate in Entrepreneurial Ministry in 2018.

Persuade, Don't Preach with Karen Tibbals

Why is it that when talk about something we feel passionately about, some people respond but others are repelled? When the first attempt doesn’t work, we try even harder, but it also falls on deaf ears. What is really going on is you are preaching. Preaching only works for those who are already in the choir, it doesn’t persuade anyone else.

In her workshop, Persuade, Don’t Preach, Karen will explore the reasons behind the reactions of people who aren’t in your choir. Some of them are physiological! That’s why preaching doesn’t work. Not only will you understand others better, she will give you tools that you can use to craft new messages to persuade the non-choir members.

Karen Tibbals is a ninja level market researcher and strategist with stints at Ogilvy, Ipsos, Novartis and Merck. She has been responsible for many pharmaceutical product launches. She also has an MA in Religion from Earlham School of Religion. Through her extensive experience and research, she has uncovered truths about human nature that are more than just interesting; they’re useful. To help people understand and be able to apply the theory to their everyday business needs, she has published a ground-breaking new book, Marketing Landmines. If that isn’t enough, she has also developed the Ethical Frames Training Program and Workshops.


Friday, August 16

5:00 pm


5:30 pm


7:00 pm

Plenary Presentation - Anne Houtman



Saturday, August 17

8:30 am

Check-in and breakfast

9:30 am

Optional waiting worship

10:00 am


10:15 am

Plenary Presentation - Luvisia Molenje

11:30 am


1:00 pm

Workshop Session I

2:15 pm

Refreshment break & networking

2:45 pm

Workshop Session II