Speaker Bios

Nadia Bolz-Weber is the author of three New York Times bestselling memoirs: Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint (2013), Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People (2015) and more recently, SHAMELESS: A Sexual Reformation (2019).

She is an ordained Lutheran pastor (ELCA) and the founder of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado a quirky congregation she served for over 10 years. Nadia travels domestically and internationally as a speaker and has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, On Being with Krista Tippett, Fresh Air, CNN and in the Washington Post, Bitch magazine, The New Yorker and The Atlantic. International media coverage includes BBC World Service, The Guardian and magazine features in Germany, Poland, and Switzerland.

Bishop Tracy S. Malone is responsible for the work of ministry in the Ohio East Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church. She is a member of both the Council of Bishops, which includes all bishops in The United Methodist Church, and the College of Bishops, which is comprised of the United Methodist bishops in the North Central Jurisdiction.

Bishop Malone provides spiritual oversight; shares in equipping, teaching and encouraging mission, outreach, witness and service; and serves as a shepherd of the church in providing a prophetic witness of justice, mercy and unity. 

She leads the Ohio East episcopal area by:

  • preaching and teaching.
  • presiding over sessions of Annual Conference.
  • appointing and supervising district superintendents.
  • appointing Elders, Deacons, and local pastors to EOC churches and extension ministries.
  • supervising, with the district superintendents, appointed Elders, Deacons, and local pastors.
  • providing spiritual and executive leadership to conference staff, committees, boards and teams.
  • ensuring that the polity and the doctrine of The United Methodist Church are followed
  • and participating in missionary travel to all parts of the world.

Bishop Sally Dyck grew up in rural Washington State. Her home church is on the corner of a wheat field about 20 miles from any town. She grew up on a farm nearby. Now, when asked where she’s from, she says, “I’m from I-90. I-90 goes by where I was born and raised.

I-90 has a ramp to Boston University where she graduated from college and Boston University School of Theology where she went to seminary. Bishop Dyck spent 25 years of ministry as a pastor and a district superintendent in the Cleveland, Ohio area and I-90 goes through that area.

After she was elected a bishop in 2004, she was assigned to the Minnesota Annual Conference and I-90 goes through the southern part of the state. Bishop Dyck was assigned to the Northern Illinois Annual Conference in 2012 and reassigned for another four years in 2016. She is quoted saying, “I walk across I-90 in order to go to my office at the Temple/First UMC in Chicago. I’m from I-90!”

Throughout her ministry as a pastor, a district superintendent, and a bishop, Bishop Dyck has served churches in rural, suburban and urban areas, beginning her ministry on the near west side of Cleveland in the late 1970s.

A popular lecturer, preacher, teacher, conductor, and concert artist, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson founded and launched the Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience at Garrett-Evangelical in 2016. She served as co-director for the 1996 General Conference of The United Methodist Church and was selected as the first female and first person of color to serve as director of music for The United Methodist Church’s 2000 General Conference. Wilson was also a member of the national task force that produced the Songs of Zion, and in 2005 she co-chaired with Dr. William McClain, professor emeritus of Wesley Theological Seminary, the task force that produced its sequel, Zion Still Sings! For Every Generation

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson serves as associate general secretary effective February 1, 2017, with Discipleship Ministries. Wilson has served as assistant vice president of student life and dean of students at Garrett-Evangelical since 2012.

Rev. Dr. Donna Battle is a native of Yanceyville, N.C., and is passionate about facilitating spaces that are life-giving by supporting knowledge of truth, fostering healthy community and healing, and encouraging others to operate within their strengths. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, watching movies, expanding her faith, and discovering new things about the world and universe.

Donna holds a B.A. in public relations from North Carolina A&T State University, an M.Div. from Duke University with a concentration in spirituality, and a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy at Eastern University. Prior to coming to Meredith, she served several local churches, was the executive pastor of The Way Christian Center in Berkeley, Calif., and was both a life coach and associate dean of the chapel at Shaw University.

A native North Carolinian, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward was raised on the Morgan family farm in northeastern North Carolina in the community of Corapeake. Her home church, Parkers United Methodist Church, is on a three point charge. She is a graduate of Duke University and Duke Divinity School and met spouse Mike on a volunteer in mission workteam to Bolivia in 1975. They were married in 1977. Together, they served as teaching parents at the Methodist Home for Children in Raleigh, North Carolina.

She has served as a youth director, Christian educator, pastor, Director of Connectional Ministries and district superintendent in the NC Conference. She was elected to the Episcopacy in July, 2004 and assigned to the Mississippi Conference in 2004 and 2008. In 2012, she was assigned to the North Carolina Conference. She served as president of the General Board of Global Ministries and as president of JustPeace, which is the Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation of the UMC. She now serves on the General Board of Church and Society and is the bishop assigned to give oversight of the Vietnam Mission Initiative.

Her spouse, Mike Ward, is an educator. He has been a high school teacher, coach, principal, and local school superintendent. From 1997-2004, he served as North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction, an elected position. Mike is on the faculty of NC State University, consults across the United States on education, and is an advocate for children.

She and Mike have two children and four grandchildren. Brooke Morgan Ward and her husband, Derek Taira, grandson, Morgan, and granddaughter, Nyla, live in Hawaii where Derek is on the faculty of the University of Hawaii and Brooke is an educational specialist for the Hawaii Department of Education. Jason Ward and his wife, Alison Greene, and grandsons, Amos and Theo, live in Atlanta, Georgia. Jason teaches history at Emory and Alison teaches at Candler.

She and Mike enjoy sailing and other seaside joys, jogging, and reading.

Rev. Dr. Lis Valle-Ruiz joined McCormick Theological Seminary in 2018 from Nashville, TN. She earned her PhD in Homiletics and Liturgics from Vanderbilt University, where she also studied gender and sexuality. Her dissertation, “As One Among Many: Affirming a Multitude of Embodied Preaching Practices,” analyzes pulpit preaching through public speech, street preaching through symbolic action, and preaching through theater and proposes that these are three paradigms among many others in the repertoire of embodied Christian preaching practices among which preachers may choose.

Rev. Valle has researched the theology of the sermons of Latina clergy and is also the author of “Toward Postcolonial Liturgical Preaching: Drawing on the Pre-Columbian Caribbean Religion of the Taínos.” Homiletic Online Journal, 2015.

Rev. Valle has served as Professor of Theology and Scripture at the Lux Summer Youth Institute in Monmouth College, IL, has provided worship and chaplaincy leadership in interdenominational gatherings, and possesses a background as both an actor and a lawyer.

Rev. Valle received a ThM in Homiletics from Princeton Theological Seminary and an MDiv from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She also holds a JD from the University of Puerto Rico. With a BA in Education with an emphasis in Theater, Valle has continued to combine her study of theology and passion for justice with her work as an actress and an artistic director.

Rev. Valle is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Academy of Homiletics, and the ARC Creative Collaborative for Theopoetics, among other professional organizations. She has been a fellow with the Forum for Theological Exploration and the Hispanic Theological Initiative/Consortium.

Lis has been an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 2013.

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, President of the Council of Bishops, serves as bishop of the Louisiana Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, having been assigned there in September of 2012. The Louisiana Annual Conference is composed of 486 congregations and 118,725 members and includes the entire state of Louisiana.

Under Bishop Harvey’s leadership, the Louisiana Annual Conference follows a mission and vision focus to: lead others to an abundant life in Christ; engage in the community; learn, live and tell the gospel story; and reach out and draw-in people from all walks of life resulting in vibrant, alive and vital congregations. The vision and mission are undergirded by Core Values: integrity, accountability, unrelenting love for all people, courage and risk, and holding nothing sacred but the mission. She continues to draw upon the vision and mission at every opportunity.

She has challenged faith communities to look beyond themselves and to keep an eye focused on the edge where God is at work. Bishop Harvey also has a passion for young people as they lead the church into a future filled with possibilities.

In connection with her Episcopal assignment, she assumed the role of President of the Council of Bishops in 2020, having served as the Secretary of the Council of Bishops 2014-2018. She also serves on the Boards of Trustees for Centenary College, and Southern Methodist University, and The Perkins School of Theology Executive Board. Bishop Harvey is the Vice-Chair of the Commission on United Methodist Communications for The United Methodist Church, is a board member of the United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana and past President of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference.

After graduating from the University of Texas in Austin in 1980, Bishop Harvey spent 12 years in the corporate world as a regional director of marketing for the Rouse Company, a shopping center developer with properties throughout the United States. She focused on properties in Texas, Colorado, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Harvey went on to serve as associate pastor for The Foundry United Methodist Church in Houston from 1992-1996 and as executive pastor for Memorial Drive UMC in Houston from 1996-2008. She then moved to the position of Director of Missional Excellence for the Texas Annual Conference, serving from February of 2008-May 1, 2010. Just prior to her election as a United Methodist bishop during the 2012 South Central Jurisdictional Conference, Harvey served as Deputy General Secretary for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, where she earned a Masters of Divinity.

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey was born on May 5, 1959 in Big Spring, Texas. She and her husband, Dean Alan Harvey, were married in 1981. Dean is a financial advisor and owns his own firm. Their daughter, Elizabeth Grace Harvey Reames is married to Tyler Reames and they make their home in Dallas.

Dean and Cynthia love good food. They love to cook, but can also give you recommendations for the best restaurants from Houston to Baton Rouge, and wherever their travels have taken them. Dean is an excellent chef while Cynthia is at his side as his sous chef (taking care of clean-up duty!)

Susan Beaumont is a consultant, coach, author and spiritual director.

Susan has worked with hundreds of congregations and denominational bodies across the United States and in Canada. She is known for her ground-breaking work in the leadership dynamics of large congregations.

Before establishing her own practice, Susan worked for nine years as a Senior Consultant with the Alban Institute. Susan has also served on the faculty of two business schools, teaching graduate level courses in leadership, management and organizational behavior. She has corporate experience in human resource management and organizational development. She currently teaches at Wesley Theological Seminary.

Susan is the author of How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season, and Inside the Large Congregation. She is co-author of When Moses Meets Aaron: Staffing and Supervision in the Large Congregation.

Rev. Beaumont is an ordained minister within the American Baptist Churches, USA.

Susan’s educational background includes a M.B.A. from Northwestern University and a M.Div. from McCormick Theological Seminary.  She is a graduate of the Shalem Institute Spiritual Guidance program.

Susan is known for engaging the best of business practice, filtered through the lens of careful theological reflection. She moves easily between discernment and decision making, and nurtures the soul of the leader along with the soul of the institution

Erin Moore is currently serving as Assistant Vice President for Human Resources and Employee Engagement at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She began her career in marketing and communications and quickly became a thought partner at the right hand to presidents, CEOs, and CFOs. These experiences gave her the opportunity to see how C-level executives network to enable her to build her own professional network that has advanced her career. She thrives on leading strategic initiatives and accelerating organizational change. Moore is valued for her ability to think through challenges and creating solutions, making a difference, adding value to the mission, and working tenaciously to get things done. Prior to working at Garrett, she worked for InnerWorkings, Cenveo, Man Roland, and Harley-Davidson Financial Services. Erin has a bachelor’s degree in business affairs and communications from Monmouth College and a graduate certificate in Critical Thinking from Cornell University. She has also completed a Design Thinking program through IDEO and the Center for Courage and Renewal’s Academy for Leaders.

Rev. Dr. Cynthia D. Weems is District Superintendent of the South East District of the Florida Conference and currently serves as Dean of the Cabinet. The SE District spans Delray Beach to Key West and encompasses five language groups. Formerly, she served as pastor of First United Methodist Church of Miami, a church with an extensive ministry to the diverse homeless population of downtown Miami. Weems has served congregations in Connecticut, Kansas, and Florida. After seminary, she spent two years as a volunteer missionary in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Becky Posey Williams joined the staff of The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women in January, 2014 as Senior Director for Sexual Ethics and Advocacy for the worldwide United Methodist Church. In this position, she provides consultation to bishops and judicatory leaders and offers training throughout the denomination on the topics of sexual ethics and integrity in ministry, including the importance of self-care. Becky is also a trainer for the development and use of Response Teams for congregational and staff healing following an incident of sexual misconduct in a local ministry setting.  

Barbara Boigegrain has served as the chief executive of Wespath Benefits and Investments for 26 years. Wespath is a general agency of The United Methodist Church, and is the largest reporting faith-based pension fund in the world. 

Under Barbara’s leadership, a strategic approach for the organization has been established to secure the long-term viability of pension plans, retirement savings programs, and health and welfare benefit plans for more than 100,000 clergy and lay employees of the worldwide Church. Founded in 1908, the agency added an institutional investments are in 2011.

As CEO, Barbara oversees all fiduciary services and administrative operations of Wespath, which has over $25 billion in assets under management. Our investment program is recognized for global leadership in sustainable investment. 

Barbara is active with a number of professional associations. She serves as a standing director of the Church Benefits Association and is a standing Steering Committee member of the Church Alliance—both of which represent more than 35 diverse faiths. Barbara chaired the Church Alliance from 2012 through 2018. She also serves as a board member and Compensation Committee Chair with First Midwest Bancorp, Inc. 

Prior to joining Wespath, Barbara spent 11 years with Towers Perrin. Earlier in her career, Barbara held positions with Dart Industries in the group insurance benefits function and with KPMG Peat Marwick tax practice. Barbara received her B.A. from Trinity University and completed graduate coursework at the University of Chicago and UCLA.