Our Staff

Hank's New Bio Pic

Henrietta Saunders , Interim Executive Director

Henrietta Saunders, also known as Hank, served on the Board of Directors of Faith in Place for 4 years before stepping up to fill the tenure gap between Clare and Brian. She has an MS in Learning Sciences from Northwestern, an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago, and a BA in American Studies from Brown. All of these will probably come into play in her eight months of service as Interim Executive Director, from October 1 2013 through June 30 2014.

After working with a multi-employer pension fund and then at First National Bank of Chicago for 16 years, Hank homeschooled her two sons from first through eighth grade. It was at this time she became a passionate advocate for our environment, beginning with the awesome activity of habitat restoration. She will always be grateful to the North Branch Restoration Project for feeding her spirit through this introduction.

Hank believes passionately that we are doing our friends a favor when we introduce them to Faith in Place. She lives in Glenview, where she Chairs the Natural Resources Commission. She attends a non-denominational Christian church, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and Master Naturalist.


Brian J. Sauder , Policy Director

Brian joined the Faith in Place team in January 2010 to lead our advocacy efforts and reach out to central Illinois congregations. Brian grew up in central Illinois and received his B.S. from the University of Illinois in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. He has a M.A. in Religion from Urbana Theological Seminary and is a MBA candidate (2014) at the University of Illinois.

Brian is a member of the First Mennonite Church of Champaign and board member of Sola Gratia Farm and the Illinois Environmental Council. The central Illinois office for Faith in Place is located at the University YMCA in Champaign.


Veronica Kyle , Congregational Outreach

Veronica joined the Faith in Place staff in August 2008 to engage in the much needed work of linking/involving African American churches to the work of Faith in Place. In addition Veronica works with other Faith in Place partners in the movement to share, coordinate and support congregations that are new to the idea of living out their faith while serving as good stewards of the environment. Veronica lived and worked for the past twelve years in the Caribbean and Southern Africa for a faith-based organization in the areas of social justice and development. She received her B.A. in Religion and Women Studies from Vermont College of Norwich University and her Masters degree in Gender Studies from University of the West Indies, 1999.


Susana Figueroa , Wuakegan Congregational Outreach

A graduate of Lake Forest College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Susana has worked serving the needs of the Waukegan community, specifically the needs of the Latino Community, for the last 28 years. She is continuing that trend by joining the Faith in Place team as our Waukegan Community Outreach Organizer. From 1995 to 2013, Susanna worked for the Mayor’s Office as the City’s Community Liaison Administrator. In April 2013, Susana decided to take the next step in serving her community by choosing to run for the office of Mayor of Waukegan. During her 18 years of service in the city, Susana has been awarded and recognized for her outstanding service by the government of Mexico, The Illinois Park and Recreation Association and Illinois Association of Park Districts, Vision Newspaper, The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Waukegan, and The Coalition of United Latinos of Lake County. Born and raised in Mexico, Susana moved to Waukegan in 1986, and now is now married with two beautiful children.

Cindy Shepherd

Cindy Shepherd , Central Illinois Intern

Reverend Cindy Shepherd joins Faith in Place staff as a Food and Faith intern in the central IL office. Cindy grew up in Kansas and has lived in Illinois for 24 years. Her interest in sustainable agriculture and healthy local eating was stoked by visits to small growers in Nicaragua and Palestine. She is the pastor of Philo Presbyterian Church and a grateful member of Sola Gratia Farm in Urbana.

Cindy can be reached at: cindyshep200@yahoo.com or 217-493-5046


Douglas Williams , Central Illinois Intern

Douglas A. Williams joins the Faith in Place staff as a Food and Faith intern in the central IL office. A native of Chicago, Doug’s professional vocation includes both public and private work ranging from the intricacies of floral design to city and regional planning. He has taught landscape architecture at the undergraduate and graduate level. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate in the landscape architecture department at the University of Illinois. He holds a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture from Illinois and a master’s in landscape architecture from Cornell University. Douglas is a member of Providence Baptist Church in Greensboro, NC and has been under watch care at Salem Baptist Church in Champaign for the duration of his PhD studies.
Doug can be reached at: dwillia8@illinois.edu or 443-253-1629


Ginnie Judd , Office Administrator

Ginnie joined the Faith in Place team in January 2013 when she responded to a plea from Rev. Clare Butterfield in a Faith in Place e-newsletter for a one-day-a-week office volunteer. Four weeks later, Ginnie was thrilled to be asked to take on a part time job as Office Administrator. Ginnie has a Bachelor of Science in Food Science from Iowa State University in Ames and spent the majority of her career in food industry management before taking a nine year career break for family reasons. Faced with starting a new chapter of her life, she decided to move in the direction of environmental issues, something that has been close to her heart for many years. Ginnie has been a CSA (community supported agriculture) subscriber since 2007, and her home in the western suburbs is a host location for Genesis Growers of St. Anne, IL. She is glad to support Faith in Place’s mission in whatever ways she can. She divides her work time between Faith in Place, Personal Office Management, Inc. where she serves as an Associate helping people with home office needs, and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, where she takes on a short list of admin responsibilities in addition to her volunteer work there.


Meghan Strell , Database Consultant

Chicago native, Meghan Strell, consults with Faith in Place on 1s and 0s. She uses the SalsaLabs contact database, Access, Excel, Social Media and a website to support FIP staff as they build relationships in the real world. She does the same for Protestants for the Common Good and the Community Renewal Society. When she's not online, she performs with Mucca Pazza.


Jordan Hoover , Congregational Outreach and Support

Jordan joined Faith in Place in August 2013 as the yearlong Lutheran Volunteer Corps member. At Faith in Place he coordinates the Farmer's Market program and supports various programs at Faith in Place. Jordan graduated from Loyola Marymount University in December 2012 with a double degree in Theology and History, and originally hails from Dallas, Texas.


Brooks Darrah , Seminary Intern

The newest member of the Faith in Place team—although by no means the “newest”—Brooks Darrah is the 2013-14 intern on loan to the organization from McCormick Theological Seminary. Prior to pursuing a Master of Divinity degree, Brooks had been an actor in the Chicago area for 25 years, working with a myriad of groups in stage, on-camera, and voice-over venues. Having received his classical training at Carnegie-Mellon University, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. A Wisconsin native, he has a love for nature that traces back to the days of his youth spent in scouting, boundary water canoe trips, and summers spent playing and working on his grandparents’ dairy farms. Since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on the gulf coast in 2005, Brooks has heeded the call to serve in rebuilding efforts with his home church, Lake View Presbyterian of Chicago, through the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program. Brooks is looking forward to bringing together his unique mix of a concern for the relationship we have with nature, his public speaking skills learned through acting, and the 25 plus years of bookkeeping as his actor “day job” in order to serve and grow in his ministry while working with Faith in Place.

Jim Cavallo

Jim Cavallo , The Energy Doctor

Jim Cavallo, director of Midwest Energy Performance Analytics, Inc., is a RESNET certified home energy rater, BPI credentialed building analyst and shell specialist. His accomplishments are many – associate editor of Home Energy Magazine, board member of the Illinois Association of Energy Raters and Home Performance Professionals. He is a BPI proctor, teaches energy auditing and weatherization at St. Augustine College in Chicago, and teaches weatherization to contractors through the Illinois weatherization certification program. Prior to starting his own firm in 2000, Jim was on the research staff of Argonne National Laboratory where he directed a program on energy efficiency in existing buildings. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University in economics.

While volunteering with us, Jim (or The Energy Doctor, as we like to call him) will work with congregations participating in Faith in Place’s new Milestone program on energy management. With years of experience and a wealth of knowledge and resources at his fingertips, he will be an invaluable asset to those Milestone congregations looking to save energy and money.


Lorena Lopez , Congregtional Outreach

Lorena Joined Faith in place September of 2013 as the Latino congregational outreach organizer. One of her first projects was to connect the Latino population to their own migration stories and the natural migrations of butterflies, birds and nature. Lorena grew a passion for nature as a young girl. She started her first community garden at the age of 10. A longtime resident of the Little Village neighborhood, Lorena was a community organizer for LVEJO, a community environmental organization. Through her work with this group she was involved with community mapping to demand a new, clean, safe park in Little Village. Along with a core group of volunteers, Lorena’s team was able to win major victories including the clean-up of 171 homes from cancer causing toxic chemicals as well as working for the installation of new drainage, new fencing, paved roads and street lights around a park site. Lorena’s passionate for community advocacy has led her to return to school to develop her professional skills, where she is currently pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies.