Staff and Board

Leadership Team

Kay Toran Portrait

Kay D. Toran, President/Chief Executive Officer and Board Member

For over twenty years, I have proudly been at the helm of this VOA affiliate which has been in operation in Oregon for 125-years, providing impactful, outcomes-based programs designed to help improve the lives of children, families, and seniors. After graduating from the University of Portland with a BA in Sociology/Psychology, I continued my education at Portland State University earning an MSW from the School of Social Work, and later was hired by Portland State University as an Assistant Professor of Social Work. I served in several management positions in the State of Oregon including six years as the Director of Oregon’s Child Welfare agency and seven years as the Director of Oregon’s Affirmative Action Office under Governor Vic Atiyeh. Currently, I serve on Providence Health and Services’ Oregon Community Ministry Board and on the Board of Regents of the University of Portland. I have had the great honor of receiving numerous awards during my career; such as an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Portland; the Urban Pioneer Award from Portland State University; the CEO of the Year for Non-Profits from the Portland Business Journal; Ecumenist of the Year Award from Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon; the Award for Excellence from the State Management Association of the State of Oregon, the Vic Atiyeh Award for Excellence in Education from Concordia University; and the Sandra McDonough Leadership Award from the Portland Business Alliance. Mayor Sam Adams also named a “Kay Toran Appreciation Day” acknowledging my leadership contributions made to the community.

Pete La Raus COO

Pete La Raus, Chief Operating Officer

Pete La Raus currently serves as the COO for VOA of Oregon and was hired in September 2021. He most recently served as COO for Whole Child International, an NGO dedicated to improving child protection and early childhood care and development outcomes in El Salvador. He was primarily responsible for developing and harmonizing internal systems across human resource, financial and programmatic departments. Prior to his work with Whole Child, Pete spent almost 20 years overseas as a senior manager focused on child rights, child protection, humanitarian response, health, education, and vocational opportunities for youth. Pete has worked in Africa, Asia and the Americas and has worked with governments and civil society to tackle some of the most intractable social issues in some of the most demanding contexts in the world. Pete received a double major from Bowdoin College in International Relations and Spanish and has a Masters in Public Administration from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

Christie D’Angelo, Development Director

Christie D’Angelo joined VOA Oregon as the Development Director in May 2021. Prior to VOA Oregon, Christie worked for the Alzheimer’s Association, California Southland Chapter, in Los Angeles as the lead fundraiser on the development team. Christie’s previous experience also includes managing all fundraising events for the Glaucoma Research Foundation in San Francisco. Before making her way out west, Christie initially developed her career on the east coast, working largely in the nonprofit space, with a particular focus on event management, fundraising, community relations, strategic partnerships, and public relations. She also handled event management for Arnold & Porter, an international law firm in Washington, DC with one of the world’s leading pro-bono programs. Christie holds a BA in Communications from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Head shot of Mike Wiebe

Mike Wiebe, Human Resources Director

Mike Wiebe joined VOA Oregon as the Human Resources Director in February 2020. Prior to VOA Oregon, Mike worked for Fred Meyer and their parent company Kroger throughout Oregon and Texas in leadership roles for nearly 15 years and a local not-for-profit in the sustainability field. Mike has a BS from Portland State University and a MA from Concordia University, St. Paul, in Human Resources Management.

Pam portrait

Pam Kelly, Division Director for Treatment and Prevention Services

Pam has a Bachelors degree in Psychology, a Masters degree in Management and Public Administration, and a Masters degree in Social Work. She completed a post-master’s training and certification program in Marital & Family Therapy and is a certified chemical dependency counselor. Ms. Kelly has worked in the field of chemical dependency, mental health, family therapy, and offender rehabilitation for the past 20 years. She has broad experience in developing and managing social service programs serving these populations. Her experience includes serving as the Treatment Director for the Broward County Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), directing the Dual-Diagnosis Adolescent Unit (Charter Ridge Hospital, Lexington, Kentucky), and serving as the Program Director for the Women’s Residential Center at VOA Oregon, treating high-risk, dually-diagnosed offenders.

Elizabeth portrait

Elizabeth Sherman, Division Director of Children and Family Programs

Elizabeth Sherman has led services for families at VOA Oregon for over 19 years. She managed programs for families with Child Welfare involvement, strengthening parenting and facilitating reunification. She has also directed our partnership with Home Forward Public Housing to prevent substance abuse and promote healthy lifestyles and academic success among youth and families at five sites. She has a BA in Early Childhood Education and is a Certified Prevention Specialist.

Board of Directors

Bruce Warner portrait

Bruce Warner, Board Chair

Bruce Warner is President of Warner Group, LLC, which helps public and private organizations find solutions to their transportation, development, and financing problems. He retired from public service where he held Manager/Director positions at City of Hillsboro, the Portland Development Commission (now Prosper Portland), the Oregon Department of Transportation, and Metro. Bruce is a registered Civil Engineer in Oregon and continues serve on various Boards including being President of the TriMet Board of Directors for the past 9 years. He is committed to assist VOA Oregon in its mission to help our region’s most vulnerable residents.

Carmen Gaston portrait

Carmen Gaston, Vice Chair

Carmen C. Gaston is the Director of Mission Advancement at the Archdiocese of Portland. She currently oversees all communications and development efforts in support of the Catholic Church in western Oregon. A longtime advancement professional, Carmen previously served as the Chief Development & Strategy Officer for Catholic Charities Oregon and the Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations and Planning at the University of Portland. Prior to serving in non-profit roles, she worked in brand and product management at John Deere. A native of Portland, she attended the University of Portland and Creighton University School of Law. Carmen is involved in many social issues and presently leads the Family, Food, and Faith Program that has fed over 350,000 families in western Oregon during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Andrea Cook, Secretary

Dr. Cook is President Emerita of Warner Pacific University (WPU). During her time leading WPU, Dr. Andrea Cook was a driving force behind the institution embracing its identity as an urban institution dedicated to serving the city of Portland and students historically underserved by higher education. Through specially tailored programs, WPU students who identify as first-generation college attenders are achieving their higher education goals, paving the way to a brighter future. Dr. Cook was instrumental in the University becoming a Hispanic Serving (HSI) and Minority Serving Institution, with scholarship and academic programs focused on providing access for under-represented students to attend Warner Pacific, with the objective of earning a degree that will prepare them to lead in their community. For over 40 years, Dr. Andrea Cook was dedicated to higher education leadership, holding positions at Judson Baptist College, University of Oregon, George Fox University, and Goshen College before assuming the role of Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Warner Pacific. She was inaugurated as the WPU's seventh and first female President in September, 2009. Cook holds a baccalaureate degree in elementary education from Northwest Nazarene University and both a master's degree and Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Management from the University of Oregon.

Greg W. portrait

Greg Warner, Treasurer

Greg is the Vice President and co-founder of Hines Warner Wealth Management, LLC. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, he specializes in financial planning and stewarding investment plans for high net worth families and business owners. Greg believes that trust is the key ingredient in a successful client partnership and works hard to earn that trust every single day. His philosophy is to be an educator first and foremost, empowering clients with the knowledge they need to make the best decisions for their financial lives. Greg is a 20 year industry veteran and in 2009 was profiled in Forbes magazine. He received the annual Five Star Professional award for Wealth Managers in 2016. Prior to co-founding Hines Warner Wealth Management, he spent six years at McGee Financial Strategies /Raymond James as a Registered Representative. During his tenure, Greg implemented numerous asset management solutions for high net worth individuals. He was responsible for client portfolio construction, asset allocation strategies, and served as a key member of the firm’s Investment Committee. Greg is active in his community and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Volunteers of America® Oregon and the Resource Development Committee for The Circus Project. From 2009 to 2014, he served on the Resource Development Board of CARES Northwest. Greg graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Oregon in 2000, received his MBA from Portland State University in 2008, and his CFP® certification from the College of Financial Planning in 2012. He holds Series 63 and 65 securities licenses. He resides in Portland, Oregon with his family.

Capt. David Abrahamson, Director

David Abrahamson is a captain with the Portland Police Bureau. In 2000, David began his law enforcement career with Portland Public School Police Department with the desire to work with youth and families. Early in his career David participated as a member of the Police Bureau’s Service Coordination Team working alongside social service providers, including Volunteers of America Oregon, whom he strongly supported. Throughout his career David has assisted the bureau as an Executive Officer in the Chief’s Office, overseen the Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team, served on the Community Engagement Steering Committee through the Department of Justice, and partnered as a peer member for the Employee Assistance Program. David sought his undergraduate degree at Liberty University. In 2018, he graduated from the FBI National Academy, in Quantico, Virginia, which is for executive level law enforcement. Throughout his career, David has been the recipient of state, regional, and local awards for spearheading grass-roots programs with the immigrant and underserved communities and overseeing in-depth investigations. David currently serves on the Executive Council for Special Olympics Oregon and non-profit Integrated Renewal. David has been married to his wife Debbie for 22 years, and enjoys investing in their seven children, which includes volunteering as a coach for youth sports, organic gardening, and outdoor activities.

Headshot of Board Director Alex Geschke

Alex Geschke, Director

Alex Geschke is a Senior Vice President and Relationship Manager in the Oregon Commercial Banking Group for U.S. Bank. Alex has been with U.S. bank for over 15 years and currently has responsibility for the overall customer relationship, which includes commercial loans, syndicated credits, capital markets, corporate trust and treasury management services. Alex is a Portland native and graduated from Walla Walla University in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and received his MBA from Pepperdine University in 2005. Outside of work Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, including camping and mountain biking in the summer and skiing in the winter.

John portrait

John Hairston, Director

John Hairston was named acting administrator and CEO in September 2020. In this role, he is responsible for managing the nonprofit federal agency that markets carbon-free power from Columbia River hydroelectric dams and the region's one nuclear plant. BPA also operates most of the high-voltage power grid across the Pacific Northwest, distributing renewable energy to the region and beyond. Hairston has served as chief operating officer since October 2019, where he has overseen Power Services; Transmission Services; Environment, Fish and Wildlife; Customer Support Services; and the Business Transformation Office. Hairston also served as BPA’s chief administrative officer, beginning in June 2015. In this role he provided policy and strategic guidance concerning BPA’s internal operations and oversaw Safety; Human Capital Management; Security and Continuity of Operations; Supply Chain; Workplace Services and Information Technology. Hairston joined BPA in 1991. He began his career as an economist in the Rates Forecasting and Rate Design organizations and then performed various positions in Energy Efficiency, including the program manager for Peak Load Management. In 2002, Hairston was assigned to implement and manage the BPA Power Services product, Slice. The Slice product accounts for a sizeable portion of BPA’s annual sales with a portfolio of its largest public customers. In 2006, Hairston was named BPA’s chief compliance officer, leading the development and implementation of the Agency Compliance and Governance Organization, providing overall coordination and management of systems and processes established to assure agency compliance with regulatory rules and standards. Hairston holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from The Southern University, a master’s degree in Urban Studies from Portland State University and a Juris Doctorate from the Lewis & Clark Northwestern School of Law. He also holds the certification of Compliance and Ethics Professional from the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.

Adrienne portrait

Adrienne Livingston, Director

A native Oregonian, Adrienne Livingston received her Bachelor's degree in Marketing, International Business and International Studies from Oregon State University and her Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Western Seminary. She is Director of Anti-Sex Trafficking Initiatives with WorldVenture. Adrienne is bilingual in Spanish and English and has traveled to and or lived in numerous countries including Costa Rica, Ecuador, Denmark, Mexico, Canada, Dominican Republic, Lebanon and India. While living in the Dominican Republic for two years, she worked at the American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic.

Joseph portrait

Joseph A. Pugh, Director

Joseph Pugh is an attorney who has practiced law for over 20 years. Prior to becoming an attorney, he worked as a project engineer. In addition to his law degree, Joe has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and an MBA. Having retired from the full-time practice of law in for-profit arenas, Joe has spent time on legal and non-legal activities that directly or indirectly help others. In addition to serving on the VOA Oregon board, some of these activities have included tutoring adults who want to earn their high school equivalency certificates, serving as a volunteer mediator for neighbors having disputes, and serving on a steering committee to establish a law firm to provide civil legal services for survivors of domestic violence. Beyond that, Joe enjoys being at home, doing work around the house, exercising, visiting his daughters, and spending time with his wife.

Jim Ravelli Photo_500x750

Jim Ravelli, Director, Interim CFO

Jim Ravelli was the Vice President of Operations for University of Portland until his retirement on March 31, 2022. At UP, Jim oversaw the University Academic and Administrative Information Services Technology department; Facilities Planning and Construction, Physical Plant, Land Use and Planning, and the relationship between the University and local neighborhood associations and external regulatory agencies and their representatives. Jim was appointed Chief Information Officer for the University of Portland in August 2008 and Vice President for University Operations in 2010. Prior to joining UP, Jim Ravelli served as Vice President, Service Delivery for EasyStreet Online Services, based in Beaverton; Senior Director, Global IT Operations (acting CIO) for VMware in Palo Alto, CA; CIO and Director of IT Infrastructure for Brocade Communications in San Jose, CA; Founder and President of Archinetix, Inc. – based in Portland, OR; and Director of Infrastructure at Synopsys Corp. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Arizona State University and an Executive Master’s in Public Administration from University of Washington. Jim previously served on the Board of Directors of Seton Catholic High School in Vancouver, WA. Jim resides in Ridgefield WA, with his wife and two daughters. When free time allows, you will find Jim enjoying fishing the many great rivers of Oregon and Washington.

Amy Wayson portrait

Amy Wayson, Director

Amy Wayson served as General Counsel and Vice President/Senior Vice President of Oregon Health and Science University, Oregon’s only health and research university and academic health center, from 2004 until 2013. Prior to joining OHSU, Ms. Wayson practiced law in the private sector for nearly twenty years, practicing both in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Ms. Wayson has a long history of service on the Boards of nonprofit organizations in the Portland, Oregon community, including Metropolitan Family Services, the Urban League of Portland, Albina Opportunities Corporation, and Literary Arts. Since her retirement, she has volunteered with additional nonprofits including the Oregon Community Foundation, SMART, Portland Homeless Family Solutions and SOLVE. She is married to Ken Moran, a fine furniture maker, and she and Ken have between them four children. Ms. Wayson enjoys spending time with those children as well as her large extended family, reading and a variety of outdoor activities, including tennis hiking and gardening.

Al Zindel 11-2020

Alfred J. Zindel, Director

Alfred J. Zindel retired in 2014 as Executive Vice President of Dennis Uniform Manufacturing Company in Portland, Oregon. Al holds a B.A. degree in mathematics from Washington State University. Since graduating, he completed executive management courses at Harvard Business School and Darden Business School at University of Virginia. Prior to a career in the apparel industry, he taught secondary school for three years and coached football and basketball. Al and his wife Dot have four grown children and two grandchildren. As parents, they were very active in public school related activities and fundraising.

Board Emeritus

Barbara portrait

Barbara Brainard, Director

Barbara Brainard has represented private and public employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including: class actions, wrongful discharge, discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, Sarbanes-Oxley and OSHA whistleblower charges; Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs systemic cases and affirmative action compliance reviews; and administrative proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and Washington Labor and Industries Department of Labor wage/hour compliance agencies. Barbara's clients include Fortune 500 manufacturing companies, retailers, technology companies, forest product companies, construction and supply defense contractors and sub-contractors, hospital and health care institutions, agricultural companies and educational institutions. Barbara is listed in Best Lawyers in America and selected as one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" (Labor & Employment). Along with serving as a board of director with VOA Oregon since 2001, Barbara also serves as a board of director for Resource Media and is the Chair of Oregon alumni Admissions Committee – Middlebury College in Vermont. Barbara has a J.D. from Willamette University College of Law and a B.A. from Rutgers University.