BOARD MEMBERS

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   Rev. Jennifer Fenner  
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Pastor Jennifer Fenner

Officer

The Reverend Jennifer Fenner – “Pastor Jenn” – is a native of Fremont, Michigan and a long-time resident of Howard County, Maryland. Currently serving as the Senior Pastor of the Epworth United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg, MD. Reverend Fenner has also served in Nicaragua, Central America, she also served as a liaison with the United Nations while working for the Church Center  (part of the United Methodist Church) in New York City, and for two years as a Young Adult Missionary in Residence for the General Board of Global Ministries. Her dedication to diversity and inclusiveness was recognized very early in her vocation, when upon graduating Summa Cum Laud from the Drew University Theological School, Reverend Fenner was honored with the Hebrew Bible Award. Fully bilingual English/Spanish, she is committed to promoting justice and equality for all races and ethnicities.

     Rev. Mele Taumoepeau Aho    
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Rev. Mele Taumoepeau Aho 
Director 

Officer

Before joining the Epworth UMC staff, Mele led the development of the Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) student organization at Wesley Theological Seminary (WTS), served as the campus pastor at National United Methodist Church (Wesley Campus), and was the vice president of the North Association of the Pacific Americans (NAPA), as well as the director of youth and young adult ministry of Seattle First Tongan United Methodist Church. She also represented the Washington Commission on Asian Pacific American for K-12 and higher education and established two summits for Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) think tank initiatives.   Mele holds a Bachelor of Science and Business Administration in Marketing and Master of Business Administration in Financial Management from City University of Seattle, Washington, and a Master of Divinity specializing in Public Theology from Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC.

  Derek Harps  
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Derek Harps

President

Derek Harps has a long and significant history of marrying his professional expertise in the areas of banking and lending with his personal commitment and dedication to the successful management of not-for-profit efforts in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Retired as Vice President  and Team Lead for M&T Bank’s Greater Washington Not-for-Profit Banking Group, Mr. Harps' 41 years of banking experience has served to guide numerous non-profit boards, including his tenures as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Healthy Babies Project, and President of the Board of Directors for the Center for Non-profit Advancement. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Montgomery College Life Sciences Park Foundation and as Chairperson of the Administrative Council of the Epworth United Methodist Church.

   Barbara Pauley  
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Barbara Pauley CPA

Co-Treausurer

Barbara Pauley has been a member of Epworth United Methodist Church for 42 years.  She has served the church in various capacities, most recently as a new member of the Ana A. Brito Foundation, Inc. board.  A native of West Virginia, Barbara graduated from West Virginia University in 1973 with a degree in Accounting and Finance.  She began her professional career with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (then the U.S. General Accounting Office) as an Auditor and later in supervisory positions.  Her work history includes that of a tax accountant in a family-owned tax practice, and numerous positions with the Montgomery County Public School System. Additionally, she served as a member of the Board of Directors of a bank in West Virginia until the time of its merger with a larger bank. She is a Certified Public Accountant.

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   Elizabeth Brito Austin  
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Elizabeth Brito Austin

Secretary

Elizabeth (Lisa) Brito-Austin has strong ties to the Montgomery County community and a very personal investment in the mission and services of the Ana A. Brito Foundation. Lisa was born in Camaguey, Cuba and together with her parents and sisters, immigrated to the US in 1968 on the last of what was then referred to as the “Freedom Flights.” Her family was sponsored by a local United Methodist church and relocated to Montgomery County, allowing them to acclimate, integrate and finally flourish as productive and successful members of the local community. Together with her considerable experience in the areas of legal practices, local government and project management, Lisa brings her unique perspective – and personal narrative – to the important work of the foundation.

 
Pastor Yolanda Pupo-Ortiz
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Pastor Yolanda Pupo-Ortiz

Officer

Yolanda E. Pupo-Ortiz was born on September 14, 1937 in Holguin, Cuba. She arrived in the United States, 1961 and is the daughter of Eduardo Pupo Saúco and Luz Maria Ortiz. She was the first Hispanic or Latina woman to be fully received into the Southern New England Conference of the United Methodist Church when she joined its ranks in 1983. Of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent, Pupo-Ortiz was born into a family of Quakers, and was raised in Cuba. She earned degrees from Colegio Los Amigos and Seminario Evangélico de Teología, both in Cuba, and holds a master's degree from Emory University. Her career path includes serving as Co-pastor of the Methodist Church, Preston, Cuba, 1958—1959, pastor in Cienfuegos, Cuba, 1960—1961, and pastor in Coral Gables, Florida, 1961—1966. Yolanda was the head librarian at the Boston Public Library., Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts from 1971—1981. She then moved to serve as associate general secretary of the United Methodist Church's Religion and Race Commission, and directed programs for Spanish-speaking students at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, 1981—1988. In 1988 she was appointed to serve at Bethesda United Methodist Church until 1995.  Her translation of the hymn "Here I Am, Lord" has been published. She currently serves as a emeritus pastor  at Epworth United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. She served as the director of the Ana Brito Foundation from its inception until August 2022 and now serves on the board of directors.