Board Chair, Executive Committee Chair
Devang Shah joined the Interfaith Works Board of Directors in July 2018. Devang is a partner at Shah & Kishore, a business immigration law firm that provides legal services to corporations in the U.S. and abroad. Devang delivers strategic solutions to companies to achieve their staffing requirements. He is very experienced in complex business immigration matters. Devang is a member of the board of directors of several other organizations including AICS which focuses on disease prevention, management of chronic diseases, mental health and seniors’ needs. Devang obtained his doctorate in law from the American University Washington College of Law, master’s degree in law from Georgetown Law School, and bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan.
Marilyn Ripin, PhD
Dr. Marilyn Ripin is a member of the board of directors’ executive committee and program committee. Marilyn has been associated with Interfaith Works since 2012, originally as a volunteer with Interfaith Works’ vocational services program. Marilyn has recently retired after a successful 35-year career during which she founded and sold a company that developed a detection system for biological agents, worked as a branch chief and program manager at the U.S. Department of Energy, and adjunct assistant professor at the University of Maryland’s Department of Microbiology (now the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics). Marilyn holds a doctorate, master’s and bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Maryland.
Finance Committee Chair
Frank White has 36 years of real estate and development experience while working as a vice-president, consultant, director, retail real estate representative, development-manager, leasing arm for developers around the country, and owner’s construction representative. He has experience in working with malls, shopping centers, mixed-use projects, urban, and inner-city neighborhoods around the country. Frank is a formerly licensed Real Estate Agent in multiple jurisdictions, and currently licensed in Maryland. He is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and spent two years in a graduate program at Montclair State University, and further studies in real estate and finance at Penn State University.
Past Board Chair, Governance Committee Chair
Kay Newhouse is chair of the board of directors and member of its executive committee. She has been involved with the Interfaith Works board since 2013. As an educator, she has held teaching, administrative, marketing, consulting, and board roles with such varied organizations as Rockville Community Nursery School, Norwood School, and the National Science Teachers Association. She currently brings her passions for teaching, learning and social justice to the world of social dancing, as an internationally renowned, GPDIA-certified West Coast Swing judge, teacher, event director, and community growth consultant. Kay earned a master’s degree in K-6 science education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and holds a magna cum laude, phi beta kappa bachelor’s degree in English and physics, Sigma Xi, from Amherst College.
Advocacy Committee Chair
Agnes Leshner is a member of the board of directors and has been involved with Interfaith Works for almost 15 years. Agnes is a psychologist and family therapist who, for more than 25 years, was the director of child welfare services at Montgomery County Health and Human Services. She oversaw a staff of more than 160 social workers that provided a variety of services to children and families, including investigations of reported child abuse and neglect, family preservation, kinship care, foster care, adoption, and finding foster homes. She is a board member of 4Montgomery’s Kids, and on the board of the Community Action Agency and a member of the Steering Committee of the Children’s Opportunity Fund. Agnes holds a master’s degree in psychology from Bucknell University and is trained in family therapy through the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic.
Development Committee Chair
Saman Qadeer has counseled a variety of clients ranging from Defense and Aerospace, Real Estate investment firms to Non-Profits. Saman is a detail-oriented, out of the box and forward-thinking lawyer. She is always taking stock of how to mitigate risks and potential crisis. She has worked for Coca-Cola overseas, where her worked encompassed Foreign Direct Investments. More recently the Department of Veterans Affairs where she worked with Veterans seeking SDVOSB and VOSB certifications. She brings a unique legal and business acumen that is invaluable to her clients. After Law School, Saman worked as a fellow to the Office of the General Counsel for the United States Trade Representative. Saman began her career working for the United States Congress.
Helen Blumen, MD
Program Committee Chair
Dr. Helen Blumen’s 40-year career in medicine includes more than 10 years of full time clinical internal medicine practice. Subsequently, her career focused on health care management, with a focus on clinical guidelines, performance measurement, and health services research. As a retiree, she is committed to improving the quality of life in her community and making a difference as a volunteer by leveraging her skills in management and process improvement. In 2016, Helen became involved with Interfaith Works when she began volunteering at the Interfaith Works Clothing Center. She has been a board member since 2017 and serves on the program and finance committees. Helen completed her medical degree at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles and earned a master’s degree in business administration from Johns Hopkins University. Helen is a graduate of Senior Leadership Montgomery.
Pamela Taylor was recently appointed to Interfaith Work’s Board of Directors and also serves on the Advocacy Committee. In 2018 she was appointed on the Commission of Children & Youth by County Executive, Isaiah Leggett. As a longtime advocate for families and children, Pamela has worked in the mental health field with diverse populations for over 25 years expanding across multiple state lines to include: Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia. Pamela has a strong background in Family Systems. She is a facilitator of Strengthening Families Programs for Montgomery County Collaboration Council and has served on Montgomery County Grants Advisory Group. Pamela was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She has two daughters and is employed by the Housing Opportunities Commission in Montgomery County. Pamela also serves and has formed partnerships with various churches and community service foundations in the area. She is a proud member of The Church of the Redeemer.
Brad Colton recently retired after working for Marriott for nearly 40 years. Throughout his time there, Brad held various corporate and property positions. He has served as Chairman of the Board for LM; MC CVB President and currently serving as a board member of Montgomery Hospice; Interfaith Works; Montgomery Moving Forward; and First Counselor in the Washington, DC Young Single Adult Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and former Bishop of the Bethesda Ward. Mr. Colton holds a degree in Finance from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, UVA.
Grace Rivera-Oven is the chair of the board of directors’ development committee. Grace is a community activist, political consultant, small business owner and member of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. As the host of the public service television program, “Revista Semanal Montgomery,” Grace delivers programming that educates and empowers the Latino community with important information from prevention of domestic violence to the importance of registering to vote. She received a bachelor’s degree in law and society from Hood College. In addition, Grace holds a Maryland mediation certification.
Brad McCullough re-joined the Interfaith Works Board of Directors in 2020, as part of a nearly thirty-year involvement with the organization, which includes two stints as Board Chair. Brad is a principal with the law firm, Lerch Early & Brewer. Brad’s practice focuses on commercial and business litigation. He also has a very active appellate practice that touches on a wide range of areas. Brad also serves as a mediator, helping parties resolve their disputes short of full-blown litigation. He is the Treasurer of the Litigation Section Council of the Maryland State Bar Association, co-chairs that Association’s Appellate Practice Committee, and serves on the Ethics Committees of both the Maryland State Bar Association and the Bar Association of Montgomery County. Brad is also an active parishioner at St. James Episcopal Church in Potomac. He earned a bachelor’s degree from what is now McDaniel College. He attended law school at the University of Baltimore.
Ronna J. Cook is a member of the Interfaith Works (IW) Program Committee and Real Estate Committee and joined the Board of Directors in 2020. Ronna has been associated with IW since 2018, originally as a volunteer assisting with the evaluation of IW programs. She is a retired social sciences researcher with 40 years of experience in survey and evaluation research, social services delivery, and special education. Ms. Cook spent many years at Westat, a leading national research contractor, most recently serving as Associate Director of Westat’s Human Services study group. She provided policy and program evaluation research services to federal, state, and foundation clients nationwide. During her career, she directed several groundbreaking national studies of foster care, adoption, and early childhood education. Ronna received her M.S.W from Arizona State University, M.A. in Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University, and BA from the University of Illinois. She is trained in Adolescent Behavior and Development through the Institute of Psychoanalysis.