NEWS, INCUBATE

Meet the 2019 SENT Seminar Presenters

NBA   |   August 20, 2019
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The NBA Incubate SENT Seminar equips Social ENTrepreneurs for leadership and change! This four-day seminar is designed for Disciples and their leadership teams who are starting new health and social services ministries. The SENT Seminar will cover the basics of nonprofit ministry startups, as well as skills for leadership and change in our global and faith communities.

This year, the SENT Seminar will be in Scottsdale, Arizonia, and run from September 11-14, 2019. We are grateful for the expert leadership of the following SENT Seminar presenters.

Dietra Wise Baker, NBA Program Coordinator for Advocacy and Activism 

Rev. Dr. Dietra Wise Baker first began serving with NBA as an Organizing Specialist with the Ferguson Justice Initiative. In 2018, she transitioned to Program Coordinator for Advocacy and Activism. This work flows from NBA's mission to "advocate for the well-being of humanity" and is done in collaboration and consistent communication with fellow NBA staff to equip NBA and our ministry partners to deepen engagement in advocacy and activism. Following the trajectory of the work begun with the Ferguson Justice Initiative, these efforts utilize relationships, wisdom, and processes built and tested through that work.

Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Dietra nurtures engagement strategies with NBA and our partners to transform root causes of social injustice. This includes equipping and training partners to address the critical social justice issues most relevant to their work, and collaborating with staff to cultivate partnerships across the life of the church to coordinate efforts related to social justice theology, action, and advocacy.

Dietra has a Bachelor's degree from Howard University in Washington, DC, a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis and she recieved her Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis. Pastor Dietra loves to dance, sing, and teach. She is married to Cornell R. Baker, and they have a beautiful teen daughter, Alexis Baker.

Peter Drury, Chief Strategy Officer at Well Spring Family Services

Peter Drury serves as Chief Strategy Officer, where he is charged with keeping Wellspring future-focused, aligned, growing, and increasingly wise. A social worker with a business education – plus years of innovative leadership and consulting for philanthropists, executives, and boards – Peter is uniquely positioned to facilitate strategy, planning, performance measures, and optimization of the whole. Peter has supported many high-performing organizations during critical stages of growth, such as Splash, Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, Seattle Children’s, Sightline Institute, and Make-A-Wish. He is a member of the faculty in Seattle University’s acclaimed Master of Nonprofit Leadership Program, and holds MSW, MBA, and M.Div. degrees from the University of Illinois, Seattle University, and Yale University.

Victoria Sun Esparza, CEO and Lead Designer for In the Water Design

Victoria Sun Esparza is the CEO and Lead Designer for In the Water Design, a consulting firm that specializes in design-thinking strategy for religious organizations and non-profits. Victoria’s non-traditional background in theological education, vocal performance, and design-thinking gives her a unique perspective on the world and its problems. Her work aims to connect religious organizations and nonprofits to better tools for solving problems and meeting the needs of the people around them. Victoria holds degrees from Abilene Christian University and Southern Methodist University. When she’s not traveling, Victoria lives her life in Dallas, Texas with her husband and fox-like dog, Leila.

Maria Francesca French, Executive Director of Hatchery LA 

Maria currently serves as the Executive Director at Hatchery LA. Hatchery LA works towards innovation and spiritual entrepreneurship informed by asking new questions of God, community, faith and church. Maria holds a Master of Arts in Religion and Theology as well a Master of Arts in Christian Thought.  She is currently engaged in Doctoral work with Wesley Theological Seminary in the Cambridge track studying the intersection of faith, theology and culture, in a world where the philosophical landscape is ever changing.  As a teacher of things Christian and Post Christian, a purveyor of story and faith futurist, Maria is passionate about moving into the future with a contextual faith that matters. She is a native New Yorker and now lives in Los Angeles, California.

Hannah Hasan, Owner and Spoken Word Storyteller at Epoch Tribe

Hannah Hasan was gifted with a love for words and the power to express those words with heart and soul so that she can inspire, motivate and change the world around her. She is a spoken word storyteller. She uses the art of the spoken word through poetry and storytelling to create change, build bridges of connection, and shed light on some of the most pressing social issues of our time. In addition to writing commissioned poetry, leading story sharing master classes, and public speaking through her business, Epoch Tribe, Hannah plans and executes events, master classes and workshops that are centered around using stories for social impact.

Hannah obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from North Carolina A&T State University in 2006 and her Master of Fine Arts degree from Full Sail University in 2012. She has extensive professional experience working in programming for nonprofit organizations, social ventures, and arts-based programming. She currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband Jamaal. 

Héctor J. Hernández, NBA Connect Coordinator 

Rev. Héctor J. Hernández serves as a full-time Connect Coordinator. In his role, Héctor is responsible for both mental health outreach with particular focus on Disciples Hispanic communities, and the coordination of NBA peer learning and wellness groups. 

Héctor has been serving the Latino/Latina immigrant community of Indianapolis, Indiana, since 2009. He is an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of the United States and Canada and served as interim solo pastor of Iglesia Nueva Creación (New Creation Hispanic Church) in the west side of Indianapolis. Héctor has a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Christian Theological Seminary. He recieved his undergraduate degree in Communications with a minor in Visual Arts. As an artist, clergy and immigrant, Héctor has been reflecting artistically and theologically on topics like immigration, the humanitarian crisis in our border, the unaccompanied Central America children, hope, and social justice.

Belinda King, Vice President of Disciples Church Extension Fund 

Belinda R. King has served at Disciples Church Extension Fund since 2012 where she began as the Assistant Treasurer for Loan Services. This year, she was elevated to Vice President of Building and Capital Services.

Belinda has over 20 years of banking experience in business banking, commercial lending, investment management, and client service. Currently, she is responsible for creating, maintaining, and enhancing relationships with Disciples clergy, regional ministers and other adjudicatory leaders, and ecumenical church partners. She provides congregations with financial management, building planning, capital fundraising helping to raise over $1 million, and providing $167million loans. She has been recognized and acknowledged for her exceptional work in helping churches to live into the mission that they have been called to serve.

Belinda has a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration & Labor Relations from Indiana University and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan. She also holds the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) and FINRA Series 6 and 63 licenses.  Belinda is a member of the board of the Indiana Christian Church region, now in her sixth year, and formerly served as Interim Treasurer. The accomplishments of which Belinda is most proud, however, are her roles as a devoted mother to three children and a dedicated life partner to her husband of 29 years, Rod. She resides in Fishers, Indiana.

Carla Leon, Lead for Innovation at the United Church of Canada

Carla is the lead for Innovation at the United Church of Canada. She has a background in for-profit having worked at Coca-Cola Canada, McCain Foods, and Canadian Pacific Railway. She completed her undergrad at Wilfrid Laurier Business School and recieved an MBA at the University of British Columbia with a specialization in organizational behaviour and supply chain management. Ten years ago, she started her own consulting business and quickly pivoted it into Small Business Solver, a leading pay-what-you-can small business resource used worldwide including hundreds of communities in Canada. This is not the typical entry point to working with the United Church!

Over the last 7 years, Carla has worked with the United Church of Canada where she launched Buying United, Embracing the Spirit, the Social Innovation Challenge and most recently the coaching program. She works directly in supporting their 350 new initiatives that have been funded through Embracing the Spirit, the 500 social innovations that have launched through the Social Innovation Challenge, and working directly with communities of faith to help them reimagine church outside of Sunday.

LaShaundra McCray, Owner of 3C: Creative Communications and Consulting

Rev. LaShaundra McCarty is the owner of 3C: Creative Communications & Consulting, which has been in business since 2009. She began her post-graduate journey as a graphic designer and social media manager/trainer providing support to nonprofits, denominations and entrepreneurs. Within Disciples, LaShaundra has worked as a consultant to Reconciliation Ministry, National Convocation, Disciples Home Missions, North Carolina Region and Disciples Women. Over the years, that has transformed into providing workshops on leadership, communication, social media, storytelling, and brand development. She has expanded from developing the image of an organization to fostering the development of its people.


The NBA incubates new ministries, supporting social entrepreneurs of faith who are serving their communities in a variety of innovative ways and empowering these Disciples-led health and social service projects to focus on growth, impact, and sustainability. Learn more at nbacares.org/incubate

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