Deaconess Lisa Polito is a 1990 graduate of Valparaiso University and assumed the role of Executive Director of the LDA on January 1, 2008. Previously, Lisa served the LDA as the Director of Development and Public Relations for seven years. Before coming to the LDA, Lisa served as the Director of Chaplaincy Services for Good Shepherd Lutheran Home of the West in Southern California. She has written for the LWML Quarterly, speaks at conferences and leads retreats. Lisa is married to Carmine Polito, a civil engineering professor at VU. They enjoy reading and baseball games!
Deaconess Kristin Lewis joined the LDA in June 2014. She was consecrated as a deaconess in February 2010. She received her Masters from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and her undergraduate degrees from Augustana College in Sioux Fall, SD. Prior to coming to the LDA, Kristin served as a parish deaconess for five years at Trinity Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, IN. She also worked to start Dayspring Women's Center which serves women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Kristin loves working with youth and in addition to her parish ministry has worked in schools, after school programs and the children's defense fund. She enjoys speaking and helping to facilitate retreats and conferences. Kristin is married to Jeff Lewis. They have a son, Parker, and twin girls, Atley and Elyn, who keep life busy. Kristin also likes lattes.
Deaconess Valerie Webdell has been on staff at the LDA since August 2014, and was also consecrated as a deaconess the same year. Valerie holds a Bachelor's degree in Piano and Music Education, and is an active composer and pianist. Prior to coming to the LDA, she taught choral music in the public school system, and continues to teach privately. In addition, Valerie is a trained facilitator for Healthy Congregations, a not-for-profit that works to increase emotional health in congregations in order to manage conflict and move towards more intentional mission and vision. She enjoys time with her two daughters, Sophia and Mia, and loves the outdoors.
Director of Development and Public Relations
Lindsay Fertig has been on staff at the LDA since July of 2015 and is a deaconess candidate with hopes to be consecrated later this year. Lindsay holds a Bachelor's degree from Valparaiso University. Prior to coming to the LDA Lindsay served as the Assistant to the Jochum Chair at Valparaiso University and has done mission work in Haiti with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti. Lindsay, a misplaced Clevelander, plays roller derby with the South Shore Roller Girls and loves spending time with her family and friends.
Mary Hohnke came to the LDA in 2003 with nearly 20 years of administrative experience and is Microsoft Office Certified. Originally from Wisconsin, Mary worked in the Milwaukee Public Schools as an Administrative Assistant for 15 years. Upon moving to Michigan City, IN, in 1999, she served as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of the Medical Group of Michigan City. Mary is married to Vern, a LaPorte County Deputy Sheriff, has two children, and is a proud grandma.
Assistant for Database and Secretarial Services
Gloria Hanks joined the LDA staff in 2008 and “retired” in 2014. She rejoined the staff in January of 2016 as a part-time member. She is the database operator/administrator and secretarial assistant to Lindsay, Kristin and Valerie. She worked as a certified medical/surgical/administrative assistant for 30 years prior to coming to the LDA. Some of her spare time activities are reading, running, sewing, artwork and watching classic movies. She has 3 grandchildren. She enjoys being back at the LDA!
Executive Director Emeritus
Deaconess Louise Williams retired from the LDA after 33 years of service. She is a 1967 graduate of Valparaiso University. In 1992 Louise earned a master’s degree in religious studies at Mundelein College concentrating in Christian Spiritualities. She was also awarded a Doctor of Divinity, Honoris Causa, from Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, IA and received the Alumni Achievement Award from VU. Louise is a frequent workshop and retreat leader. Louise has written studies, series and articles for the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Quarterly, Lutheran Women Today, The Lutheran and other publications. She has also co-authored studies with Phyllis Kersten. Louise is active in DIAKONIA World Federation and DIAKONIA of the Americas and Caribbean and enjoys traveling.