Meet Our Board

2019-2020 Board of Trustees of Serra International

 

Ruben Gallegos

Dr. Ruben Gallegos, President-Elect, rgallegos@serrainternational.org:  At an early age Dr. Ruben Gallegos worked in the agricultural fields of Texas, California, and Colorado.   For many years he served as altar boy in the Catholic Church.  He joined the Serra Club of Brownsville, Texas, in 1993 and served as Club President, District Governor, Regional Director, Board Member of Serra's National Council for the United States and Serra International.  In 1970 he graduated with Ph.D. from East Texas State University. He worked as teacher, assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent in Brownsville. Also he worked as assistant superintendent in Dallas and Superintendent in Edinburg. He worked 33 years in the field of education with the last nine years as university professor. In 2001, Brownsville named a school the Dr. Ruben Gallegos Elementary School for his contributions in the field of education for children in migrant, bilingual, and multicultural educational programs. After 30 years of serving as the CEO of an educational agency, Dr. Gallegos retired in 2018. He is now the owner/broker of a real estate investment company.

 


 

Michael Bragg

Michael Bragg, President-Elect, mbragg@snlaw.com. Michael graduated from the College of Wooster , with honors and obtained his Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University, cum laude.  Michael is a partner in the law firm Spengler Nathanson PLL in Toledo OH.  Michael is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, current Grand Knight of St. Joan of Arc Council 15905, the current Serra International District Governor for the Diocese of Toledo, President of the St. Joan of Arc Athletic Board, sits on the Executive Committee of the Maumee Valley Historical Society and sits on the board of Friends of Russian Orphans. Michael has volunteered as a coach and scout leader and sung in the Parish Choir. Michael is a past President of the Toledo Bar Association Real Estate Committee and currently sits on the Bar Admissions Committee. He is active at St. Joan of Arc Parish, has been married for 30 years and has four children.

 


 

Bertha Acuna

Bertha Rosa Acuña Hallatt, VP for Programs, bacuna@serrainternational.org, for the Serra International Board from Mexico. Has a Bachelor's Degree in History and in Psychology at the Texas Southmost College. She was a grant holder of the National Council of Science and Technology for a research on the “Theology of Liberation and Charismatic movements in Cuernavaca”. Has been coordinator for the organization, classification and rescue of the colonial archives of the Cathedral and presently she is working in the project of rescue of the Historic Library of the Cathedral of Cuernavaca, frolm the XVII and XVIII century.

 She has been an active member of her local club for 25 years as Secretary, Vice President of Communication and Club President, where she has been very successful in the relations of the club with the Bishop and the seminary. She has lived abroad in different countries of the world which has given her a wide appreciation and understanding of the diversity of our club members and the compromise we have with the Lord to set an example as members of the catholic church.

 


 

Kurt Metyko

Kurt Metyko VP for Membership, kmetyko@serrainternational.org, After St. Anne's Grade School and St. Thomas High School in Houston, Texas, Kurt obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Notre Dame University, Class of 1964.  Following graduation, he served on active duty in the Army for two years, including one year in Viet Nam, retiring as a Captain.  After his service, Kurt joined his father's civil engineering firm and is still practicing today.   Kurt became a member of the Houston Serra Club in 1968, joining his father Frank (1977 Serra International President).  Kurt held all the Club, District and U.S. Council positions culminating with the 2011 Presidency of Serra's National Council for the United States.  He has been a member and past Chairman of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston's St. Mary's Seminary Advisory Board, serving from 1978 until March, 2014.  Kurt also serves, since 1997, on the Board of the Shalom Center in Splendora, Texas, a counseling center for Catholic priests and religious.

 


 

Giuseppe MiccoliGiuseppe Miccoli, VP for Vocations, gmiccoli@serrainternational.org, has been a member of the Serra Club of Ferrara, District 76 Emilia Romagna, Italy, since 2004. He served two terms as club presidentand two terms as District 76 governor. Giussepe was a member of the Serra International Nominating Committee for three years. From 2011-2013, he served as president of Forum San Maurelio, a Catholic sodality of six groups including the Serra clubs of Ferrara and Pomposa.  Giuseppe is an Opus Dei co-operator, a Catholic Alliance Association member, a member of Serra Pomposa-Speyer Friends Association, church pastoral staff member and pastoral co-operator of St. Benedict Salesian parish, and a member of Ferrara-Comacchio Diocese, Pastoral Office for Laity.

 


 

 

Greg Schwietz

Greg Schwietz, Trustee, gschwietz@serrainternational.org, joined Serra in 1983, in his longtime home Omaha, Nebraska.  He served in numerous capacities at the club level for many years until 1999-2000 when he served as club president.  His commitment to the Omaha club continued for six years at the board level until 2005. Subsequent Serra Leadership positions included,  District  9 W governor,  USA Council Region 9 Director, USA Council Board Member, Trustee Serra International Board, Vice President of Vocations Serra International board, USA Council Vice President of Communications. Additional responsibilities:  SI and USA Council Dialog committee representing Serra International;  Current Member of Combined Administrative Office (CAO) Committee; SI Audit Committee for three years; USA Council Audit Committee, 2014; Chairman, Long Range Planning Committee – USA Council. He just completed a two-year term as the president of Serra's USA Council.

Greg and his wife, Mary Lynn, have been married for over 40 years and have three grown children.  They have been long time members of St. Leo the Great Parish in Omaha.  Greg and Mary Lynn were active for over 30 years in TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) retreats in Omaha, and served on the national leadership team for over 10 years. Greg recently retired as president of L&M Construction Chemicals, an international, family-owned company which manufactured and sold concrete treatments for new and existing concrete placements.  Greg has worked in the concrete construction industry since graduating from Creighton University in 1974.

 


 

Margo GeddieMargo Geddie, Secretary, received her B.A. in Economics from Skidmore College.  She attended the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University with a double major in Accounting and Finance.  She received her Certified Investment Management Analysit (CIMA@)) designation from the Wharton School of Business, her Certified Financial Planner  (CFP@) designation and her Family Wealth Director designation.  She started her career in wealth management with Morgan Stanley over 25 years ago where today she is a Senior Vice President-Wealth Management. Away from the office, Margo serves on the Advisory Board of St. Mary’s Catholic  Seminary and is a member of the Board of Directors of Serra International and the Catholic Endowment Foundation of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.  She also is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Houston.  She has been a Serran for over 15 years and currently is President of The Serra Club of Houston. She is married to Bill LaFuze and enjoys spending time with her extended family including seven grandchildren.

 


 

Thomas CastellanosThomas Castellanos, CPA, Treasurer, tcastellanos@serrainternational.org. Thomas has been a member of the East Valley Phoenix, Arizona club since 2002, and during this time has been instrumental in the formation of two new Serra clubs in the Diocese of Phoenix. Thomas has worked as a top financial officer for over 30 years, and currently serves as  CFO of a Healthcare not-for-profit organization with services across the USA. Thomas has been active in real estate transactions for nonprofit organizations for over 20 years, which included board of director training and strategic planning.  He emphasized bringing capital to nonprofit service programs requires compliance with 990 and fiscal audits for organizations across the USA. He volunteers his time in various Phoenix Diocese roles, lay associations, and related charitable and non-profit organizations. Thomas has been married to Rosemary for 40 years, and has 5 children and 12 grandchildren.

 


 

Mario Biscardi

Mario Biscardi, Past President,  mbiscardi@serrainternational.org and Serran, Toronto Central Serra Club, District 26.  Mario has been a Serran since 1981, and during this time has been instrumental in the formation of 5 new Serra Clubs in the Archdiocese of Toronto plus 2 other dioceses in the surrounding area. Mario recently retired after a 40 year rewarding career with a major Canadian bank, having spent 18 years in lending to the real estate and construction industry as well as 14 years in the commercial and corporate banking area in Ontario. He is now very active as a consultant and also volunteers his time in various Church related charitable and non-profit organizations. Mario has been married to Luisa for 49 years, and has 3 children and 5 grandchildren.

 


 Cristhian Arce, Trustee, 

 

 


 

Emanuele Costa, Trustee, ecsequor@ticino.com, the 6th of 9 children grew up in Genoa, Italy. He graduated from the University of Genoa with a Degree in Economy and Commerce. After spending some 20 years between Genoa, New York and Miami managing the family-owned shipping business, he started his own private equity company, now based in Milan, Italy. He now resides in Lugano, Switzerland. Joining the Serra Club of Lugano in 1997, he has been Club President, District Governor and President of the Italian National Council.  

Emanuele has three children and five grandchildren living in the States.

 


 

jeanette dsouzaJeannette D'Souza, Trustee, jdsouza@serrainternational.org, grew up in Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal in India.  She graduated in Commerce with St. John’s College in Agra, and worked with the Airlines until she got married in 1966 and went to live in Kuwait in the Middle East.  After settling down with her two daughters, she began work with a local bank that was run by Chase Manhattan Bank.  When Kuwait was invaded by Saddam Hussein in 1990, she returned to India. Rather than retire so early in life she preferred to do her bit for the Church, now that she had the time. She began with teaching spoken English to candidates to the Jesuit seminary and has continued doing so for over 17 years.   But that was not enough.   She felt she had a calling to be a Counsellor and took several courses in this area.   She now runs two parish-based Pastoral Counselling centres with around 20 Counsellors in the city of Bangalore.   She herself specializes in Marriage counselling and has taken class, in this area, for the Redemptorist Seminarians in Bangalore.

Jeanette and her husband Carlos were introduced to Serra in 2002 and ever since she has been working passionately towards fulfilling the Serra goals in India.  She has been instrumental in introducing several innovative ideas to foster and promote vocations, in compliance with the local customs, with the help of a hard working and dedicated team.  She is currently President of the Serra Club of Bangalore.  She came on the Board of Serra International in 2016.

Jeanette has two daughters and three grandchildren.  They all live in Canada.  Her husband passed away in 2011 and since then she makes two trips a year to Canada to be with her family.

 


 

Diwa

Blessida Garcia Diwa, Trustee, bdiwa@serrainternational.org is a member of the Serra Club of Tugue­garao, Philippines. Blessida is a nurse by profession, a Serran for 18 years, and holder of a Doctor in Public Ad­ministration degree. She served as Re­gional Director of the Department of Tourism Cagayan Valley Region Philippines for 18 years. Today, she is the marketing man­ager of Diwa Printing Press, Diwa Construction. She and her spouse, Rolando Diwa, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus and also a Serran, serve as Eucharistic Minis­ters of Christ. She was president of the Serra Club of Tuguegarao from 2006-2010, District Governor from 2011-2013, and served as President of Serra’s National Council of the Philippines from 2015-2017. As civic leader of other government and non-government organizations, she has been awarded for her outstanding health projects and com­munity development by Zonta International and is a Gawad Paglilingkod Service Awardee given by the Epis­copal Commission of Prisoners Welfare by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. She is at present the President of the Girl Scout of the Philippines, Cagayan Council.

 


 

Chuck Furr

Charles (Chuck) Furr, Trustee, cfurr@serrainternational.org, is the 8th of 11 children and grew up as an active farm boy near Waseca, Minnesota, USA. After 12 years of Catholic education at Sacred Heart Grade and High School, he graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS Degree in Agricultural Education, intending to teach Vocational Agriculture  However, he spent 33 years with the Agricultural Department of Dow Chemical Company in sales and marketing. Joining the Serra Club of Honolulu in 1993, he has been a President and District Governor within Serra before joining the SI Board. He is active in his parish, the Knights of Columbus, the Vocations Committee of LARC (Leadership Association of Religious Communities) and more, he stays busy, respecting the memory of his deceased wife, Marilyn, who too, made great contribution to Serra, especially in helping to make the Regional Convention of California, Nevada and Hawaii such a success in October, 2004. Chuck has two adult children and five grandchildren.

 


 

Affonso Iannone

Affonso Iannone, Trustee, aiannone@serrainternational.org. Affonso J Iannone was born in São Paulo, SP, Brazil, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in electrical and mechanical engineering form the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo , and a master's degree in business administration for the FGV University of São Paulo, associated with Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He worked for Ansaldo Energia Co., his entire life.  He was responsible for the erection of electrical power plants in Brazil and South America , and in 1980 he became managing director of this Italian Group in Brazil.

 He joined the Serra Club of São Paulo in June of 1964.

 In these 50 years of Serra life he was president of his club, governor of the Serra district 112, and Coordinator of the Brazilian Region South I. He became President of Serra International in 1998 and later became the President of the Brazilian Serra Council.

 


 

Adam R. Lara, Trustee, AdamLaraSerra@gmail.com, is the President/Owner of National Utilities Discount for the past 18 years.  Adam has been involved in the energy/electricity business since deregulation in the State of Texas in 2001.  Adam attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.  

Adam and his wife, Betty, joined Serra Club of McAllen in 2014. They immediately were selected to serve on the Board of Directors’ and work together on increasing membership by facilitating workshops throughout the Diocese of Brownsville.  When they learned the objectives of Serra, to bring together informed Catholic lay leaders who understand and live their own Christian vocations to service, foster and promote vocations to the ministerial priesthood in the Catholic Church.  To assist members to recognize and respond in their own lives, to God’s call to holiness in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.  Bishop Daniel Flores has asked Adam and Betty to serve on the Case Development Council for the Diocese of Brownsville.   Adam is serving as V.P. Membership and has been named as District Governor-Elect for District 126.   Adam has served on other Boards and Foundations mainly focusing in recent years on Rotary International.   

Adam joined Rotary International on 2008 and has served in many capacities.  Adam served as District Trainer serving over 2000 members in 52 Rotary clubs throughout South Texas.  Adam has served as Assistant Governor Area 11, McAllen Rotary Club President, District Strategic Planning Committee.  Adam has been recognized for his outstanding leadership service and was named “District Rotarian of the Year”.   

Adam and Betty have 4 boys and 2 grandchildren. 

 


 

Betty LaraBetty Ramirez-Lara, Trustee, BettyLaraSerra@gmail.com, is the President/Owner of Utilities Services Experts USA, an Energy Brokerage Firm for consumer use.  Betty attended University of Texas – Pan American Rio Grande Valley Texas.  Betty raised 2 boys as a single mother. Betty met and married her Rotary husband Adam Lara in 2008 as he was visiting her Rotary Club. They both enjoy volunteering and serving their community together.

Betty and Adam joined Serra Club of McAllen in 2014.   They immediately were selected to serve on the Board of Directors’ and work together on increasing membership by facilitating workshops throughout the Diocese of Brownsville. When they learned the objectives of Serra, to bring togetherinformed Catholic lay leaders who understand and live their own Christian vocations to service, foster and promote vocations to the ministerial priesthood in the Catholic Church.  To assist members to recognize and respond in their own lives, to God’s call to holiness in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.  Bishop Daniel Flores has asked Betty and Adam to serve on the Case Development Council for the Diocese of Brownsville.  Betty has served on other Boards and Foundations mainly focusing in recent years on Rotary International.            

In the year 2001, Betty joined Rotary International and has served in many capacities.  In the year 2017-2018, she served as District Governor serving over 2000 members in 52 Rotary Clubs throughout South Texas.   In her first 60 days, Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast affecting thousands of residents.  Betty created a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund using a 501 (c) 3 with funds of over $448,000 being raised along with 2 RV’s to assist the victims.  Relief grants were awarded within 1 week of the hurricane landfall.  Betty has received Rotary International’s Avenues of Service Citation Award, only 150 awarded yearly around the world. Service Above Self Award , Rotarian of the Year Award, District Foundation Chair, District Grants Sub Committee Chair, District Scholarship Committee Chair, Assistant Governor, McAllen North Rotary President. 

 


 

Anne Larkins, Trustee, alarkins@serrainternational.org

 


 

McqueenMoira McQueen,  LLB, MDiv, PhD, Trustee, mmcqueen@serrainternational.org. Dr Moira McQueen was a lawyer before becoming Director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute. She teaches moral theology at St Michael’s in the University of Toronto, and is a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. Moira and husband Matthew have seven children and 11 grandchildren. She is the President of the Serra Council of Canada, the founding President of the Serra Club of Halton, and proud to serve on the Board of Serra International.

 


 

Richard Peterson Richard (Dick) Petersen, Trustee, and his wife are charter members of the Serra Club of Tri-Cities, Washington (Washington State, USA).  They have been married 53 years, have 4 married sons and 10 grandchildren.  Dick graduated from the University of Washington and moved to Kennewick, Washington where he has lived ever since.  He is a convert, having gone thorough RCIA in 1982.  He has been District Governor and Regional Director for the US Council, and has served 2 years on the USA Council Nominating Committee, 2 years on the US Long Range Planning Committee, and chair of USA Membership Committee for 2 years. In addition to Serra, Dick is a 40-year member of Kiwanis International, where several years ago he and another Kiwanian started a Foundation that is still going strong, which grants scholarships to high school seniors.  He has been on the board of the Benton Franklin Humane Society for 27 years, is a 35-year member of the Knights of Columbus.  He is an avid gardener and fisherman.

 


 

Bob Rudman

 Robert ("Bob") Rudman, Trustee, rrudman@serrainternational.org, Married 57 years to Missy, 4 married children, 6 grandchildren; resides in Franklin, TN. Both an Economics major & hockey player graduating from Boston College. Marketing Management responsibilities with National Broadcasting Co. (Huntley-Brinkley, Jeopardy & Leahr McNeil shows), American Brands & Johnson & Johnson before starting a manufacturers's representative company which developed for 20 years new markets of distribution & products for many blue chip companies. Currently serving on the board of the Children's Kindness Network (teaching children to stop bullying before it starts). The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County (1,000 members with preservation as their goal) has honored him for volunteering.  Received the Exemplary Community Volunteer Award for 2014 and 2015. Volunteer with the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia's at Aquinas College having served on their Board as well as the School Board of St. Matthews Church. Although retired involved in marketing- consulting for many non-profit organizations. 

 


 

Roberto SebbenRoberto Sebben, Trustee, engebben@gmail.com, has been a member of the Serra Club of Vale do Iguaçu in Brazil since 1990. He has served his club as president and has also been a district governor. He is a civil engineer working with building and residential projects, and is an expert in civil law. Roberto and his wife, economist Sandra Mara, have two sons, who are both surgeons.

 

 

 


 

John Liston

John Liston, Executive Director,  jliston@serrainternational.org - After graduating from Archbishop Quigley High School Seminary, John earned a Bachelor of Science from the Darla Moore School of Businessmen at the University of South Carolina, receiving degrees in international business, human resources management, and entrepreneurship.  He obtained a Juris Doctorate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law with a certificate in advocacy. 

Before becoming Executive Director of Serra, John worked for the law firm of Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman, LLP, as a civil defense attorney.  In addition to his work for Serra, John is an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where he teaches courses in negotiation, mediation, and client counseling.  John also serves as the treasurer for Innovation Experts, a non-profit that provides support services for public libraries.