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Our Staff


Mark Kanode

Mark Kanode - Board Member, Co-Founder, and President

After years of serving in numerous capacities on short-term missions to impoverished communities in Central and South America and Africa, Mark felt God nudging him to find a way to bring hope and opportunity to those that have been forgotten. He enjoys the multi-cultural aspects of ministry outside the US and loves getting his hands dirty, literally and figuratively.  Mark plays an instrumental role in managing the logistical aspects of 7 Billion Reasons. Mark serves as the President of 7 Billion Reasons.

Christine Wertz

Christine Wertz - Board Member, Co-Founder, and Vice President

During two trips to Africa in 2012, Chris encountered thousands of children who had been orphaned as their parents died of HIV, tribal violence, drug addictions, and domestic violence. In Busia, Uganda, the despair and hopelessness was rampant.  Upon her return, she co-founded 7 Billion Reasons to bring the love of Jesus to these impoverished children by meeting their spiritual, physical, and educational needs.  

Chris serves as the Vice President of 7 Billion Reasons.  She is involved with C2, a college ministry, where she works with students as a mentor, teacher, and counselor pointing them to know and follow Jesus Christ.

Lori Kanode

Lori Kanode - Board Member, Co-Founder, and Treasurer

After serving in various schools and orphanages in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Rwanda and Uganda, Lori was convinced that the Lord was calling her to do more; to be His hands and feet to the weak and defenseless. Having been a teacher for fourteen years, she believes quality Christian education is key to bringing about change in impoverished communities.  Lori was a driving force behind the formation of 7 Billion Reasons and guides the educational aspects of Global Leadership Academy.

Mike Harwood

Michael Harwood - Board Member

Mike has served as a board member since 2013, just as 7 Billion Reasons was prepared to purchase land and begin the design and construction of their first school building. With an undergraduate and Masters degree in architecture from Washington University, he has been invaluable in getting Global Leadership Academy off the ground. Mike is driven by his desire to see Jesus' church built up and lost people all over the world transformed by God's saving grace.

Kathleen Harwood - Board Member

Kathleen has served on the board since 2013. She believes the question is not whether God wants us involved in His mission to reach the lost with the saving power of the gospel, only where and how. She may not be able to impact the entire continent of Africa, or the country of Uganda, but she is excited that she can participate in bringing hope and a future to the children of Busia.

Keith Schomburg

Keith Schomburg - Board Member

Keith has been on multiple short term missions trips to El Salvador, Kenya and most recently Uganda.  Through these trips God developed in him a heart for missions, and he returned to Kenya two more times leading teams of high school and college students.  God has given Keith a growing desire to serve these communities and to see their lives transformed through the gospel of Jesus Christ by investing in long term relationships and development that has a lasting impact.

Nowa Kakidi

Nowa Kakidi - Ministry Director in Uganda

Nowa oversees the ministry of 7 Billion Reasons in Uganda.  He has a deep passion for Christ and an unconditional love and compassion for those in need.  In addition to managing Global Leadership Academy, Nowa ministers to disadvantaged children in Busia, providing them with spiritual guidance and assistance with physical and educational needs.