Thrivent Member Network - Ohio Valley Region

Our Leadership Team

Leading Thrivent. Serving Our Membership.

Thrivent is a membership organization of Christians, and our members are our owners. This means our leaders work in the best interest of our membership – not third-party shareholders, like publicly traded companies. It also means that clients with a benefit membership can have a voice in determining who will lead the organization, by voting in the annual election for the Thrivent Financial Board of Directors. As the organization’s supreme governing body, the board focuses on serving the interests of the membership, both now and into the future. The board establishes and promotes Thrivent’s purpose and oversees major business decisions. It also works with leadership to assess and manage risk. Get to know the women and men who are proud to serve on the Thrivent Financial Board of Directors and the executive leadership team by visiting the Governance page on

See Corporate Leadership

Your Thrivent Member Network Board

The Thrivent Member Network regional board is made up of Thrivent Members throughout the Ohio Valley Region.

The board provides leadership and strategic insights to help carry out Thrivent's mission on a local level. If you’re a member, you can have a voice in making a meaningful choice by voting in the elections for the Thrivent Member Network board. Now … we’re pleased to introduce the Thrivent Members who will serve you as part of the Thrivent Member Network - Ohio Valley Regional Board.

Carl Young, Board Chairman

Hometown : Canton, Ohio
Congregation : Holy Cross


As Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer for the Kenan Advantage Group, North America's largest tank truck hauler and logistics provider, Young hopes his financial savvy and 35-year membership with Thrivent will be an asset to the board. "I like what Thrivent stands for. I think I bring a perspective that will be helpful in getting them active in many more congregations."

Carl Young

Judge Brown

Hometown : Ravenna, Ohio
Congregation : Faith Family Church


Judge Brown

Michael Fiffik

Hometown : Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Congregation : Ascension Lutheran Church

Fiffik firmly believes that we all are called to be God's instruments. The 20-year Thrivent member is a shareholder at law firm Welch, Gold, Siegel & Fiffik, P.C. He is also active in his community and church. "To the extent that I can bring my own experiences to bear, I hope to help Thrivent think strategically in order to grow and expand its mission and connection to the greater regional community."

Gunner Blackmore head shot

Wayne Hassay

Hometown : Hillard, Ohio
Congregation : St. Andrew Parish

"The combination of personal financial well being and concern for your larger community in one organization is a spectacular concept."  Hassay look forward to applying his 22 years of knowledge as a Managing Partner at Maguire Schneider Hassay, LLP to help expand Thrivent's Mission!  

Gunner Blackmore head shot

Doug McNelis

Hometown : Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Congregation : Crossroads Church and Orchard Hill Church                                                       


Doug McNelis

Cathy Ponitz

Hometown : Dayton, Ohio
Congregation : Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church

Ponitz is a new Thrivent member who is eager to share her knowledge of community building and social innovation with our team. As Vice President of the CareSource Foundation, Community Relations & Diversity, Ponitz has almost 20 years leading corporate foundations and connecting with community, legislators, nonprofit organizations and philanthropic influencers.

Cathy Ponitz

Carolyn Streiltel

Hometown : Brecksville, Ohio
Congregation : Community of Hope Church

Streitel is excited to learn about the needs of members in the region and to be a part of strategic planning for membership growth and development. The new product development manager at Nestlé has been a Thrivent member for over a decade and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge.

Carolyn Streitel

Brain Upton

Hometown : Lakewood, Ohio
Congregation : Trinity Lutheran Church

Upton serves as the Executive Director of Building Hope in the City, a faith-based organization that partners with local congregations, people and communities to see the city restored to God. He has also been a Thrivent member for a number of years. Upton sees his role as a board member as an opportunity to meaningfully support the expansion of Thrivent's business and philanthropic model.

Brian Upton