Cyndi Walters

Cyndi Walters was named president and chief executive officer (CEO) of National Lutheran Communities and Services (NLCS) in May 2021, assuming the position full time in August 2021. Prior to this role, she served as chief operating officer (COO) since 2016.

Cyndi has served at NLCS in varying capacities for nine years; first as a consultant before joining as chief operating officer in 2016. Cumulatively, Walters has over 30 years of experience in the senior living industry including a strong background in strategically growing and diversifying the organization and an enhanced focus on operating as a senior-living system and leveraging its benefits and efficiencies. Prior to joining NLCS, she provided project management and advisory services to senior living organizations through Walters Advisors, LLC. She has also served in a leadership role at Presbyterian Senior Living in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, and during her 19 years at KPMG (a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services), spent significant time as a partner and leader of their National Senior Living Advisory Practice.

As president and CEO, Cyndi’s focus is strategically growing and furthering NLCS’ mission to honor, inspire and support choice and opportunity in partnership with older adults. Cyndi is an advocate for “aging with choice,” which means supporting older adults in making their own choices in aging, whether it means moving to a senior living community or bringing in supportive services to their home. She is also an advocate for team members across the organization and leads a team dedicated to ensuring NLCS remains a Great Place to Work® and an employer of choice for those who have a heart to serve older adults.

Cyndi is a native of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area and holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from York College of Pennsylvania.

Rev. Lisa M. Leber

Rev. Lisa M. Leber began her call at First Lutheran in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in August 2013. She is grateful to minister to, with and among people who love good liturgy and music, have a heart for social ministry, and are warm and welcoming to all!

Pastor Leber is a native of Central Pennsylvania and a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Marshall-Wythe School of Law (College of William and Mary) and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. She served as associate pastor at St. James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg, from 1995 until 2000 and calls to specialized ministry at two Lutheran social ministry organizations between 2000 and 2013. Pastor Leber is the dean of the West Cumberland Conference and currently serves on the boards of the Lutheran Camping Corporation of Central Pennsylvania, which she chairs, Safe Harbour, a non-profit providing services to the homeless in Cumberland County, for which she serves as treasurer, and National Lutheran Communities & Services.


Thomas Whiteford

Mr. Whiteford focuses on real estate, business, commercial, employment and insurance related litigation matters. He represents national and local clients in negotiations and litigation involving land use disputes, real estate, riparian rights and construction defects. He also handles litigation involving cemeteries and funeral homes. He regularly advises a range of companies, particularly real estate
developers, commercial lessors, cemeteries and providers of funeral services, with regard to potential litigation and other business-related decisions. Mr. Whiteford is also experienced in the representation of licensed medical professionals before
a range of governing bodies both in hearings and on appeal.

Mr. Cornell P. Abod

Cornell P. Abod serves on National Lutheran Communities & Services Board of Trustees and as a member of the Joint Finance Committee. Mr. Abod, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in private practice, owns and operates C.P. Abod & Co. LLC, a tax and accounting firm, located in Gaithersburg, Md., as well as Beacon Investment Advisors LLC, a registered investment advisory firm, also located in Gaithersburg.

Prior to entering private practice in 1997, Mr. Abod served as a Financial Accounting Director with Adventist Health Care in Rockville, Marlyand. and was with Ernst & Young’s financial statement audit group in Washington, D.C. for five years. Mr. Abod received his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park.

The Rev. John Wertz, Jr.

Rev. Wertz, M.Div. served as the pastor of St. Michael Lutheran Church in Blacksburg, Va. from 2004 until he was recently appointed as Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop of the Virginia Synod. He now serves on the Board of Trustees as the Virginia Synod Bishop’s designee.

Rev. Wertz has a passion for putting God’s Word into action. While at Good Shepherd, he helped launch Shepherd’s Care—an Alzheimer’s Respite program—and expanded a food pantry. At St. Michael, Rev. Wertz helped create Micah’s Caring Initiative, a community partnership sponsored by St. Michael, which works with more than 200 partner organizations to provide weekend meals for hungry students, monthly meals to low income senior adults and fresh food in the summer to local food pantries.

Pastor Wertz has served on the Council of the Virginia Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), on the Synod Finance Committee and as President of the Lutheran Partners in Mission Board.

A graduate of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C., Rev. Wertz was ordained by the South Carolina Synod in 1997 and served his first call at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Walterboro, S.C., from 1997 until 2004.

The Rev. Joseph P. Lettrich

Rev. Joseph P. Lettrich joined National Lutheran Communities & Services’ (NLCS’) Board in January 2013. He is the Delaware-Maryland Synod Bishop’s designee. Ordained 54 years ago, he is now a retired Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) clergy, currently serving the Delaware-Maryland Synod as a supply pastor.  

Rev. Lettrich’s call to ministry came during his work with Lutheran Campus Ministry both locally and nationally. He has served four congregations in the Delaware-Maryland Synod: St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Wilmington, Del., Second English Lutheran Church in Baltimore, St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, Md., and St. John’s Lutheran Church and Christian Day School in Brooklyn, Md. Rev. Lettrich also served as an interim minister for six parishes, supervising three interns.

He continues to serve on the Global Mission Task Force assigned to Estonia since 1994 and formerly served as Dean of the Baltimore South (LCA) Conference. He was also on the Church Vocations Committee and the Worship and Music Task Force during the introduction of the Lutheran Book of Worship in 1978.

Always on a quest for knowledge, he has participated in numerous seminars and studies at St. Andrews in Scotland and The Alban Institute. Rev. Lettrich currently helps with Meals on Wheels, various Campus Ministry projects, and Global Mission work in Estonia.

Rev. Lettrich received his B.A. in History from Indiana State University of Pennsylvania in 1963 and a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from The Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in 1967. He has taken additional studies at Bethel Theological School in Bielefeld, Germany.

Donna Duss, MSN, RN, RAC-CT

Ms. Duss joined National Lutheran Communities & Services’ (NLCS’) Board of Trustees in 2014. She is a registered professional nurse with forty years of experience in health care with a focus on home care nursing, long term care management and clinical and regulatory management consulting. Ms. Duss is the founder and owner of Duss Healthcare Consulting, LLC, based in Alexandria, Va. since 2003. Through this company, she provides consulting services in clinical, regulatory and management, professional coaching, and educational services to long term care providers. She has also served as Director of Health Care Services at Vinson Hall Retirement and as Director of Nursing in other communities and health care systems throughout her career.

Ms. Duss has served on many panels and boards as well as making presentations and lectures at several conferences in the health care industry. She is the recipient of the James G. Dunton Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Virginia Health Care Association; Trustee of the Year from Florida Association for Homes and Services for the Aging; and is a Sigma Theta Tau Inductee, Zeta Omega Chapter, Pace University, Pleasantville, N.Y.

Having attended multiple higher education facilities in New York, Ms. Duss has earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from Nyack College; Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree from Rockland Community College; and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree from Pace University, Lienhard School of Nursing.

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