ALDE Executive Director to Retire June 2019

Phyllis testing the waters of retirement during an excursion on Lake Superior.
October 2018

Bethany Krepela

For the past 17 years, Phyllis Castens Wiederhoeft has served as the Executive Director of ALDE. In June 2019, she will officially retire.

Phyllis shared the following thoughts during a recent Q&A.

Q: What did you do before becoming the Executive Director of ALDE?

I served as Assistant to the Bishop in the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin - ELCA. Working in congregational life and stewardship contributed to my time here at ALDE. While I am comfortable talking about giving, ALDE truly is about providing education. The marriage between education (Phyllis holds a Ph.D. in adult education) and stewardship was a really good match.

What has been your biggest challenge?

To get people to connect when we’re far-flung and see each other only once or twice a year as an extended family.

Biggest surprise?

Working from home (near Madison, Wisconsin) in a time when it wasn’t all that common. When I joined, there was no budget for travel.

Biggest joy?

It’s the people — being able to see the gifts and joy everyone brings. I’ve been amazed how people give of themselves and participate.

What would you say is your legacy with ALDE?

Providing education and connections for people year-round. When I started, the focus for ALDE International was primarily the annual conference. I’ve helped make wiser use of technology to keep people connected and developed more intensive small group programs such as enLIGHTen Essentials.

What are your plans for retirement?

My husband Jim and I have plans to travel to every national park. I look forward to being able to bike more, garden more, and volunteer more. I’ll probably take up playing the organ again, too.

What’s your advice to the new Executive Director?

The most important thing to know is this is a people business, so start getting to know people right away. Traveling to all 17 chapters to say thank you and farewell and to introduce the new E.D. will be part of my transition.

Phyllis will serve as Consulting Director from January 1 to June 30, 2019, as the new Executive Director assumes leadership on January 1, 2019. He/she will attend IGNITE, along with Phyllis, in Grapevine, Texas, January 31 to February 3, 2019.

Bethany Krepela is a Major Gifts Officer with Fraser, Minnesota’s largest provider of autism and early childhood mental health services. She also serves on the ALDE Board of Directors.

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