RENEW International's Leadership
Sr. Theresa Rickard, O.P., D.Min.
President & Executive Director
Sister Terry Rickard, O.P., is a Blauvelt, NY Dominican Sister. She was appointed Executive Director of RENEW International in May of 2006 and President in December, 2009. Before coming to RENEW, Sr. Terry worked for many years in parish ministry in the South Bronx and was Vocation and Formation Director for her Dominican congregation. She has extensive experience presenting workshops, retreats, and parish missions. Sister Terry is also a regular contributor to the RENEW International blog. [read more]
Msgr. Thomas A. Kleissler
President Emeritus & Co-Founder
Msgr. Thomas A. Kleissler is a Priest of the Archdiocese of Newark and the co-founder of the original RENEW process in the Newark. He was appointed Director of RENEW from its inception and became President in 2001. In December of 2009, he passed the leadership of RENEW to Sr. Theresa Rickard but continues to use his gifts and talents as part of the RENEW team. He co-authored Small Christian Communities: A Vision of Hope for the 21st Century and numerous articles. He holds an MA in Theology from Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ and an MA in Counseling from Iona College, New Rochelle, NY. Msgr. Kleissler’s vision for a renewed Church came out of his work as a parish priest in Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Park Ridge, NJ, and as pastor of St. Ann’s Parish in Newark. His memoir, Beyond My Wildest Dreams: From Local Ministry to Worldwide Mission, recounts the history of RENEW and how it touches the lives of millions of people all over the world. The Msgr. Kleissler Legacy Society is a wonderful way for donors to help continue to foster renewal in the Catholic tradition.
Director of Pastoral Services and Sales
Milissa was Vice President and Director of the Church Division for Ruotolo Associates, where she served the Catholic Church for nearly 20 years working with a wide variety of Catholic organizations directing strategic planning efforts, conducting planning studies, and consulting on capital campaigns. Milissa has presented workshops on missionary discipleship and stewardship for national and regional meetings of International Catholic Stewardship Conference and has also been a frequent presenter for NCDC (National Catholic Development Conference) at their national and regional workshops. She holds a BA from Mount Holyoke College. Milissa is active in her parish and serves as St. Mary’s program coordinator for “Be My Witness”, a RENEW International program. Milissa is also pursuing a Master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry at Seton Hall University.
John J. Fontana
Director, Ignatian Business Chapters
John served as the Executive Director of the Woodstock Business Chapters at the Madden School of Business at Le Moyne College before bringing them to RENEW as Ignatian Business Chapters. He is also the President of Fontana Leadership Development, Inc. John has worked as a management consultant for Morrison Associates, was Executive Director of Partners for Catholic Health Ministry Leadership, and founded and was the Executive Director of The Crossroads Center for Faith and Work at Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago. He has taught at Georgetown’s Executive Master’s in Leadership Program, Notre Dame, Loyola, Mundelein and other universities. He is a graduate of Holy Cross and holds a Master’s Degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern and a Master’s Degree in Religious Education from Loyola University of Chicago.
Director of Development
Prior to joining RENEW, Marissa Klapwald served as the alumnae director for two Catholic schools, Marylawn of the Oranges and Mount Saint Mary Academy. She was later the development manager for the Wharton Music Center and CivicStory. Marissa also worked for Random House and as a freelance editor and copy editor for publishers and businesses. A New Providence resident, Marissa holds a law degree from NYU, a Masters in English from Drew University, and a BA from Seton Hall University.
Senior Pastoral Consultant
Greg Kremer has worked full-time for the Roman Catholic Church for almost three decades in a variety of ministries including: Youth and Young Adults, Juvenile Detention, Social Outreach/Justice and Peace, Ministry Formation, Parish Renewal, and Small Christian Communities. Before coming to RENEW International, he conducted a two-year study of ministry with young adults in Seattle. Mr. Kremer, who received an MDiv from Seattle University, WA, has been working for RENEW International since 1998, currently in the area of Ministry Expansion.
Manager, Customer Service, Sales, and Fulfillment
Before joining RENEW International, Ms. Johnson worked for Schering-Plough Corp., where she was responsible for maintaining corporate customer service level goals for inventory management throughout their global supply chain. Prior to that, Eartha worked for various Wall Street investment firms, including Merrill Lynch & Co., in investment strategy. She holds a BA from Fordham University with a triple major in Economics, Politics, and English; she has an MBA in Marketing from New York University. Eartha has been a volunteer at Ronald McDonald House, NY for over 20 years.
Sr. Honora Nolty, OP
A first generation Irish New York Catholic, raised in Queens, New York is how Sr. Honora, begins to describe herself; a New Yorker by birth and choice. A Dominican Sister of Amityville, NY, she ministered in Brooklyn’s inner city, Long Island, Seattle, the Pacific Northwest, and Central America. Her work as teacher, principal, associate superintendent of schools, director of an international volunteer program and a spirituality center in Southampton, NY all prepared her for the various roles she has filled at RENEW.
Mary Beth Oria
Director of Finance and Business Operations
Ms. Oria oversees operations at RENEW International, particularly in the area of publishing. She was Vice President of Finance and Operations for Hanover Brands, Hanover Direct Inc., direct catalog and e-commerce marketer located in Weehawken, NJ and Hanover, PA as well as Manager, Financial Planning for Corporate Division of Colgate Palmolive, Inc., New York, NY. Ms. Oria served on her parish team that implemented a Junior Youth Ministry program. She holds an MBA from Seton Hall University.
Deacon Paolino spent 43 years in newspaper journalism and more than 30 years as an adjunct instructor of English at various universities and colleges. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Seton Hall University and a master’s degree in journalism from Penn State. He is a permanent deacon of the Diocese of Metuchen, ministering in liturgy, preaching, and adult education at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Whitehouse Station. He also is a columnist for The Catholic Spirit, the newspaper and web site of the Diocese of Metuchen.
Director of Information Technology and Human Resources
Pat Wiley came to RENEW after retiring from Ernst & Young as a principal in the practice that provides financial education and counseling to the employees of large businesses. Throughout her career, Pat specialized in consulting services that optimize human resources, and implement strategy and organizational culture change. Pat has a BA from the College of New Rochelle and an MBA in finance from the College of Insurance. She volunteers on other non-profit boards, and teaches adult painting classes.
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