NovusWay Ministries


Mitzie Schafer

Interim Co-CEO

Mitzie Schafer is a Deacon in the ELCA, a Partner with GSB Fundraising, and holds her CFRE. She has more than 15 years of experience in non-profit executive leadership and fund-raising for non-profit organizations including Epworth Children’s Home in Columbia, SC, the ELCA Foundation, and NovusWay. One of her specialties is helping non-profit organizations implement systematic, best-practice approaches that shift toxic institutional cultures to healthy, thriving ministries. The focus is on relationship deposits, transparency, human resource management, communication, and accountability. She utilizes these strategies to strengthen relationships among staff, the board, and constituents. She also specializes in growing passion, engagement, and giving to non-profits. In her first 3 years at Epworth, she implemented a system she designed and titled “Anchor Storytelling.” The annual fund grew from $1.4 million to $2.6 million. At NovusWay, using the same system, she grew giving 68% over 12 months ($1,078,000 to $1,809,000). In her last two years at the ELCA Foundation, she helped congregation members take the necessary steps to create charitable estate plans that will gift more than $24 million to churches, church-related non-profits, and other charities. She served a term on the SC Synod Council and on the SC Bishop’s Mutual Ministry Committee for 10 years. She currently serves on the Board of the United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries Association. Mitzie is an avid quilter, writer, and artist living in Prosperity, SC with her husband, Pastor Jason, and two children, Ella and Micah

Mike Ward

Interim Co-CEO

Mike has led the most successful congregation based appeal for any Lutheran institution in the history of the North Carolina Synod. As a consultant, Mike leads congregational stewardship appeals, marketing audits, sales training, and strategic planning. His experience is in fundraising, marketing, quality service and loyalty. Mike leads by example in philanthropy where his family supports outdoor ministry, parish life, and feeding ministries. He has previously served on the board of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network and the National Church Council of the ELCA. Mike is an avid beekeeper and looks forward to you asking him about his bees.

LaToya Ellis

Chief Financial Officer


LaToya is a Dallas, TX native. She moved to Hendersonville, NC with her family in 2018 to follow God’s calling which eventually landed her at NovusWay after serving in a local hospital for 4 years. LaToya has over 15 years of service in Wellness and People Operations.  She has a BS in Biology, a Master of Health Care Administration, and is a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach. Servant Leadership is her passion, and she delights teaching and sharing concepts with people that can help them grow in their life journey! LaToya is married to a retired Army Medic who served in Afghanistan, and they have two children.

Leasha Ogle

Chief Human Resources & Communications Officer


Leasha Ogle is an Asheville, NC native. She has a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master of Science degree in Human Resources. She has over 10 years experience in human resources and has worked in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Her most fulfilling time in human resources was serving as the Human Resource Manager and Volunteer Coordinator for an international church. This is where Leasha developed a passion for servant leadership and helping others pursue personal and professional growth. Leasha is excited to join NovusWay and continue working in the ministry. Leasha lives in Fletcher with her husband, three daughters, two poodles, and lots of fish.

Rev. Nathan Gragg

Development Officer


Nathan is an ordained Lutheran pastor with over 20 years of experience in congregational ministry.  He has been involved in outdoor ministry at NovusWay throughout his life as a camper, summer counselor, adult leader, and now as a part of the development team.  Many of Nathan’s most joyful memories of camp are of gathering with others to sing songs of faith.  He is excited to be a part of this amazing ministry that brings the joy of camp to people of all ages and invites everyone to join the song.  Nathan and his family live in Lexington, South Carolina.

Laura Shipman

Reservations & Registration Supervisor


Laura is a native of Western North Carolina and started her work with the ministry in 2022. She is excited to be a part of the NovusWay team and enjoys helping guests plan their next stay at one of our sites. She enjoys camping and spending time with her family and friends.

Kimberly Dorlan

Accounts Payable Specialist


Kimberly is an Asheville Native, born and raised in South Asheville. Her journey with Novus Way began in September of 2023 when she decided that joining the religious organization could not only serve her in the financial realm but allow her to also grow her faith and gain new knowledge of the Gospel. She has more than 15 years experience in the Accounts Payable field as well as holds a BPA in Baking and Pastry Arts. She has two children and 3 grandchildren.

NovusWay Ministries

Board of Trustees


Charles Bridgers (GA)

Dcn. Jerry Johnson (FL)

Rev. Lauren Carlson (NC)

Jason Lee (SC)

Rev. Bruce Edwards (FL)

Keith Gehl (NC)

Karen Harris (SC)

Thomas O’Reilly (FL)

Ranate Patrick (GA)

Floyd Self (FL)

Kami Kinard (SC)

Tiffany Miller (NC)

Rev. Matt Henning (GA)

Rev. Bill Trexler (FL)

Bishops from our four Synods:

Bp. Rev. Ginny Aebishcer (SC), Bp. Rev. Tim Smith (NC),

Bp. Rev. Kevin Strickland (SE), Bp. Rev. Pedro Suarez (FB)