Executive Team

Evelyn Lemly

CMCA President

B.S., North Carolina State University
M.B.A., Columbia Business School, Columbia University

Evelyn Lemly is the CEO of Kairos Prison Ministry International (“Kairos”) serving over 500 communities in ten countries utilizing over 30,000 volunteers.  Previously, Evelyn worked in the business world, was President of a Bible translation ministry, as well as Executive Vice President of a ministry focused on teaching locals to study the Bible and to establish churches. She holds a MBA in leadership of organizations, marketing, and finance.  


Karen Swanson

CMCA Co-Founder

B.A., Calvin College and Cornerstone University
M.A., Western Michigan University
Ed. D., Curriculum Leadership, Northern Illinois University

Karen has been the Director of the Correctional Ministries Institue (CMI), Wheaton College Billy Graham Center since 2005. As Director, she oversees the Charles W. Colson scholarship program and pursues the goals of the Correctional Ministries Institute through networks, collaboration and strategic partners. She has more than 25 years of higher education experience and has developed and teaches Certificate Program in Correctional Ministry courses offered through the Correctional Ministries Institute.


Jonathan Evans

CMCA Vice President

B.A., Washington Bible College
M.Div and Master of Theology, Capital Bible Seminary

Jon joined Good News Jail & Prison Ministry as the third President in the 54 year history of the organization in September 2013. Previously, he served as a volunteer in Anne Arundel County (MD) jails and as part of the Chaplain Support Team since 2001. Jon joined the Good News Board of Directors in 2005 and has served as the Secretary as well as a member of the Membership, Executive and Governance Committees. Prior work experience includes 11 years of full and part time ministry with Washington Bible College/Capital Bible Seminary (now part of Lancaster Bible College) in Washington DC.


Jerry Blassingame

CMCA Treasurer and President Emeritus 

Course work at Greenville Technical College
School of Correctional Ministries

Jerry Blassingame is the Executive Director of Soteria Community Development Corporation and Senior Pastor of Soteria Christian Fellowship. He endeavors to empower individuals and the community through education, affordable housing, financial literacy, community and economic development, and entrepreneurship. His passion is assisting individuals who have been incarcerated through reentry and helping them to become productive citizens.


Ilinda Jackson

CMCA President Emeritus

B.A., Biblical Studies
B.S., Organizational Leadership
M.A., Applied Behavior Studies
Under supervision as a LPC and LADC

Ilinda Jackson is pastor of the Secret Place Community Church, a church with a heart for the surrounding community, including hurting women and their children. She is dedicated to taking a message to the community; that it will take not only the participation of individuals, but also that of the business owners, churches, and foundations to bring community wholeness. She is the founder and CEO of Raising the Standard Ministries, Inc., located in Oklahoma City, OK, a unique and innovative ministry that has apprehended the true essence of “transitional living” with five life-changing houses.


Heather Rice-Minus

Executive Committee Member

B.A., Social Work, Liberal Arts, cum laude, Colorado State University
J.D., George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School
Member of the Virginia State Bar and a Colson Fellow

Heather Rice-Minus serves as Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at Prison Fellowship, the nation’s largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families. She is a powerful, knowledgeable voice articulating the case for restorative criminal justice solutions and how churches play a critical role in meeting the needs of those impacted by crime and incarceration.


Vanessa Gardner

Executive Committee Member

M.A., Criminal Justice
Ordained Pastor & Chaplain
Continuing Education: Wheaton College–Pastoral Counseling & Reentry Certifications

Vanessa Gardner has the innate ability to take a vision and make it a reality through sound strategic development, program planning, and as a curriculum developer.  She intuitively sees the threads of opportunity that intertwines through an organizational, pastoral/ministry, and correctional facilities by bringing them together into a coherent whole that helps others extend their thinking which drives collaborative efforts of non-profits, community organizations, churches, and community leaders.  Vanessa has a wealth of knowledge and experience in Correctional Ministry and specializes as a Community Liaison.


Romney Ruder

Executive Committee Member

Ed.D. Organizational Leadership, Pepperdine University
M.B.A., Texas A&M University
B.S., Political Science and Government, Illinois State University

Romney Ruder, EdD (Pepperdine University) is the President of Lifeline Global Ministries, dedicated to working with the incarcerated and their families (http://lifelineglobal.org). He is also the author of Finding Your Pace: Bridging the Gap Between Apathy and Being All God Called You to be (Westbow Press). Ruder also serves on the business faculty at Newman University.  Ruder began working with the incarcerated while he and his family served as missionaries to under-resourced communities around the U.S.


Advisory Council

Don Allsman – CEO/ Completion Global, Inc.
Stacey Campbell – President/CEO, Prison Fellowship Canada
Boyd Chikatulah-Lead Minister/Founder, Kingdom Commission Church, Zambia
Doug Cupery – Director of Church Mobilization, Crossroads Prison Ministries
Vance Drum – Correctional Ministries Consulting/ret. Dir. of Chaplaincy Operations, TX DOJ

Chelsea Friske – Senior Manager, Policy and Research, Prison Fellowship

William Harrison– Program Director, New Life Deliverance
Mark Inch– Retired Secretary of Corrections, state of Florida
Dan Odean – Correctional Ministries Representative, Assemblies of God Chaplain Department
Jeff Shafer  – Founder, CEO Commongood Capital
Dean Trulear – National Director Healing Communities, USA/Assoc. Prof. Applied Theology, Howard University