Meet the Team

At the heart of Concordance is a desire to help our participants move forward. Our team members and board of directors include a wide range of backgrounds and expertise in criminal justice, Fortune 500 leadership, behavioral sciences, and beyond — and we are dedicated to restoring individuals, rebuilding families, transforming communities, and advancing the field of re-entry.

Danny Ludeman, President and CEO of Concordance Academy

Danny Ludeman

Chairman & CEO

Danny Ludeman previously served as CEO of Wells Fargo Advisors, where he increased revenue from $300 million to $10 billion during his tenure. Upon retirement, he followed a spiritual calling to serve others, leading to the founding of Concordance. Danny remains active in industry and civic affairs, serving on several local boards. He also attends Covenant Seminary, where he is pursuing a divinity degree. He is a visionary for the organization, setting long-term goals designed to solve some of society’s largest problems and effectively identifying key leaders to guide the process.

Concordance Operating Team

Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith

President & Chief Operating Officer

Sarah Topal

Sarah Topal

Chief Quality & Research Officer

Kate Kay

Kate Kay

EVP, Head of Community & Life Skills; Managing Director, St. Louis Center

Roderick Nunn

Roderick Nunn

EVP, Head of Education & Employment

Julie Russell

EVP, Head of Behavioral Health & Wellness

Tom Grant

Tom Grant

SVP, Senior Director of Concordance Employment Agency

Jill Lewin

Jill Lewin

SVP, Senior Director of Marketing, Communications & Development

Rokas Varanavicius

Rokas Varanavicius

SVP, Senior Director of IT

Michelle Smith

President & Chief Operating Officer

Michelle Smith is the President and Chief Operating Officer at Concordance. As President and COO, Michelle spearheads new initiatives, facilitates government relations, manages the organization’s processes and operations, and oversees the day-to-day administrative functions of Concordance. She joined Concordance in December 2015, because she knew Concordance had the promise of changing the lives of so many people. She wanted to help create a first-of-its-kind re-entry model. Michelle earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Business from Gettysburg College and a Master of Arts degree in Economics from Georgetown University.  She also earned a Master of Science degree in Project Management from George Washington University and obtained a PMP certification. Michelle brings 20 years of experience in logistics, management of new initiatives, and operations. Prior to working at Concordance, Michelle was the Managing Partner at a Houston-based architecture firm where she was responsible for analyzing policy and law changes, demographic, economic, and workload trends, and their resulting impact on space and facility needs.

Sarah Topal

Chief Quality & Research Officer

Sarah Topal is the Chief Quality & Research Officer at Concordance and is responsible for the quality and fidelity of the Concordance Re-Entry Model and program across all service domains. Sarah joined Concordance in June 2016 to pursue her passion for applying science and evidence to one of the greatest societal issues of all time. Sarah earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, a Master of Social Work degree from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Program Evaluation from Washington University in St. Louis. Sarah brings 12 years of experience in assessment, treatment, and holistic care of justice-involved adults, as well as eight years of program development and evaluation experience. Prior to joining Concordance, Sarah worked with the Illinois Department of Human Services in the forensic unit of Alton Mental Health Center.

Kate Kay

EVP, Head of Community & Life Skills; Managing Director, St. Louis Center

Kate Kay is the Executive Vice President, Head of Community & Life Skills at Concordance. Kate oversees case management services, life skills, family reunification, legal services, spirituality, housing services, and the Concordance House. She also manages relationships with community resources, including Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Kate joined Concordance in October 2017 because of her belief in treating the whole person during their healing journey. Kate earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Master of Social Work degree from the School of Social Work at St. Louis University. Kate brings 18 years of experience working with vulnerable populations in areas of substance use, mental health, re-entry, and supported employment. Prior to working at Concordance, Kate worked as a program director at a community mental health organization that provided case management and substance use services to adults living with severe and persistent mental illness. 

Roderick Nunn

EVP, Head of Education & Employment

Dr. Roderick Nunn is the Executive Vice President, Head of Education & Employment at Concordance. Rod provides leadership over education, job readiness, and employment services including management of a talented team of career educators, coaches, and staffing professionals. He also cultivates hiring partnerships through the Concordance Employment Agency which employs associates in food service, transportation, manufacturing, and retail sectors. Rod joined Concordance in June 2016 and is focused on ensuring Concordance participants do not just survive but thrive by accessing navigable pathways that lead family-supporting careers. Rod earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and a Doctor of Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus. Rod brings over 20 years of workforce development to Concordance. Prior to joining Concordance, he served as an executive at St. Louis Community College where he was vice chancellor of workforce solutions and interim campus president. Rod also previously directed the public workforce system for three Governors in Illinois and Missouri.

Julie Russell

EVP, Head of Behavioral Health & Wellness

Julie Russell is the Executive Vice President, Head of Behavioral Health & Wellness at Concordance. Julie leads the behavioral health and wellness team composed of therapists who provide assessment, interdisciplinary treatment planning, and individual and group therapy using evidence-informed interventions as part of the Concordance Re-Entry Model. Julie joined Concordance in November 2021 because of its visionary leadership, holistic integrated model, compassionate team, and focus on impact. Julie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Southwestern University and a Master of Social Work degree from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Julie brings over 25 years of experience as a clinician, educator, grantmaker, and executive in the social sector. Prior to working at Concordance, Julie served as Executive Director for Leap Ambassadors and as the Chief Impact Officer at the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

Tom Grant

SVP, Senior Director of Concordance Employment Agency

Tom Grant is the Senior Vice President, Director of the Concordance Employment Agency. Tom leads the day-to-day sales and operations for the Concordance Employment Agency. He is responsible for the overall financial management of the agency and ensuring that the agency maintains alignment and adherence to the Concordance Re-Entry Model. Tom joined Concordance in April 2018 with the goal of stemming the tide of reincarceration while instilling hope into the lives of justice-involved individuals. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio and TV Public Relations from Ball State University. Tom brings over 10 years of staffing expertise to Concordance. Prior to joining Concordance, Tom was the Branch Manager at PeopleReady, an on-demand staffing provider.

Jill Lewin

SVP, Senior Director of Marketing, Communications & Development

Jill Lewin is the Senior Vice President, Senior Director of Marketing, Communications & Development at Concordance. Jill is responsible for the day-to-day management, oversight, and strategy of all activities related to fundraising, marketing, internal and external communications, and the organization’s brand and messaging. She joined Concordance in May 2020 and believes her team members are the storytellers of the organization, charged with being the ambassadors of Concordance participants’ stories and sharing them with the world. Jill earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations and Spanish from Marquette University and a Master of Arts degree in Communication Management from Webster University. She brings 20 years of experience in development, public relations, communications, and nonprofit work. Prior to joining Concordance, Jill was the Senior Associate Director of Development for the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.

Rokas Varanavicius

SVP, Senior Director of IT

Rokas Varanavicius is the Senior Vice President, Senior Director of Information Technology at Concordance. Rokas is responsible for strategy development and owning overall comprehensive technology, including Dynamics 365 Solution Architecture, Azure, Data Platform & Analytics, and Custom Development. He joined Concordance in December 2020 and believes in making the benefits of innovative technology available not only to organizations but also to all members of society regardless of socioeconomic status. Rokas earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Missouri in St. Louis. He brings 18 years of experience in implementing business applications, including budling highly effective teams and architecting and implementing business-critical technology solutions. Prior to joining Concordance, Rokas was the Director of Customer Engagement & Technical services at Turnkey Technologies.

Board of Directors

Kelvin Adams
Superintendent, St. Louis Public School District

Angela Adler
SVP, Networks and Transformation, Optum

Elcio Barcelos
Chief Human Resources Officer, U.S. Bank

Lynn Britton
President & CEO, Mercy

Jim Bullard
President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Scott Carter
SVP, COO of Distribution Operations & President, Spire Missouri

Ken Cella
Principal, Branch Development, Edward Jones

Tad Edwards
Chairman, President & CEO, Benjamin F. Edwards & Co.

Dave Eichhorn
CEO & Head of Investment Strategies, NISA Investment Advisors, LLC

Sal Hernandez
Former Assistant Director, FBI

Rick Holton, Jr.
Managing Partner, Holton Capital Group

Dan Isom
Director, Department of Public Safety, City of St. Louis

Laurent Javois
Regional Executive Officer, Missouri Department of Mental Health – Division of Behavioral Health

Diane Katzman
President, Diane Katzman Fine Arts

JEREMY Keele
Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Catalyst Opportunity Funds

Rusty Keeley
CEO, Keeley Companies

Robert Kirkland
Senior VP and CFO, Stanley Black and Decker

David Kowach
Head of Community Banking, Wells Fargo

Ken Kranzberg
Chairman Emeritus, TricorBraun

Greg Kraus
Managing Director, Resident Director, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Ron Kruszewski
Chairman of the Board & CEO, Stifel

Marc Lazar
Founder, Domaine Wine Storage

Joe Leahy
Chief Creative Officer, HLK

MINGU LEE
Managing Partner, Cleveland Avenue

Danny Ludeman
President & CEO, Concordance

Steve Maritz
Executive Chairman, Maritz

Rich McClure
Former Co-Chair, The Ferguson Commission; Former President & CEO, Unigroup

Ken McDonald
Senior Director of Business Development, Covenant Theological Seminary

Dick Miles
Retired Chairman & CEO, Valitas Health Services, Inc.

ESSYE MILLER
CEO, Executive Business Management

Michael Moehn
Chairman & President, Ameren Missouri

Carrie Nelson
CEO & Founder, Atlas Point LLC

Bob Newmark
Partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Steve Nystrom
Retired Senior Vice President, U.S. Bank

Kathy Osborn
President & CEO, Regional Business Council

Steve Ponciroli
Associate VP – Partnership Strategy and Growth, North Highland

Eriko Pope
CEO/Founder, Katalyst STL

emily procter
Entrepreneur, Activist, and Actress

Nick Ragone
Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Ascension

Benjamin Rassieur III
President, Paulo Products Company

Kitty Ratcliffe
President, Explore St. Louis

Joe Reagan
Founder & CEO, One Stone Development

B.T. Rice
Pastor, New Horizon 7th Day Christian Church

Lamont Robinson
Director, Supplier Diversity at AmerisourceBergen

Michael Scully
Missouri Regional President, PNC Bank

Susan Sherman
Co-Founder, St. Louis Fashion Fund

Craig Silliman
Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative, Legal, and Public Policy Officer, Verizon

Joe Sivewright
Chairman, Nestlé Purina PetCare

David Steward
Chairman & Founder, World Wide Technology

Donald Suggs
Publisher & Executive Editor, St. Louis American

Susan Talve
Founding Rabbi, Central Reform Congregation

Mark Thom
Chairman & CEO, MiTek

John thompson
Venture Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners

Greg Trapp
Former Division President & General Manager, Progressive Corporation

Mary Unnerstall
Executive Manager, Office of the Chairman, World Wide Technology

Rob Vitale
President & CEO, Post Holdings

Sara Wade
Former Chief Human Resources Officer & SVP, Express Scripts

Caprina Wakefield
Regional Vice President, Human Resources, SSM Health – Health Business

Chip Walker
Former Managing Director, Client Experience and Growth, Wells Fargo Advisors

Tim Wentworth
Retired CEO, Evernorth

JAMES E. Williams, Jr.
President & CEO, Estel Foods, Inc.

Craig Workman
President, Workman Communications Group

Mark Wrighton
Interim President, George Washington University; Professor & Chancellor Emeritus, Washington University

Jackie Yoon
President, YFB Consulting

Our Investors

We couldn’t do the work we do today without those who’ve invested in us since day one. Learn more about our individual and corporate supporters and how you can join the charge.

Our Locations

We are headquartered in St. Louis and preparing to expand nationwide over the next five years.