Faith Commons

Our Leadership

Program Leadership

Rev. Dr. George Mason

Founder and President

Rev. Dr. Mason is a Christian theologian and Baptist pastor in Dallas, Texas, where he served as Senior Pastor of the Wilshire Baptist Church from 1989 to 2022. He continues to serve as Wilshire’s Director of Pathways Alumni.

He is the author of The Word Made Fresh, released in 2023.

George is also the Lead Advisor for the Baptist House of Studies at Perkins School of Theology (SMU), where he is an adjunct professor. He is a past convenor of Faith Forward Dallas and participates in numerous local and global ecumenical and interfaith endeavors. He is a contributor to The Dallas Morning News on subjects of public interest that intersect with religion, such as public education, racial justice, predatory lending and climate change.

George is married to Kim Mason and they have three children and seven grandchildren.

Rabbi Nancy Kasten

Chief Relationship Officer

Rabbi Nancy Kasten is a Reform rabbi, a community educator, volunteer and activist, as well as a certified Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher. Since moving to Dallas in 1990, Nancy has led, taught, consulted and organized in Jewish, interfaith and secular settings locally, nationally and internationally. She chose her title of Chief Relationship Officer when she joined Faith Commons because she has the most fun when making connections with and among others.

Nancy currently serves on the boards of Texas Impact, Truah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies at UTD and the U.S. Advisory Committee for Polyphony, a Nazareth-based organization that connects Arab and Jewish communities in Israel through music. She is a member of Reform Judaism’s Commission on Social Action and serves on several national and state-based committees and core teams within the Reform Movement. 

Reinforced and informed by her participation in the 2020 OpEd Project Public Voices Fellowship, Nancy strives to provide thought leadership in influencial forums through her words as well as her deeds. 

Nancy is married to Rabbi David Stern and they have three adult children.

Mara Richards Bim

Program Director

Mara Richards Bim is an award-winning theatre artist and the founder of the nationally-acclaimed Cry Havoc Theater Company (2014-2023). Mara received multiple DFW Theater Critics Awards and was awarded two Special Project Grants from the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture for public art installations to accompany Cry Havoc Theater Company productions (2018 and 2019). Under her leadership, Cry Havoc: was awarded the National Community Impact Award from Theater for Young Audiences (2018); was named “Best Thing to Happen to Local Theater” by D Magazine (2019); and was the subject of a five-episode podcast by KERA/NPR about the company’s production of Babel (2020).

In 2020 Mara received the Holloway Family Foundation’s Visionary Leadership Award and in 2021 she was named one of D Magazine’s “78 Women Changing the Face of Dallas.”

Mara is a Clemons Fellow with Baptist News Global where she writes about religion and politics. She is a candidate for ordination as a Deacon in the United Methodist Church and will graduate from Southern Methodist University in August with the degree of Master of Divinity (MDiv) and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction.

Administrative Team

Christen Kinard


Christen Kinard oversees communications for Faith Commons and is the founder of Digital Congregations. Having spent more than a decade as a professional in communications and marketing, she has helped businesses and organizations as diverse as high-end retail stores and independent schools develop and implement efficient and impactful communications strategies. Digital Congregations sits at the intersection of her desire to do meaningful work, her belief in the importance of faith communities, and her talents and experience. She currently sits on the board of the Association for Smaller Congregations. She has an MA in Peace and Conflict Resolution from Norwich University and a BA in International Relations and French Literature from the University of South Carolina.

Board Members

Faith Commons is grateful for a dedicated Board of Directors that helps with strategic visioning, support, and community engagement.


Kenton Keller


Kenton Keller is President of Accelerence Executive Coaching, LLP. As a Professional Certified Coach, he facilitates leadership development and succession planning for top executives and star performers. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University.

From 2008 through 2011, Kenton served as the Chief Performance Officer for Buckner Children and Family Services. Before joining Buckner, Kenton’s career spanned 29 years with Accenture, a global management consulting company that collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.

Kenton received his Ph.D. in Leadership from Dallas Baptist University and holds an MBA and B.A. in Psychology from the University of Oklahoma. He and his wife, Mary, reside in Dallas, Texas, where they are active members of Wilshire Baptist Church. They are the parents of three daughters and have six grandchildren, all who live in Dallas.


Barbara Utay


Barbara Utay works as a Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Lending Specialist in J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank. In her role, she helps structure and execute CRE loans for High Net Worth clients across the country. Barbara has spent her entire career at J.P. Morgan.

Prior to her role in the Private Bank, Barbara worked as an Underwriter in the Real Estate Bank where she originated construction debt for Real Estate Developers and Private Equity firms.

Barbara graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.B.A. in Accounting. She is serves on the Alumnae Board of The Hockaday School, where she attended school for 15 years, and is active in her church, Wilshire Baptist Church. She was also a member of the 2022 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy Cohort at Communities Foundation of Texas.

Barbara is married to Justin Utay.


Jeff Smith


As President and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff directs and manages all business affairs for HighGround. He joined the organization in 1990 and, over the course of his tenure, has served on the Trust and Legal team as Trust Attorney, Vice President and Trust Counsel, and Vice President and General Counsel. Jeff honors HighGround’s rich history while casting a vision for our future, seeking opportunities to offer greater support to our clients and their ever-evolving needs. During his time in leadership, Jeff has overseen rebranding efforts, the exploration of new asset class allocation and strategies, and the enhancement of the organization’s client communications. He strives to fulfill our commitment to protect client relationships, strengthen their mission and grow their resources.

Prior to joining HighGround, Jeff served as Assistant District Attorney for the Collin County District Attorney’s Office and oversaw special programs for Baylor University. Jeff has more than 30 years of experience in cultivating donors for gift recognition, providing comprehensive tax consultation and legal expertise, and in leading nonprofit organizations to success.

Jeff is a graduate of Baylor University with BA and JD degrees. He is also a board member for Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, the Dallas Scottish Rite Library & Museum, Faith Commons and HighGround Trust Company.

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Kymberlaine Banks

As senior business engagement officer in CFT for Business (CFT4B), Kymberlaine guides companies that aspire to corporate citizenship leadership toward relationships with each other, nonprofit organizations and the community.

Her work includes helping businesses develop and execute Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) and Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) strategy. Kymberlaine serves in the community as chair of the City of Garland Community Multicultural Commission,and as a commissioner to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly #225 and member of the national Racial Equity Advocacy Committee (REAC), Grace Presbytery, PC(USA) Social Justice Task Force (SJTF), a board member at Arts Mission Oak Cliff, a The Arts Community Alliance (T.A.C.A.) grant panelist, and a community volunteer with Garland Overnight Warming Station (GLOWS) and Austin Street Center.

She is also a founding partner of Diversity Crew, an equity, inclusion and belonging consultancy.

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Steve Brookshire

Steve Brookshire is actively involved in various social justice initiatives, and has served in leadership roles on the boards of several local and international non-profit organizations.  Steve is also engaged in various leadership roles within his church.

Steve is currently a principal of PegasusAblon, a commercial real estate investment and development company in Dallas, Texas.  Steve has over 30 years of experience in commercial real estate, as well as significant prior experience in banking and public accounting.


Maria Reis Habito

Maria Reis Habito is International Program Director of the Museum of World Religions in Taipei, organizing conferences on Interfaith themes from her Dallas office. She is also a Zen teacher in the Sanbo Zen lineage, and the US representative of the Elijah Interfaith Institute.

She has served as Adjunct Faculty member of the department of History and the Master of Liberal Studies Program at Southern Methodist University, having taught courses on East Asian History, and Asian Religions and Spirituality. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Munich, and also studied in Taipei, Taiwan and Kyoto, Japan.


Rev. Ray Jordan

Rev. Ray Jordan is an ordained United Church of Christ clergyperson and is currently the Lead Pastor for First Community UCC of Dallas (serving as First Community’s first openly gay and African American senior minister in its 73-year history). Prior to that, he served as the pastor of Central Congregational UCC in Dallas, TX , and as the President of the North Texas Association of the UCC. Ray has worked in both the public and private sectors as a public-school teacher, university professor, non-profit administrator, corporate trainer and consultant.

Ray earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from University of Central Arkansas, a Master of Education from

Henderson State University, a Master of Theological Studies from SMU Perkins and is completing his Ph.D. in Public Policy and MLK Studies from Union Institute and University.

Ray has taught in higher education since 2008, previously teaching within the University of Texas at Arlington’s School for Urban and Public Affairs and Center for African American Studies as well as SMU’s Department of Political Science. Currently Ray teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Human Rights at Southern Methodist University.

When he isn’t working, Ray can be found spending time with his two dogs and three children, Trey and Alley and Joshua Caleb.

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Mona Kafeel

A proud mother of two young adults and a pet, Mona is a dedicated caregiver in her personal and professional life. She currently serves
as the CEO of Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, a nonprofit empowering women and their families through multifaceted programs.

Passionate about transforming lives of women, Mona is a visionary leader in the nonprofit industry known for her strategic thinking and foresight. She has established and runs multiple trauma-informed and culturally specific domestic violence shelters in Dallas, and continues to expand services to now include senior housing especially for elderly abused and abandoned women.

Mona’s extensive work with the grass root community has led her to serve on many Advisory Boards, including Asian Advisory Committee to the Congresswomen Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas Council on Family Violence, City of Plano Senior Advisory Board and Asian Pacific Institute on Gender Based Violence.

She is the recipient of several awards and alumni Muslim Civic Leadership Institute at USC, Leadership Plano. She is a true servant leader amongst us.

Molly Shepard

Molly Shepard

Molly Shepard works as an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Consultant for PwC. She helps companies across multiple industries engage their supply chains in achieving their ESG goals, including decarbonization, eliminating human rights violations, and increasing sustainable practices. Molly’s most recent projects have focused on the consumer markets sector, and how food and beverage companies can work with their suppliers to implement regenerative agriculture in their supply chains to increase carbon sequestration, improve soil and watershed health, and advance farmer livelihoods around the world. Molly began her career in PwC’s Deals Practice, focusing on the valuation of businesses and intangible assets for financial and tax reporting purposes.

Molly graduated from Baylor University as a Business Fellow, with a Master’s of Accountancy and minor in English. She is an active member of Wilshire Baptist Church, an avid reader, runner, and musician. Molly lives in Dallas with her husband (Michael), daughter (Olivia), and Aussie (Milo).

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Elizabeth Souder

Elizabeth Souder is a journalist and communications consultant. She has worked for Quartz, Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Oliver Wyman and The Dallas Morning News, where she developed and edited a regular column on faith. She is a director and vice president for the Texas Lyceum. She has Plan II liberal arts and journalism degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.


Erica Strauss

Erica Strauss works as the Director of Social Justice and Young Adult Engagement at Temple Emanu-El, where she works on service projects, advocacy, community organizing, and young adult programming. Prior to her current role, Erica was a fifth-grade teacher with Uplift Education and a Teach for America corps member.

Erica received her undergraduate degree in Public Policy from the University of Delaware and her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. She serves on the United to Learn Advisory Board along with being a leader with Dallas Area Interfaith.