Leadership Development Team

Rev. Shannon Stringer
Rev. Shannon StringerDirector of Leadership Development
As the Director of Leadership Development, Reverend Shannon Stringer draws on more than 25 combined years of leading in education, ministry and staff supervision. Shannon’s personal educational background includes a Master’s in American Government with an emphasis in Constitutional Law and a Masters of Divinity and Ordination in the United Methodist Church. As an educator Shannon was awarded the US Congressional Recognition of Excellence in Education, the Coaching Excellence Award from SCORE, Coach of the Year two different years from the Fontana, CA Chamber. In her pastoral ministry, Shannon served three churches before moving to conference staff. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her husband, Dave, and their two dogs.
Emily Krach
Emily KrachAssociate Director of Leadership Development - Emerging Leaders
Emily Krach is a part of the Leadership Development team, specifically working with emerging leaders. This also includes working closely with adults who support young people.She is a veteran youth leader with a passion for empowering and developing leaders of all ages for the sake of the next generation of the church. She attended Huntington University for her undergrad in Youth Ministry and Indiana Wesleyan University for her Masters in Organizational Leadership. Currently, she is also a mentor for young professional women through the Edge Mentoring program. Emily has been a part of the United Methodist Church all her life and is a native Hoosier now residing in Fort Wayne where she can have her nieces and nephews in her home regularly. She finds great joy in walking her dog (Bear), exploring parks, and sitting near a body of water.
Rev. Matthew Leffler
Rev. Matthew LefflerAssociate Director of Leadership Development - Ministerial Services
As the Associate Director of Leadership Development – Ministerial Services, Matthew serves asanadaptive thinker who ensures consistency throughout the candidacy process and strategically ensures the Board of Ordained Ministry’s actions, policies, and procedures are being consistently followed by all its entities. Matthew brings years of leadership experience with him including serving in leadership roles on boards for non-profit organizations. He also served as a student representative on the Board of Trustees and as Student Council President while attending United Theological Seminary. Matthew, a second career pastor, spent 14 years as a manufacturing engineer in the automotive and glass industries prior to entering the ministry. He was first appointed as a bi-vocational Supply Pastor in 1998, and then ordained as an Elder in the former Northern Indiana Conference in 2007. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Ball State University and Masters of Divinity from United Theological Seminary. His hobbies include golfing, reading, singing and spending time with family. Matthew and his wife, Tracey, have two children, Mickala and Matt.
Luska Natali
Luska Natali Conference Assistant - Leadership Development
Luska came to the United States from Brazil in 1988 with her family. Since that time, she has volunteered at a large number of churches as a music librarian, drama ministry leader, Hispanic ministry church planter and interpreter. She has also taught Sunday school classes to high schoolers, college agers, and women.
Luska has three sons, Thiago, Andre, and Lukas, as well as eight grandsons. Her daughters-in-love add the right measure of sweetness to the mix of energy and craziness that comes from having a family of 11 guys.
From a very young age, Luska developed an interest and love for foreign languages and cultures, and she is fluent in English, Portuguese (native tongue) and Spanish, with the ability to interpret and translate. She is a member of the American Translators Association (ATA). She has a Bachelor’s and Master ’s degrees in Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University, and an Education Specialist degree (EdS) from Liberty University. She also completed all the coursework for a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership at Liberty University (dissertation not completed).
Luska enjoys time with family, taking pictures, traveling, writing devotionals, editing, dining out, going to the movies, volunteering, mentoring, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), networking, knowledge-sharing, writing letters with confetti in them, and teaching her grandchildren about Jesus.
R.C. Muhlbaier
R.C. MuhlbaierAssociate Director of Leadership Development - Laity & Discipleship
The Rev. Shannon Stringer, Director of Leadership Development, is pleased to announced that Robert C. Muhlbaier, III (R.C.) will serve as the Associate Director of Leadership Development – Laity effective October 29, 2018.

Mulhbaier’s primary responsibilities will be to support the Board of Laity and Lay Servant Ministry, while simultaneously providing development resources for local church lay leaders, as well as working collaboratively with the Director of Leadership Development to realize the vision of Leadership Development and fulfill the mission of the Indiana Conference.

Michele Phillips
Michele PhillipsAdministrator of Ministerial Services
In her previous role with the Conference, Michele served as the Part-Time Administrative Assistant for Local Pastor Education for the Indiana Annual Conference for a number of years — overseeing and managing registrations, providing guidance to students in class selections, assisting the Director of the Indiana Course of Study Extension School, and working closely with the University of Indianapolis to provide adequate facilities for learning and is the liaison between the students and their instructors.

In her current role, Michele serves as the Administrator of Ministerial Services, working alongside Rev. Shannon Stringer as part of the Leadership Development Team. Michele began serving in that role on November 4, 2019.

In addition to her position as Administrative Assistant, Michele works full time at Saint Joseph UMC in Fort Wayne where she serves as the Director of Church Operations. She has been in her position for six years. Michele also serves at Saint Joseph as a volunteer worship leader and wedding coordinator. Michele has been married to her husband Jeff for 26 years and has two daughters ages 20 and 17.

Britt LeslieDirector of Local Pastor Education