Leadership

Experience & service

The Global Institute of Church Management (GICM) is honored to work with experts in business, finance, Catholic social teaching, moral theology, and human development in our mission to equip Church leaders with best management practices. Contact us to learn more about how you can support GICM.

Cardinal Harvey

Chaplain for the Advisory Board, Global Institute Of Church Management

Pia de Solenni

Pia de Solenni, SThD

President and Executive Director, Global Institute of Church Management

John Harpole

John Harpole

Interim Chair, GICM Governing Board

Fr. Bob

Fr. Robert Gahl

Director, Program of Church Management

Fr. Anthony

Fr. Anthony Stoeppel

Chair, Clergy Advisory Board

Governing Board

Gellert Dornay

The son of a Hungarian immigrant and native Seattleite mother, Gellert Dornay was raised with 8 siblings and attended a Montessori preschool and grade school founded by his parents. Eager to maximize contribution, he was married, had attended three different universities, helped launch a boutique coffee roaster and welcomed their first child by the time he hit legal drinking age. 

Dornay helped Java Trading Co. bring specialty coffee to the masses on three continents over his 15 year tenure, leaving shortly after a private equity sale in 2006. 

As a practicing Catholic, Dornay developed a strong desire to promote human dignity through business, which led to co-founding Axia Home Loans in 2007. Homeownership contributes greatly to family and economic stability. Under Gellert’s leadership as CEO, Axia grew to fund over $1 billion annually, helping thousands of families become homeowners. Dornay is the only newcomer to successfully build a national mortgage bank during the Great Recession. And in 2016, Axia became the first 100% employee owned mortgage bank. Just as owners take better care of homes and communities, so do the 350 employee owners at Axia who now participate in company ownership and contribute to a stronger and more just and equitable economy. 

Gellert and his wife Elizabeth homeschool their ten children on Mercer Island, Washington. He  participates on several boards of profit and non-profit companies which are forces for good in our economy. 

Ana Cecilia Fieler Ana Cecilia Fieler is a visiting assistant professor of economics at Yale University since 2018. She has previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania and at Princeton University. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from New York University, an M.A. in economics from Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain, and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Fac. Engenharia Industrial, Brazil. Ana Cecilia lives in Stamford, Connecticut with her husband and their six children.

John HarpoleJohn Harpole is President and Founder of Mercator Energy, a natural gas brokerage and services company located in Denver, Colorado.  John and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 27 years. They have 3 children. Emily Harpole (23 years old) is a missionary with The Culture Project.  Mary Harpole is a junior at Benedictine College and Jack Harpole is a freshman at Benedictine College. John serves on the Board of Directors at Benedictine College, the Board at the Leadership Program of the Rockies, the Board at the University of Colorado’s Global Energy Management Program (GEM) and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) Advisory Board.

John HillenThe Honorable John Hillen is the CEO of EverWatch Solutions, a 400-employee defense technology firm in Northern Virginia.

Dr. Hillen is a former assistant secretary of
State, public company CEO, award winning business school Professor, decorated combat veteran, public intellectual, and author of several books. He serves as The Wheat Professor of Leadership and Ethics at historic Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.

A Catholic lay leader, he was the founding Chairman of the International Business Leaders Advisory Council for the Program on Church Management, serves on the Board of The Dominican Foundation, and is a longtime member of Legatus. John graduated from Duke University, holds a master’s degree from King’s College London, a doctorate from Oxford, and his MBA from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell. Toggle Content

Flip Howard is the founder and CEO of WorkSuites – a coworking company based in Dallas, TX.  Founded in 2001, WorkSuites operates over 20 coworking locations across Texas.  Flip and his wife Celeste are both graduates of Franciscan University, and they have seven children ranging in age from 9 to 23 – with the oldest three currently also attending Franciscan.

An entrepreneur since childhood, Flip has owned companies in various industries including technology, medical, and collegiate laundry service.  Flip has also served on various nonprofit boards, including Franciscan University’s Board of Trustees, Young Catholic Professional’s National Board, The Global Workspace Association, and The Pines Catholic Camp.

David KaramJ. David Karam is the Chief Executive Officer of Sbarro, a leading Italian quick service restaurant company. Mr. Karam joined Sbarro when he was appointed Chairman of the Board in January of 2012 and assumed the additional duties of CEO in March of 2013. 

Before joining Sbarro, Mr. Karam was the President of Wendy’s International from 2008 to 2011. During his tenure at Wendy’s, Karam led a successful turnaround, which included significant improvements in product quality, operational execution and brand profitability. Under his leadership, Wendy’s rose to become the second largest QSR Hamburger chain in the U.S., surpassing Burger King for the first time in the company’s 42-year history. In 2011, Karam was inducted into Wendy’s Hall of Fame. 

Prior to joining Wendy’s in 2008, Mr. Karam was president of Cedar Enterprises, one of the largest franchisees in the Wendy’s system. While President of Cedar Enterprises, the company was awarded the R. David Thomas Founders Award, the Diamond Award for National Marketer of the Year and numerous other recognitions. He joined Cedar Enterprises in 1986 as Vice President of Finance before being promoted to President in 1989. Mr. Karam previously served as senior auditor for Touche & Ross from 1982 to 1986. 

Karam is a CPA and holds a B.S. in Accounting from The Ohio State University and is a graduate of the Owner President Management program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration. He serves on the Board of Directors for Henny Penny Corporation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the Pontifical College Josephinum. 

Joe TopperJoseph V. Topper, Jr. has been the President of Dunne Manning Inc. since 2015. Mr. Topper is Chairman of the Board of Cross America Partners LP since acquiring the General Partner in November 2019. Mr. Topper has over 25 years of management experience in the wholesale and retail fuel distribution business. In 1987, Mr. Topper purchased his family’s retail fuel business and five years later founded DMI (formerly known as Lehigh Gas Corporation), where he was the Chief Executive Officer since 1992. Mr. Topper currently serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Villanova University and is member of the Board of Limited Jurisdiction at St. Michael the Archangel School. He is the past President of the board of directors for Lehigh Valley PBS and the Lehigh Valley PBS Foundation. He also served as a board member for the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown. Mr. Topper holds a Master’s degree of Business Administration from Lehigh University and a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Villanova University. Mr. Topper is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Cardinal James Michael Harvey

Cardinal James Michael Harvey, Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA), on 20 October 1949. He studied at the seminary in his hometown before being sent to complete his formation in Rome. He lived at the Pontifical North American College and earned a degree in canon law.

He was one of the 359 priests to be ordained by Paul VI on 29 June 1975, the 12th anniversary of his election to the papal throne, and was incardinated in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

He studied at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome and entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See on 25 March 1980. He served for two years at the pontifical representation in the Dominican Republic. On 10 July 1982, as a nunciature counsellor, he began his service in the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State.

On 22 July 1997 he was appointed Assessor for General Affairs, and on 16 November of the same year, he was named a member of the Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

On 7 February 1998 he was appointed Prefect of the Pontifical Household. On 19 March 1998 he was consecrated bishop and named titular bishop of Memphis.

Five years later, on 29 September 2003, he was raised to the dignity of Archbishop.

On 23 November 2012 he was appointed Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls.

He is a member of the Knights of Colombus and an honorary member of the Circolo San Pietro. He has received several decorations, including the Gran Cruz de la Real Orden de Isabel la Católica of Spain and the Cavalierato di Gran Croce dell’Ordine del Merito of the Italian Republic.

He participated in the conclave of March 2013, which elected Pope Francis.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 November 2012, of the Deaconry of San Pio V a Villa Carpegna (St. Pius V a Villa Carpegna).

Pia de Solenni

Pia de Solenni, SThD

Pia de Solenni. SThD is a theologian, ethicist, and cultural analyst. She recently served as Chancellor of the Diocese of Orange, California, and Theological Advisor to the Bishop. Her work has appeared in various publications including The Wall Street Journal Europe, The Washington Post, National Catholic Reporter, Our Sunday Visitor, and National Review Online. She is also a consultant member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas.
John Harpole

John Harpole

John Harpole is President and Founder of Mercator Energy, a natural gas brokerage and services company located in Denver, Colorado.

John and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 27 years. They have 3 children. Emily Harpole (23 years old) is a missionary with The Culture Project. Mary Harpole is a junior at Benedictine College and Jack Harpole is a freshman at Benedictine College.

John serves on the Board of Directors at Benedictine College, the Board at the Leadership Program of the Rockies, the Board at the University of Colorado’s Global Energy Management Program (GEM) and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) Advisory Board.

Fr. Bob

Fr. Robert Gahl

Robert Gahl is an Associate Professor of Ethics in the School of Philosophy of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Santa Croce), the Vice Director of the Markets, Culture, and Ethics (MCE) Research Centre,  founding Vice Chair of the Program of Church Management, and a Research Affiliate at Harvard’s Human Flourishing Program.

A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1964), he completed his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis (1984) while gaining experience in aircraft manufacturing with McDonnell Douglas. He worked in Silicon Valley with control software of electron beam lithography systems (1985-1987). After completing his Licentiate in philosophy at the University of Navarre (Pamplona, Spain, 1989) and his doctorate in Rome at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (1991), he did postdoctoral research at the University of Notre Dame (1993).

He was ordained to the diaconate by  Blessed Alvaro del Portillo and to the priesthood by St. John Paul II (1992). He has published on the narrative structure of the moral life, cognitive behavioral therapy and corporate social behavior, and the social doctrine of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. He has directed courses on institutional mission at leading health care and medical research centers and on virtuous leadership for Italy’s center for defense studies (IASD).

Fr. Gahl has offered analysis regarding issues of ethics and Church affairs for numerous media outlets including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, La Presse, The National Catholic Reporter, AP, CNN, CBS, BBC, Al Jazeera, RTE, La Stampa’s Vatican Insider, and Vatican Radio. In addition to Italy and the USA, he has lectured in the Vatican, UK, Spain, Kenya, Ireland, Malta, Slovenia and Poland.

Fr. Anthony

Fr. Anthony Stoeppel

Fr. Anthony Stoeppel is the Vice-Rector and Assistant Professor of Pastoral Studies at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Immediately prior he was the Vice-Managing Director and on the faculty of the Program of Church Management.

He also served as Vicar General of the Diocese of Tyler, Chairman of the Parish & Mission Assistance Program, President of Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Catholic Schools, and pastor of multi-lingual parishes. Fr. Anthony attended Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, and holds a Doctorate of Sacred Theology from Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.

Join the Community

Sign up for our mailing list to get the latest Church Management news and thought leadership

sketch of Vatican through trees