Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board
Larry Eastland has served four U.S. Presidents, including service as Staff Assistant to the President, U.S. Delegate to the World Tourism Organization, and Director of Operations for the Summit of Industrialized Nations. He is a combat-decorated U.S. Marine Corps officer, having served as a Firebase Commander in Vietnam. Dr. Eastland received a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Brigham Young University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. His business offices are in the U.S., Hong Kong, and the Middle East. He is a Distinguished Board Member of the American Conservative Union. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he has served as an LDS missionary in Berlin, a bishop, in a mission presidency, and currently serves on North America West Public Area Public Affairs Council as Assistant Director.
Michael D. Stanley serves as the director of the Northridge California Latter-day Saint Institute of Religion And as a member of the Office of Religious Life at the University of Southern California. Dr. Stanley is a graduate of Brigham Young University and holds a Doctorate in International Organizational Development. In addition to more than 30 years with the Church Education System, he has consulted on organizational issues with multiple businesses, local and state governments and taught a variety of college courses. He is actively involved in community relations including government, religious organizations, schools and multiple universities. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he has served in many capacities including as a full-time missionary in Hong Kong, a Bishop, and currently as President of the Santa Clarita California Stake.
Chief Financial Officer
Eric Knapp is a financial executive with 25 years of international business experience. This experience includes working and living in Russia, Kazakhstan and the Middle East. He received a Master’s degree from University of California Los Angeles blending business and engineering after a computer systems undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona. Eric has served in numerous church positions, including branch leadership in Russia and Egypt. He now supports the California Los Angeles Mission in planning and logistics, and serves in his local ward as events coordinator and membership clerk.
Laura Redford is a historian, scholar and teacher specializing in United States urban history and Los Angeles history. She has taught at UCLA, Scripps College in Claremont, California, and Brigham Young University. She was also an educator at the Geffen Academy at UCLA, teaching in the upper school. Her work has been published by the Journal of Planning History and an online US History textbook, The American Yawp. Dr. Redford earned her PhD in history from UCLA, holds a master’s degree in American Studies from Columbia University, and an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University. She served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints in Pusan, Korea. In addition to many teaching opportunities at church, she has served as the Director of Public Affairs, and in the leadership of the church’s women’s organization, and as a counselor in the Los Angeles Stake Relief Society Presidency. She and her husband and three children now reside in Orem, Utah.
George H. Durham, III is a principal with Seattle-based Linksbridge SPC, a social impact consulting firm providing strategy and advisory services to international NGOs, domestic nonprofits, and other public sector organizations in global development, global health, communications, and technology. George has led two Seattle-area nonprofit organizations, has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and an undergraduate degree in Government from Harvard University. George is a member of the High Council in the Seattle Washington North Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye
Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye was raised in Southern California and received AB and PhD degrees from Harvard University. She is a Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies at the University of Auckland and a historian at the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 2017 she received the University of Auckland’s highest award for teaching excellence at the early career stage. Dr. Inouye is the author of China and the True Jesus: Charisma and Organization in a Chinese Christian Church (Oxford, 2019), a book about a Chinese Pentecostal restorationist church. Her memoir, Crossings: a bald Asian American Latter-day Saint woman scholar's ventures through life, death, motherhood, and cancer (not necessarily in that order (Deseret Book, 2019), received the top creative nonfiction award from the Association for Mormon Letters and honorable mention from the LDSPMA Praiseworthy Awards. She is also a Senior Fellow of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, an organization devoted to facilitating mutual dialogue within and between religious traditions. She enjoys running and backpacking with her husband and four children.
Robert L. Millet
Robert L. Millet is Professor Emeritus of Religious Education at Brigham Young University. After joining the BYU faculty in 1983, he served as chair of the department of Ancient Scripture, dean of the College of Religious Education, and Richard L. Evans Professor of Religious Understanding. He received Bachelors and Masters degrees in Psychology from Brigham Young University, and his PhD in Religious Studies from Florida State University. He retired from teaching at BYU in January 2014. Since 1990, Professor Millet has been engaged in interfaith relations and academic dialogue projects with scholars from Evangelical denominations, as well as scholars from the Church of the Nazarene, Community of Christ, and more. Millet is an accomplished author of many books, articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries dealing mostly with the doctrine and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its relationship to other faiths. Dr. Millet and his wife Shauna have six children and twelve grandchildren and reside in Orem, Utah.
Connie Zhang is a Beijing native and received her baccalaureate degree in Economics from Beijing University. She earned her MBA at Harvard University, and she is fluent in Chinese, English, and Korean. Ms. Zhang is the founder and President of Riley River Consultants, a consulting firm that helps North American green technology companies and medical device companies develop business in China and helps US PE funds and small-size companies raise money from Chinese investors. Prior to starting her consulting firm, Ms. Zhang managed a Venture Capital Firm and worked for several Fortune 500 companies. Her accomplishments in these roles include defining global sourcing strategies, launching new products with cutting-edge technologies, identifying and evaluating global strategic partners, maintaining executive relationships with major global manufacturers, helping manufacturers secure high-level credit lines, and initiating sales in the Australian market. Ms. Zhang is also an author and public speaker in China. She teaches online courses to Chinese audiences around the globe on the topics of networking, how to raise children and how to improve marriage relationships. She also holds a real estate license from the State of Texas, and she manages a broad portfolio of real estate there.
Mr. Wirthlin is a Retired Partner at Latham & Watkins, where he practiced international business, merger and acquisition, sprorts and entertainment, and emerging companies law for almost three decades. He was Office Managing Partner for the firm’s Moscow Office for four years and also Global Chair of the firm’s Sports, Entertainment and Media Practice. Mr. Wirthlin has served in a number of leadership callings in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, most recently as the Ukraine Dnipro Mission President 2018-21. He also served a full-time mission in Munich Germany 1978-80. He graduated from Brigham Young University, magna cum laude with a major in International Relations and German minor; and earned his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University, cum laude. He and his wife Joni have seven children and ten grandchildren.
Widtsoe Director Emeritus
Christopher L. Eastland, J.D. is a partner in the private equity firm Seidler Equity Partners and serves as a board member for numerous public and private corporations. He graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration: Entrepreneurial Studies from the University of Southern California; he served on the Law Review Board and graduated Order of the Coif and President of his class from the USC Gould School of Law. He was formerly a corporate associate at O’Melveny & Meyers LLP. He was among the first group of missionaries in St. Petersburg, Russia where he served as Assistant to the President. Most recently, Christopher served as bishop of the Pacific Palisades Ward in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Widtsoe Director Emeritus
Dan Galorath has been involved with engineering, estimating, and analysis for 40 years. Under his leadership, Galorath Inc. developed SEER cost, schedule, risk applications, methods, and training for software, hardware, electronics & systems, information technology, and manufacturing. Dan is the primary author of the book “Software Sizing, Estimation, and Risk Management: When Performance Is Measured Performance Improves.” His widely read blog, Dan Galorath on Estimating, covers estimation, planning, measurement, control and risk analysis. He has received lifetime achievement awards from major industry associations covering his contributions to the state of the art of estimation, planning, and project control. Dan serves on several corporate nonprofit boards and speaks internationally on topics of project management, project and program economics, metrics, estimation, analysis, planning, and control. He has served in numerous church service roles including Bishop, High Councilor, stake welfare specialist, and addiction specialist, and is currently a counselor in the California Los Angeles Mission Presidency.
Richard E. Turley
Widtsoe Director Emeritus
Richard E. Turley Jr. served for more than thirty-four years in high-level management positions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was managing director of the Church Historical, Family History, Public Affairs, and Church Communication Departments. He also served as Assistant Church Historian and Recorder. An innovator by nature, he helped develop and launch many of the most important scholarly initiatives and facilities of recent decades in the Church, including the Joseph Smith Papers, the Church History Library, the Church Historian’s Press, and FamilySearch. He has published numerous books on Latter-day Saint and Western history and created Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter-days. He has garnered many awards for his service and publications, including the Herbert Feis Award from the American Historical Association, the Genealogy/History Achievement Award from the American Library Association, the Junius F. Wells Award from the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation, and the Historic Preservation Medal from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Mr. Turley received a bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University, where he was a Spencer W. Kimball Scholar. He later graduated from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU, where he served as executive editor of the law review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.
John W. "Jack" Welch
Widtsoe Director Emeritus
John W. (“Jack”) Welch is the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU, where he has taught courses on Business Associations, Joseph Smith and early American Law, Biblical and Book of Mormon Law, and Tax-Exempt Organizations since 1980. He grew up in La Cañada, California, and received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Brigham Young University in History, Mathematics and Greek. He studied Greek philosophy as a Woodrow Wilson fellow at Oxford University, and received his law degree from Duke University. He practiced law in Los Angeles with O’Melveny & Myers before joining the BYU Law faculty. Over the years, Jack’s work on the on chiasmus, as well as on the legal cases in the Book of Mormon, has become widely known in scholarly and religious circles. His innovative studies about biblical law, the trial of Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Preamble to the United States Constitution have been presented at academic, professional and popular conferences, and published in scholarly books and journals. His insights into the Good Samaritan stained glass windows in the cathedrals of France, have been published in BYU Studies and elsewhere. Currently he is the chair and editor in chief of Book of Mormon Central, a vast web presence and internet center for studies of the Book of Mormon, in English and Spanish. His latest book is entitled The Parables of Jesus: Revealing the Plan of Salvation. It features commissioned paintings by Argentinian artist Cocco Santángelo and is co-authored with his wife Jeannie. They have four children and 17 grandchildren.
D.M. "Chip" Rawlings
Widtsoe Director Emeritus
Douglas M. “Chip” Rawlings, J.D. is a retired partner from the international litigation firm of Quinn Emanuel & Sullivan LLP. During his 38-year career, he specialized in complex litigation with emphases in real estate and securities litigation, particularly in mortgage-backed securities and derivatives. He also represented museums and specialized in art law. He graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a B.A. in the History of Thought. He served as a JAG officer in the United States Air Force after graduating from Yale Law School. In 2014, he returned from serving as President of the Finland Helsinki Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He now serves as a sealer in the Los Angeles Temple and as a member of the North America West JustServe Council.
Widtsoe Director Emeritus
Dr. Linda Bradford was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She earned a BA in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University, and then went back for a Master’s Degree in Art Education in 2002. She taught in the Visual Arts Department at BYU until 2012, and during that time earned her PhD in Instructional Psychology and Technology from BYU. During her PhD, Dr. Bradford founded the company VIEW (Virtual Immersive Educational Worlds, Inc) and worked with a team of Disney Artists and 3D modelers and engineers to create 3D virtual learning technology which has been used by universities, and led to the development of several language-learning apps, including FluentWorlds and PerfectAccent. In its first year, FluentWorlds had more than 500k downloads and reached the top 60 apps on iTunes. In October of 2018, Dr. Bradford and her FluentWorlds team were voted by Business Q Magazine as one of the “Top Ten Hottest Companies to Watch in 2019.” Currently, she and her husband commute between homes in Provo and Newport Beach. Dr. Bradford considers that God and family are of preeminent importance and has devoted her heart to her religion, her husband, David, her 4 children and their spouses and her seventeen grandchildren.
Director and Scholar in Residence
Jacob Rennaker serves as the Scholar in Residence and Director of the John A. Widtsoe Foundation at the University of Southern California and is a Fellow at Chapman University’s Fish Interfaith Center. He holds a B.A. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Brigham Young University, an M.A. in Comparative Religion from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Claremont Graduate University. His primary research focuses on comparative religion and literature, with particular emphasis on temples and related sacred spaces as they appear in biblical, extra-biblical, and ancient Near Eastern texts. His most recent co-edited book in this area is Sacred Space, Sacred Thread: Perspectives Across Time and Traditions (Wipf & Stock, 2019). He is also the director of the New Testament Comparative Passages Project, which brings together scholar-practitioners from eight Christian traditions to dialogue about important differences in interpreting scripture.
Jacob’s additional research deals with Latter-day Saint scripture and theology, especially as it intersects with other ancient and modern religious traditions. His most recent work in this area puts the Catholic imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien into conversation with Latter-day Saint thought. He is on the editorial board for the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, an advisor for the BYU New Testament Commentary Series, and associate director of the BYU New Testament Commentary Summer Seminar. Jacob has presented papers at a variety of conferences, including those held by the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology, Mormon Scholars in the Humanities, and others.
Cara Caldwell grew up in Portland, Oregon and earned her BA in Communications with a minor in Nonprofit Management from BYU. After an internship with Edelman Public Relations in Los Angeles, Cara was a Public Relations writer at BYU, and managed the communications and marketing strategies for another local university and a corporate training company. Cara has worked for many nonprofits throughout the years, as a student advocate, street fundraiser, and board member of several different organizations. Cara recently moved back to California with her husband and 3-year-old daughter after 6 years in Utah. In her spare time, Cara enjoys hiking and being in nature, sewing, and spending time with her family.