Our team has many years of experience guiding our programs in order to fulfill our mission.

Denise Vargas

Executive Director

El Hogar Projects Honduras

Denise Vargas is the first native Honduran Executive Director in the organization´s 40-year history. She has over 20 years of executive-level experience, specializing in strategic planning, business model innovation, and team development. She is passionate about education, personal growth and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit. 

She is the founder of Impact Strategies, a consulting and training company that specializes in supporting Honduran entrepreneurs and leaders.  Previously, Denise was the Commercial Manager of Ultramotor and Motomundo for almost ten years, during which she led a fourfold market share growth through business model innovation. Prior to that position, she worked in New York as Counselor for the Honduras Mission to the United Nations, focusing on issues related to women and girls. Denise majored in Romance Languages and Psychology at Dartmouth College, and later completed an MBA with emphasis on finance. She is a fellow of the Central American Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Claudia Castro

Director of El Hogar de Amor y Esperanza

El Hogar Projects Honduras

Claudia has been working with El Hogar Projects for over 32 years. She started as the coordinator of the sponsorship program and in 1993 became the director of Hogar de Amor y Esperanza (HAYE). Prior to working for El Hogar Projects, Claudia worked in banking. She has a degree in business administration from the National Autonomous University of Honduras, a master’s degree in education from the National Pedagogical University of Honduras and a master’s degree in Human Talent Management from the Central American Technological University.

Claudia is a passionate advocate for children’s rights and education in Honduras.

Yony Aguilera

Director of the Farm

El Hogar Projects Honduras

Yony began working with El Hogar Projects in 2002 as the manager of animal husbandry, transitioned to sub-director the following year and later became director of the Agricultural School in 2010. Yony is in charge of the planning and supervision of all projects at El Hogar’s working farm in Talanga.

Yony is motivated by his faith in the vision of El Hogar and its achievements, as well as the opportunity to be part of an organization that transforms the lives of many children and youth. From pick-up soccer games with the students or supervised study nights and graduations, to having the opportunity to work alongside his former students, Yony is very committed to his work with El Hogar Projects and to serving the most vulnerable in Honduras. He studied at the National University of Agriculture in Honduras and holds a degree in Agricultural Engineering.

Norma Coello

Sub-Director of the Technical Institute

El Hogar Projects Honduras

Norma has worked at El Hogar Projects for over 30 years. In 1990, she started as secretary at the Technical Institute (ITSM), and when she began to support in the academic area, she was motivated to study education. Since then, she has been supporting many areas at ITSM and later became the sub-director. Norma has an unwavering commitment to God and to El Hogar Projects because it is her desire is to see each one of the young people triumph as professionals and in all aspects of life; socially, spiritually and in their families.

Norma is grateful for her opportunity to be a mother to her two children, but also for the opportunity to be a mother figure and an example for the youth of El Hogar Projects, she is passionate about working on behalf of Honduran children and adolescents and she wants to see their lives transformed through their time at El Hogar.

Norma has a law degree from the National Autonomous University of Honduras and a teaching degree from the National Pedagogical University of Honduras. She is a communicant of the Episcopal Church, congregating at Santa María de los Ángeles Cathedral in Tegucigalpa.

Erika Skafel

Communications and International Relations

El Hogar Projects Honduras

Erika has a diverse professional background in public health, hospital administration as well as behaviour therapy for individuals with disabilities. She has volunteered with many NGOs in Canada that support a variety of causes. Erika first visited El Hogar in 2009 and became part of the staff in Honduras in 2016. Passionate about inclusion, equality and empowerment, she hopes to guide other North Americans through a transformative experience in international development and service learning.

Erika holds a bachelor’s degree in Health Studies from the University of Waterloo in Canada.

Candy Beckwith

Administrative and Database Manager

El Hogar Ministries, Inc. in the United States

Candy Beckwith is responsible for handling office operations and processing all donations at El Hogar Ministries. She is Blackbaud certified in Raiser’s Edge (donor software) and her wide- ranging knowledge of many aspects of operating an office has led her to positions at a resort in a national park, a culinary school, a national blood supplier, and a non-profit for the conservation of cranes and their habitats.

Her experience led her to a position at El Hogar Ministries in MA in 2015, where she not only ensures the integrity of the documentation of all gifts, but also facilitates the sponsorship programs, handles bookkeeping, payroll, employee benefits, and the administration of all office procedures.

Candy was born and raised on the bayous of LA. Her life experiences then brought her to live in a rain forest in WA, the White Mountains state of NH, the capitol city of Madison in WI, Silicon Valley in CA, and permanently to MA after the birth of her first grandchild. She is the friendly voice that will most likely greet you when you call the EHMI office! Candy is passionate about working at El Hogar because she knows that her work is making an impact on vulnerable children in Honduras and leading them to a brighter future.


The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen
Ex-Officio Board Member

Lloyd Allen is the first Honduran born Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras. He became Bishop in October 2001. He was born in Tela, Honduras and completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees in Theology and Doctor of Divinity in the United States. Prior to serving as the Bishop, Rev. Allen was the rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

El Hogar is a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras.

Denise Sharp

Denise joined the board in 2018. She has volunteered with El Hogar for many years, with multiple visits to El Hogar with Service Teams, primarily to the agricultural school. She lives in Maryland on a multi-generation farm, where she and her family farm. She has found her passion in outreach and service in agriculture and education. Denise is an active member of the parish of St. Andrew’s in Glenwood, MD.

Tethey Martínez de Murillo
Board Member

Tethey joined the board in 2021, having learned about El Hogar through her affiliation with the Central American Leadership Initiative (CALI). A resident of Tegucigalpa, she is the CEO of Ficohsa Seguros, the leading insurance company in Honduras. In addition to her professional business and finance credentials, Tethey also has non-profit experience, having served on the boards of Fundación CALI Honduras, Asociación Fulbright Honduras, and Vital Voices Honduras.

Tethey has completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies in the US and holds an MBA from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX.

Elizabeth Thornton
Board Member

Elizabeth joined the board in the fall of 2021. She retired two years ago from a long career in libraries – the last quarter century at Sandy Spring Friends School, a Quaker pk3-12th grade school. She lives on a sheep farm with her husband in Maryland and enjoys hiking, kayaking, gardening, music and reading. 

Among her passions are kids, storytelling, and education, and she looks forward to being of service to El Hogar.  She has two grown daughters – a pediatric occupational therapist in San Francisco and a nurse midwife in Alaska.

Mayela Becerra
Board Member

Mayela is a 25 year veteran in retail with a nine year focus in e-commerce. That experience is transmitted through e-commerce and omni-channel integration and business strategy consulting work. Among many notable e-commerce related achievements, she created the Walmart México Marketplace from scratch, then launched and operated it.

Mayela is originally from Honduras yet has lived half of her life in the US and Mexico. She currently lives in Mexico City with her husband Daniel and their 11-year-old daughter Daniela. Ingrained from her studies in Jesuit institutions is her spirit to serve others. Her involvement in El Hogar was sparked by a need to give back to her home country and be of service to children. She joined the board in the fall of 2023.

Mayela holds a Liberal Arts BA from Santa Clara University as well as an MA in Political Science from Georgetown University. She has completed additional studies and holds an e-Commerce and Digital Marketing diploma from the eBusiness Academy; completed a Senior Management program at INCAE; and also holds a ITESM diploma in Marketing and Sales.

Mayela is a well-rounded individual who likes to balance her professional and personal life. She is keen on constant learning and keeping a healthy life and spirit. Being a person of faith, she actively participates in the community. She is passionate about serving others in any possible way. Her master’s thesis focused on the role of civil society in poverty alleviation in Honduras and hopes to contribute some of her life learnings to El Hogar.

The Rt. Rev. Robert J. O’Neill
President Emeritus

Rob served as the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado until his retirement in 2019. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale.

He was ordained to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church in 1982 at Saint John’s Cathedral in Denver where he served for ten years, first as Canon Educator and then as acting Dean of the Cathedral. In 1991, he became the rector of The Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, MA, where he served until 2002 when he became Bishop.

Denise Chew

Denise joined the board in 2020.  She is a scientist by training and artist at heart and has extended her disciplined methodology of creative problem solving into the fields of enterprise management, managerial accounting, and finance.

In her profession she is passionate about the development of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial businesses and seeks to facilitate growth. She holds an MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, an MS in Applied Physics from NJIT/Rutgers, and a BS in Physics from Eastern Nazarene College.

In her personal life she is passionate about service, community, and the development/restoration of economic sustainability for marginalized persons – specifically disadvantaged kids and the homeless. Denise is an active member of All Saints Parish in Brookline, MA.

David Hennessy
Board Member

Dave joined the board in 2019. He is a Senior Vice President with Keystone Partners and consults on employee transitions/outplacement and advises organizations on robust leadership development and executive coaching programs. A member of NEHRA’s Board of Directors, Dave also serves on the Board of Commissioners for the Reading Municipal Light Department, a municipal utility serving 29,000 customers in four towns north of Boston.

Dave holds an MBA from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business and a BS in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He and his wife, Amy, a former El Hogar volunteer, reside in Reading, MA, with their teenage son.

Peter Cross
Board Member

Peter joined the board in 2020. Peter has more than 40 years of experience in health and education development in some of the world’s poorest nations, including Honduras. His work has focused on increasing access to services, promoting program efficiency, and loosening resource constraints.

He currently serves as the President of Innovative Development Expertise & Advisory Services, Inc. (IDEAS), a small business seeking new ways to strengthen health systems in underserved populations throughout the world. Peter lives in the Boston area.

Bianka Eichelberger
Board Member

Bianka joined the board in August 2022. She is a Principal Solution Analyst within the IT Business Applications group at Hologic supporting the Quality and Regulatory internal business partners. Bianka is an active member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Wellesley, MA where she is the liaison for El Hogar at the Outreach Committee and volunteers as a teacher at the Church School for grades Pre-K to 2nd Grade as well as 3rd to 5th Grade.

She has visited El Hogar twice and is looking forward to shaping the future journey of El Hogar. Bianka lives in Needham, MA with her husband and two children. She is an avid cyclist, enjoys gardening and spending time with her family and traveling to new places.

Jeremy Williams
Board Member

Jeremy joined the board in the fall of 2023 and brings a wealth of experience to El Hogar. As an Executive Director at JPMorgan Chase & Co., he boasts over 18 years in financial services, with the last 7 years dedicated to Intelligent Process Automation, where he focused on Strategy and Continuous Improvement. Jeremy is not just a professional; he is also a family man, finding joy in spending quality time with his wife, Andrea, and their daughter Stevi Mae.

His passions extend beyond his family life; Jeremy is deeply committed to his faith, green technologies and cheering for THE Ohio State Football team. However, what truly fuels his dedication is his commitment to sustainable poverty alleviation, particularly empowering parents and guardians. Prior to joining our cause at El Hogar, Jeremy’s efforts were concentrated in East Africa, where he made a significant impact.

Jeremy holds an MBA from Ashland University’s Dauch College of Business and Economics and earned his BA in Business from the University of Maine Presque Isle. He, along with his family, calls Delaware, Ohio their home, where they continue to contribute positively to the community.

Thank you for your continued support of El Hogar!

Stay Connected