Augsburg Fortress
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Celebrating International Women’s Day

March 8th, 2016 by Beth A. Lewis

Today is International Women’s Day.  I love to think about the many women who are leaders in the Church! Some in positions where their leadership is noted and many more whose gifts, talents and contributions go mostly unnoticed.

The ELCA has a matching grant program in celebration of International Women’s Day.  Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000 on donations made by March 31. With your donation to the ELCA’s International Women Leaders initiative, more than 200 women from ELCA global companion churches will receive scholarships and educational opportunities.

But, as we pause today to celebrate women in leadership in the Church, I want to recognize the many women who work at Augsburg Fortress to create and deliver superb, innovative resources for the Church.

It would take far too much space in this blog post to tell you about every woman who provides leadership for the Church through their work at this ministry of publishing, but here are a couple of facts that I think you  might find of interest:

There are a total of 123 employees at Augsburg Fortress…..Of this, 61 are female…almost exactly 50%!

Our 4-person executive staff is also 50% female.

While I can’t tell you about all sixty-one of the fine female leaders serving the Church through their calling as professionals in this ministry and business of publishing, I’ll tell you about a few of them:

IWD AmundsonSandy Amundson has served as Vice President for Human Resources for AF for 17 years.  She has ably shepherded the staff through many, many changes and constantly lifts up all of our colleagues with her passions for professional development and for wellness. When Sandy isn’t leading the organization through the use of Strengthfinders and encouraging us to walk up the 8 flights of stairs to our office, she enjoys travel, reading, and exercise of all types including yoga and paddleboarding.

IWD Burke


Suzanne Burke is an ordained pastor in the ELCA.  She loves worship! And, in her role over the past 14 years as Sr. Editor at Augsburg Fortress, she coordinates the hundreds of contributions from all across the ELCA and ELCIC that go into making Sundays and Seasons, both print and  web-based subscription resource, a vibrant, flexible, and constantly changing resource for worship planning.  When she isn’t managing the mosaic of Sundaysandseasons, she is enjoying viewing and making art, especially with colorful mosaic tiles! This photo, taken during her recent trip to Havana, Cuba illustrates this passion. Suzanne is also very active in faith formation for children in her congregation.


IWD EggertOur most senior employee is Payroll Manager Mary Eggert!  She has served the Church through her work at Augsburg Fortress and predecessor publishers for 39 years! When not meticulously monitoring the complexities of payroll processing and other duties on our finance team, Mary enjoys singing in her church choir.
IWD Lobasenko

Just last week, we promoted Olga Lobasenko to the role of Marketing Manager for Fortress Press education resources.  Olga is one of a number of colleagues who started their careers with AF as student interns! She has now been growing in her career with us for six years this month!  When not working with our authors, editors and others to promote Fortress Press books, both ink-on-paper and digital, Olga can be found dancing! She says that she has “dabbled in ballroom dancing.”




IWD OBrienJulie O’Brien serves as Sr. Project Manager, working on worship, music and other congregational resources.  Her non-anxious presence and fine attention to detail make her a favorite among authors and other creative partners! And, Julie has plenty of experience that has built this talent; she has worked at Augsburg Fortress for 26 years. When I asked about her hobbies and outside interests she said the she is “crazy about dogs!”



IWD RundmanDr. Dawn Rundman is an expert in child development and appropriately in her role as Director of Congregational Development leads the team that brings dynamic and innovative faith formation resources for children and youth to the Church through Sparkhouse, our ecumenical faith formation publishing team. While sparkhouse was just launched in summer 2009, Dawn has worked with us crafting fine faith formation resources since 2002. Dawn and her husband keep busy raising their young children. And, their newest venture is hosting a podcast on creativity called Creativity Drill.
IWD TangenWhile only with us for one year and five months, Kristin Tangen has jumped right in as a key member of our Creative and Marketing Services team as Project Manager. And, for fun, she keeps busy by choreographing and teaching hip hop dance.  She also has a photography business, loves to embroider and try her hand at a variety of crafts.  She teaches Sunday School and is currently taking French language classes!



Three years ago this month, Kiersti Trautman joined Sparkhouse.  She is currently the Senior Marketer for our newest venture, Sparkhouse Family.  She loves to travel. IWD Trautman
And, when the weather is nice, can be found outside walking or jogging around a lake or grilling dinner on the patio with her new husband.





These are only a few of the many talented women who work across this organization to create and deliver superb Christian resources for the Church and higher education!

The fine work done by all of my colleagues…male and female…. inspires me every day.  And, International Women’s Day is just an excuse to lift up and celebrate the gifts not only of these women but of all women who work all around the world to boldly proclaim the God’s grace!







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Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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