Who We Are
DAI’s basic approach is to listen first, research the real needs of leaders, then design tools that respond to those needs effectively and begin putting in place an indigenous distribution system to enable leaders to access those tools. Every course DAI has written came about this way, including the popular Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program. Local Christian leaders grow in their integrity and effectiveness through ongoing training, mentoring, consulting and access to critical resources. DAI’s programs continue to grow and evolve as new needs are identified or needs change.
DAI has 31 ministry centers with full-time staff focused on serving their area’s needs. We currently work in over 70 countries, which we have organized into nine regions – East Africa, West Africa, Francophone Africa, Eurasia, East Asia, South Asia, Latin America, Middle East/North Africa and North America.
Statement of Faith
Enhancing the integrity and effectiveness of Christian leaders worldwide so that the Church can fulfill its role in extending the Kingdom of God.
Our Core Values
Committed to effectiveness, integrity, humility, partnering, mentoring, holism, biblical standards and to reaching those with the least access.
Our Unique Strengths
DAI has become an effective agent in leadership development through a unique set of strengths:
Key Indigenous Leaders
Key Indigenous Leaders direct and staff local programs, contextualize the training, and create locally relevant programs.
Interactive Methodology enables transformation and builds problem solving skills.
Commitment to Relational Long-term Ministry
Commitment to Relational Long-term Ministry enables transformation and culture change through regular interaction over time.
Leadership and Management from a Biblical Perspective
Leadership and Management from a Biblical Perspective focused on how to manage people, money and organizations in a way that is pleasing to God.
Humility in our Approach
Humility in our Approach which means not coming with all the answers, but rather coming alongside to help leaders find God’s unique answers in their context.
In 1990, two distinguished professors believed they could make a difference in the lives and ministries of key leaders in the majority world. Together, they founded The Center for Organizational Excellence at Eastern College. Their dream was to enhance the integrity and effectiveness of Christian leaders worldwide.
Dr. James F. Engel taught at Wheaton College for 18 years. Beside a highly successful secular career in marketing research, he served as a trainer and consultant to over 250 Christian organizations in 60 countries.
Meanwhile, Dr. David Fraser had gained significant exposure to leaders at the grass roots level, serving as a member of the senior staff of the MARC Division of World Vision International with responsibilities for Unreached Peoples. He had also served with the Mission Training and Resource Center, helping to develop curricula and training models.
Together the two undertook nearly three years of research in various parts of the world to identify key areas that needed to be addressed for Christian leaders in the majority world to be effective and positively impact their communities.
Over the next five years the curriculum was created, field-tested, modified, and retested. Methods of distribution were tried and evaluated. It began to become clear that interactive, story-based learning focused on asking the leader questions and requiring application enabled leaders to change. This method put the focus on learning and transformation of the leader and his leadership practices. Staff and volunteers were recruited, including men and women with expertise in the most critical fields, and the ministry began to expand. The organization incorporated as its own 501(c)3 corporation to enable growth and changed the name to Development Associates International (DAI) in 1996.
We’re blessed to have the support and endorsement of many wonderful partners. Below are some kind words from individuals that have witnessed the impact of our programs.
Why DAI? That is the question I asked when I first took over my new position at the church. Why had we committed as a church to fund training in Central Asia, North Africa and South Asia? The simple answer is what DAI does, works. Not only are nationals equipped and empowered, but they are elevated into leadership. There is no glass ceiling. We also found the integrity in reporting and the openness of leadership helped us as a local church have a high level of trust with the organization. Because of the strong relationship and this trust factor we continue to joyfully use our resources to advance kingdom priorities in collaboration with DAI.
Pastoral Staff, Global Missions & Senior Adults, Calvary Church, Grand Rapids, MI
The DAI team came to us as servant-leaders and active listeners. They brought to us their cross-cultural acumen and global expertise. They leave behind a greater imagination (or vision) and a practical road map for Christ Community’s involvement in global ministry. DAI has been an absolute provision from the hand of God for our leaders and church. We highly recommend them.
Pastor of Extension Ministries, Christ Community Evangelical Free Church, Kansas City
I am so appreciative of the support provided by DAI in our partnership in Uganda. The expertise and experience of their staff was a great encouragement to us. Their understanding of the cultural differences we were facing helped so much to guide our ministry in a God honoring direction. Our ministry partnership continues to flourish and we are appreciative of the DAI experience and support.
Leader of Uganda Advisory Team, Cheyenne Hills Church, Cheyenne, Wyoming
Dr. Paul Borthwick
Paul has worked for DAI since 1998. Before joining DAI Paul served for 22 years at a church outside of Boston - first as Youth pastor and then as Missions pastor. Paul holds a Doctorate of Ministry in Cross-cultural Ministry and a Masters of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Management) from the University of Massachusetts. He serves as an advisor to the Urbana Student Mission Conference, teaches as an adjunct faculty at a number of schools, and has written more than a dozen books on issues related to youth ministry, leadership, and global missions (go to www.borthwicks.org for blogs, travel schedule, and book list).
Christie works at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital (BIDMC) and on the staff of Development Associates International (DAI). A graduate of the University of New Hampshire (BS), Boston University (Masters of Public Health), and Gordon-Conwell theological Seminary (Master of Arts in Counseling), Christie maintains a very active life working at BIDMC in microbiology and parasitology, serving with DAI in helping facilitate the development of leaders, and helping others as a spiritual director. With her husband Paul, she helped launch the short-term mission program at Grace Chapel (Lexington, MA) and through short-term missions and leadership development, she has traveled to more than 95 countries.
Michele joined DAI in 2013 bringing with her over 10 years of executive leadership coaching for Fortune 500 companies in the USA and UK. Michele continues to use her leadership coaching skills with DAI staff ensuring they have the knowledge and skills they need to thrive. She also serves as a facilitator for DAI’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program and non-formal leadership training. Michele has a Master’s of Education from the University of London.
Ini joined DAI in 2012 after graduating with a B.S. in Information Systems Management with a minor in Christian Leadership from Colorado Christian University. Ini is responsible for managing the IT infrastructure and providing ongoing support for DAI globally. He recently graduated with a Masters in International Development from Denver University. Ini has served as youth pastor for his church and volunteered for Young Life.
Dr. David A Fraser
David co-founded DAI in 1996 alongside Dr. Jim Engel and Rueben Ezemadu (Nigeria), as part of Eastern University’s Center for Organizational Excellence. He has six degrees from highly accredited universities, holds a Ph.D in Theological Ethics and is ordained in ECO (An Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians), USA. Previously, he served as Provost of Eastern University (St. Davids, Pennsylvania, USA), and was the founding Dean of School of International Leadership and Development at Eastern, delivering business, leadership and economic development programs in partnerships with NGOs and developing world universities. Dr. Fraser’s teaching experience includes teaching fellowships at Harvard and Vanderbilt Universities.
Dr. Vicki Gascho
Vicki serves DAI as Senior Consultant for Faculty Development and as an MAOL facilitator. She also assists with MAOL editing projects. She is an adjunct professor for Trinity International University’s Online program and a member of Greater Europe Mission since 1985, where she serves as Ambassador to the Wider Missions Community. Vicki holds a B.A. in Christian Education from Moody Bible Institute; a Master’s in Ministry from Moody Graduate School and a Ph.D. in Educational Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (emphasis in adult development and the organization).
Perla joined DAI in 2014 after serving as the Volunteer Manager at Springs Rescue Mission, Colorado Springs for three years. She was also the Program Director for Manna Soup Kitchen for the three years prior. Perla is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry with an emphasis in Counseling for Christian Ministries from Nazarene Bible College.
Rebecca joined DAI in 2008 from Whitworth University, where she planned and promoted campus visit events for prospective students. She is responsible for building relationships through awareness and fundraising, cultivating donor relationships and overseeing donor database management. Rebecca has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Certification for Ministry from Whitworth University and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from SHIATS in Allahabad, India.
David joined DAI in 2008 as Senior Consultant for Latin America after fourteen years with HCJB Global. In early 2015 he was named DAI's Regional Director for Latin America. David’s focus is to initiate, design and develop the ministry of DAI throughout the diverse Latin American region. David spent six years playing and coaching soccer with Athletes in Action and two Major Indoor Soccer League teams. In 1996, David was appointed Executive Director of HCJB Global and served as President from 2001-2008. David has a Bachelor’s degree from Azusa Pacific University and is pursuing his Doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University in Virginia.
Cheri joined DAI as Chief Financial Officer in 2000. Prior to joining DAI, Cheri worked with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and The Alliance Development Fund. In her role as CFO, Cheri is responsible for all financial aspects of DAI’s global ministry, from monitoring and directing accounting functions to administering insurance and employee benefits. Cheri works to ensure DAI’s financial compliance and integrity. Cheri earned a BA in Business Administration from Crown College and an MBA from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
Helen joined DAI in early 2015 and brings over 20 years of marketing and advertising experience to DAI. She has worked at nationally recognized advertising agencies including The Richards Group and GSD&M, both in Texas. Helen’s experience also includes marketing roles at Dell Computer, World Vision New Zealand and Compassion International, in addition to consulting work for small non-profit organizations. At DAI, she is responsible for brand management, social media, print and digital communications and advertising within the US, as well as providing support for global DAI programs and offices. Helen has a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from the University of Texas, Austin.
Tertia joined DAI in 2014. Together with her husband Hani, she has written the Growing Marriage curriculum, which addresses the marriage needs of leaders in diverse cultural settings. Tertia is South African and has lived most of her adult life in the Middle East. Tertia is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and lives in Southern California. She has a background in education and has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Tertia attends an Arabic church and is a regular speaker on topics related to marriage, family and spiritual formation and she co-facilitates the Growing Marriage courses with Hani in North America and abroad.
Jane joined DAI in 1996, working alongside DAI co-founders Jim Engle and David Fraser. She was appointed President/CEO in 1999. Prior to joining DAI, Jane served for many years as the Director of Legal Services for Youth with a Mission (YWAM) International while living in the Middle East and Europe. She is a member of the American Bar Association and the Colorado Bar Association. She serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and is a member of the Lausanne Leadership Development Working Group. Jane received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Oral Roberts University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa, College of Law.
Harold joined DAI in 1996 as a part-time accountant after serving with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) for 14 years. In 2004 he was appointed as the Administrative Director of the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program. In this position, Harold oversees all administrative responsibilities for the MAOL program including coordinating faculty, course materials and resources. Harold holds an Associates in Law Enforcement degree from Missouri Southern State, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Oral Roberts University and an M.B.A. in Economic Development from Eastern University. He currently serves on the board of Friends of Agape, a church planting ministry in India.
Thel joined DAI in 2013 and brought with him over 30 years of experience in video production, instructional design, adult learning, and the visual arts. He has produced work for Taco Bell, Toyota Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motors, Hughes Aircraft, Pioneer Electronics, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Toshiba America Information Systems and many more. He also has served on the multimedia curriculum advisory boards for the California State Multimedia & Entertainment Initiative Economic and Workforce Development Leadership Council, Pasadena City College and the National Science Foundation. At DAI, Thel is responsible for the development of DAI’s online learning program.
Nancy has directed DAI’s fundraising efforts since 2005, helping to diversify DAI’s funding streams and to build strong relationships with supporters. Before joining DAI, she spent seven years as an office manager for a marketing company. Nancy spent the first 20 years of her career as a registered nurse in California. In all her roles, she has expertly cared for and managed the people around her. Nancy has an R.N. from Valley College, Los Angeles with multiple accreditations from UCLA.
Suneetha joined DAI in 2013 as the Administrative Assistant for the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program. She spent one year as an Assistant Engineer at the State Electricity Board, A.P India prior to joining DAI. Suneetha holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the National Institution of Technology, Warangal, India.
USA Staff Serving Abroad
Jacob and Marcie Cantleberry
Jacob and Marcie joined DAI in 2016. They are former international educators who bring teaching experience from eleven different countries. The Cantleberrys partner with schools and educational leaders to provide professional development as well as adapt/create leadership curriculum, most recently for children’s ministry workers, youth, and children. Jake and Marcie both earned their Bachelor of Science in Education at Crown College in Minnesota. Both also earned a second major in Christian Studies. The Cantleberrys currently live and serve in South Asia with their baby girl Shashi.
Karl joined DAI in 2014 and brings with him more than 35 years of ministry experience. He is currently leading DAI’s work among Diaspora and immigrant leaders in North America, and leading DAI’s efforts in Canada. Karl also facilitates courses for both our MAOL and non-formal leadership workshops in Africa, Asia, Canada and the USA. Karl served in leadership with Youth with A Mission (YWAM), the North American Baptist Conference, Visionledd and as a missions/justice pastor in two large churches. Karl is a graduate of the University of Alberta and Fuller Theological Seminar (Missiology/Leadership Development).
Cindy joined DAI in 2005 and was named Regional Director for South Asia in 2015. She pioneered the Himalayan Leadership (HimLead) program and has facilitated partnerships for DAI’s Master’s program throughout South Asia. Cindy has served the Himalayan region for over 35 years. During her early years in Nepal she researched and wrote "A Biographical History of the Church in Nepal” while doing her MA in Intercultural Studies at Wheaton Graduate School. She completed her Ph.D. through the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World, University of Edinburgh, where she was instrumental in the establishment of the Himalayan Collection. Her thesis was later published as "Nepali Around the World.”
Scott and Heidi Wisley
Scotty and Heidi are both grew up in Asia. Heidi and Scotty have been working and living in Papua since 1996. The Wisley’s are running three elementary schools in highland villages in Papua. Their focus is on cross-cultural discipleship primarily focused on mentoring the staff and specifically the leadership to teach, train and disciple the children in the schools to be strong Christian future leaders starting now as they are equipped to impact and transform their families. After graduating from Dalat school in Malaysia, Scotty received his Bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and a Master’s from Eastern University in Third World Economic Development. They have two children, Walker and Arwen.
Board of Directors
Thinking Man Films & Media
St. Louis, Minnesota
Serving since 2012
Director of Human Capital & Integration
Diversified Conveyors, Inc.
Serving since 2014
Securities Evaluation Service, Inc.
Serving since 2015
Dr. Jason Ferenczi
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Serving since 2013
Serving since 2016
President / CEO
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Menlo Park, California
Serving since 2017
Director of Development
The Colossian Forum
Colorado Springs, CO
Serving since 2014
Frequently Asked Questions
Below we’ve answered the most common questions we get about DAI. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please feel free to contact us.
DAI begins work in a country where several factors are in place. The most important one is that local senior leaders have become familiar with what DAI has to offer and believe it is needed and have invited us. It also needs to be a country that fits our core values, in other words a place with little access to what DAI offers. We also need capacity to respond to this invitation. This includes the funding required, the people who can offer the training locally and curriculum available in the local language. If all of these factors are not in place we pray and ask God to provide them. Then, once all the pieces are there we believe this is confirmation that this is a place God has called us and we respond.
The Church is growing rapidly across the Majority World, through the efforts of evangelists and church planters. Yet this young church is trying to reach maturity and impact their communities in the midst of countries where disease, civil unrest, natural disasters and poverty abound. Effective leadership is a challenge for anyone, let alone a believer who lacks access to relevant training. Indigenous leadership development enables these leaders to be better equipped to respond within their context and be more effective in their ministries.
DAI has become an effective agent in leadership development through a unique set of strengths:
- Key indigenous leaders direct and staff local programs, contextualize the training, and create locally relevant programs
- Interactive methodology enables transformation and builds problem solving skills
- Commitment to relational long-term ministry enables transformation and culture change through regular interaction over time
- Leadership and management from a biblical perspective focused on how to manage people, money and organizations in a way that is pleasing to God
- Humility – not coming with all the answers, but rather coming alongside to help leaders find God’s unique answers in their context
DAI is a non-denominational organization and is not affiliated with any single church.
DAI is a faith ministry, relying on God to provide for our needs. We are incredibly grateful that He has led a number of individuals, churches, and foundations to partner with us through their gifts. Most of our staff raise personal support to help provide the income they need for their salaries and ministry projects. However, we also believe that people put a greater value on services they pay for so students always pay a minimal local fee for our programs.
A cohort is a group of student-leaders who begin and end DAI’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership together. The cohort model encourages the development of relationships amongst its members, which ensures ongoing support and encouragement throughout the three-year journey.