TEAM & BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Meet our Headquarters Team

Shawn Carney

PRESIDENT/CEO

Steve Karlen

CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR

Robert Colquhoun

DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGNS

Sue Thayer

DIRECTOR OF OUTREACH

Lourdes Varela

LATIN AMERICA AFFAIRS COORDINATOR

Matt Britton

BOARD SECRETARY & GENERAL COUNSEL

Haywood Robinson, M.D.

DIRECTOR, MEDICAL AFFAIRS & EDUCATION

Bobby Reynoso

DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATION

Jill Copeland

DIRECTOR OF MEDIA

Cheryl Ann Tamez

DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT

Melinda Giambo

DIRECTOR, FINANCE AND HUMAN RESOURCES

Gilbert Gonzalez

DIRECTOR, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Ben Starnes

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT & DATA ENTRY SPECIALIST

Dawn Crawford

DIRECTOR OF EVENTS

Meet our Board of Directors

Carol Siedhoff

BOARD CHAIR

Matt Britton

BOARD SECRETARY & GENERAL COUNSEL

Segundo De Los Heros Monereo

BOARD TREASURER

Alfonso Chicharro

BOARD MEMBER

Fr. Paul Felix

CHAPLAIN

John Barnett

BOARD MEMBER

Shawn Carney

PRESIDENT/CEO

Shawn began as a volunteer in the pro-life movement while still in college. During this time, he helped lead the first ever local 40 Days for Life campaign. After graduating from college, Shawn was asked to serve as the executive director of the Coalition for Life, a local pro-life organization in Texas, made up of more than 60 churches. From its beginning, Shawn has been instrumental in growing 40 Days for Life nationally and then internationally.

Shawn is a regular media spokesperson, and his work has been featured on hundreds of outlets, including Fox News, The Laura Ingraham Show, The Drudge Report, The Guardian, USA Today, and Christian media including The Christian Post, National Catholic Register, Sirius XM Catholic Radio, EWTN Radio, and Focus on the Family.

Shawn is one of the most sought-after pro-life speakers, addressing audiences coast-to-coast and internationally. He has executive produced award-winning pro-life documentaries. Shawn co-authored the #1 top-rated Christian book: 40 Days for Life: Discover What God Has Done ... Imagine What He Can Do and also wrote The Beginning of the End of Abortion. Shawn lives in Texas with his wife and eight children.

Steve Karlen

CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR

Steve got involved in the pro-life movement as a volunteer leader with the 40 Days for Life campaign in Madison, Wisconsin. Before long, he found himself at the center of a nationwide controversy as the health system at his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, was secretly preparing to open a late-term abortion center on campus. Groups across the state looked to him for leadership. After nearly a year and a half, the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics abandoned its plan to open an abortion facility, citing Steve and his team as the reason for the decision.

Steve now serves as the campaign director for 40 Days for Life, where he trains and assists local 40 Days for Life campaign leaders, co-hosts the 40 Days for Life Podcast, and edits 40 Days for Life's Day 41 magazine. He has spoken in all 50 states; Washington, DC; four Canadian provinces; and Mexico City. Steve lives in Madison with his wife and five children.

Robert Colquhoun

DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGNS

Robert is based in London, where he led the first 40 Days for Life campaign in England. The vigils were held outside a BPAS abortion facility that, after several campaigns, stopped doing abortions and eventually closed its doors. Robert has helped the 40 Days for Life mission spread across the United Kingdom. He now assists local leaders coordinating 40 Days for Life efforts in nations as widespread as Australia, Croatia, New Zealand, Russia and South Africa.

Sue Thayer

DIRECTOR OF OUTREACH

Sue joined the 40 Days for Life team in 2018 as director of outreach. She hails from Storm Lake, Iowa, where she was a long-time center manager for Planned Parenthood. After a direct push from God, Sue led a 40 Days campaign outside her former facility. Within weeks, the abortion center closed. Sue has done lots of traveling, sharing her deep passion for life as well as her insider's knowledge of the abortion industry. As a birth, adoptive and foster mom, she adores babies and children. Having come full-circle, Sue is living proof that God can forgive and save anyone.

Lourdes Varela

LATIN AMERICA AFFAIRS COORDINATOR

Lourdes is based in Mexico City, where she has led eight 40 Days for Life campaigns. After working for almost ten years in the pharmaceutical industry, she felt called to dedicate herself to defending life. As one of the first campaign leaders in Latin America, Lourdes has helped spread the mission all over Mexico. Her mother and sister are also 40 Days for Life campaign leaders in Mexico.

Matt Britton

BOARD SECRETARY & GENERAL COUNSEL

Matt serves as the the board secretary and general counsel for 40 Days for Life. He has had an expansive legal career including four terms as an elected prosecutor; a county attorney; counsel to many not-for-profits and U.S. companies operating around the world; a major law firm litigator; and general counsel. Matt has written and spoken countless times on a wide range of legal and pro-life issues in locations across the United States as well as England, Japan, Colombia, Mexico, Korea, Singapore, Brazil, China, and locations across the European Union.

Most importantly, Matt is married to Libby Britton, and they have eight beautiful children and two grandchildren.

Haywood Robinson, M.D.

DIRECTOR, MEDICAL AFFAIRS & EDUCATION

Haywood was born in Los Angeles, California. He attended college and medical school in Southern California and received specialty training in family practice medicine at Martin Luther King/Charles R. Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Haywood is now a family physician practicing in Bryan/College Station, Texas. He has been married to Noreen Johnson, M.D., for 38 years. They are the parents of three daughters and have four grandchildren.

Pro-life work has been a passion since salvation came to this former abortionist in 1986.

Bobby Reynoso

DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATION

Bobby became involved with pro-life efforts through a simple invitation from a friend to stand and pray outside Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas. Bobby joined the Coalition for Life in 2008. In 2010, he became executive director of the organization. God answered the community's prayers in 2013 when the Bryan abortion facility closed its doors. Bobby met his wife, Erin, while praying outside Planned Parenthood during the first nationally coordinated 40 Days for Life campaign. Bobby and Erin live in Bryan with their five children.

Jill Copeland

DIRECTOR OF MEDIA

Jill worked for ten years at the Eternal Word Television Network, producing such popular EWTN programs as Life on the Rock, Catholic View for Women, and Women of Grace. While working on pro-life shows at EWTN, Jill came to realize that God was calling her to work full-time in the pro-life movement. Jill has been with 40 Days for Life since 2014. She is married to a true Southern gentleman, and they are the parents of a young son.

Cheryl Ann Tamez

DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT

Cheryl is from Fort Worth, Texas, where she served in the Wise County district attorney's office before serving three terms as Polk County treasurer. After leaving public office, Cheryl worked for the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and served as accountant for Breakaway Ministries, a non-denominational weekly Bible study at Texas A&M University. In 2003, Cheryl began working with the Coalition for Life, handling bookkeeping and budget responsibilities. With the closure of the local Planned Parenthood abortion facility in 2013, Cheryl joined 40 Days for Life to use her many gifts to help end abortion in other cities.

Melinda Giambo

DIRECTOR, FINANCE AND HUMAN RESOURCES

Melinda joined 40 Days for Life after working as a teacher and administrator of a Catholic high school in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Having worked with young adults for many years in the pro-life movement, becoming a full-time member of the 40 Days for Life team seemed like a natural progression. Melinda lives in Fredericksburg with her husband, Nick. They have four children and two grandsons.

Gilbert Gonzalez

DIRECTOR, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Gilbert first became involved in 40 Days for Life as a student in college, where he learned of the injustice of abortion taking place locally in Bryan, Texas. After praying at several 40 Days for Life campaigns, he met his wife Bree. Gilbert and Bree are happy to be back in the town where they met and are raising three beautiful children.

Ben Starnes

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT & DATA ENTRY SPECIALIST

Ben's pro-life work began in Fort Worth where his parents took him and his younger siblings to pray outside abortion facilities in North Texas. After moving to Bryan, they joined other families in praying outside the local Bryan abortion facility and participated in one of the first 40 Days for Life campaigns. Ben was trained as a sidewalk counselor and continued that ministry with Crusaders for Life when he began attending the University of Dallas in 2009. After graduating in 2013, he worked for various political candidates before joining the 40 Days for Life headquarters team.

Dawn Crawford

DIRECTOR OF EVENTS

Dawn has worked in the fields of sales, administration, recruiting and marketing. She considers it a privilege to now coordinate 40 Days for Life events. Dawn attended her first 40 Days for Life vigil while working at a local Catholic School. The abortion facility where that vigil was held closed permanently two years later. Little did she know, it was only the beginning of God's plans for her role with 40 Days for Life. Dawn lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia with her husband, Tim, and their two boys.

Carol Siedhoff

BOARD CHAIR

Carol has been heavily involved with 40 Days for Life since 2008. Her board experience includes non-profit organizations, including national advocacy non-profits. Carol has previously held Chief Human Resource roles. She has a Master of Science degree in industrial relations and counseling education. Carol and her husband have been married 35 years.

Matt Britton

BOARD SECRETARY & GENERAL COUNSEL

Matt serves as the board secretary and general counsel for 40 Days for Life. He has had an expansive legal career including four terms as an elected prosecutor; a county attorney; counsel to many not-for-profits and U.S. companies operating around the world; a major law firm litigator; and general counsel. Matt has written and spoken countless times on a wide range of legal and pro-life issues in locations across the United States as well as England, Japan, Colombia, Mexico, Korea, Singapore, Brazil, China, and locations across the European Union.

Most importantly, Matt is married to Libby Britton, and they have eight beautiful children and two grandchildren.

Segundo De Los Heros Monereo

BOARD TREASURER

Segundo was born in Madrid, Spain. He is the Chief Financial Officer of I-66 Express Mobility Partners in Virginia. Segundo has an extensive experience of more than 17 years in P3 project financial management as Chief Financial Officer and Controller for numerous projects in North America.

In his early life, Segundo was part of youth Catholic groups, acolyte at his Parish and served in the Navy. In the Navy, he received an award for outstanding behavior and zeal.

Segundo and his wife are parents of two daughters and have sponsored two boys in Africa.

Alfonso Chicharro

BOARD MEMBER

Alfonso was born in Malaga, Spain. He is married and is the proud father of three boys. He is a member of the Catholic Church and a civil engineer. He worked in London, England for ten years and-following a year in Melbourne, Australia-has landed in Texas with his family. Alfonso participated in 40 Days for Life in the United Kingdom since the very beginning and has been encouraged by the campaign's international growth. He is passionate about John Paul II, God's gift to this world. Alfonso believes life starts from conception with no exception. Alfonso is convinced that abortion will end and the world will become a better place to live.

Fr. Paul Felix

CHAPLAIN

Fr. Paul Felix was born the fourth of six children and raised in Houston, Texas. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of St. Thomas and a Master of Divinity from the University of St. Thomas School of Theology. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Galveston-Houston in 1990.

​He has served as the parochial vicar at St. Vincent de Paul Church, St. Frances Cabrini Church, where he began a ministry in collaboration with the laity to area nursing homes, St. Edward the Confessor Church, and Christ Our Light Church during which time he also ministered inmates at 2 Texas State prisons. He served as pastor of Annunciation Catholic Church, and is currently the pastor at Shrine of the True Cross in Dickinson, Texas where he focuses on Spanish language ministry, maintains an effort to promote the gospel of life, Eucharistic Adoration, the New Evangelization, founded a Catholic professional medical ethics group under the patronage of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, and promotes the rediscovery of the identity and renewal of the mission of the Shrine of the True Cross as a diocesan Shrine, designated the official Archdiocesan church of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, and place of pilgrimage from which the spirituality of the Cross and the ministry of healing for the afflicted and reconciliation of sinners is fostered.

​Within the Archdiocese, he served on the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, the Presbyteral Council, as Vicar Forane for the Galveston-Mainland Deanery, and Vicar Forane for the Central Deanery. 

Fr. Paul serves as spiritual director for clergy, seminarians, and laity, assisted as a confessor and presenter in numerous Aggie Awakening Retreats, assisted as a confessor at numerous youth retreats at Camp Kappa, provided spiritual direction in ACTS Retreat Ministry, is a frequent teacher for RCIA and other adult education events, serves as Retreat Master for Archdiocesan Project Rachel Retreats for post abortive women, and participated in a mission trip to catechize and evangelize promoting devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe to Kerala, India. He is a 4th degree member of Knights of Columbus, a founding member of the first group of Jesus Caritas Fraternity of Priests in the Archdiocese, participant in the Opus Dei Circle of Priests, and was promoted to the rank of a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

John Barnett

BOARD MEMBER

John took part in the very first 40 Days for Life campaign as a college student in 2004.  After a year spending most abortion days on the sidewalk, John was brought onto staff at what was then the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life.

At Texas A&M, he studied Industrial and Systems Engineering and completed minors in Business and Math.  John discerned that God was calling him to play a different role in the mission of the Coalition and a day after walking across the stage, he started in a sales position at a pipe fitting company in Houston at the end of 2006.  John has climbed his way up professionally while weathering the ups and downs of a volatile industry, and is humbled and grateful to be able to serve now on 40 Days for Life’s board of directors.

John believes all life is a precious gift from God.  2019 was an emotional year that saw not only the birth, heart surgeries, and death of his daughter Claire, but also the birth of her baby brother.  John lives near Houston, TX with his amazing wife Lynn and their five surviving children.