About Us

Lead Team

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.  —2 Timothy 2:2

Jim and Sterling O’Neill
Founders | Mentors

A.C. Hawthorne

Communications Evangelist

Yvonne Miller

Hospitality Chief

Shawna O’Neill

Conference Director and Speaker

Ricky Bailey

Logistics and Media

Jodie Booker


Fran Patt

Strategic Instigation

Jim and Sterling

Jim and Sterling co-founded the Next Gen Leadership Conference (NGLC) back in 2003. The idea for such an event emerged out of a need in Jim’s life as he was leading a great historic mission agency through significant culture change. That exposure to organizational change proved to be a key marker in his development as a leader. It then dawned on Jim that he was not alone in needing markers and wise friends older on the journey to provide guideposts. If he needed such wise ones perhaps many other younger leaders growing in capacity may need older brothers and sister, as well. Thus, the NGLC was birthed. 

Jim and Sterling have been married for over 38 years. They have 4 grown children, 3 sons-in-law and 4 grandkids! Jim hails from Pennsylvania and Sterling from South Carolina. They met in college in Virginia where both sensed God’s call to serve the Gospel and the nations.

Serving together, they each come with 13 years of church planting experience in Asia, 13 years of leadership in two mission organizations and 8 years ministering in formal theological education and equipping.

They love serving younger leaders with a burden to multiply leaders, engage Kingdom movements into the frontiers of mission and mobilize God’s people to take the Gospel to the unreached. 

Through all of their ministry experiences, a common thread for the O’Neills has been a love for assisting younger leaders in their preparation for God’s Kingdom assignment. The NGLC became a vehicle to allow this burden to find ongoing expression.

Looking out over much of training and formation of North America ministers, they discerned a profound need to integrate leadership with mission, community, hospitality, spiritual formation and weakness as essential attributes creating the needed comprehensive preparation for global Gospel service.

Jim and Sterling are also members of Frontier Ventures, where Jim is the Director of Mobilization and Sterling co-labors alongside with Jim. Frontier Ventures allows Jim and Sterling to explore key ministry areas of need including the Next Gen work (NGLC). 

Sterling is also a certified Life Coach and has a blog she writes for www.sterlingoneill.com.

They both like to read, play and watch tennis, hang out with people and can often be found in local coffee shops together.  

A.C. Hawthorne

A.C. is a social entrepreneur with a passion for building bridges between the various ethnic and religious communities. A former church planter and native of the Island of Hawaii, A.C. lives with his wife Sharon and their seven children in Portland, OR. As a family, they enjoy long road trips, building Legos, and falling asleep to a good book. 


Yvonne Miller
Yvonne and Ken Miller have 3 children and 1 grandson. She is a woman of many gifts and talents. She is a Church Planting Coordinator with E3, where she organizes 2 to 3 short term trips a year to different parts of the world. Yvonne is our “Chief Chef” who gives of her time, talents and energy to organize volunteers to work in the kitchen, and plans all the meals and snacks for the week of the NGLC Events.

Her willing and joyful spirit brings new life to our team and happy stomaches to our delegates. No one goes away hungry after being feed by Yvonne. We are thankful for Yvonne’s love for the Lord, to us and to the NextGen Leaders and all the gifts and abilities she brings to the dream team.

Shawna O’Neill
Shawna, a young leader in her own right, is the 2nd child and daughter to Jim and Sterling O’Neill. Shawna was born in the Philippines. She lives in Pennsylvania, and has been married to Matt Kussmaul, her high school sweetheart since 2010. They have 2 adorable twin boy’s born June 2016. Shawna has been with NGLC for 10 years now.
Shawna graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a degree in Women’s Ministry. Shawna with her eye for details, and her compassion, and intuitive understanding of people is an invaluable part of the team to NGLC. She loves working on all the details of the NGLC, which includes all communications with delegates, mentors, and Global leaders, transportation arrangements, and making sure all the pieces comes together like a well-oiled machine. Not to mention her love for her parents and what they do.

Fran Patt

Graduated from Penn State in 1974 with a degree in History.  Graduate work at Penn State in Public Administration 1976-7.  Helped to coordinate the first Perspectives class at Penn State in 1980.  Began hosting and coordinating Perspectives classes in 1982.  Has coordinated over 100 Perspectives classes.  Joined the staff of the Frontier Ventures (formerly USCWM) in 1981.  Regional director of Eastern Regional Office of Frontier Ventures 1988-2016.  Church elder for 15 years. Part of leadership for church planting teams 1998-2004. Assisting in the training of workers to serve in Muslim fields 2004 to present. Chairman of the board Frontier Ventures 2016. CEO Frontier Ventures 2017-2018.

Jodie Booker

Jodie was born in Virginia and went to college at UNCW graduating with a Math degree. During the summer before her senior year she spent a month in South Africa where God placed in her a heart for missions. She lived in Seattle, WA for 2½ years and served as a campus minister, moved back to VA and became the Office Administrator for her church helping plan many overseas trips to Indonesia and Turkey. Today she is a missionary serving with Life Action Ministries in Buchanan, MI. Her main job as the Administrative Assistant for the OneCry division but she has many opportunities each year to cook for ministry meetings. Creating good food and the environment to go with it is a huge passion.

Ricky Bailey

Ricky is an English teacher in Knoxville, TN who has devoted his life to making and sending disciples throughout the world until there is no place left where the Gospel is not known. Ricky is the founder of Theolit.com, and in his spare time, enjoys long boarding, woodworking, reading, or watching The Office with Stephanie, his running partner in life.