Rita for bios 

Rita Mitchell, Chair           

Rita Mitchell has been a Companion in the East Bay from the beginning of the East Bay program in 2010.  Professionally she works at the Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley.   Her career has been dedicated to working with limited resource communities, studying food habits and dietary quality of minority populations and designing nutrition education materials for the group based on the findings.  Currently she is project manager for a community-based research study to reduce childhood obesity.  She has been active in professional organizations, holding leadership positions at the local, state and national levels.  Personally Rita has been very active in her parish community and is a graduate of the Oakland Diocese School for Pastoral Ministry.  She has three children and three grandchildren who are the loves of her life and give her great hope for the future.



George Fruehan

Currently in his third year of involvement with Ignatian Companions,   George is also Board Vice-President of the Berkeley Food and Housing Project, and volunteers in local schools  coaching writing, and in Senior Centers with AARP TaxAide. He is a member of St. Columba’s Parish, Oakland and Holy Spirit Parish, Berkeley where he is a Eucharistic Minister, and has served on the Finance Committee, CCD Board and in other roles.

George is the retired director of Numbers Talk, with expertise in the analysis of accounting information.  He is an expert witness with over three decades of experience as a management consultant. He helps organizations increase performance, accountability and profit. He has spent his career introducing and extending the use of accounting and operations information from board-level and senior managers to line employees in order to change behavior and increase performance.



Philip Grasser

Phil joined the Regional Council in July 2014.  After a 40+ year in high tech, he retired from full time work in 2010.  Since then, he works part time as Manufacturer’s Representative, selling semiconductor chip processing equipment in the Midwest.  Over the years, he has been involved in a number of community and church activities, including presiding at Sunday Communion Service in a senior retirement home, serving on several parish and school boards and committees, and helping to organize a dozen trips to rebuild homes in post-Katrina New Orleans.  Phil and His wife Karrie have been married for 43 years, they have three sons and three wonderful grandchildren who are truly the light of their life.

Marcos Herrera 1

Marcos Herrera

Marcos is in his first year as an Ignatian Companion and also serves as a Regional Council Member. Marcos retired from a career in engineering in December 2014 to focus on community work.  As an immigrant from Mexico, Marcos has realized the importance of faith, family and education in providing direction to those who struggle day-to-day to make ends meet. Much of his work in the community has been to emphasize the importance of education to local youth.  He currently serves on several Boards including Respite and Research for Alzheimer’s Disease, Amigos de Guadalupe, Mabel B. Wright Education Fund, MESA Industry Advisory Board (San Jose State Center) and Olimpico Learning.  He is also involved in many other organizations as a volunteer.  He has been a volunteer with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County for just under 40 years and also served as a Board Member and Board Chair.  He has also served as a Trustee to Catholic Charities USA. Along with his wife Denise, he participates in the pastoral care program at Regional Medical Center in San Jose.  Marcos is a member of the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Community in San Jose and serves on the Social Justice and Outreach Committees.



Harry Hutzel, Local Team East Bay & San Francisco

Early in his career he was a V.I.S.T.A. Volunteer in Oklahoma City; a caseworker in the Foster Home Department of Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia; and later an analyst with the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare in Boston. Currently, Harry is nearing retirement after thirty plus years as a San Francisco based federal bank regulator, specializing in consumer protection and nondiscrimination.

Harry tutors students preparing for high school equivalency certification at the Next Step Learning Center in West Oakland. He also tutors immigrants in English as a second language in Concord as part of the Diablo Valley Literacy Council program. He is a parishioner of St Ignatius Church in San Francisco and also attends St John Vianney Church in Walnut Creek where he participates in the Faith-in-Action ministry.


Paul Loh

Paul Loh is a member of the first group of Companions from the East Bay which started in 2010. Paul is a product of Catholic education and blessed with being a Jesuit for ten years. He immigrated to the United States in 1972 and has since lived in the Bay Area. He received his MBA from San Francisco State University in 1980. He is a member of Corpus Christi Parish in Oakland/Piedmont. In 1987, Paul with his brother, John started Loh Realty & Investments specializing in the sale and leasing of commercial and investment properties. Over the years, it developed into a family full-service real estate company including property management services. Paul strongly believes in Catholic education and has served on the Oakland Diocesan School Board, Family Aid for Catholic Education (FACE) Board and other school boards in the Diocese of Oakland, including St. Elizabeth Elementary School which he is currently a board member.

Paul visits the inmates at the Federal Correctional Institute for women in Dublin on a monthly basis since he joined the Companions. The Companions is such a wonderful gift from God and Paul is honored to do his part to enhance the program and make it available for others. Paul is married to Anna for just over 40 years and they have 2 granddaughters and a grandson from their children, Stephanie and Michael.



Lynne Lukenbill

Lynne is a current Xavier Companion in her eighth year and was one of the first six Companions in the inaugural program in 2008 in the South Bay. She is involved in ministry with men and women who are held in Santa Clara County detention facilities and also with Victims of Violence and their family members in the Diocese of San Jose. She works in the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries at Santa Clara University and has found a home worshiping with the Mission Church community there on campus. Lynne had the privilege of engaging in ministry formation along with the Deacon candidates in the Diocese of San Jose as an Advanced Lay Leader and completed the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministries from Santa Clara University in 2013. Lynne and her husband Jim Wolcott have been married for 27 years and have been blessed with one son and a beautiful grandson.



Will Simpson,  Local Team San Francisco

Will is in his second year as a Companion and serves the disabled community of San Francisco as the president of the board of the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco. Will has also been actively involved with the LightHouse for the Blind in San Francisco for the past sixteen years as their RN at their summer camp in Napa, Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind and as the LightHouse’s diabetic educator. Will is the owner of Venia Case Management which “Navigates and advocates you through the maze of the healthcare system.” Throughout his career, Will has served in the medical field in the jungles and cities of Nicaragua and has been an advocate for the homeless of San Francisco in various neighborhoods and through the Wellness Center of San Francisco.

Will is an active parishioner at St. Agnes Catholic Church, a Jesuit Community in San Francisco where he has facilitated retreats, contemplative groups and is a lector. He also has his certification in Spiritual Direction from the Mercy Center in Burlingame, Ca.


Judith Sullivan,  Local Team South Bay         

Judy is a current fifth year participant with the Companions Program in the San Jose Community.  A retired Family Nurse Practitioner who enjoys volunteering on medical mission trips to Africa and South America, Judy has also been a chaperone accompanying high school students on their mission trips to Mexico and Arizona over the last few years.  She is blessed to be a Eucharistic Minister in her Parish of Mt. Carmel in Redwood City and also at Sequoia Hospital. Her current volunteering is at St. Anthony’s Dining room in Menlo Park and the St. Vincent de Paul outreach programs on the Peninsula. Judy is the widow of Dan Sullivan and has two daughters, Debbie and Patty.


Jenny Girard Malley, MA

Jenny Girard Malley, MA

Jenny has been the Executive Director for Companions in Ignatian Service and Spirituality since April 2012 and brings over 30 years of experience working with Nonprofit Organizations and Jesuit Institutions. A graduate of both Santa Clara University (BS) and the University of San Francisco (MA Theology), Jenny is proud of her own Ignatian heritage and loves being part of the Ignaitan Companions team.  A certified Spiritual Director, Master Catechist and Parish Pastoral Associate, Jenny strives to integrate ministry and social justice throughout the Companions Program. Alongside her work with Ignatian Companions,  Jenny is also Co-Director of Campus Ministry at Holy Names University in Oakland.  Married to her fabulous husband and friend, Jeffrey, Jenny lives in Emeryville.