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Senior Leadership Succession: Personnel Transitions at the US-MC

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This year One Challenge celebrates its 70th year of global ministry. With that we are also celebrating some faithful U.S. Mobilization Center (US-MC) leaders who have served for decades and are passing the baton to younger colleagues. We know that leadership succession is important.

Senior Director Successions

For decades we have seen God supply just the people we need, both overseas and here at our headquarters, the U.S. Mobilization Center. This year we are seeing God graciously fill some important senior director positions for two who are moving into partial retirement.

Senior Director of Personnel

This is a big job. Senior Director of Personnel has oversight over our personnel from the point they are accepted to the point they retire. They direct the teams who recruit, do pre-field training, provide member care for both adults and kids, and interface with legal, benefits, and security entities as well.

In March of 2010 Debbie Smith accepted the job. She brought with her 23 years of field experience in the Philippines along with her attentive, caring nature. Keeping OC people safe, legal, and thriving in ministry was Debbie’s priority and her team has done a great job under her leadership.

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Debbie and Marla

This March, after 12 years in her position, Debbie handed the baton to Marla Henderson. The hand-off had been planned for two years. Marla, and her husband Rich, join the US-Mobilization Center team with over 22 years of overseas experience with OC. As a mother of four adult children, Marla steps in having interfaced with the MK school, Faith Academy, Philippines. She worked with and on the board of directors, including as chair of the board. Subsequently, she served as HR Director at the school. Marla brings new skills and ideas to the Personnel Department along with an innate understanding of our people and their situations.

Rich Henderson, her husband, will be tackling a much-needed, newly-created position of Area Director of U.S. Ministry. In this role, he will have leadership oversight over the different streams of ministry being done abroad by OC workers who reside in the U.S. Concurrently he will gradually hand off his responsibility as Asia Area Director.

leadership transitions

Senior Director of Operations

Another senior director swap will take place this summer. Stan Downes is in the process of handing off his responsibilities as Senior Director of Operations to Terry Tuggy. Stan and Donna served first in Kenya from 1984 to 1996, followed by 12 more years in Romania. In 2013 Stan was asked to step into the Senior Director position and oversee the functions of the Communications Team, Facilities, Legal and Benefits, Reception, and the Mailroom. OC has seen a lot of growth and activity in each of these departments in the ten years Stan has supervised them.

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Terry and Stan

Now, as Stan shifts to assisting OC President, Dean Carlson and others, Terry Tuggy will step in to manage the broad-reaching responsibilities of the director of operations position. Terry, and his wife Maija, were accepted into the organization in May 2021. They are the parents of four children and plan to move from Oregon to Colorado Springs this summer.

Terry brings to the job over 20 years of service in the army national guard as well as a dual degree in Bible and Theology from Multnoma School of the Bible, and a more recently earned MBA in non-profit management. We got to meet with Terry and ask him a few questions.

OC: Why did you choose One Challenge?

Terry: The biggest reason, besides God’s leading, is how OC works in unity with the whole body of Christ. It is a holistic, bigger picture of reaching the world. I also appreciated that OC had a vision for using us commensurate with the experience God has given us (which didn’t include overseas field experience) when bringing us into the organization.

OC: How do you see God having prepared you for this job?

Terry: I think it starts with my heritage, which has given me a passion for missions all my life. But God placed that on hold and took me into the army. Taking my time of serving the army while serving Christ, and my time at Multnomah Bible college were important. It has given me exposure to a wide breadth of organizations culminating in a passion for seeing God’s kingdom go forward but recognizing the need for a good support base and structure to make that happen. A lot of impetus to do this role of supporting missions is realizing that God prepares people for specific roles where they are gifted. God has gifted and trained me in administration.

OC: As part of the transition, in March you spent a week with the Executive Leadership Team in meetings. Any surprises?

Terry: Surprises, no. A lot of really cool opportunities, blessings, and excitement about what God is doing and can do. No surprises because we’ve been in regular contact since I was told what my position would be a year ago. I’ve talked to senior leadership at least once a month, usually more, as well as regular visits. 

OC: What are some of the challenges you are facing with this transition?

Terry: The biggest challenges are in Oregon – making sure my family is set, each of the kids with their situations. Selling the house. Finding a house in Colorado Springs might be a challenge.

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Tuggy family

OC: What challenges do you anticipate in the job?

Terry: Mostly being patient. I’m ready to be in all the meetings right now but we need to finish our support discovery. The biggest challenges will be building relationships and trying to understand history, culture, and process. How OC has gotten to this point, what we value (how we do, why we do), and what the processes are.

OC: Thank you for your time. We pray the whole transition goes smoothly for the whole family.

We rejoice in God’s provision of excellent senior leadership.  We are grateful for the faithful service of Debbie and Stan, and celebrate passion and commitment Marla and Terry bring. How comforting to know the next generation of global workers will be guided by these top-notch folks. God is so faithful, always moving us along his path for the nations.

One Challenge Global Alliance (OC GA) Established in May 2010, the OC Global Alliance is a voluntary association of OC Mobilization Centers (MC) for the purpose of sharing resources and experience to fulfill a common vision, mission, values, and strategy. The US-MC is one of the 10 founding Mobilization Center members of the Alliance, partnering together to effectively deploy people to serve on multiethnic and multinational Global Alliance ministry teams in nations around the world. For more information, please email OC Mobilization at Or go to our Mobilization blog, Prepare for Impact, at

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