Nicolette Rohr served as the Lay Leader Cohort Leader in the first year of Thriving Leadership Formation. She is a member of Eden Lutheran Church in Riverside, California and currently serves as Vice President of Pacifica Synod. Although she grew up in the Lutheran church and is the granddaughter of a Lutheran pastor, her role in the church has been unexpected and always interesting. She cares about collaborations in ministry, developing cultures of prayer and spiritual practices, especially among non-rostered leaders, and creating more spaces for contemplation, vulnerability, and compassion, like those offered by TLF. Professionally, Nicolette holds a Ph.D. in History and M.A. in Public History from the University of California, Riverside and has worked on a range of preservation, museum, and community history projects, along with teaching courses in U.S. history, the history of the 1960s, and the history of rock music.
Desta Goehner ’96
Director of Congregation Relations / Thriving Leadership Formation Co-Director
Desta is a name that comes from Ethiopia, it means “deep joy”. Desta is a Spiritual Director and the Director of Congregational Relations at California Lutheran University. She is a connection between the university and ELCA Regions 1 and 2, as well as ecumenical and interfaith congregations and leaders locally to our campus. Desta has served for over 25 years in Lutheran outdoor ministry, congregational youth ministry and served on the staff of the Southwest California Synod of the ELCA. She is married to an ELCA Pastor and they have 3 children. Desta has been shaped by Cal Lutheran (1996 alum), Lutheran outdoor ministry, Holden Village and the diversity of Southern California. She cares deeply about the church and its leaders. She is invested in spiritual transformation, anti-racism, the Enneagram and healing from trauma in community.
The Rev. Dr. Ray Pickett
PLTS Rector / Thriving Leadership Formation Co-Director
Raymond Pickett is the Rector of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminar and a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He has been a professor of New Testament for more than twenty years. He came to PLTS from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where he was professor of New Testament. As a pastor he served congregations in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Manhattan, Kansas.
In addition to teaching New Testament, Dr. Pickett has also been involved in faith-rooted community organizing in various contexts. He has been working with a national group of ELCA leaders who are creatively adapting the arts of community organizing to engage the larger community around issues of racial equity and social justice. He also works with national community organizing networks in grounding the organizing practices in scripture.
Dr. Pickett is deeply committed to forming faithful leaders equipped to mobilize individuals and communities of faith to make a difference in the world by taking risks, collaborating with others, and acting on our faith to make a difference in our communities. He is energized by the challenge of preparing leaders for a diverse, highly secularized West Coast context for a changing Church and complex world and sees it as an opportunity to strengthen the public witness of the church by making theological education more contextual and incorporating practices and strategies for engaging the world.