International Area Organization Advisers
In March 2021, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a new position in the Church organization—International Area Organization Adviser—and announced six women who were selected for the new position. Later the Church News wrote that “additional area presidencies are expected to also call women to serve in this capacity.” The article named a woman who had been called to serve from the Caribbean area. Sister Bonnie H. Cordon posted on her Facebook page on April 5, 2021, that the general presidencies had met "over fifty new sisters who have been called to serve" as International Area Organization Advisors during the week preceding April 2021 General Conference.
These women are called to support leaders of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations of the Church in the areas where they reside. Each of them will help provide training and mentorship for local leaders outside the United States and Canada. They will also “participate in councils within the area as they work together in unity with the men and women of the Church in their respective areas.” They will serve under the direction of the area presidencies for three to five years.
These area organization advisers will be instructed and supported by the general presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary through virtual meetings held up to four times annually. The area organization advisers will also attend the women’s session of general conference in Salt Lake City at least once during their service.
“Because they are familiar with the language, culture and environment, these sisters can be on-the-ground help for many leaders who may be ‘young’ in the Church and yet anxious to fulfill their responsibilities well,” said Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham.
“We know this is the Lord’s timing and have felt His Spirit guiding the process to make this additional leadership instruction possible,” Primary General President Joy D. Jones said. “He has prepared these sisters in their service and experience to serve as area organization advisers. It is humbling to feel His love for all of His children around the world. These sisters will provide a needed connection in their areas.”
“They will be a mentor and guide, sitting knee-to-knee to answer questions and provide insight into our Primary, Young Women and Relief Society programs. It truly feels like the missing piece of the puzzle,” said Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon. “We are grateful for the hours, even years of counseling together that brought us to today — and we are excited to see how the Lord will shape and mold this new leadership opportunity into what He needs it to be to move His work forward.”
The women called as the first international area organization advisers and the area of their responsibilities are:
- Letícia dos Santos Rudloff of Mostoles, Spain — Cape Verde, Portugal, and Spain
- Ann-Mari Lindberg of Dyssegård, Denmark — Nordic countries
- Sibylle Fingerle of Usingen, Germany — German- and Dutch-speaking countries
- Ghislaine Simonet of Arnes, France — France and Italy
- Julia Wondra of Vienna, Austria — Eastern and SE countries
- Traci De Marco of Olney, England — United Kingdom and Ireland
- Nadine L. Brown of Kingston, Jamaica was also newly called for the Caribbean Area.
- Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Philippines Area, described the three-fold purpose of area organization advisers: to provide leadership instruction to sister leaders in support of rapid Church growth in the area; provide a model that effective progress occurs when women and men work together in unity; and include women’s perspective at all levels of councils.
- Area organization advisers report directly to the area presidency, he said. “This direct reporting line will enable the vision of the area presidency to strengthen and expand the stakes of Zion to be taught in a consistent, seamless fashion.”
- In a developing area like the Caribbean with much cultural diversity, instruction and counsel from area organization advisers is “greatly needed, valuable and meaningful,” said Elder Jose L. Alonso, a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Caribbean Area.
- “As we work together, aligned with the prophetic direction, the rate of growth in the area will be amazing,” he said.
- Church News "Area Organization Advisers: Women leaders in international areas to provide instruction, mentoring"
- Church News "6 women have been called as international area organization advisers in Europe. Here’s what that means"