Introducing DVULI’s Newest Staff Liaisons

Posted by: DVULI | March 22, 2023

by Gerald Bell (Kansas City 2003)

This year, we are super excited to welcome two DVULI alumni to our family of liaisons. Thomas Brackeen (Washington, DC 2009) will assume alumni relations in Columbus, Ohio, and Washington, DC, while Cheryl Cuthbertson (Seattle/Tacoma 2011) will serve the Portland and Seattle/Tacoma regions, respectively.

A lifelong youth worker, Thomas joins DVULI with a rich history of commitment to reaching marginalized populations. He is the Minister to Youth and Families at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC, and says he finds it fulfilling to build “long-term relationships with youth and watch their journey to becoming successful adults who give back to their communities.”

In this role as a liaison, Thomas expressed excitement for bringing leaders together and developing new relationships in a way that will forge greater paths of collaboration. “I also look forward to meeting the alumni and youth leaders in Columbus and learning from their ministry models,” he said.

Thomas has a national rapport for empowering and developing leaders who minister to youth. He is the Washington, DC, area Fuel Network leader, a youth and young adult ministry consultant and DEI trainer, as well as the founder of the Keep It Real Fridays Movement.

Whenever he can schedule some downtime, Thomas exerts his energy on the basketball court or in front of the TV watching basketball. He might also be found soaking up wisdom from one of his favorite authors, the late Howard Thurman. “What I have been enjoying about reading Thurman’s work is that it’s redefined my theology and how I look at biblical justice for the marginalized and the underserved,” said Thomas.

A Temple HIll, Maryland native, Thomas grew up about 10 minutes outside of Washington, DC. Although catching him at home may be a gamble, he maintains an active presence on nearly every major social media platform. So, look for him there!

Identical to Thomas, Cheryl stays on the move. An international trainer, author, and thought leader, she currently serves as VP of Sustainability and Engagement at Children of the Nations (COTN). The organization provides holistic, Christ-centered care for orphaned and destitute children in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, the United States, and a host of other countries.

While her calling to the nations is a demanding one, Cheryl’s first passion is family. She is the mother of two adult sons and six grandchildren who all reside in the state of Washington where she lives.

“I am very intentional about time with my family and friends,” notes Cheryl, who served as City Coordinator during her training year. “I learned something about balance when I was a participant in [DVULI]!”

Along with balancing family and profession, Cheryl has a heart for ministering to women and leaders. She loves being in spaces—upfront or behind the scenes—where people are thirsty for growth and development.

“I just want to see these leaders catch the fire and put what they’re gaining into action,” says Cheryl. “These concepts we learn in DVULI apply to everything you do, not just your organization.”

Born in Jamaica, a neighborhood in Queens, New York, Cheryl has a military background and spent 12 years in the Navy. She admitted to a season in life when she believed the only person who could be relied upon was herself. Her DVULI coach was a voice of reason, encouraging her with the words, “Come off the cross,” meaning you are no Messiah.

“Ron Carter told me to stop overthinking everything and trust the process.” Cheryl continues, “I now say life is a process, and it’s about trust. So, don’t overthink it. Just trust.”

Cheryl and Thomas will be making visits to their respective liaison cities soon as part of their onboarding and to form and strengthen relationships with their fellow DVULI alumni.

Please feel free to offer your warm welcomes to them at (Cheryl) and (Thomas).