Leadership Team

Photo of John Maisel, an older white man, smiling and wearing a light yellow button down with a navy blazer.

John Maisel

Founder and Chairman Emeritus

John Maisel has a diverse background in various business and investment activities since being honorably discharged as a captain from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1967. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart as a result of his tour in Vietnam.

While in Europe on business in 1979 he began to team up with friends who were traveling behind the Iron Curtain. His travels for ministry in this restricted access area of the world eventually led to the establishment of East-West Ministries International in 1993. Today East-West focuses on church planting in closed countries and restricted access nations. Maisel is married to Susie and has a grown daughter and two grandchildren.

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Kurt Nelson

President and CEO

As President and Chief Executive Officer of East-West, Kurt Nelson provides leadership and oversight to all worldwide ministry endeavors in the more than 40 countries in which East-West currently operates. After serving with East-West for 13 years, Nelson became President and CEO in June 2010. Prior to East-West, he served as Vice President of Global Missions Fellowship (GMF, now e3 Partners).

Kurt holds an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina, a Master of Theology in World Missions from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry in Missions Leadership from Columbia International University.

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Kristen Shuler

Executive Vice President of Development and Senior Vice President of Field Leadership

Kristen provides oversight and strategic direction to East-West’s development, marketing and communications initiatives, including campaign strategy, institutional giving, planned giving, events, direct response marketing, online strategies, and all marketing/communications collateral. She also serves the field by leading our field leadership across all 10 regions where East-West operates.

Kristen has been selected as East-West’s next President. She will continue serving in her current roles until a new Executive Vice President of Development is hired.

Prior to joining East-West, Kristen served alongside the International Mission Board on the mission field across South America, primarily focusing on evangelism and church planting strategies. Kristen continues to fulfill her calling and passion for missions through her role at East-West.

Now accepting applications for the Executive Vice President of Development.

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Executive Vice President of Field Ministries

Due to the nature of where East-West serves, this individual’s identity is withheld for security reasons.

The Executive Vice President of Field Ministries directs and coordinates all mission-wide field ministries and oversees the health, resourcing, and development of all field employees. Additionally, the Executive Vice President of Field Ministries works with our field leadership to strategize and implement new ministries as well as evaluate and align all ministry endeavors toward church planting movements.

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Seth Kolb

Executive Vice President of Operations

As the Executive Vice President of Operations, Seth provides vision and direction to our support functions, empowering our staff to focus on multiplying followers of Jesus in the spiritually darkest areas of the world. He oversees the Human Resources, Financial Services, Information Technology, Member Care, Recruitment, Security and Crisis Management, and Facilities teams at East-West.

His prior experience includes serving as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State for eight years, serving in Bogota, Colombia; Bern, Switzerland; and Washington, D.C.

Seth holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Tech University. He is happily married and has four children.