Leadership Team

John Wagner began with Young Life in 1982 and now serves as a a Senior Vice President and the lea​​der of Greater New York.  John's Young Life career started as he worked with kids in the Shaw community of Washington, DC. He later became the YL Metro Director, overseeing all of the city’s urban work. Following that, John served as a Regional Director of the DC Metro Region, overseeing Young Life ministry in both the city and surrounding suburbs. In 2006, John was appointed to serve as a Senior Vice President to oversee the Eastern Division.  He served in that capacity until sensing a call to move to New York City.  John grew up in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, earned his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and his Masters in Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. He was ordained in the PC(USA) in 2003.  John and his wife Gae have three kids: Michael, Jessi, and David.

Tim Vickers has 25+ year history with Young Life, beginning as a “committee kid” in middle school. After four years as a volunteer leader, he has worked full-time for Young Life since 1998 and is currently the Regional Director for the Metro North Region that serves the state of Connecticut and Westchester County in New York. He has started multiple Young Life and WyldLife Clubs and Young Life areas in Ohio, Connecticut and New York. Tim has a great passion for every type of kid in every type of community getting the chance to hear and experience the Gospel. He has a track record of building dynamic strategic alliances with local organizations and missions to reach towards that goal.  He has been a high level volleyball player for twenty years and was a very successful high school volleyball coach at Ridgefield High School in Ridgefield, Connecticut. He and his wife, Lori, live in Danbury, CT with their two sons, Caden and Conor.

Paul Coty began with Young Life in 1998 and currently serves as Regional Director for New York City, a position he has held since 2012.  He previously served for 4 years as an Area Director in Baltimore, MD.  Paul has spent his life doing two things—serving Christ and ministering to the needs of kids.  Previously, he exercised that call while working for the Baltimore City Board of Education as a middle school teacher and youth pastor.  In the summer of 1998 he first experienced Young Life and has never been the same. He and Shauniqua have two boys, Paul and Jeremiah and daughter Savannah​.

Howard Freeman has served as the Senior Campaign Director for the Greater NY Division since February 2013.  As a fundraising professional with 19 years of experience, he founded Zoey Creative Development in 2010 "to help urban nonprofits raise more money and increase their supporters' joy in giving."  Prior to that, Howard served as senior director of generosity and development at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and, before that, was chief development officer at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has earned the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential and is author of “Making a Difference 2.0” and numerous articles on fundraising and the spiritual aspects of giving.  Born and raised in New York City, Howard lives on the Upper  West Side of Manhattan with his wife, an artist and designer, and three school-age sons.​

Gail Obenour serves as a Campaign Director for the Greater NY Division focused on events and women. In addition to working on staff with women and children at a church for 13 years, Gail has worked as a personal shopper at Anthropologie, facilitating events and building client relationships. Gail has travelled the world encouraging women to flourish in their spheres of influence.  Most recently, travelling to the Middle East and Europe to present on the contextualization of beauty. Gail has spent her life on the East coast, most recently living in Durham, NC before moving to NYC.  She lives on the Upper West Side in Manhattan and enjoys walking everywhere!

Rob Hankins is a native of New Jersey currently serves as the Regional Director for Garden State Region. After graduating from Wheaton College in 2002, he joined YL staff in Naperville, IL where he served until 2012 as both Intern and Area Director.  Rob developed new Young Life ministries in various capacities, including high school, middle school and Capernaum programs.  Rob has developed a strong passion for work crew as a means of discipleship and works very hard at preparing students for this opportunity. Since moving back to NJ, Rob has started an area in Princeton, NJ and his wife Lindsey is currently working on her PhD in systematic theology at Princeton Seminary.  Rob has tried to keep up slightly with her by finishing a Master's Degree from Fuller Seminary.  He coaches football and basketball at Princeton High School, and is a 4th generation Yankees, Knicks, and Giants fan.  His favorite fake historical character is Huck Finn, and he eats Chipotle less than he wants to, though more than his wife prefer.

Anneke Brown has been on Young Life staff since 2008 and currently serves as the YoungLives Divisional Coordinator. She oversees development, support, training and camping for all YoungLives ministry within the division. Anneke was involved with Young Life in high school and college before leading a local chapter of YoungLives in Connecticut. She is committed to equipping and caring for leaders who are ministering to at-risk and under-served youth - specifically teen moms. Anneke is passionate about ensuring that teen moms are led and loved as well as every kid who participates in Young Life. She and her husband, Chase, have two sons, Liam and Logan. ​

Christa Hilt is the Divisional Administrator and Director of Marketing for the GNY Division. She comes to Young Life by way of the consumer marketing and operations world. Her background ranges from developing business plans at Ford Motor Company to project management at American Express to establishing a wine brand for a boutique winery in the Pacific Northwest to training and organizing thousands of volunteers for the 2014 NY/NJ Super Bowl. She’s been involved with Young Life since high school, with highlights including being a volunteer leader while at the University of Virginia, Summer Staff at Frontier Ranch and a brief stint working at the Service Center. She’s a group fitness class junkie, loves the smell of coffee and is a proud card carrying member of the New York Public Library. Christa lives in New York City and has a special heart for downtown Manhattan.​

Bill Paige is a gifted, passionate speaker whose broad appeal is anchored in a depth of life experience that includes 20 years of police and detective  work in and around the New York City metropolitan area. In addition, Bill served 14 years as the associate chaplain at Children’s Village, working with emotionally disturbed boys in the city, as well as 15+ years of senior leadership in Young Life. Bill serves currently as special assistant to the president in Young Life. As an ordained minister, Bill brings a wealth of valuable insight in the areas of emotional and behavioral problems among young people and is a certified trainer for “Therapeutic Crisis Intervention.” His communication gifts combined with his life experience and honed insight put him in very high demand in this country and around the world as a speaker. Bill has survived Claudia, his wife of 40+ years.

Young Life Global Cities Initiative | 500 7th Ave8th Floor New York, NY 10018-4502

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