Leadership Team

Founder & CEO: Samuel Gallucci – sam@embracejesus.org                        

Since 2005, Samuel and his wife Toni have devoted their lives to the ministry. As an author, his current book, Road Warrior: How to Keep Your Faith, Relationships, and Integrity When Away from Home, was published by Random House. He was on staff at Calvary Community Church for four years and currently serves as Senior Pastor of Embrace! Simply Jesus (formerly Harbor Missionary Church) under the denomination of the Missionary Church. Embrace Church has an apostolic calling and unique ministry that has embraced the forgotten people groups of Ventura County, including the homeless and the migrant worker populations. It has brought churches and people together, and it has planted mobile churches and released leaders to pursue nations-calling. Pastor Samuel is also President of The Kingdom Centers, which utilizes a new model of unity within the church community to help care for the poor and broken within the cities it serves.

Director: Tammy Duff – tduff@gabriels-house.org                                       

Tammy Duff, a Ventura County resident since 1989, became the Director at Gabriel’s House, a Program of The Kingdom Center, in May of 2019. Prior to that, she was the Director at The Kingdom Center Ventura from 2010 to 2013, where she helped build much of the foundation for this growing organization. She has the heart to love and help each woman and child that comes through the doors at Gabriel’s House.

Tammy received her training for what she does from the hands-on ministry at The Dream Center in LA, where she and her husband Ken were on the pastoral team for 15 years in its foundational days, along with running their own business for the past 30 years in Ventura County. They both have a heart for the homeless and prayer and have served at several churches in various ministry capacities since being married in 1980. They have two married children and two grandchildren they enjoy spending time with!

Tammy enjoys seeing growth and transformation as hope fills the lives of the women at Gabriel’s House. You can generally find her snapping photos for social media and capturing the fun, miracles, and accomplishments that happen daily!

Director of Development: Kat Wertheim, CFRE –  kwertheim@gabriels-house.org

Katherine “Kat” Wertheim, CFRE, is the Director of Development for Gabriel’s House. She served as the first director of development for Emmaus Services for the Aging in Washington, DC. She previously worked in the development departments of The Red Cross National Headquarters and Special Olympics International Headquarters. She has helped develop numerous organizations through fundraising and board development, including Luther Place Memorial Church, the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, Bread for the City and Zacchaeus Free Clinic in Washington, DC; and the Southern California Division of The Salvation Army, Project Understanding, and Turning Point Foundation in California.

Kat currently serves on the board of the Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). She is a Master Trainer with AFP, one of 11 in California and 242 worldwide. In 1999, she first earned her CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) credential, held by fewer than 3% of fundraisers worldwide; it means her experience and knowledge have been evaluated by her peers, and she recertifies every three years. She has taught fundraising and board development to dozens of boards of directors in 23 U.S. states, Asia and Latin America. She has taught hundreds of classes and workshops, including the Nonprofit Resource Center, Cal Lutheran Center for Nonprofit Leadership, SPOKES Resources for Nonprofits, and more. She has donated gallons of blood, including dozens of platelet donations, and volunteered for 20 years, recording textbooks for Learning Ally.

Kat earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Occidental College and has taken courses in fundraising from The George Washington University and The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. She is a graduate of the Ventura County Leadership Academy, Cohort XI, and is a Distinguished Toastmaster through Toastmasters International. She grew up in Santa Barbara, moved to Ventura in 2004, and lives in Ventura with her husband Joe and two cats.

Director of Finance: Ed Schutte – eschutte@gabriels-house.org

Ed Schutte is the Chief Financial Officer and Grant Writer for Gabriel’s House while serving as Executive Pastor of Embrace Church and Director of Before It Begins. In the past, he’s worked for Target Corporation in Marketing Strategy and as a Senior Manager for Amazon. He specializes in finance, strategy, project management, and business development.

Ed earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Toledo and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Michigan.

He is the proud father to a 15-year-old son, an 11-year-old daughter, and a baby girl born in 2020. He enjoys camping, biking, physical fitness, and training jiu-jitsu.

Ed says that “Serving at Gabriel’s House is very personal to me. I love being a part of God’s plans for redemption for every woman and child that we serve. I love that I can do my part to create a safe place for them to call home while they are developing the life skills necessary for sustainable living.”

Case Manager: Melanie Sierra – msierra@gabriels-house.org

Melanie has been the Case Manager for Gabriel’s House since 2013. Melanie also serves as a Supervisor for Gabriel’s House. Melanie is a Certified Addiction Disorder Counselor and has been working with diverse populations since 2009. Melanie has worked as a contractor for the California Youth Authority (two years); she worked for a Residential Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program serving both men and women. She was responsible for completing intakes, treatment planning, facilitating groups, discharge planning, and collaborating with other agencies as needed (five years). Melanie has also worked with an Adolescent Outpatient Treatment Program and provided services at various locations to include school settings throughout Ventura County (six years). Melanie is also currently employed with the County of Ventura as an Addictive Disorder Treatment Specialist and has been employed with the County of Ventura since 2016. 

As a Case Manager, Melanie is responsible for interviewing potential residents, completing intakes, case planning, discharge planning, and collaborating with other agencies as needed. Some agencies include Probation, Parole, Children and Family Services, Human Services Agency, the Department of Rehabilitation, Interface, Pacific Clinics, Homeless Court, mental health providers, and alcohol and drug treatment providers. Melanie meets individually with each resident once weekly or as needed to ensure that individuals are making progress towards their goals. If goals are being met, residents in Emergency Shelter may also be considered for our Transitional Living Program, allowing residents to live onsite for up to one year. 

As a youth and young, adult Melanie spent her time between Ventura County and Colorado. Melanie is a single mother who lives in Oxnard with her two sons and her Miniature Pinscher, Smokey. She enjoys reading, writing, poetry, and anything having to do with nature.