Al Mueller


Mr. Mueller has provided investment advice to institutions, individuals and families of significant wealth for more than 20 years. During his career at Morgan Stanley and UBS, Mr. Mueller had responsibility for evaluating and recommending investments in virtually every asset class. His clients relied on his ability to construct and manage portfolios to achieve their investment objectives. Mr. Mueller's professional experience on Wall Street and personal experience as a major donor and board member have prepared him to provide Excellence in Giving clients with valuable insight into the effective use of their philanthropic capital. His proven service to philanthropic families, individuals and organizations at Excellence in Giving makes him one of the most respected and sought after thought leaders in philanthropy today. 

Mr. Mueller, a native of California, is a graduate of the University of Arizona and holds an MBA from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. He and his wife Susan have three adult children. They appreciate the challenging golf, mountain views, and ski slopes that the Rocky Mountains provide.


Thor Iverson

Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Iverson brings a personal and professional passion for wise stewardship and high-impact giving to the role, having served as chief financial officer for family-owned businesses with high-capacity, philanthropic owners. Thor brings more than twenty years of senior management experience to Excellence in Giving including executive positions at Echelon Corporation,, Amity Technology, Concord, Inc., and Great Plains Software. Mr. Iverson's professional experience includes extensive international business in Russia, Ukraine, and Scandinavia.

He received his MBA from Stanford University and his B.S. in Computer Science and Business Administration from North Dakota State University. Mr. Iverson is a published author and a patent holder. He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife Dana and their two children. 


Keith Waggoner

Relationship Manager

During his 30 plus year career, Mr. Waggoner has gained expertise in leading teams of people, building relationships, developing processes to achieve a vision, honing entrepreneurial skills, and transitioning organizations in need of change.  He began his career in real estate in 1985 and spent time developing his commercial real estate skills. In 1997, Waggoner joined Macfarlan Real Estate Investment Management where he was responsible for all of the firm’s commercial asset management and corporate operations. Keith helped launch nonprofit Behind Every Door Ministries, Inc in 2009.  Behind Every Door combined private real estate investment partnerships, which purchased C-grade apartment communities, with a nonprofit entity for the purpose of improving the lives of the residents and transforming communities. Behind Every Door is making a tremendous impact on two very underserved neighborhoods in Dallas.

Waggoner was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and raised in Wheaton, Illinois. He moved to Texas to pursue his Bachelor’s degree in business at Baylor University and holds his MBA from Southern Methodist University.  Keith is an avid golfer, enjoys photography, and tries to find time to read good books. He lives in Dallas with his wife and has two grown children. 


Paul Penley, Ph.D.

Director of Research

Dr. Penley evaluates the health and performance of charities to inform effective grantmaking strategies. He has refined methods for nonprofit due diligence and tracking post-grant impact. He has completed on-site evaluations in a dozen countries around the world. Dr. Penley specializes in creating and evaluating outcome measurement systems for internal and external reporting of program effectiveness. He has presented his approach at community foundations, Philanthropy Roundtable meetings, and Yale Philanthropy Conference. He has published research insights in Alliance magazine, Planned Giving Today, and OUTCOMES magazine. He contributes to blogs for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Council on Foundations, and Exponent Philanthropy. 

Dr. Penley has international relief work and ministry experience in Mexico, Bolivia, Kosovo, India, Kenya and Uganda. He studied abroad in Israel, Turkey, Greece, and Egypt, to understand international culture and history. He has performed Community Solutions Assessments in Knoxville, TN, Fort Worth, TX and Glynn County, GA so clients can find and fund the most strategic local charities. He created the "up-to-date, in-depth, user-friendly" charity evaluation platform at, compared to Charity Navigator and Guidestar by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Now anyone can use our first step to assess nonprofit performance and impact. Dr. Penley’s ability to identify predictive indicators of mission failure or success allows those he advises to support high-performing charities making the difference they want to fund.

Paul is also a published author and adjunct professor. He resides in Colorado Springs with his family where he enjoys flyfishing the endless trout streams in Colorado. 


Jessica Bocker

Director of Client Services

Mrs. Bocker facilitates the fulfillment of each client’s giving passions and priorities as the Director of Client Services at Excellence In Giving. She brings diverse experience in operations management, human resources, marketing, public relations and customer service. Jessica served as Vice President of Operations and Marketing at Biowatch Medical, a medical device and service company headquartered in Columbia, SC. In this position, she was effective in improving the quality of customer service and scaling the company's operational capacity.  Jessica now coordinates the Excellence in Giving suite of services to ensure that every client experiences the joy and significance of giving well.

Jessica is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where she studied English and French. She spent 6 months studying in France and expanded her understanding of international culture with visits to a dozen other European countries. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and son where they enjoy hiking, camping and other outdoor activities.

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Rachel Mueller

Client Services Associate

Ms. Rachel Mueller joined the Excellence in Giving team as Client Services Associate. She brings marketing, communications, and relationship management experience from her positions in the entertainment industry and nonprofit organizations.  Most recently, Rachel comes to Excellence in Giving from start-up publishing company Bondfire Books, where she ran the entire publishing process from manuscript acquisition through marketing and sales. Rachel previously coordinated marketing and PR efforts for Compassion International’s Change the Story tour, which traveled around the United States bringing awareness of children living in poverty overseas.

Rachel, a Chicago native, is a graduate of Belmont University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration. She began her career managing award winning Christian recording artists while living in Nashville. After touring the country, she settled down in Colorado Springs, CO and enjoys baking, writing, and dinner parties. 

Joseph Graves

Evaluation Officer

As Evaluation Officer for Excellence in Giving, Mr. Graves brings a combination of strong relational and analytical skills to his work. Joseph holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Durham University and a Masters of Science in international development from the University of Birmingham, both in the UK. He spent many years working with marginalized and homeless young men in Edinburgh, Scotland, and went on to work in international development in Kigali, Rwanda, in roles with International Justice Mission as well as a World Bank-funded project for Rwanda’s ministry of agriculture.

Originally from Twickenham, England, Joseph offers a broad international perspective. He has spent time studying, living and working in diverse cultures, including Portugal, Ukraine, Morocco, Scotland and Rwanda, before moving to the United States. A lifelong athlete, Joseph played Ultimate Frisbee competitively for many years, including co-captaining Great Britain’s mixed team to the European championships title in 2007. Joseph currently resides in Colorado Springs with his wife and two daughters, where he still joins a pickup Ultimate game whenever he can.

Lexi Peterson

Lexi Peterson

Client Services Assistant

Ms. Peterson joined the Excellence in Giving team as Client Services Assistant. She brings experience in Higher Education Academic Affairs from her time working at Texas Christian University in the John V. Roach Honors College and serving for numerous programs within Student Development Services. Lexi loves organization and working with people which is why she is thrilled to be joining the Client Services Team to assist clients in joyful giving.

Lexi, a native and proud Texan, is a graduate of Texas Christian University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.  After participating in a mission trip to Uganda and spending time studying in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, Costa Rica, and England, she has developed a true love for travel. Upon her recent graduation, Lexi relocated to Colorado Springs and can be found exploring the city, hiking, reading and drinking copious amounts of coffee.


Regional Philanthropy Advisors

Lori Slaughter

Lori Slaughter

Regional Philanthropy Advisor

Ms. Slaughter brings over 20 years of non-profit experience and service to Excellence in Giving clients. Throughout her career, she has focused on the unique needs of major philanthropists and is a tireless advocate for the preservation of donor intent.  Over the years, Ms. Slaughter has advised individuals on a variety of philanthropic investment opportunities within significant educational, research and health care organizations.Her areas of expertise include gifting to Colleges and Universities, Medical Research, and Hospitals.

Ms. Slaughter, a native of North Carolina, earned her B.S. in Sociology from Portland State University.  She lives in Redmond, Oregon and spends weekends horseback riding and caring for her growing animal family.  Her areas of philanthropic interest are women's health research, equine therapy and education.

Ruth Samuelson

Regional Philanthropy Advisor

Mrs. Samuelson brings both public and private sector experience to the Excellence in Giving portfolio. She rose to leadership in the North Carolina House of Representative serving as Majority Conference Leader and chair of both the Banking and Environment Committees. Her years of public sector service were recognized in numerous awards but most notably by the governor of North Carolina with the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine,” the state’s highest commendation for public service. To set the stage for those political years, Ruth worked as a personal philanthropist, advisor to other donors, and as a board member for numerous local and national organizations. A licensed real estate broker, foster/adoptive parent and former securities/insurance agent, Ruth was featured in Laws of Lifetime Growth, a national best seller on leadership by Dan Sullivan.

Yet, with all her civic, political and professional responsibilities, Ruth still considers her commitment to be a loving wife to Ken and a caring mother of four adult children and two grandchildren as her primary responsibility and greatest delight.