Board of Directors

Michael W. Barton is managing director of Michael Barton Consulting, LLC in Los Angeles, California. He works with start-up founders and executives to help them achieve significant growth in their business and to recognize and move through major business transitions as their company matures. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago and is currently in process of becoming certified as a Life Coach.

Dale Biron is a poet, poetry lecturer, and leadership coach. Dale came to ANG*L in 2001 as a volunteer poetry-editor-at-large, delighted to help choose and secure poetry for the Gratefulness.org website. He is a volunteer poetry teacher in local high schools near his home in the San Francisco Bay Area and is also a former board member of the Marin Poetry Center.

Anthony Chavez is the son of Paul Chavez who was the middle son of the late civil rights leader Cesar Chavez and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union. Chavez speaks to student and community groups on behalf of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, created to continue Cesar Chavez's work. He also works with young people to spread the word of the importance of service learning and giving of one's self to others. 

Gary Fiedel is one of ANG*L’s founders and has served as its treasurer from the beginning.  A tax and financial consultant, he has headed his own company in Corte Madera, California for the past 30 years.  A long-time student of Brother David’s teachings, Gary’s avocation is to share and expand the spirit of gratefulness in the world.

Joan Halifax Roshi is founder and abbot of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She founded and directs the Upaya Prison Project, which develops programs on meditation for prisoners, and also founded The Ojai Foundation, an educational center.  As Director of the Project for Being with Dying, she counsels dying people and teaches health-care professionals about the dying process.  She has been on the faculties of Columbia University, the University of Miami School of Medicine, the New School for Social Research, The Naropa Institute, and the California Institute for Integral Studies. Her books include The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof); Shamanic Voices; Shaman: The Wounded Healer; and The Fruitful Darkness: Reconnecting with the Body of the Earth.

Jennifer Konecny met Br. David in the 1970's while doing Campus Ministry at Santa Clara University.  They remained in touch, and she is delighted to be able to share him and his spiritual leadership with others through ANG*L.  She retired from a more than 20-year career as a Human Resources Executive for high Tech Companies in Silicon Valley.  Now she enjoys her large family, including grandchildren, and loves to travel. 

Mary E. Kostel is a lawyer, wife, and mother of two school-age boys. A life-long Episcopalian, Mary serves as Special Counsel to the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and Chancellor to the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. Her work involves litigation for the Church in the secular courts as well as advice on and resolution of matters within the Church arising under Church canon law.

Linda Larsson lives in the urban forest of Palo Alto among the magic of leafing, falling, budding trees. The faithful patterns of nature and the paradoxical mystery in poetry open her heart to Brother David and the opportunity he offers for living in great fullness.  In her past work with property development and systems analysis, she enjoyed working with teams of dedicated people doing good work.  She feels blessed by the gift of continuing on this path by serving on the ANG*L board.

Alberto Rizzo left the world of academic science in 1993 to pursue innovative ventures in telecommunications. He founded Sitel Inc., an international call-back service headquartered in New York, and several small telecommunications companies around Latin America. He and his family participated in the Schöenstatt Family Movement and were responsible for children’s kitchen soup (“ollas populares”) in Argentina, getting involved in many NGOs for social development. He now distributes his time between new agricultural and technological projects and promotion of Br. David’s message for Spanish speaking people. He is a co-founder of viviragradecidos.org, our Spanish-speaking branch.

Chuck Roppel was trained and functioned as Catholic Priest in the early years of his career, and from this role evolved into health promotion and disease prevention work within the framework of Community Mental Health Centers in Kentucky and California.  He has been the Director of the San Francisco Mental Health Association, and for 13 years the Director of the California State Department of Mental Health’s Office of Prevention and Mental Health Promotion. He then became director of a private retreat and conference center in Sonoma County, California.  Since 2000, he had been a faculty member of the Coaches Training Institute, maintaining a private life coaching practice and training Co-Active coaches throughout the world.  He is a Master Certified Coach through the International Coaches Federation.

David Steindl-Rast, OSB, was born in Vienna, Austria, where he studied art, anthropology, and psychology, receiving his PhD from the University of Vienna. In 1953, he joined Mount Saviour Monastery, in Elmira, New York, of which he is now a senior member. After 12 years of training in the 1500-year-old Benedictine monastic tradition, Brother David received permission to practice Zen with Buddhist masters. In 1958-1959, Br. David was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Cornell University, where he also became the first Roman Catholic to hold the Thorpe Lectureship.  He became a leader in the monastic renewal movement, and in 1975 received the Martin Buber Award for his achievements in building bridges between religious traditions. Among his often reprinted and anthologized books are Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer; A Listening Heart; and Music of Silence.  At present Brother David serves a worldwide network as co-founder of A Network for Grateful Living.

Jeremy Stover has a special talent for working with young executives, developers, and managers in the high-tech and software industry. He provides a fresh perspective to individuals and teams working in fast-paced, high-stress environments. As a leadership trainer and an executive and team coach Jeremy brings a solution-focused systems approach to his clients. He understands the challenges of leading or being a member of a virtual team that spans the globe and is able to help his clients communicate more effectively and achieve tangible results.

Lynn Trojahn is Vice President of Advancement for ACCION New Mexico · Arizona · Colorado, where she has supported raising over $38 million for operational, endowment, lending, and building capital. She is chair of the advisory board for the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, a board member of United Way of Central New Mexico, and a volunteer with the Albuquerque Community Foundation, the NM Association of Fundraising Professionals, the NM Association of Commerce and Industry and the National Jewish Respiratory Hospital in Denver. She has a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Colgate University and a master's degree in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management. Lynn has been distinguished as a Power Broker and in 2010 a Rainmaker as part of the Power Broker list, a Woman of Influence, an Up and Comer and in the 40 Under 40 groups through the New Mexico Business Weekly

Pear Urushima is a senior marketing manager working for Apple, Inc. in California. She’s thrived in high-technology for more than 15 years, designing and implementing marketing programs for a diversity of F1000 companies. Pear loves the fine arts, photography, film, and video. Her creative passions include, playing taiko drums with San Jose Taiko, for whom she has performed throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

David Vogel researches and teaches how people learn a spirit of generosity in their day-to-day interactions. For 30 years he was a CEO and a management consultant working with the boards and management of major health care organizations throughout the U.S. specializing in strategic and operational repositioning and social change.

Dr. Brenda Wade is an award-winning holistic psychologist, television host, author, keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and media producer. Whether on TV or radio, or at live events, she always lights up the room with her unique, dynamic, love-centered approach. She has authored three books: Power Choices: 7 Signposts on Your Journey to Wholeness, Joy, Love and Peace; Love Lessons; and What Mama Couldn’t Tell Us About Love.