A Network for Grateful Living reflects the hearts, skills, and minds of many people. Only a handful of us are reflected here, but we take our stewardship deeply to heart. A diversity of perspectives informs our humble service. Get to know us…
Kristi has spent virtually her entire adult life immersed in the rewarding work of non-profit leadership, fundraising, and organizational development. In a wide variety of roles, she has helped to lead, fund, and strengthen organizations committed to progressive social and spiritual change.
In 2001, Kristi started a values-based fundraising consulting and training, and leadership coaching company, and in this capacity worked with organizations such as the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Spirit in Action, Wisdom 2.0, and The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, among others. During this same period, she was also the founding Director of the Soul of Money Institute with Lynne Twist, Director of Development at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and Director of Development and Community Relations for the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society.
Before 2001, Kristi spent five years as the Executive Director of a regional women’s foundation where she led a successful $5 million endowment campaign, developed empowerment programs for women and girls, and oversaw a community-based grantmaking program.
Kristi received her BA from UMass/Amherst, a graduate certificate in Business and Sociology from Boston College, and her Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) with a concentration in Leadership Studies, from Harvard University.
Kristi lives in Western Massachusetts with her family, and feels blessed every day to be surrounded by the glories of the natural world and a vibrant, loving community. She now also feels tremendous good fortune to be working with her beloved colleagues from around the world at A Network for Grateful Living
Program & Community Development Coordinator
After graduating with a B.S. degree in Psychology from Tufts University, with the idea of becoming a social worker, Margaret Wakeley suddenly found herself immersed in her other areas of interest: music and acting. She found herself working as a vocalist, recording artist, and voice-over actor. Basing herself first in Atlanta, GA, then Los Angeles, CA, Margaret performed in premier hotels and clubs throughout the United States and Europe.
When she moved to Seattle, WA, married and started a family, her music shifted from venues around the world to more intimate performances to benefit local organizations closer to home. Continuing this work in Ithaca, NY, her current home, Margaret also expanded her community service in many volunteer capacities in local schools, hospice services and fundraising performances. In March of 2005, she joined the webteam of Gratefuless.org and shifted her focus again to incorporate her many concerns and experiences into her work here. From corresponding with website visitors all over the globe, to helping create gratefulness retreats, events, and e-courses, to sending notes of thanks to thousands of contributors, to creating hundreds of eCards, her service here has become a soul-quenching grateful living practice in itself.
Saoirse McClory joined A Network for Grateful Living following a rewarding career with her local hospice, where one of the most important lessons she learned was to live, nurture and express gratefulness.
Saoirse is a student/practitioner of Integral and Evolutionary Spirituality, and has been nourished, transformed and inspired by years of meditation practice, enlightenment teachings and the simple and profound practice of cultivating gratefulness.
Over the years, Saoirse has enjoyed and learned much from being of service to a number of human service, social change and arts organizations. She currently serves on the board of the Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County.
Originally from Ireland, and having traveled and lived in many places around the globe, Saoirse is grateful for a rich and wonderful life lived in Ithaca, NY with her husband, Larry, and two soft and loving cats. She enjoys dancing, hiking, yoga, spending time with family and friends and participating in the creation of a more just, sustainable and enlightened world.
Katie comes to A Network for Grateful Living (ANGL) with a passion for public health and social change. Before joining ANGL, she was the Administrative and Finance Coordinator for Massachusetts Farm to School and has had the privilege of serving women and families as a doula and apprentice midwife.
A graduate of Smith College, where she designed a major in the Politics of Women’s Biology, Katie continues her education in women’s health and mindfulness. She has completed certifications in childbirth education and labor assistance, herbal medicine, and Embodyoga teacher training.
Fascinated by the many intersections of ecology, health, culture, and social change, Katie is delighted and humbled to be working in service of A Network for Grateful Living. She lives in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts with her husband, twin sons, and ever-goofy canine companion, Rainer.
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, raise funding from top Venture Capital Funds, move through major business transitions, and develop their personal leadership skills. Michael started his career in banking, then was a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. He has since spent 20 years as a senior executive in technology startup companies. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago and is currently in process of becoming certified as a Life Coach.
Dale Biron is an executive coach, leadership strategist and poet. Using poems as practical tools for supporting and illuminating our lives, Dale helps people grow, learn, heal, and navigate the sometimes, treacherous waters of change and transition. He is past Poetry Editor for Gratefulness.org and is a former board member for the Marin Poetry Center. Dale teaches poetry-based courses at The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dominican University in The San Francisco Bay Area. Dale has shared his coaching, leadership and poetry-based work at such venues as The Herbst Theatre, various business retreats and conferences, The Center for Attitudinal Healing, political rallies, schools and churches.
Sheryl Chard is the founding director of the Sofia Center for Professional Development at Bosque School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Sofia Center is the manifestation of many of Sheryl’s passions – her love of working with educators; her commitment to lifelong intellectual inquiry; and her desire to create innovative and beautiful spaces in which people can work collaboratively, think outside the box, and stay true to the heart of teaching and learning. She is an experienced retreat and seminar leader who has designed a wide range of inspirational offerings for teachers and education leaders from over 75 schools and organizations in New Mexico. Prior to founding the Sofia Center, Sheryl served as Bosque’s middle school head for fifteen years. She has taught at the middle and high school levels at Bosque School, The Barrie School in Maryland, and at Exploration, a summer program at Wellesley College (now at Yale).
Anthony Chavez was raised in the farm worker movement his grandfather founded and speaks around the country about Cesar Chavez’s legacy. A political and education advocate, he has also served for six years as travel assistant to Benedictine Brother David Steindl-Rast on his national and international tours. Anthony graduated in 2007 from California State University, Bakersfield with a B.A. degree in religious studies. Recently, he was selected to participate in the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs until June 2014.
Frank Elaridi, an Emmy-Award-winning journalist, works as a freelance producer for ABC Network News, which includes World News with Diane Sawyer, Nightline, 20/20 and Good Morning America. He received national attention from media outlets like Huffpost Live and NPR News for his investigative feature “Fame: For Sale”, a 24-minute video about the supply and demand of the social media industry. With UNHCR and actress Kat Graham, he produced in-depth video coverage for CNN in Zaatri, Syria, to raise awareness about the refugee crisis. Frank became familiar with A Network for Grateful Living when he interviewed Brother David and other spiritual leaders for his YouTube series, Modern Nirvana.
Gary Fiedel is one of A Network for Grateful Living’s founders and has served as its treasurer from the beginning in May of 2000. 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 and grateful living in the world.
Jennifer Konecny met Br. David in the 1970’s while doing Campus Ministry at Santa Clara University. She is delighted to be able to share his spiritual leadership with others through A Network for Grateful Living. Jennifer is retired from a more than 20-year career as a Human Resources Executive for high tech companies in Silicon Valley and now enjoys her large family and travels.
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. Over the years, in her work teaching English at a community college, developing property, working in office management, and doing systems analysis, she enjoyed working with teams of dedicated people doing good work. In retirement she enjoys having her family close by and being an active part of her grandchildren’s lives. Recently, having moved to a Residential Community, she finds it provides the opportunity each day for listening deeply and receiving the gift of life as it appears in each person and each moment. She feels blessed to be able to serve on the Board of A Network for Grateful Living and continue her love of working with a dedicated team of grateful people doing good work in the world.
Alberto Rizzo left the world of academic science to pursue innovative ventures in telecommunications, including Sitel, Inc., an international call-back service provider, and several companies around Latin America. He and his family participate in many NGOs for social development. He distributes his time between new agricultural, artistic and technological projects and promotion of Br. David’s message for Spanish-speaking people. He is co-founder of Vivir Agradecidos, the Spanish-speaking network of A Network for Grateful Living. In 2014 he produced “Celebration: Br. David in Patagonia”, a bi-lingual (Spanish and English), multi-media book, and he has also participated in the translation of several Br. David’s books into Spanish and Portuguese.
Chuck Roppel was trained and functioned as Catholic Priest in the early years of his career. From this role his professional life 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 is a Master Certified Coach through the International Coaches Federation. Since 2000, he had been a faculty member of the Coaches Training Institute, maintaining a private coaching practice and training Co-Active coaches throughout the world.
David Steindl-Rast, OSB, studied art, anthropology, and psychology, at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts (MA) and the University of Vienna (PhD). In 1953, he joined Mount Saviour Benedictine Monastery in New York State. In 1975 he received the Martin Buber Award for building bridges between religious traditions. His books include Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer; A Listening Heart; and Deeper Than Words. Currently, Br. David serves as senior advisor of Gratefulness.org.
Lynn Trojahn is Vice President of Advancement for ACCION New Mexico· Arizona· Colorado, where she has supported raising over $56 million for operational, endowment, lending, and building capital. She is a board member of United Way of Central New Mexico, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Laguna Community Foundation, and she is the 2015-2016 chair of A Network for Grateful Living board. She is on the advisory board of the Sofia Center and Horizons of Albuquerque and Clearinghouse NMTC of California, and is a past president of the NM Association of Fundraising Professionals. In 2012, Lynn received the Small Business Administration’s Financial Services Champion of the Year award for New Mexico.
Pear Urushima is a writer, poet, taiko artist, composer, traveler, and photographer. She is a former performing member of San Jose Taiko and Associate member, San Jose Taiko. Her collaborations include: guest panelist – Bains Numeriques in Enghien-les-Bains, France; partner/presenter Robots and Avatars, London, UK. She is a supporter and advocate for TaikoPeace, Oneness Butoh, and the Charter for Compassion. Pear has thrived in the high-tech industry, Silicon Valley for many years as a marketeer.
David Vogel is an economic development activist & professional photographer, currently involved in projects that involve creating healthy, sustainability-based “public commons” from blighted urban areas. He has served on a number of Boards, including non-profits that focus on integrating the arts & aesthetics into urban cultures, values & economies. His prize-winning photography has been shown in the US and internationally. 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. & abroad specializing in health care reform via strategic and operational repositioning and turnarounds.
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