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.
Grateful Living as a Practice for Every Moment: An Audio Recording
Finding Gratitude In Familiar Places
Heroic Hearts: Love in the Face of Anguish
It’s All About the Glass
Gratefulness: An Opportunity to Practice
When the Well Runs Dry
Training our Trains of Thought
Making Grateful Living a Grateful DOing
Grateful for Getting Older
2016: Turning New Year’s Resolutions into Revelations
Heroic Hearts: Love in the Face of Despair
Finding Gratitude in Familiar Places (Huffington Post)
Gratitude Humbles a Giver (Huffington Post)
Grateful for Gratefulness in Difficult Times (Huffington Post)
Give From Great Fullness (Massage Magazine)
To contact Kristi, send an email to her at:
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, three sons, and ever-goofy canine companion, Rainer.
To contact Katie, send an email to her at:
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 began working for A Network for Grateful Living, 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 coordinating events and programs, to helping Br. David with his engagements, archives and publishing, to website content acquisition and management, her service here has become a soul-quenching grateful living practice in itself.
To contact Margaret, send an email to her at:
Website Content Coordinator
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.
To contact Saoirse, send an email to her at:
Digital Engagement Coordinator
Jeseph brings over seven years of digital marketing and web development experience to the team. His marketing specialties are in search engine optimization, social media marketing and conversion rate optimization. He has a passion for all things digital and can often be found digging into a spreadsheet to uncover creative marketing opportunities.
The recent years of Jeseph’s career have been especially fulfilling as he has been lucky enough to work with organizations such as ChangingAging, and now A Network for Grateful Living, which are dedicated to making the world a better place. Born in Ithaca, NY Jeseph now lives in Buffalo, NY, where, when he is not trying to keep up with the ever-changing world of tech applications, he is often found following his favorite football teams.
To contact Jeseph, send an email to him at:
Adetola Abiade, Vice President, is currently serving as Manager of Global Innovation – Americas at BNY Mellon. In this role, she works across the 50,000 person organization to create and sustain a culture of innovation and collaboration. She was one of 56 employees recognized as a 2013 BNY Mellon Star and oversaw the successful launch of A.C.E., the company’s first global innovation competition introduced in 2013. Adetola is a true believer that innovation is a people business that relies on all employees to be engaged and actively thinking differently to drive quality, client satisfaction, revenue and career development. Her other skills and interests include mentoring, singing/performing arts, travel, writing, community partnership and volunteering.
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.
Rocco served as CFO for a large multi-national advertising agency before running his own agency that specialized in Conversion Optimization using predictive modeling, statistics and advertising technologies. In his spare time, he created a best-selling, award-winning board game and introduced the nation to one of its first energy drinks and is currently learning Italian and traveling. Rocco is extremely grateful for the life he is living and has devoted the rest of his life on the planet to his soulmate as well as assisting non-profit organizations which have the potential to greatly improve the human condition.
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 is making a difference in the lives of young people of color by opening the doors to high-quality education. “I want youth to know their voices do matter, that they can make change happen now,” says Anthony, who walks in the footsteps of his grandfather, Cesar Chavez, the iconic civil rights and farm labor leader who himself followed in Gandhi’s footsteps and was a contemporary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
For seven years Anthony served as Brother David’s travel assistant and companion on his international tours over four continents, spending time with Brother David’s contemporaries, from His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Thich Nhat Hanh. Now Anthony works with Education Trust—West, which advocates for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all California students, particularly those of color and those living in poverty.
Colleen Dunnegan began her career in television production working for the most successful show in the history of daytime television, The Oprah Winfrey Show. During her time on the show, Colleen produced some of the show’s most high profile interviews and highly-rated large-scale productions. From 2011-2013 Colleen left the TV world and managed media relations for Northwestern Memorial Hospital, promoting groundbreaking clinical trials and incredible patient stories. Colleen returned to television in 2013 to produce the three- time Emmy Award-winning series Super Soul Sunday, a daytime show featuring Oprah Winfrey’s interviews with today’s top thinkers, visionaries and spiritual leaders.
Colleen graduated from St. Ambrose University with a B.A. in public relations and marketing communications. In her spare time, Colleen enjoys spending time with family and friends, running, reading, traveling and curiosity conversations with complete strangers.
Kristen is a health care executive with over 25 years of experience in hospital operations and regulatory compliance. She has a strong expertise in risk management and implementing strategic diversity initiatives. Kristen is a skilled leader with demonstrated success in collaboration with all levels of teams and individuals to achieve established goals. Kristen is married, is passionate about cooking and sustainable gardening, and is grateful for the many blessings in her life.
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.
Guri Mehta is a founding team member, of a non-profit organization called ServiceSpace, that believes in the inherent generosity of others, and aims to ignite the spirit of service through small, collective acts that transform our world.
Guri’s experiences include Human Resources Management for human-centered organizations, working with people with disabilities, job creation for women in India, a mentoring program for disadvantaged youth. Guri currently splits her time between ServiceSpace and LifeMoves, a non-profit organization that helps homeless families and individuals break the cycle of homelessness. Guri lives in Berkeley, California and enjoys photography, travel, reading, and meditation.
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.
Co-Founder, Senior Advisor
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.
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.
Emeritus Board Member
Co-Founder, Emeritus Board Member
Emeritus Board Member
Co-founder, Former Board Member
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