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 most of her adult life in 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 founded a values-based fundraising consulting and training, and leadership coaching business, 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. During this time, she was also 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.
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 is a stage IV cancer survivor who feels blessed to work with her beloved colleagues in sharing the gifts of gratefulness with people around the world. She lives in Western MA with her family, and gives thanks every day to be surrounded by the glories of the natural world and a vibrant, loving community.
You can peruse a selection of Kristi’s writing and podcasts, and learn more about her new book, Wake Up Grateful, here. To contact Kristi, send her an email at:
Director of Education and Programming
Sheryl is a lifelong educator, passionate about designing innovative and beautiful spaces in which people are inspired to learn and grow. She has spent nearly three decades teaching and leading in schools and organizations, creating transformative learning experiences rooted in both scholarship and heart. In 2013, she founded the Sofia Center for Professional Development, whose professional offerings support and honor educators in their sacred work.
Sheryl received a BA in English from Trinity University and an MA in Women’s Studies from George Washington University. In 2004-05 she was a Klingenstein Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University.
When not engaged in this work she loves, Sheryl can be found connecting with beloved family and friends, traveling to new places whenever possible, creating ritual and ceremony, or camping by a river several miles down a mountain trail near her home in New Mexico. Throughout all, she embraces the lifelong learning and blessings offered by aspiring to live gratefully each day, by over and over saying grace.
To contact Sheryl, send an email to her at:
Finance and Operations Manager
Prior to joining a Network for Grateful Living, Muthoni served as the CFO for Proteus Fund and as a program leader for a global educational enterprise. Inspired by grateful living, Muthoni is passionate about health and vitality. In 2018 she opened her own wellness practice where she coaches individuals towards their goals for health and wellbeing. She also joyfully serves as treasurer of Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity.
For leisure, Muthoni enjoys adventure, traveling, and being outdoors — especially in the summer months. Some of her adventures have seen her climb Mount Kilimanjaro, skydive, and visit the Taj Mahal.
One of six siblings, Muthoni was born and raised in Kenya. She remains closely connected to her roots, frequently visiting her parents and other close family and friends.
Muthoni received her MBA from Duquesne University and currently lives in Western Massachusetts. She firmly believes in the power of self-care, compassion for others, and living gratefully.
To contact Muthoni, send an email to her at:
Website Program 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 Incident Review Committee at Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca.
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. She enjoys dancing, hiking, yoga, the warmth and wisdom of 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 nine 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 growth opportunities.
The recent years of Jeseph’s career have been especially fulfilling as he has been lucky enough to work with organizations such as Minka, ChangingAging, and A Network for Grateful Living; each organization is dedicated to making the world a better place. Born in Ithaca, NY, Jeseph now lives in Evansville, IN where, when he is not trying to keep up with the ever-changing world of tech applications, he is often found taste-testing at new or lesser-known establishments.
To contact Jeseph, send an email to him at:
Community Engagement Coordinator
Serafina’s sensitivity to other people and the natural world inspired her to leave a corporate career path in favor of serving values-aligned organizations such as A Network for Grateful Living. After volunteering for two years with the organization, she is now delighted to be an official member of the Gratefulness Team with the joyful privilege of serving its growing community.
The study of sociology and economics led Serafina to teach special-needs children before spending two decades in STM publishing. Her listening and interpersonal skills paired with her love of data enabled her to establish extensive global partnerships (a nod to librarians!) and grow a peer-reviewed online-journal program from its launch to multi-million-dollar annual sales.
Serafina makes her home in Western MA where she serves as a Board member for Art in the Orchard, and lives with a life partner who makes her laugh along with their two sweet, asymmetrical kitties. Her insatiable curiosity means she is often found chasing insects, tracking animal footprints, and reading. Serafina habitually gives thanks, binge watches international dramas, and can be seen smiling and waving at strangers.
To contact Serafina, send an email to her at:
Community Programs Coordinator
Rose has devoted herself personally and professionally to cultivating wellbeing through heart-centered service and creative expression. She brings her passion for mindfulness, creativity, and sustainability to A Network for Grateful Living (ANGL) where she is honored to engage with ANGL’s inspiring community.
Prior to joining ANGL, she supported her commitment to the local food movement as an organic farm worker and as an AmeriCorps member and Farm-to-Institution Coordinator for the Food and Health Network of South Central New York. She continued her interest in holistic health as a student at the Finger Lakes School of Massage in Ithaca, NY, where she also eventually worked as an instructor.
In addition to her role as ANGL’s Community Programs Coordinator, Rose passionately explores grateful living as a bodyworker, yoga teacher, and singer-songwriter. She earned her B.A. in Writing at Ithaca College and continues to dabble in the craft. She lives with her husband and their wily kitty in Buffalo, New York.
To contact Rose, send an email to her at:
Board Member, Chair of Governance and Nominations Committee
Adetola Abiade is an Executive Director of Organizational Effectiveness in Consumer and Commercial Banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co, with 20 years of experience driving global business transformation, organizational development, technology, innovation and intrapreneurship initiatives for startup, not-for-profit and Fortune 500 companies. She has a proven track record launching internal innovation programs and competitions, managing the implementation of global ideation technology platforms, managing entrepreneurship training programs and incubation initiatives. Her other skills and interests include mentoring, singing/performing arts, travel, writing, community partnership and volunteering.
Board Member, President of the Board
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.
Board Member, Treasurer
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.
Anne Hiaring Hocking specializes in domestic and international trademark and copyright law. With an LLM in international law, Anne is a noted authority in international trademark filing and enforcement, copyright protection and comparative law. Noted for her scholarship and practical advice, Anne has assisted a number of authors including Edward Brown and Br. David Steindl-Rast and advises The Foundation for a Course in Miracles along with a number of software developers, publishers and companies in copyright industries. In addition to her board service with A Network for Grateful Living, Anne is pleased to serve as a volunteer at the Zen Hospice Project and as a mentor for Tech Women.
Ron has dedicated his life to bringing people together. Whether it is under the title of artist, producer, motivational speaker or director, the root inspiration of all that he does is his love of community.
Professionally, Ron has connected with a global community of entertainers. He has acted as Artistic Director of Cirque du Soleil’s show VOLTA (2018 to 2020) and serves as a Senior Producer for e2k; Co-Director for the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii, and Co-Producer for the NFL Pro Bowl United Way Thanksgiving Half-Time Show.
Since 1994, he has been a proud contributor to Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids. In 2020, he and his husband, Josh Adamson, turned their annual Holiday Concert into a virtual fundraiser, raising nearly $50K in one evening. Also in 2020, Ron supported his Southern California community by bringing his production experience to work on the ground at mass vaccination sites. In partnership with the State of California, Kaiser Permanente, and e2k events x entertainment, they provided vaccinations to hundreds of thousands of people.
Board Member, Secretary
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.
Stuart McFaul is president of Stuart McFaul Associates, a marketing strategy and management firm helping purpose-driven entrepreneurs. He is the creator the Living Brand™ Marketing System, an empathy-based approach that has been leveraged by over 100 companies and has been recognized by The Smithsonian Institution as a groundbreaking way to introduce companies, products and services to consumers.
He most recently founded and led Spiralgroup, an internationally-focused full service brand marketing agency. A seasoned business strategist, Stuart has guided B2B / B2C marketing efforts for over 200 companies all over the world, including Apple, Cisco, Getty Images, HP and Oracle to multiple startups to foreign governments. His efforts have earned clients billions of dollars and program ROI as high as 23,000%. He is a frequent lecturer at major universities, including Wharton, Stanford and USC Marshall School of Business.
Board Member, Vice President of the Board
Steve Rio is a social impact entrepreneur, futurist, psychedelic medicine and breathwork coach, investor, and musician. His life’s work is helping people realize their full potential in order to expand global consciousness and transform the world.
Steve is Co-Founder and Founder of multiple ventures including Nature of Work, a work-wellness program, Enfold Institute, offering retreats and research based on psychedelics, breathwork, meditation, and somatic modalities, and NOW with Steve Rio, a podcast that explores what it means to live a good life.
Steve has two decades of expertise in digital, branding, communications, and organizational strategy, and close to a decade of expertise in performance and wellness, mindfulness, and personal development. Steve donates 25% of his time to mentoring, advising, and non-profit board roles. He mentors through the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and YELL. He is VP of the Board for Grateful Living, an inbound board member of the CPA, and a strategic advisor to Therapsil. Steve lives on Bowen Island with his wife and dogs, has a 21 y/o daughter living in Vancouver, and is an engaged and proud step-dad and husband.
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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We are delighted to announce the release of Kristi Nelson’s book Wake Up Grateful