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…
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.
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.
Steve is a 15-year veteran in design, brand strategy and technology. As Founder and CEO of Briteweb (the company which designed and built the current version of gratefulness.org), his focus is on building the world’s most flexible, engaged and efficient company, bringing together the best talent from all over the world. Steve’s personal purpose is to “push boundaries and shift paradigms to create awesome social change”. He has never been afraid to take risks for the right reasons and is an energetic and engaging leader.
In addition, Steve is a futurist who believes deeply in the importance of disconnecting to find silence and make space for big ideas and connection. He splits his time between his small hobby farm on Bowen Island, where he connects with nature, and his apartment in downtown Brooklyn, where he connects with humanity, culture, and innovation.
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.
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