People

Dedicated people, building resilience

We are a diverse team of more than 100 people, with a small core office in Bolinas, California, and staff working in many parts of the world. Our visionary program directors lead from the heart and dedicate themselves to the challenges that face their own communities.

Board of Directors

Angela Oh

Board Director

Director, Gift of Compassion

Angela Oh

Angela is an attorney, ordained Zen Buddhist priest, and nationally recognized voice on race relations and conflict resolution who has spent a lifetime utilizing a range of internal and external tools to help bridge across race, religion, and other cultural divides.

Catherine Dodd

Board Director

Catherine Dodd

Catherine has worked in health policy and politics for over 25 years, including as San Francisco Mayor Newsom’s deputy chief of staff for Health and Human Services, district chief of staff to Nancy Pelosi, and a presidential appointee under Health and Human Services Secretary Shalala.

Jaune Evans

Board Director

Jaune Evans

Poet, photographer and Soto Zen priest Jaune Evans is active in cancer healing circles, global philanthropy, human and ecological rights movements, Indigenous Peoples' lands, cultural lifeways, and knowledge systems.

Katherine Fulton

Board Vice Chair

Katherine Fulton

Katherine has a 40+ year career in journalism, teaching, and consulting. She has worked closely with many of this generation’s leading philanthropists, major foundations and rising social entrepreneurs, helping them make their aspirations braver and their actions wiser.

Lisa Simms Booth

Board Director

Lisa Simms Booth

Lisa is a gifted vocalist, cancer patient advocate and executive director of the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. She has 25+ years experience in media, politics and advocacy, including leadership at Children’s Defense Fund, the Democratic National Committee, and the Biden Cancer Initiative.

Michael Lerner

Co-founder, Commonweal

Board Chair

Michael Lerner

Michael is the co-founder of Commonweal. He has worked extensively in environmental health and justice, integrative cancer care, and the polycrisis awareness movement. His current work is centered on personal and planetary resilience. He is a MacArthur Fellow and author of Choices in Healing.

Omar Brownson

Board Director

Omar Brownson

Omar is building a gratitude ecosystem and regenerative economy. He was the founding executive director of RiverLA and now works entrepreneurially at the intersection of nature, culture and finance. He is an advisor, poet, co-hosts the podcast Gratitude Blooming and delights in making good visible.

Robert Mulhall

Board Director

Robert Mulhall

Robert is deeply engaged with sustainable transformation for more peace, justice, and freedom in our world. President and CEO of Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, he leans into 20+ years of diverse experience, including public health, leadership, and d. He is the father to a beautiful son.

Serena Bian

Board Director

Serena Bian

Serena serves as a special advisor for Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, bringing a spiritual inquiry to the public health crisis of loneliness. A chaplain-in-training, she is also pursuing how we chaplain the end of extractive systems that isolate communities from themselves and one another.

Steven Bookoff

Board Treasurer

Steven Bookoff

Steven Bookoff has 35+ years of financial and management experience. He is the chairman of the ORGANIC INDIA USA board and thrives on serving mission-driven organizations. He is deeply connected with Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville, where he lived for many years.

Stewardship Council

Adam Yukelson

Chief Strategy Officer

Adam Yukelson

Adam brings systems thinking and multi-stakeholder change methodologies to organizations working on climate and social challenges. He has worked on responsible innovation at Meta and designed change labs at the MIT-based Presencing Institute

adam@commonweal.org
Website
Website

Arlene Allsman

Chief Operating Officer

Director, Commonweal Cancer Help Program

Arlene Allsman

Arlene has decades of experience in both nonprofit leadership and finance. She has supported nonprofits with community organizing and arts research and, prior to that, she worked with independent investment advisory firms that focused on empowering women.

arlene@commonweal.org
Website

Oren Slozberg

Executive Director

Co-Director, Healing Circles Global

Oren Slozberg

Oren’s work at Commonweal is currently focused on fostering the expansion of Commonweal’s capacity and diversity, meeting the emerging needs for new kinds of work and programs in today’s changing world and the polycrisis.

Oren@commonweal.org
Website
LinkedIn

Stanley Wu

Steward

Director, The Resilience Project & Omega

Stanley Wu

Stan’s parents immigrated from China and Chile. He has lived in intentional off-grid communities and has developed green energy systems (including solar and geothermal) and managed the utilities of a small town. He is a tango dancer, father, and doctor of traditional Chinese medicine.

stanley@omegaprograms.org
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Linkedin

Vanessa Marcotte

Chief Financial Officer

Vanessa Marcotte

Vanessa began working in finance in 1996, since graduating from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and receiving her CPA license at Arthur Andersen. She lives in Bolinas with her husband and two children and loves walking, biking, and family camping.

vmarcotte@commonweal.org
Website
Linkedin

Victoria Santos

Director, Center for Healing and Liberation

Victoria Santos

Victoria’s work is rooted in a bold, inclusive vision that builds on her decades of deep commitment to racial justice and our collective liberation. Victoria guides initiatives that center compassion, inquiry in community, and exploration of ways to foster well-being, healing and freedom.

vsantos@commonweal.org
Website

Commonweal Staff

Alexa Pal

Bookkeeper

Program Coordinator

Alexa Pal

Alexa is a baking, knitting, animal lover who works with the program numbers. After work, you can find her going for walks and attempting the NYT crossword puzzle.

apal@commonweal.org
Website

Amber Faur

Director, Power of Hope

Amber Faur

Amber is an ops maven, extreme gardener, and community activist. She has worked in social services and environmental organizations and is trained in international ag and rural sociology. She is fueled by a bubbly type A personality, love of spreadsheets, and passion for working alongside youth.

Amber@commonweal.org
Website

Burr Heneman

Co-founder, Commonweal

Advisor, Environmental Health

Burr Heneman

Burr directed our Oceans Program and was ED of Point Reyes Bird Observatory and Conservation Science. A Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation since 1999, his focus remains on the intersection of science, policy, and natural resource stewardship at the regional, state, national, and international levels.

Doron Hovav

Events and Database Coordinator

Doron Hovav

Doron's journey spans from youth leadership to modern ballet, tech, and storytelling for Israeli TV for two decades. Then, in the US, delved into documentary production and spearheaded Sonoma County's Jewish and Israeli Film Festivals, Now, happy to serve on Commonweal Staff.

doron@commonweal.org
Website

Elon Slozberg

Bookkeeper

Elon Slozberg

Elon is a bread-baking jazz sax player who loves cats (and humans) and anything involving numbers. He has worked as a relocation specialist, software developer, music teacher and wine curator.

elon@commonweal.org
Website

Erin O'Reilly

Donor and Grants Manager

Erin O'Reilly

Erin studied architecture at UC Berkeley and worked in the design profession in San Francisco for more than 20 years. Feeling a call to more heart-centric work, she traded the 25th floor of a sky tower for life at Commonweal, where she began in the permaculture garden.

erin@commonweal.org
Website
Linkedin

Francis Weller

Advisor, Commonweal Cancer Help Program

Francis Weller

Frances has been a therapist for over 40 years and has developed a style he calls Soul-Centered Psychotherapy. He is the author of The Wild Edge of Sorrow.

Heidi Paul

Payroll and Accounting Assistant

Heidi Paul

When Heidi isn't working alongside the amazing community at Commonweal, she is working in her art studio or surfing.

hpaul@commonweal.org
Website

Jacob Scheidler

Site Manager

Jacob Scheidler

Jacob grew up in the countryside of Indiana where he developed a love of the wild. He has a degree in Biology and has worked at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, supported the California condor conservation effort, and taught in the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program. He loves music.

jacob@commonweal.org
Website

Kimmy Haines

Retreat Center Coordinator

Kimmy Haines

Kimmy is an ocean lover who finds great joy in watching folks transform after finding retreat in Bolinas. An avid drawer and painter with a devoted home studio practice, she additionally loves surfing, roller skating, and finding the best taquerias.

kimmy@commonweal.org
Website

Ladybird Morgan

Advisor, Commonweal Cancer Help Program

Ladybird Morgan

Ladybird witnesses and teaches how to be present for life’s challenges and transitions by remembering, embodying and responding from our deepest truth. She is a registered nurse and social worker with 20+ years experience in palliative care and end-of-life and on the frontlines of sexual violence.

Melinda Stone

Bolinas Community Liason

Melinda Stone

Mt. Tamalpais told ​Melinda several years ago that ​she is a transceiver. ​She embrace​s this message from the mountain and ​is so thankful that ​she can practice ​her gifts with Commonweal and the community of Bolinas.

melindastone@commonweal.org
Website
Linkedin

Sharon Tonski

Donations Manager

Sharon Tonski

Sharon embraces radical hospitality and is passionate about bringing people together. Before she found her home at Commonweal, she worked as a chemistry teacher and product engineer.

sharon@commonweal.org
Website
Linkedin

Steve Heilig

Advisor, Environmental Health

Steve Heilig

Steve Heilig is an editor, epidemiologist, ethicist, environmentalist, educator, and ethnomusicologist with Commonweal since the last century. He first found it while sneaking in for waves but reviewed Michael Lerner’s cancer book and then wound up co-founding programs and hosting New School talks.

Susan Grelock-Yusem

Director of Narrative Development

Susan Grelock-Yusem

Susan is a depth-based community psychologist who has built teams and led communications for over 20 years in the regenerative food space. Her work is centered in the imaginal and narrative repair. She is a reader, writer, and runner.

susan@commonweal.org
Website
LinkedIn

Tu2, YingMing Tu

Co-director, GoCompassion

Visual Artist

Tu2, YingMing Tu

Ming is a Taiwan-born visual artist. His art is a practice of meditation made manifest. His work expresses awakening, affinity, and compassion and illustrates the infinite ways in which humanity is connected through space and time.

Waz Thomas

Senior Advisor, CCHP

Waz Thomas

Waz has a forty year history with Commonweal. He served as our General Manager for 26 years, and he co-founded and staffs the Cancer Help Program. He explores his artistic interests daily, in the late night and early morning hours. He says he came to Commonweal to do what needed to be done.

Program Directors

Alex Dorsey

Director, Platform Impact Leaders Fellowship

Alex Dorsey

Alex Dorsey is a passionate facilitator with more than 25 years building and serving communities in the fields of community redevelopment, nonprofit and for-profit business management.

alex@pileaders.org
Website

Alexandra Destler

Director, SafetyNEST

Alexandra Destler

Alexandra has worked for more than two decades to spark swift change in our public health system. Her aim? To promote global sustainability—not in theory but in practice. She holds degrees from Harvard, Cornell, and the Sorbonne.

alexandra@mysafetynest.com
Website

Andrea Frey

Co-Director, Omega Resilience Awards

Andrea Frey

Andrea brings decades of experience in strategy, fundraising and communication for clients including Wildlife Justice Commission, Elephant Protection initiative, NEMO and Global Fishing Watch. She has worked at Oak Foundation, Amnesty International, the Swiss Development Agency, and the UN.

Anna O'Malley

Director, Natura Institute for Ecology and Medicine

Anna O'Malley

Anna is a healer, a mother of two delightful girls, a lover of life and love itself, a climber of trees, a weaver of connections, and a champion of collective evolution for the good of all beings. Anna is also an MD and practices Integrative Family and Community Medicine

Armando Zumaya

Director, Somos El Poder

Armando Zumaya

Armando has been in fundraising for over 35 years. He is a noted expert on Latino Major Giving and all aspects of fundraising with the Latinx community.

BJ Miller

Director, Center for Dying and Living

BJ Miller

BJ is a hospice and palliative care specialist, public speaker, and connector. By facilitating open conversations about loss and perspective, he hopes to inspire people to effectively participate in their own care.

bj@thecenterfordyingandliving.org
Website
Podcast

Barbara Sattler

Director, California Nurses for Environmental Health & Justice

Barbara Sattler

Barbara is an international leader in environmental health and nursing and works to integrate environmental health and justice into nursing education, practice, research and advocacy. She has mentored many nurses around the world. She is a Registered Nurse with a doctorate in Public Health.

bsattler@usfca.edu
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Ben Scott-Brandt

Director, Retreat Center Collaboration

Ben Scott-Brandt

Ben fosters collaboration across organizations and networks to creatively and strategically meet the complex challenges facing the retreat center sector. His diverse career has included songwriting, performing, interfaith community-building, and education

ben@retreatcentercollaboration.org
Website
LinkedIn

Brenda Salgado

Director, Racial Healing Initiative

Brenda Salgado

Brenda is a spiritual and mindfulness author, speaker, wisdom keeper, healer, ceremonialist, and organizational consultant. She has 25 years of experience in transformative leadership development and traditional healing and ceremony. She is author of Real World Mindfulness for Beginners.

Brenda@commonweal.org
Website
SoundCloud

Cassandra Lynn Ferrara

Director, The Center for Ethical Land Transition

Cassandra Lynn Ferrara

Cassandra’s work is rooted in liberation and repair through centering our relationship with Land. The Center provides strategic real estate support, education and programming in solidarity with cultural land reunion of communities displaced by colonization and capitalism.

cassandra@ethicallandtransition.org
Website

David Spaw

Director, Healing Circles Houston

David Spaw

Inspired from his personal experience of healing, David set out to bring Healing Circles to Texas. He has lost two wives and a sister to cancer and was drawn to this amazing approach as a path to discovery and healing, accessible to all.

David Steinhart

Director, Juvenile Justice Program

David Steinhart

David has been the Director of the Commonweal Juvenile Justice Program since 1992. David is recognized, both within California and nationally, as an advocate, expert and author on a wide range of youth justice issues.

Deborah Cohan

Director, Foundation of Embodied Medicine

Deborah Cohan

Deb is a loving mother, joyous dancer, compassionate physician, and subtly mischievous rabble-rouser spreading the messages of joy, interconnectedness, and love. She is also a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCSF and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and runs HIVE

deborah.cohan@ucsf.edu
Website
The Hive Online

Diana Lindsay

Co-director, Healing Circles Global

Diana Lindsay

After recovering from stage 4 lung cancer, Diana used her 20+ years of experience as CEO of Lindsay Communications to co-found Healing Circles Langley and Healing Circles Global. She is the author of Something More Than Hope: Surviving Despite the Odds, Thriving Because of Them.

diana.lindsay@healingcirclesglobal.org
Website

Elin Stebbins-Waldal

Director, Healing Circles Langley

Elin Stebbins-Waldal

Elin is passionate about hosting and community building. She is the author of Tornado Warning, A Memoir Of Teen Dating Violence And Its Effect On A Woman’s Life.

Em Miller

Director, Visual Thinking Strategies

Em Miller

Em (they/them) has worked as an early childhood and elementary teacher, museum educator, and education consultant to artists and institutions. They hold a masters degree in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute.

emiller@vtshome.org
Website
Instagram

Erina Mitich

Director, Partners For Youth Empowerment

Erina Mitich

Erina specializes in program design and impact and has worked with NGOs globally on complex development issues and humanitarian initiatives. She is dedicated to ethical storytelling, participatory engagement, and centering the voices of affected communities in all aspects of work.

erina@partnersforyouth.org
Website
LinkedIn

Irwin Keller

Director, Taproot Gathering

Irwin Keller

Reb Irwin is a spiritual leader, performer, activist, lawyer and former drag queen. He has been spiritual leader of Congregation Ner Shalom in Cotati, California, since 2008

James Stark

Director, Regenerative Design Institute

James Stark

James has committed his life to exploring how we—ourselves, our communities, and our species—might move into harmony with who we are and the natural world. He believes that creating a loving, peaceful inner world provides the soil for the seeds of our visions to grow in the world.

james@regenerativedesign.org
Website

Jenepher Stowell

Director, Commonweal Retreat Center

Jenepher Stowell

Jenepher also has a lifelong interest in the intersection of spirituality, the natural world, human health, and the health of the planet. She has lived and worked at Commonweal since 1987 and still finds her work to be as meaningful and rewarding today as it was when she started, if not more so.

Jenepher@commonweal.org
Website

Jenyng Wu

Director, project SOUL

Jenyng Wu

Jenyng plays at the intersection of the Divine & Life. She creates containers for sacred and practical conversations, designs frameworks where intention integrates with the emergent, and facilitates the movement of imagination into action. She works in service of the 22nd Century flourishing.

Jim Quay

Director, Courage & Renewal Network of Northern California

Jim Quay

Dr. James Quay served as executive director of the California Council for the Humanities from 1983 to 2008. Since his retirement, he has been a facilitator for the Center for Courage and Renewal and facilitated retreats on Journeying through the Autumn of Life and Searching for the Heart of Resilie

jimquay@commonweal.org
Website

Jordan Luftig

Director, Kinship Blooms

Jordan Luftig

Jordan is dedicated to cultivating regenerative, equitable futures for all and is an Integral Master Coach. He is a founding member of the Guild of Future Architects.

Kate Holcombe

Director, Healing Yoga Foundation

Kate Holcombe

Kate is dedicated to supporting and empowering individuals in their own health, healing, and personal development through Yoga. Kate has been a student of T.K.V. Desikachar since 1991 and has 20+ years of experience working with individuals facing a broad range of health concerns and illnesses.

kate@healingyoga.org
Website

Kristin Schafer

Director, Collaborative for Health and Environment

Kristin Schafer

Kristin has worked for over three decades in the field of environmental health and justice. From her time as a communications specialist at EPA, to her work with Pesticide Action Network and now at CHE, she’s always a firm believer in the power of collaborative, science-based advocacy for change.

kristin@healthandenvironment.org
Website

Kyra Epstein

Director, The New School

Communications Manager

Kyra Epstein

For more than 25 years, Kyra has helped organizations tell their stories. She is also a practitioner of herbal medicine and has studied with plant alchemist Suzanne Fischer-Rizzi and herbalist Stephen Buhner.

kyra@commonweal.org
Website

Lindsay Espejel

Deputy Director, Healing Circles Global

Lindsay Espejel

Lindsay is dedicated to transforming healthcare organizations in stress to places that generate well-being from the inside out. She knows firsthand the transformative healing power of circles, and she holds a Doctorate of Nursing Practice.in Integrative Health and Healing.

Madeleine Corson

Director, West Marin Review

Madeleine Corson

Madeleine co-founded the Review after responding to an ad in 2006 about starting a literary publication. She has been on board ever since. She enjoys helping poets and authors self-publish and also works with organizations such as Stanford University, National Geographic, and Yosemite National Park.

madeleine@corsondesign.com
Website

Mark Valentine

Co-Director, Omega Resilience Awards

Mark Valentine

Mark specializes in strategic program design and organizational development and has 25+ years experience helping nonprofits and philanthropic institutions. At the Packard Foundation he helped establish the nation’s largest conservation grantmaking program with initiatives around the world.

mark@omegaprograms.org
Website

Milicent Johnson

Director, Octavia Fund

Milicent Johnson

Milicent has found her calling creating sacred space for Black women to remember, reclaim and embody their truest selves in service of collective liberation. She has spent nearly two decades working towards systemic change through direct service, policy, advocacy, urban planning, and philanthropy.

Nancy Netherland

Director, Kids and Caregivers

Nancy Netherland

Nancy is a mother of, and advocate for, two former foster children living with rare, chronic medical complexities. She founded Kids and Caregivers in response to the need for families, caregivers, and providers of chronically ill children to have increased support, resources, and information.

Pauline Tesler

Director, Integrative Law Institute

Pauline Tesler

Pauline believes in reclaiming law as a healing profession. A longtime California “Superlawyer,” she has published two books and many articles aimed at transforming how lawyers understand the human meaning of their work. Her work has catalyzed the international movement called “Collaborative Law.”

phtesler@integrativelawinstitute.org
Website

Rachel Naomi Remen

Medical Director, Commonweal Cancer Help Program

Rachel Naomi Remen

Rachel is Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine and a pioneer of Relationship Centered Care and Integrative Medicine. She is widely recognized for her ground-breaking program The Healer’s Art and her best-selling book Kitchen Table Wisdom.

Sharyle Patton

Director, Commonweal Biomonitoring Research Center

Sharyle Patton

Sharyle is a pioneer of community-driven biomonitoring projects and work to test firefighters and their gear for PFAS chemicals. She co-founded the International Pollution Elimination Network which worked to formulate the Stockholm Convention and continues to engage in UN treaties development.

spatton@commonweal.org
Website
LinkedIn

Valerie Chafograck

Director, Movement Liberation Fund

Valerie Chafograck

Valerie is an embodiment and conscious dance facilitator. Blending Soul Motion™ practice, somatic and social justice perspectives, she offers classes and workshops internationally to advance personal and collective transformation, healing, and liberation.

valerie@movement-liberation.com
Website
Intstagram