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Board of Directors

boardofdirectors_Debroah-F-ChingDeborah F. Ching, M.P.A., is principal of the Nonprofit Consulting Group, providing organizational development, training and leadership transition services to the nonprofit sector. Over her career, she has served as executive director and CEO of organizations providing health and human services, as well as philanthropic organizations. In addition to her consulting practice, she teaches nonprofit management in the Master in Public Administration program at California State University, Northridge. She has served on numerous boards, civic committees and commissions. Currently, she is on the board of the Cathay Bank Foundation, and a member of the Legal Services Trust Fund Commission of the California State Bar. She holds a B.A. from U.C. Los Angeles and an M.P.A. from the University of Southern California.


Terasa Cooley, Executive Director, is charged with leading a vital organization that strongly represents, supports and grows the Circle of Trust® approach. She formerly served as Vice President for Program & Strategy at the Unitarian Universalist Association (Boston, MA) where she was responsible for all program offices, advocacy campaigns, board reporting and strategic initiatives. In her 12 years with UUA, she also held positions as District Executive and Director of Congregational Life. From 1990-2005, Terasa was a senior minister in Detroit, Michigan, Chicago, Illinois, and Hartford, Connecticut. Most recently, Terasa was an organizational development consultant with a special focus on organizational diversity and effective board functioning. Her clients ranged from local to international non-profit organizations, including Think Equal, The Precious Project, Heller School of Management, and The Sanctuaries DC.


Veta Goler is Co-Director, Teaching Resource and Research Center, and Associate Professor of Dance at Spelman College. Holding a master of fine arts in dance and a doctorate in African-American studies, she has had a successful career as a modern dance artist — performing and choreographing nationally and internationally — and as a dance historian, focusing her research on contemporary African-American modern dance artists, particularly women choreographers. Veta has presented her research at national and international conferences and is published in a number of journals and anthologies. Her research interests have expanded to include the intersection of dance and spirituality in popular culture and to explorations of spirituality and contemplative practices in education and the workplace. She became a Courage facilitator in 2007 and facilitates Circle of Trust retreats and workshops in retreat and conference centers and in academic institutions.


Christopher Grygo is the Director of Talent Development at the Ford Foundation. He works on global programs that enable the foundation’s strategy, enhance its culture, promote values-based team effectiveness, and aid colleagues in reaching their full potential. Before joining Ford, Chris worked at the Rockefeller Foundation on all aspects of learning and performance. Chris has served in leadership and organization development roles throughout his career, starting at Lucent Technologies Bell Laboratories. He managed professional development for Columbia University’s libraries and information services, and has held talent development and organizational development roles at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Chris has taught graduate courses at the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College and at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Drew University, and his master’s in organizational psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College. He is a Gestalt trained coach and holds a certificate in mediation and conflict resolution.


ileana-jimenezIleana Jiménez has been a leader in the field of feminist and social justice education for nearly twenty years. In an effort to inspire teachers to bring women’s, gender, and queer studies to the K-12 classroom, she launched her blog, Feminist Teacher (, in 2009; she is also the creator of the #HSfeminism and #K12feminism hashtags. Based in New York, Ileana teaches innovative courses on feminism and activism that have gained the attention of education and activist circles. In 2010, she was named one of the 30 Women Making History by the Women’s Media Center; later that year, she was named one of the 40 Feminists Under 40 by the Feminist Press. She is also the 2011 recipient of the Distinguished Fulbright Award in Teaching, for which she traveled to Mexico City to create safe and inclusive schools for LGBT youth. In 2012, she appeared on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show to talk about teaching feminism to high school students and to advocate for safe schools. Sought after for her insight on education, she has written for Feministing, Gender Across Borders, the Huffington Post, Ms. Magazine, On the Issues, the Smith Alumnae Quarterly, and the Women’s Media Center. A frequently-asked speaker on feminism in schools, she travels nationally and globally to partner with educators in both secondary and higher education. She received her B.A. in English Literature at Smith College, and an M.A. in English Literature at Middlebury College.


loie-lenarz-2014Lois (Loie) Lenarz is a Family Medicine Physician and Medical Director of Clinician Professional Development at Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where her time is spent facilitating Circle of Trust retreats and leadership development for teams. She completed facilitator preparation through the Center for Courage & Renewal in 2010.  She also is an Associate Clinical Professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Family Practice and Community Health.  Loie received her undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota, and her Medical Doctorate Degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School. Her residency in Family Medicine was completed at Fairview-St Mary’s Hospitals (now University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview).


boardofdirectors_stephen-lewisStephen Lewis is the President of the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE), which focuses on cultivating a new generation of Christian leaders. He has more than fifteen years of experience in corporate and nonprofit leadership, strategic planning, program development and group facilitation. Stephen is a Courage & Renewal Facilitator and an ordained minister. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in banking and finance from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University.


kenSaxonKen Saxon, President of Leading From Within in Santa Barbara, CA, has led organizations and facilitated groups for 25 years. Following an entrepreneurial business career, Ken put his skills to work in the nonprofit sector as a Board leader and facilitator. It was there that he was inspired to meet and work with many nonprofit leaders – dedicated people leading critical work in their communities. Yet he was shocked at how little was being invested in them. Ken co-founded Leading From Within to invest in and nurture California social sector leaders, who play such a critical role in the health of their communities. He co-facilitates Leading From Within’s Courage to Lead program for nonprofit executives, its Emerging Leaders Program for young social sector professionals, and its Heart of Philanthropy retreats for foundation professionals. Ken is a graduate of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Princeton University, and he completed the Center for Courage & Renewal’s facilitator preparation program in 2007. He was awarded the 2012 Man of the Year Award by the Santa Barbara Foundation for his significant and positive impact on the community.


Janet Smith, PhD, M.Ed, is Associate Professor of Education and Director of the Education Institute at the University of Canberra in Australia, where she has taught Educational Leadership and Teacher Education for the past 22 years, and has occupied a wide range of leadership positions, including Associate Dean. Prior to her work in higher education, Janet was a public high school teacher for 16 years. In addition to her work at the university, Janet has also served on many boards and has worked as a consultant, focusing on leadership, spirituality, coaching, mentoring, professional learning and renewal. Janet was prepared as a Courage & Renewal facilitator in the US in 2007, and was the Center for Courage & Renewal’s first non-North American facilitator. Since then, she has pioneered and established C&R work throughout Australasia, and has assisted the Center to prepare 25 additional Australasian Courage & Renewal facilitators.


Justin Stets is President of Carlson Capital Management, a Minnesota-based independent wealth management firm. The focus of the firm is directed to deliver expertise, care and experience to families/individuals looking for the integration of estate, tax, philanthropy, risk management and holistic financial planning. Beyond this work, Justin is active in industry and community work, including community foundation board work. He holds a B.A. in Latin, Greek and Religion from St. Olaf College, and Master’s in Theological Studies from Harvard University. Kristin and Justin have four children who are all spreading their wings. His Gallup StrengthFinder themes include: Learner, Responsibility, Achiever, Self-Assurance and Connectedness.


estrus-tucker-2014Estrus Tucker is an independent consultant and keynote speaker specializing in small and large group facilitation, designing and leading conversations and retreats across the country in support of personal, professional, and community renewal and transformation. Estrus is a seasoned Courage & Renewal Facilitator, and a practitioner of Social Change for Leadership Development and other models of civic engagement. For the past twelve years, he has served as President & CEO of Liberation Community, Inc., a social justice network, and Past President & Moderator of the Minority Leaders & Citizens Council. He has also served as President & CEO of the Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce and Vice President of United Way of Tarrant County. He is an ordained Elder in the Church of God in Christ, active in interfaith and ecumenical initiatives. His mission is to inspire courage and life giving values that promote community, nonviolence and justice. Estrus is the Center’s Board Chair Emeritus.