Presenters

Gleaves Whitney, MA, LHD

GVSU’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies Director

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Gleaves Whitney, MA, LHD

GVSU’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies Director

Named the first full-time director of Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies in 2003, Dr. Whitney has been the architect of more than 400 public programs. He has overseen the tremendous growth of the Hauenstein Center’s website, which has been visited more than 30 million times; its original programs have been viewed a cumulative 27 years. He’s also premiered a popular web column called Ask Gleaves — the first presidential Q & A column in the nation — and created a leadership academy for students and young professionals committed to public service.

Under his direction, the Hauenstein Center’s Peter C. Cook Leadership Academy has emerged as a preeminent center of leadership excellence in the Midwest. Prior to his arrival at Grand Valley, Gleaves worked 11 years in Michigan Governor John Engler’s administration, serving as senior writer, chief speechwriter, and historian.

In addition to his public-sector service and work, Gleaves is a scholar who writes and lectures nationally on a variety of historical topics. He is author or editor of 15 books, including To Heal a Nation: The Story of Gerald R. Ford, and (with Mark Rozell) Testing the Limits: George W. Bush and the Imperial Presidency. Other books include Religion and the Presidency (with Mark Rozell), American Presidents: Farewell Addresses to the Nation, 1796-2001John Engler: The Man, the Leader & the Legacy; and 6 volumes of Messages of the Governors of Michigan. He even has a children’s book to his credit, B is for Buckaroo: A Cowboy Alphabet (with Louise Whitney), and has contributed chapters to half-dozen books and written entries in two encyclopedias.

Dr. Whitney has won numerous awards, served on several federal and state committees, and is a senior scholar at the Free Enterprise Institute and the Imaginative Conservative; the first senior fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in Mecosta, Michigan; and a member of the College of Fellows at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California. He graduated with honors from Colorado State University (1980), was elected into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society (1980), and was a Fulbright scholar to then-West Germany (1984-85). His master’s degree and doctoral candidacy were at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he was a Richard M. Weaver fellow (1987-88) and an H. B. Earhart Fellow (1988-91). He has taught at the University of Michigan, Colorado State University, Droste-Hülshof Gymnasium, Aquinas College, and Grand Valley State University. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Dr. Whitney now makes his home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife, Mary Eilleen.

Victoria Vuletich

Assistant Dean, WMU-Cooley

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Victoria Vuletich

Assistant Dean, WMU-Cooley

Victoria V. Vuletich holds a bacholor's degree from Fort Lewis College (cum laude) and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Denver School of Law. She has expertise in legal ethics, the regulation of the legal profession, and drafting and proposing administrative rules relating to the legal profession. She also has expertise in the restructuring of the legal profession and its implications for the profession and the public.

Vuletich began working with the State Bar of Michigan in 1999. In 2008 she joined the full-time WMU-Cooley faculty as the deputy division director of the Professional Standard's Division where she advised attorneys regarding ethical dilemmas they were facing. She served as staff counsel to the State Bar of Michigan Client Protection and Unauthorized Practice of Law programs and developed and managed the Practice Management Resource Center.

Vuletich has unique experience in researching, formulating, and advocating court rule and policy proposals involving professional responsibility matters. She has practiced in state and federal trial and appellate courts, including the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Previously, from 1993-1999, Dean Vuletich was in private practice with Shanahan Hoy & Kremski, in Owosso, Michigan, where her practice emphasized personal injury, landlord/tenant, and family law matters.

Vuletich is a frequent presenter on legal ethics issues. She is former chairperson of the American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Professional Responsibility Continuing Legal Education Committee. She was a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Client Protection from 2004-2008. She is currently a member of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Policy Implementation Committee.

Most recently, Vuletich was a guest lecturer at Hertford College, Oxford University, United Kingdom.

At WMU-Cooley, Dean Vuletich teaches Professional Responsibility and Evidence.

Sister Ardeth Platte, OP, and Sister Carol Gilbert, OP

Activists

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Sister Ardeth Platte, OP, and Sister Carol Gilbert, OP

Activists

Sister Ardeth Platte, OP, was born in Michigan in 1936 and has been a Dominican Sister of Grand Rapids for more than 60 years. Sister Ardeth has served as:

  • Teacher
  • Inner-city high school principal
  • Administrator of an educational center and school for dropouts and expellees
  • City councilwoman for twelve years
  • Mayor pro tem of the City of Saginaw, Michigan
  • Coordinator and organizer for Advocacy for Justice and a Home for Peace and Justice

Sister Carol Gilbert, OP, was born in Michigan in 1947 and entered the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids in 1965.  She has served as a junior high school teacher, a researcher at the Home for Peace and Justice, and involved in a variety of issues, including draft counseling, countering nuclear power and nuclear weapons, criminal injustices, poverty and all of the struggles caused by it, and U.S. intervention in Nicaragua. Sister Carol spent five years living and witnessing at two of Michigan’s Strategic Air Command Bases until both closed.

In the eighties, Sister Ardeth and Sister Carol joined a coalition to place an initiative on the Michigan State Ballot to disallow nuclear weapons from being deployed in Michigan, thereby preserving the state's freshwater lakes and soil. The initiative passed with 56 percent of the vote. However, the federal government superseded the state law and brought hundreds of nuclear cruise missiles and squadrons of B-52’s onto two Strategic Air Force Bases, one in Oscoda and one in Quinn/Marquette. Sister Carol and Sister Ardeth began full-time organizing of the state to witness at these bases and to call for nonviolent symbolic actions to eliminate these hundreds of weapons. Both bases were closed within the next twelve years, but only after hundreds of arrests and sentences for civil resistance.

Sisters Carol and Ardeth have spent the last 24 years educating, organizing, and resisting at the Pentagon, White House, Embassies, United Nations, and at many nuclear and war sites throughout the United States. They have done plowshare actions at the Naval Base in Connecticut, Peterson AFB in Colorado, and Weld County, Colorado.  After these actions, they have continued witness (usually with arrests) at Y- 12 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and in Washington DC. The sisters have spent more than fifteen years altogether in jails and prisons during these many years of working for justice and peace.

Jeanne Lound Schaller

Peacemaker and Author

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Jeanne Lound Schaller

Peacemaker and Author

Jeanne Lound Schaller is a 1969 graduate of Aquinas College and has deep gratitude for that experience. She continues to be inspired by the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters for their endless demonstrations of what being pro-life means and their never-ending commitment to what living a Christian life requires and how those outcomes affect all people.   

Beginning in 2000 she co-initiated and chaired The Midland Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice that focused on the UN Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World; The Helen M Casey Center for Nonviolence; and the interfaith Choosing a Culture of Understanding committee. She currently heads the Midland Chapter of the Nonviolent Peaceforce, an international NGO working to “Transform the World’s Response to Conflict”.  In 2015, at age 68, she became a Rotary Peace Fellow and earned a Professional Development Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Peace at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, where she spent the summer.   

Currently Jeanne is a coordinator for Restorative Practices in Education in Saginaw and Midland School Districts. This position is related to her certification in 2002 as a mediator for the Community Resolution Center that has offices in Flint and Saginaw. She is a member of the Midland Area Community Foundation’s Violence Prevention Partnership,  an Honorary Rotarian with the Midland Noon Club and is part of their Peacebuilding Committee. In January she received a MLKing Award in the Great Lakes Bay Region for community service.   

Sister Joan Williams, OP

Educator

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Sister Joan Williams, OP

Educator

Sister Joan Williams, OP, received a bachelor’s in music education, a master’s in theology from Aquinas College (AIRS program), as well as a Master of Theological Studies from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

Sister Joan taught music to students in preschool through high school at Marywood Academy (early grades), in multiple schools in Saginaw, while commuting to St. Boniface, Bay City, and St. John’s in Essexville. Parish liturgical music, choirs, piano, organ, and band and guitar lessons were always part of her daily and weekly program. Her home base was in the multicultural-racial and bilingual parish of Saint Joseph in Saginaw. Following the II Vatican Council she began doing adult formation to help make the necessary transitions of thought and practice of religious expression in liturgy and sacrament.

Sister Joan also served as Coordinator of Religious Education for the Hispanic population in twenty parishes while working in the pastoral center of Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. It was there that she received the call to discern mission in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. God and her pilgrim spirit led her to respond.

To best prepare for this call, she studied Spanish and theology for a semester at Xavier University in Bogota, Columbia. Living among the people of San Pedro Sula from 1998 through 2017, she provided theological pastoral formation, accompanied men and women in prison, and provided HIV education and support to multiple families with children HIV+.

Diane Zerfas, OP

Coordinator, Center for Spirituality, Dominican Center at Marywood

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Diane Zerfas, OP

Coordinator, Center for Spirituality, Dominican Center at Marywood

Diane Zerfas, OP, is the coordinator for the Spirituality Center for Dominican Center at Marywood, and is deeply involved in the center's Spiritual Formation programs through the planning and teaching of Foundations in Spirituality, Spiritual Companioning, and Spiritual Direction Practicum. She holds bachelor's degrees in math, chemistry, theology, and education from Aquinas College; master's degrees in Arts in Religious Studies and in Pastoral Studies; a Specialized Certificate in Parish Life and Administration; and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction. Sr. Diane has ministered in many ways, including teaching high school as well as serving as formation director for Grand Rapids Dominicans, initiation and evangelization director at St. Mary Magdalen in Kentwood, Diocesan director of RCIA for the Diocese of Grand Rapids, co-director of Pastoral Life at Marywood, and leadership team member for the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids.

Carmelita Switzer, OP

Associate Coordinator, Center for Spirituality, Dominican Center at Marywood

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Carmelita Switzer, OP

Associate Coordinator, Center for Spirituality, Dominican Center at Marywood

Carmelita Switzer, OP, serves as a staff facilitator and presenter for Dominican Center at Marywood. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Religious Studies from Aquinas College and a Master of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies from Providence College. She completed Pastoral Studies with an emphasis in Formation Studies at Aquinas Institute on the campus of St. Louis University. Her ministries include teaching, pastoral ministry in a parish setting, and pastoral administration in a parish that had no priest. She has also spent time in ministry on behalf of the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters as director of formation and as co-director of Pastoral Life for the Marywood Campus. Coming from a rural farm community background she loves Michigan’s many lakes and natural beauty and God’s creatures large and small. Study of spirituality and living an integrated contemplative and active lifestyle have been long-time interests and priorities.

Nancy Brousseau, OP, DMin

Spiritual and Retreat Director, Dominican Center at Marywood

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Nancy Brousseau, OP, DMin

Spiritual and Retreat Director, Dominican Center at Marywood

Nancy Brousseau, OP, has been a spiritual and retreat director for more than 30 years. She facilitates an interfaith committee, and her work with group spiritual direction with the people of the Heartside Neighborhood in Grand Rapids is published in Group Spiritual Direction: The Lived Experience. She offers ecumenical retreats, spiritual direction, workshops, and programs in prayer, spirituality, and spiritual formation for churches in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Sr. Nancy has certificates in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and Spiritual Direction, and is a certified grief-recovery specialist. She was director of Dominican Center at Marywood for five years and director of Spirituality Programs for six years. Sr. Nancy has a Master of Arts in Religious Education, a Master of Divinity, and a Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Direction. She taught middle school students for 17 years and served five years in school administration.

Jeanette Banashak, EdD

Educator, Spiritual Director, and Creativity Coach

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Jeanette Banashak, EdD

Educator, Spiritual Director, and Creativity Coach

Jeanette Banashak has been teaching and leading international trips since 1998. Professionally, her interdisciplinary focus includes education, spiritual formation, creativity, and Spanish. She holds two doctorates in education and a certificate in Spiritual Direction and the Enneagram. Most recently, she completed her dissertation on the interrelationship between creativity and contemplative prayer/meditation. She is passionate about creating experiences where people interact in new cultural environments. She is a Creativity Coach and former Professor of Creativity. When she's not teaching, she enjoys playing board games and telling stories.

Joshua Banner

Spiritual Director, Retreat Leader, DMin Candidate

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Joshua Banner

Spiritual Director, Retreat Leader, DMin Candidate

Joshua Banner is director of The Invitation, a resource for spiritual direction, retreats, teaching, and consulting. He is also creator and host of the Invitation's podcast, which serves the spiritually hungry and has a special focus on pastors and prisoners. Much of Josh's joy is discovering how God is actively involved in the lives of the men he prays with at the EC Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon, Michigan.

Josh has served extensively in local churches and in campus ministries in worship arts and discipleship. He has degrees in literature and philosophy (Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois); a master's in interdisciplinary studies  (Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia); and is currently writing a dissertation on the spirituality of confinement for a Doctor of Ministry in spiritual direction (Fuller Seminary, Pasadena, California). Josh is also an adjunct professor at Hope College in the Studies in Ministry.

Josh and his wife, poet Susanna Childress, their two sons Casper and Shepherd, and daughter Merritt live in Holland, Michigan.

Judy Hahn

Spiritual Director, LMSW, CAADC

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Judy Hahn

Spiritual Director, LMSW, CAADC

Judy Hahn has been involved in the ministry of spiritual direction for more than 30 years, both in Chicago and Grand Rapids. She is also a licensed master’s social worker (LMSW) and a certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor (CAADC) presently working part-time in the counseling program at Catholic Charities West Michigan.  In both spiritual direction and counseling, Judy has met individuals negotiating their ways through trauma and abuse. While living in Chicago she also had the opportunity to journey with women involved in prostitution and heard their many stories of pain and suffering as well as of recovery and healing.

Joseph Cordes, PT/GCFP

Feldenkrais Professional and Holistic Physical Therapist

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Joseph Cordes, PT/GCFP

Feldenkrais Professional and Holistic Physical Therapist

Joseph Cordes is an experienced Feldenkrais practitioner of over 20 years. In his private practice, he works with both adults and children with a variety of difficulties, including chronic pain and neurological problems. His work is informed by a long-time involvement in meditation and Tai Chi practice. Joe completed his Feldenkrais Professional Training Program in 1997 with Mark Reese, Feldenkrais Trainer. Joseph has 36 years experience as a holistic physical therapist.

Amy W.M. Kam, CZT

Certified Zentangle Teacher

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Amy W.M. Kam, CZT

Certified Zentangle Teacher

After discovering the Zentangle® Method on her own, Amy W.M. Kam felt called to share this relaxing and transformative drawing practice with many others. She pursued certification by Zentangle founders Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. As an avid “Tangler,” runner, gardener, and breast cancer survivor, Amy seeks to share the life lessons embedded within the patterns her students learn through simple step-by-step instructions and the outcome of beautiful pieces of art.

Amy derives her greatest joy as an instructor when a student uncovers a new appreciation of their own uniqueness and embraces the diverse beauty of different patterns they see around the table.

Amy serves on the Big Brother Big Sister Advisory Council at D.A. Blodgett-St. Johns, is a founding member and treasurer of Sole Sisters, and serves the Sunday Assembly at Dominican Center at Marywood Chapel in multiple ministry capacities.

Kathy Julien, RYT 200

Certified Yoga Teacher

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Kathy Julien, RYT 200

Certified Yoga Teacher

Kathy Julien believes yoga is a healing and transformative practice. While Kathy embarked on a 200-hour yoga teacher training program in 2013, it was with the intention to deepen her personal practice. But during her training program, she began to notice she couldn’t help herself from sharing what she’s learned with anyone who expressed the slightest interest. Kathy’s desire as a yoga teacher is to help students cultivate the beautiful gifts they have to offer, one breath at a time. Kathy brings to her students a mindful practice that encourages mind, body and spirit connection.

Kayla Morgan

Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Instructor

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Kayla Morgan

Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Instructor

Kayla Morgan began her yoga practice in 2010. She was drawn to yoga as a way to empower herself after she experienced complex trauma and aged out of the foster care system. Kayla instantly recognized the many healing benefits yoga offers. In 2018, she earned her RYT 200 Yoga Alliance certification through Grand Rapids Healing Yoga, specializing in trauma-sensitive yoga. Kayla believes she can shine a light on the under-representation of people of color in yoga and wellness by providing a safe space to heal from our nation's traumatic history.

Leara Glinzak, ATR, MSAT

Art Therapist

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Leara Glinzak, ATR, MSAT

Art Therapist

Leara Glinzak earned her Master of Science in Art Therapy with a concentration in counseling from Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, WI. She is a registered art therapist and a counselor in her own private practice, I Light LLC, where she contracts out art therapy services and provides services at I Light LLC's studio as well. Services include workshops, programs, open studio, and individual and group therapy sessions. She is grounded in a person-centered approach and specializes in grief, trauma, cancer care, distress, spirituality, addiction, and dementia.

Leara is a member of the Michigan Art Therapy Association and the American Art Therapy Association, where she serves on the research board. She has presented at several conferences, including the American Art Therapy Association, Mount Mary Symposium, Leading Age, and Pathway to Caregiving Conference. Her research, entitled Effects of Art Therapy on Distress Levels of Adults with Cancer: A Proxy Pretest Study is published in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association. Leara looks forward to constantly growing within her practice and honored to be a guide for others along their journey.

Nahed Fernando

Spiritual Director / Retreat Leader

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Nahed Fernando

Spiritual Director / Retreat Leader

Nahed Fernando is a certified spiritual director in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Nahed emigrated from Egypt to America at a young age, and has a diverse Christian church background and multicultural perspective that informs her worldview. She enjoys sharing contemplative readings of sacred scripture and meditative prayer processes one-on-one or within group settings. Nahed is a former homeschool mother and enjoys reading, writing, painting, and sharing tea-time with others.

 

Rachael Richardson, RYT 200

Certified Yoga Teacher

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Rachael Richardson, RYT 200

Certified Yoga Teacher

Rachael Richardson is a 200-hour registered yoga teacher. She completed training through the Success Naturally Yoga Center in Springfield, Missouri. Rachael's training focused on classical Hatha yoga and the use of restorative poses. She is continuing her studies to earn certification in the Iyengar tradition with Mary Reilly, a senior-certified Iyengar yoga teacher. Rachael became a student of yoga after discovering how it helped her cope with both depression and lifelong back pain. She is passionate about showing others how yoga can be accessible to everyone, despite limitations of the mind and body.

Learn more about Rachael's chair, gentle, and restorative yoga classes offered at Dominican Center.

Sam Kalawart

Natural Mental Health Practitioner

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Sam Kalawart

Natural Mental Health Practitioner

Sam Kalawart is a natural mental health practitioner in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sam is here to guide you toward body peace by showing you how to naturally overcome anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. Through her own health journey, she has realized the power of an integrated approach to healing with both nutrition and lifestyle changes. Sam's work also focuses on the importance of strengthening our mind+body connection and releasing stress with breathwork and energy therapy.

Sandra Mitchell

Certified Coach and Writer

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Sandra Mitchell

Certified Coach and Writer

With infinite loving kindness, attentive listening, forthright feedback, and an ever-expanding discernment of coaching principles, Sandra Mitchell offers clients a safe space to explore and find freedom from the fear and frustration that stands between them and the life they most long for.

Sandra's experience in coaching and mentoring includes: helping clients break through health and wellness issues; supporting those dealing with the heartbreak and confusion of supporting addicted loved ones; empowering those grappling with career, relationship, and other life transitions; and inspiring clients to rediscover themselves and create lasting change.

Trained and certified as a coaching professional, Sandra spent a full year in intense study, training, practice, and supervision. In addition, Sandra holds a degree from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has worked for more than 25 years as a writer, marketer, and mentor for those who nurture heart-centered wellness practices, ministries, nonprofits, and small businesses.

Susan Duesbery

Intuitive Counselor, Spiritual Coach, and Energy Therapist

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Susan Duesbery

Intuitive Counselor, Spiritual Coach, and Energy Therapist

Susan is passionately committed to continually living a life of authenticity and to loving herself and others fiercely, knowing that her heart’s wisdom will never lead her astray. She feels deep gratitude for many things: vibrant relationships, yoga, meditation, nature, travel, a good book, and abundant laughter.

Susan’s heartfelt intention is to help her clients remember their wholeness. She specializes in assisting individuals to understand their core stories and to see how these stories can negatively impact their health, their relationships, their happiness, and their ability to fulfill their life’s purpose. She offers concrete ways to help people let go of thoughts and perceptions that prevent them from living a life filled with love, peace, and joy.

Although Susan has been an energy intuitive since childhood, in 2004 she pursued formal training with Master Intuitive Kathy Reider of Intuitive Services Inc. and with Reiki Master Jan Atwood, LLC. After working for several years with Kathy and with Jan, she earned her Reiki Master certification and honed her innate intuitive energy reading abilities. She has been an intuitive counselor and  energy therapist in private practice ever since.

Susan holds a graduate certificate in Holistic Health from Western Michigan University and has taught WMU’s graduate course on managing stress. She is a certified integrative life coach with The Ford Institute, specializing in Jungian shadow work; a 500-hour yoga teacher with more than ten years of teaching experience; a Reiki master; a certified labyrinth facilitator with Veriditas; and a holistic stress management facilitator with The Paramount Wellness Institute.

In addition to working privately with clients as an intuitive counselor and as an energy therapist at The Eagle Park Wellness Collective in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Susan hosts retreats and presents transformative workshops as well as offers private yoga therapy, breath work intensives, meditation sessions, and weekly public yoga classes.

To learn more about Susan, please see her website www.susanduesbery.com