Well-Being Warriors

Aisha Moore has been a thought leader in helping people learn how to take care of themselves and achieve work life balance based on her own experience of overcoming burnout. She trains people in healthcare, public health, and social work to reduce stress and avoid burnout so that build their resiliency which supports them to continue to solve some of our nation’s toughest problems.

Awana Moye is a cultural community healer, massage therapist, body worker, activist and professional of integrative pain management solutions through “A Ray Resource Opioid Coalition”. She has a mobile practice that she launched in 1999 and has brought her services to the ends of our communities bringing such restorative healing and love to children, youth and families in our communities. She is also a co-chair of the Mental Health and Wellness Action Team (MWAT) with St. Paul Ramsey County Public Health.

She recently provided healing massage to our BE WELL event with children, youth, families, and practitioners in Suburban Ramsey County. The young children were so touched by her presence that they decided to help her and give one another massages while waiting for their massage. They felt free to practice what they experienced in Awana’s presence and she created that environment of honoring self-care and community care. She truly is a healer among us.

In our ever increasing pace of life, Aliza Kline and the OneTable team envision a whole generation of millennials slowing down, joining together, unplugging from the week, creating intention in their lives and building meaningful communities through meaningful, Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath) dinners. Aliza is the founding executive director of OneTable, an organization that has supported thousands of millennials to build a consistent Shabbat dinner practice for their communities that feels authentic, sustainable and valuable. They champion a non-prescriptive approach and work directly with their participants to envision what their ideal Shabbat dinner looks like and how they can build that experience together. OneTable is highly inclusive; by making each dinner highly customizable, the experience becomes one in which anyone can participate, regardless of their level of ritual observance or knowledge. One participant provided the following praise for their experience, “OneTable has given me the opportunity to create traditions of my own and lead my practice in my own way; modern, fresh and inclusive.”

While Aliza’s work focuses on helping millennials develop their own practices for sustainable living, Aliza’s leadership stems from her own mindfulness and spiritual practice. Aliza attended Summit LA18 and the Kivvun summit to deepen her skills around meditation, breathing and listening, furthering her goal of building a sustainable mindfulness practice and balance. A trained coach and design thinking facilitator, Aliza has worked with clients throughout North America and Israel.

Aliza was also the founding executive director of Mayyim Hayyim Community Mikveh and Education Center in Boston, an international model for re-imagining Jewish ritual and wellness open to the full diversity of the Jewish community.

Ananda Leeke is working on mindfulness and wellness, and has built an amazing community who she is inspiring to achieve greater work/life balance and happiness in their life. Ananda discovered mindfulness when her career as a young lawyer and investment banker did not produce the level of success she expected. During her healing journey, she studied and practiced meditation, yoga, reiki, journaling, art-making, and creative writing. They helped her develop self-care practices and become resilient. As a result, she became a certified yoga and mindfulness teacher, reiki master practitioner, and artist-in-residence for the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts.

Since April 2018, she has used her Thriving Mindfully Meetup Group to partner with Qi Kratom CBD Tea to lead the Mindful Monday Meditation, a free weekly class that serves a diverse community in the U Street, NW neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Also, Ananda is using the mindful self-care lessons she has learned as a lululemon luminary to  host and produce the Thriving Mindfully Show, a monthly podcast series that features conversations with people who are using mindfulness to express social justice activism, wellness, and creativity, on Eaton Radio at Eaton DC. She created the Thriving Mindfully Show to broaden her commitment and work as the Chief Mindfulness Officer of Ananda Leeke Consulting, a personal and professional development firm that helps people, businesses, organizations, and communities become resilient and thrive with mindfulness, self-care, and creativity.

Her books, Love’s Troubadours, a yoga-inspired novel; That Which Awakens Me, a mindful creativity memoir; and Digital Sisterhood, a mindful technology memoir, are available on Amazon. She is currently writing her third memoir, Thriving Mindfully. She speaks at conferences and events  sponsored by AT&T, Automattic, BlogHer, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Executive Women International, Howard University, Institute for Medicaid Innovation, Latinos in Tech Innovation and Social Media, lululemon, Marisla Foundation, Meetup/WeWork, Nonprofit Technology Network, Sisterhued, Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, Spelman College, Unity of Washington, DC, Washington National Cathedral, Web of Change, and Wonder Women Tech Summit. In addition, she regularly shares her meditation, mindfulness, and social media expertise as a commentator on WHUR 96.3 FM.

She received Acquisition International’s Influential Businesswoman Award for the Most Caring Woman in Mindfulness Training and WeUpWomen’s Adelaide Smith Award for her work in self-care and wellness in 2018. In 2019, she received Acquisition International’s Influential Businesswoman in Professional Development – USA Award.

Dr. April Joy Damian is a leader who uses the power of research and partnerships to promote community health and well-being. Dr. Damian currently serves as the Associate Director of the Weitzman Institute, the first community-based research center established by a FQHC, dedicated to quality improvement and research in primary care for the underserved. In this capacity, Dr. Damian works to build the breadth and depth of Weitzman’s research in the social determinants of health (SDOH) space and working with staff to approach the organization’s work through an equity lens. Previously, Dr. Damian served as the Director of Quality Innovation (QI) at the National Quality Forum, where she served as the in-house subject matter expert on SDOH and oversaw the QI SDOH portfolio, which included projects such as the role of payers in addressing SDOH, the multi-stakeholder SDOH data integration action team, as well as development of quality measures in food insecurity.

In addition to Dr. Damian’s professional roles, she continues to be intentional about staying directly connected to the community. Dr. Damian is actively involved in Team Hope’s homeless outreach and several mentorship programs, including Young People For, to support and train the next generation of social change agents.

On one of many tours to Shagbark’s processing facility, children from local underserved school districts interact with the grains and beans that feed them, and then taste samples of the products made from those crops, defying the presumptions of even their teachers by asking for more of these whole grain, Organic foods.

Shagbark Seed & Mill is a social enterprise that partners with Ohio family farms to bring their Certified Organic whole grains and dry beans to market. They developed the Good Food for All price class that offers products to local food access programs at schools and other food sites at the lowest price possible! They also donate thousands of dollars worth of food to local organizations that help those who are food insecure. Shagbark worked with the Wallace Center to develop this price class. 

Additionally, Shagbark employs people with cognitive and physical disabilities to deliver products to local stores, clean the mill, and label product bags. Shagbark routinely shares product with those who are in the day program in their building to introduce high nutrition food with those who are least likely to have access or knowledge of alternatives to the industrial food system.

Dr. Joi Weaver left a secure position as a physician in a traditional medical setting, to open her own private family Direct Primary Care (DPC) practice. As a DPC doc, Joi is able to spend more time with her patients and offer them the quality of care that they need and deserve. DPC means that Dr. Weaver does not take insurance and her fees are low and affordable (around $70 per month on average) Dr. Weaver is able to visit patients in their homes as well. She has been independent for about a year now, providing care at a high level through holding up to 2 hour appointment times. Her patients are able to be heard and they form a close relationship with their doc through the ability to call and text on evenings and weekends. Dr. Weaver is a Well-Being Warrior because she truly puts the well-being of her patients first.

Housing Justice for All is a statewide coalition that is fighting to ensure everyone in New York has safe, quality, affordable housing.We represent tenants, homeless New Yorkers, manufactured housing residents, and advocates from every part of the state. We are united in our fight for stronger tenant protections, an end to evictions, and an end to homelessness in New York. In 2019, we were successful at passing the strongest tenants’ rights in a generation.

Effective institutions are driven by creative and energetic people. Janine Mason, and Anne Vincent, recognized that leaders need time to think and reflect if they are to keep their organizations operating and serving at the highest level. This recognition led them to create a sabbatical program in an effort to replenish the stores of energy and inspiration for our community’s most gifted leaders, Janine and Anne joined forces to offer the Clare Rose Sabbatical Program as part of the Fieldstone Leadership Network. This program, offered annually, awards nonprofit leaders with three months paid time off. To date, the program has awarded 23 grants over the past six years. Each sabbatical grant is valued at $50,000.

Each of these nonprofit leaders has returned to their leadership role renewed and ready to continue to work on some of our communities toughest challenges. For example, Don Stump, Executive Director of North County Lifeline, shares, “So I am more comfortable about taking care of myself. The most important thing about my new found desire to take care of myself better is that it will roll over on organizational culture and I will be more supportive of my team and all staff taking care of themselves better. We have had lots of conversations on our 20-member Management Team about self-care, attending to secondary trauma, and personal health. Now, we will start practicing it with more intentional energy.” Lisa Wolter, Susan G Koman OC, reflects, after the sabbatical experience, “I am much more careful and thoughtful about work/life balance, which allows me to be a better leader and to model good balance to my staff and organizational community”.

Lianna Levine Reisner healed herself from endometriosis using only food as medicine, and then committed herself to building greater consciousness about nutrition and health in her local community. Inspired by the substantial evidence behind whole food, plant-based nutrition for chronic disease prevention and reversal, Lianna launched Plant Powered Manhattan in early 2018, creating a supportive community around dietary change practices, designing engaging educational programming, and building grassroots partnerships to take the message to the streets.

Working as an affiliate of the national organization PlantPure Communities, Lianna inspired a cohort of other local organizers to come together, transforming their individual efforts into Plant Powered Metro New York in early 2019. Since then, she has brought on many others who exercise their leadership within a metro-wide network for health empowerment, which led to dozens of educational events in just the first few months of operation, as well as immersive dietary jumpstart programs and burgeoning partnerships with faith-based, social service, wellness, and health care organizations, among others. Trained in organization development and network organizing principles, Lianna continues to personally organize Manhattan-based events and projects, especially focusing on the Upper West Side and Harlem neighborhoods, while developing a collaborative and generative organizing model for the New York metro area.

Lianna holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell, and she is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator through Main Street Vegan Academy. With a Master’s from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhood School of Management, she has worked as an organization development and change consultant through her practice, Partner for Change, supporting leaders to bring about positive change.

Luca M. Maurer is a force! He has worked tirelessly to support and uplift LGBTQIAP+ people for at least 30 years, 18 of them in Ithaca, NY as the founding director of the Ithaca College Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services. He selflessly gives wisdom, sage counsel, energy, and unconditional love to local and wider communities. On our college campus, he has built coalitions that created a voice therapy program for gender transitioning adults; safe, supportive housing for trans and queer youth; and smoking cessation awareness for LGBTQ++ youth. He has helped endow a fund that supports gender transitioning community members to obtain good medical care. He mobilized a team to create an LGBTQ+ history walking tour of our city to preserve culture and connect youth to the shoulders of the elders on which they stand. Luca has also served on the board of directors for the local library, as he advocates for the spiritual and mental health reading nurtures.

Nationally, he has trained many social workers, clinicians, and teachers, educating them about gender and sexual diversity. Luca helped created International Pronouns Day, to bring awareness to the need to respect genders and pronouns. Everything he does is about mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing for -all-. His kind, accepting, and wise counsel has been foundational, saving people from depression, suicidality, and loneliness, supported by Luca’s loving faith in them. He views and supports wellness multidimensionally, human beings intersectionally, and takes on racism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and misogyny as the public health issues they are. Luca uses his privilege to dismantle oppression and lives authentically so others can see themselves and be themselves. In 1000 ways, he has been a champion Well-Being Warrior for decades.

MNHC Executive Director & CEO Brenda Storey

Mission Neighborhood Health Center (MNHC) has been providing primary health services to low income community members for over 50 years. This includes immigrant families primarily from the LatinX community, uninsured patients, children, women, the homeless and those suffering from substance abuse. They increase health outcomes for community members as well as they educate, intervene, collaborate and bridge the health gap for so many people who would normally not have any access to health services or simply be forgotten by the inequity of our current healthcare system.

Paulina C. Mbwala works with the Maasai community on self awareness, consciousness- based education, and to help this community to understand and use meditation techniques to release stress in nature way.

The Right to Counsel NYC coalition is “a coalition of advocates, tenants, academics and legal services providers in support of right to counsel for low-income tenants who face eviction in New York City.” The vast majority of tenants when faced with eviction, arrive at NYC’s housing courts without representation, the opposite is true for landlords. As a consequence, tenants are more vulnerable to eviction and subsequent housing insecurity, leading to negative health outcomes. Providing tenants with access to counsel will result in increased protections for tenants and better housing conditions.

After a 3 year long tenant led campaign, New York City became the first city in the country to make it a right for tenants to have an attorney when facing an eviction.  In the first year of implementation, 84% of tenants who had an attorney through Right to Counsel stayed in their homes, and thousands were able to organize for better living conditions because Right to Counsel has the power to remove the fear, shame and anxiety of facing an eviction. 

Samantha Shain is tirelessly focused on uplifting the community of mission-driven people. She brings the values of well-being to her full-time job, her blog, her consulting work, and her friendships. She volunteers with several organizations bringing equity to mission-driven technology work. All of her blog posts reference equity in some way. Her positive attitude and orientation for lifting others up is inspiring, and she definitely deserves recognition. The Data are Alright is a great representation of how she is helping contribute to healthier people and work.

StoryMuse helps people tell their stories for personal and professional development. In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Shannon M. Turner started her practice because she knew that people would need to tell their stories and needed to be encouraged to listen to each other across lines of difference. About her work, one of Shannon’s workshop participants once said that her work is “sort of like capacity-building for resilience.” Everywhere she goes, Shannon says coaching stories is both different and the same. “People are so beautifully unique in their stories and experiences, and yet there are also universal truths that connect us to our humanity.”

Shannon has worked with a variety of populations–youth in a behavioral health facility who’ve been commercially sexually exploited, domestic violence workers preparing for advocacy, people who are unhoused in a workforce development program, people with developmental disabilities. At the end of the day, Shannon believes telling our personal stories makes us healthier people, makes us more connected to each other, makes us more empathetic, compassionate, and yes, resilient. Read more at StoryMuse.net.

Shanti Nagel’s work is in creating landscapes that live at the intersection of design, humans and community well-being. She believes in bringing the WILD beauty of nature into designs that soften the city, improve ecosystems and inspire peace of mind for people and their greater communities.  Ultimately, she believes deeply in building restorative spaces and lasting connections through the transformative power of plants.

Susie Huser is a talented writer, and artist, a runner and baker…on top of all this she gives 101% in her position as director of Donation Station. Everyday, with the help of her team, Susie turns financial donations into healthy produce to be distributed to agencies that help people who are hungry and food insecure. She also collects direct donations of produce. This means spending lots of time hunting for money to buy the produce, going to farmers markets and the vegetable auction to acquire produce…not to mention hauling around lots of vegetables, fruit, eggs and sometimes meat. She also manages our agencies web page, newsletter and many other little things ( and not so little things) that matter! Oh, and she does it all with a lovely disposition and a smile on her face.

The Filipino Family Health Initiative (FFHI) is a collaborative effort addressing behavioral and mental health disparities among Filipinos. FFHI is led by Team Kapwa, a multidisciplinary team of health professionals and community members whose vision is to create a culture of mental health and healthy parenting in the Filipino community. Through the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Fellowship, FFHI is able to provide resources that would help strengthen parent-child relationships and promote social and academic success. These efforts are geared towards preventing and reducing teen depression and suicide within the Filipino community.

Team Kapwa is composed of the following members: Joyce Javier MD, MPH, MS (leader), Dean Coffey PsyD, Jed David MS, OT, and Aviril Sepulveda OTD, OTR/L from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Horacio Lopez MD from Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, multiple community partners including Ana Jayme AMFT from Asian Pacific Counseling Treatment Center, and a Community Advisory Board that includes but are not limited to Ivy Daulo, Malou Javier, Andre Nicdao, Joy Nicdao, and Mary Jane Tesoro.

The Bounce Coalition builds the resiliency of Kentucky’s children and families by improving knowledge about the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the skills to help bounce back from adversity. Through Bounce, community partners are addressing the root causes of poor health, drawing of the evidence that ACEs are linked to long-term health risks. The problem of ACEs is profound in Kentucky where high ACE scores are among the highest in the nation. The good news is that trauma need not define one’s destiny. Bounce is providing education and training to build resilient children and families, advocating for policies that support trauma-informed communities, and measuring impact to institutionalize healing-centered practices.

What began at a single elementary school was adopted by Jefferson County Public Schools for district-wide integration in 2018. The Bounce curriculum was also adapted for out-of-school-time (OST) providers and delivered to nearly 1,000 YMCA of Greater Louisville staff. Bounce training is now required by the agency that certifies Louisville’s youth care workers and for organizations receiving city government funding. Today, Bounce supports all kinds of organizations serving children and families, fostering resiliency-building practices in organizations and systems statewide. 

Tray T.S. Deadwyler, CVM, CLC, CBC is a dynamic life coach, cognitive behavioral coach, and civic strategist- effectuating a servant leadership philosophy throughout his life.  He coaching and training spark and connection to one’s personal mission, signature and life priorities. Tray notes that he doesn’t believes in the concept of work-life balance as many of us try to balance it all at once. The weight eventually becomes unbearable and breaks down our core as more and more is placed upon us. Conversely, he encourages us to “seek work-life harmony which is only established through understanding who we are, who who we want become, being certain about our life priorities.”

Tray serves as the Southeast Regional Director for the CompleMentor and the C4 Group. The CompleMentor is a life-action design firm that supports leaders and their teams by focusing personal and professional priorities that accelerate growth. The C4 Group strengthens faith-based entities to become the epicenter of local communities utilizing the Virtue model and CARE (Collaboration, Assess, Research, Evaluate) strategy with the goal to influence positive-change within culture and society. Additionally,  he is the Director of Think For Good. Think for Good supports individuals and organizations as they increase their efficacy through creative ideation, planning, and implementation. Affectionately known as the “Service Nerd” by his colleagues, Tray focuses on developing cross-sector solutions and training professionals to effectuate empathy in communities. Tray’s civic and professional transcript spans organizations such as the American Red Cross, Atlanta Police Department, Communities in Schools, Morehouse College Spelman College, Points of Light Foundation, and the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, Angels in Distress, and Love Beyond Walls. As a result of his work and commitment to communities, Tray has been honored with the Corporation for National and Community Service Innovation Award, the Presidential Volunteer Service Award (2011), selected as one of Aspen Institute’s Emerging Nonprofit Leaders (2014), graduated from three American Express Leadership Academies (2012, 2014, 2016), and Georgia Forward’s Young Game Changers (2017). 

Ty Schmidt has completely changed the culture in our city. He has made being active “cool.” He started Norte, a nonprofit aimed at getting kids active. From pre-schoolers on balance bikes, to organizing bike trains, to leveraging millions of dollars to spearhead a collaborative initiative to create new safe routes to school infrastructure and remove barriers to use. “Norte orange” has become the brand of health in our region – can really see how it is going viral in our community as more and more orange is seen walking, running, biking, scootering through our city.