“If you take care of what’s in front of you, close by, then by extension you’re helping to take care of the world.”

—BEno Kennedy, Facilities manager

Team

Staff • Board • Contractors & Volunteers • Senior Fellows

Staff Members

Small team, big hearts, hard work. Our staff works to care for this organization, its spaces and programs, and its future every day. We love what we do, and bring our fullest selves to work for you and for our shared future.

Thomas Arthur

Resident Caretaker

Thomas lives onsite and works with the team to ensure all participants and visitors find a welcoming home at the Institute. He supports the land and facilities, helping to create an environment that facilitates the life-affirming work happening here. As a photographer, filmmaker, contemplative juggler, and teacher of movement awareness, Thomas seeks to inspire a sense of wonder and delight in our relations with Earth and Other.

Sommer Bowlin

Housekeeper

Sommer recently joined our team. Stay tuned for more about her!

Lynne Carlson

Housekeeping Lead

Lynne oversees our housekeeping team’s scheduling and ordering and helps tend our spaces. Horses and horse rescue have a special place in her heart. She enjoys spending time with her human and animal family, being physically active, and drinking gigantic smoothies.

Madisun Clark-Stern

Database & Community Events Lead

When she’s not at the Whidbey Institute keeping our office in order, Madisun runs her own brand of community merrymaking as a freelance events coordinator and operates a non-profit program under the Whidbey Island Arts Council. In her free time, she can be found on a historic pumpkin farm, living as a steward of the Reserve with her husband, a rescued street-to-farm dog, and four hilarious ducks.

Jessica Fuller

Housekeeper

Jessica is a member of our housekeeping team. In her spare time, she enjoys sewing, painting, and baking. Jessica also loves gardening, spending time with family, working out, hiking, and enjoying her dog and birds.

Photo © Heather Ramirez

Holly Harlan

Development Lead

Holly is a mission oriented, passionate, and experienced business strategist. Her academic and professional expertise ranges from industrial engineering, manufacturing, and marketing to economic development, business development, and grassroots network development.

Erik Isaacson

Groundskeeper

Erik joined the team in summer 2017, working on a variety of building maintenance, landscaping, and forest stewardship projects. Erik has a degree from Evergreen State College in business and natural resource stewardship with a minor in land use planning, and recently completed an internship at Sound Experience doing online marketing for their summer programs aboard the schooner Adventuress. He also holds roles with Whidbey Island Waldorf School and Island Athletic Club.

Marnie Jackson

Communications Lead

Marnie is a storyteller, editor, and graphic designer. She is also engaged in development and equity work. She has a background in teaching, journalism, and nonprofit communications and a B.A. from Suffolk University. When not working, she stays busy at home with three daughters, a partner, an ongoing home renovation project, and a large animal family including dogs, cats, rabbits, a mule, and a cow. Her interests include gardening, boxing, rock hunting, vegan advocacy, and photography. She blogs at www.marniejackson.com.

Heather Johnson

Executive Director

Heather is passionate about ongoing adult development and growing organizations that are committed to positive change. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, is a graduate of Pacific Integral’s Generating Transformative Change leadership program, and has held previous roles with Sustainable Connections in Bellingham (as founding staff), Sustainable Seattle (as Interim Director), Excellence Northwest (as Interim Director), and Blue Marble Biomaterials (as Director of Finance and Accounting).

Beno Kennedy

Facilities Lead

Beno lives according to a simple philosophy: “if you take care of what’s in front of you, close by, then by extension you’re helping to take care of the world.” Beno has been involved for decades as a volunteer and for several years as a staff member, serving as a handyman/go-to-guy with extensive skills, a creative outlook, and a contagious attitude of honesty, service, and dedication.

Jules LeDrew

Westgarden Steward

Jules LeDrew grew up near Boulder, Colorado and loves nature, plants, and people. She is an instructor at Half Moon Yoga in Langley as well as a clinical herbalist, and holds a premed degree in Herbal Science from Bastyr University. She brings her passion for botanical medicine, Ayurveda, and the potential for thriving human/plant relationships to her work as our Westgarden Steward.

 

Marta Mulholland

Volunteer Lead

Marta is a part-time Volunteer Lead for the Whidbey Institute as well as Power of Hope Camp Manager, landscaper, and board member of Sister Island Project and South Whidbey Youth Soccer Club. Her past experience includes co-founding and coordinating volunteers for Calyx School, volunteering with the Peace Corps, teaching English in Guangzhou, China, and working as volunteer coordinator at the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services. She is active in local arts and theater and is a nationally certified Sign Language interpreter.

Brittney Peterson

Housekeeper

Brittney recently joined our team. Stay tuned for more about her!

James Watson

Land Steward

James is responsible for taking care of the land and everything that lives on it or passes through. His schooling and work experience revolve around restoration ecology and invasive species management, as well as public policy. He is an avid outdoorsman, spending much of his free time foraging, fishing, and hiking. Getting people connected and engaged with their environment is his calling, and his goal is to empower people to have healthy relationships with themselves, others around them, and the environment.

Brittany Winchester

Housekeeper

Brittany is a married, very busy mother of three: two girls and a boy. She’s a soccer mom, dance mom, toddler mom and volunteer in the PTA of her girls’ Montessori School. She works mostly evenings so she can dedicate a lot of time being involved in her children’s lives and activities. She loves crafting, building, upcycling things, being outdoors, and enjoying good old-fashioned family time.

Board Members

Our working board goes above and beyond, involving themselves as partners in the daily business of running our Institute. Their sleeves are rolled up, their hearts are invested, and they’re pulling with us every step of the way.

Debra Baker

Lead. Love. Live. Liberate. Debra offers a successful history of serving and leading at various organizational levels. Her extensive background in criminal justice, government, spiritual development, adult and youth development, and change management makes her a knowledgeable practitioner. Her clients include local, national, and international organizations.

Debra has become known for creative, human-centered program development and insightful change work along with her zesty inclusive social learning and facilitation skills. Most recently, Debra’s work includes serving as an educator consultant where she enjoys growing the talents and mindsets of employees in government. Debra was recently named one of Training Magazine’s 2018 Emerging Training Leaders, an award based on the nomination of her course participants.

Larisa Benson

Larisa Benson is the convener of the Government Joy Network, ushering in new ways of serving the common good. She coaches executive teams in mindfulness practices, unleashing human potential to thrive in challenging conditions.

Joel de Jong

Secretary

Joel de Jong is a consultant at Limen and host of the Emerging Future podcast. Combining diverse experience, he approaches projects and life in general with an eco-centric, shared commons mindset that leads with authenticity and integrity and creates space for others to make novel contributions.

Mark Forman

Mark Forman is a film maker, writer, and founder of Forman & Company. He has spent decades storytelling on behalf of mission-driven organizations and projects, and has been donating his services to the Whidbey Institute since 2016.

Sheryl Harmer

Sheryl is an educational consultant supporting the well-being of children, youth, and young adults by strengthening the development of social and emotional skills through research, practice, and policy. She is a founder and board chair of Aperture Education and a current advisor for University of Washington campus culture initiatives focused on resilience, mindfulness, and self-compassion.

Cole Hoover

Treasurer

Cole is a Social Impact Consultant/Bridge Builder at Ponto in Seattle, and has held former roles as a lecturer at University of Washington Bothell, Director of I’mact Partnerships at Unleesh, and Director of Education at Global Brigades. He is passionate about creating equality of opportunity, and wants to make our land and programs more accessible to many.

Christie Lynk

Christie teaches at Seattle University and is Clinical Director in the Master of Arts in Existential Phenomenological Psychology Program. Christie is co-facilitator of Powers of Leadership at the Whidbey Institute. Partnering with organizations and individuals through Conversations and Gatherings, Christie offers sabbatical intensives, contemplative retreats and consultation.

Barbara Schaetti

Vice-President

Barbara lived on five continents in ten countries before age 18. Her work with Transition Dynamics, a consultancy she founded to serve expatriate and repatriate communities, is informed by her global upbringing. Before joining the Whidbey Institute Board in fall 2013, and in addition to her work with Transition Dynamics, Barbara co-founded Personal Leadership (PL) Seminars and the PL Facilitator Community of Practice.

Phyllis Shulman

Phyllis is an organizational alchemist and founder of two consulting practices. She focuses on community resilience and regeneration (Resilience Collaborative) and organizational renewal (Civic Alchemy). She is a former Senior Policy Advisor to the Seattle City Council, and helped create the Puget Sound Regional Food Policy Council.

Kate Snider

President

Kate is principal and owner of Floyd | Snider, Inc., an environmental consulting firm, as well as a certified mediator and former Seattle Girls’ Choir board chair. She’s played a key role in fundraising, event production, and strategic leadership.

Frank Stasio

We are delighted to welcome Frank to the board in August 2018.

Frank, a former banker and technology entrepreneur in transition to full retirement, is converting his business to a 100% employee-owned enterprise as a commitment to social equity and common sense. A product of a multi-cultural background, Frank is sensitive to systems, processes and entrenched beliefs needing attention for a better human and community experience for all its members.

Tucker Stevens

We are delighted to welcome Tucker to the board in August 2018. Information coming soon!

Ted Sturdevant

Ted is a voice for inclusion, accessibility, and a broader invitation to constituents around the region. He has spent much of his career in public service, with a focus on environmental policy, including as Director of Legislative Affairs and Policy for Governor Jay Inslee through 2014.

Hilary Wilson

Hilary has served the Whidbey Institute since 2012, first as a graduate student-in-service with Bainbridge Graduate Institute—now known as Pinchot—then as a board member. She has two decades experience in nonprofit development and socially conscious companies, with a focus on fundraising strategies. She recently relocated to Portland, OR but continues her commitment to the Whidbey Institute community.

Contractors & Volunteers

Our community includes countless individuals who pour their time, talent, energy, and wisdom into our organization. Those listed below are especially involved in recent and ongoing work.

Mara Grey

Appletree Garden Steward

Mara Grey is a botanist, Celtic harpist, storyteller, master gardener, and author of The Lazy Gardener and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Flower Gardening. Mara has studied Scottish Gaelic for many years, and enjoys experiencing the world from a multicultural perspective. She values the role of storytelling in work and life. 

Christyn Johnson

Executive Chef

Christyn has a great reverence for food as an integral part of a healthy, balanced life. She has had a long career in fine dining and hospitality as well experience and travel in global vegetarian cuisine. In addition to running the Whidbey Institute kitchen, she owns Raw Indulgence, a gourmet organic raw meal service on Whidbey Island.

PHOTO © RAWINDULGENCE.KITCHEN

Robert Keeney

Forester

Bob frequently comes to the land for a day or a week at a time to build trails, remove hazard trees, clear windfall, and support our land care team with his labor, skill, and wisdom. “My personal belief has been that everybody who’s any good at anything ought to float a certain amount of that talent on the water,” he said. “Since the thing I’m best at is being a sort of a forest handyman, that’s what I’ve got to donate.” Bob is also skilled as a machinist, model railroader, and student of nature.

Matt McDowell

Web Designer

Matt McDowell designed and maintains our website, working closely with our team to understand our organization’s audience and needs, shape content decisions, and provide great design solutions as well as ongoing technical support. He lives in Langley with his wife and two sons, and provides design and consultation services to a number of other organizations and businesses in our community and around the nation.

photo © McDowell www.screenthumb.com

Senior Fellows

The Whidbey Institute’s Senior Fellows are individuals whose relationships with the Whidbey Institute have been enduring and formative. We thank them for their commitments not only to this place and its mission, but also to the ongoing evolution of our organizational development, programs, and purpose. Our Fellows continue to teach, facilitate, participate in, and learn from our programs and in our communities.

Sharon Betcher

Sharon Betcher, M. Div., M. Phil., Ph.D., works as an independent scholar and writer.She has specialized in disability or “crip” theology, environmental theology, including an emphasis on emergent urbanism, and progressive Christian, secular, and post-religious theologies. Sharon received her B.A. (1978) in Religion from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD, and her MDiv (1982) from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN.  She later studied with Dr. Catherine Keller at the Graduate School of Drew University, receiving her PhD in 1998. While at Drew she served as teaching associate at the Theological School, then moved to Vancouver, BC, where she taught at Vancouver School of Theology (2000-2012).

Larry Parks Daloz

Larry served as the first dean of the Community College of Vermont and taught at Lesley, Norwich, and Columbia Universities. A member of the founding group of the Whidbey Institute, he was an Associate Director and faculty member from 1997 to 2006. He is the double-award winning author of Mentor: Guiding the Journey of Adult Learners, and co-author of Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World. He helped develop and facilitate several current and former Institute programs, including Powers of Leadership, Leadership for the New Commons, and Cascadia Climate Collaborative.

Kate Davies

Kate Davies, M.A., D.Phil. has worked on environmental issues for more than 35 years. In the 1980s, she set up and managed Toronto’s (Canada) Environmental Protection Office and in 1990 she established a successful environmental policy consultancy. In 2002, she became core faculty at Antioch University Seattle and in 2007 she was appointed director of its Center for Creative Change. She served in this role for 3 years, taking an early retirement in 2016. Kate is also clinical associate professor at UW. Her first book, The Rise of the U.S. Environmental Health Movement, was a top ten book on sustainability in 2013. Her second book, Intrinsic Hope: Living Courageously in Troubled Times was published in 2018.

Diana Gale

Diana is Senior Lecturer Emeritus at the Evans School of Public Affairs, UW. She has spent 20 years as a department director at the City of Seattle—most recently as director of Seattle Public Utilities. Diana has received several awards regionally and nationally for outstanding civic leadership. Diana served on the Institute board for 6 years and is both an alumna and a former teacher of Powers of Leadership. Along with Larry and Sharon, she led the Institute’s Leadership for the New Commons, a program which has since informed many of the Institute’s programs and practices.

Sharon Daloz Parks

Sharon’s publications include Leadership Can Be Taught: A Bold Approach for a Complex World (2005) and Big Questions, Worthy Dreams: Mentoring Emerging Adults in Their Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Faith (2011). She served for 16 years in faculty and research positions at Harvard University in the schools of Divinity, Business, and the Kennedy School of Government, and now teaches at Seattle University. She served on the Institute’s founding Board, and as Associate Director and faculty. She helped develop several current and former Institute programs, including Powers of Leadership and Leadership for the New Commons.

John Palka

Johnny is a retired professor of biology at the UW with a specialty in neuroscience, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships for teaching in India and a Guggenheim Fellowship for research in England. He co-founded and co-directed the UW’s Program on the Environment and authored My Slovakia, My Family: One Family’s Role in the Birth of a Nation as well as over 60 research papers and book chapters. He served 6 years on our board and was the main organizer of the annual Lyceum Lecture Series, a collaboration of the Whidbey Institute with other organizations.

“One of my greatest passions is to build a sense of belonging in the world—a sense of belonging to ourselves, belonging with each other, and belonging on Earth, and that’s what I get to work on every day! I love bringing people together to have deep conversations about what matters most.”

—Dan Mahle, former staff member