Trainers

Interested in working with a Rockwood trainer? See the schedule →

José Acevedo

José is a senior partner at New World Consulting and an expert in facilitating the development of leadership and the creation of high-performing teams and organizations. José has spent the last 30 years helping a broad range of groups throughout the world deal with the implications of the reality that “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and that we can’t do our best work without breathing space. He is a graduate of NYU Law School and spent three years working for the NYC Municipal Employees Union.

Maura Bairley, MA

Maura is an interdependent social change facilitator, consultant and coach. Her approach to transformative leadership and organizational development is rooted in her 25-year commitment to racial and gender justice and queer liberation. She supports and challenges leaders to clarify purpose and vision, align values and practice, and create organizations that are liberatory, sustainable and adaptive. Maura has been part of Move to End Violence since the beginning, serving on the Advisory Board while the program was being developed. Maura serves as core faculty to the Speaking Race to Power Fellowship of Core Align. She is a strategic advisor to the NoVo Foundation and the Flexible Leadership Awards Program of the Haas Jr. Fund, where she led the Racial Equity with an Intersectionality Lens Learning Team. Maura holds a Masters Degree in Social-Organizational Psychology from Teacher’s College, where she is also an advanced doctoral student. Her research interests include leadership for social justice, organizational transformation, and group relations. A native San Franciscan, Maura makes her home in Flatbush, Brooklyn with her partner, teenager, and chosen family.

Michael Bell

Michael Bell is president, chief executive officer and co-founder of InPartnership Consulting Inc., an organizational development and strategic change firm specializing in global cultural competence and leadership development. He designs state-of-the-art training, leadership development programs and organizational change initiatives for foundations and progressive non-profits. He is an international consultant and executive coach with special expertise in organizational assessment, teambuilding and mentoring programs. He is an expert in helping organizations understanding their cultures and their need for transformational learning. A graduate of Cornell University, Michael is also an advanced facilitator using the conflict resolution model of Powerful Non-Defensive Communication (PNDC). He also serves as an advisor and design team member to Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity. This trans-national program is designed to promote racial equity and dismantle anti-black racism. The program will build an enduring transnational network of leaders across issues, approaches and geographies to challenge anti-black racism and build institutions, policies and narratives for a more equitable future. Michael designs and facilitates The President’s Forum on Racial Equity in Philanthropy for Keecha Harris and Associates.  Michael leads the Racial Equity Innovation Lab for foundations with comprehensive DEI/ Racial Equity programs underway. The innovation lab allows each foundation to find support, expertise and insights for addressing challenges & learning best practices for building impactful initiatives. He is a student/practitioner of Forward Stance, a series of physical practices based on the belief that our capacity for movement building rests not only on political alignment, strategy, or opportunity for collaboration, but requires a capacity to embody a resilient stance and move as one. Forward Stance is a mind-body approach that gets us out of our heads—into our bodies—and supports our movement to do just that.

Jasmine Burnett

Jasmine is a 3rd generation midwesterner born and raised in Indiana and is currently based in Cleveland, OH. She is a writer, national organizer, herbalist, and leadership coach who supports individuals and organizations in racial and reproductive social justice movements to integrate innovation, pleasure and community building with the infrastructural necessities of strategic planning, fundraising, and grassroots organizing. She has a BA in history from Purdue University, and she has previously worked and organized through New Voices Women of Color for Reproductive Justice, SisterSong, and the National Network of Abortion Funds, among others. Her foundation in building community comes from her grandmother who owned a barbershop attached to her family’s home, and her grandfather who held United Auto Workers meetings for Black employees that were pioneers in racially integrating the union. As a national reproductive justice leader, building community and connectivity around shared purpose has been amplified in her organizing work. Her writing focuses on Black women’s leadership, support and visibility for queer and transgender Black, Indigenous, and People of Color folx, cannabis equity, and Black midwestern lived experiences  which have been published in The Huffington Post, The Root, Rewire, and elsewhere. Her work is also featured two newly released anthologies, Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology From Middle America and The Echoing Ida Collection. In her leadership coaching, she uses an integrated wellness approach through her study of herbalism, African Spirituality, and mindfulness practices to create intimate truth-telling and space-making. She is currently a virtual clinical herbalism student at the Well of Indigenous Wisdom Clinical Herbalism School in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

Chrissie Castro

Chrissie Castro, Diné and Chicana, is a social justice consultant dedicated to equity for all peoples, with an emphasis on building power and self-determination of American Indian/Alaska Native communities. Chrissie has more than 15 years of senior management experience in government and nonprofit sectors, and has been consulting for the past 10 years. She co-led the change to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in the city and County of Los Angeles. She was a co-founder of Indigenous Women Rise, which organized the Indigenous women’s contingent of 1,000 Indigenous Women at the Women’s March in DC. She is the Network Weaver of the Native Voice Network, a national network of 35+ Native-led organizations that mobilize through indigenous cultural values. She recently launched two projects to build community and political power of Native communities – locally, the California Native Vote Project and nationally, Advance Native Political Leadership. Chrissie is a certified life coach, and is passionate about utilizing coaching for personal, organizational and community transformation.

Pamela Chiang

Pamela is President of Chiange, Inc. A community organizer in her political roots, she brings that appreciation with clients, and guides them through personal and organizational transformation for societal transformation. Over the past two decades, she has led organizations and movements for economic and environmental justice and created deep culture and strategic change inside organizations. She is known for a style that aligns people from diverse racial, cultural, gender, generational, and geographic experiences towards common purpose. Influenced by a resilient and dynamic Chinese immigrant mother, she expands perceived boundaries of what is possible for she is, among other things, a cowgirl rancher in Montana where she and her husband raise their two young boys. She is also a trained mediator and holds a BA in environmental science from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining Rockwood as a trainer, Pamela was part of the 2006 LIO cohort and has been a Rockwood coach for several years.

Viveka Chen

For over 25 years, Viveka has worked for social justice with people across a spectrum of cultures, communities, movements, and sectors. She is most often co-creating programs and practices centering race equity and liberation for: leadership cohorts and fellowships, innovation labs, organizations/communities moving through change and conflict (facilitating healing, restorative, and accountability processes), leadership transitions, and vision and strategy work. Viveka is also a Buddhist meditation teacher with an open and compassionate presence and deep respect for those she works with. Her coaching supports leaders to access their strengths, awareness, and creative energy to set in motion breakthroughs and new possibilities. She is affiliated as a coach and consultant with Management Assistance Group, RoadMap Consulting, the Haas Flexible Leadership Award Program, CompassPoint, and co-LAB (a woman of color race equity and liberation formation).

Robert Gass, EdD

Robert is co-designer of the Art of Leadership and the Leading from the Inside Out Yearlong Fellowship. He is a Harvard-trained psychologist, organizational development consultant, leadership coach, and workshop leader. Robert has more than 30 years experience consulting at senior levels for nonprofit, private and governmental organizations and agencies.

Juan Gomez

Juan Gomez is rasa indigenous surfer, who is the Co-Founder and Director of MILPA. He brings over a decade of experience in youth justice reform including working directly with youth and young adults involved with the justice system. He provides technical assistance to agencies and organizations seeking to reform policies and practices related in particular to Boys and Men of Color as well as designing and facilitating culturally relevant trainings for that address justice reform efforts. Juan works with the numerous agencies to develop Fellowships for formerly incarcerated activists and community leaders. Mr. Gomez is looked at as a national voice on racial equity, working with young adults, Rites of Passages, and gender specific modalities. Juan has served on a number of advisory boards that work to shape local, state and national reform agendas including the State Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (SACJJDP). He was raised by his grandparents, and mother Amelia, Ampelio and Raquel.

Suzanne Hawkes

Suzanne Hawkes is a management consultant, facilitator and leadership trainer based in Vancouver, Canada. She has over 20 years’ experience helping social justice leaders and organizations amplify their strategic impact through organizational effectiveness, strategic planning, and dialogue. Her vision: a diverse cross-sectoral network of powerful, collaborative, service-oriented leaders working across difference to achieve transformational change. She is a Senior Consultant with InPartnership Consulting, an Oakland-based management consulting firm focused on racial equity. There, she is a co-designer and instructor with the Racial Justice Learning Lab, and a facilitator with the InDeep Racial Equity initiative for philanthropic leaders. At Rockwood, she co-facilitates Fellowships for Women in Racial Justice, LGBTQ Leaders, Pittsburgh Lead Now and Techquity. At home in Vancouver, Suzanne is an Associate of Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue, and a co-designer and instructor with SFU’s Certificate Program in Executive Leadership. She is also a political focus group moderator with Strategic Communications.

Toby Herzlich

Toby is a facilitator and trainer with a background in community development, organizational excellence, conflict resolution and participatory strategic planning. Her work focuses on developing leadership within progressive nonprofits, supporting values-based planning in grassroots organizations and cultivating visionary leadership among women.

Romeo Jackson

Hailing from the southside of Chicago and the grandchild of Gracie Lee Fowler, Romeo Jackson (They/Them)  is a Queer, Non-Binary Femme, and a Black descended of the estimated 11 million Africans who were kidnapped and sold into enslavement. They are a feminist dedicated to intersectional justice and cross movement building. Currently, Romeo is the assistant director of social justice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas overseeing education, outreach, and mentorship efforts. Their research, writing, and practice explores Race/ism, anti-Blackness, and Settler Colonialism within a higher hducation context with an emphasis on the experiences of Queer and Trans Students of Color. Romeo is committed to uplifting and empowering queer and trans people of color through a black queer feminist lens. They thank Audre Lorde for keeping them grounded as a whole person in a world committed to tokenizing their identities for agendas not aligned with their politics.

Helen S. Kim

Helen has 30 years of experience in working with leaders, organizations, and networks advocating for racial, economic, and environmental justice. As a consultant, her focus is on transforming leadership culture, developing innovative strategies, and building effective partnerships. Helen is a co-author of Working Across Generations: Defining the Future of Nonprofit Leadership, and has led workshops across the U.S. and internationally on supporting the next generation of leaders. Her clients have included the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Community Change, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Open Society Foundations, and the Immigrant Movement Visioning Process. Helen taught US social movement history at the San Francisco State University School of Social Work and worked as a community organizer, where she focused on immigrant and worker rights and environmental justice issues. Helen emigrated from Korea when she was twelve years old and studied history and law. She currently lives in Brooklyn, and loves to swim, sing, and get serious about her role as ‘imo’ (auntie).

Matt Kolan

Matt Kolan is an ecologist, tracker, and director of the University of Vermont’s Leadership for Sustainability Master’s Program. His teaching and research explore endangered and emergent leadership practices that align with the wisdom of nature; engage complexity, mystery, and multiple ways of knowing; challenge domination and oppression; and center love, well-being and relationship. Matt also partners with and provides advising, coaching and consulting to many individuals and organizations that are committed to deep equity and creating conditions for all life to thrive.

Ernest Mark

Ernest brings over fifteen years of experience as an executive coach and organizational development consultant in the social justice sector. As a coach and trainer, Ernest helps people connect with their passion, values and what’s most important in life with an awareness of body, stance and presence. Ernest received a Bachelor’s degree from Tufts University. He has presented at conferences hosted by the International Coach Federation, Association of Black Foundation Executives and Leadership that Works. Based out of Oakland, California, Ernest’s favorite things include doing arts and crafts with his two daughters, playing music, gardening, cooking and camping.

J. K. Nelson

For over 20 years, J.’s work has been driven by an essential burning question, “What makes a great leader a great leader”? An organizational development specialist and dynamic facilitator, J. is a leading voice in supporting organizations to create a strong culture in which everyone is a leader. In addition to an obsession with leadership, J. also supports organizations to adopt and implement Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion best practices into all aspects of their work.

Yeshi Neumann

Yeshi has had 2 principal callings for her work in the world. Since 1988, Yeshi has facilitated hundreds of workshops and trainings on leadership, women’s leadership, white privilege, racism and other social oppressions, conflict resolution, communication, family healing and mindfulness.  For the last 11 hears she has been a trainer with Rockwood Leadership Institute. She has been an actively practicing midwifery since 1970, receiving new life into her hands in people’s homes and hospitals.  Her work of “catching babies” has been infused with her passion for women’s empowerment and is inseparable from her dedication to making affordable, respectful, culturally relevant health care a right for everyone, and not a privilege. She has 2 Masters Degrees, one in Medieval History and one in Public Health. Yeshi is the mother of 2 daughters and the grandmother of 4 granddaughters all of whom were born into her own hands. She loves to practice Qi Gong, dance and be in rivers, lakes and oceans.

Darlene Nipper

Darlene Nipper is Rockwood’s CEO. With over 25 years of leadership and advocacy experience, Darlene joined Rockwood in 2012 as a member of the training team. She previously served as deputy executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, executive director of the BET Foundation, chief operating officer at NAMI and founder of its Multicultural and International Policy Center, and director of LGBT affairs in the Executive Office of the Mayor of D.C. Darlene, a native Washingtonian, is also an ordained interfaith minister, practices mindfulness meditation, deep presence, and living joy.

Aisha Nyandoro

Aisha Nyandoro has more than a decade of experience developing, implementing, and evaluating programs aimed at improving the quality of life for individuals with limited resources. She has worked in various capacities– as an academic, evaluator, philanthropist, moderator, and nonprofit executive. These varied experiences have allowed her to better understand systems and policies that impact vulnerable communities. Aisha’s life mission is to holistically and compassionately lift families out of cycles of poverty. When not working to transform impoverished communities, she is a wife and mommy to the best two little boys in the world.

John Poore

John is president of Whole Leaders where he specializes in leadership development and coaching to support the work of social change leaders. Over the last 20 years, John has served as a founder, executive director, board member and consultant to a broad range of nonprofit organizations. His work employs a whole-person approach to leadership development and spirals outward to drive desired organizational change. John enjoys being a father, tending honeybees, gardening and hiking.

Maria Ramos-Chertok

Maria Ramos-Chertok is a writer, workshop leader and coach. She grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey in a purple house that her mother opened as a shelter for battered women and their children. Her early life was filled with political activism and exposure to social justice issues connected to the anti-Vietnam war protests, justice for farmworkers, Black power, and women’s liberation. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, she worked in domestic violence prevention with the Family Violence Project where she did crisis counseling for victims of felony assaults and trained police officers on the cycle of domestic abuse. She has over 20 years experience as an organizational development consultant and trainer. Her current areas of focus are sexual harassment prevention, leadership development, and transformational change. Maria joined Rockwood’s training team in 2007, and in 2015, she designed and launched The Butterfly Series, a writing and creative arts workshop for women who want to explore what’s next. For more information, visit mariaramoschertok.com.

Jonathan Relucio

With over 20 years of experience in community organizing, training, social services and leadership development, Jonathan values Buddhist mindfulness meditation and yoga as liberation practices to transform and heal the trauma of oppression – “where the chains around our minds and hearts can be broken through and dissolved; and awareness and wisdom become the vehicle for freedom and transforming our lives (DaRa Williams).” For a decade, Jonathan has facilitated trauma-informed healing practices to support executive and grassroots leadership in Education, Mental Health, and Juvenile Justice as Senior Trainer, faculty and coach for the Niroga Institute. He integrates embodied mindfulness with restorative justice circles for healing and race equity as co-founder and co-director for AllThriveEd.org. At Rockwood, he directly supports fellowships for Resource Leaders, Ohio, Pittsburgh, California, Just Films, Strengthening Democracy, National Leading from the Inside Out and the Art of Navigating Change. He completed Communities Rizing and Spirit Rock’s Mindfulness, Yoga and Meditation Training programs; and teaches at the East Bay Meditation Center and Spirit Rock. Jonathan holds a BA in Psychology and Ethnic Studies from the University of California in Berkeley, and a Master’s degree from Naropa University with a focus on Spiritual Activism: Contemplative Practices, Kingian and Gandhian Nonviolence, Art-as-Meditation, Ritual and Social Transformation.

Tony Bennae Richard

Tony is a disabled veteran who served in the United States Navy for twenty-four years as a hospital corpsman (medic), healthcare administrator, and organization development consultant for the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery where he led and designed countless experiential learning experiences in leadership development, strategic planning, and organizational change.  While on active duty, he imagined a world absent of oppression, wars, fragmented relationships, broken bodies, and wasted human capital.  So, after retiring in 2005, a blend of life experiences, parenting, formal and informal education, and extensive exposure to different cultures and people, he birthed The Bennae Group, a boutique consulting firm that supports individuals and organizations committed to doing the heart work…and hard work…of culture change and transformation. A learner for life, his approaches are informed by his HBCU community; Gestalt Institute of Cleveland; Center for Human Development; National Training Laboratory (NTL); Robert Gass and the Social Transformation Project; Dr. Laurie Leitch and the Trauma Informed Social Resilience Model (SRM); Institute for Cultural Affairs, Landmark Worldwide, Barry Johnson and Polarity Thinking; Race Forward; Learning In Action Technologies, and every interaction with others.  He is a member of the National Training Laboratories (NTL); past board member of Educational Training and Development Alliance (ETDA); adjunct faculty, Georgetown University’s Organization Development Certificate Program; Facilitator, Cornell University’s Union Leadership Institute; Kappa KappaPsi and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. While he loves reading/writing poetry, flying kites, soap making, playing the trumpet, learning to play the Native American flute and didgeridoo, and listening to music, his favorite past time is spending time with his precious family.

Izumi Yamamoto

Izumi is a leadership trainer, facilitator and executive coach with over two decades of experience working alongside leaders across cultures and sectors. Her professional background spans four continents which brings a diverse perspective to her work integrating inner and outer leadership practices and matters of the soul. She is a co-founder and president of Perennial where she serves as the lead trainer and coach for senior leaders and executive teams in Asia, America, Africa and the Middle East to elevate their effectiveness of leadership and collaborations in their work. An ardent practitioner of meditation, she has guided leaders in deepening their own inner well-being practices to lead with greater awareness and aliveness. She is based in Seattle, Washington.

Eva Young

Building on 25 years of experience, Eva Young engages individuals and teams in transformative processes to achieve long-term, positive, and sustainable change. As a coach, Eva supports leaders in exploring choices to engage in meaningful and impactful actions in their personal and professional lives. Eva specializes in Leadership Development, Ontological Coaching, Retreat and Group Facilitation, Team Effectiveness, Organization Culture Change. Her work is centered on racial justice, equity, inclusion, and women’s empowerment. Eva has a Master’s degree in Social and Organizational Learning from George Mason University, she is a Certified Coach from the Newfield Network, and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) Community Fellows. Eva keeps deepening her own understanding and practice of mindshift learning, intersectionality, power dynamics, somatics, behavior change, and mindfulness. She works collaboratively within the philanthropic, public, non-profit, labor, and private sectors. Some of the clients Eva has worked with include: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Park Service, Tides Foundation, The W. K. Kellogg Foundation-Mexico, Service Employees International Union-Texas, Sodexo, Texaco, PepsiCo, Human Rights Campaign, and the National Juvenile Justice Network.