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 is the co-founder, president and CEO of InPartnership Consulting Inc., an organizational development and strategic change firm specializing in global diversity and leadership development. Michael is a leader in the fields of organizational development, diversity and strategic planning.

Rajasvini Bhansali

Rajasvini is the new Executive Director of the Solidaire Network and a passionate advocate for participatory grassroots-led social change and movement building. In her wide-ranging international career devoted to social, ecological, and economic justice, she has previously led Thousand Currents as our Executive Director for nine years; led a national social enterprise; managed a public telecommunications infrastructure fund addressing digital divide issues in Texas; and worked as a researcher, planner, policy analyst and strategy consultant. Vini also worked alongside community leaders as a capacity builder for youth polytechnics in rural Kenya for over two years, an experience she credits as motivating her to work to transform U.S. based philanthropy towards more people-centered practices. Born and raised in India, Vini earned a Master’s in Public Affairs with a focus on technology and telecommunications policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor′s in Astrophysics and Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities & Social Sciences from UC Berkeley. Vini has been involved in community organizing and volunteer board roles for the last two decades. Currently, she serves on advisory boards for the Women’s Building in New York City and guest lectures in the Master’s of Leadership in Sustainability Program at the University of Vermont. In 2015, she was honored with a Leaders in Action award by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), and she was a Social Entrepreneurship (SEERS) fellow at Stanford University in 2016. Vini is also a published poet, essayist, popular educator, coach and leadership trainer with the Rockwood Leadership Institute. When not engaged with community organizations, Vini can be found nesting with her family in Richmond, CA.

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.

Helen S. Kim

For over 25 years, Helen has worked with leaders, organizations, and networks in the US and internationally in promoting racial, economic, and environmental justice. 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. She emigrated from Korea when she was twelve years old, studied history and law, and is guided by passion for justice and generosity of spirit.

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.

Yeshi Neumann

Yeshi has been facilitating workshops about women’s leadership, white privilege, racism and other social oppressions, communication, conflict resolution, organizational development, healing family relationships and mindfulness for 25 years. She has worked as a midwife since 1970 in hospitals, clinics, and people’s homes. Her passion to bring an end to the unconscionable health disparities and to make culturally appropriate respectful health care a basic human right has been central to her work. Yeshi has also developed a relevant and inspiring curriculum for activist grandmothers. She has Masters degrees in History and Public Health.

Darlene Nipper

Darlene Nipper is Rockwood’s CEO, and has been part of the training team since 2012. She has over 25 years of leadership and advocacy experience, having previously served as Deputy Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, Executive Director of the BET Foundation, founder of the Multicultural and International Outreach (MIO) Center, Chief Operating Officer at NAMI, 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 and yoga, and has practiced both near and far, including in India and the Bahamas. She is located at Rockwood’s D.C. office.

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

Izumi Yamamoto

Izumi is a leadership trainer, workshop facilitator, and certified coach with early two decades of experience working with leaders around the world. She is the Co-Founder and President of the leadership development organization Perennial where she works closely with community-based social justice leaders and entrepreneurs, particularly from the Global South. Born in Japan, her professional work spans four continents which brings diverse perspectives to her work integrating both inner and outer leadership practices and matters of the soul.