Mike Abkin serves on the board of directors of the National Peace Academy as secretary, and also on staff as business manager and strategic planner. He is past president and current advisory council member of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace, and volunteers with Nine Gates Mystery School. He previously served with Peace Partnership International, The Peace Alliance, and the Foundation for Global Community. At FGC, Mike developed courses relating to personal and cultural transformation and, after 9/11, helped develop a vocational training program in Afghanistan. In his former technical career, he applied systems analysis and simulation modeling for agricultural development and air transportation, including projects in Nigeria and Korea. Mike also served with the Peace Corps in Nigeria and earned his doctorate in systems science at Michigan State University.
Rev. Patricia Hoertdoerfer is a professional educator and a retired Unitarian Universalist minister who practiced her leadership in academic institutions, congregations, community organizations, UU camps and conference centers, and interfaith communities over the past forty years. As a certified Sage-ing® Leader she is currently sharing her ministry with elders while engaging in service to future generations. Partner to Manfred for fifty-plus years, mother to four adult children, and Oma to seven grandchildren, Pat enjoys retirement-living in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Through her many decades she has lived her passions of sharing stories around a campfire, engaging multigenerational spiritual growth, and participating in cross-cultural adventures.
Joseph Jastrab is co-founder and editor in chief of Turning Point and has been active in CEN since its inception. Joseph’s writings have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies and his book, Sacred Manhood, Sacred Earth, is considered a pioneering work in the fields of ecopsychology and men’s spiritual development. He currently maintains a private counseling practice in Rifton, NY and serves as the Senior Teacher and a Program Developer for the Hero’s Journey Foundation.
His numerous excursions into the wilderness have provided him ample experience in wilderness living and exploration of the wild and natural terrain of the human heart and spirit. Joseph enjoys bringing world music, sacred chant and poetry to his work and play and describes himself professionally as a “Facilitator of the Inevitable.”
Susan Prince is a Life Coach specializing in guiding people thru major life transitions. She has created and led several workshops designed for women in their later years and currently co-facilitates the Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreats. Susan has enjoyed the unique opportunity of participating in an indigenous model of community where the Elders have a pivotal role. She has a Teaching Degree and a background in environmental education with an emphasis on nature awareness and has worked with many young people fostering their love and appreciation of the outdoors. Susan has published articles on both eldering and nature connection and, most recently, has written about her experiences in the Amazonian rain forests.
After growing up on a farm in Iowa, John Sorensen heard the aerospace call and followed it to pursue 40 plus years of engineering design, corporate management, and entrepreneurial experiences. Ten years ago he heard another, deeper call—time to re-invent and dedicate himself to humanitarian service in gratitude for what he had been given. He now uses his earlier experiences to fulfill that calling as a social and environmental activist and community organizer. John is a co-founder of Conscious Elders Network, dedicated to transforming our culture to one that encompasses the wisdom and caring of the conscious elder. He currently serves as CEN’s coordinating director.
Diane Tilstra has been “re-fired” since May 2013 allowing her to volunteer her professional organizational skills to her community in a variety of ways: serving as Board Chair of Seabury School supporting education for gifted kids, serving on the board of Washington Engage as development team lead to fund education and training programs aimed to eradicate human trafficking, volunteering with Meaningful Movies Tacoma bringing cutting edge documentaries to the community for discussion about the issues that affect society. She also serves on the Tacoma Rotary Youth Exchange committee, hosting international exchange students.
“I love living in Tacoma, WA! People are friendly, considerate and passionate about issues here. My community is walkable and citizens care about their neighborhoods. I’m a nature-based vision quester and bring my grandmothering skills to seven delightful children.”
Carol Paradise Tornow lives in sunny Tucson, Arizona and enjoys all things Sonoran. She is a long time secular humanist and existentialist, as well as a psychologist, who has recently become a student of Adyashanti and his laidback California style of Buddhist teaching. In her work life, Carol help lead large-scale organizational change, working with her head in the clouds (NASA) and her feet on the ground (U.S. Geological Survey). She has a doctorate in Organizational Psychology, has authored several journal articles and taught for several years at UNC-Greensboro. She currently finds her bliss hiking the mountains near her home, and contemplating how to bring joy into the aging experience.