Ada was born in Brownsville, TX and raised in Matamoros, Mexico. Her mother is a native of Matamoros and her father was born in Germany and immigrated to Mexico when he was seven years old. Every week when she was growing up, she would cross the US-Mexico border dozens of times – to go to school, come back home, or visit family and friends. When she was 18, she moved to the United States. Fifteen years later, her beloved and she have made their home in Asheville, NC.
Ada began working with other immigrants as a Immigration Specialist, helping families navigate the complicated (and racist) US immigration system. In 2007, she began coordinating the Coalición de Organizaciones Latino-Americanas (COLA), a regional coalition of Latino and immigrants rights organizations. Her work includes supporting local Latino leaders and organizations, facilitating and planning local retreats and gatherings, and supporting new leaders in the immigrants’ rights movement. She was a founding member of Nuestro Centro, Asheville’s first Latino center and a key organizer of the May 1, 2006 march in Asheville. In 2009, she participated in a Soul Sanctuary program at The Stone House and has returned to Mebane to participate in several trainings and for personal retreat. Being at The Stone House reminds her of the importance of silence and of her love for long walks, hot days and good food.
Chad is Executive Director of the Community Investment Network, which inspires, connects and strengthens African-Americans and people of color to leverage their collective resources to create the change they wish to see. Over the past decade, he has worked with multiple foundations nationally supporting economic justice, movement building and immigrant rights. In 2001, he was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. In 2008, he was an ABFE Fellow. He served on the boards of Resource Generation, and the 2009 Endorsement Committee of the Freelancers Union PAC.
Two transformative moments in his life were: being 8 blocks from the twin towers on 9/11, and being a White House intern for 7 weeks in the scandalous summer of 1998. Since then he has been reminded of the significance of electoral politics, food and interdependence by reading Gary Rivlin’s Fire on the Prairie, Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, and Octavia Butler’s sci-fi slavery classic, Kindred. Chad has spoken about storytelling, people and possibilities at Making Money Make Change, the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders, the International Human Rights Funders Group, and GoodWork among others.
Chad supports community supported agriculture for the fresh onions and other veggies, public libraries for the book borrowing, and drinking fountains since there is no bottle afterwards. He studied Economics and History at Macalester College in the Twin Cities. Chad’s been on the board since November 2008, spending his time weeding, tweeting and eating in The Stone House gardens, under the grape vines or in the kitchen.
Claudia has been a leader in national efforts to integrate the power of spiritual practice and the work of social justice. In 1995 she founded stone circles after some years of community organizing around economic justice issues and finding a bit of peace through meditation and yoga. Her book The Spiritual Activist: Practices to Transform Your Life, Your Work, and Your World (Penguin Compass 2002) is a practical guide to individual and social transformation through spirit and faith.
Claudia has a master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University and was a Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Fellow. She currently serves on the board of the Seasons Fund for Social Transformation and the Education as Transformation project based at Wellesley College. Trained as a yoga teacher in the Kripalu tradition, she follows a yogic path on and off the mat. Her greatest loves are citrus, her beloved friends and family, sitting quietly with others and swimming in the pond. Claudia lives on the land at The Stone House with Zak the dog.
Corita Brown is a fourth generation social justice activist. Over the years she has worked as a trainer, consultant, facilitator, curriculum developer, yoga teacher, and trapeze swinger. In 2001, Corita moved to Barcelona, Spain where she founded a community based center for healing arts. She moved back to the states in 2008, and lived for a year in Durham, NC where she met and fell in love with stone circles. These days you can find Corita in Philadelphia where she coordinates Communities for All Ages, an intergenerational community change initiative housed at The Intergenerational Center at Temple University. In this capacity she provides training, coaching and technical assistance to 2o intergenerational, cross-sector coalitions, and presents nationally on intergenerational leadership and community building. Corita comes to Communities for All Ages with a background in leadership development, youth organizing, adult learning, team work, community building and organizational change. She holds a Masters in Organizational Psychology and Adult Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and works in both English and Spanish.
Lisa Garrett, Secretary
Elisabeth E Garrett (Lisa) is a leadership consultant and coach with 15+ years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Lisa started gMoxie consulting and coaching to strengthen the way individuals and organizations relate to their power; and by doing so, better understand the impact of their power in creating lasting change. Lisa is a faculty member at the Institute for Life Coach Training where she co-designed and instructs the Coaching for Social Action Course. She is a co-founder of the Coaches of Color Consortium, C3, a national consortium of coaches committed to maintaining integrity of coaches and the coaching field to best serve communities of color. Drawing from her experience as an accomplished martial artist and certified fearlessYOGA instructor, Lisa works with various practices to bring awareness to how we truly “embody” our commitment to change. As part of her vision to cultivate healthy and sustainable leaders and organizations, she also offers yoga by request at retreats nationally and at thirdroot community health center in Brooklyn, New York.
Michelle received her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Art from the College of William and Mary. In 1998 Michelle graduated from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with a Masters in Social Work. Michelle is a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice in Carrboro, NC where she specializes in working with survivors of sexual violence, people who have experienced trauma, identity work, and people who have eating disorders.
She has worked in several community agencies in the area including, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, the Mental Health Association, Counseling and Wellness Services at UNC-Chapel Hill, and she served as the director for Heirs to a Fighting Tradition. She is a core trainer with Dismantling Racism Works, dRWorks, and has learned invaluable lessons from working with institutions on developing an analysis of institutional and cultural racism. Michelle is a yoga teacher as well and loves weaving social justice and healing into her yoga work. She loves engaging in projects that feed her soul, speak truth to justice, and serve the community. She works as a community organizer, bringing all of herself to her work, organizations, and her community. She lives in Carrboro with her lovely partner Jeff, and her cute dog Bella. Michelle joined the Board in 2011.
Milan Pham, Treasurer
Milan is a Friday Fellow 2008-2010 and, in addition to serving with Stone Circles, currently serves on the Boards of the North Carolina Legal Education Assistance Foundation, the Durham Orange Women Attorneys, Durham Central Market and the Planned Parenthood Board Development Committee.
Stone Circles has been a healing and transformative place for her. She deepens every time she comes. She can’t remember what first brought her to Stone Circles but she remembers thinking she should have come sooner. She lives in Durham and enjoys the company of her beloved community.
Sharon is Vice President of Marketing for a global software company and has over 20 years marketing and business development experience working with Fortune 100 companies, small technology start-ups and nonprofit organizations. She has also provided strategic and tactical marketing consulting for solo entreprenuers and small businesses.
She also is an ordained Interfaith Minister, having completed study at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary (OSIS), a two-year training program in NYC that explores world religions and spiritual diversity and nurtures a direct experience of the unity that underlies them. Sharon has been certified through the International Coaching Federation (ICF) as a Life Coach since 2007 and as owner of Empowered Flow Coaching, she conducts one-on-one life coaching and facilitates discussion groups and workshops designed to support individuals in living congruent, empowered, fully engaged lives. She graduated from Hofstra University with a BBA and received her MBA from The Keller Graduate School of Management. She has completed both introductory and advanced courses in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine.
Sharon facilitates a monthly spiritual discussion group, has worked with the Partnership for the Homeless in New York City, currently volunteers with Meals on Wheels of Wake County, mentors seminary students at OSIS, and enjoys taking on challenges/ projects that are life-affirming, collaborative, high impact, cost-effective and support progressive change from the ground up. She is a native New Yorker and now lives in Raleigh, NC with her partner and rambunctious dog, Jett. She is a runner, practices yoga, meditates regularly, loves the ocean and is passionate about empowering individuals to deepen their capacity to “be the change they seek in the world”.
Tony Macias was born and raised in the South, but has found home in many places in the US and beyond. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with degrees in Spanish and Biology, he worked for 12+ years in farmworker, labor, trade, anti-war, and immigrant rights movements in the US and Mexico. He just came back from 2 years working with Witness for Peace in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he led delegations of US citizens to explore the impacts of US policies. Before that, he served as Assistant Director at Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF), the organization that first introduced him to social justice back when he was in college. Tony recently finished a multimedia documentary in collaboration with SAF. Retorno 360 is a video exploring personal migration and family, and can be viewed here (www.saf-unite.org/content/award-winners).
For the last 3 years, he’s gotten involved in the movement for language justice, whose goal is to make institutions, communities, and movements fully-accessible to people who speak languages other than English. Through that work, he’s provided interpreting and translation services and language access workshops in the US and Mexico.
Tony first came to a weekend training with stone circles back in 2004, attended a number of days of practice over the years, and now visits The Stone House every chance he gets. It’s his favorite place to reflect, to reacquaint himself with silence, and to practice sharing space with others according to a different rhythm. He often daydreams about fresh eggs cooked up in the biggest cast-iron skillet he can find in The Stone House kitchen.