Professional Staff &
Board of Directors
We turn to you, holding your dignity as closely as our own, believing that together is the only way we will peaceably and successfully arrive, celebrating our unique identities, and build a thriving community that equally values every life.
Let's Create Safe Space Together
Lori Schulman Yadin
President and CEO
Lori is a Human Advocate who deeply believes that healthy relationships support healthy lives and communities. A seasoned Retreat Facilitator, Experiential Educator, Writer and Coach Practitioner who has internalized her learning of thirty years of experience with individuals, teams and organizations to inform methodologies that support: achieving human potential, reaching personal and professional goals, maintaining clear vision in line with values necessary for sustained success and living a contented life. Her work and experience has taught her the great value of Creating Safe Space, the focus of her practice and life. Lori has a creative spirit, love for the natural world and her family. In her free time she enjoys visits with her young adult sons , daughters, and grandchildren, designing home and garden, kayaking, reading and writing. She spends her year between the Delaware Shore and Blue Hill, Maine. Contact Lori: Director@CreateSafeSpace.org
Certified Executive and Life Coach
Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management, Executive Coaching Certification
Coach Training Alliance, Life Coaching Certification
Center for Courage and Renewal, Facilitator trained by Parker J. Palmer
Greater Good Science Center, Pro-Social Human Development, Summer Institute for Educators, University of California, Berkeley
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Training
Experiential Education, B.A. Prescott College
George Washington University, Masters Certification, Landscape Design: Understanding human connection to land, space and place.
Hood College, Post Graduate work Educational Psychology, Diversity, and Research
International Coach Federation
Association for Experiential Education
Center for Courage & Renewal
Sarah Routman has a BA in English and a BFA in Photography from Ohio University and a Master’s in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. After teaching high school English and Drama in Florida and Georgia, Sarah spent 18 years running 2 non-profits in the Jewish community in Minneapolis, MN working primarily with high school and college students. Currently a Wellness Advocate and Adjunct Leadership Instructor at the University of Minnesota, Sarah believes passionately that we make the biggest difference in life one person at a time.
A life-long learner, she gleans much from her students and is skilled at connecting people and finding the relevance and connection in unsuspecting places. She has trained in Reiki and Reflexology and cares deeply about health and wellness. Having travelled extensively, Sarah created and ran a cultural exchange program in Bulgaria, uniting teens from North America, Israel and Bulgaria for the purpose of creating meaningful conversations about similarities, differences and personal identity while finding ways to serve the community needs.
As a certified Laughter Yoga Leader and Teacher, Sarah very consciously creates a safe space with no judgment were people open up, take risks and allow themselves to become vulnerable through shared laughter, which helps to build bridges and encourages important conversations about staying mentally and physically healthy. She inspires others to lead happier, healthier, more meaningful lives through laughter, which ultimately helps them to unlock their full potential.
Myra Brown is founder and president of MBrownGroup LLC, a consulting firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has almost 30 years of experience managing, consulting, directing and developing business opportunities for health care companies, device manufacturers, health insurers, entrepreneurs, and individual health care providers.
MBrownGroup works with companies ranging from new business start-ups to multinational entities, developing strategic business, brand marketing and content and social media marketing plans.
Myra has a deep focus in patient facing marketing, and is a fierce advocate for empowering healthcare consumers with information and decision making tools. Today’s healthcare system is driving shorter encounters between providers and patients, and consumers need to be educated with reliable and accurate information to maximize physician interaction, becoming their own advocates.
She has a special expertise in the consumer sleep market, interacting with the media, consumers, retailers and providers through product development, branding, licensing, public relations and social media.
Prior to establishing MBrownGroup, Myra held various management positions with Hospital Corporation of America, and served as the chief operating officer of The Bill Wilkerson Center, an internationally recognized speech, hearing and head trauma center affiliated with Vanderbilt University.
She is passionate about mentoring young women as they enter and move through the workforce. As the mother of three daughters, she is committed to helping young women understand that all options and choices are available to them.
Myra has a BA in English from the University of Virginia, and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She has served on the boards of the Akiva School in Nashville, the Jewish Federation of Middle Tennessee, and as a member of the finance committee of The Davis Academy in Atlanta. She was a founder of the Keren Or Jewish High School in Atlanta, a high school program serving the educational needs of developmentally different teens in an inclusive environment with their neurotypical peers.
Myra lives in Atlanta with her husband Dan, a healthcare attorney. They became empty nesters in the fall of 2014, and ecstatic new grandparents when their granddaughter was born earlier this year.
Rachel Gildiner directs Gather the Jews, which connects Jewish 20s & 30s to opportunities in the Washington metropolitan area. Rachel uses community organizing to channel the power of organic networks, build deep relationships, and empower people to be co-creators of their Jewish experiences. Rachel is a certified experiential Jewish educator. She has led experiential workshops, fellowship cohorts, and immersive retreats in the arts of engagement and relationship-based strategies. Prior to coming to Gather, Rachel worked at Hillel International where she advanced student engagement initiatives and led rabbis and educators in efforts to integrate Hillel’s national engagement and educational strategy. In all of her personal and professional endeavors, Rachel practices and teaches empathy, active listening, and creating safe space for individuals to learn and grow.
Rachel has a B.A. in Sociology from Columbia University, a B.A. in Modern Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary (List College), an M.A .in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University, and a Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education from Yeshiva University. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, breathing in the fresh air of the Colorado Mountains, and dancing. Rachel lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband, Adam, and their two children, Samuel and Vera.
Graham Hoffman is Deputy Director of Development at AIPAC. He works closely with the organization’s largest donors – both individuals and foundations – and is focused on fundraising strategy as AIPAC continues dramatic growth, broadening and expanding its reach and impact.
Prior to joining the AIPAC in 2014, Graham was Associate Vice President of Strategy at Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus life – where he and his team worked to incubate, develop, and advance innovative projects and solutions to the organization's greatest challenges. A senior professional at Hillel’s Schuterman International Center for over 10 years, Graham is responsible for pioneering Hillel’s work in cutting-edge relationship-based engagement and community organizing. Previously, he worked at the global consulting firm Accenture, specializing in operations improvement and human performance.
A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School in Human Resource Management and Marketing, Graham has built his career around organizational strategy, change management, and process improvement. Graham is an avid reader, volunteer and experiential education enthusiast. He is a proud alum of Jewish summer camp – and worked as staff and senior staff for over 6 summers. He has worked with and learned from Lori for almost 15 years and is grateful to have the opportunity to advance this remarkable organization with her and the rest of the Board.
Max Nissen, Board MemberMax Nissen is an educator and student rabbi. He is entering his fifth year of rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he is also studying for an MA in Jewish Education. Max has served as a Jewish educator in religious schools, summer camps, and synagogue communities, and has worked with learners at every stage of life.
He serves as the rabbi of Fitzgerald Hebrew Congregation (Fitzgerald, Georgia) and as the student rabbi for Park Slope Jewish Center (Park Slope, Brooklyn). Max is also currently a pastoral care intern at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, where he is undergoing Clinical Pastoral Education and engaging in intentional interfaith community.
Max is passionate about transmitting spiritual tradition, and framing conversations of meaning, around the assumption that our belief systems can - and should - be both intelligent and compassionate. He enjoys finding and creating safe spaces in which to challenge himself and others to grow, considering why we believe what we do and what we are going to do about it. Max is especially interested in the connection between behavior and belief, and the ways in which we construct communities in order to support one another in reaching higher moral, intellectual, and emotional heights.
Advisor to the Board of Directors
Dave Ellis aims to start a serious conversation among African-American men and boys that he says will jump-start social change.
He is one of 10 persons from around the region recently named Bush Fellows by the Bush Foundation and awarded funds to implement or expand programs to change and strengthen their communities. Others will be named in July and September.
Ellis, whose history includes 23 years working in the Minnesota correctional system in jobs from prison guard to director, wants to engage African-American men in what he calls blameless conversations of “how their behavior is impacting how their children grow up.’’ He now has established Dave Ellis Consulting.
“What I’m trying to do is create a way of presenting information to men in a conversational rather than confrontational way,’’ Ellis says. He has asked for $80,000 to fund his project over two years.
“We’re not crazy; there’s nothing wrong with us,’’ says Ellis, an African-American whose grandfather was a slave. It’s that, he says, black men have lived through historic trauma, including slavery as well as generational trauma.
“These things are embedded in us in ways we don’t even recognize,’’ Ellis says.
He plans to use academic research from the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study to demonstrate how factors such as child abuse, emotional neglect, domestic violence, drug use and a parents’ incarceration can affect the brain development of a young child starting before birth. Such experiences impact a child’s emotional and physical well-being and his learning, Ellis says.
He says the discussions will open the men’s eyes to the importance of acting as role models for their children and being responsible providers, fathers and partners.
The knowledge about child development will make the men more accepting of their personal histories and upbringing and lead them to change their lives, he says. Long range, that will mean higher graduation rates, less incarceration and fewer young males in special education programs in the schools, he says.
“If you want a different outcome, you want to do something differently,’’ he says.
Advisor to the Board of Directors
Selena Sermeno, Advisor to the Board of Directors
Selena is a psychologist, educator, and facilitator. Her doctoral dissertation, "The Impact of Political and Social Violence on the Moral Development, Potential for Antisocial Behavior, and Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder of Adolescents," explores the suffering and post-traumatic ramifications of socio-political violence on Salvadoran youth.
Currently, Selena serves as the Ambassadorial Chair for the Bartos Institute for the Constructive Engagement of Conflict of the United World College-USA, where she serves as a mentor to adolescents from over 80 countries, guiding them on the fundamentals of compassionate dialogue, human rights, peace education, diplomacy and reconciliation processes.
Selena is also a consulting psychologist to the Juvenile Justice branch of the State of NM Children, Youth and Families department. Her scope of work with this population focuses on the training of Human Dignity Models for youth rehabilitation.
In the fall of 2009, Selena became an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant for the counties of San Miguel and Ouray in Western Colorado. Her focus on young children highlights the importance of the early years on the development of empathy and conscience development as foundational for a meaningful and responsible life.
Selena’s focus on human rights, trauma recovery, and cross cultural understanding has been inspired by her experience with civil war growing up in El Salvador and work across the world with survivors of traumatic events. Currently, she divides her time between Ridgway, Colorado, Santa Fe, NM and Central America.