Collaborative Leadership Team Bios

collaborative leadership team biographies

Learn more about the people who make up our Collaborative Leadership team.
(Note: folks are listed here in alphabetical order by their first name.)

abigail lo

DEIA Committee member

Abigail is a junior at Fordham University double majoring in Humanitarian Studies and Theatre Performance (yes, it’s a very long title). As an active part of the theatre community, they’ve spent much of their college career acting, assisting designers, and agonizing over the next set to build in the scene shop. They’ve also worked to bring their activism into theatre: as a co-chair of the Fordham Theatre BIPOC Alliance, Abigail has worked for the past year to hold Fordham Theatre accountable to its stated anti-racist values as well as create a community for other BIPOC students. Outside of theatre, they’ve taken on many leadership positions at Fordham’s Center for Community Engaged Learning, and they love tutoring math so they can finally put those high school calculus classes to use. Abigail is also looking forward to attending their fifth and final Inward Bound retreat in December 2021 — without Inward Bound, they could never be where they are today. Their dreams for the future involve off-Broadway acting, working at an NGO for transitional justice, or moving to Sorrento, Italy and eating gelato by the ocean.

adrienne scott

DEIA Committee member

Adrienne Scott is currently the curator at the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology at California State University, Chico. She holds a BA in anthropology from Indiana University, Bloomington and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from CSU, Chico. Originally from St. Louis, MO, Adrienne left the Midwest to work on the East Coast in her early museum career at the Smithsonian Institution and the Miami Museum of Science, coordinating public programs and exhibitions. In 2016 The Smith Museum received the California State Superintendent’s Award for Excellence in Museum Education for the Museum-in-the-Classroom Project created by her. She has also been part of the Still Point Meditation Center founded by Bill and Nancy Martin in Chico, CA. She has led meditations, held space, as well as served on the Still Point’s board. Adrienne tries to find time each day to recharge in nature, either with a dawn or dusk walking meditation. Being present and awake to what life brings forward is essential to being a better educator and human. She is energized by the practice of interconnecting mindfulness, education, and antiracist work. These interwoven threads seem like the natural way forward.

chas dicapua

Guiding Teachers Committee member

Chas DiCapua started practicing meditation in the Soto Zen tradition in 1989. He sat his first Vipassana retreat at IMS in 1995. Since then he has practiced in both the US and Asia. A recent graduate of the Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training Program, Chas is currently the Resident Teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. He also teaches regularly at various sitting groups and centers.

dave macek (he/him)

Development and Business Strategy staff lead, Board interim Treasurer

Since 2007, Dave has led dynamic organizations dedicated to personal and social transformation. His diverse experience has spanned retreat and spiritual centers, online action platforms, and various educational settings. In his most recent role, Dave was Executive Director of Ecochallenge.org, a digital nonprofit that activates sustainability solutions in schools, communities, and businesses. From middle schools to Fortune 100 companies, 4,500+ organizations in 139 countries have taken 2+ million actions through the Ecochallenge Platform. Prior to Ecochallenge.org, he worked with PassageWorks Institute, a leader in supporting school communities to become places of connection, compassion, equity, and excellence. PassageWorks’ professional learning programs include a suite of evidenced-based mindfulness programs designed specifically for faculty and staff working in ECE-12 settings. Dave holds a BS in Mathematics and Economics from Stonehill College and an MA in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University, an interdisciplinary, contemplative-based program. He is a “retired” yoga instructor and a meditation practitioner of 15+ years. Dave lives with his wife and daughter in the beautiful Chagrin Valley outside of Cleveland, Ohio.

falcon laina

Youth Advisory Committee member, YAC representative on Board

I attended an Inward Bound retreat in 2018, and experienced such welcoming like I never had before in any place. Since then I have considered the Inward Bound community to be my spiritual family, and I’ll never miss a chance to give back to this community that has done so much for me. I am especially interested in relational mindfulness and the ways it can be employed to foster healthier learning environments, systems of leadership and societal infrastructure.

frances ku (she/her)

Brand, Marketing, and Content staff lead

For the last 10 years, Frances has dedicated her career to serving mission-based organizations ranging in social justice, wellness, and sustainability causes. Joining the Inward Bound Collaborative Leadership team in the Brand, Marketing, Content role further intensifies her passion to make the world not just a better place, but a more mindful and compassionate home for all. She holds Bachelors in Design and Business Management from Juniata College and a Certificate in Communication Design from Pacific Northwest College of Art, contributing skills in graphic design, content marketing, and brand strategy to the workplace. Frances likes to spend her time with her partner, Chris, and pups, Barry and Ginkgo, in England and the States. She devotes her life also to being close to her family, learning about her heritage, cooking Chinese + Taiwanese food, practicing sustainable habits, growing tiny vegetable gardens, fostering animals, and, most recently, running for fun. Her 10-year plan includes building an Earthship and starting an animal sanctuary.

hassan rostam (he/him)

Director, Board of Directors

Hassan Rostam is an accounting and finance professional with over 25 years of experience. Throughout his career, he has been focused on helping entrepreneurs make better decisions and grow more profitably. Before joining MontPac as a consulting CFO, Hassan worked in various industries including healthcare, technology, property management in addition to CPA and valuation firms. He has developed and led world-class finance departments with teams of diverse and dedicated professionals in both large and small organizations. Hassan has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He is an MBA candidate at Boston University.

“I believe businesses can and should consider the impact of their decisions on profit, people, and the planet. We must build regenerative businesses that create value and an economy that provides opportunity for all and protects the planet for future generations.”

jen heitel (she/her)

Operations and Finance staff lead, Board Secretary

Jen feels grateful to have been involved with Inward Bound since 2015, serving as a retreat manager, mentor, and Health Coordinator for Northeast and online retreats before becoming a full-time staff member in 2021. Jen is a passionate public health leader with 20+ years of experience in policy, advocacy, facilitation, and project management in the non-profit sector and academia. She has spent her career focused on sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice and adolescent health and wellbeing. As an independent consultant, Jen is Managing Director for the Future of Sex Education (FoSE) Initiative and for the Sex Education Collaborative. Before joining Inward Bound as full-time staff, she served as Director of Special Projects in the Department of Population and Family Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Prior to that, Jen was Director of Public Policy at SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change and State Policy Coordinator at Advocates for Youth. Jen holds an MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, with a certificate in Sexuality, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and a BA in International Affairs and a concentration in International Women’s Studies from George Washington University. She is also a recent participant in Inward Bound’s Teacher Training Program. Based in Harlem, New York City, Jen’s happiest places are dance floors and oceans. She regularly volunteers with Free Food Harlem.

joseph de wolk (he/him)

Director, Board of Directors

Bio coming soon!

khalila gillett (they/she)

Mindfulness Teacher Training Teacher

Khalila Gillett is a mindfulness and yoga instructor with 20+ of personal practice. Introduced to yoga and meditation in her teen years, she has attended many multi-day silent meditation retreats, including two month-long retreats. Her background includes over a decade as a wilderness educator leading multi-day expeditions for a variety of educational organizations, as well as teaching interdisciplinary curriculum in formal classroom settings and beyond. She holds a B.A. in Adventure-based Environmental Education from Prescott College and over 500 hr Yoga Teacher Training hours. Khalila teaches meditation retreats for all ages through Inward Bound Mindfulness in both residential settings and remote wilderness environments. Her teaching is grounded in nature awareness and connection, mindfulness meditation as a means for insight, care, and well-being, and social justice praxis that recognizes our interdependence and collective need for freedom. Khalila currently serves among the core faculty for Inward Bound’s Mindfulness Teacher Training.

mark wax (he/they)

Interim Board President, mindfulness teacher

Mark Wax is deeply grateful to be working with Inward Bound. Mark has been a sincere student of many meditative arts for the last 15 years. He has worked for Yoga International, The Himalayan Institute, and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He recently completed his 500-hour yoga teacher certification through Spirit Rock’s Mindful Yoga and Meditation Training.

nikki cistac (she/her)

Programs and Community Engagement staff lead, DEIA Committee member

Nikki comes to Inward Bound with a decade’s experience in various education and people-centered roles. As a Director at Teach For America, Nikki innovated recruitment practices, created a curriculum as a member of the DEI council, and worked on the people team to create a more welcoming environment for all. As an employee of the New York City Department of Education, Nikki hosted regular DEI sessions regarding recruitment practices for high schools and supported recruiting BIPOC teachers. Upon hiring, she facilitated growth and development sessions, emphasizing mental wellness and CRE practices in her work for the New York City Teaching Fellows and New York City Men Teach programs. Nikki was a Competency Collaborative (formerly Mastery Collaborative) Mentor Teacher for teachers across New York City. As a mentor, she guided teachers in creating supportive classroom environments grounded in mindfulness, social-emotional learning, and culturally responsive texts/activities. After receiving her yoga certification in 2018, she created and taught yoga & mindfulness courses for high school students & implemented a morning/afternoon course for staff in the building. These courses evolved into mindfulness tools/exercises shared with teachers throughout NYC as part of her work with Competency Collaborative. Outside work, Nikki enjoys dancing in the rain, spending gentle days at the beach, annual time in France, and traveling with her husband.

steph beeman (they/she)

Director, Board of Directors

Steph Beeman is a highly accomplished professional with a strong background in program development, leadership development and nonprofit marketing. They have a proven track record that includes relaunching experiential outdoor learning programs for teens in Montana, where they spearheaded curriculum development, cultivated team leadership, and fostered strong relationships with donors and funders. Throughout their career, Steph has demonstrated a passion for business and program start-ups. At Montana State University, they played a pivotal role in launching a support and mentorship program for Horatio Alger Scholarship recipients, followed by the successful establishment of the Hilleman Scholars Program. Furthermore, Steph has dedicated 10 years as a volunteer with Hugh O’Brien youth, taking on various key roles such as director of staff, program, and recruitment. Steph holds a B.S. in Business Management and Marketing from Montana State University, where they also minored in Entrepreneurship and Mathematics. In their free time, they enjoy baking, reading, and making the most of the short Montana summer season by spending ample time outdoors with their dog. With their extensive experience in program startup and nonprofit marketing, combined with their strong leadership skills and ability to cultivate meaningful relationships, Steph is dedicated to making a positive impact on the organizations and communities they serve.