Administrative Team

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Richard Schwartz



Headshot Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson

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Donna Carter

Director, Professional & Community Development

Donna joined the IFS team in April 2022 and has over 18 years of experience in human resources, which includes global leadership, developing organizational strategy and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.  Donna will play an integral role in designing, evolving, and leading our strategic efforts to recruit, develop and retain trainers and program staff.  She is passionate about IFS and the hope that this work will lead to greater Self leadership.  Donna enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, and scrapbooking

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Laura Dines

Director, Strategic Curriculum

Laura joined the IFSI team in April 2023. She is a skilled learning designer and team leader with experience designing online, classroom, and blended learning solutions for organizations including PBS, TED, and Habitat for Humanity. She is excited to be part of IFSI’s growth as we work to expand our training and learning events to a wider audience.


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Sara Oberg

Director of Marketing and Communications

Sara joined the team in September 2018 with over 20 years of experience at the intersection of marketing and operations for online businesses adjacent to the behavioral health fields. She believes in the power of community connection, and holds the value that great customer experience will make or break any organization. She enjoys living an outdoor lifestyle in Colorado with her husband and three kids. 

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Luis Vega Sorrosal

International Program Director

Luis joined the team in 2022 and oversees all aspects of the international activity of the IFS Institute.  He has a background as international lawyer and manager in various multinational companies and plays a key role in the Institute’s international expansion.  Trained in IFS levels 1&2, he is passionately convinced of the enormous contribution that the IFS model represents for mankind nowadays.  

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Jeffrey Morris

Director of Finance, Operations

Jeffrey joins IFSI as the Director of Finance, a professional with a history of successfully leading high-performing teams in delivering and managing budgets, developing financial models, and providing insightful analysis within the consumer goods, service, manufacturing, and non-profit sectors. Jeffrey’s career has centered on building teams where members are encouraged to use their unique skills to contribute and grow. He believes a company’s financial information is a tool to drive decision making as well as a way to measure the effectiveness of those decisions. 

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Matthew Leventry

IT and Operations Director

Matt joined IFS Institute in January of 2023 and has over 25 years of IT Leadership experience. His experience includes working with start-ups, dot-coms, and rapid-growth organizations, mostly in the technology and software sector. In addition to keeping up with technology, he enjoys traveling with his wife and two children whenever the opportunity is given.


Curriculum & Learning Programs

Headshot Ashley Curley

Ashley Curley

Learning Events Manager

Ashley brings over a decade of experience to our team, having joined us in 2011 with a background in hospitality and event management, as well as marketing expertise. Throughout her 12-year tenure as Learning Events Manager, Ashley played a pivotal role in overseeing the management and execution of the IFS Annual Conference, fostering community growth, and delivering exceptional experiences.  She is IFS Level 1 Trained and served as a founding member of IFSI's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee from 2016 to 2023.

Recently Ashley transitioned into a new part-time role, demonstrating a commitment to supporting the growth and development of IFSI's Learning Programs, a decision driven by her commitment to balance work with quality time spent with her four young children.

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Amanda Donald

Executive Assistant to Dr. Richard Schwartz

Amanda joined IFSI in 2021. They are passionate about systems-change, anti-racist and decolonizing frameworks and mutual aid. She provides full time executive support for Dr. Richard Schwartz and the IFSI team. In their spare time they enjoy riding motorcycles and spending time with their rescue dog, Lady.

Headshot Jody Pittner

Jody Pittner

Learning Program Manager

Jody joined the IFSI team in July 2023 with almost a decade of clinical practice and over 25 years of experience in strategic planning, learning design, and program development.  As the Learning Program Manager, Jody will focus on creating impactful learning experiences for our non-clinical learners. As an artist and board certified art therapist, Jody hopes to bring her creativity and strong visual design skills to every project.

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Marcia Leftwich

Curriculum Manager

Marcia joined the IFSI team in July 2023. She is a Certified IFS Practitioner with a passion for destigmatizing mental health in marginalized communities.  She is a mouthpiece for inspiring others to safeguard their mental health and practice self-care daily. Marcia has over 20 years in training, teaching, curriculum design and mentoring. As the Curriculum Manager, she will standardize IFSI’s training materials and enhance the design and functionality of the Online Circle and Continuity Program. In her spare time, she writes inspirational poetry, practices yoga and meditation and enjoys traveling the world. She has two amazing pillars (her sons), Myles & Adin, that are a source of inspiration and have taught her the true meaning of unconditional love.


Headshot Caroline Gates

Caroline Gates

Learning Technology Specialist

Caroline joined the IFSI team in July 2023. She is an instructional designer and technologist with experience creating online learning programs for therapists in health care and school settings. As Learning Technology Specialist, she will use her technical expertise and multimedia development skills to craft engaging, seamless learning experiences for the learners served by IFSI.


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Mary Mitrovich


Mary joined the team in 2005, with a background in business administration and mathematics.  She handles all things financial for the IFS Institute.

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Shahina Kanwal

Staff Accountant

Shahina joined IFS Institute as a Staff Accountant in February 2024. She has over 7 years’ experience in accounting. She has a master’s degree in accounting from DeVry University. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and she also enjoys traveling with her husband whenever they both get an opportunity.

Marketing and Digital Programs

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Shelia Oswald

Customer Success Manager

Shelia joined the IFS team in November of 2022 with a background in operations, education, and customer service. She oversees the customer support representatives and assists with needs across departments.  In her down time, Shelia enjoys crafting, reading, and home DIY projects.

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Jen Lydic-Tewell

Digital Community Manager

Jen joined the IFS Institute team in April 2022. She is a licensed social worker with a significant background in working with marginalized individuals and families. Before her role as a trauma therapist, Jen owned and operated her consulting firm for 15 years. During this time, she provided valuable services to the nonprofit and small business sectors, specializing in grassroots advocacy, community-building, communications, policy/legislation campaigns, marketing, and technology. 

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Haley Thompson

Customer Success Coordinator

Haley joined the IFS team in August 2023. With a background in customer service, administration, and creative writing, she aims to merge this experience with her embodiment of the IFS model through Self-leadership and a commitment to social equity and justice. Haley is passionate about learning and exploration; when she's not at her desk, you'll often find her reading, riding her bicycle, or spending quality time with her cats, Charlie and Mango.

IT and Operations

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Ryan McElmeel

IT Manager

Ryan joined the IFSI team in May 2023. With over a decade of experience in operations management across diverse industries, he has solidified his passion for helping broaden access to mental wellness services for people in need. During his free time, he enjoys hiking and spending time in nature as he believes it plays an important role in maintaining a healthy mindset.

Amy Cain

Program Operations Manager

Amy joined the IFSI team in April 2024. She has over 20 years of Corporate Training experience, including the design, development and implementation of multi-tiered training programs in a variety of modalities. For the last several years, she has managed the Training Operations for a global EdTech organization servicing the higher ed community. She is looking forward to continuing her philosophy of Servant Leadership in the mental health space. During her free time, she enjoys traveling and outdoor activities.


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Jen Feasley

Lead Central Operations Specialist

Jen started with the team in 2013 with a background in arts management and technical theatre.  She handles most questions related to Trainings and general information for IFS Institute. She's happy to email or chat about trainings when she isn't traveling with her family or walking her giant dog.

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Alexandra DeWald

Site Sourcing and Management Specialist

Alexandra became part of the IFS institute team in January of 2019. Alexandra has a background within the hospitality industry handling housing and site selections. As the Training Site Sourcing Coordinator, she now handles the site searches for the IFS Level 1, 2 and 3 trainings. 

Submit a Site Recommendation *Please note: All IFS Level 1,2, and 3 Trainings will be organized online through 2021 due to COVID-19.

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Kimberly Plaxton

Records Specialist

Kimberly joined the IFS Institute in June 2020 as the Training Program Admissions and Records Administrator. She has a background in language translation, editing, and writing for international organizations. 

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Eryca Rockwell

Central Operations Coordinator

Eryca joined the IFS team in October of 2022.  Experience in operations management in the healthcare and nonprofit space. In her free time she likes to play volleyball, play board games and travel.

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Marissa Sturkey

Site Event Coordinator

Marissa joined the IFS team in February of 2024. She has a background within healthcare, event coordination and hospitality. As the Site Event Coordinator, she now handles site sourcing for the IFS Level 1, 2 and 3 trainings alongside the Site Sourcing and Management Specialist. In her free time, she enjoys traveling to new locations, cooking and exercising.

Professional and Community Development

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Shawn Casselberry

Associate Director of Talent Management

Shawn joined the IFS staff team in July 2020 with over 15 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, community development, and racial justice advocacy. He is passionate about the mission of IFS and is especially interested in the intersections between personal healing and community transformation. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, mentoring young adults, traveling, and walking his dog. 

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Mary Anne Gardner

Admissions Manager

Mary Anne has been a member of IFS Institute’s administrative team for more than 10 years and is responsible for overseeing the increasing number of North American Level 1, 2, and 3 Training Programs.  Her background in educational and arts administration and teaching continues to inform her work.

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Shuka Alaee

Professional Development Manager

Shuka joined the team in June 2021 with a Masters in Counseling working towards LPC licensure in the state of Texas. After helping to implement the groundwork for our inbound communication process, she moved into the role of Certification Specialist where she provides guidance and support for both IFS Certified folks and our IFS-I approved Clinical Consultants. She's currently assisting in the development of an updated and digitized Certification process. 

Laura Zaidi

Laura Zaidi

Community Access Manager

Laura became part of the IFSI team in January 2023 and has dedicated her professional career in serving others as a Leader, Mentor, and Clinician. With a background in counseling and nearly 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Laura has worked diligently in building successful teams and maintaining collaborative partnerships with multidisciplinary and diverse entities. As the Community Access Manager, Laura will continue to compassionately serve various community partners to ensure that IFSI programming is accessible to all. 

Jessy Daniels

Jessy Daniels

Admissions Specialist

Jessy joined the IFS Institute in December of 2020. She has over ten years of experience in elementary education administration and was trained in restorative justice practices. In her free time, she enjoys DIY projects for her home and garden.    

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Eliza Dudek

North American Talent Lead Specialist

Eliza joined the IFS staff team in June of 2022.  She has a background in operations and asset management and brings considerable experience in stakeholder communications. She is responsible for new trainer onboarding, trainer scheduling, supporting performance management, engaging with trainers to help with their development goals, and generally supporting the trainer community.  Eliza enjoys gardening, birdwatching, traveling, and spending time with her two Jack Russell Terriers.

Headshot Julio Sanchez-Mascaraque

Julio Sanchez-Mascaraque

International Talent Specialist

Julio joined the IFS team in 2022.  Julio has a Bachelor of Law.  I have worked in Spain at the Institute of Nonviolent Communication and at the IFS Madrid Institute for almost a decade.  I have completed Level 1, 2 and 3 in IFS.  I graduated from the Drama school for actors in Spain.  I have been organizing trainings for actors in Spain for the development of new techniques from other parts of the world that are little known in Spain.  Languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese

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Desiree Goscilo

Program Assistant Coordinator

Desiree joined the IFSI team in July 2023. Desiree has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with experience working in human services. She has held several roles leading up to administration and leadership at a county government agency before gaining experience in higher education. In addition, she considers herself multi-passionate having built entrepreneurial paths of photography, writing, and holistic coaching. She enjoys being outside in nature, reading, and spending time with her family and pets.

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María Hidalgo

HR Specialist

Maria joined the IFS team in 2022 as the Talent Management Coordinator. She has a bachelor's degree in Speech and Language Therapy and resides in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Maria brings years of experience in human resources, talent management and full cycle recruiting. Maria enjoys journal scrapbooking, and planning events such as baby showers, small weddings and birthdays for friends and family.  Maria is fully bilingual in Spanish and English.