Board of Directors

Nancy Paradiso 

Board Chair

Nancy worked for more than 30 years in sales and marketing at such companies as Discover Card, Make a Wish Foundation of America, Mobil Oil Corporation and many others. She studied non-profit management at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Nancy has enjoyed a long history of both leading and training leaders of small spiritual reflection groups, and witnessing the transformational power of these groups.

Menachem Cohen, MFA

Director At Large

Menachem is a role-playing game designer, spiritual director, and founding rabbi of the Mitziut Jewish Community and the Black Rock JCC. He earned a graduate certificate in Spiritual Direction from Loyola University and Rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Seminary. He has extensive training in trauma-informed care, LGBTQ competency, harm reduction, and youth work, on which he has presented numerous times. He also presents on gaming and spirituality, including at the Spiritual Directors International 2020 conference. From 2014-2019 he served on the board of Urban CPE Consortium. Menachem was recognized as one of America’s 36 most inspiring rabbis by the Forward newspaper in 2016.  Most important, he’s a dad.

Bill Epperly, PhD

Director At Large

The practice of seeking spiritual guidance is found in all the world’s wisdom traditions. My work as a spiritual director is informed by my experience as a life-long seeker who has studied and practiced contemplative Christianity, Buddhism, and contemporary forms of spirituality. Individuals who come to me are often living outside the boundaries of a traditional religion – often, blending traditions or identifying as spiritual but not religious. It’s my practice to hold a safe and sacred space during sessions for whatever the seeker would like to share. In this space, seekers can experience spiritual deepening, insight, clarity, and healing. My formal training in spiritual direction was through the Institute for Spiritual Leadership (Chicago, 2005). I also teach integral spirituality, offer mindfulness-based business coaching, and lead workshops in Chicago and online.

Brian Hastings

Director of Mission

Brian serves as both a spiritual director and a retreat leader throughout the United States and Canada. A former Benedictine monk, Brian is now lead pastor of Church of Our Saviour, a thriving Episcopal Church in Chicago. Since arriving in Chicago from his native Ontario, Canada in 1985, Brian has been involved in community-based programs including the Aids Pastoral Care Network and Demico Youth Services in Cabrini Green. Brain holds an M.Div. from Huron University in London, Ontario. 

Melissa Perrin, PsyD

Director of Programs

Melissa is a licensed clinical psychologist and has a private practice in Evanston focused on psychological intervention and treatment, professional consultation, teaching, leading seminars and retreats for individuals seeking the sacred. She is also a storyteller at venues in the Chicago area, and loves to facilitate pop-up story circles. Melissa holds a PsyD from the Chicago School Of Professional Psychology.

Dean Neidenthal

Director At Large

Dean Niedenthal taught elementary school on the far south side of Chicago for 25 years. Dean holds both a Masters in Theatre from Northwestern University and a Masters in Education from Roosevelt University. He is currently completing the first part of a dual degree, Master in Christian Spirituality (Spiritual Direction) while working towards his Master of Divinity at Loyola University Chicago. Dean currently works as a chaplain at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital (Park Ridge), and is part of the Youth Ministry Team at Saint James Episcopal Cathedral in Chicago.

Katie Spero 

Director at Large

Katie Spero is the Parish Life Director at Church of Saviour, an Episcopal church in Chicago. Prior to that she spent time serving and and living at the Satchidananda Ashram in Buckingham, Virginia which was founded on the principle, “truth is one, paths are many.” This statement echoes the unique spiritual path that Katie was led down from being raised by musicians in a loving Jewish household, to then experiencing Christ whom she has followed since her teenage years, and from there being exposed to many wisdom traditions both Eastern and Western.  Katie is a member of Church of Our Saviour’s College of Preachers, and is a trained teacher of Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Stress Management. Calling on her degree in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago, it is Katie’s joy to try to put into words that which cannot be spoken to spiritually connect and serve her communities.

Jason Williams

Director of Technology

Jason is a data architecture and enterprise data management professional with experience in the healthcare, survey research, travel, advertising and financial technology industries. He has a master's in Library Science from the University of Michigan and is currently completing a master's in Computer Science on a part-time basis. A parishioner of St. Chrysostom's Episcopal Church in Chicago, his activities there include singing in the Parish Choir, helping with the Kitchen Ministry, and working with the Flower Guild. Jason believes that many different paths lead us to what is sacred, and that everyone’s spiritual path is an individual journey that we take collectively with one another. Jason's passions include singing and piano, baking and cooking, contemplative reading and poetry, travel, and any experience that includes gardens or being in nature.

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