The servant leadership team known as the coordinating council is the governing body of Spiritual Directors International. With the role comes fiduciary, visionary, strategic planning, and personnel oversight responsibilities. Council members serve three-year terms, and new members are appointed as members of the council complete their terms of office. The year following each coordinating council member's name indicates the year they complete their term of service on the council.
Kristen Hobby, MASD, 2018
Spiritual Directors International welcomes Kristen Hobby, MASD, of Dingley, Victoria, Australia, to the SDI coordinating council. Hobby brings her bright spirit and passion for interfaith work to the council.
As a spiritual director, Hobby sees SDI as an opportunity to “engage people of all walks of life, faith, and cultural backgrounds to experience the significant, healing, and affirming role of spiritual direction.”
Hobby, who holds a master of arts in spiritual direction, is currently working towards her PhD in the area of children’s spirituality and nature.
Bruce Calvin, MDiv, 2019
Washington, DC, USA
Bruce Calvin, MDiv, of Washington, DC, USA brings more than twenty years of experience in strategic planning, developing and managing programs, marketing resources, and responding to member requests.
Calvin completed an internship in the art of spiritual direction at the Mercy Center, Burlingame, California, USA. In addition to having a private spiritual direction ministry and service, he is a hospice chaplain.
As one of the leaders of the SDI Men’s Institute over several years, he is sensitive to the quandary of men on both sides of the spiritual direction conversation, who struggle with vulnerability. Calvin follows the Rule for Life of Availability and Vulnerability of the Northumbria Community.
John Pollard, MA, RP, 2017
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
John Pollard, MA, is a spiritual director, registered psychotherapist, and teaches at the Transformational Arts College of Spiritual and Holistic Training in Toronto, Canada. Pollard has been meditating since the 1970s, most recently in the vipassana tradition with Satipañña Insight Meditation Toronto and feels most called to metta (lovingkindness) practice. He also worked for many years as a social researcher at York University.
Our individual backgrounds and life experiences may be quite varied, but Pollard feels that there is so much more that connects us on this human journey than separates us. And it is the deep resonance he feels with the heart-centred focus, grass-roots orientation, and non-hierarchical attitude of Spiritual Directors International that awakens him to the ways in which he feels called to serve.
Cynthia Bailey Manns, DMin, 2019
Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA
Cynthia Bailey Manns is an experienced spiritual director with a background in social work, human development, spirituality, and spiritual development.
She is a passionate workshop and retreat leader, and has served as adjunct faculty at Drew Theological School and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, as well as a campus minister and spiritual director at Seton Hall University. She is the director of adult formation at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Cynthia is a contributor to the anthology Embodied Spirits: Stories of Spiritual Directors of Color.
Wendie Bernstein Lash, 2017
Redwood City, California, USA
Wendie Bernstein Lash, MS, is a spiritual director, supervisor, and pilates instructor in Redwood City, California, USA. Lash is the co-director of the Morei Derekh Jewish Spiritual Direction training program and the Yedidya Center for Jewish Spiritual Direction, and has authored two CDs.
Lash has been involved in SDI for over a decade, including planning Leadership Institutes and leading workshops at the annual conference. She finds it a privilege to be part of a community where different faith traditions can join together in honoring both our differences and our similarities.
"As SDI continues to grow, it has even more opportunity to influence interfaith unity, peace, social justice, and the well-being of our planet and its resources."
Sister Kathleen McAlpin, RSM, DMin, 2018
Springfield, Pennsylvania, USA
Sister Kathleen McAlpin, RSM, joins the SDI coordinating council after twenty years of SDI membership. The global learning community extends a warm welcome as McAlpin brings her experience forming both spiritual directors and supervisors at universities in Canada and throughout the USA.
She views the role of spiritual direction as central to nurturing community. In her own words, “If all peoples of this planet were spiritually attuned to the Sacred, all would tend the Holy, and our gifts would be shared communally.”
McAlpin serves as a theology teacher and spiritual director with Mercy Spiritual Ministries of the Mid-Atlantic Sisters of Mercy.
Nita Ng, 2019
Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia
Nita is a trained and experienced yoga, Tai Chi and pilates teacher, meditator (including Zen, Hindu, and Christian traditions), Reiki master, artist, author, and retreat and spiritual director in retreat centers in Canada, England, and Asia.
She has taught in both religious and secular settings to multigenerational and spiritually diverse audiences. In her former life she taught, was an international business consultant, and managed projects for NGOs. In 2014, she participated in SDI’s New Contemplative Initiative.
Her books include Chinese Heart Songs and Simple Meditations for Busy Lives, and her paintings have been shown in galleries internationally. By invitation from the local bishop, Nita founded and heads the Ministry of Retreat and Spirituality at the Catholic Diocese of Penang in Malaysia. She is the first layperson to be appointed spiritual director to the Malaysian seminarians.
Ravi Verma, 2019
Los Angeles, California, USA
SDI welcomes Ravi Verma of Los Angeles, California, USA to the SDI coordinating council. Verma sees serving on the coordinating council as a wonderful opportunity to "support the bridge builders who are called to be present to all who are seeking the mystery and to build a global community of fellow seekers and travelers."
Verma brings to this work his years of experience with a variety of cultures, religious traditions, boards, and a combination of a contemplative stance with organizational development and management experience. His own life has been one of bridge building between the East and the West, Hindu and Christian, in himself and to accompany others in building their own bridges with the Divine, themselves, each other, and the cosmos. He hopes to bring his passion, joy, and gifts of this journey to expand and adapt the reach of SDI especially to people of other cultures, young people, people of color, and the next generations of pilgrims.
Verma graduated from two different training programs and is committed to listening to the Silence and being of service.