Samantha is the co-founder of Leverage Advisors, a management consulting practice that provides strategic planning, acquisition integration, project management and change management consulting services to a variety of businesses (including public companies, private equity investments and non-profit entities). Prior to founding Leverage Advisors, Samantha held a variety of leadership positions during a seventeen-year career in General Electric’s healthcare and financial services businesses. She has achieved Six Sigma Black Belt and Quality Leader certifications and is a certified Change Acceleration Process facilitator. As Chairperson of Inner Explorer's Board of Directors, Samantha ensures the organization consistently balances the passion to reach millions of children with daily mindfulness practices with sustainable operating procedures and practices to ensure the organization's long-term viability.
Laura is a mindfulness teacher, published researcher, and co-founder of Inner Explorer, a non-profit organization that brings mindfulness-based social emotional learning (MBSEL) programming to preschool through high school classrooms. She has studied the positive academic and mental health effects of daily mindfulness practice and intends to make this programming available and ideally embedded into the school day so all children can benefit from less stress, greater wellbeing, and increased performance. Laura worked for twenty years in large, multinational companies, including GE where she brought a mindfulness program to her team with record results. Laura earned a bachelor of science degree from Boston College, a Ph.D. from Sofia University, was trained as a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructor through the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts, is an Allstate Foundation Non-Profit Fellow, and a lead partner on the LG Electronics USA -Experience Happiness Initiative.
Janice has over fifteen years experience in the education field working directly with youth as well as with educators. She has a master’s degree in education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northeastern University. As a Co-Founder of Inner Explorer, she widely promotes a Mindfulness Based Social Emotional Learning (MBSEL) program nationwide that brings mindfulness to education. Janice was trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness and has over a decade and a half of experience practicing mindfulness skills.
Mike is an assurance manager at AAFCPAs, a best-value CPA & business advisory firm located in Boston, Westborough & Wellesley, MA. Mike provides assurance & business advisory solutions to various types of nonprofit organizations, including: community health centers, community development corporations, early education and care (EEC) agencies, and multi-service human & social services organizations. He advises nonprofit clients on optimizing their financial strategies to ultimately direct more money back into fulfilling their missions. Mike will apply his depth of expertise in serving sophisticated, national nonprofits to provide Inner Explorer with strategic direction and advice on financial aspects of new and existing programs. He resides in Wrentham, MA with his wife Elizabeth, who is a 4th grade teacher, and their two daughters. Joe has served in several statewide committees and has held offices in the Ohio Schools-Speech-Language Pathology Audiology Coalition and the Ohio Speech and Hearing Association. Joe provides professional development for topics as diverse as children’s communication, understanding student behavior, and team communication skill building. He has presented to speech-language pathologists, school psychologists, occupational and physical therapists, paraprofessionals, and school administrators.
Todd is the president of institutional distribution at John Hancock Investments. Todd has earned a D.M. ABD from the University of Phoenix, an MBA from Sacred Heart University, and has completed the Harvard Business School Executive Education’s Authentic Leadership Development Program. He provides Inner Explorer with professional expertise for operational and strategic functions as well as sales and relationship management.
Sherita T. Ceasar is senior vice president of technology environments and strategy at Comcast Cable. Sherita leads strategy, design, build, and support of Comcast engineering laboratory operations and strategic planning supporting technology/product roadmaps for 1600+ technical facilities within Comcast’s Next Generation Access Network organization. She has over thirty-five years in the telecommunications industry shaping and delivering innovative technologies, including the first Comcast Universal Caller ID cross platform application and both remote and cloud DVR, among others. During her career, she has served on the national board of WICT and was past national president of the Society of Women Engineers.
Paul Sugar is the founder and director of the Scottsdale Institute for Health and Medicine Center for Mindfulness. Paul completed the advanced Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher training in 1994 at the Center for Mindfulness pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and is a certified MBSR instructor through the Mindfulness Based Professional Training Institute at the University of California San Diego. In addition, he is a mentor for the MBSR certification candidates there. He has taught over one hundred eight-week MBSR and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programs and has delivered hundreds of mindfulness based workshops and retreats for over twenty-five years. Paul also teaches Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention for Addictive Behaviors (MBRP). He has taught mindfulness in the health care, business, schools, sports and private sectors. Paul has been practicing and teaching meditation, yoga and tai chi for over forty-five years. Paul’s MBSR classes offer continuing education for social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, nurses, acupuncturists, and massage therapists and bodyworkers. In 1998 Paul created the Attention Academy school program which became a seminal study for the development of mindfulness in the schools. He has also spearheaded a number of mindfulness based research studies in the healthcare field.In his role as a business entrepreneur he is a health care management professional, has founded and operated a number of highly successful service related businesses in the healthcare field and serves on the board of directors of three mindfulness based non-profit organizations. Beyond combining management, financial, and marketing skills to maximize the growth of these organizations, Paul has applied the principles of MBSR and Peak Performance to create a uniquely effective business model.
Saideep Raj is a senior managing director in Accenture's technology organization, based in Philadelphia. He leads the global salesforce business group at Accenture, which includes more than 16,500 people. Saideep also leads Accenture's "Cloud First" applications strategy – sponsoring several strategic alliances with cloud technology partners and coordinating research and development for cloud applications within Accenture. Saideep has been with Accenture for over twenty-eight years and has advised many clients on cloud strategies from shaping roadmaps and architectures to get started, leading transformational change programs through to mobilizing cloud powered managed services. Clients cut across multiple geographies and industries, including high-tech, healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications and utilities. Saideep received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from University College London.
Dr. Kemper is known as the mother of integrative pediatrics. She authored The Holistic Pediatrician (1st edition, 1996; revised 20th anniversary edition, 2016) and Mental Health Naturally (2010). She has a B.A. in human behavior from the University of Chicago, an M.D. and MPH in maternal and child health from UNC-Chapel Hill, and graduated from the Robert Wood Johnson Fellowship at Yale. Dr. Kemper is the past president of the Academic Pediatric Association and founder of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Integrative Medicine. She founded integrative pediatric training programs at Harvard, Wake Forest University, and the Ohio State University (OSU). She completed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction internship at the University of Massachusetts in 2000, and began incorporating mind-body skills training for patients in 2001. At OSU, she developed over three dozen free recordings of mind-body practices for patients and an online mind-body skills training program to promote resilience, effectiveness and mindfulness for clinicians, demonstrating that this brief online training is feasible and positively impacts clinicians immediately and over a fourteen-month follow-up. Since 2014, over 4500 clinicians have taken this training. She is frequently invited to teach mindfulness to clinicians nationally, and she currently serves as Editor in Chief of Complementary Therapies in Medicine. She has had a personal meditation practice since 1972.
Janette Hernandez brings over thirty years of experience and deep knowledge in leadership growth, development and coaching for equity and social justice. Her work has focused on interrupting inequities in schools/classrooms and partnering with school leaders to create engaging and socially just learning environments. Her current leadership work in Project I4 is dedicated to coaching leaders in North Carolina and California in the ECU micro-credential and advanced micro-credential program focused on improving leadership via mathematics and academic discourse in classrooms/schools using evidence-based observation and conversation tools through equity centered network improvement communities. Dr. Hernandez, first generation Latina, received her doctorate in educational leadership at East Carolina University, May 2019.