William

WILLIAM SPEAR

Founder and Executive Director

William is Founder of Fortunate Blessings Foundation and an international lecturer, consultant, mentor, and writer on complementary healing arts, self-development, end-of-life care, vital design, Eastern philosophy, and somatic treatment of trauma. His articles in The Huffington Post touch upon some of these subjects. His work draws from more than four decades as an educator following in-depth training with Michio Kushi, the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Center and Sogyal Rinpoche.

 
Paula

PAULA SANDERSON

Chief Operating Officer

Paula leads operations for Second Response.  A business and marketing professional with extensive experience in implementing online properties and communities, Paula is also President of WSI Digital Marketing of Connecticut, and was formerly with Hewlett Packard, Healthcare.  Paula has an MBA in Marketing and Management and an MS in Biomedical Engineering.

 
Dan

DANIEL W. REESE

Chief Financial Officer

Dan Reese has a lifetime of successful work in the for profit and not-for-profit communities, most recently serving as the CFO and COO for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial fund. During his career in banking, he rose to Senior Vice President for Shawmut Bank. In Connecticut State Government he was featured twice in the Connecticut Section of the New York Times for securing funds while working for Governor Ella T Grasso.  He also serves on the board for Slavery Today. Dan holds a Masters in Business from Columbia University and a BS in Political Science from Trinity College in Hartford.  He is married with six children and eight grandchildren.

 

JONAH SPEAR

Program and Curriculum Director

Jonah has been an integral part of the Second Response team since its inception in 2004.  He is a lead facilitator for trainings and is responsible for program direction and curriculum development.  Jonah also served as a Counselor and Production Facilitator for Camp Grounded in locations across the U.S., and was Co Director of Young People’s Camp at Rowe Camp and Conference Center. Jonah has trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Center, the Moscow Art Theatre, and Boston University School of Fine Arts, and holds a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

 
Deneen

DENEEN BERNIER

Program Coordinator and PLAYshop Facilitator

Deneen organizes PLAYshop Trainings and facilitates PLAYshops for groups of children and their caregivers, wholeheartedly believing in the healing power of play.  Trained as a Recreational Therapist, Deneen also shares her passion of the natural world as a Wilderness Skills Educator and Co-Founder of Three Red Trees School of Natural Living in CT. She also provides Nature Yoga programs in her community as a Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT).  Deneen has a B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation with a minor in Holistic Health, and is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and a C.E.R.T. member.

 
Ellen

ELLEN GOLDSMITH

Training Faculty

Ellen is Board Chair of the National College of Natural Medicine. A licensed acupuncturist and co-founder of Pearl Natural Health, Ellen developed a distinct method for cultivating body/mind health for emerging performing artists at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in her program, Body Coaching for Performing Artists. Currently, she teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

 
Paula@fortunateblessings.org

LAURIE LEITCH

Training Faculty

Practicing psychotherapist, clinical trainer, and consultant, Laurie is the co-founder of Trauma Resource Institute  and Threshold Global Works dedicated to cultivating resilience within communities, enterprises and systems. She has developed models of intervention that provide resiliency enhancing self-regulation skills via training in neuroscience-based programs for use with individuals suffering from long-term and acute trauma. Laurie currently serves on advisory boards for Fountain House/VetClub NYC; Homeward Bound Adirondacks; The Resource Innovation Group Climate Change Initiative; and Shining Service Worldwide.

 
Pippi

PIPPI KESSLER

Training Faculty

Education director and speaker who has trained thousands of parents and educators across the country to use their power for good.  Pippi is Education Director at ImmerseNYC and ongoing consultant and former Program Director at Ma'yan, Jewish Community Center.  She holds a Masters Degree in Social-Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University.

 
Paula@fortunateblessings.org

PALOMA CRIOLLO

Videographer and Social Media Coordinator

Paloma works at the intersections of sustainable development and digital marketing for social innovation. Her past experiences include  community-based conservation management, indigenous rights advocacy, marketing, videography and photography, with extensive experience in over 20 countries and firsthand exposure to global issues, as well as a deep commitment to social justice.   Paloma received her Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies at LIU Brooklyn.

 

KRIS M. TYLER

Special Projects

Kris Tyler is heading Special Projects for Second Response, assisting in the development of the program curriculum, research and evaluations methods, and collaboration outreach efforts. Previously, Kris was the the Program Director of the Kushi Institute and a Data Analyst of the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at University of California Berkeley. Kris received her B.A. in Mathematics with a concentration in Statistics and completed extensive coursework in Psychology from Smith College.